* * *
Sunday night, I pick up my phone again, checking to see if I have any new messages, and disappointment hits me again. This is worse than waiting for grades to be posted in college.
“Don’t chase, Mal,” Paige says, not even looking up from her laptop. We’d finally gotten everything unpacked and settled in, and we decided to spend the rest of the night vegging out while studying and ordering Chinese food. Neither of us had the energy to cook because it would mean going to the store, which we still haven’t done. You’d think after living in a dorm for four years we’d be excited about having a kitchen, but takeout is too damn easy.
“What? I was checking my emails,” I protest, quickly pulling up my emails like she can see my phone or something.
“Sure. And I’m not cruising Tumblr over here.”
I roll my eyes because she’s right. I was checking my text messages. He hasn’t texted me since Friday night. I should get back to reading up on Osbourne Corp, learning all I can, but I keep clicking our text messages to see if there’s something new, and then reading the last one he sent on Friday.
I drop my phone next to me and pick up a textbook and read over the highlights I’ve made. I’ve read them so many times I think I can recite them at this point. I last about ten minutes.
“But isn’t it my turn to text back?” I pick my phone up and hold it out, showing her that he texted me last. Maybe I was supposed to say something back. I’m not good at this dating thing, seeing as I’ve never really done it before.
She sets her laptop down next to her on the couch and bends over, looking at my phone screen. She studies it for a long moment, like she’s mulling it over.
“If you want to text him, text him,” she finally says, leaning back on the sofa and going back to playing around on her laptop. “Not like you can read those books anymore. They look like they are about to fall apart,” Paige teases me about my worn books.
“Really?” I ask again. That’s not what I thought she’d say. Paige is not about dating. At least, she wasn’t when we were in college. I’d thought about doing it a few times, when I’d been asked out, but I ended up siding with her because I wanted to stay focused. School was the most important thing, and I had the rest of my life to date. I must be more excited about the prospect of dating than I thought, because the first guy to show me attention, I’m already pining after. And Oz is definitely not someone I should be chasing. I’ve seen guys like him in action. I went to school with them. They think money can buy anything, and they burn through girls like I burn through ninety-nine-cent ebook sales. I hate to judge him before I even know him, but a girl has to be smart. He probably thought when he flashed his American Express card it would have me desperate to crawl all over him. I wasn’t impressed. Like being in a museum—look at all the pretty, expensive things, but whatever you do, don’t touch.
“Yeah, why not? I mean, don’t chase the guy or anything. Make him do the work, but if you want to send him a text, do it. He was cute.”
I stare at her. “Is this like the Body Snatchers or something? You said the word cute and you’re encouraging me to talk to some guy.”
“Fine. Whatever. Don’t text him,” she says defensively.
“Paige, I’m teasing.”
“I know. I’m sorry. Just a lot on my mind.” Her shoulders drop a little, her auburn hair falling in her face. She scoops it up, pulling it into a ponytail out of her way.
“Want to talk about it?”
“Not really, just going through emails and weighing my options on what I want to do next.”
I let it go. Paige will talk when she’s ready. She’s not someone you make good progress with if you push.
“So,” I say, trying to change the subject to something lighter, and her eyes narrow at my tone. “Who was the hunk you were talking to on Friday? Did you get his number?”
“No. I’d be surprised if he even knows how to work a phone,” she growls, clearly agitated about the guy.
“That’s some serious aggression you got going on for such a short conversation.”
“Let’s say we have history, something else I really don’t want to talk about.” She shuts her laptop and places it on the coffee table before pulling the pink blanket over herself and turning on the TV above the fireplace.
She’s been off since Friday night, and maybe that guy has something to do with it. I would kill to know what history they have. I’ve never seen Paige give a guy the time of day before. She seems more annoyed with men than anything.