Swipe To Love

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Chapter 3

Jade

Every day I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I’m not there, I go to work.” – Robert Orben

***

I get out of bed after a night of tossing and turning. Luckily there was no Aiden this time, one would need to sleep to be able to dream and none of that happened. I throw the covers back with a force almost attacking it. It is just a meeting for crying out loud. One professional talking to another about work. Why am I so nervous about it? Maybe it is because I’m meeting with the hunky talk-of-the-town-Aiden, the little voice inside my head reminds me. No, he is Amy’s guy and we all know I don’t get like that over a friend’s guy. I jump in the shower to wash away all the negative thoughts as well as to drown Agatha (my inner diva, yeah she has a name, don’t judge me).

I take extra care dressing, because that is what I always do. Agatha is laughing and throwing scenarios at me, obviously, the shower didn’t work at drowning her, I need to try harder next time. No seriously, I am not crazy, it’s just that my voice of reasoning is louder than most people I know. It is like a completely different person is living inside me. I think it might have been her that befriended Amy when I wasn’t looking, either way, she’s there, in my head, most of the time. Sometimes she even deserves a loud reprimand, “Could you please just stop?! It’s a work meeting and nothing else. It is not like he asked me out on a date and even if he did, it wouldn’t have mattered. Okay?” She is the reason I prefer to live alone. Can you imagine having someone live with me and hear me talk to myself all the time? I would be locked up in a padded room, strapped in a straight jacket, heavily medicated with drool running from my mouth while I draw little circles on my pillow and in the air. No, for the safety of myself and others, this is for the best. Agatha needs her space and so do I.

My dark brown hair which has highlighted ends, giving that ombre look, falls over my shoulders like a curtain. My big stormy blue, almond-shaped eyes are staring back at me while I apply mascara. I choose a nude color for my lips then stand back to take in my reflection in the mirror. I opted for a black knee-length, form-fitting dress along with nude heels to complete the look. My appearance is professional and not like I am about to pick up a guy. If it wasn’t for company policy, I am sure half the girls would have rocked up with clothes that leave nothing to the imagination. When I am satisfied with what I see staring back at me in the mirror, I take my keys and leave the house.

The line at the cafeteria is shorter than usual, so I get my coffee in no time. On the way to the office, Amy is telling me about her plot to win over Aiden and I nod as she explains one absurd idea after the other. “You have too much time on your hands. Did you come up with all of this since your encounter yesterday?” She clasped her hands over her heart in feigned shock, “Don’t insult me! These ideas are coming to me as I speak” I haven’t mentioned anything about my meeting with Aiden, and I’m not sure why I feel the need to keep it from her. “Well, I am not sure if faking a faint and expecting him to do CPR is a good idea. What if they send you to the hospital to have you checked out?” She laughs, “Oh don’t be so serious! You overthink everything.” I furrow my eyebrows. “Says the one who is making a million plans to get Aiden to notice you.” She waves her hand in the air in a dismissive gesture, “Oh relax. I will probably think of something less dramatic.” I roll my eyes with scepticism, Dramatic should have been Amy’s middle name. We get off on our floor and I reach my desk to start my usual morning routine by switching on my PC and going through my emails. I keep checking the clock in the corner of my screen and feel anxious as the time passes. Finally, at half-past nine, I start gathering my documents and neatly stack them in a pile. Luck is on my side for once when Amy is not at her desk when I get up to leave, thankful for being able to avoid her twenty questions for now.

I take the stairs to the floor above to avoid wasting time waiting for the elevator. I open the door to leave the stairwell and walk smack-dab into a wall. Papers go flying and scatter all over the floor. “Oh I am so sor-” my sentence trails off when I look up and see pools of melted chocolate staring back at me. Agatha is having a field day inside my head, I am afraid to open my mouth and say something outlandish, ending up making a complete fool of myself. He stares at me longer than anyone would deem professional but soon clears his throat once he realises it, “Sorry about that. Are you okay?-” I nod as he continues, “-I’m in a rush and wasn’t looking where I was going. I have a meeting to attend at ten and I don’t want to be late. Let me quickly help you with this. I’m Aiden by the way, I’m new here.” He waits with an outstretched hand. As soon as I take it, I feel a jolt of electricity where our skin connects. I almost pulled back, but I realise that would just make this weirder. I put on my best smile, “Pleased to meet you, Aiden, I’m Jade. Oh and I’m fine thanks. Just got a bit of a fright.” I doubt my fast beating heart has got anything to do with getting a fright. Immediately I see the recognition in his eyes, “Pleased to meet you, Jade.” He helps me collect my documents and we both rise to our feet. He shoves the documents and files under his arm, “You can follow me.” I respond with “Thank you” and follow him to his office. I’m sure my face is as red as the scatter cushion on the couch we just passed. We reach his assistant’s desk and he stops to open the door to his office, stepping aside for me to enter.

The place is beautiful, the view is breathtaking. I wonder how it would feel to have an office like this to yourself and not sit in an open plan as we do downstairs. There is a floor to ceiling window with a view of the cityscape. His desk is facing the door and I always wonder what the point is of having a view if you can’t appreciate it while at your desk. The office is not extremely big and the furnishings are kept to a minimum otherwise it would look cluttered. I take a seat as he walks over to his desk to pick up the phone and order coffee. I take the time to study his frame. He’s a fair few inches taller than me. His face is strong and defined, his features seem to be molded from granite. He’s slim but muscular. Tousled dark brown hair which is thick and lustrous. I wonder what it would feel like to run my fingers through it. I know it’s wrong having these thoughts about a practically taken man, but no one knows. It will be my own little dark secret. One of many, I smile to myself. I continue with my stolen glances which he is unaware of. He has dark eyebrows, which sloped downwards in a serious expression. His voice is deep, with a formal tone to it. I avert my gaze when I hear him end the call. I can’t be caught staring, that would be an epic fail.

“Sorry about that.” He joins me, grabbing the seat opposite me. We get the familiarities out the way and I wonder why people feel the need to do this. Why not get the meeting over with so everyone can carry on with their day. I am sure he could care less about who I am and where I am from, but yet courtesy causes the questions to follow, “How long have you been working for Globex?” I stare at the wall behind him, trying to avoid making eye contact, but realise it might come across as rude. I take a deep breath and look him deadpan in the eyes, like a confident woman, which I am not. “I’ve been here for almost four years now. I started out in the call centre and worked my way up to where I am now. This is my first solo project, so I am a bit nervous. How about you? Where did you work before joining this company?” He gives a slow smile, one that people would pay thousands to have on the cover of magazines and I almost forgot that I asked a question, “I worked part-time jobs here and there to pay for my studies, so this is actually my first permanent job.” Ooh a man who pays his own way and who isn’t dependent on mommy and daddy to put him through school. Agatha approves and so do I. “That is great. I am sure you’ll be very happy here. This company is good for career growth. They acknowledge the hard workers.” He smiles again and my heart skips a beat, “Thank you.” We make some more small talk once the coffee came and then jumped into the reason for the meeting.

The next hour is met with sideways glances, mostly from my side, hoping he doesn’t notice; accidental touches when reaching for the same document. I feel flushed every time we make contact and don’t understand how he can have this effect on me. I tried looking for facial expressions from his side, but he appears unaffected by me, might as well have touched a cold fish. I have never before experienced attraction like this, definitely nothing this intense. I start gathering my files when the meeting is over, “Well we made quite a dent in this project. You should have everything you need, but feel free to let me know if you have any questions.”

“Yes, we sure did. I will shout if I need anything else. Thank you for making yourself available on such short notice.” He opens the door for me to leave and this time I decide to take the elevator to avoid another run-in with anyone else. The vivid memory of the big hard chest I bumped into earlier comes to mind. He must be a sight without a shirt on. Agatha and I have an internal argument over that thought, but I have to admit that it was all me. I can’t blame this one on her. I return to my desk and can hardly look at Amy when she gives me a quizzical look as to ask where I have been, so I opted for the fool’s way out. I send her a message from my phone and wait for the explosion - I didn’t have to wait long at all.

Amy: What the actual fudge? Why didn’t you tell me you have a meeting with him? I could have assisted you. Helped carry files?

Me: It was just a work meeting. It would have been obvious if you helped me. I managed perfectly fine.

Amy: I guess so, but next time you include me. Even if I have to take it up and you follow a few minutes later. Deal?

I sigh, she can’t be serious.

Me: Yeah sure. Deal.

I put the phone down on my desk, Agatha is nagging in the back of my mind and I realise for once she’s right. I am in trouble. I like the same guy that my friend does. He does things to my insides, no man before has succeeded in. How am I going to get myself out of this mess? Agatha suggests I get back into dating again as if it was that easy, but I guess she has a valid point. It will definitely keep me from ogling my best friend’s beau. I’ve deleted my profile and the app a few months ago and now I have the tedious honour of having to set it up once again.

Name: SwipeMeRight

Age: 25

Must love dogs. Let me repeat that. Must.Love.Dogs

The only reason I want a boyfriend is so that when I am singing Fergalicious and it’s at the part where she says, “I be up in the gym working on my fitness he’s my witness” I can point at him and he will do the little “wooOOH” because right now I have to do both parts by myself and it’s stressful because right after the wooOOH part I have to get right back into rapping and the transition is harder than you think.

I am also fun-loving, funny, passionate and horribly addicted to my guacamole. Seriously, I will put avocado on anything. That said, I’ll also share it with you if you’re nice.

I love the beach, being a weekend warrior and picnics in the park.

I really don’t have a type. As long as you have something interesting to say, I want to hear about it. I’m a little old fashioned, if you open a door for me, I will melt.

PS: the last guy who swiped left on me aged so quickly he shrivelled up into an old man skeleton thing before he turned into dust and died a swift, yet horrifying death.

He chose poorly.

I read through my bio again then choose a nice recent picture to add to my profile once I’m satisfied with the wording. All set, now the fun begins.

I close the app and carry on with my work. I don’t expect to get many responses just as I have in the past, but I am willing to try again. Anything to get my mind off him.

***

I’m shocked when I sit on my bed later that night to see that I actually have three messages waiting for me on the dating app. That’s a first.

I tap on the screen to open the first message:

@BigDan: Hey there. You look hot. Wanna chat?

Does that actually work in real life? Greet, compliment and get to the point. Mmm...I think not. Not quite the type I’m looking for. His photo looks fake anyway. Moving along.

Message 2:

@TryMe: Hi. You sound like a pretty interesting person from what I could gather on your bio, so I thought I would send you a message. How are you? Keen to chat? Cheers.

I click on his picture and a handsome bearded guy smiles back at me. I scan through his profile and see we have quite a few things in common. Coffee for one, he likes animals - a big win for him and he loves the outdoors and if I have to go by his build, it seems like he spends time in the gym. Well now this looks promising. I will get back to this one.

Message 3:

@Robocock: Hi! My name says it all. Hit me up if you wanna …..

My eyes go wide. I know no one can see me, but I still blush nonetheless. Not quite what I am looking for either. A definite NO.

I go back to message two and start typing my reply:

Hi @TryMe

Thank you for your message. You don’t look too boring yourself. I’m great thanks. How about you?

I leave the app open while I continue getting ready for bed, but by the time I switch my light off, there is no response. At least I got messages, which is better than the first time I tried.

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