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Can't Text This (Page 5)

The little smartass lets out a sigh but obeys, trudging off down the hallway to get ready for the day.

When he’s out of the room, Zach sidles up next to me. “That her?”

“Yeah. I don’t know what else to say.”

“I told ya, tell her about the banging thing.”

“Please leave.”

He laughs and claps me on the shoulder, giving me a good shake. “You’ll figure it out. Let me know if you need any more pointers. I’m gonna say goodbye to the rugrat. I’ll see you at the office.” I hear him shuffle down the hallway and into Xavie’s room. “I’m out, kiddo. Here’s five dollars for letting me in. Make your dad get you some ice cream or something.”

“You’re the best, Uncle Zach!”

“I know.” I picture him dusting off the shoulder of his leather jacket as he says this, because that’s so something Zach would do.

He gives me a wave when he walks back through the apartment.

“Don’t be late! Your boss hates that shit!” he hollers over his shoulder before the door clicks shut.

“Uncle Zach said shit! You said shit was a bad word!” Xavie yells.

I groan and remind myself to kick Zach’s ass when I get to work. “I know. Just get dressed. We’ll talk about it on the way to school.”

I begin cleaning up the small mess left over from breakfast and grab Xavie’s backpack. I’m in dad mode now, putting in the final additions to his lunch—writing out the joke I always slip inside the box—and grabbing the miscellaneous school supplies scattered throughout the apartment. Kid is a mess.

I head back to my own bedroom and make quick work of shucking my sleep clothes and exchanging them for my work ones. Thank god Zach is chill and doesn’t make us dress up. I love being able to work in jeans and a polo.

Right on time, I meet Xavie in the hall. I grab his backpack and he grabs his lunch, then we slip our shoes on and off we go.

We have our routine down to a science by now. When Holly and I agreed to an every-other-week custody agreement, I was a bit nervous. As bad as it sounds, I was only used to having Xavie around every other weekend and each Thursday, not for an entire week at a time.

But, we got the hang of things fast, and now I wish I had him every day of the year, not just when the court allows.

We buckle into my car and head about eight miles down the road to his school for the day camp he’s taking part in this year. I both love and hate it.

I hate it because it takes time away from us and love it because it allows me to spend time with him and still pay the bills.

Luckily, he’s forgotten all about the shit incident with Zach, and we just jam out to some Parkway Drive.

What can I say? My kiddo loves some metal.

I park in front of the school and hop out of the car, pulling Xavie’s door open.

“Be good. Be smart. Be kind.”

“Be good. Be smart. Be kind,” he repeats.

We bump fists twice. “Love you. See you at three.”

“Love you too!”

He runs off to his friends and I head to work.

It still feels weird not driving to Zach’s, where our headquarters used to be, but I couldn’t be prouder to pull up into my very own parking space at Embody Positivity.

Delia’s climbing out of her car as I park, lifting two boxes of donuts and two trays of coffee from inside.

“Hey!” she calls when I step out. “I heard you finger-banged some girl in the bathroom of a bar.”

“I fucking hate your boyfriend.”

She gives me a look telling me she doesn’t believe a word I say. “Are you two still texting? You know that’s my and Zach’s thing.”

I realize then I never texted Monty back. I pull my phone from my pocket and see I have four unread messages.

Monty: OH GOSH. That was SO embarrassing. I’m sorry. I probably just made this so darn awkward for you. I’m sorry.

Monty: I don’t know why I apologized…TWICE.

Monty: I’m so stupid.

Monty: Just ignore me. Pretend I don’t exist. We’ll just forget the other night happened and go on our merry ways in three…two…one. GOODBYE FOREVER, ROBBIE!

Three

Monty

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Robbie since I ran out of that bathroom.

I ran right to Denny, my twin sister, and demanded we leave. She didn’t argue, just grabbed her purse and got us a cab. I didn’t mention Robbie once the entire ride home.

When we got back to the apartment we share, I showered and crawled into bed…only to awaken three hours later from one of the hottest dreams I’ve ever had and an ache between my legs.

The same dream has been on repeat for days.

I’ve been kicking myself for two reasons: not getting his number and not staying.

I finally told Denny about it yesterday, and that conversation went exactly as I had expected.

She didn’t believe me.

On one hand, I can’t blame her. It is me, after all. I’m not known for making out with strangers in bars, let alone letting them…you know…do things to me.

It took about twenty minutes of convincing, and eventually I had to unbutton my pants and show her the fading bruises on my bum.

That set her off on a whole new tirade that took a good five minutes to talk her down from. The bruises came from the sink, not Robbie.

When he first approached me, I was ready to reject him based on his appearance alone. He stood so tall above me that it almost scared me, and his tattoos made him look…menacing.

Then he flashed a bright white smile and I melted.

Don’t even get me started on his deep, rumbling voice. It’s so…sexy. I don’t think I’ve ever personally heard anyone with that heavy of a baritone. It’s warm and inviting but a smidge authoritative, a whole different level of hot, especially with his massive, muscled arms wrapped around you.

There’s a commotion outside my door and I peek out the window.

A classroom full of kids goes rushing by with Mr. Donahue—or Brandon, as us adults know him—following closely behind. They’re on their way outside for whatever creative activity he’s come up with this time.

“Oh, hey there, Miss Andrews. What are you doing here today? School doesn’t start for another month.”

He slides up next to me, and I can’t help but compare him to the last man who stood this close to me—Robbie.

They’re nothing alike, and not just when it comes to looks.

From what I’ve gathered about Brandon in the few short weeks I’ve been attending the weekly new teacher luncheons, he tries too hard to be liked, has no qualms about lack of personal space, and is crushing on me…hard.

Though he is the exact type of man I should be interested in—professionally dressed, manners out the wazoo, would never take a strange girl into the bathroom and touch her in her most private spots—I’m not.

The last guy that was “my type” turned out to be the worst thing to ever happen to me.

I take a step back, hoping he doesn’t notice, and give him a polite smile. “Just taking a few pictures of the room so I can start buying some supplies and decorations.”

“I bet your room is going to be beautiful because”—he waves a hand my way—“you know.”

I don’t, but I say nothing. I simply nod and point toward my room. “I’m going to get back to it. Just wanted to see what all the noise was out here. Better catch up with the kids.”

“I-I…oh, yes, of course. I’ll see you around, Monty.”

I have no reaction to the way he says my name, not like I did with Robbie.

My phone buzzes in my hand as I walk back into my classroom, and I almost fall down in surprise.

Python: You’re not stupid and that wasn’t embarrassing. I said it first so if there’s anyone who should be embarrassed (and there’s not), it’s me.

Python: I don’t want to say goodbye just yet. I’d kind of like to talk to you some more, if you’ll let me.

Me: You want to…talk to me? Seriously? After all that?

Python: If we’re being perfectly honest here, I want to do much more than just talk to you, Monty.

Me: Oh.

Python: Yeah, OH. I want to taste those sweet lips of yours again, want to wrap my hands in your long, red hair, and I don’t want to stop there.

Me: I don’t think I’d want you to stop there either.

What? No, no, no, no. Stop it, Monty!

Me: But you should. I’m at work right now and I can’t be doing…THIS while I’m at work.

Python: So? I’m at work too.

Me: Yes, but do you work with a bunch of children?

Python: Actually, yes, though they aren’t here right now.

Python: I’ll stop.

Python: But Monty? The moment the clock strikes 5, it’s on.

Heat charges to the apex of my thighs and I squirm. It’s on.

Who the hell says things like that to a stranger?

Well, I mean…I did let him do certain things to me, so I guess we’re not complete strangers now.

But still.

Me: Change the subject, Robbie.

Python: Why’d you leave me your number if you thought I’d never use it?

Python: Or were you HOPING I’d never use it? Did you give me your number as a pity thing?

Python: Do you think I’m a bad kisser, Monty? Because I don’t think that’s the case, not with the way you… Oh, wait, I promised I’d stop.

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