He couldn’t believe he had found her again. Nick remembered the first time he had seen her face on Stinger. His phone had died before he could get a good look, let alone swipe right. Granted her name was Courtney, not Amanda, but there she fucking was, on his screen, saying hello. To him. She was saying hello to him. Nick panicked.

Courtney rolled over and picked up her phone: 6:20 AM. Five minutes before her alarm was due to go off. Regardless of her ditzy, carefree tendencies, being on time was something that had always been important to Courtney. She was the only one of her friends who, when they said I’ll close my eyes for another five minutes before getting up, actually woke up exactly five minutes later and got out of bed. Courtney grabbed her sweatshirt and phone from her nightstand, as long as she didn’t remain under the sheets naked, she would be sure to get up in a timely fashion. She unlocked her phone and checked her notifications – 86 unread work emails, 1 personal email, 5 social media reminders, and 4 new connections/new messages on Stinger. Opening up her morning playlist of classic 90’s rap, Courtney shut off her alarms. She could use the next five minutes to dick around before actually getting up and getting ready for today.

It’s today, Courtney thought. Today was particularly important for Courtney. Before getting caught up in her excitement, Courtney opened the Stinger app. Quickly typing out “Hi [your name] :)” messages to her two new matches, Courtney switched to her messages. Opening the first one, she choked back a laugh. There on her screen was a large, lovely penis trying to fight its way out of heather gray designer boxers. Lovely or not, it wasn’t the first impression she paid any mind to, usually. The next message was from the psycho-teacher-killer: “Hi.” Courtney rolled her eyes, there had to be something between dick pics and one word blasé answers. Too excited to delay, Courtney exited from the dating app and left her bed. Hyped up on energy and enthusiasm, she did her normal work out of 20 push ups, 5 minutes of ab rotations, and headed to the bathroom to brush her teeth while completing her squat reps.

Nick called his assistant manager and made arrangements for him to cover his shift that day. He had barely slept the night before. His hands were shaking and sweaty, and to make everything that much better, any time Nick looked at food he dry heaved. When his alarm went off earlier that morning, Nick left his bed intending on going into work. He had thrown some ice cold water on his face, threw on his undershirt and boxers and made his way down to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for his parents. He had been incredibly nauseous while preparing his parents’ breakfast, but he assumed it was the smell of the ham and cheese omelet that he couldn’t handle. After spewing up a banana he had taken a single bite of before feeling it throw itself in reverse, Nick doubted he would be able to do a demonstration involving the stores custom gyro spice blend and ground turkey. He was afraid to go anywhere near his own kitchen, which was lacking in most controversial groceries this late in the week, after his first attempt at eating had landed him in the bathroom.

He closed out of the Stinger app, which had been opened and closed no less than twenty times throughout his morning debacle, and opened his contact list originally intending to call his assistant just to cover the demonstration when he saw his battery life: 89%.  He had only shut his alarms off and used Stinger. Eleven percent was just gone. There would be no way to connect to the stores wifi, and check the app without killing his battery before noon. Nick wouldn’t be able to charge his phone on the floor, and he thought of leaving it in the back to charge. Tightness wound his throat and pulled a fictitious remainder of the banana bite from his stomach. Nick charged the bathroom and gagged over an open toilet.

There was no way he could go into work. He had spent most of the night angry at himself for trying to play it cool with the lamest response in the world, “Hi.”

Courtney settled down on the only open seat she could find, and glanced at her phone. It was already 10:20 AM. Her subway ride was about five minutes long, giving her another 20 minutes before it would be appropriate to head to her meeting. Her train arrived on time, and Courtney headed to the park across the street. She had loved it the day she did her dry run, and figured the best thing to do to tame her excitement was to sit in a quiet, charming park until it was time to walk over. Courtney settled on a bench and looked at her phone again, she had a new message update from Stinger, and decided to open it on a whim. The dick pic from earlier had now added the caption, “wanna play peak-a-book?”

“Fucking idiot,” Courtney mumbled under her breath with a laugh. Apparently spelling was not this guy’s forte in life. Under his message was still the lame, “hi,” from the somewhat creepy guy, play nice, Courtney, her best friend Ryan’s voice spoke in her head.

Even before they had spoken for the day he was already annoying her. Ryan was a larger than life type of guy – his words, not hers – physically he was only six or so feet and husky, but only when he embraced his school boy charm mixed with his argumentative humor did it make his presence known. Sometimes he could be annoyingly shy. Unbeknownst to her, Courtney had been slowly diminishing whatever shell Ryan had created, while he intentionally did his best to bring out the better person lying deep inside her. Not that Courtney was a bad person, in fact Ryan reminded her several times a day about the caring person she was, it was more her dating habits that needed outright defrosting. Courtney thought about Ryan’s ever-nagging advice springing up in her mind, play nice, he reminded. At worst she decided, playing nice could only help her karma. Courtney opened her phone screen to the psycho-teacher-killer’s message and responded with the same super relaxed tone Nick seemed to have. It wasn’t much, but it was something. For good measure and extra karmic-insurance, Courtney shot a quick message back to the penis encased in heather gray cotton before closing out of the app. Chuckling to herself, Courtney texted Ryan, “Leaving the park in 13 minutes. Channeling my inner good person – I blame you. Wish me luck!!!” Today would be an incredible day in her life, regardless of what happened past this moment, she had made it this far, and Courtney was ready to take on anything, almost.

Nick lay in bed. His alarm had gone off at 5:30 giving him enough time to sort his parents out, make their breakfast, and make sure they were ready for Lotisha to pick them up by 7:15. Every other day of the week, Nick drove his parents to work, everyday except Friday. Fridays Lotisha drove them in hopes of helping her friend out. After he waved the trio off from the door, Nick returned upstairs to his bedroom. If she never drove them again, Nick would still be eternally grateful.

His left arm had grown sore from bringing his phone to and from his face. He tried alternating sides, but his phone was charging, tethering him to few a limited number of positions on his bed that allowed him to still see the television. Truth be told, Nick had to occasionally glance over to see if the damn thing was even on. He was hyper focused on his phone on a level which he couldn’t understand. It would have frightened him, but the fear was pushed out by her face. Nick had spent the past few hours rotating between her message, her profile, and his mind where she lived. He had tried to find out more about her online, but he didn’t want to close out of the dating app. Besides, he couldn’t balance his laptop as well. Nick’s right wrist had cramped up from slowly stroking himself to his own memories of her. The countless memories he had started creating in his mind from the moment he saw he first message. Everything had to be perfect.

Nick looked at the clock; it was twenty minutes after ten. He should have been elbows deep in demonstration. Nick swallowed back the unpleasant taste that filled his mouth. He was going to drive himself crazier than his parents ever had. He thought about his parents, and what they would think if they knew what he was doing. He pushed that thought past his own fears, and refocused on her. It had to be her, Nick thought as he began actively playing with himself. Hey hair, her face, her beauty mark, her eyes… it had to be her. While almost at the point of getting lost in his own fantasy, Nick’s phone vibrated. Without pausing from himself, Nick looked at his phone. She responded: “How’s it going?” Before Nick could put his phone down or prepare himself for the mess he was about to make, warmth spread over him, and within minutes Nick fell asleep with himself and his phone in his hands.

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