Chapter 13: Text Jitters

“So, how did it go?”

Kate and she walked through the park near their office. It was a gorgeous fall day, warm especially in contrast to Montreal’s colder weather. By now already, Ellie had grown fond of the picturesque and historic paysage of the Ballsbridge neighborhood.

“Come on, don’t keep me waiting!”

“Well, the date itself was uneventful but,” she stopped for a dramatic effect. Kate rolled her eyes. “I met someone else.”

“While on a date with this bloke like? Canadians are something else.”

“It isn’t like that! I don’t know how it is. But there was this intense connection, I swear.” Out of her pocket, Ellie produced the crumpled bill from the bar. She handed it to her friend.

“Paris?”

“Bartender. I know how it sounds but we so connected and I could feel it though all my body and I thought it was just me but he gave me his number so it wasn’t just in my head and ya know, it was magical.”

“K there magic. I get it. He’s hot and you want to do him.”

“No! Yes, but not just that. It felt… destined?”

“Oh for fuck’s sake like. Did you text him?”

“Not yet. Lonan and Camila both told me to wait at least until today.”

“Do it now.”

“Yeah? What do I say?” Ellie had thought about hundreds of variations during the night. Her phone was already out and ready to attack.

They began.

“Hi Paris. This is Elena from the bar last night.” She looked at Kate. “Then what?”

“Ask him to go out for a drink.”

“What? Already? No!”

“Why not? That’s exactly why he gave you his number.”

“ ‘It was nice meeting you, would love to get to know you better over a drink.’”

“No. When are you free for a drink that you won’t be serving me?”

“Too much. We should grab a drink soon.”

“You have to add something to ask him when, not just soon. That’s not solid enough.”

“Like set a date?”

“Next time you’re free.” Kate peered over her shoulder.

“When you’re free…” Ellie showed the finished text for approval.

“Add a winky face.”

“Ok. Should I send it?”

“Yes.”

“You sure?”

“Do it.”

“Oh my God. Ok, done.” She squealed. “I don’t like the waiting.”

“It’s been 3 seconds.”

“And only a million more to go.”

 

But the answer came soon. As she sat at her desk after their walk, her phone vibrated. She took it out, and there, a text from an unknown Irish number (she wasn’t psycho enough to have saved his number yet).

PARIS: “Hey Elena. I’m glad you texted. I’m off Thursday.”

She squealed for the second time that day, jumped out of her seat to Kate’s desk. Max, who was walking by, almost spilled tea on his shirt.

“Ellie!”

“Sorry Max.” She pushed her phone in Kate’s face.

“Almost gave me a heart attack. For what reason?”

“Well, Max, if you must know, a text from a new man.” Kate divulged. She gave him a side glance as she spoke.

He walked away, mumbling something about overreacting women.

Kate leaned in and whispered, “What about Max?”

“Max? His name is Paris.”

“No, not Paris. Max. Our Max.” She pointed at the Pakistani man. “I’ve been thinking, like, I think you and him would get along pretty well. You already do like. I think he fancies you.”

“What? No he doesn’t. I used to date his fraternity brother until like last year.”

“Oh.” She looked at him. “I still think he fancies you.”

“Focus. Paris. Connection. What do I answer?”

“Say you’re free - are you? But not now, wait a bit. You’re at work. Answer later and say you were in a meeting like. You’re important, hot stuff and his text can wait.”

“You’re right. I’m a busy, attractive professional woman, who doesn’t have time for texts.”

She went back to her desk and spent the first half of the afternoon wondering how long her fake meeting would last before finally texting Paris back.

***

The next day, a bit before she was about to call it a day, Camila texted her. The girls had developed a strong relationship in little time.

“HALP. Need a drink. Got into a fight w the BF.”

“Where?”

“The Church.”

“Be there in 30.” She grabbed her green felt coat and left.

The Church was exactly that: a church whose interior had been refurbished into a modern, classy bar with a restaurant. Perfect tourist trap situated near the popular Henry Street, a street filled with many department stores and shopping malls. It was however really pretty inside, so some locals splurged.

Ellie found Camila sipping on a cucumber gin and tonic at the bar. “Hey sweetie! What happened?” She hugged her roommate and sat.

“Oh you know, the usual,” the girl was visibly upset. Her eyes were red and puffy. She sucked on the straw but the glass was empty.

Ellie ordered two more.

“I caught him stalking this girl on Instagram.”

Ellie stared, waiting patiently for the rest.

“I’ve already told him I don’t like it when he does that. He only likes these blonde girls with gigantic boobs in bikinis like… Everything I’m not.”

“Okay… you’re not blonde but you’re definitely more gorgeous than any of those Insta girls that think they’re models.”

“I know but damn insecurities get the best of me.” She ordered them two more G&T.

“How did you even find out?”

“Stupid boy liked 10 of her pictures.”

Ellie was still confused; her Instagram proficiency wasn’t the best.

“Oh now he’s texting me.” Camila focused her attention on her phone so Ellie did the same while absentmindedly sipping her G&T dry. She ordered another round.

Paris and she had been regularly texting each other; and that’s how she knew he was out in the city with a friend. The night went on, and the girls moved on to wine. They were both talking to each other and their respective man, until Camila’s boyfriend showed up. He was the guy Ellie vaguely remembered being by Camila’s side Saturday night at the club.

ELLIE: My roomie’s boyfriend showed up. I feel like a third wheel. You still out?

She didn’t really feel that way, but who cared?

ELLIE: Would you meet with me if I asked?

PARIS: Actually, I just got home but I could come back out to meet you.

She almost dropped her phone. “Seriously?” She typed back quickly.

PARIS: Yeah, I could meet you in 40 min. We can go to the Porterhouse near Grafton St. You know where that is?

ELLIE: Yeah, sounds like a plan.

She had no idea where that was but Google Maps exists for these moments. The pub was a 12-minute walk from her.

“Guys, I’m meeting Paris in a bit.”

The couple looked at her confused. They had already made up.

“Whaaaaaat-” started Camila.

“Makeup. Do you have makeup? I need makeup.”

Camila rummaged through her bag. She managed to say, “You don’t need makeup,” and handed her liquid eyeliner and mascara all the same. Ellie grabbed them and her own makeup. Phone in hand, she got up from her seat for the first time since getting there. All the alcohol rushed to her head.

“I think I may be a bit tipsy.” She crossed the restaurant to the bathroom, on the way video calling her brother. Keon appeared on her screen. He was in his bed, under his covers.

“Hey Ellie.”

“Keon! Keon, give me a pep talk.”

“What for? Where ------ Are you in a public bathroom?”

In between lines of thick eyeliner that gave her an exotic feline look, she confirmed her location. “I’m about to meet a guy I think I really like. Tell me I’m fabulous.”

“Is this the guy you told us about yesterday? You don’t need me to tell you that. I’m happy you’re meeting him though!”

“Keon! Just tell me please. I’m really nervous for some reason.”

“You are fabulous.”

“Thank you. I know. I miss you.”

“Are you already drunk?”

She checked her reflection, particularly her eyes to see if they were hazy. Everything seemed under control.

“Do I look drunk?”

“To the untrained eye, no.”

“That will do. The fresh air will help I’m sure. Got to go! Come visit soon!” She blew a kiss to the camera and hung up.