Over and Over
So you mean to tell me you said absolutely nothing?"
"Of course I said something, just nothing of the romantic nature."
"You're pathetic, Lones. From the way you described it, she was all over you."
"She may have been flirting. Remember what happened the last time I thought someone was flirting with me? She was fucking going out with someone and I looked like an idiot asking her out."
"Don't blame me you were too weak to just ask if she was seeing anyone. You didn't have to make a big poetic speech."
"But that's all I'm good at! Words are all I have, and you know that!"
"Lones, you can't do this to yourself. You need to go ask her out, and like now. You'll never forgive yourself otherwise."
"Don't give me that bullshit. I wrote the book on regret."
"You didn't write the book on anything, buddy. You write opinion columns for the newspaper."
"Fuck you, you're a club bouncer."
"Yes Lones, yes I am. And it sure is agonizing getting to see flocks of attractive women flow past me, and to get payed to just stand for a few hours and keep losers out of the building. You sure have it better. Especially with that girl you asked out. Oh wait, I'm sorry, you didn't ask her out. And you're just gonna let the moment pass until she thinks you aren't interested and moves on."
"Look, smiles don't mean flirting. Also, she was only hanging out with Matt and me because everyone else at that place was fucking creepy."
"That may be so, but it doesn't change the fact that you she hung out with you. At the very least it means you aren't creepy."
"I just... I can't fuck this up. Dan, you know me. I'm an oldschool romantic. If anything, this has to be done right."
"If anything, you are not oldschool, you just grew up trying to be the antithesis of every jock in your school. That doesn't make you romantic."
"Maybe not, but it's what I am, Dan. I'll call when I'm ready."
"You'll never call, you'll never be ready. I'd love to sit here and tell you more of the personal problems you already know you have, but I have to get to work."

He was right, wasn't he? She was flirting with him. She had to have been. No one smiled at him for no reason. It's not a natural thing to look at him and smile. In fact, you have to go against your reflexes to smile at him. He's not ugly, he's not handsome, he's just there. No distinctive features. The blurred-out photo of him in the paper has more details to it, simply because pulp paper has texture. His face did not. She had to have been flirting. She had to.

He reached for the phone. He stayed his hand. No, she wasn't flirting. Why would she? He said all the wrong things. He wasn't on his game. He was gold normally, but not tonight. He always tried to hard to be spontaneous that he just ended up coming off as hyper. No, there's no way in hell she'd been flirting with him. No way.

Lones turned on his television and tried to not think of it. No, there she was. Seven seconds, the least he could spare himself seven fucking seconds of not thinking about this. Of course, in attempts to not think about something you are thinking of it. He thought about her. Something on the TV caught his eye. He had succeeded! He was thinking of something else. Of course with this realization he was back at square one, realizing he'd only succeeded in thinking about how he had been trying not to think about her, which in some way felt wrong, even though he really didn't want to think about her.

Lones smothered himself into the couch pillow. Why did he think so much? People live completely successful lives doing absolutely everything but thinking. Why did he analyze everything so damn much?

He grabbed the phone and dialed her number. The ringing was practically shouting at him to get off the phone. He tried to think of something else to keep the idea of hanging up out of his head. Of course this was not helpful, as we've gone over the futility of such a line of thinking.

"Hello?" Panic. Lots and lots of panic. This was, in fact, the most panic-stricken moment ever. Surely there was not a single instance in history where someone was more panicked.
"Y-yes... is Erin there?"
"...yeah, just a sec. Erin, the phone. Come get the fucking phone. Yes, the phone is for you. ...Hello?"
"Hey Erin, it's me, Lones. From the other night. Do you remember?"
"Yeah, I thought you'd never call. You were so jittery."
"I'm still very jittery. It's part of my charm, don't ya think?" No. Idiot. Your feeble attempt at nonchalance will cost you this whole damn thing! You fool! You ignorant, overzealous fool!
"Heh, yeah. It is sort of endearing. So what's up?" Oh my God. He had nothing. He was already going over the gameplay footage and pointing out what he'd done wrong. The game was still going. This was horrible. This is horrible. This will be horrible. It's a train wreck. What does he say?
"I wanted to know if you would like to go out with me." What the fuck? What synapse in his brain fired off this gem? Where the fuck did he come up with that? Genius with words, he fires off the most one-tracked thing he could possibly say. This could never work. There was no class. None.
"Yeah, I'd love to."

...what?