Maia smoothed her skirt nervously. Blind dates were always a crapshoot. And no one knew it better that she did. Her last blind date…to say it ended poorly would be quite the understatement. To say it ended with her going to the police with a black eye would be more accurate. That monster did not take rejection well. And it was only after her moving away to med school that she had finally escaped his stalking. After all of that, she had almost backed out of this one, but her friends had encouraged her to take another chance. They said she was being ridiculous, that the same thing wouldn’t happen twice.
Her dark eyes flitted towards the corner of the room where Analise was sitting inconspicuously. In order to get her to go out, Analise had promised to spy on their date, prepared to call for help if need be. Maia was tempted to walk over, to call the whole thing off right now. After all, who knew how “doglover1234” would react when she knew she had lied on her profile?
Her profile…now there was a mess. She pulled out her phone to scroll through to remind herself of the lies she has written to keep that monster from tracking her down again, even though her friends called her paranoid for doing so.
Lover of fine wine, dancing, and animals of all types.
She smirked at her name. So far, only one person had messaged her to call her out on the clearly faked name. She had neglected to write her med school experience, paranoid that that monster would use that information against her. Unlike most online dating liars, she had aged herself up to hide herself. She tapped her phone aimlessly, wondering if indeed she was paranoid to put all these lies to hide herself.
She happened to glance at the time. Hmmm. Well, he certainly wasn’t punctual, but he wasn’t yet so late as to be considered rude. After all, she had told him she generally ran late to hide her true personality of a stickler for time who always showed up early to everything. Analise had laughed at her when she told her that.
“Maia,” she had said. “That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. There’s no possible way he is tracking you down. Besides, if he was, that’s not so weird a thing as to make someone sure it’s you.”
Maia had then considered changing her response, but a nagging voice in her head kept bothering her incessantly, worrying over the most farfetched of possibilities. What if he was the monster who she had last met? What if he had never stopped stalking her, even after she had moved cities? What if she met another man, just as bad? What if this one was a serial killer? What if, what if, what if…
“Um, hello?” a handsome voice said. She looked up to see a rather attractive man placing his arm on the table near her. Surreptitiously, Analise made a fanning gesture towards herself, indicating her approval. Maia stifled a laugh, but felt much more at ease. “You’re Robin, right? The girl Paula set me up with?”
Slightly disappointed, she shook her head no, realizing she was being mistaken for another. After apologizing and them laughing a bit over it, he moved on. The “what if”s returned. What if that man was scouting her out for her blind date? What if he was working for that monster? What if he had been working for him all along and had been stalking her once she thought she was finally free? What if…what if..what if…..Ding!
She glanced down at her cell phone. Analise had sent her a message. Sliding it open, she read Dude! Stop stressing! I can feel how tense you are from all the way over here
She hastily shut her phone, sliding it away in her pocket. She wiped her palm on her skirt, suddenly realizing how sweaty they had become. She pulled out a compact, checking how she looked.
She saw a glimpse behind her.
No…No…It was impossible. No… Fuck no. Dear fucking God it can’t be.
Suddenly every “what if” came true in that moment.
The compact fell from her hands, mirror shattering to pieces. She felt as though each shard was piercing her heart, not falling on the dirty floor.
Terrified, she pushed back her hair behind her left ear, the signal she and Analise had agreed upon for getting her out of there. But instead of getting up, Analise waved cheerfully to him. Confused and shocked, she looked between the two of them and then noticed…The same wavy blond locks, the same curve of their nose, the same sky blue eyes.
But it was only a chance meeting that she even knew Analise…how…but it wasn’t, was it? Analise had introduced herself on the very first day of class. And they had bonded over being from the same hometown. Fucking hell…
She grabbed onto the edge of the table as though it was a lifeline. As though it could possibly do something to help her. As if anything could help her now.