Let's Get Textual (Page 37)

I toss my phone aside and close my eyes, leaning against my headboard, trying to calm myself.

I’m still shaky from the slap.

What Shep did was childish. Is he really that hard up for attention that he believed sending someone’s private photo out to strangers would be a smart idea? Or is he just an a*s?

I don’t understand how any of this made sense in his mind. That’s not an eye for an eye—that’s a severed head for an eye.

He was out for blood, and he’d found what he was looking for.

Only now he’s been caught, and I will be making him face consequences…after Caleb’s done with him, of course.

Now I have to decide what I’m going to do about Zach. How can I even begin to decide how to approach all of this? How do I tell him it was his brother who betrayed us both?

How do I tell him I’m sorry?

I pick up my phone and pull up our texts, scrolling through them like I have for the past several days now. At this point, I might even be able to recite them word for word; that’s how pathetic I am.

My fingers hover over the keyboard. I don’t know what to say.

I screwed up?

I’m the worst?

I should have trusted you?

I type and retype several different messages. None of them are enough.

Finally, I send the only thing I know I have to say.

Me: I’m sorry.

Those three dots pop up and then disappear, only to come back seconds later.

After several minutes of the same routine, they stop reappearing.

Me: I know it wasn’t you who sent the photo out. I’m sorry I didn’t trust you enough to realize that in the beginning.

* * *

Zach: I’m sorry you didn’t too.

* * *

Zach: But, Delia?

God, even reading my name makes my heart pound. It’s been too many days since I’ve heard it drop from his lips.

I didn’t know I could miss someone this much before now.

Me: Yeah?

* * *

Zach: Go to bed. It’s after midnight.

Laughter flows out of me, and I feel giddy. His text is so simple, so…Zach.

For the first time in days, I have hope again.

Twenty-Three

“You want to do what?”

“Steal Marshmallow.”

“Are you insane? Because you sound certifiable right about now. We cannot steal a goat.”

“We can too. All it takes is getting a window open at Zach’s, crawling inside, and snatching the goat.”

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“I can read the headlines now—WANTED: TWO ADORABLY SEXY COLLEGE GIRLS STEAL BABY GOAT.”

I raise a brow at her. “Adorably sexy?”

“What?” She shrugs. “It’s not a lie.”

“Anyway, I was thinking after Caleb stopped by—”

“Which I am still pissed about missing, by the way.”

I received an earful yesterday about not waking her up before, during, and after, but only because she was desperate to get in on the slapping Shep action too.

Luckily, she was already running late from class and I was passed out by the time she came home last night, so I didn’t have to hear about it again.

This morning though? She ripped into me again.

I wave her off. “Yeah, yeah. So I was thinking, we should steal Marshmallow. Then Zach would have to see me and we’d have to talk.”

“I want to repeat my earlier question, but I think you’d throw something at me if I did.”

“I am being dead serious right now, Zoe, and if you don’t want in on stealing the goat, I’ll get Caleb to help me.”

“Oh, hell no. There’s no way I’m missing out on you stealing a goat, you nut.”

“So you’re in?”

“I’m in,” she says. “But we need a plan first.”

“Already one step ahead of you. You’ll knock on the door and plead with Zach, pretending to be a helpless stranger with a broken-down car. I’ll sneak around back and climb through the window in Marshmallow’s room.”

“A few things. One, the goat has his own room?” I nod. “Why?”

“Because he’s really cute and deserves his own space.”

She looks at me like she’s waiting for the punch line, but I’m not joking. When this dawns on her, she continues. “Right. Two, Zach knows who I am, so I can’t pretend to be a helpless stranger.”

“You make an excellent point.” I steeple my hands together and rest my chin on them. “Ideas?”

“How about I go over there pretending to want to chat with him about what a sleaze you are?”

I glare at her. “We’ll work on your angle.”

“Fine. So, three, why are we stealing the goat again?”

“I told you: so then he’ll have to talk to me.”

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“Why don’t you just knock on the door and talk to him?”

I screw my face up at her. “Because that isn’t as fun as stealing Marshmallow.”

She stares at me, not blinking.

“You don’t get it. Zach will. He’ll understand.”

“He’ll understand you stealing his goat?”

“Just wait, you’ll see.”

“When are we to execute this plan of yours?” she asks.

“Do you work tomorrow night?”

“No, but you really need to think about this, Delia.”

“Think about what?”

She sits on the couch next to me. “Your relationship with Zach and what Shep did. Will you be able to move past it? Can you forgive him? If you’re planning to become serious with Zach, which is where I believe you two were headed, you’ll be attending family functions. Shep will be there. How will you handle that?”

“I…”

Well, hell, I hadn’t thought of that. The only thing I’ve had on the brain as of late is Zach.

If Zach lets me explain, what am I going to do about Shep? I already plan to go to the dean’s office about him—there is no way in hell I’ll be able to watch him out on the baseball field representing our school and not think of the time he spread a naked picture of me around.

There should be no reward for doing something so degrading.

Baseball isn’t a necessity; it’s a privilege.

But what about outside of school, during the family functions Zoe mentioned? Will I avoid him? What happens when I tell his parents?

This is more complicated than I thought it would be.

“This might be one of those bridges I cross when I get to it. Besides, we aren’t even sure if Zach will want to talk to me.”

“I wouldn’t talk to you if you stole my goat.”

“Liar.”

She nods. “True. So, tomorrow is when you’ll try to win your man back?”

“Tomorrow.”

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“Why did you insist on wearing a neon green shirt? We’re aiming for sneaky.”

I’m decked out in black from head to toe.

She isn’t.

“You didn’t tell me that!” she hisses.

“It’s common knowledge that when you try to burglarize a place, you wear black, like the night, so you blend in, not neon freakin’ green.”

She pulls at her bright shirt. “I’ll have you know this is pastel, not neon.”

“Same thing.”

“Two totally different things.”

“Shh! Lower your voice.”

“We are literally sitting inside your car down the road from his house. Why do we need to whisper right now?”

“Because we need to stay in character!”

She mutters under her breath and I reach over and pinch her.

“Ow! You b***h!”

“Shh!”

“Oh my god. Can we get on with this already?”

“Fine. Now you remember the plan, yes?”

“I’ll knock on the door and seduce your sexy nerd of a boyfriend while you break into the goat’s bedroom,” she says.

“No, no seducing.”

“You sure? I thought you said seduce.”

“I will pinch you again.”

She scoots as far away as she can. “No seducing—noted. Let’s go.”

We exit the car and I tiptoe off toward the back side of the neighborhood.

“You don’t look even an ounce inconspicuous!” she shouts as she climbs into the driver’s seat.

“I hate you!” I flip her the bird as I continue making my way to a stranger’s back yard.

I sneak to the edge, right along the fence blocking the woods behind their houses. My heart is beating so loud I’m afraid it’s going to rouse people from sleep.

I can’t believe I’m about to steal a goat.

The things we do for love, right?

Creeping along, I make sure to check that Zoe and I are at the same points. She slinks along in the car, waiting for me to give her the signal that I’m in place.

I can see from here that she’s dancing along to something on the radio.

Only Zoe.

When I finally reach the edge of Zach’s back yard, I jump up and down and wave at Zoe. She shoots me a thumbs up and parks the car.

I make my way toward the house and peek inside the window into Marshmallow’s bedroom. It’s too dark to really see anything.

S**t! I didn’t even think of that possibility.

The window isn’t far from the ground and surprisingly, I can reach it just fine, so I push on it with all my might.

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