The Dating Department
2. Flirt and NarcissusI stubbornly set my jaw and glared at Amber, hands on my hips. “Remind me again why we’re doing this?”
“Don’t do that! You’re going to wrinkle the dress!” She flustered, tearing my hands away from the silky fabric and completely ignoring my question.
I cleared my throat pointedly, raising and eyebrow at her.
Amber sighed in defeat. “Because I need to make you look beautiful, Riley, so that I get potential boyfriends for you.”
“Gee, thanks, Amber, now I feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that I just wasn’t pretty enough in the first place.” I rolled my eyes and folded my arms across my chest.
“That’s not what I—“
“What she meant to say, was that she merely wanted to accentuate your natural beauty with a little bit of makeup and the right dress.” Danny cut in, camera in hand. “Now smile.”
I flashed her some teeth, but didn’t actually smile.
“Riley…” She warned, adjusting the focus.
“I really don’t want to do this…” I muttered, sending a death glare in Amber’s direction.
“Look, if you’ll cooperate for three more photos, I’ll give you some pizza.”
“Pizza?” I was suddenly very willing.
I thought about the pizza. It’s warm ooey gooey cheesy yumminess, and a smile slowly spread across my face.
“Perfect!” Click, click, click.
I hopped off the white-sheet-covered stage I had been standing on and quickly changed back into my t-shirt and jeans. “Alright, camera-wizard. Take me to your pizza!”
“Ooooh no, you’re staying right here, missy.”
“No reason.” She winked at me mysteriously and disappeared, whistling.
I plopped myself down at a nearby table and pulled out my iPhone, planning on playing Angry Birds until she got back. “Hey Amber, wanna play Angry Birds?” I called, over my shoulder.
When no response came, I set my phone down and looked around me. Where the heck were those two?
The lights shut off and a spotlight focused on the stage I had recently vacated.
Two more lights flicked onto the stage.
“This really isn’t cool, guys. Turn the lights back on!”
The two lights started waving around in frenzied circles on the stage.
“Guys this is getting kind of freaky, can I—“
“Welcome, bachelorette Riley to the Dating Department!” A man’s voice boomed out loud and clear out of speakers I hadn’t even known existed. “Allow me to introduce…your bachelors!”
Corny music started playing and I stood.
“Allow me to punch your face in if you don’t turn off that music this second.” I shouted in the direction of the speakers.
The music shut off almost immediately and Amber emerged from behind a curtain, Danny right behind her carrying a pizza box.
“Aw come on, Riley. You’ve got to admit, it’s pretty cool.”
“Just about as cool as a lava pit.” I muttered, sitting back down.
“You’re no fun,” Amber pouted, taking the pizza box from Danny and setting it down on the table in front of me. “ Here’s your stupid pizza.”
“Don’t call it stupid!” I protested, “You’re gonna hurt its feelings….” I gently stroked the cardboard of the box before yanking it open and pulling out a slice, the cheese perfectly melty. “Mmmm…”
“I don’t know how you eat so much crap and still manage to stay skinny.” Amber complained gesturing at me. “I can’t eat pizza,” she mourned. “It’ll go straight to my thighs!”
I looked at Amber with a bored expression, “…and?”
“And it’ll make me look fat.” She pouted and looked longingly at the pizza.
I smirked and picked up a slice slowly, her eyes followed it. “You know you want it…” I murmured, swinging the pizza slowly in front of her eyes. “Just give in… it’ll be worth it…”
“No…” she whimpered, but her drooling was screaming “Yes”.
“You know you want to taste the cheesy goodness… the slight spice of the pepperoni… the warm tomato sauce and crispy—“
I was cut off as she suddenly lunged at the slice of pizza. She tore it out of my grasp and shoved it at her face, taking a huge bite, chewing it contentedly.
“Worth it?” I asked smugly, picking up my slice again.
“Mmmmm….” She swallowed. “Definitely worth it.” She chomped down on it again and I laughed.
“Am I going to get any of that pizza?” Danny asked, sitting down beside Amber.
“Mm…” I tapped my chin with my index finger thoughtfully. “No!” I jumped up, grabbed the pizza box and started running out of the building, laughing like a mad man.
“Riley!” Danny shouted, sprinting after me. “I’m hungry too!”
“Never!” I cackled, grabbing another piece of pizza and biting into it.
I was so preoccupied by the wonderful pizza, that I didn’t notice the guy in front of me until it was too late.
I slammed into him, and fell, the pizza box flying out of my hands and into the grass, where Danny danced in triumph.
“Dude, are you made of bricks or something?” I groaned, putting a hand to my forehead and shutting my eyes tightly. “That hurt.”
“Well you were going about a million miles an hour,” he chuckled.
“Gee, good to know I didn’t hurt you with my speediness.” I grumbled, opening my eyes and stumbling to my feet.
“I am made of bricks, remember?”
“No, you gave me a concussion.” I shook my head, trying to dispel the dizziness. I took a step forward, wobbled, and crashed to the ground again. “Thanks for the save there, Brickman. Real chivalrous of you.” I struggled up into a standing position again, and glared at him.
He blinked at me. “You fall as fast as you run.”He grinned. “How do expect me to catch you?”
I felt myself tottering again. “Here, let’s practice,” and I fell.
This time he actually caught me.
“Much better, Brickman. Now you’ve got a streak of one.”
He chuckled in my ear. “Wow, I must be amazing or something.”
“Or something…” I muttered. I glanced over at where Danny was, but she had disappeared.
He laughed again, the sound rumbling deep in his chest. “So who have I just had the honor of saving?” He asked, smiling pleasantly, and setting me back on my feet.
” Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.” I grumbled, still feeling slightly woozy.
“Well, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, it’s nice to meet you, I’m Batman.” He winked at me, his hazel eyes twinkling mischievously.
“You trying to impress me or something?” I teased.
“I would never...” He smirked, as I swayed again. As I fell, I grabbed at his arm, clutching at it for dear life. “Wow, we haven’t even been on a date yet, and you’re already trying to hold my hand.” He winked at me as I frowned at him.
“Shut up.” I mumbled, feeling the blush creep up my cheeks.
“Awwww… I made you blush! I’m madly skill—ow!” I grinned as I withdrew my clenched fist from his arm. “Jeez… for a girl you can hit.”
“For a boy, you’re kind of wimpy.”
“Hey! I resent that!”
“Deal with it.” I retorted, feeling oddly happy even though my head was spinning.
“So what’s your real name?” He asked, as he led me gently back into the building.
“Riley; what about you, Brickman? Have you got a name?”
“I think I like Brickman.” He smirked.
“So I give you my name, but I don’t get to know yours? That’s hardly a fair trade.”
“Deal with it.” He mocked, grinning down at me again.
I opened my mouth to speak, but thought better of it and let my mouth snap shut.
“That’s what I thought.”
“…can I have a hint?”
“Hmmm….” He stroked an imaginary beard. “Let’s see… it starts with an A and rhymes with maiden.”
“I wonder what it could be…” I mocked, narrowing my eyes in faux thought. “Could it possibly be Ashley?”
He laughed, the sound bouncing off the walls. “Nope, guess again.”
I stroked my own imaginary beard. “Walter?”
“Ding ding ding! Give the girl a prize!”
I smacked his arm, but lost my balance again, causing me to clutch even tighter to him.
He rolled his eyes. “You suck at balance.”
“You suck at…” I trailed off, and his smirk grew substantially.
“Why yes, Riley, I am awesome at everything, thanks for noticing.”
“Narcissistic much?” I grumbled.
“You know you love it.”
“How the heck is that an insult?”
“I don’t know; I was out of comebacks.”
We both busted out laughing, the sound echoing through the building and doubtless carrying to where the girls could hear.
“You’re fun, Riley.”
“You’re not so bad yourself, Aiden.”
“I thought I was a narcissistic, ego-centric big-head.”
“You are, and I’m a lying, flirty, tipsy girl.”
“Glad to see you can admit it.”
“Is for horses.”
“You’re such a kid.”
“And you’re not?”
“I’m… okay, you’ve got me there.”
“Yep, I’m pretty much amazing that way.”
“Gosh, self-absorbed much?”
“Only for you, babe.”
“No, that’s you. I’m the narcissist.”
By now, I had regained my balance, and was now walking alongside him, my hands shoved into my pockets.
“So…” I started, trying to fill the awkward silence.
“Nope, my mom could though.”
“I can’t sew.”
“I never asked if you could sew.”
“Whatever you say, Riles.”
“Ew, Riles? That’s a horrible nickname. How would you like it if I called you Aidy?”
“Good point. I like Flirt so much better anyways.”
“You want me to call you Narcissus?”
“Sure, let me give you my number.”
He snatched my phone out of my pocket and started typing away.
When he gave it back to me, I saw his number under the name: “Random Hot Stranger”
“Random Hot Stranger? Seriously?”
“You were thinking it, I merely typed it out.”
“I was not thinking it!”
“You’re right. You were thinking mega super hot random stranger. My bad. Give me your phone and I’ll change it to the correct form.”
“I’ll let you see my phone if I can have yours.”
“Deal.” He whipped out his phone and put it in my hand.
I gave him my phone.
I smirked as I entered a new contact.
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore-
# 555-not a real number.com
“Here.” I handed the phone back to him, and looked at my own phone. He had taken his picture and set it as the contact photo. My phone suddenly started ringing.
I’m too sexy for my shirt… too sexy for my shirt… his contact photo popped up with the words. “Mega, Super Hot Random Stranger is calling”.
“Seriously? You even personalized your ringto—how’d you get my number?”
“Dude, you handed me your phone; I’m going to snoop in it to find your real number. Kudos on the fake one though. It was pretty epic…before I deleted it. Smile!” He snapped a picture of me, my mouth hanging wide open in disbelief. “Wow. Gorgeous, Riley, just gorgeous.”
“I thought I told you this already; hay is for horses.”
“Right when you do, babe, right when you do.”
“Riley?” Amber called out. I snapped to attention. I had momentarily forgotten that I was here with Danny and her.
“Where are you? We need to finish up the photoshoot.”
“Photo-shoot?” Aiden raised an eyebrow at me.
I sighed. “I’ll explain later. It was nice to meet you, Aiden.”
“Likewise, Flirt.” He winked at me. “Catch ya later.”
“Bye.” I walked through the door to see a giddy Amber.
“See! The Dating Department is working for you already!”
“That guy you were with! He was so hot!” She squealed.
I heard chuckling from the hallway, so I knew that Aiden had heard that.
“In his dreams.” I said loudly for his benefit.
“You know it, Flirt!” He called back.
Amber giggled, and I reddened slightly. “He already has a nickname for you?”
“Er, yeah. We were just messing around and—“
“You guys are so freaking cute!!!”
She quickly hugged me before shooing me back into my dress and onto the stage.
“Pout, Riley, pout!”
I grumbled, and groaned before pouting.