Three Ways to New York

Ellie Narbarough is getting old. Or so she thinks. She wants to settle down and have a family, so when she finds the amazing Zachary online, she gets in touch. This results in numerous chats, and the pair agree to meet up. But when Ellie gets to New York and sees another side to him, she wonders if Zachery is really that amazing. As she tries to work this out, the not-so-perfect-but-still-great Anthony enters her life, and tries to help her along the journey to happiness and true love, but doesn't realize he is only making it more complicated.

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3. "Call me Zach"

After an hour and a half, I was ready for my video chat. Cadence had agreed exactly to what Zachary had suggested, and was more than willing to help me with my makeup.
But when I tried to shoo her into the kitchen, using all of her weight, she leant onto me, forcing me into the living room, and down onto a chair whilst she settled herself comfortably in an armchair opposite.

After adjusting myself on the sofa, I pulled the laptop over, and clicked on Skype. But even as I typed his name, my hands were shaking, and suddenly my fingers seized up.
"I can't do it Cade. I mean, what if he doesn't want to talk? And I didn't even tell him I was going to call!"
Cadence puffed and rested her chin in her hands. "How are you ever going to live with him if you can't even talk to him over camera!?" Exasperated, Cadence fell back on the pillows. "Besides, he asked you to get in touch!" Now do it!"

I laughed. "I didn't imagine anything this time you know. I haven't thought that far ahead!"
"Don't lie! You do it with every bloke you meet!" Cadence smirked and climbed over the sofa, moving my hand to the mouse and clicking the 'Request video chat' button by his name. Then we both sat back fidgeting. After 3 rings, the monitor went black. I stared surprised at the screen, carefully avoiding Cadence's eager "What? What's happened?" interruptions, when a "Oh sod off Bess." sounded from the speakers.

"Er, hi. Zachary?" I shrugged my shoulders at Cade, who was rocking back and forth with the anticipation, mouthing words that I couldn't understand. Suddenly I was staring at  a dog, huge and dark, with its paws clawing the screen.
"Bess!" Two huge hands grabbed the dog and dragged it away from the computer. And then he was there, my Zachary, my angel.
"Ellie! I'm so damn glad you got in touch! I was starting to worry, I gotta say, that I'd been too forward! Ah, how are you?"
I stared bewildered at the screen, just drinking in his tight, black T-shirt and dark, wet hair; it looked like he'd just got back from a run. His accent was strong and seductive, booming through the quiet flat. Cadence caught my eye and gave me the thumbs up, fluttering her hand and batting her eyelashes to let me know she liked him too. Or at least his voice. We were off to a good start.
Relief flooded through me as I leant forward and stared at his image.

"I'm fine, thank you Zachery. How are you?"
Zachery's body shook with laughter. "I am mighty fine, thanks for asking. Better now that you've called! But please, call me Zach."
"Zach. Right, well, erm, tell me about yourself. Or America?" Cadence shook her head at me in disbelief and ran to the kitchen.
Again, Zach laughed. "Baby there's a lot to tell! America's great I guess, though I've never really been outside of New York. I love city life and being with people, which is exactly what you get out here. It's so busy, and chaotic, it makes life one big challenge you know?" He sighed. " I love challenges."
Interesting thing to say.
"So tell me about you Ellie. I'm so exited to finally talk to you, it seems my mind will blow with all these questions! If I had the money, I would fly out right now and come and see you!"
Wow he was eager. Exactly what I liked. I was gonna play along.

"Well, we have so much in common Zach! I love modern art, and I see you like painting-"
A black notebook was dropped on my lap. I frowned.
Scribbled in black marker, I read the words, 'He's a dog person. Ask him about dogs. And flick your hair about a bit or something, you're as stiff as what I imagine his boner to be.' A little winky face was drawn in the corner.
I stifled a laugh, but was obviously too slow, because Zach held up his hands and grinned a little too. "Share the joke?"
Sliding the note pad across the coffee table, I sighed and flicked my hair over my shoulder, remembering the only decent thing she'd written. Oh, and dogs.

"Oh, it was nothing. Just my sister messing around."
"You have a sister? What's her name?"
Cadence crawled over from the spot where she'd collapsed after laughing at my reaction to her 'funny' note, and stuck her face into the camera of the laptop before I could stop her.
"Hi! I'm Cadence, Ellie's younger sister. It was my idea for Ellie to sign up for the dating website." Cadence beamed and patted my shoulder.

Zach laughed for what seemed like the millionth time. "Well then Cadence, I'm so very glad that you introduced yourself to me! Thank you honey! May I just say, that you two are both so georgeous!" His smile returned.
"Well, we-"
Suddenly, a loud banging noise sounded from his end of the line, and again, a huge, dark dog, followed by another this time, leapt at Zach, growling what sounded very maliciously, but Zach only laughed once more and fought off the dogs with a big, tanned hand. He stood up, but ducked down into the camera and held his hands out to us.
"Sorry girls, but my girlies here are calling! They haven't had their walk yet, so they're a little angry at me! Ellie, can you call me? Maybe tomorrow?"

I was shocked, yet delighted by his forwardness. Zach was perfect just on camera, so I could barely imagine meeting him in the flesh, though in my head I was already there, hugging his broad shoulders and kissing his smiley lips. I flicked my hair again. "Of course. You know, my sister and I are planning a trip out to Albany soon, our dad and his wife live out there, so maybe we can meet up?"
Even as I was saying it, I knew what Cadence's reaction would be. She was breaking down behind the laptop now, shaking her head frantically and trying to grab me before I said anything else. But it was too late.

Suddenly, silently, Cadence stalked out of the room, her cheeks a burning pink, and a vein sticking out on her puckered forehead. Meanwhile, Zach had sat back down.
"You really mean it Ellie? I would love that so much! Please call me when you are out here, I'll meet you at the airport, take you out for dinner, and we'll get to know eachother." The dogs barked again. "I'm coming Bess! Quiet down! Ah Ellie, I have to go, but please please please call, me!" With that, the screen finally went black.
I sat there for a minute, just thinking about Zach, and then dad and Lynda, and then Cadence, who had stormed out of the flat in her woolly socks.
"He actually sounds really gay." Then a sob echoed in the hallway, but I didn't budge, I didn't even laugh. Cadence always dealt with problems on her own, that was why she had always been more independent than me. When things like this happened, I just had to wait it out and prepare my sorry's. And it wasn't like she could walk off anyway. Not if I hid her shoes.

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