"Oh my God, I'm so sorry," I said speechless.
"It was tough at first. They weren't sure if he would make it. But, he did and we've all spent the last few years adjusting to it. That's why I know what your guy is going through. I saw all these stages with Dan. The only difference is his girl didn't want him after the accident."
"What a whore," I said again, making him laugh.
"Is that the only insult you can think of?" he asked.
"Nah, but my friends and I decided freshman year it fits almost any situation when a girl has done you wrong, so we coined it our word. I guess I should pull out the thesaurus."
"No, I like it because it suits both situations perfectly."
"So, how does your brother feel about you off at college without him?" I asked, sitting on the steps of my dorm.
"Oh, he's here too. He had to take on
line classes freshman year, but I dragged his ass here last year after he was done moping around. We have an apartment right off campus."
"That's awesome," I said, feeling like a weight had been lifted off my chest. Maybe, just maybe, Mason would still come to his senses. "I'm so glad we met tonight," I said warmly, standing to give him a quick kiss on the cheek.
"Me too," he admitted. "Though Dan will be disappointed I didn't bag a chick. He says he's sick of watching me mope around like a kicked dog."
I laughed. "He sounds like a smart guy. I hope I get to meet him," I said, walking up the stairs backward.
"Count on it," he said, heading back the way we had just come.
I was smiling as I trotted up the stairs to my room. Carol had been right. Going out tonight was a great idea. Of course, I'm sure me meeting a guy who would encourage me to wait for Mason probably wasn't her intention, I couldn't help thinking.
By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, my optimism had begun to wan. Brad and Dan, whom I had been hanging out with every spare moment I had, tried to remain upbeat, but I could tell by the time we left for break, that even they were second-guessing their advice.
"Maybe you'll hear from him during the break," Dan said as we ate pizza in their apartment the day before break.
"Or, maybe he's decided I'm not the girl for him," I said, scooping up a stray piece of cheese up with my finger. "Don't you guys get sick of hearing me whine?" I asked, sucking the cheese off my finger.
"Are you kidding? It keeps me from hearing lonely boy here moan about his dismal love life," Dan said, tossing a piece of his crust at Brad.
"At least I'm out there trying," Brad countered.
"I don't need to try, I've already scooped up my girl," Dan said mysteriously.
Brad raised his eyebrows at me, questioningly. I shrugged my shoulders. His guess was as good as mine.
"Do tell big brother," Brad teased, bringing up the fact that Dan was a minute older than him.
"We're waiting until after break to mention it to anyone," he said with twinkling eyes, knowing full well he was tormenting us.
"You're worse than a teenage drama show," Brad griped. "Will Serena tell Dan the truth, or will she follow Carter to the moon?" he said, mocking one of my favorite shows.
"Hey, no reason to throw my show under the bus," I said laughing, throwing my crumpled up napkin at him.
"Who is she?" Brad asked.
"Can't tell," Dan said, winking at me.
"Well, whoever the lucky girl is, I'm happy for you," I said, flipping on the TV so we wouldn't miss our show.
"You know, it's a sickness that we watch this together," Brad muttered, sinking down on the couch next to me.