Excerpt: My Vampy Valentine
My Vampy Valentine
Rick Shilling to the Rescue, Story 2
"Other World Dating Service. Glampyra speaking. How may I help you?"
Lyra McCabe grabbed her cup of tea and sat at the kitchen table, turning her attention toward the phone. "I need a date for Valentine's Day." She clicked on the laptop in front of her. "I see you have a two-for-one deal for Valentine's Day?"
"Yes. You can get two dates for the price of one, but you have to date them in the same hour. Both dates."
That was odd. "I can't possibly do that."
Glampyra laughed. "That's why the bosses made the deal. It's to hook you in and make you pay full price." She gasped. "Oops. I forgot they're listening to this call. Forget I said that."
"No problem." Lyra didn't have much of a choice. She had to use this dating service, since she wasn't completely human. Her mom was from the planet Chocdoughno Seven, or Seven for short, so she considered herself half-alien. Other World Dating Service should take care of the problem for her, at least that's what she hoped.
If only she could be left alone in her life, but it wasn't to be. Her mother wanted her to date Prince Jasperon from Seven to strengthen some sort of diplomatic ties or something. The guy was a rinjie farmer, but living off his parents' fame. A rinjie was a type of cat that grew golden fur. All Jasperon had to do was collect hairballs every day and sell them on the open market. He wasn't poor, but lazy as anything. He'd do about five minutes of work, put the fur balls on their world's type of Internet, and within minutes, had made a million US dollars. Other than that, the guy had no motivation, cleaned out cat litter, and played video games all day long. In other words, he was a loser. Lyra was better off going to a dating service on Earth than deal with Prince Jasperon. Besides, he wasn't even remotely handsome. He looked like a cat if the lighting was right, and it was definitely right on the picture she'd seen. She'd also talked to him online and the guy made a cereal box look more animated.
Lyra felt the need to explain to this woman on the phone. "I have to find a date today. Mom wants me dating by Valentine's Day, or she'll fix me up with a cat rancher." Cats, rinjies, same thing.
"A cat rancher? Wow. That's a new one. Let me see what I can do to help you." Lyra heard clicking. "Well, I'm going to create an account for you to go online, as soon as you give me your credit card number. Or, you can do this yourself online."
Lyra trusted no one, but was desperate. "I'll do it myself. Thank you for clarifying the two-for-one deal."
"No problem. That offer ends on Valentine's Day in exactly one week, so you have just a short amount of time get in on something that great."
Great? Ridiculous. "No thanks. Have a nice day." Lyra ended the call and stared at the website. It was now or never. She had to sign up or endure Jasperon's cat tales. An involuntary shudder came over her, just thinking about it.
Lyra signed up, and then was faced with the page indicating the type of person she wanted to date. "Outer world, inner world, off-world or in world? What's that mean?" she said to no one.
The sliding glass door opened and Rick walked in. He rarely knocked, but just walked into her house if the door wasn't locked. He also had a key to her front door, but seemed to prefer her kitchen's sliding glass door. She usually didn't mind, because her home seemed so lonely, sterile, and huge. But right now, she didn't want him knowing what she was doing.
He fell into a chair at the table, seated across from her. "We have a new client."
"We do?" She lifted her eyes from the screen. "Who?"
"Our neighbor. Gladys Jenkins. She thinks we have some sort of weirdo in our home owners association."
Lyra kept working, filling in what she could to indicate who she might want to date. "Yeah? Who?"
"The guy living in the dark house at the end of the street. Gladys will pay us a thousand bucks if we find out the truth. Since she's on the homeowner's counsel, I couldn't say no. She knows what we do for a living."
"Good to know." But Lyra kept working, not even glancing at Rick.
"Are you even listening to me?"
"Uh-huh." But she couldn't care less.
All of a sudden, she felt a presence behind her. "You're being too vague. 'Employed' will get you some guy who cleans sewers for a living."
She covered the screen with her arm and turned to look at his face. "This is personal."
"I see that." He grinned. "So you're signing up for a dating service?"
He sat back down. "Your mom's on your case again?"
Lyra nodded. "She's fixing me up with Prince Jasperon if I don't find a date for Valentine's Day. I have one week, exactly. Next Saturday at this time, I could be dealing with Jasperon if I don't hurry."
Rick grimaced and sucked in a breath. "Rinjie boy? He smells like cat urine and looks feline. Rumor has it that he grooms himself with his tongue. You do realize that, right?"
She sighed. "At least. He's really no one I want to date. Ever. I met him over the Internet and he was boring with a capital B. Don't tell anyone, but I need to move on to someone from Earth so I can date them here."
Rick ran his hand over the table. "You know, there are single men right in your neighborhood."
Lyra rolled her eyes. "I'm not dating you. We're coworkers and that's the kiss of death if we date."
He sighed. "Fine. Have it your way, for now. Eventually, you're going to change your mind, but go ahead and play the dating game right now." He reached out and spun the laptop toward him. "What do you have so far?"
"Well, I want someone who's employed. I'm stuck and am thinking off-world."
"I don't think 'off-worldly' is what you think it is. I doubt they know they have aliens here."
"No? What else would you put if you want someone half-alien and half earthling?"
"Off-world." He chuckled. "Yeah, I know. It's stupid and really vague. Okay. Employed." He put both of his hands on the keyboard. "Let me help you with the rest. This is going to take me two minutes and I'll find someone wonderful to date. But you'll still want me after this wonderful man skips town."
"Then don't find me someone who'll skip town and I won't have that dilemma to deal with."
"Not to worry, dear Lyra. I'm going to find someone great, just for you." He chuckled and did a quick glance around her home before he got back to work. "Done." He turned the laptop back toward her. "Keep an eye on your inbox and see who responds. I think you'll find what you think is the man of your dreams, when he's really sitting right here in front of you."
She could only imagine what Rick had signed her up for. How bad could it be, after all?
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