Mason counted to twenty-four. Two dozen seconds. He wanted to think. How did he get here?
“Mason? Are you still there?” came the voice on the phone.“I’m here,” he said. Amanda was waiting. She called to tell Mason she was engaged. To an entemologist. Mason told her he was a loser, that she should hold out for her ideal. She confessed Mason was her ideal. Mason might’ve said something to encourage her. He couldn’t remember. That conversation happened an hour ago. Amanda called him back. She was ready for him now. That’s when Mason started counting. “I don’t know what to say,” Mason said. “What does your heart tell you?” Run. Flee. Screaming, if necessary. “I’m not sure,” he said. “I am,” said Amanda. “I, I can’t,” said Mason. There was another prolonged silence. This is why men are scum, he thought. “Why not,” she said, with a noticeable chill in her voice. “I’m not ready for this. I’m sorry,” he said softly. It even sounded lame to him. Another silence. “Do you hate me?” asked Mason. Dumb question, he thought. “You really need to ask that? I can’t believe you,” she sobbed. There was a click. Mason listened. The line was dead. He sighed. This was bad, he thought, but at least it was better than last Valentine’s Day.