Alice in zombieland, p.55

Alice in Zombieland, page 55

 part  #1 of  White Rabbit Chronicles Series


Alice in Zombieland

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Page 55


  I made another mental note: ask Cole. Until I knew, I’d have to stay on alert. Just in case.

  “Any word from Cole?” she asked.

  “About what? Why? Did you hear something?”

  She purred with amusement. “Calm down. I haven’t heard anything. And I think it’s safe to say he’s all yours. I swear, he practically devours you with his eyes every day at school. I was trying to hint that I wanted you to spill any info about Frosty. He hasn’t called or texted since yesterday evening, and that’s so unlike him. He’s basically my stalker. ”

  Ah. “Cole mentioned that he wasn’t feeling well. He’s on the mend, I’m sure, so you’ll probably hear from him later today. ” I knew he was okay because Cole wouldn’t have been able to sleep and would have contacted me otherwise.

  “Probably. He tries at least twice a day to hook up with me. ”

  “Hook up as in…” I couldn’t bring myself to say the word.

  “As in sex?” she stated plainly.

  “Well…yeah. ”

  We reached the drive-through, but there were three cars ahead of us.

  “Then yes. He was my first,” she added. “My only. What about you?”

  “Uh, no. I’ve never…”

  Those pretty hazels widened. “Never?”

  “Ever. ”

  “Lucky. I wish I hadn’t. Not because it’s bad, but because it changed things. It became all that Frosty wanted to do with me. But enough about me. You’re thinking about getting down and dirty with Cole, aren’t you?” she asked, nodding encouragingly for me to respond.

  “No. Yes. Maybe. Oh, I don’t know. ” Agitated, I twisted my seat belt through my fingers. “I’m not even sure we’re officially dating, although he did say he wanted me to get to know him well enough and when I said I didn’t yet, he threw out details about himself as if they were bullets and I was a target. ”

  “Girl, he wants to dip you in Frosted Flakes and have you for breakfast. That’s his favorite cereal, by the way. ”

  I…had no words for that.

  “For what it’s worth, I can tell you that it’s a huge step and now that Frosty is my ex, I have to live with the fact that someone I may or may not despise has seen me naked. ”

  A single ray of sunlight seeped into the car, spotlighting her eyes, turning them a brighter shade of green while drowning out the brown. The sun! Sweet! That was one less worry. But of course, that ray vanished a second later as if it had never been. Argh!

  We crawled up a few more inches as she said, “I know you’ve kissed Cole. Actually, everyone at the club knows you’ve kissed Cole, and I’m sure we’re all surprised your lungs remained inflated and you survived. So was he any good?”

  A dreamy sigh left me—and I found three little words. “He was amazing. ”

  Her laugh was like the tinkling of fairy bells, merry and pure. “You’ve got it bad, my friend. ”

  “Yeah. ”

  She drummed her fingers against the wheel. “Well, here’s my advice. If you decide to go for it, insist on a condom and get on the pill. And I know, I know. I sound like I’m teaching Sex Ed. But you don’t want a Baby Cole growing in the oven, do you? And think about it. Who knows where Mackenzie has been? Not us!”

  To get on the pill, I’d have to talk with Nana, but even the thought of discussing any of this with her filled me with horror.

  “I wish you could see your face,” Kat said, shaking her head. “Okay, so since class with Professor Mad Dog is still in session, I’m going to tell you what my dad told me, and hopefully stop you from flinging yourself out of the car. Talk to him before you do anything. I mean it, Kat. I mean, Ali. And don’t start the talk just before making out, or in the middle of making out. Sit him down before anything’s happened—when nothing’s going to happen. Once a boy gets sex on the brain, he’ll say anything to get it. Kathryn, I mean Ali, are you listening to me? You have to find out where you stand with him, but I’m begging you, please decide you’re not ready. ”

  “Okay,” I said, horrified all over again. First I had to talk to Nana, and then Cole? I’d rather fight zombies! “So your dad told you all of that?” Brave man.

  “I meant my mom, of course. ” She gave another laugh, this one nervous. “Anyway, the perfect place for you to start your conversation with Cole is that officially dating thing. Are you or aren’t you? How do you feel about that? Will he be seeing other people? Then, of course, you lead into the bigger question. Will he cuddle you afterward? Believe me, that one is important. One time Frosty left me two seconds after we finished, just kind of pulling on his clothes as he jumped out my window, and I was like, are you freaking kidding me with this, but of course he couldn’t answer because he freaking wasn’t there!”

  We reached the box before I had to respond, and placed our orders. What could I have said to something like that, anyway?

  She went with an iced mocha and I went with a piping hot cinnamon cream latte.

  “And here’s another thing,” she said, easing toward the window to pay.

  I barely stifled my moan.

  “I can tell you’re a little uncomfortable with the idea of talking to Cole about this. So think about it this way. If you can’t talk to him, you shouldn’t get naked in front of him. Just sayin’. ”

  Would I ever feel comfortable, though?

  “That’ll be nine seventy-five,” the barista said.

  After the money exchange, we had our drinks in hand. I hadn’t enjoyed one of these in forever. Not since my mom had decided she couldn’t live without a caffeine boost one morning. She’d made me order a decaf, saying I was too young to have the real thing. I’d complained then, but now, the memory made me smile. She’d only been looking out for me.

  “This is way better than a frosty,” Kat said, crowing at her own joke.

  I think my mom would have loved Kat. She certainly would have been amused by her.

  We spent several hours at the mall, just walking around, talking about nothing and yet everything, trying on clothes, even buying a few. While her taste ran toward the frilly, mine had taken a turn toward, well, the butch. Not very sexy, I knew, but nowadays I cared more about stunning the world with my sword skills than my beauty.

  On our way out, we ran into Poppy and Wren, who were on their way in. Wren lifted her nose in the air, and flicked her hair over her shoulder, pretending not to see us. Poppy gave us a depressed little wave.

  Wren slapped her hand. “Don’t encourage them. They’ll only drag you down to their level. ”

  Anger flared inside me.

  “What did I ever see in them?” Kat muttered.

  She acted as though their dismissal was no big deal, but I sensed the truth. Sadness swirled in her eyes a split second before she, too, flicked her hair over her shoulder and marched on.

  When we were situated in her car and on our way back to my house, I said, “I know you miss them, and if you want to become friends with them again, please don’t let me stop you. You and I can still hang out, we just won’t tell—”

  “Don’t make me slap you out of your crazy. ” She took a corner a little too sharply. “They did this to me once before, then Frosty and I broke up and they were suddenly calling me again. Yet Justin used to hang out with Cole and now Wren’s dating him. They’re hypocrites and judgmental, and as you probably guessed, I’m all about the love. ”

  “True story. ”

  Slowly she grinned. “Besides, life’s too short to pretend and play games like that. I want to spend my time hanging out with people who make me feel good about myself. People who make me happy. ”

  Profound words, and something I’d learned only after my family died. “Thank you. ”

  “You’re welcome. Because yes, I just made you the luckiest girl in the world. ”

  Just before we reached our destination, the storm spilled over. Rain poured from the sky, slammi
ng into the windshield. She parked at the curb, and I gathered my bags.

  “Come in with me,” I said. “Stay. ” I wasn’t ready to give her up. “If you don’t have anything else to do, that is. ”

  “I don’t. You’re sure you want more of me, though? My dad says I can be hard to take in large doses. ”

  “Don’t make me slap you. ”

  She laughed, and I couldn’t help but join in.

  We were drenched the moment we stepped out of the car, and soaked to the bone by the time we sprinted past the door. But we were still laughing, so I considered the experience worthwhile.

  “Ali,” Nana called from the kitchen.

  A wave of nervousness hit me, and I realized I should have talked to her this morning. If she brought up the boxing thing, in front of Kat, I had no idea what I’d do.

  We dripped our way to the kitchen, the scent of roasting carrots thickening the air the closer we got. Nana stood at the counter, chopping lettuce for a salad.

  I relaxed when she offered us the sweetest of smiles. “Kathryn, darling, can you stay for dinner? We’re having pot roast. It’s one of Pops favorite dishes. ”

  “Is that okay?” Kat directed the question at me.

  “Of course,” I replied, my tone telling her just how silly she was for asking.

  She beamed. “Then, yes, I would love to stay for dinner. ”

  “Great. ” Nana placed the lettuce in a bowl. “Everything will be ready in fifteen minutes. Why don’t you girls go upstairs and dry off. You look like something the cat dragged in. ”

  That sent us into fresh peals of laughter as we tromped off. In my room, we towel dried, decided that wasn’t going to work, and changed. I loaned her a T-shirt that bagged on her and a pair of sweats that had to be folded at the waist and the legs.

  Out of habit, we checked our messages. She had one from Frosty, asking if she wanted to hang out later. See? I’d known he would recover. I had one from Cole, telling me he’d pick me up at eleven. I had to smile about that. Frosty asked. Cole informed. I was excited to see him, though. He—
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