Let's Get Textual (Page 6)

I hold up a hand. “Stop. I’m the last person you need to explain anything to, Caleb. I was part of it—I understand.”

“Thank you. I felt like an a*s for a moment there.”

“Just a moment?”

“I wasn’t that awful, was I?”

“Toward the end?” I shrug. “A little, but that’s my fault too.”

“You were perfect, D.”

“Oh stop it. I was not, but let’s not rehash all that. How’s baseball going?”

The smile he gives me is different, like he feels free to be focused on his game. I think part of what held us back was that Caleb wanted baseball more than he wanted me.

I’m relieved he can have that now.

“It’s great. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time my game was this sharp. We only need to win two more games and we’re in the playoffs.”

“Excellent!” I hold my hand out for a fist bump and he complies, making explosion noises at the end. Yeah, that secret handshake there should have been a sure sign we’d have been better off staying friends.

“How are things with you?”

“Good…I think.”

“Yeah? And how’s that guy you’re seeing?”

“What?” I sputter, nearly spitting my drink out. I wipe away the tiny bit that managed to dribble down my chin. “What guy?”

“The one who had you all smiley a couple weeks ago. Is he not in the picture anymore?”

“Oh!” I smack my forehead. “Duh. I forgot all about that. He’s in the picture…sort of, but he’s not ‘my guy’ or anything. We’re not dating.”

“So, you’re…”

“Texting,” I provide.

“Just texting? Wait—have you ever met this guy?”

“No.”

His dark brows inch down, a crease forming between them. “How did you two start this…texting relationship?”

“He had the wrong number. I assumed it was Liam—you know, because he’s always losing his phone and having to change his number.” I wave my hand. “Anyway, we kept texting after that.”

“Like…naughty stuff?”

“Only you would be so brazen as to ask your ex-girlfriend that kind of question.”

Caleb smirks, and it almost makes me miss him. “I always was forward.”

“You were a perfect gentleman with me.”

“You were different.”

I roll my eyes. “Whatever. Anyway, no, not naughty stuff. Normal things, like what we’re currently doing, or he helps decide what I’m going to eat, or—”

“You always were terrible at that,” he interrupts.

“Shut up. I know. We’re having fun, keeping it casual, not labeling anything—not that there is anything to label. We’re…”

“Getting to know each other?”

“Sure. That sounds about right.”

“Are you going to meet him?”

I twist my lips, thinking. I don’t know anything about Zach, not where he lives, not what he does for a living—hell, I don’t even know how old he is. We’re practically strangers, but there’s this pull to him. He’s the first person I text in the morning now, and I want to tell him all about my day. He’s the one I turn to when I need a laugh.

But do I want to meet him?

I don’t know.

“We’ll see.”

“That’s all I’m going to get, huh?”

I shrug. “For now.”

Caleb sighs. “Just be careful, D? Okay? We might not be an item anymore, but I still give a s**t about you.”

“I still give a s**t about you too.”

“So, what are you drinking? You want me to grab you another?”

“If you don’t mind, I’d love a water. I’m trying to stay sober.” I point toward Zoe, who’s out on Lola’s petite dance floor grinding against a random guy. “Someone needs to watch that one.”

“Oh good Lord. The kid is barely eighteen. A great arm on him, but he’s too young for Zoe to sink her claws into.”

“Well go rescue the poor kid and grab me a water.”

He stands and salutes me. “Yes, ma’am!”

I feel my phone vibrate in my back pocket and pull it out.

Zach: Are you behaving yourself?

* * *

Me: Define “behaving”.

* * *

Zach: Not doing shots off the bartender’s stomach. Not caressing strange men. Not making out with a woman dressed in a banana suit.

* * *

Me: Did that last one happen to you?

* * *

Zach: I had to witness it, if that counts for anything. My roommate is a bit…let’s say social.

* * *

Me: I, too, have a social roommate, and I’m babysitting her tonight. I only imbibed one alcoholic beverage and plan to drag her drunk a*s out of here at a decent time.

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* * *

Zach: You’re such a responsible wrong number.

* * *

Me: Are you calling me boring?

* * *

Zach: No…but also maybe yes. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. I’m boring too.

* * *

Me: Can we be boring together then?

* * *

Zach: Why else do you think I still talk to you?

* * *

Me: You say the sweetest things.

“Is that him?” Caleb asks as he sets my water down in front of me.

I click my screen off and smile up at him. “Yep. He told me I was boring.”

“Wow. Sounds like a keeper.”

“Did you say that in sarcasm font?”

“Oh hell yes.” He takes a swig of his beer. “What kind of dude tells a chick she’s boring? How will that help him score any points?”

“One, he’s not trying to jump into my pants, so there’s no need to score points. Two, it was a compliment. You know I don’t like this scene, and I also think you know I’m boring. It was one of the things that drove us apart. I like staying at home cuddled up on the couch surrounded by junk food. I knit, for crying out loud! I’m not wild. I’m not reserved, but I’m not outrageous. I like boring. It’s…comforting.”

“I always did like how comfortable in your own skin you are. You never try to come up with something clever when people ask about your hobbies. You just tell them you knit and that’s that.”

“I knitted p***s potholders,” I say proudly.

Caleb breaks out in laughter. “Only you, D. Only you.”

“D! Do a shot with me!” Zoe stumbles her way over to our table, the barely-eighteen-year-old in tow. “Shots!” She glances over at Caleb. “Well, hell, lookie who we have here—Caleb fuckin’ Mills. How ya doing, hot stuff? How’s that broken heart of yours mending?”

“Hey, gorgeous,” he greets, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek and unwinding her arm from around his teammate’s neck. “I’ll take her from here, Skeet.”

The kid seems relieved and mumbles a quick thanks before scurrying off.

“Caleb, be a dear and grab us shots.”

“I’m not doing any shots, Zoe. I kind of want to scram.”

“Dude, no. We never go out. This was supposed to be your night out to forget this loser”—she points toward Caleb—“who dumped your a*s.”

“It was mutual,” Caleb butts in.

“Whatever,” Zoe says, waving her hand and almost smacking an unsuspecting guy who appears way too young to be in the bar. “Now, let’s have some fun. Let’s do shots and dance and move on.”

“What about Mr.—”

“Shots it is!” I interrupt, not wanting Caleb to spill the beans about Mr. Wrong Number.

His eyes widen as understanding dawns on him. “Right, yeah. Shots for the ladies. Be right back.”

As Caleb heads toward the bar and Zoe eyes up her next target, I unlock my phone and shoot off a text.

Me: Pray for me. Zoe wants to do shots.

* * *

Zach: Shots are never a smart idea. I’ve fallen victim to many a shot and have puked in numerous bushes.

* * *

Me: Like bushes bushes or BUSHES? *waggles brows*

* * *

Zach: That s**t right there is why I keep you around.

* * *

Me: Stop. You’re making me blush.

* * *

Zach: Liar.

* * *

Zach: Be careful, okay? And maybe let me know when you get home?

* * *

Me: Will do.

“Zoe, we need to go home.” I pull the beer glass from her lips.

“But I wanna…”

“No. It’s late and I don’t want to be out any later than I need to be. We walked, and though it isn’t far, I don’t want to be out when the other drunks leave the bar.”

“You’re walking, D? Do you think that’s a smart idea? You should call a cab.”

“It’s only a couple blocks. It’s no biggie, Caleb.”

“It is. You are not walking. Let me drive these guys home and I’ll come right back for you.”

“No, I don’t want to wait around that long, and anyway, weren’t you drinking earlier?”

“I had one beer three hours ago. I’m fine. Now stay here and I’ll be back in fifteen minutes tops.”

I sigh. “I could walk home in that amount of time.”

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