I almost didn’t expect Vincent to actually call me. I knew that he was usually good on his word, but I spent so much time getting accustomed to people backing out on me. I spent the entire day bored out of my mind, scrolling through Pinterest recipes and wondering if I could make anything fun with the stuff I had in my kitchen. I might have actually jumped when my phone started buzzing loudly on the coffee table. Then I scrambled for it and brought it to my ear.
“Uh—hello?” I said even though I’d seen his name.
“Hey, Pip. It’s me,” Vincent replied.
“Oh, right. Hey. I saw that it was you.”
“I figured. Caller ID is kind of commonplace now.”
“Are you being a smartass to me?”
“I have never done that in my entire life.”
“Liar liar pants on fire,” I sang. He laughed.
“Hey so, I wanted to know if you still wanted to hang out tonight,” he asked.
“Yeah, of course.”
“Is there a movie that you wanted to see?”
“Not particularly. I haven’t even looked.”
“Okay, well, there’s this old theater I know of that plays super old movies. I thought maybe we could check it out. I think they’re playing one of the old Godzilla movies tonight,” he told me, but he sounded more like he was asking a question than making a statement.
“You had me at Godzilla,” I admitted. Though that wasn’t entirely true. He had me at “You want to hang out?” but I wasn’t going to tell him that. He laughed again.
“I thought so. I’ll check the movie times and text you, okay? I’m on my way to a shoot. I’m actually driving, and I don’t want to get distracted.”
“Shame on you, Vincent.”
“It’s hooked up to my stereo system. No hands.”
“Right, I’m sure.”
“I’ll have you know I’m a very responsible driver.”
“I’m sure.” I could hear him laugh again, though it was unfortunately drowned out by the sound of passing cars.
“Alright, I’ll text that to you, and we can work out a time to pick you up. Sound good?” he asked.
“Okay, I’ll see you later.”
I hung up feeling awkward. I didn’t think this was a date since he hadn’t actually said the word “date.” He implied that we were just hanging out. And Godzilla wasn’t really romantic or anything. But it still felt weird to be hanging out with him outside of my house. We’d only hung out a few times when we were younger. Mostly because Paige threw a fit every time he tried to invite me along. But we never hung out. Not voluntarily. Without Paige.
I didn’t want to like Vincent. I never did. I’d played around with the idea once or twice just because he’d kissed me. But I didn’t think he liked me either. It was just a thing that happened, I guess. But even when I’d played around with that idea, I felt guilty just for thinking it. I still felt guilty just for kissing him. Because while I hadn’t initiated the first kiss, I’d definitely enjoyed it. And I definitely initiated the second kiss.
Actually, it remained one of my top three kisses to this date.
Actually, okay, given that I didn’t like Sean anymore and thinking about him made my stomach twist up in knots, it was probably my number one kiss to date.
I could never tell Vincent that, though. It was a road I didn’t think we could travel down. I knew it would be messy and complicated, and we’d probably end up hurt. There was no point in even trying. But when I was getting ready after he texted with the show time and we decided on a time for him to pick me up, I felt weirdly giddy and equally terrified. I couldn’t decide on what I wanted to wear. I couldn’t decide on what I wanted to do with my hair. Even though I’d spent the last few years meticulously straightening my hair every day, I decided to forego it this time. Not because I wanted to deal with my ridiculous curls, but because Vincent once made a comment that he liked them.
I even put makeup on.
And then when I was waiting for him to come get me, I felt like throwing up. But not the same way that Sean made me want to throw up. It wasn't like I was nervous and wanted to back out or anything. I was nervous and excited all at once. I was eager to see him. Too eager. And that just made me even more nervous.
Then when he came to the door, he stood in my hallway looking like some kind of painting with his messy blond hair and his stupid cheekbones and the stupid cat face I could see on his shirt beneath his jacket. And all I could think was, “Oh no.”
“You ready to go?” he asked. I bit my lip and nodded. Friends, just friends, we were only going to be friends.
“Yep,” I squeaked. He just gave me a confused look but held the door open for me so I could follow him into the hall.
I was nervous the whole way down to the street. He’d parked on the curb by my building and for some reason I expected him to be driving the same crappy car he’d had in high school. Even though he told me earlier in the day that he could talk to me through the stereo. It wasn’t anything fancy or anything, but it was obviously something you bought with a lease and was newer and shiny.
“Whoa, I was almost expecting the hunk of junk you drove in high school,” I remarked as he clicked a button and the doors unlocked. He laughed.
“That car lasted me a whole two months after I moved.”
“This one is nice.”
“Thanks. I did a shoot last year that paid out really well. This was the first thing I got. Still paying it off, though.” We climbed into the car and got settled in. Even though it was a newer model, it smelled like air freshener, and there was an old McDonalds bag on the floor and dust on the dash.
“What was the shoot for?” I asked.
“The zoo actually. I was really excited about it. It’s the closest I’ve gotten to actual nature photography outside of my parents’ backyard. I got to sit in the exhibits with the animals and everything. That was amazing.”
“That’s awesome. I’d like to see more of your work. I’ve only ever seen the pictures you took of my food.”
“Alright, yeah. I’ll bring some examples the next time I come over for dinner.”
He got the car started and sent me a smile before turning onto the street. But my stupid big dumb heart jumped in my chest and the words, “Oh no,” repeated in my brain.
Sorry I haven't updated in like a month. I was really nervous? Hmmm... yes.