Zara plonked down on the couch, her body crying for a shower. Susan still hadn’t arrived home from her classes.
She checked her phone for any messages and then proceeded to the kitchen counter to fix a snack for herself. Classes had been really interesting and exhausting at the same time. The professors were clearly good at what they did and her fear of falling asleep at the back of the class had been eliminated. She picked out a few pieces of Hershey’s Kisses from the refrigerator, simultaneously tearing off the wrappers and popping the chocolate goodness into her mouth.
Speaking of chocolate, she remembered the brown eyes that had seemed to mesmerize her just a few hours ago. She frowned at herself when she noticed her heart pick up pace.
Nathaniel was hot with a capital H. And he paid attention to her this morning. She picked out a plate from the upper shelf and began to prepare a sandwich. Taking the slice of lettuce from the vegetable pack in the refrigerator, she paused midway and reached out of the mustard bottle as well.
She had to admit that it did feel kinda good to have someone take even the tiniest bit of interest in her.
Good and foreign.
God, she sounded so crazy.
Shaking her head and deciding she needed a distraction, she plucked out her phone from the pocket of her jeans. Clicking on the music player, she scrolled through the albums till she found her Favorites collection. Increasing the volume till the last bar, she hit the play button. The beats of Krewella’s Alive filled the room.
She loved that song.
Her mood instantly brightening, she hummed the tune and then sang the lyrics, smearing mustard on the lettuce leaf.
After she was done, she spent the next leisurely half hour enjoying the meagre sandwich and then a cold shower.
She had just stepped out of the bathroom that she shared with Susan when she heard her roommate call out from the living room.
Holding the towel to her upper body, Zara walked out of the bedroom.
" Hey, how did it go?”
Susan yawned and shrugged.
" It was good. Pretty cool actually. What about you?“, she asked as she straightened the bag Zara had thrown onto the couch and then went over to the kitchen counter.
Zara took a seat on the red barstool and rested her chin on her palm.
" It was the best first day I’ve had so far. What’s for dinner?“, she asked, eyeing Susan as she took a long swig from the bottle of lemonade.
" Oh don’t worry about that. Matt is picking up something. He and Nathaniel are coming over in like an hour.”
Zara froze in the middle of reaching for her phone.
She could not have heard that correctly.
Susan gave her a sly smile.
" The hot-as-fuck Nathaniel Thorn is coming over for dinner. I think he likes you!”
Zara glared at her best friend.
" I am going to kill you. Why the heck is he coming over? Isn’t just Matt sufficient?“, she fumed.
Susan’s eyebrows arched as she laughed.
" Why is that a problem? He’s eye candy, Zara. You couldn’t possibly not know that.”
When Zara just glared at her, Susan seemed to understand.
" Oh.My.God. You like him!”
Zara’s eyes popped open even wider.
" What!? No!”
Susan jumped on her spot, clapping her hands like an excited schoolgirl.
" Of course you do! That’s exactly why you’re using the defensive approach and trying to avoid him.”
Zara opened her mouth to argue but abruptly shut it.
From experience, she knew that Susan was stubborn and there was nothing she could say to her now that would change her mind.
She pushed off the barstool.
" Crazy woman.“, she muttered as she stomped off to the bedroom.
Susan’s laughter rang in her ears.
Zara shut the door but not before she heard Susan’s next words.
" Yeah, darling. Keep telling yourself that.”
When the doorbell rang precisely an hour later, Zara’s head shot up. Susan was still in the shower.
She placed the bookmark on the page she had been reading from Ptolemy’s Gate and tucked the book into her bag that sat on the couch. Straightening her tshirt and capris, she pushed the stray strands of hair behind her ear and forced a smile on her face.
She could do this. She was twenty years old for fuck’s sake.
Taking a deep breath, she went to the door and pulled it open.
Matt grinned down at her.
" Hey, Zara.”
“Hey.“, she responded, her eyes already focused on the boy behind Matt.
Nathaniel was smiling down at her, his hands stuffed into the pockets of his jeans.
" Hey.“, he called out over Matt’s shoulder.
She smiled back at him as she stepped aside and let them enter the room.
" Susan’s in the shower.“, she explained when she saw Matt eyes searching the apartment.
Nathaniel had already moved inside and was standing at the counter, his fingers running through his hair as he stared at her. Ignoring him, Zara reached out as Matt handed over the Chinese takeout he had brought along with him. There were about four to five dishes from what Zara could see and to her embarrasment she felt her stomach growl. The sandwich had obviously not been enough.
She turned around and reached up to bring out the plates and cutlery for dinner. To her immense relief, she heard the sound of the bathroom door being opened. Susan would be out here any minute now.
" Do you guys want something to drink?“, she asked as she placed the plates on the wooden table in the corner of the room.
Matt shook his head while Nathaniel raised his hand.
" Yes, please.“, he grinned at her.
Unwillingly, Zara felt a smile form on her lips in response. Dressed in a light grey shirt and a pair of black jeans, Nathaniel looked every bit like a Calvin Klein model with the way the material hugged his body in all the right places.
Successfully preventing herself from ogling at him, she pulled out a glass from the shelf nearby and then went to the refrigerator to get the lemonade drink.
She had barely shut the door when she felt a presence behind her.
She turned around to find Nathaniel standing just two feet away.
" Here, I’ll take it.“, he stretched out his hands to her.
Zara handed over the glass and the bottle to him.
" Thanks, Zara.“, he said, giving her a lopsided grin.
God in heaven. Her cheeks heated up.
Was it absurd that she liked the way her name rolled off his tongue?
" You’re welcome.“, she muttered as she tucked her hair behind her ear.
His eyes stayed on her just a second longer before he turned around and went over to the other side, pouring the drink for himself.
Zara looked over at Matt who was busy playing some game on his phone.
When the bedroom door opened and Susan stepped out, Zara released a pent up breath.
So much for an uneventful night.