“My apartment?” My body burned as I stared at my roommate’s empty bed. “Uh, no. I’ve got a late day at work tomorrow. I can meet you at the restaurant.” I couldn’t believe how easily the lies slid from my mouth.
“Okay, that makes sense.” He yawned. “Tomorrow will be our first date.”
“I can’t wait to see you again.” He chuckled. “And if anyone I knew heard me say that, they’d think someone had stolen my body.”
“This isn’t me, Katie. I’m not a romantic guy. I don’t do relationships.”
“Oh, I didn’t know.” I felt disappointed and confused. “Why are you talking to me, then?”
“I don’t know. I guess there was something about you that touched me as I walked by.”
“You mean my puke?” I joked and he laughed.
“Thank God, no.” He cleared his throat. “I’m not really sure why I stopped and took you home though. I’ve asked myself several times what I was thinking. You could have been a psycho.”
“I could have been a psycho? You could have been a psycho.”
“I’m glad neither of us are psychos.”
“Me too. Sweet dreams, Brandon.”
“Sweet dreams, Katie.”
“Have a good day at work.”
“Thanks.” I’ll be doing the assignment I didn’t do tonight because I was waiting for your call.
“I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“See you then.” And then we hung up and I lay in my bed and hugged my pillow tightly. I was so excited. This was going to be my first proper date and it was with a man that knew the world, and he was interested in me. I couldn’t believe it. I was worried about what we would talk about. What if I sounded like an idiot?
“You up?” The door creaked and Meg walked in with a handful of books.
“Yeah,” I sat up and looked at her with a guilty pang. I hadn’t studied all week. It was only the first week, but I knew I had to keep up or I was going to fail out. Everyone in my class at Columbia was smart, and they all seemed to know more than I did. There was no way I was going to be able to sail through my classes without studying like I did in high school.
“How was Mr. Wonderful?” She giggled as she sat her books down on the desk and then pulled out her pajamas.“He wants to take me salsa dancing.”
“But you don’t know how to salsa.” She frowned as she pulled off her t-shirt and pulled on her nightgown.
“I know, but he’s taking us to classes.”
“Wow.” She looked impressed and the fell on top of her bed. “I’m so tired.”
“Aww.” I gave her a sympathetic look. “You don’t have to go hardcore right away.”
“I do, I need to get a 4.0 GPA if I want to get into Harvard or Yale law.”
“We just started undergrad, Meg.” I giggled.
“I know that, you know that, but does Mr. Hastings know that as yet?”
“No,” I groaned and lay at the ceiling. “I can’t tell him, Meg. Not yet. He won’t want to see me if he knows I’m 18.”
“You never know.”
“Trust me, I know. He’s working on Wall Street, living in a swanky apartment and I’ve just started college living in the dorms, with a roommate in single beds.” My stomach tightened in knots. “He wouldn’t give me the time of day if he knew.”
“You’re still you. He’ll still like you.”
“No, he won’t. He’ll think I’m a kid.”
“I don’t know, Katie. I just have a bad feeling he’s going to figure out you’re not 22.”
“I’ll tell him eventually.” I sighed. “Once we get to know each other better. I’ll tell him then.”
“Okay.” She yawned. “Shit, I’m tired. I’m falling asleep already.”
“Sweet dreams, Meg.”
And in response, she started snoring.
The next day was crazy, Meg lent me one of her dresses and another pair of heels, and I walked to the station on 116th with a huge grin on my face. I knew I looked good because I had caught several guys eyeing me as I walked down Broadway. I was so excited I thought I was going to throw up. I was going on a date with a hot man, a very hot man, and all I wanted to do was sing and smile. I changed trains in Herald Square and then looked on my phone for the best directions to get to the restaurant. I got a little lost and ended up arriving about ten minutes late. I saw Brandon waiting outside for me and his eyes lit up as I ran over to him quickly.
“Sorry,” I gasped, slightly out-of-breath. “I can’t walk fast in these heels.”
“You should have caught a cab.”
“I, uh, prefer the train, it’s more environmentally friendly.” I lied. I only had a thousand dollars to last me a few months and I certainly wasn’t going to waste it on cabs.
“I do like a girl that thinks of the environment.”
“I thought you were going to stand me up.” His blue eyes sparkled as he surveyed my appearance. I looked him over hungrily: he looked even more handsome than I had remembered, with a crisp light blue shirt that illuminated his eyes and a pair of grey slacks. He had on flat black leather shoes that looked expensive and shiny.