His Big Offer

By: Penny Wylder

One





“You know what? He was a nice guy, as guys go. But don’t get all macho on me about having a plan and then very obviously not have a plan. That just makes you look controlling. Plus, unfortunately, I wasn’t attracted to him. Bonus, I don’t think he was attracted to me either. So at least neither of us wanted to be there. Anyway, I could have had a better dive back into the dating pool, but as you know, readers, I’ve had way worse.”

—Rock Bottom Caroline



Warm, strong arms slip around my waist, and I snuggle back against his chest. I love when he comes to bed after me, because then I can feel the way his warmth seeps through the sheets, enveloping both of us. His lips are on my neck, teasing, trying to wake me up, and I smile because it’s working. I turn over to face him, and I see the flash of his eyes in the dark as he leans down to kiss me, and…oh my God. His breath is terrible! What is this? Not what I signed up for.

A slobbery tongue whacks against my cheek, and I come awake with a start. Alice’s dog Noodle is licking my face, and his breath is so bad I’m about to hurl. I push him off me, sitting up. Unfortunately, this isn’t an atypical way to wake up when you’re sleeping on Alice’s couch, but I would have really liked to see where that dream was heading. I can guarantee that it’s better than the real-life action that I’ve been getting.

I scrub my face with the blanket, getting the rest of the dog saliva off. Honestly, it’s par for the course with where my life is right now. No girl dreams of waking up with her best friend’s dog every morning. But things could be worse. I’d much rather be woken up by Noodle than still be living with my parents, where my shortcomings was dinner conversation and I was constantly being ridiculed.

When everything got to be too much, and I couldn’t take any more of their passive-aggressive comments, Alice let me move in here. Because she’s a saint. And now it’s been nine months of me living on her couch, barely contributing to rent because I can’t keep a normal job. If I’m not laid off because my position is no longer available, than it’s the store closing, or some other thing that seems like I’m making it up when I string it all together.

Thankfully, I still make a little money from ads on my blog, “Rock Bottom Caroline.” The trials and tribulations of my love life, all online for anyone to see. It’s mostly bad. It’s shocking what people will send to women on dating sites and social media, and lots of times, it’s down right gross. But I’ve got a small, dedicated group of readers, and the ad revenue keeps me from starving. Sometimes I write stuff about my life—my struggles to find a job and balance in my life. But the posts that are most successful are the dating stories.

I log on and moderate a couple of comments on my latest post: a summary of last night’s date, where the gentleman who asked me out insisted on making the plans for the date, but when I showed up, he had no plans and we ended up walking around the financial district for two hours. Let me tell you, the financial district is not a fun place to walk around in NYC. We didn’t even shake hands goodbye. Definitely not the worst date I’ve been on, but certainly not the best either.

Last night was actually the first time I’d gone out in months. There was a date so bad that I couldn’t bring myself to take the chance until now. I’m still a bit anxious when I think about it, but there’s nothing I can do. I’m kind of happy that last night’s was uneventful, because at least it was normal boring. The two blog comments are from regulars, commenting and laughing at my predicament but also welcoming me back after not posting for a while. At least I know there will always be a few people who appreciate what I do.

I hear Alice’s door open, and she comes out into the living room. “Morning,” she chirps. How she’s always so perky is beyond me. She pours herself a cup of coffee and grabs a granola bar from our stash while I drag myself over to the bar.

“You’re having a good morning, as always.”

“Of course,” I say. I’m probably the least morning person to ever exist. I’m barely awake before noon on a good day.

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