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By:Penny Wylder


I take a deep breath and study myself in the mirror behind the bar.  Okay, so he's 30 minutes late already. That's not necessarily a  deal-breaker. The MTA has been a shitshow lately. Maybe his train got  stuck. Maybe he got held up at work. Maybe …

Maybe he's not like every other asshole you've been out with this week?

I sigh and pull out my phone to scroll through his profile again.

"Rich, aka Dick," I read, scrolling through his photos. There's the  obligatory bathroom mirror selfie, complete with chiseled abs (albeit a  really bad choice since you can see the tile mold on the wall behind him  from this angle), one of him and some friends, who all have the same  buzz cut, so it's honestly pretty hard to tell which one is even him,  and then the usual headshot. In that one, he's holding a pint of beer  and grinning slyly at the camera, like he wants to fuck it.

The profile itself isn't exactly a winner. Gym, tan, and pay for someone  else to do my laundry, it reads, with a little winking face.

So, okay, maybe I only swiped right because of that grin. Sue me. This  new app has been bringing in the same undateable guys as all the others  I've tried-despite the fact that at least four of my coworkers raved  about how different this one was, how the guys were such high quality. I  figured if I had to go on another bad date, at least it could be with a  hottie.

But now karma's being a bitch, and it looks like I'm about to get stood up. Again.

I slide my drink across the bar and sigh at my reflection as the  bartender refills my glass. I look smoking hot tonight. All that effort  for nothing.

I review my recent candidates. There was the programmer last month who  told me in great detail about how he "games the game." In this case,  what he meant was he hacked the codes behind the app and programmed it  to send him pictures of only the most popular chicks. I guess I should  be flattered that I was included, but I was mostly creeped out by his  obsession with algorithms and finding the hottest (mathematically  proven, of course) girlfriend. "It's why I always end up dating chicks  way out of my league," he explained with a wink. Then he proceeded to  show me photos of his most recent ex.

"She is very hot," I agreed, silently adding, and how on earth did she decide to sleep with you?

After that date, there was the professional body-builder who spent most  of the date trying to sell me into his protein-smoothie pyramid scheme.  Did I mention said date was a happy hour for his protein-smoothie  business? Then came the insurance salesman who got a little too detailed  talking about life insurance schemes-Double Indemnity red flags, much?

There was the finance bro who bought me one drink, then invited me back  to his place …  And when I declined, he complained so loudly about the  expense of the drink he'd bought me that I frog-marched him to the  nearest ATM, took out cash, and threw a twenty in his face. I mean,  first of all, do I look like a hooker? And second of all, if I were a  hooker, I would cost a lot more than one crappy martini at a Wall Street  after-work bar.

Which brings me here. Tonight. Waiting on yet another guy who will …


I look up to find the bartender returning my card. "What's wrong, was it  declined?" Shit. I paid this one off last month. It definitely still  has room on the balance.

"No, miss. It's just that the gentleman on the far end has covered your tab."

I glance down the bar to find Mr. Shirtless Bathroom Selfie himself lifting a glass in my direction.

Okay, so maybe he's not the worst. There could still be hope.

I pick up my drink and head down the bar to meet him. "Rich?"

He leans in for the cheek kiss/one-armed hug and I awkwardly shuffle my  drink to avoid spilling it down his shirt front. "It's Dick, actually.  Rich was my dad's name."

Probably should have stuck with it anyway, I think unfairly, as I take  the bar stool beside him. "Dick. I'm Clove." Not like I have room to  talk anyway.

"Also a family name?" He stays standing beside me, leaning against the  counter. His knee brushes mine, in a not entirely unpleasant way. At  least, at first.

"Nope, one and only." I lift my glass in a mocking toast.

He taps his to mine, eyes sharp and zeroed in on me. "Oh, I can see that."

"Should we get a table or … ?"

He shrugs and leans on the back of my stool. He's so up in my personal  space that if I try to lean backward, I'll land in the lap of the woman  beside me. It's hard to even lift my drink to take another sip because  his chest is pressed against my whole right side. I switch hands and  lean on the bar instead, trying to put some breathing room between us.  His knee, meanwhile, is nearly crushing my leg.         



"I'm good here," he says. He glances over my head at the selection. "Besides, not like we'll be here long."

You could say that again. I clear my throat, resist the urge to bolt off  of this stool here and now. There is no man hot enough to make up for  the way his breath smells either, like stale beer and sour cream and  onion potato chips. "Busy day at the office?" I ask, following his gaze  mostly so I can turn away from him.

He leans harder against my leg. My toes tingle, starting to go numb.  "Huh? No, I had the day off. Just got back from the beach. Hey,  bartender?" He snaps his fingers. Actually snaps them, until the  bartender glances back at us and, with an apologetic glance in my  direction, heads our way.

"One more scotch on the rocks," Dick says, and now I can see why he prefers this version of his name. It really suits him.

That task done with, he turns to me and brushes my hair back over my shoulder. "So, Clove … "

Realizing that I can't keep staring at the bar forever, I turn to face him, trying on a smile.

"Damn you're gorgeous. You get that often?"

"I, uh …  Thanks, I guess."

"How about we get out of here, huh? Enough small talk for one night, am I right?" He winks at me.

Enough small talk being what, all five sentences we've exchanged? I suck  in a deep breath. Mm, l'eau onions. "Listen, Dick, you seem really nice  and all … "

"Of course, so let's skip the boring part and head straight to my  place." He downs the second scotch he ordered in one large gulp, then  catches my arm.

"It's been a really long day for me, actually-lot going on at work. I'm just going to head home."

"That's cool, we can go to yours." He leans in, brushes my hair back  from my forehead, and we're suddenly way too close, only inches between  us.

I execute a tricky side twist off the barstool to grab my purse. "I  think I'm just going to head back alone. Thanks for the drink."

"Seriously?" His expression shifts now. I don't know if it's the drink  or the rejection that's injuring his frail masculine ego, but either  way, I don't like the look in his eye. "Wait, wait, wait, Clove." He  catches my hand in his. His grip is strong. Too strong. "We got off on  the wrong foot. Let me make it up to you." With a single tug, he pulls  me closer and leans over me, eyes intent on my face. "It's just, I  didn't expect you to be so …  You know. Hot. From your profile, you  sounded like a book nerd, so-"

I wrench my hand from his with effort. "Dick, I have to be honest, I'm  starting to understand why you prefer that nickname." I shoulder my  purse. "I'm leaving."

"Don't be like that! Come on, we can have some fun."

"Goodbye, Dick." I stride past him, out of the bar.

Of course he jogs after me.

"At least let me call you a cab," he insists.

"I'm fine on my own, seriously." But he ignores this and jogs ahead of  me to the corner. He flags down a tax, and I watch him lean in the  window talking to the guy. God only knows what he's saying.

He opens the back door of the cab for me, but I hesitate, looking over my shoulder.

"You take this one, I'll call another," I say. But a glance up and down  the street shows there won't be another cab for quite a while-Wall  Street tends to be dead at this hour.

"I insist." Dick holds the door open a little wider.

With a sigh, I climb in.

He keeps the door open, blocking it with his thigh. "You know, if we go  to mine, I can fuck you properly, Clove. It's been a long time since  anyone's bent you over, hasn't it?" He smirks.

It has, actually, but he doesn't need to know that. "Thanks for the  offer." I yank on the door handle, trying to close it. That proves  futile with him in the way, but hey, it's worth a shot.

"You aren't gonna get a better one." He leans down and I get another  strong whiff of onion breath. "A girl like you should be jumping at the  chance to let a guy like me bone her."

I cast a glance at the front of the taxi, but the driver is studiously  ignoring this conversation, deeply concentrating on the one in his own  wireless headset. "Again, I said thank you but no thank you." I tug on  the door, hoping against hope that Dick will finally let this drop.