The Dating Department
1. Stupid Skirt“Do you think she’s awake?”
“If she’s not, she’s going to be in the next three seconds. Are you ready? Three. Two. One!”
Ice cold water descended on me, jolting me awake.
Amber and Danny were standing next to my bed, holding a bucket between them.
I glanced at my clock: 9:47.
I groaned and collapsed back onto my soaked blankets, “It’s summer!” I complained, “Can’t I sleep in just this once?”
“Nope! You promised that you would help me find a summer job, Riley, and so help me you shall!” Amber crowed, yanking the covers off of me.
“Five more minutes…” I begged, curling into a ball and pulling my pillow over my head.
“Uh, no. Danny, if you would be so kind as to help me?” My friends each grabbed one of my hands and pulled me off my bed and onto the cool, wooden flooring with a dull thud.
“You guys are horrible.” I muttered, standing and brushing myself off.
“Yeah, we know, that’s why you love us. Now get dressed and help me with my job hunting!”
I grumbled and whined, but eventually got dressed and trudged down the stairs to see Amber tapping her foot impatiently, and Danny stuffing her face with Poptarts.
I charged and her green eyes widened, a stray Poptart falling from between her lips. I slid easily across the table, snatching the box of smore-y goodness away from her with an evil laugh.
“No fair!” She protested, making a wild grab at the box, but I easily held it out of her reach.
“My Poptarts, my rules, babe, deal with it.” I winked at her, tossed a Poptart into the air, and ran out the door, still laughing madly.
Amber soon emerged, with a disgruntled Danny in tow. She hadn’t caught the Poptart, and it was now laying on my kitchen floor in pieces.
“Farewell, sweet Poptart,” she sniffed, “I knew thee well.”
I wiped away an imaginary tear. “That was touching, Danny.”
Amber rolled her eyes at our immaturity, climbed into her car and started the engine. I followed suit and watched as Danny blew one last kiss at the fallen Poptart before climbing in after us.
“So where to first?” Danny asked, placing her chin near on my seat.
“I was thinking that we could go to mall, start simple, ya know?”
“…no, I’m not old enough to get a job.” Danny bit down on her lip to keep herself from laughing at her little attempt at humor.
“You know what I meant…” Amber sighed, probably already regretting asking us to tag along.
We spent the rest of the car ride cracking jokes and discussing music. Now and then, Amber would try to switch the topic to boys, but I quickly switched it right back to something I could relate to.
I knew nothing about the world of dating. I had never been kissed, nor ever been on a date; something unthinkable to most girls my age. I had a pretty good reason for my…situation, however. I still hadn’t met someone who made we want to change my Facebook relationship status from “Single” to “In a relationship”. My motto was: “Date for a potential mate”, and so far, it had been working pretty well for me.
Danny and I tagged along as Amber entered store after store, only to be told “We’re not hiring right now”. After thirty minutes of searching, she finally gave up and offered to buy us all some pretzels.
We eagerly accepted and were soon sitting at a table in the food court munching on the warm, soft, pretzel-y goodness.
“Mm! Check out rocker-dude over there, Riley! You two would be so freaking cute together!”
I looked lazily at the guy she was pointing at. “Okay, two reasons I can say no to that. One: he’s got a girl hanging on his arm, so he’s obviously taken. Two: I don’t need a boyfriend, so quit trying to set me up with random strangers at the mall.”
“Oh come on, you can’t just admit that he’s cute and be done with it?”
“Okay, fine. He’s cute. Whoop-de-flippin-do. Are we done now?”
“You need to stop being so cynical, it’s a turn off.”
“Don’t care.” I mumbled.
Okay, so maybe I cared a little what guys thought of me. …But not a lot… Maybe…
“You care; you just don’t want to admit it.” Danny giggled, her first input since the conversation began.
“You do care!” Amber exclaimed giddily. “I knew it!”
“Thanks a lot, Danny, now I’m never going to live this down.”
“You’re welcome.” She stated smugly.
I stuck my tongue out at her and she returned the favor. Soon, we were in all out funny-face war.
“Guys! Quit it! Jeez, if you want to land a man the least you could do is act older than five years old.”
“Yes, Mom.” Danny mocked.
“Gosh, Amber, with all the dating stuff you know you could run a business.” I remarked sarcastically.
What I wasn’t expecting was for her eyes to light up. “Oh my gosh! Riley, you are so right! I could run a business!”
She stood, knocking my pretzels into my lap. “Okay… where are you going now?”
“To get a business suit!” She called over her shoulder.
“I’m starting a business.”
“You’re what?! Amber, I was joking.” I quickly got up and ran over to her. “I was just joking, Amber, what do you think you’re doing?”
“I’m starting my very own business, and you’re going to help me.”
“Woah, there, chica, no one said anything about my helping you start a business. I said I would help you find a job this summer, not make one.”
“You are helping me find a job, and you’re going to start by helping me find a business suit.”
Three stores, and about a billion business suits later, she was all set in a grey pencil skirt, a pink button down collared shirt, and a crisp, grey blazer.
Much to my chagrin, she decided that I needed one too, and she bought me a black skirt, blue shirt, and matching black jacket.
She outfitted Danny as well, but she, lucky devil, got to wear pants instead of a stupid skirt.
“Why can’t I wear pants too?”
“Because Danny’s got a boyfriend, and you don’t. You need to show of those legs of yours if you wanna catch yourself a man.”
I groaned, and sank down onto one of the plush cushions of the store. “When exactly are you going to tell me what this business is?”
“Right about now….” She paused, her smile widening.
“It’s going to be called the Dating Department.”
“The Dating Department, I’m going to help people find boyfriends and girlfriends!” She did that little excited arm shake thing. “And you’re going to be my first customer! Isn’t that going to be great?”
I was too shocked to respond.