Wish You Were Here: A Novel: Chapter 8

Jedi Mind Trick

A week later, I was checking Match.com. I laughed out loud at a message I had gotten.

Charlotte, hello, my name’s Seth Taylor and I’m also mildly allergic to bees, love baseball, and have asshole family members who think they’re hilarious. (I caught on pretty quickly to your original profile details.) I live south of LA. I’m not great at emailing or texting, so if you want to talk, here’s my number. I’d love to chat with you.

I was sitting on the couch in our apartment, waiting for his profile picture to load.

“Oh my god.”

From the bathroom, Helen yelled, “What? Is he ugly? Or is it an old guy?”

I was speechless. Seth Taylor was hot. Like, surpassing a ten on the range of hotness into he would never give me the time of day territory. Of course he posted a picture of himself lying on a beach, shirtless, with an adorable sleeping black Lab splayed across his twelve-pack abs. I wanted to be lying across his twelve-pack abs. I’d polish his twelve-pack abs with my tongue if I could.

“No, he’s cute!” I called out. “But he’s a dog guy.”

Helen came out of the bathroom and looked over my shoulder. “He’s gorgeous.”

“He would never like me,” I said.

“Give it a chance.”

It was a Monday at ten in the morning. “Do you think it would be weird to call him now?” I couldn’t take my eyes off his photo. He had short, golden-brown hair, blue eyes, and a perfectly scruffy jawline. He had a playful expression in the photo, like those people who can smile with just the corners of their eyes.

“You should call him. He’s gonna get snatched up. And look, he’s younger than you, you cougar.”

“He’s two years younger than me,” I protested.

“Call him!” Helen messed up my hair, then skipped off to her room.

I dialed his number. “Hello,” he said. His voice was deeper and smoother than I expected. It radiated through me.

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

I should have written down at least five go-to lines before I dialed his number.

“I’m Charlotte. I’m the girl you messaged on Match.”

“Hi, Charlotte, I’m Seth.”

Awkward silence. “Hi, Seth.”

“Well, I think we’ve gotten the introductions out of the way. Your profile was pretty brief, although I did appreciate the prom picture that was up before this new one, which, by the way, is hot, even though you’re holding an ice pack to your face.”

He called me hot. Is that good or bad? Stop overthinking this, Charlotte, and talk to the poor guy. “Oh, thank you. That first profile was my brother’s creative genius.”

“I figured. I’m actually the youngest with three sisters—so I fully understand how sibling love works.”

“Three sisters? My goodness. That must have been interesting.”

“There was a lot of drama and fighting over the bathroom. I’m also very skilled at painting nails and picking out accessories.”

“I just realized I didn’t look at your profile details. All I saw was your picture and the message you sent me.”

“You should have done your research. We might have nothing in common. I can read it to you if you want?”

“Sure.” This is weird.

“ ‘I’m Seth Taylor, I enjoy hunting large endangered species and finding ways to get out of paying my taxes. I’m better looking than most people and I hate everyone under the age of eighteen and over the age of fifty-five. I own a lot of button-down stripies and my favorite cologne is called Sex Panther, which is made with little bits of real panther so you know it’s good. Hit me up.’ ”

There was no way I could contain my laughter. Before I even responded, I went to his profile on my laptop and saw zero description, so I knew he was making the whole thing up.

“What do you think?”

I was still laughing. “Sex Panther sounds delicious.”

“Women like it, sixty percent of the time, every time.”

“All right, I found your real profile but there’s no description, clever guy.”

“Well, I can tell you about myself. I lied about the little bits of panther; everything else is true. What else do you wanna know?”

The conversation was picking up with ease. I felt comfortable talking to him. He seemed down-to-earth and fun.

“Where do you live, what do you do? What do you like to do for fun? Is that your dog in the profile?”

“Yes, that is my dog, Obi-Wan, and he’s awesome. I live in Encinitas. Do you know where that is?”

“Yeah, on the coast, right? In San Diego?”

“Yep. I’m embarrassed to admit this but I’m living with my parents until I finish school.”

Ugh, he’s still in college at twenty-five?

“What else?”

“I like baseball and I like to surf. But let me tell you more in person. Can we meet tomorrow night?”

The invitation was completely abrupt. “Um, well . . .”

“I mean, I have to take off right now. But I wanted to plan something . . . with you.”

“Yeah, sure, where do you want to meet?”

“How about you text me an address and I’ll meet you there at seven tomorrow?”

“Okay. Sounds good.”

“Looking forward to seeing you in person.”

“Likewise.” We hung up.

I screamed with excitement and then Helen and I danced around the apartment. Adam would soon be a distant memory once I went out with cute and clever Seth.

THE NEXT DAY, Helen picked out a slutty outfit for me to wear, but I chose to go with jeans, a sweater, and flats. We were to meet at Villains. I figured I better keep it close and safe so I could call in reinforcements if I needed to.

When I got there, I took a seat at the bar and ordered a glass of white wine. I checked my phone and looked around every five minutes. Five minutes turned into thirty minutes—and no Seth.

I texted Helen.

Me: I’m getting stood up. He’s still not here.

Helen: He lives far away. Text him or give him another twenty.

Me: This is beyond rude. He should be texting me.

After an hour, three glasses of wine, and no food, I began Googling convents in the area. Not surprisingly, there weren’t many. Helen hopped onto the stool next to me and put her arm around my shoulders. “Awh, Charlie, I’m sorry.”

She peeked at my phone. “You going to marry God now?”

“I’m thinking about it.”

“Stop drowning your sorrows in that wine. Let’s go home. We have to do brunch tomorrow at the restaurant and you know how Jon-Jon gets when we show up hungover.”

“I only have so many fucks to give, Helen, and Jon-Jon is not one of them.” I used Adam’s line because it was true. I needed to prioritize.

She pulled the glass out of my hand and downed the rest of it. “Let’s make a deal. We’ll get wine tomorrow after work and scroll through Match.com together and look for nice boys . . . for both of us.”

“No,” I barked. “As a matter of fact . . .” I hit the Match.com app on my phone and immediately deleted it. “I’m over it. I’m taking a break from dating. Giving myself six months, minimum.”

Helen laughed. She didn’t believe me, but I had suddenly and finally acquired some resolve after being a flake for so long. Getting dropped on your ass by two men back to back will do that to you.


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