Chapter 1: Callie
“Fuck me,” I sighed loudly to myself and sank back into my office chair, leaning my head back and staring at the ceiling. Despite loving my job, I’d been feeling restless lately and today that feeling was in full force. I was having the hardest time concentrating on my work and that was a recipe for disaster with my job.
See, when you’re paid to help people find “The One”, there’s no room for error. My dating and matchmaking company had taken off even better than I thought it would, and the applications were coming in fast. I was working on finding another couple of employees to help out in the office, but it was slow going. I had high standards, and was picky about who I let in to my personal life and my business.
Rubbing my temples, I decided to open one last profile application before heading out for the day. I’d almost called it in early multiple times already, but I’d made a goal to get through thirty-five applications before leaving. I’d worked hard in school and the last couple of years to get where I was, and slacking wasn’t an option. Plus, working kept my mind off other, less important things. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, popping my gum a few times before finally clicking on the request from a Joseph Minkly. A gym selfie focusing on flexed arms filled the screen and I rolled my eyes before scrolling down to his bio.
“I go to the gym every nite to keep my guns loaded and the hunnies lookin’ back.” I started laughing so hard I almost swallowed my gum. Was this dude serious? As an opening line to a comedy show it wouldn’t be half bad but as an introduction on a dating website, it just sucked. His terrible spelling didn’t help either. Did he really expect that to attract girls? I figured he was one of those ‘bros’ who owned a lifted truck and had to constantly pump iron to make up for their small dicks. I scanned over the rest of his profile, rolling my eyes at his obvious innuendos and eggplant emojis. His pictures were all of him shirtless, only one that actually showed his face, annnnd yep- the requisite jacked up Ford.
I shook my head and emailed my best friend and business partner Char to check out our new profile approval request. I attached the gif of that lady saying “Ain’t nobody got time fo dat”- what we usually send to each other when we think someone isn’t taking our business seriously. I chuckled imagining his reaction would be similar to mine. I wasn’t wrong; a few short minutes later I heard a loud “Oh my GOD” come from his office across the hall from mine.
I grinned widely as a reply popped up in my inbox from him. “Body is delicious, but maybe he should workout the muscles in his brains once in a while too!” I laughed loudly, shaking my head. He was the stereotypical gay best friend- he said he’d tried to tone down his “epic gayness” as he called it, but just couldn’t help himself. He was sassy, hilarious, and had a razor sharp wit. He’d come from a “proper family” in England, but since he was out and proud his family had forcefully suggested he move somewhere that would accept his heathen lifestyle. So Charles Sharpe had come to America for college and that’s how we met and bonded instantly. I knew we were meant to be when I heard his muttered insults aimed at the idiots in our classes, which sometimes included the teacher.
“Hella! I almost feel bad for men, born with two heads and only half a brain. You excluded, of course.” I added a smiley face before sending my response.
“Bloody right!” Char yelled from his office and then I saw him coming across the hall towards mine. I leaned back in my buttery-soft, black leather chair, folding my hands across my stomach. He sat on the couch in my office back against the arm and faced me before continuing. “So do you think this guy is salvageable?” I gave him a dirty look when he started to put his feet on the small coffee table. He paused, toed off his shoes, and then resumed using the table as a footrest. I rolled my eyes but let it go. “Or do we tell him to shove off?”
“Well, we can do our usual ‘we’re a serious business, not hookup central’ and see what his response is. It’d be interesting at the very least to see if this one calls me a bitch too.”
“I do love it when they do that. Gives me hope for all of mankind.” Sarcasm dripped from every word as he tried to keep a straight face. He only held it for a few seconds before we both cracked up. “Maybe you should meet this one in person, see if there’s anything you like.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Seriously Char? You too now?”
“I’m sure I have no idea what you mean.”
“You know exactly what I mean! You’re trying to convince me to go on a date with this dude. He’s not even my type! Just for that, you get to be the one that calls him for the initial interview.”
He rolled his eyes then narrowed them at me. “You need to get out more. You need to go on a date. Snog someone! It doesn’t need to be a lifetime commitment. You haven’t dated anyone since that bloody git Carl. Your lady bits are going to dry up before you get a chance to even use them.”
“Oh my GOD you did not just say that!” I was trying not to encourage him, but I couldn’t help laughing. “You know my parents have been bugging me to find someone for like, the last year. Then they somehow roped in my siblings. I can’t have you starting in on me too.”
“You know we all just love you and want you to-“
“To be happy, yeah, I get it. But I’m not unhappy. And besides, if I can’t be happy by myself, how is a man supposed to change that for me?”
Char nodded, looking at me thoughtfully. I didn’t really want to know what he was thinking. I was tired, and my parents were visiting in the morning and I knew I would hear the same things from them. I shut down my computer and started to grab all my stuff.
“I’m… I’m gonna head home Char. We’ll figure out what to do with Broseph another day.”
“Ha ha ha, very funny. Broseph.” He stood up and pulled me into a hug before I could escape. He didn’t say anything, but my body relaxed with the small reassurance that he was still on my side. “I’ll see you later, cupcake. And good luck with your parents tomorrow.”
I snorted and muttered, “Yeah, because I’m definitely gonna need it.”