Anjali always thought anxiety was her worst enemy. She's got a decent handle on it, but it makes social situations, especially social situations with cute girls, awkward as hell. She first noticed Maeve in a college class, and since, she hasn't been get the adorable punk girl with the heart-shaped backpack out of her head. Especially since the backpack invited onlookers to F Off. When Anjali sees Maeve again post-graduation at a coffee shop, they finally start up a conversation. Things get romantic over Thai food and at the Renn Faire.
But for once, anxiety might not be Anjali's worst enemy. Maeve's coworker seems bent on making things difficult for reasons of her own. Anjali has to find a way to deal with uncomfortable situations on her own terms if she wants to hang onto the cute girl.
When we got out, she stretched up high, showing her belly under the crop top. She wore Doc Martens with rose gold hardware and a knee-length black-and-white plaid skirt to complete the outfit. Ugh, I wanted to hold her hand. And mayyyybe slide my hand up her thigh a little. Or a lot.
No. Focus. Be brave. I was never brave, but I knew what needed to be done. As much as I’d been hoping she’d bring it up first, she hadn’t yet, and I was just being a chicken now. This could ruin the whole day if you don’t do it right. What if she thinks you’re as bad as Harmony if you come on strong like this?
Shut up, brain. You’re a lying liar who lies. Also, fuck you, anxiety. I had to be brave someday, or I was never going to get to hold that hand. Or touch that thigh. Normally, I’d say that today was not that day.
But you know what? Yes, today.
I cleared my throat as we started the hike to the festival grounds. “So, no pressure, and not to make it weird. I want to be your friend for sure no matter what, and I’m excited to be here with you. I just --” Okay, too much explanation, get to the point, you dork. “Is this a date?” I flushed.
She looked surprised, and my heart plummeted into my boots. But then she said, “Oh, god, I assumed it was, but I didn’t actually say that, did I? Holy shit, I’m so sorry.”
I sighed and steadied myself. “No, I mean, don’t be. I hope you won’t be. Ha. I just wanted to make sure, so I wasn’t assuming weird stuff.”
“Yeah, I mean, I should’ve asked if the Thai place was a date, honestly.”
I was so red it burned, but at least I was chuckling. “Me too.”
“I actually told Harmony today was a date and that’s why she couldn’t tag along,” she admitted. “That could’ve been so awkward if you weren’t into it. Wow, this train could’ve gone straight to Yikesville if you weren’t so cool.”
“I’m definitely not.”
“I didn’t want to make it a big deal, because you’re a little bit ...”
“Awkward” I offered, with a laugh.
“No! You’re totally not awkward, you’re adorable. I just mean, you seem a little, I guess, shy? So I kept putting off saying it, and somewhere I started assuming. After the Thai place, yeah, that had to be it. But I super wanted this to be a date! I just used Harmony as an excuse. Which is cowardly of me. Actually, all that shit I just said was cowardly of me. Yikes.”
“It’s not.” I licked my lips. Reminded myself, yes, today. And reached my left hand toward her.
She took it with her right, threading her fingers between mine as we walked up to the ticket booth. Her smile was bright. She looked amazing, like all chubby girls in crop tops, honestly, but even better. “I am a little shy. Actually, I’m just Anxiety Girl. I have a staggering fear of social situations of any and all kinds. But especially those involving cute people I’d like to date.”
“Really?” Her eyes were a little bit wide. “You seem so chill all the time. Like everything rolls right off, and you keep doing you.”
“Oh, I mean, I do keep doing me, I guess,” I had to admit. Mostly because I didn’t know how to do anyone else, so to speak. “But, no. There were like three years of my life where I avoided getting into elevators with other humans because I was afraid one of them would talk to me.” It was a big confession. If she reacted badly, I was gonna be gutted. I regretted it almost as soon as I said it.
But then she replied with, “Wow, so, like, every day was leg day I guess?”
And I laughed, relaxing into our hand-holding. “They do say you shouldn’t skip leg day.”