“You’re right,” I said, laughter barely containing itself in my voice.
“And hey, I’m not going to deny all that but I wanted to build up a good rep in front of you before I asked you out.”
That was a compliment, I think. But I didn’t really feel anything when he said that. Not the usual swoon, or the ‘oh my, isn’t that sweet’. All I could do was smile at him politely. I didn’t even have to bother coming up with a reply as the waiter swooped in with our lunch. Relieved, I quickly dug into my Fettucini Alfredo, savoring the taste.
When we started talking again, we’d moved off the topic of his feelings for me and onto some more casual things. He asked about my family, and wanted to know more about Lea so I gave him the huge back story of it all. Then, it was his turn to share and he told me about his parents who were both very into their careers that they never had much time for him. They only called for him when they needed him, and that explained why he’d shown up late for the date because his mother had rang him up and told him to pick her up at the airport.
I guess I sympathized for him in that aspect; it was tough, having two people who you should be able to depend on ignore you for a majority of your life. I sympathized for him the same way I’d sympathized for Jensen when he’d told me the truth about his mother and why he’d had to move…except I didn’t make a move on Zach. If he’d been hoping for me to reach over and grab his hand to squeeze it in an attempt to comfort him…I didn’t. Instead, I gave him a nod and said, “Yeah, I understand.” Typical really.
When the waitress came over to clear our empty plates and to ask if we wanted dessert, Zach looked at me. Was this my decision to make? Oh, right. If I said I wanted ice-cream, caramel custard or anything else on the menu, it would be the sign that I wanted to stick around longer. My mind shrugged. Why not Roxanne? It wouldn’t kill you.
“Yes, I’d like to have some chocolate ice-cream.”
“I’ll have the same.” Zach flashed a brilliant grin at the waitress who went red and stuttered an ‘okay, I’ll be back in a sec’. Maybe she should date him if she thought his smile was so disarming. It clearly didn’t work on me. Zach turned to me after she left, his blue eyes sparkling like still waters. “I hope you liked lunch.”
“The food was great. I’d really like to come back to this restaurant sometime.”
He looked delighted to hear that. I winced internally. I hadn’t necessarily meant I’d like to come back with him but I guess that’s how he’d interpreted it. Smoothly, Zach reached over and took my hand, tracing invisible patterns over my palm that slightly tickled.
“You know, I was kind of worried that you would hate me or hold some grudge against me about what happened.”
“Why would I hate you?” I snorted. “Well, you used to be a little annoying back then but we were kids Zach. We grew up.”
“Yeah we did. But what I’d done was inexcusable.”