TEXT ME, CUPID // Episode 1, Scene 7
Previous: 1.1 // The Challenge 💘 1.2 // The Challenger 💘 1.3 // One Night Stand Gone Wrong
1.4 // Panties, Penises & Bank Vaults 💘 1.5 // The Negotiation 💘 1.6 // Cute, Fab In The Sack, Not Interested, Also, Psychic
ROUTINE TO THE RESCUE, SORT OF
Monday, December 18
Will never minded routine. Well, not quite true. Most of his life, he didn’t know what routine was, exactly—his early childhood was… disorganized. Yes. That was the gentlest euphemism. But when Niko introduced it to him—and boxing—when they met at AA, Will recognized routine for what it was immediately. A way to organize life. A way to anchor himself to sanity.
A way to keep himself from thinking about, and taking, that first drink. Thursday meetings. Boxing on Tuesdays and Sundays. Gym on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Running Club on Saturdays…
Routine kept him sane, routine kept him sober, routine kept him grateful, routine kept him alive. Routine kept him from strangling Amanda. Or fucking Rosie in the bank vault (although, fuck, that was a good fantasy).
Don’t think about fucking Rosie in the bank vault. Or her apartment.
Fuck. No. Don’t think about Florence.
Oh-my-fucking-god, penis, STAND. DOWN!
Routine kept him from thinking about Florence and her freckles 24/7.
He allowed himself to think about her in the morning, while he brushed his teeth. He made himself stop thinking about her while the blender whirred his breakfast protein shake. He did not think about her as he texted with his kids in the morning.
Fuck, he missed them.
He hated being a weekend dad.
Although—he looked down at his naked body—he did like being naked in the kitchen. Who knew? It turned out he was a closet nudist.
That made him laugh, and that made him think of Florence’s laugh, and that made him stop laughing.
Witch. Witch, witch, witch.
How did she know?
He ran over every detail of their first meeting in Cafe Blanca in painful detail. What did he say? How did he betray himself?
“Are you going to get a drink?”
He wasn’t. He didn’t. Didn’t. Even. Look. Was that… was that it? Was that enough?
Stop it. Don’t think about it, don’t think about Florence.
Think about the kids.
The kids missed him, too, but they liked the Daddy weekends, he could tell. He had never given them that kind of focused attention on weekends. There was always something—he tried not to bring work home too much on the weekend, but it happened. And if not work, then the boxing club, gym, or a marathon—or training for a marathon—or work dinner parties, or dinners or brunches arranged by Amanda. Yard work or family shopping for a new couch—Amanda liked shopping and redecorating, and she also liked it when they all four did things together, even if it was boring-ass shit like couch shopping.
And even when there weren’t other things, there was just the sheer exhaustion from the week’s work. “Daddy doesn’t want to play,” he’d say. Fuck, how many times did he say that, and how often now did he wish those words unsaid?
These days, from the minute he picked them up after school on Friday, he was theirs completely. Possibly excessively—Niko shook his head and disapproved the last time Will described to him his full-on weekend with the kids, which included a day trip to West Edmonton Mall’s Waterpark, a sushi dinner, an afternoon at the pool, a movie, and a trip to the Lego store.
“Kids don’t want a Disneyland dad, Will,” he said. “They just want a dad.”
“I get them for 48 hours out of every two weeks now,” Will said. “The occasional mid-week afternoon, at Amanda’s goodwill. I need to make the most of it.”
“There are other ways of making the most of it,” Niko said. He had two children himself, all grown up now, and six grandchildren. There was a picture on his phone screen of all six of them crawling over the mountain of a man that Niko was. Niko looked in heaven. And Will knew—Will knew what purpose that picture served, and why Niko pulled out his phone while they were eating wings and not drinking beer.
He never looked at his phone to check for texts. Only to look at that picture.
“There are other ways of making the most of it,” Niko said, pulling out his phone and looking at his screensaver. “But I won’t lecture you, man.”
That was what Will liked most about Niko, actually. He’d make his point. Always. But he’d never belabour it.
Like that night, six years ago.
Thought of Florence.
Then got angry.
Then saw—the paint-splattered T-shirt over her head. The quick unclasping of the pink bra. Those tiny delicious breasts, nipples as pink as her lips and her tongue.
The pink bra, laying on the table where she dropped it when he left.
Did she take it?
Routine kept Will from thinking about the bra—and Florence’s breasts—and her freckles—fuck, what was wrong with his head—24/7. It kept him from messaging her. It actually kept him from going on OKC to message someone else or to window shop for potential lovers, because he knew that was all a slippery slope to creeping her profile again, filling out the elusive dating site photographs with the details he now knew.
Like the freckles that did splatter her skin everywhere.
But he still thought about her a lot.
Which was how he ended up at Weeds Cafe at the end of the day.
What the fuck was he going to say?
“Hi,” he said to the barista behind the counter. The barista was bearded, pierced, and tattooed. Will pondered briefly what he’d look like in a beard. Did Florence like beards? Probably not, he decided. She didn’t look like she’d go for… he looked at the barista critically and realized he was examining him as Florence’s potential lover. Oh-my-god. What was wrong with him?
She was right.
He was obsessed and planning their wedding. Or at least… well, fantasizing about meeting three. Four.
For their one month anniversary, he’d take her to Cafe Blanca again and fuck her on a parked car. This time thoroughly. So thoroughly the police would come, and it would be embarrassing, but also hot.
Shut. Up. Brain.
His penis twitched to suggest that perhaps it was not the brain that was in control.
“Can I help you?” the bearded-pierced-tattooed barista said, and Will realized he was repeating himself.
“Sorry.” He shook himself. “Um. I was here last week. With a friend. She… we… this is a little embarrassing. We left a pink bra on the table…”
The barista laughed.
“Yeah, I got it,” he said. “She said you’d come back for it.”
“She left it here for you. She said you’d come back for it. I’ll go get it.”
Also, other things.
No, there was no other word for it. If she was here… Will closed his eyes.
“Here you go.” The barista handed him a ziplock bag. Pink bra.
“Do you have a pair of scissors I could borrow?” Will asked.
The barista shook his head.
“I mean, I do,” he said. “But she said you’d ask for a pair, and that I wasn’t to give them to you.”
“I heard you.” Will held the baggie. There was a piece of paper tucked into one of the cups.
Her phone number?
His heart made a loud, ridiculous thud, and his throat felt dry.
He reached in.
“Will, I’m sorry. I’m right. But I’m sorry.”
And that was all.
He dropped the note on the floor and left the cafe.
“Are you going to take the bra?” the barista yelled after him.
“You can keep it,” he snapped over his shoulder.
But when he made it to his car, he turned around and went back.
“You can keep the bra or toss it,” he said. “But… I do want the note.”
He fiddled with the note all day. Even as he logged onto OkCupid and made a last minute “Let’s meet for coffee after work, and see if we’re up for more” date with a gorgeous black-eyed, non-red-haired, non-freckled nurse whose real passion was her cello.
Fuck. You. Florence.
He tore up the note.
Taped it back up.
Tore it up again.
Get a grip, Will.
MERRY MESSY CHRISTMAS TO YOU!
Check out the full RELEASE SCHEDULE & Table of Contents for links to published scenes.
Of course, if at any point, you can’t take it any more and want to read ahead, one-click Messy Christmas or pre-order the full Text Me, Cupid series. In this case, I thoroughly approve of your desire for instant gratification. 😉
(And if you’re on-track and devouring all the novellas as they release–Saving Christmas is live!)
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