I’m out of class, Christina’s text read. What are you up to?
Phil wished he could take the time to talk but he couldn’t. I’m listening to an online lecture and the professor calls on us frequently to interact with him. We lose points if we don’t respond quickly enough and with a somewhat coherent answer. I’ll call you when I’m done.
I’ll look forward to it.
An hour later, Phil had his phone to his ear listening to Christina’s voice mail greeting. He pushed his frustration down and calmly responded. “Hello, Christina. Sorry I couldn’t talk earlier. I should be available for the rest of the evening. Please call when you get a free moment.”
A text came through a few minutes later. At work. Will call later.
Late that evening, Phil’s phone finally rang. He didn’t need to see the caller id to know whose voice he’d hear when pressing the screen to answer, but he smiled at the name he’d chosen to save her contact information: Angel of Music.
“Hello, Christina.” Just knowing he was about to hear her voice created a flutter of excitement within his stomach.
“Sorry to call so late.” Her voice sounded tired.
“It’s never too late for you,” Phil said. He sounded so desperate, even to his own ears. Ugh.
“You say that now, but you’re not aware how long my shifts sometimes run.” She yawned.
“Where do you work?”
“You make pancakes for a living?” Phil chuckled.
“I serve pancakes,” Christina corrected him. “And I’m definitely not making a living. Drunk college kids don’t always tip well. I’m able to cover the cost of rent and food, but not much else. Thank goodness for student loans.”
“I would tip you well, if I were able to come to your restaurant,” Phil said.
“Why can’t you come to my restaurant?” she asked.
“I would scare the customers away, and your tips would be even less.”
“Nonsense. You can’t be that frightening.”
“Anyway.” Phil cleared his throat and changed the subject. “What is your favorite kind of pancakes?”
“I’m a little bit of a health geek.” Christina laughed. “I love our Harvest Grain and Nut pancakes, but I always order them with strawberries on top.”
“I’m a bit of a health geek, myself. What a coincidence. I think you should be my girlfriend.”
“I think we should get to know each other a little more before I make that commitment.”
“You are right,” Phil said with a smile. He tried to lighten the mood. “I accept your chastisement.”
“Teasing aside,” Christina said with a yawn. “I’m standing here smelling like pancakes and need a shower and then I’m gonna crash for the night.”