At the diner, Anne sat us quickly and placed a single menu on the table to accommodate Simon. “The usual, ladies?” she asked us, pushing a strand of red hair out of her eyes. Nova and I nodded and she turned to Simon. “And what’ll it be for you, Simon? Actual food for once or are you working on a project?”
“I have a project due, but I will take a coffee, please,” he said, holding up his menu to hand to her and Anne walked away with it, humming the soprano line of a show tune as she went. Anne was one of our favorite people in the diner; a fellow student at Everground University, she understood that dessert was not necessarily reserved for after dinner and her one year age advantage made her wise in the eyes of many freshman who came into the diner out of convenience.
“So?” asked Nova after Anne was out of earshot. “How’d it go with Ezra? I mean, he texted you for a second date. That’s good, right?”
“He texted you?” Simon asked, his eyebrows jumping up on his forehead. “Are you going to say yes?”
“I’m not sure if she is,” whispered Nova, turning away from me to look at Simon. At least while they were gossiping about me, their fight was dissolved. “She called me last night from the restaurant. Apparently, Ezra’s pretty damn loaded. I mean, besides the Elemantra thing. Plus, with her getting kicked out and all, that must have put a damper on the evening.” Simon nodded in agreement. It seems that before she’d begun to pick a fight with him, Nova had taken the time to gossip about my new living arrangement- or lack thereof.
“I’m sorry, but since when has money ever been a problem?” Simon asked. Nova opened her mouth to argue and he put a hand down on the table in front of her. “Present company excluded, of course, Babe. But really? Of all the things you could have picked out to hate about him, you chose the fact that he’s affluent?”
“I could have chosen from a list of things to hate about him?” I asked Simon. I didn’t think that I really hated anything about him right now. I just wasn’t used to people spending money on me; it threw me off quite a bit, but I certainly didn’t hate that. “Please, elaborate for me.”
“Well, he tracked you down to ask you out.”
I rolled my eyes. “He knew where I had class, Simon, because he walked me there. Remember? He helped me find Granger Hall.”
“Okay, but he seems really preppy.”
“Who says I don’t like preppy?” Simon and Nova gave me looks of annoyance and I sighed. “Fine. Maybe I’m not the preppiest person in the world, but he actually isn’t. He’s really relaxed. And he loves his family and…he’s frankly kind of wonderful. I don’t think that I hate him and I’m going to text him and tell him we can go out tonight.”
“Go mini-golfing,” said Simon.
“Are you kidding me?” I asked, glaring at him and then at Nova. “Is this the glitch and kitsch thing? Do I just exude this idea of a mini-golf date?”
“Mina, I thought you liked mini-golf,” he said and I could instantly read the hurt on his face. “Besides, asking him to go mini-golfing with you will easily explain away mine and Nova’s presence.”