It's finally here! :) Sorry about all the wait... if anyone was actually waiting. This is going to get a little bite fantasy-ish - if that's a word - but I'm trying to keep it more on the romance side. :)
Hope you like it!
"All I'm saying, Zoe, is that he's new and I barely know him and I don't know if I should invite him to the party," the dark skinned girl said, taking another sip of her milkshake.
"Believe me, Francesca, I know, but that's why you should invite him," the dark haired girl across from her said. She bit into a French fry from the plate in front of her and continued, "Besides, I thought that Rachel couldn't come, so you have an extra spot."
"Yeah I guess," Francesca said as she stole a fry from her green eyed friend.
"What do you think, Neal?" Zoe asked, looking over at her best friend who had been sitting quietly on the adjacent side of the table.
Neal looked up with sparkling golden eyes, surprised that he was being dragged into the conversation. He looked from one girl to the other and then back again. He finally settled on Francesca saying, "It couldn't hurt to ask him."
Francesca gave him a death glare before crossing her arms. "Fine, but if he says no, I'm not gonna do much to try to persuade him."
Zoe sighed and shook her head. She was about to say something to the curly haired girl when Francesca's phone began to ring.
As she answered it, Neal and Zoe only heard a one sided conversation. "Hey, Mom... Why?... How was I supposed to know?... No you didn't... Fine, I'll be home in a few." She hung up and turned back to her two friends. "Sorry guys, I gotta go. Apparently we have family over that I wasn't informed about."
As Francesca stood up, and threw down a few bills to pay for her share of the bill. Zoe stood up as well. Francesca gave her a quick girl hug. They parted and she proceeded to prance to Neal's side in order to give him a prolonged hug. As if nothing was out of order, she turned to her red convertible, only looking back to give them a small wave.
When she was gone, Zoe sighed and leaned back in her seat. "Wow," she said, looking up at her blond haired best friend who stared back with confusion in his eyes. "You really are clueless."
Neal's brow furrowed in confusion. "And why is that?" he questioned.
"If I had to guess, I'd say that Francesca is in love with you." Zoe paused a moment only to see if Neal would say anything. Nibbling on another French fry, she continued. "And I don't think that you mind her either."
Neal's eyes popped wide open and he stuttered. "Y-you-you think that I want to date her?" he asked incredulously, emphasizing the word 'date'. Zoe nodded with a smile. "Come on Zo, seriously? There are only two important women in my life: my mother, and you," he paused and looked down at his glass of lemonade, before saying, "because you're my best friend."
They fell into an awkward silence and Zoe decided to jump in. "That's what you say now." She decided to continue before Neal got a chance to talk. "Anyway, I'm gonna need you to drive me to graduation."
"Why can't you drive yourself?" Neal asked. When he saw her stare, he rephrased his sentence. "I mean, I thought that you and your dad were going together."
Zoe coughed and stared sheepishly at her best friend. "He said that he's gonna be a little late."
Neal moved to sit next to her and put an arm around her shoulder. He didn't have to say anything to Zoe. She knew that by that simple gesture he was saying, 'I'm here for you'. They sat there for a moment in silence before Zoe broke it. "So can you?"
"Course, Zo-zo." Neal smiled, knowing that calling her by her nickname would most likely annoy her. She hit him on the arm playfully and laughed. At least it had lightened the mood.
"Thanks Nee-nee." Now it was Neal's turn to smile. They laughed for a bit until Zoe suddenly sat up straight. "Oh! I forgot that I have to go teach guitar to my neighbor." Zoe rolled her eyes and stood up. She swung her brown and green messenger bag over her shoulder, the many key chains hanging off of it jingling.
Neal stood up and gave her the same hug that he had given her almost their entire lives. As they parted, Zoe took out her wallet.
Neal chuckled. "You don't have to pay."
"Yes, I do. I ate, I pay." Zoe looked at him with a puzzled smile.
"No, seriously. I think I'm gonna stay and get something to eat anyway." Neal gave her a friendly wink. "Have fun teaching your neighbor. Make sure to teach him all your tricks and secrets."
Zoe smirked. "See ya tomorrow, Neal."
She walked away and out to her old, vintage mini cooper. Just for laughs, as she walked away, Neal yelled after her, "By the way, you gotta get a new car!"
Zoe looked over her shoulder and stuck her tongue out at him. "No way!" she yelled back.
Once she was out of sight, Neal sat back down and put his hands in his head. Suddenly, a man appeared on the other side of the table from Neal.
"Hello, Neal," the man said. He gave a smug smile, showing his razor sharp teeth.
Neal looked surprised only for a moment. Then, a scowl appeared on his face and he shot off the bench. His anger showed and he seemed to growl and the man in front of him. "Zach. Zach Fisher."