Chapter 55

“Ok, girl,” Layla said, raising her eyebrows and giving Pazi a pointed look. “Let’s practice this.”

“O-Okay,” Pazi stammered.

“I’ll be Zap,” Layla said, then changed her expression and lowered her voice. “Pazi! Hi!”

“Hi, Zap. Listen, we really have to talk,” Pazi began.

Pazi was waiting for Zap at the top of the escalator. Her expression was very serious. Zap smiled and waved to her.

“Pazi! Hi!” he said.

“Hi, Zap,” she replied. “Listen, we really need to talk.”

“Can’t we talk later?” Layla said in her Zap-voice.

“No, it has to be now,” Pazi replied flatly.

“What, at the top of an escalator?” Zap said, laughing. “Can’t it wait?”

“No, it has to be now,” Pazi replied.

“Well, ok. What’s up?” Layla asked.

“I really feel like you’ve been neglecting me, Zap.”

“You do? I’m really sorry,” Layla said.

“Sorry really isn’t good enough anymore, though.” Pazi said.

“Well, okay,” Zap said. “What’s going on?”

“I really feel like you’ve been neglecting me, Zap.”

Zap sighed, then nodded. He ran a hand through his hair. “…I know. You’re right. I haven’t been paying enough attention to you or giving you the time you need from me. That’s not fair, and I’m really sorry.”

“Uh,” Pazi said, momentarily thrown off. She shook her head and said, “Well … sorry really isn’t good enough anymore, though.”

“Well, how can I make it up to you?” Layla said. “Maybe we can go to dinner sometime?”

“But it’s always ‘sometime’, Zap, and it never happens,” Pazi said to Layla firmly. “The few times we do go out are really nice, but you just don’t devote the time to me that I deserve. I’m beginning to wonder if you really care at all.”

“You know, you’re right,” Zap said. “Sorry isn’t enough. Things need to change. I’ve been leading you on and I want things to change. It’s not fair to you. I want to start by taking you to dinner as soon as possible. I’ll clear up any evening this week for you. We could do it tonight, if you wanted.”

“But I … what?” Pazi said, completely thrown off course. “I’m just … beginning to wonder if you care…?”

“I do care, Pazi! I care!” Layla pleaded as Zap. “I’ll make it up to you someday, I promise.”

“I can’t do this anymore, Zap,” Pazi said. “Maybe we could be friends sometime, but things as they are can’t go on. I’m breaking up with you and I’m doing it now, and nothing you say is going to change my mind.”

“I don’t blame you for thinking that,” Zap said. “And me saying it won’t mean anything. If we’re going to do things properly I need to make some time for you, starting now. So, dinner? Tonight?”

“I … okay?”

“Okay, good.” Zap smiled warmly and leaned in to kiss Pazi on the cheek.