I hold my breath as I watch him scan it, and then his eyes light up and he turns the screen to face me as he bursts out laughing. “Catherine—Cat—just quoted Girls Trip. She’s your twin, Mills!”
I let out a jarring guffaw that makes him do a bemused double take, but then I can’t think of a single thing to say to look less like a shrill maniac.
When he turns his phone back to read it again, I ask lamely, “Sooo, nothing unusual?”
“Unusual? No. She’s super funny.” Now I’m torn between insult that he didn’t realize that I’m super funny, and swooning that he’s talking about me and doesn’t even know it. Holy shit, this is both incredibly sweet and incredibly fucking stupid.
I open my mouth to tell him It’s me, you idiot, but then he looks up at me with this goofy smile, and my heart does a weird swan dive in my chest. He seems genuinely excited.
“What should I say?” he asks.
I shrug because I’m not supposed to know what Cat said, so he reads the message out loud. I don’t really have to listen because I reread it about seven times before sending—not to mention I have a terrible poker face—so I busy myself instead with putting pizza on plates.
“Not bad, right?” he asks once he’s done.
“You’re right, she sounds amazing.”
He stands, finally, taking a plate of pizza. I watch him lift a slice, fold it in half, and take about a foot of it into his mouth in one bite. He wasn’t kidding about being hungry. After he swallows, he says, “I’m really glad we did this. The whole dating thing. Feels promising.”
I nod as I chew, silently encouraging him to go on.
“I’ve been thinking about what you said that night”—he takes a meaningful pause before adding—“on the way to your place . . .”
Oh. Another nod.
“I wonder if maybe you were right.”
I pick up my pizza and bring it to my mouth. “I mean, you’ll have to narrow it down a little. I’m right all the time.”
“About the five of us enabling each other. I don’t know, maybe we were getting too comfortable. Maybe we did need to shake things up.”
I take a bite, and nod again.
“Work has always been my priority, and for the first time in my life I’m seeing that there should be more. Dating someone was an obstacle I had to work around—it meant having to explain my hours and my time away, and just never seemed worth it.”
He picks at his pizza and shrugs. “I think for the first time in my life, I feel like something is missing. I want both.”
“There’s nothing wrong with that. You might just be growing up, Peter Pan.”
Reid smiles at me from across the counter. “What about you?”
“Yeah. I know you haven’t had the same . . . experience so far with the app. But—”
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”
I straighten and wipe my hands on a napkin. “So am I. I thought about getting a cat today. That’s a solid step into the commitment zone.”
Reid reaches for another slice and I pick up my wineglass, taking a long gulp. We eat in silence, and only the occasional sounds of Reid’s chewing and my wine chugging fill the silence. Finally, Reid places each of his elbows on the counter. “I hate when you’re upset with me. Even if you won’t admit it. And especially if we’re going to be trapped together all weekend at my parents’ place. You’re still good with that?”
A weekend with Reid? SOS.
“One, I’m not upset with you. Two, you know I wouldn’t miss a weekend with your mom’s cooking.”
He tugs on a piece of hair that’s escaped my bun. “Or someone’s birthday cake.”
“It’s your mom’s birthday?”
Reid rolls his eyes before leaning in to press a kiss to my forehead. “All right. I’m out.” He lifts a third slice of pizza to indicate he’ll take it with him, and turns for the door, stopping just short. “I know you’re tired of talking about this, but did you ever change your profile?”
Panic stabs me in the chest. “My profile?”
He gives me another few seconds before saying slowly, “On IRL.”
Ah. The account he knows about, full of boob requests and popped collars.
“Oh! Millie. Right. No.” Each of these words is quacked out abruptly.
“You should,” he says. “It sucks.”
“Thanks for listening to me. You’re so fucking great.” He turns for the door again. “I envy the man who gets you.”
I have the feeling I should respond to this in some way, but my brain has become a solid brick of Styrofoam. Even if I were emotionally mature enough to have a good reply, he’s already halfway down the front steps. So, I suppose the only thing to do is loudly yell, “Same!” to his retreating form.
Reid’s wave over his shoulder—he doesn’t even turn around—tells me exactly how stupid that was.
Five minutes after he’s gone, the words You are perhaps the best man alive and deserve more than any of us to be happy swim into my head. But I don’t know what to do with them, so I flop down on the couch and turn on the television, wishing I had that cat.
Midway through my inexplicable Grey’s Anatomy binge, my phone pings on the coffee table. I practically roll off the couch in my lunge to get to it.
From: Reid C.
Sent: 11:15 pm, March 28
Coke tastes like sugar gone to die? And we could have been so perfect! You remind me of my best friend. She hates soda because it’s too sweet, but then orders the most sugary cocktails I’ve ever seen.
We’ve got another thing in common with favorite funny movies, or maybe all intelligent people love Blues Brothers? I’m also adding Caddyshack to that list because it’s hilarious, but also for the nostalgic factor. I was a caddy for a few months when I was sixteen, though I’d say my time following old rich golfers around was a lot less entertaining than in the movie. There were no raunchy sexcapades that I was aware of, and no rich businessman ever offered me beer from a secret tap in his high-tech golf bag. I did see somebody streak across the driving range one day, but it was more Cocoon, less Animal House than you’re probably imagining.
I’m not sure if I mentioned it or not, but I’ll be out of town this weekend. You know I grew up on a vineyard, and a couple of my friends are driving up for a few days. I’m already imagining what kind of craziness I’m in for, especially with copious amounts of alcohol around.
I don’t come home as often as I should, and I’m not really sure why. The vineyard is great, everything is blooming and it’s this peaceful place where you can unplug from the world, but I always get a little anxious about bringing everyone there. My parents are . . . well, parents. I guess that pretty much sums it up. Lately it seems my mom is always ranting about this artist woman that lives down the road, or attempting to tell me something that will scar me for life. I’m not sure at what age moms start to feel like their son/daughter is old enough to become their new bestie/confidant, but I’ve definitely reached it. Your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time are appreciated.
And don’t ever worry about being chatty, that’s the point of all this, right? I didn’t realize I’d enjoy it so much, but it’s sort of nice getting to know someone this way.
Favorite movie quote . . . all I can think of right now is from Zoolander: “What’s this? A school for ants?”
From: Catherine M.
Sent: 11:37 pm, March 28
Zoolander. See, I’ve never seen that movie because my ex-boyfriend, who had promised to wait until I got back from a trip to see it with me, saw it with his dude friends and told me it was sooooooo funny he never laughed so hard in his entire life omg. Obviously I never watched it ON PRINCIPLE.
From: Catherine M.
Sent: 11:43 pm, March 28
I can see how that last message looked a touch vindictive and I should probably dial it back since we’re so new to each other, but this is one instance when I’m pretty content living up in my Petty Castle on the hill.