Chapter 4: Another Card to Play
Trevor’s met enough women to know when there is, or isn’t, a connection. And this feeling, this magnetic pull between him and Zoe, is definitely a connection. But he only has five minutes with her at this speed dating event to get to know her.
“What made you decide to meet here?” he asks. They only have two or three minutes left until the bell rings for each guy to switch to the next partner.
“I didn’t think you would look so…that you would…” Her eyes widen.
He suddenly gets it. “You expected a dork.” And he isn’t. Well, he thinks he’s a nerd, actually. A nerd who’s sometimes funny.
“My mom hasn’t been a very good matchmaker.”
He wants to know if this connection is as real as he thinks, that it’s not a manufactured thing in his head, that maybe the universe truly gave him something he hadn’t felt in a while, and that it came to him by way of a last-minute appointment with an interior designer—of all things.
“So what do you think of your mom’s efforts now?”
Zoe’s cheeks blush. “I think she’s gotten much better.”
He high-fives himself on the inside.
“But it’s complicated,” she adds.
The high-fiving stops. “How?”
“My mom and I made a bet.”
“I don’t like losing,” she says. “Especially not this bet.”
“What happens if you lose?”
“She won’t let me hear the end of it.”
Trevor wonders why that’s such a big deal. Maybe it’s a mother-daughter thing he wouldn’t understand. “You must be really competitive. Or is there more to it?”
“Both. If I lose, I’ll have to shut down my blog.”
He hadn’t heard about a blog from Marcy, Zoe’s mom. “What blog?”
“A dating blog. It’s silly. Never mind.” She bites her bottom lip a moment. It’s a luscious red color that probably tastes like strawberry. “Sorry if I made this weird.” She won’t look at him now.
He doesn’t want her to feel bad. “Weird is a bit harsh.” What was the word he used earlier? “Unique. That’s for sure.”
She’s becoming interested in her shoes. Is he the one making it weird now? He’s losing her. And he doesn’t want that.
She says, “I thought this would be a good way to take the pressure off. If you weren’t interested…”
“…or if you weren’t interested,” he says.
“Yeah.” She nervously pushes aside her bangs. “There would be plenty of other options here. No harm no foul.”
Trevor lifts his eyebrows. “Interesting strategy.”
“Maybe I should’ve suggested we meet for frozen yogurt. Like a normal person.”
“But we would’ve missed out on this masterpiece.” He points to the odd exhibit of toilet lids and handles next to them. The so-called piece of modern art that is the price of some people’s homes. “You have to admit, it’s a good conversation piece.”
“Yes.” She smiles again.
Maybe he can reel her back in. He doesn’t want this to end awkwardly. He doesn’t want it to end when that five-minute bell goes off, for them to go their separate ways.
“This bet with your mom. You’re taking it pretty seriously, huh?” He continues after she nods. “What if you and I make a bet?”
She smirks. “Like what?”
“If all of your speed-dates tonight are a bust, and you don’t see anyone you like, we meet up again. Frozen yogurt. If you see someone interesting, I’ll be on my way. And you can tell your mom tonight didn’t work for us.”
A light glimmers behind her eyes. He’s reeled her in. She’s hesitating on a response, though, probably weighing her options. Her lashes flicker his direction and away again.
“You can’t survey the crowd before you make the bet,” he teases.
“Okay, okay,” she chuckles. “Deal.”
She holds out her hand. There are rings on her index and middle fingers, a couple of bracelets on her wrists. Her hand feels smooth and gentle. He had hardly noticed that before. A warmth floats from her to his fingers. An unspoken connection. He leans forward a little, not to kiss her, but just to get a little bit closer, to hold on a little longer.
“No cheating,” he says. Their hands still linger together. “You can’t say you see someone you like when you really didn’t.”
The bell rings. They talk over it, jabbering on as the host tells the group it’s time to rotate partners.
Zoe asks Trevor, “But how will you know anyway? Will you be watching me?”
“Do you want me to?” he replies.
The next guy is a few yards away from them, waiting for his turn with Zoe.
She lets go of Trevor’s hand, but it’s too late. Her palm has already made an impression on his. She has already made an impression.
About twenty minutes later, Trevor sees Zoe hitting it off with one of her “dates.” They’re laughing at the ghastly toilet art. The guy looks like he’s from California. Blond hair. Tanned. Probably doesn’t eat bacon and drinks beer that’s low-calorie. He’s making Zoe laugh. He’s touching her arm. She’s letting him. She likes him.
Trevor may have lost the bet tonight, but it’s okay. He’s got another card to play. Another way to figure out how to see Zoe again.
Want to start at the beginning?
Read Chapter 1: Deal of The Bachelorette Blogger.
Or catch up on Chapter 3: Je Ne Sais Quoi.
Available next week…
Chapter 5: I Run. Sometimes.