Chapter 11

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C H A P T E R E L E V E N


February break came soon after that.
From Monday into Wednesday, Mick, her mother and I went into New York City to see the play Phantom of the Opera and shop in the city. It was a pretty great few days, except for the endless questions from Michela about me and Zander.

"Are you guys a thing? Are you dating? Do you like him? You guys are so weird. He's so weird around you. OMG, he's totally into you. Are you into him? You're weird around him too. You like, never hug anyone. You hugged him like you were never gonna let go! There was definitely some flirting-"

"Oh my god, would you stop? We're not dating, I'm not into him, he's not into me. We're just friends. Give it a rest, Mick." I snapped at her, annoyed by her pestering.

"Okay, okay, fine. Whatever." I could tell she was a bit hurt by my brusque tone, so I changed the subject.

"So, how are you and Will doing?" She brightened up visibly and started chattering on about how amazing he is.

That basically sums up the entire trip.

From Wednesday to Saturday, my parents were in Pennsylvania taking Beckett around to see the colleges with good sports programs. I told them I had no interest, so they took Nora with them, and actually left me in the house alone for a few days. I mean, my elderly neighbor Sarah was supposed to be checking in on me every once in a while, but I was basically home alone. It wasn't like I was going to be having a party anyway, but I had Michela sleep over for a few nights. On Thursday, I finally let her ask me about Zander.

There was an awkward pause in the super-deep 2am conversation we were having, and I knew what she was thinking about.

"Okay, fine, we can talk about it." I braced myself.

"Okay, I'm not going to go into overload, but like, just what was that hug about?"

I tried to come up with an answer to that, but I didn't really have one.

"I don't even know, Mick. It's just been so weird lately, like every day I'm meeting a new side of him that I didn't think existed. He can be thoughtful, and caring, and lighthearted. But then the next day he can be sour and mean. It's a real roller coaster, but then that day... He's the reason why I have my horse. It was like he stepped out of his usual self- he wasn't mean, or cold, or detached. He was thoughtful. He convinced my parents to buy me a horse. Like, he actually talked to my parents. And my mom likes him. When I saw him standing there with Shakespeare and looked into his eyes as I asked him how he knew, I could see the answer in his eyes. And I was just so shocked, and grateful."

I heard her prop herself up on her elbow and turn to face me on my queen bed that we were sharing.

"Shea," she asked softly, "are you sure you like him just as a friend?"

It was a question that scared the hell out of me.

"Honestly, I don't know... I don't think I like him as more, but I might. He can make me so angry sometimes, but then he can make me smile in an instant. I just don't know how I feel."

I stared up at the ceiling and felt the weight of my answer. I used to be so sure that I didn't feel anything more. It terrified me that I didn't know how I felt at all. I knew I just had to get it out of my mind for the night, so I changed the subject.

"Anyway, how's Will?"

"Well, if you must know... I actually can't stay here tomorrow night because I'm staying at his house." Her voice betrayed her blushing face. I turned to face her immediately.

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