Zach had already been avoiding Starbucks because of the way Zoe made him feel. Nothing seemed worse than caring about someone who didn’t share the same regard toward you. But still he felt bad about leaving her hanging all weekend.
In the parking lot at work, he went through the process of logging in on his phone – a huge pain in the ass. It was just a common courtesy, he told himself. He tried to think about his upcoming date with Ashley Blue to take his mind off things, but it was no use. For whatever reason, the troubled girl at the coffee shop resonated far more deeply with him.
He found her “Hello?” response, and hit reply.
“Hi, Zoe. How are you?”
She wrote back immediately.
“Fine. When are you going to come fuck me, Mr. Zen?”
It was tempting, despite her situation. At the same time, it was depressing. There was no way in hell she was wife material, which was all he really wanted. Sex was easy to get. A companion, someone to share his days and nights with, that was worth searching for. But Zoe was obviously a dead end. He was tempted to just delete his account, move on, and try to forget about her completely. Instead, he wrote her back.
“You’re very sweet and beautiful, Zoe. But I’d never make love to you when you were with someone else. If you’d cheat on him, you’d cheat on me, and I’d never tolerate that.”
She replied, “That gives me sadz…”
“I’m sorry. But we can still be friends. I’d really like to get to know you, just not under these circumstances.”
“Yay!” was her response.
Thus began their electronic friendship. Zach wouldn’t allow himself to see her, because she made him weak in her presence. He did like the idea of having a friend aside from the people he worked with, and women he fucked. Later that day, at lunch, he checked his messages. Zach disciplined himself to wait until then, although everyone else used their phones at work all day. There was a new reply.
“So what do you do, ‘friend’?”
“I’m a rigger,” he wrote. He was guarded enough not to tell women right off that he was a superintendant. Money tended to distort their view of him, and he wanted someone to want him for him, not for what he could provide. “I attach things to cranes with lashing, straps, shackles, things like that. Just a construction worker.”
“So you’re good with ropes? Fucking yum! Sexy hardworking man. I bet your hands are rough!”
Ordinarily he’d enjoy the innuendo, but each word hurt. He wanted her.
“I do know about thirty different knots, but we mostly use steel chokers and nylon slings.”
“I wish you’d put me in a sling and choke me…”
This was going to be hard.
“Well, it was great talking to you, Zoe. I have to get back to work. I hope you’re having a good day. Take care.”
He almost typed “I love you” before he caught himself. What the hell was wrong with him? Zach waited for his hard-on to subside before he got up and went back to the site.