During the ride back to her place, Jade watched and listened as Hunter talked. She realized she hadn't heard him talk this much before, and a small pang of self-consciousness gnawed at her chest. I really talk a lot, don't I? I mean, I know I do... but he hardly ever got a word in. And... I really enjoy hearing what he has to say. The girl let her thoughts fade away as she turned her attention back to Hunter, smiling as he smiled, blushing when he thanked her, and sitting in the small pauses of silence together. It was scary to leave space between words; Jade was always talking, thinking, or writing to occupy herself, to keep the stream going and never hear the emptiness. But in Hunter's warm car, the sound of car wheels on wet cement and gear changes felt oddly comforting. There was no need to run away from this moment.
Jade found she was almost disappointed when they arrived, but she quickly brought herself back to reality when Hunter opened her car door and offered to escort her. She could tell he was feeling a little hesitant on how he should progress, and the thought made her hide a smile. Still saying silent, she walked beside him until they reached the top of the stairs in front of the double doors to her apartment complex. The two were underneath a small awning, illuminated dimly by a nearly burnt out florescent bulb. As Hunter began expressing the desire to meet again, her heart began to beat faster once more and the flurry of thoughts picked up once more.
"I..." she started, taking a deep breath and inadvertently letting her teeth chatter from the cold or the nerves, "I would really like that." Small worries of what she would have to do to shut herself up on a coffee date started to dart back and forth between her eyes, but the excitement of sharing her favourite pass-time with her new acquaintance made the worries feel a little superficial. Upon noticing that he was taking out his phone, she took out hers as well.
"Yes, I'm a journalism student... figures, right?" She laughed a little sheepishly, drawing a complete blank on what to say next. Jade couldn't believe she was preferring the silence to her drowning babble. After putting Hunter's phone number under a new contact, and placing a music note beside his name, she opened up a new text message and typed quickly.
UNKNOWN: How about 2PM tomorrow? At Central Perk? I only have a morning class and then I'm free. :)
After pressing send, she quickly slipped the phone back into her jean jacket and smiled. Hunter's phone buzzed in his hands, and the sound made her heart pound. Was it too daring to ask him out the very next day? What if he wants to sleep in, what if he's busy, what if he has to practice, what if he's only saying all of this out of courtesy, what if --
Before she could go on fretting, and before she could start a twenty-minute long apology for being so stupid, Jade rose onto her tippy-toes, gently placed her hands on Hunter's shoulders and kissed his cheek. Not even a second later she was running into her building, down the hallway and out of sight, slamming the up button for the elevator a million times in an attempt to get back to her bed as quickly as possible so she could hide her embarrassment.