“I don’t know, No-No, doesn’t she look a little green to you? I think I’m going to have to take her to the vet,” my best friend whined with concern.
“Vee, she’s an iguana. I’d be concerned if she wasn’t green.”
“Oh, you know what I meant!” She huffed, “But there are no good exotics vets in the city, and I’d hate to drag her out in the cold. Dr. Martin’s all the way up in Pine Creek. But if she doesn’t eat by tomorrow, I’m going to have to call and set up an appointment.”
“Did you ask me over to help fix your hair, or to talk about your lizard?”
“I thought you could handle both,” she smirked and held up her bag of hair products. “And don’t call Medea a lizard. She’s my daughter.”
An eternity later, and Vee’s hair was freshly dyed purple. My fingers were too, dammit. I rubbed at the stain with soap, but it persisted. “Do you think this is going to wash off in time for my shift tomorrow?”
“Not a chance,” Vee replied without apology. “I told you to keep the gloves on.”
“Next time, go to a salon,” I grumbled.
“I’m not made of money! Plus you still owe me like a dozen favors for helping you move. Speaking of which…”
“What now? You need help going to the vet?”
“Not yet. Well, you know how I’ve been trying the online dating thing?”
I nodded. She’d mentioned it a lot recently. She even sent me daily screenshots of the more entertaining private messages she’d been unfortunate enough to receive.
“I’ve been talking to this really hot chick, and I like her a lot so far. But we haven’t met up yet, and, like...I’ve never actually met someone from the internet before. I’m really nervous about it.”
“What do you want me to do about that?”
“I’d definitely feel better if I weren’t meeting her alone.”
“You want me to go with you on your date?”
“Yes. And she wants to bring a friend, too. A single friend.”
“Oh god!” I cringed, “You mean like a double date?”
“Yeah. She says her friend is cute. He’s shy. You’ll get along fine! It’s only one day...”
I crossed my arms, “Vee...” I had no interest in going along with this. I had to get out of it.
“You might like him! He might be your true love,” she spoke in a dreamy tone. Her head was always in the clouds. “You’ll never know unless you go. And it’s not like you have anything better to do on Friday, even if it is Christmas Eve. You’re not working. I already asked Rose, so don’t lie.”
“I’m not.” Rose didn’t celebrate Christmas, and graciously offered to work the entire weekend. I wasn’t big on the holidays, but I wasn’t going to pass up the rare offer to have a whole weekend off. I had thought I was lucky for my good fortune, right up until this very moment.
“What’s the harm in going? It’s not like you’re seeing anyone, right?”
I wasn’t. Regardless, I didn’t want to go on the double date. I was standing my ground. I took notice of how Vee was staring at me with a puzzled expression. Apparently, my moment of silence had revealed more than I’d intended. Color began to stain my cheeks as I could watch her piecing her thoughts together.
“Wait. Are you seeing someone? No, you’d have told me. You’re crushing on someone! Spill! Who is it? Why didn’t you mention it? Is it someone I know?”
“Nobody you know.” I cursed my carelessness. I was only barely ready to admit this embarrassing secret to myself. I should have been more cautious, but there was no point in hiding it now. “He’s a regular at The Webb.”
“Aw, No-No!” she was gushing like a proud mother, “Tell me more! What’s he look like?”
I buried my face in my hands and relented, “He’s tall. Dark hair, dark eyes.”
“Tall, dark, and handsome, then? Go on!”
“He’s older, maybe in his early thirties. I’m not sure, I haven’t asked, but I don’t mind the potential age gap.”
“There’s nothing wrong with an older man! He’s probably mature and ready to settle down. You’d be pretty happy with a nice house, a yard, and two-point-five kids some day.”
“It’s just a crush! He like barely even knows that I exist,” I whined. This whole thing just made me feel so pathetic. “We’re not getting married. He might already be married.”
“Does he wear a ring?”
“Well, you cared enough to notice that! So show him you’re interested! Give him your number!”
“He already gave me his.”
Vee broke out in a sly grin, “And you think he’s not into you? I love you, No-No, but you’re stupid. Text him right now!”
I waved off my friend’s enthusiasm, “It’s not like that! He was just being nice, so I could call him if I ever need a ride.”
“He’s got a car? Good news! You’re going to miss the bus tomorrow.”
“Vee! I’m not going to lie to him! That’s a terrible way to start a relationship!”
“I’m not saying it’s what I would do, but come on. You know you want to,” she begged with a dramatic flair. “You never make the first move. What’s one little white lie in the scheme of things? Set yourself up for success for once!”
“Why are we friends, again?”
“Because you love me,” she beamed.
“Oh my god, you are such a bad influence.” I groaned as I was pulled into a tight hug.
“Make sure you invite me to the wedding. And don’t think you’re getting out of coming on Friday because of this. You owe me, remember? It’s one night. You’re not engaged yet.”
“Fine,” I replied, “But I want you to know that I totally hate you.”
“No you don’t.”
“No, I don’t.”
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