I Wanna Text You Up (Page 4)
Delia gasps and smacks at his arm. “How dare you! He was trying to resist her scent!”
“Can we please stop discussing Twilight and get back to the task at hand? Scan the room with me, Delia. Who looks like he could be my Edward?”
“What about that guy in the corner wearing the tweed jacket? Or the guy in the blue sweater?”
“So, basically the two dudes who are wearing outfits similar to what Edward wore in the movie?”
She opens her mouth but hesitates. “Y-Yes,” she finally says.
“You’re horrible at this.”
“Are you two really talking on the phone across the bar right now?”
I jump at the familiar voice, bumping my drink and sloshing soda onto the table.
I look up at the offender and glare. “You owe me a new Cheerwine.”
Caleb Mills smirks down at my delicious cherry-flavored soda. “Cheerwine? Really, Zoe?”
“What? It’s a damn good drink and you know it.” He nods and slides himself onto a barstool. “Sure, please, take a seat at my table, Caleb.”
“Aw, thanks. It is a good drink, but you’re in a bar—why aren’t you drinking?”
I shake my cup at him. “I am.”
“What’s Caleb doing here?” Delia asks in my ear.
“Hell if I know,” I answer her.
Caleb turns around and waves her way. She and Zach both raise their drinks to him.
It still blows my mind how chill Delia and Caleb are after having dated for six months last year. They split amicably with no bad blood between them, but it’s always awkward when your ex starts dating someone new and you’re there to witness it.
Not with them.
Last year after a nude photo of Delia went around, Caleb was right there on the battlefield along with us, making sure to keep the identity of the girl in the photo under wraps and ensuring that the douchebag who sent it got what was coming to him.
That was the first time I noticed him in a way I shouldn’t, and it wasn’t even in an omg he’s hot sort of way—I noticed that long ago.
No, it was the way he was there fighting for his friend, the way he went against the most powerful player on his team knowing he was putting his career in jeopardy to do the right thing.
It was his fierceness and determination.
I’ve been spurned by lack of loyalty far too many times. Caleb’s loyalty calls to me, makes me want to get to know him, to get close to him.
I could use someone like him in my life.
“Make him leave. We’re on a mission here, Zoe.”
“I can’t just tell him to go away, Delia. That’s rude.”
My surprise guest raises a brow. “That is rude.” He grins, and I consider how cute his grin is.
I’m not blind; I’ve noticed Caleb before. Hell, I noticed him well before Delia ever did, and I’ve always thought he was attractive in your typical boy-next-door sort of way.
With blond hair that curls at the collar and dark blue eyes that always have a twinkle in them, Caleb’s handsome, and I’ve been heartbroken by too many pretty faces in my life.
“Tell him he’s the one being rude. Tell him about our mission.”
“We’re doing something here, Caleb. Do you mind?”
He holds a hand to his chest, that twinkle of his ever present. “Am I that unworthy of your time? Am I so unwelcome after all I’ve done for you and Delia?”
“Tell that asshat he can only play that card for so long,” Delia says.
“I’m not telling him that. He has a point.”
“Point, schmoint.” She pulls the phone from her mouth. “Hey, we’re working here!” she shouts with an accent. I’m certain she was aiming for New Jersey, but it’s not even close to actually sounding like that.
Caleb laughs and shakes his head. “Cheerwine, right?”
I nod and he takes off, heading toward the bar.
“What did you say this guy’s name was again?” I hear Zach ask Delia.
“Edward Cullen,” she replies.
“His name is not Edward Cullen, you ass!” I hiss through the phone.
“Fine. Just Edward.”
“What was his email address again?”
“You showed him the emails?” It comes out as a screech, and the patrons occupying the table next to mine look my way. I give them a look, and they all turn their attention away.
“What? I needed his opinion too.”
“That was private information, Delia!”
“It’s just Zach. Big whoop.”
“Just Zach,” I hear him say, a hint of sarcasm in his voice. “Zoe, what was his email address?”
“I don’t know!” Caleb slides a new Cheerwine in front of me and I nod my thanks to him as he takes a seat. “Look it up.”
I wait as Zach and Delia scroll through her phone in an attempt to find the emails I forwarded her.
Watching as Caleb takes a swig of his beer, I can’t help but be mesmerized by the way he swallows…which is the dumbest thing I’ve ever been enthralled by.
I’m not surprised by it though.
Ever since Caleb showed his white knight side, my eyes have slid his way more than once. My interest is officially piqued.
But it can’t be.
He’s my best friend’s ex-boyfriend, for fuck’s sake. That can’t happen. It’s girl code rule one—you don’t date or sleep with someone your best friend did.
Which means I can’t notice his indigo eyes or the way they crinkle at the edges when he smiles, can’t be drawn to the stupid dimple in his chin or that ridge on his nose indicating it’s been broken a time or two, and there’s no reason I should want to lick away the drop of beer clinging to his full lips.
But, I do.
I shake my head and focus back in on the conversation between Delia and Zach.
“You guys find anything out of the ordinary?”
“Aha! Got it!” Delia says. “Give Zach a moment.”
I watch him swipe his finger over the screen, scrolling through our emails and scanning them quickly.
“How did you miss this, Zoe? It’s obvious as hell.”
“Miss what?” I ask, half interested, half wondering why Caleb’s right hand is in a brace.
I give him a kick under the table, catch his eye, and nod toward it.
“Fracture,” he mutters. My eyes widen, worried because I know what that could mean for his baseball career. “It’s fine.”
Those midnight eyes of his say differently, but I let it go. I nod and tune back in to Zach. “—ame. Did you hear me, Zoe?”
“No. Repeat that.”
“Edward is not his name. He was playing off your email address and acting as a comic book character too.”
“What? Who? Which one?”
“The Riddler, whose real name is Edward Nigma. E. Nigma. Enigma. Get it?”
I nod at him, processing what he’s telling me. That means I know nothing of substance about the guy I’m meeting tonight, not even his name.
What was I thinking doing this? Inviting a stranger to live with me? I must be insane.
“Are you sure, Zach?”
“You’re asking me, the king nerd, if I’m sure? Yes, I’m positive.”
“So what—or who—should I be looking for here?”
He chuckles at the irritation lining my voice, and I want so badly to flip him the bird. “Probably someone with a riddle on his shirt.”
“I don’t…” I glance around the bar, trying to read the t-shirt of every guy sitting alone. There’s one I can’t make out from here, and I know Zach and Delia won’t be able to read it either. “Hold on, let me check this dude out.”
I hop off the barstool and march toward the guy. He’s sipping on a soda, and when he catches me moving toward him, he sits up straight, pushing his glasses up on his nose.
His shirt isn’t much of a riddle, just one of those picture plus picture equals whatever kind of things. It’s riddle enough for me.
I plant myself directly in front of him, brow raised. “You him?”
He glances around, eyes nervous as he wraps a hand around his drink. He takes a sip through the straw before sucking in a breath. “M-Mistress Jasmine?”
My eyes widen, and his cheeks turn pink as he ducks his head, mortified.
I guess neither of us are who we thought we were.
“My bad. Wrong guy,” I mutter before retreating back to my table, Delia and Zach laughing in my ear.
“Shut up,” I bark at them.
“I didn’t even say a word,” Caleb says, hands raised in innocence, not the least bit troubled by my abrupt exit and return.
I throw him a look and he smirks, knowing he’s being a smartass.
“Anything else he’d be wearing, Zach?”
“Maybe a question mark? That’s a signature Riddler thing. I’d hope he wouldn’t be so cliché though.”
“We don’t need your nerd snobbery right now, Mr. Hastings.”
He tsks in my ear. “Hey, I’m just saying, you ladies really should have included me in this. I could have been way more inventive than Robin, Batman, and the Ridd—ow!” Delia gives his shin a kick, and I want to high-five her for having my back. “Amateurs,” he mutters.