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“Just check out her Insta, dude,” Tom said as he slid his phone across the table. “She’s super cute, laid back, and a ton of fun. Plus, she did a year of culinary school and she makes some bomb ass food.”
Eric chuckled as he rotated the phone on the table and scrolled through the pictures displayed. Tom wasn’t wrong. She was cute. Her pictures rode the perfect line between “basic” and “fun.” Some group shots in the bar, some solo pics of her hiking, and of course, several pictures of her and a Golden Doodle he assumed was her dog. Her Instagram photos had no intentional aesthetic, which meant she wasn’t just projecting “her brand,” but rather, using the app as an actual photo album of her and her friends.
“That’s a plus,” Eric thought. “But am I ready to actually try and date someone yet?” Sure, his more recent semi-breakup with Rachel hadn’t been nearly as bad as the first, but still, it had rattled him. It seemed that in the back of his subconscious he had never truly accepted that they would never get back together, but now it felt real.
Then again, it had been over a month since he had had any contact with his ex, and he felt good. He hadn’t been pursuing anyone or even really thinking about meeting girls (except at last call at the bars, when his libido took the opportunity of his brain’s losing battle with alcohol to make him hit on every girl around).
“I mean, I’ve kind of taken a hiatus on girls for the last few weeks,” said the voice in Eric’s head. “Maybe it is time to get back out there and start dating. Plus, it’s just a first date. It’s not like we’re going to get married or anything. Whether or not I’m ready for an actual relationship doesn’t matter. Hell, maybe it’ll just into a fuck-buddy thing. Wait, do I even want to meet this girl, or do I just want to get laid? How can –“
“Sooo are you down to meet her, or do you just want to keep taking mental picture of her Instagram to jerk off to later?”
A voice cut through Eric’s mental monologue, and he looked up, startled to see Tom grinning at him with his hand out, requesting his phone back. He responded with a chuckle as he handed him the phone. “My bad, just doing my research and making sure I’m not getting catfished. If this girl is so awesome, why haven’t you made a move on her? I’m not trying to go after a girl you’re into or anything.”
Tom laughed abruptly and waved off Eric’s concern with ease. “Not at all, man. I dated her friend in college and we just became friends. 100% platonic. She saw the picture I posed of us at that happy hour and mentioned that you were cute, so I told her I could give you her number and she was down.”
Eric smiled, relieved. And then his smile faded. “Wait, the picture of us where I have beer spilled on my shirt and look like I just ran a marathon because that bar had no AC? Shit, if she thinks I looked cute in that, she’s going to go wild when she sees me not shitfaced and sweating like a pig.”
“Alright there, cowboy,” Tom said with a smirk. “Let’s not get too cocky before you even meet her. She’s a cool girl. Don’t be a douchebag.” He returned to his phone for a few seconds before looking up at Eric. “I just sent you her contact info. Her name is Alyssa. Go spit some game. I gotta get back to the office for a stupid status meeting, so let’s get the check.”
Several hours later, Eric sat on the bench press at his gym, staring at his phone while he rested in between sets. “Should I text her now, or should I wait until later tonight?” He thought. “I don’t want her to see the text and forget to respond because she’s busy.” Putting his phone back in his pocket, he cranked out another set to Tech N9ne’s Riot Maker while he decided.
“Just do it, you pussy,” the testosterone clouding his brain whispered. He nodded slowly as he opened up a new message and slowly crafted a text.
Eric [6:44pm]: Hey Alyssa, it’s Eric. Tom gave me your number. I’d love to get to know you over drinks sometime this week. Are you free Thursday?
Relived and excited, Eric returned to his workout, but his thoughts stayed glued to his phone. The skin on his right thigh had apparently developed super sensitivity in the past few minutes, and could pick up the vibration of a fly’s wings from fifteen feet away. He distractedly made his way through his next few exercises, slowly losing enthusiasm until a vibration in his pocket made him drop his weights halfway through his set. He fumbled his iPhone out of his pocket and read the text displayed on the screen.
Alyssa Tom Friend [7:12pm]: Hey Eric! I’d love to get to know you too! Unfortunately I’m busy Thursday, but I could do drinks after work Friday if you’re free? I work pretty close to you (I know that sounds stalkerish but it’s because Tom has shown me your office before lol I swear). Let me know!
Eric chuckled to himself as he replied, letting her know Friday would be great. Tom was right, she was funny and laidback. Plus, she was willing to meet up on a Friday, putting him as a possible priority over her friends or any other Friday afternoon plans she may have had. Or was the Friday afternoon date a play to make sure that it had a definite end time due to her having evening plans? Was she trying to tell him that she wasn’t going to go home with him regardless of how the date went? Not that that was a problem, but-
“Hey man,” A very large man wearing a cutoff shirt that was really more of a spaghetti strap tank top than an article of clothing interrupted his train of thought. “How many more sets do you have on this bench?”
“Shit, my bad.” Eric responded. “I have one more, I’ll crank it out right now.”.