Sunday, February 11, 2018

Valentine's Date Disaster

I'm taking a hiatus just this week from Baby Crazy for something different.....
 

So there were so many people giving me positive feedback on Callie and Dean from Santa Crush and wanting to read more of them, I got inspired to write another novella about them.....

Valentine's Date Disaster

Callie

I’m trying to catch a virus.
 
No, not a real virus, like the kind that makes you sneeze and cough and possibly throw up. I’m talking about the kind that ends up on my computer and opens up a million pop-up windows and steals my credit card information and all my passwords. I’ve downloaded viruses by accident dozens of times before. Honestly, it’s sort of my thing.
 
I mean, if you got an email that said “Open this attachment to get a special free gift,” you’d open it, right? I’m not made of stone!
 
Of course, now that I actually want to contract a virus, it’s proving to be impossible. I’m sitting on the futon in the living room of our tiny apartment, my laptop balanced on my legs, sifting through the spam folder in my email, looking for anything suspicious.
 
Like here: this one isn’t even in English. Falls Sie interessiert sind kontaktieren Sie mich! I have no clue what that means, but it sounds like a scam. That said, there’s no attachment. There’s nothing I can click on that will worm its way onto my hard drive and corrupt all my data.
 
I think I need to start looking at porn.
 
“What are you doing, Callie?” My roommate Rhea lazily pads into the room, still wearing her pajamas and fuzzy slippers at two in the afternoon, her hair pulled into a messy ponytail. I can’t throw stones though, since I’m still wearing pajamas and fuzzy slippers too. Sundays are a lazy day.
 
“Nothing,” I say as I quickly minimize the screen.
 
Rhea frowns. “Look, I don’t want to be judgmental, but if you’re going to look at scat porn, could you at least go to your room?”
 
“I wasn’t…” I bring up the window I’d had up when Rhea walked in. Ew! “That was an accident.”
 
“Like I said, no judgment, Callie. Although it does explain why you don’t date much.”
 
“I’m not into scat porn!” I close the window, hoping that it doesn’t bring up twelve more windows of… well, that. “I promise. I was only looking at porn so I could catch a virus.”
 
Rhea scratches at her belly, a deep furrow between her eyebrows. “Huh?”
 
“It’s just…” I let out a sigh and drop my head back against the couch. “I’m trying to figure out an excuse to invite Dean over. And he’s this total computer genius, so I figured if I got a virus on my computer, I’d have a perfect excuse to invite him over to help me get rid of it.”
 
“Riiiiight…” She’s giving me a funny look. “Or you could just invite him over. Without the scat porn virus.”
 
Except I can’t.
 
Nearly two months ago, Dean Palmer and I met at the mall when he was playing Santa and I was his elf. Dean was so hot. And not just hot, but a genuinely nice guy. I liked him instantly, but it took me the entire day to get his phone number and a promise of drinks in the future. Oh, and a really incredible kiss in the mall food court. Dean was the first guy I’d been excited about in a long time. He’s different from any guy I’d ever met.
 
One way he’s different is he can’t walk. At all. That day in the mall, he did everything he could to keep me from finding out, but I did anyway—it’s the sort of thing that’s hard to hide for very long. He thought it would send me running, but it didn’t. Just the opposite—I appreciated that Dean had been through some serious shit and was doing his damnedest to get his life back together.
 
And it didn’t hurt that he was crazy sexy.
 
Dean and I started texting almost immediately. We decided not to get together right away because he was dealing with a ton of relatives visiting for the holidays, and he seemed extremely stressed out. We made a date for the Friday night right after New Year’s. I had a dress picked out and everything. Rhea teased me about how excited I was. Boy, you really like this guy.
 
And then a day before The Big Date, I spiked a fever of 103.
 
I’d never had the flu before, but nobody had to tell me I had a whopping case of it. I was glued to my bed for nearly three weeks while Rhea alternately brought me soup and class notes.  Dean and I kept texting as I faded in and out of consciousness. At first, he was really sweet about everything, but after two weeks, his texts had taken on a definitely tone of, You’re still sick? Really??
 
And then when I was finally able to keep down solids and wade out of my bed, I was drowning in all the work I had missed during my prolonged illness. I had three papers and two exams looming over me, and a night out on the town wasn’t even a remote possibility if I didn’t want to flunk out of law school. So I had to keep making excuses with Dean.
 
Now I’m finally both germ-free and caught up with my work, but it’s too late. I texted Dean this morning just to see what was going on, and he didn’t even respond. He didn’t even text back an emoji.
 
I blew it.
 
And the only way to get back is to lure him over here with a virus. He won’t say no to that. He’s too nice a guy. He’ll want to help a damsel in distress.
 
“For God’s sake, Callie,” Rhea says, “just ask him out for drinks. I’m sure he’ll say yes.”
 
“He didn’t even reply to my text this morning.” I shake my head. “No, this will work. I’m sure of it.”
 
She looks down at my iPhone lying next to me on the sofa. Before I can react, she snatches it up. “What are you doing?” I yelp.
 
“I’m texting Dean,” she says.
 
I fold my arms across my chest. “Good luck. You don’t even know my password.”
 
She punches a few buttons on my phone, and her lips curl into a grin. “Your birthday is your password? That’s not very secure, you know.”
 
Damn her.
 
I toss my laptop to the side and jump off the couch. But it’s too late. Rhea is already typing furiously into my phone. Oh my God, what is she doing? She’s messing up my entire plan! This virus thing was going to work perfectly. I had it all planned out. I was going to give him my computer and pour him a glass of wine…
 
If she screws things up for me with Dean, I’ll never forgive her.
 
 
Dean
 
Do you want to go out to dinner this week?
 
The text catches my attention, even though my phone is lying on the corner of my desk. I’ve got a deadline on a website I’ve been designing, and I made a vow not to let my phone distract me. I deleted five of my favorite games, vowing not to download them again until I’m done coding. I’ve finally drummed up some decent freelance work, which might earn me enough cash to afford my own apartment in the near future—I have to take this seriously. I’m really sick of living with my parents.
 
But this text breaks my focus even more than Candy Crush. Because it’s from Callie Quinn.
 
Callie is asking me to dinner.
 
I spend a good sixty seconds staring at my phone, deciding what I want to do. Do I want to go out with Callie? Hell yeah. That’s not up for debate. For a good month, Callie was all I could think about.
 
Callie’s the first woman who showed any real interest in me since I landed myself in a wheelchair for life. My confidence level was at zero back then—even the idea of hitting on a woman scared me shitless. I figured there was no point. But after she came into my life, everything changed. I started showering regularly again. I dressed myself in things other than sweatpants. I started going out to bars with my brother. I didn’t try to hit on women or anything because meeting girls in bars was never really my thing, but I was willing to play his wingman again
 
And most importantly, I got myself a car with hand controls and learned how to drive again. The only thing I could afford was an ancient, piece of shit Nissan Versa. But it’s a way to get from Point A to Point B without having to rely on my parents or brother to drive my sorry ass around. That’s huge.
 
All because of her.
 
And then… well, I don’t know what the fuck happened. We were supposed to go out to dinner, but Callie got sick. The flu. I was understanding because… well, shit happens. I know that better than anyone.
 
 Except she didn’t get better so fast. I know the flu can knock you out, but when she was still evading my invitations after three weeks, I started to think there was something more going on. And then she was better, but she had “far too much work to do.”
 
I’m not an idiot. I can take a goddamn hint.
 
Because I’m a pathetic loser, I started looking back to our text messages from right before Callie came down with “the flu.” Coincidentally, it was around that time I ‘fessed up to her that I was living with my parents. It’s not something I wanted her to know, but I figured it was better to get it out in the open sooner rather than later. After all, she was so understanding about the fact that I need a wheelchair to get around—she had to recognize this was just a temporary thing until I scraped up enough money to get my own place.
 
Apparently not though. A guy in a wheelchair was acceptable, but a guy in a wheelchair living with his parents crossed the line. She was done with me.
 
It hurt, but I accepted it. I wanted a date with Callie, but I knew there were other girls out there. My brother and I went to a bar two nights ago, and I somehow charmed a cute redhead into giving me her number. I had been planning on calling her today after I made an acceptable amount of progress with the website, except…
 
Except now Callie is asking me to dinner.
 
The redhead was attractive, but she’s no Callie Quinn. There’s something about Callie that just gets me.
 
I don’t know what to make of this text. I didn’t expect to hear from Callie again, unless maybe she needed me to fix some issue with her computer that none of her law school classmates could help her with. I hate it when girls use me that way. If you don’t want to date me, fine—don’t pretend to be interested just so I’ll fix your damn computer. It’s really insulting. Especially these days.
 
And now a dinner invitation? Out of the blue? It’s nice, but I don’t buy it. She feels guilty she blew me off, that’s all.
 
It’s a pity dinner.
 
Fuck it. I’m not replying.
 
Except now the phone is ringing. I see Callie’s name on the screen, and I wonder why I didn’t just delete her contact info from my phone. Why am I torturing myself this way?
 
I sigh and scoop up the phone. I can’t muster up much enthusiasm as I answer, “Hello?”
 
“Oh, hi!” It’s Callie’s voice, high and sexy. She sounds surprised I picked up. “Um, Dean? It’s Callie. Callie Quinn?”
 
“Oh, hey.” I’m trying to play it cool, whatever that means. Act like I couldn’t care less that she’s calling me. Not the kind of guy who needs to be taken out on a pity date. “What’s up, Callie?”
 
“So, um,” she says. “That text you just got… about dinner?”
 
Against my will, my heart speeds up. “Uh huh?”
 
“So, um, my roommate sent that.”
 
And now the freight train crashes into me. It wasn’t even a pity date from Callie. She obviously told her roommate about me, and her roommate thought she should take pity on me. I’m seconds away from hanging up the phone.
 
“Oh,” I mutter. “Well, it’s okay. Don’t worry about it.”
 
I pull the phone away from my ear, and I’m all set to press the red button to end the call when I hear Callie yelp, “Wait, Dean! I didn’t… I mean, she sent it, but… I still want to go to dinner.”
 
I roll my eyes at the phone. “I said don’t worry about it. Really.”
 
“No, please just listen,” she says. I don’t hang up, but my finger is still itching to press the red button. “I was trying to scheme all these ways to get you over here, and Rhea said I should just invite you to dinner. But… I was worried it wouldn’t work…”
 
I frown and run a hand through my short hair. For months, my hair used to be greasy all the time, but now it feels clean. I drag myself into the shower chair every morning, making sure I look (and smell) respectable. Callie’s the first thing since I got hurt that made me care about how I looked again.
 
“You were scheming to get me over to your place?” I finally say.
 
“Oh yes.”
 
I smile, despite myself. “Like, how?”
 
“I was trying to download a virus,” she says. “Then I’d ask you to come over and get rid of it for me.”
 
I wince, knowing if she had done that, I would have assumed she was using me. Even worse than a pity date.
 
“What if I refused to come?” I say.
 
“Then I guess some guy in Russia would be able to get at all the naked pics on my hard drive.”
 
I can’t help but laugh. I’d given up hope on Callie Quinn, but somehow she’s wriggled her way back into my life. “Okay, so when are you free for dinner?”
 
“How about Friday?”
 
I frown. Something tugs at my subconscious. It takes me a moment to figure out what it is: “Callie, isn’t Friday Valentine’s Day?”
 
“Oh.” She’s quiet a moment. “Right. I guess it is. So… is that a big deal?”
 
“I don’t know. Is it?”
 
“Well…” She sounds thoughtful. “It’s just another day, isn’t it? It’s a commercial holiday anyway.”
 
Somehow I sense this is a mistake. But at the same time, I’ve been trying to get a date with Callie for two months. I’m not going to turn her down because of fucking Valentine’s Day. Like she said, it’s just another day.
 
“All right,” I say, “let’s do it.”
 
 
P.S. The original, Santa Crush, is FREE on Amazon today!

10 comments:

  1. Awesome start. I loved this (potential) couple the first time around. This is gonna be fun!!!

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  2. I can feel the Valentine blush, already!

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  3. Purchased! Thank you so much!

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  4. I waited until 0:01 AM to buy it ... and just finished it ... I loved it !!! I want more from this beautiful couple ... And of course the reverse psychology works, but the account is in my husband's name and I have to wait until tomorrow to leave a small review because, you're right, I forgot the password ...

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  5. A wonderful story, thanks! I hope the see the couple till the happy ending! Love your writing!

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  6. Thank you, everyone! I don't have any current plans for a Book 3, but who knows? I didn't have plans for this one, after all. Certainly all the enthusiasm is inspiring :)

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  7. Just came back from re-reading Santa Crush to refresh my memory before grabbing V-Day Disaster - I'm excited to revisit this charming couple! I like how dorky and good-hearted both Callie and Dean are, and I look forward to seeing them work through the next step of their relationship.

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  8. Purchased, read and reviewed within 24 hours. And it only took that long because my credit card on file with amazon had expired and I had to update it!

    The book is SO sweet. I love these two together. Dean is vulnerable but you can tell how much he likes her and that pushes him to overcome his nerves. Ahhh I just loved it. More please! I’ll buy whatever you’re selling.

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