I'm back home and my heart is hammering as I listen to her dial tone, but I can still feel each individual squeeze and every single thump against my ribcage. I'm dying for her to pick up, but at the same time I'd rather shoot myself in the knee than talk to her. I'll screw up. I'll say something wrong, or stupid, and I'll break the fragile web of mystery that pulls me inexorably to her.
I look down at my wrist and I see her brand standing out against my pale skin. The sight sends a jolt through my stomach and I almost put the phone down, but then I hear a metallic click and I realizeshe picked up.
I start babbling. "Heyit's, um, Jared, from the subwayyou drew a picture of me and you wrote your number on my arm and, um
" I cut myself off and wince. Did I screw up already?
There's a silence, and it extends for five torturous beats of my palpitating heart. Then her laugh bubbles through the tinny cellphone speakers and my knees go weak.
"Hey, Jared." I can hear the smile in her voicethat ¬voice. It's warm and smooth, like chocolate, and the effect it has on me reinforces the fact that I am royally screwed. I don't have time to dwell on this, because she's talking again.
"I hope I didn't freak you out back there," she says, in a gentle murmur that feels like it's just for me.
God, Jared, stop it. She's talking normal. And of course it's for youyou're on the phone with her. I take a deep breath as silently as I can. "No, not at all."
"I couldn't resist drawing you," she continues, sending my heart into convulsions. "Has anyone ever told you that you have amazing bone structure?" There's a giggle in her voice.
I laugh, and even as the sound escapes my mouth I can tell how breathy and nervous and ridiculous it is. I managed to stutter out a 'nope', or something equally inane.
She lets out a sort of hum, like she's shifting around and just found a comfortable spot. "I have a proposition for you."
"Meet me for coffee? The Starbucks on 14th, maybe?"
"Yes." Relax! "Um, yeah. Sounds great." A grin is taking over my entire face.
"Great!" I can feel the pleasure in her voiceshe actually wants to see me. It feels like someone just tasered the pit of my stomach. She keeps talking. "Tomorrow morning, okay? Six."
"Yeah," I say. Only after it's out of my mouth do I realize that six is early.
She treats me to another laugh. "Okay. Bye, Jared." Her receiver clicks.
I stand there until my heart slows again. I'm absolutely screwed. This girl has me whipped, has me pining for her like a puppy, has me hooked on her like an addictand I don't even know her name.