Let's Get Textual (Page 35)

“No? I mean, I mentioned you and he was a bit of an a*s about it, but other than that, no.”

“I wonder if he got ahold of Zach’s phone before or after that.”

“I’m betting after,” Caleb says. He shoots from the couch and begins pacing the living room. “I want to march over to campus, rip that a*****e out of class, and beat him senseless for this s**t.”

“Calm down. We don’t know for sure that it was him.”

“I don’t know, D. Caleb is making excellent points, and I have a feeling it was,” Zoe says. “Besides, you said yourself that you can’t believe Zach would do something like that. To me there’s nothing malicious about him…”

“When I met him, he spent the entire night telling me about this non-profit he wants to start,” Caleb tells me.

“You do know how the idea began, right?” Caleb shakes his head at my question. “It was because Zach developed an app in high school that was a hot-or-not kind of thing. It spun out of control and caused a ton of drama.”

“So you’re saying you think he’s capable of sending out a naked photo of his girlfriend because he did a shitty thing in high school?” Caleb volleys back.

Well…no, I don’t think that at all. I think that’s why I’m having such a hard time with all this. When Zach told me the story of what he did in high school, I felt his remorse. He was beyond sorry it ever happened. Whenever he speaks about Embody Positivity, he’s passionate.

I don’t think he did this.

And I’m a complete a*****e for jumping the gun on him.

F**k. I think I screwed up the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

I release a heavy sigh and fall back onto the couch. “I’m the worst.”

“You’re not the worst. The evidence was there, there’s no denying that. Besides, this is all theory at this point. We don’t have concrete proof that it was Shep.”

“How do we get it?”

Caleb continues to pace, mumbling to himself. Neither me nor Zoe can understand him. We sit and watch as he rolls a plan around in his head.

Finally, he faces us, hands on his hips. “Let me take care of it.”

“Okay.”

“But, D? If it turns out he isn’t the one who sent the photo—though I’m fairly certain that’s highly unlikely—you need to be prepared.”

My mouth goes dry at the thought. I got so wrapped up in the theory that Zach is innocent that I forgot to think about him being guilty.

My stomach clenches.

“I’ll be ready, Caleb.”

My alarm clock sounds, and I reach over to the bedside table and launch it across the room.

I don’t want to go to class this morning. I can’t.

I’m not ready to face everyone. I know there will be at least one person in the class that’s seen the photo. Caleb claims no one knows who the girl is, but I’ll know, and every time someone looks at me, I’ll wonder if they know too.

I close my eyes and try to go back to sleep, but it’s no use.

I can’t sleep.

I’ve been tossing and turning all night. Hell, I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep since Friday—you know, before my world imploded and all that.

Out of habit, I reach for my phone, searching for a text from Zach.

I’ve caught myself doing this more times than I can count over the last few days. When you text someone non-stop for months, you grow used to them, and when they are ripped out of your life, you fall into a total pit of despair.

I manage to pull myself from the bed as Zoe comes barging into my room.

“Good, you’re up.”

“Not for long,” I mumble.

“Oh yes. You’re going to class today. There’s no arguing that with me.”

“No, no way.” I throw myself back into bed and pull the covers tightly over my head.

Zoe tugs on them, trying with all her might to rip them off me. I can feel the material sliding through my hands, and then she’s won.

I lie there anyway.

“Up. Come on. Caleb said no one knows it’s you and I believe him. There was no indication on the text about who it was and no one on campus has seen you naked other than Caleb. You know the secret is safe with him. So, up!”

“Never!”

She jumps on the bed and bounces around, hard—so hard that I’m flopping around on the bed as she moves up and down.

It’s not long before I’m giggling, and it feels so good. I haven’t felt like laughing in days, and I love to laugh.

“Stop, stop, stop! You’re going to break my bed and I will make you buy me a new one.”

She settles down and collapses next to me, giving me puppy-dog eyes. “Please come to class. Please. I promise I’ll only leave you for the lecture. I’ll walk in with you and meet you at the door afterward so you don’t have to do the walk of shame alone.”

“Walk of shame? I thought no one knew.”

“No one does, but I know you—you’ll think everyone has x-ray vision and can see your b***s and will know exactly who it was in the photo. Also, can we please talk about how you’re not supposed to send sexy photos to someone’s phone? You SnapChat that s**t, disappears real quick.”

“Sent many naked pics yourself?”

She shrugs. “Maybe. I do have great t**s, you know.”

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I shake my head and push myself off the mattress until I’m sitting up on my knees. “Okay, fine. I’ll go to class, but you have to walk in and out with me. I don’t want to run into Shep.”

“Deal. Now, go shower. You’re ripe as hell.”

I lift my arm and smell myself. “Oh…yeah. Let me go take care of that real quick.

I cross the room and open the drawer on my dresser. All of a sudden I’m hit with memories of me and Zach and a certain time I stood in front of this dresser.

The tears silently slide town my face, my shoulders shaking with the unreleased cries.

Zoe wraps her arms around me from behind and I take comfort in her support.

“It’ll be okay, D. I promise it will. We’ll figure out who’s to blame and I’ll kick them right in the dickhole.”

“You’re a really good best friend, Zoe.”

“I know.” She smacks a kiss to my cheek. “Go shower, smelly. We have class in forty-five minutes.”

I do it again when I slip into my seat.

I check my phone.

Nothing from Zach—not that I’m really expecting anything, but still.

Caleb comes rushing into the room at the last moment and takes the empty seat beside me.

“How are you holding up?”

I lift a shoulder. “As well as expected, I guess. I feel like everyone suddenly became an X-Man and they all acquired the exact same mutation: x-ray vision.”

“Well stop worrying. No one suspects a thing. I asked around at practice this morning to see if anyone had any idea who was in the photo.”

“And?”

“Not a clue, though they wouldn’t shut up about how hot the chick was.”

He winks at me, and I don’t even have the stomach to be flattered. I’m too pissed off at those shmucks for passing the photo around to begin with. I mean, who receives a naked photo of someone they don’t know and then forwards it on?

Dicks, that’s who.

“Any leads on cracking the case?”

Caleb gives me a look but doesn’t answer my question. “We’ll talk about it later.”

My stomach drops.

This can’t be good.

I spend the entire class unfocused and not paying an ounce of attention. My head is swimming with everything but whatever it is our professor is rambling on about.

I attempt to wish away the time, but the more I close my eyes and beg, the slower it goes, so I give up and zone out entirely, staring at my notebook.

Luckily Caleb is diligently typing away on his laptop; I’ll have to grab the notes from him later.

My fingers wander to the phone sitting on the table in front of me. I press the home button and the screen lights up.

No phone call.

No text.

No hope for us at all.

Class finally draws to an end. Everyone gathers up their things and rushes from the room, not wanting to be stuck behind the slow movers and aisle blockers.

Today, I’m a slow mover.

When I’m finally ready to face Caleb and get this dreadful conversation over with, he’s not there.

I see him rushing up the stairs and I call after him.

“Later!” he calls out to me.

My shoulders sink. Here goes another day of worrying about everything.

Zoe’s standing outside the door when I exit. “Everything go okay?”

“Caleb said we’ll talk later.”

“About what?”

“I don’t know. He didn’t say, which is a total s**t move because—”

“Now you’ll be worrying all day. Great.”

“I’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure? I can skip my next two classes and come home with you now if you need me to.”

“No way. You forced me here, so you have to stay. Besides, I don’t think I’m heading home yet. I might grab a coffee and then come back later to pick you up. That way I’m not at home sulking.”

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