Thursday, February 19, 2009
Featured Short Fiction: Internet Dating Secrets
Internet Dating Secrets - By Lisa Kessler
She stormed out of the restaurant, and down the sidewalk, yanking her jacket around as she jammed her other arm inside. She never should have agreed to meet someone she met over the internet, but no, her friends had all tried it and said it was fun.
Well not tonight.
Todd had seemed like her perfect match on the Komodo Island music message boards, and their first date had gone really well. They both enjoyed the same bands. He seemed funny and intelligent. Plus they'd already been emailing for a few weeks. She felt like she knew him.
Apparently it's tough to judge a person's character on a message board.
“Wait! Janet, wait up!”
With a drop-dead-you-jerk groan, she struggled to walk even faster, but in spite of her speed, he caught up and matched her stride.
“Please, let me explain.”
She stopped on a dime and glared up at him. “Look Todd, this was our second date. There's no need to explain anything. We don't have a relationship, so it's fine. I get it.”
“No, you really don't. Not quite all of it.”
He had gorgeous eyes. She had to give him that. But arriving at the restaurant only to find him cozying up with a tall blond in a short black skirt was too much. At least she found out what kind of guy he really was before she invested too much time in the relationship.
“Enough. You don't need to explain anything to me,” she said. “I saw it for myself. What I don't understand is if you weren't interested in me, then why did you ask me out again? Did you think it would be fun to embarrass me?”
“No, that was never my intention. I...”
“Well you did. I don't know why I'm even talking to you.”
“She's not what you...”
“Oh please! Don't tell me it's not what it looks like.”
His jaw clenched. “If you'd quit interrupting me, then I could explain.”
“Fine.” Janet crossed her arms. “Go ahead.”
He looked down the street, and took a slow deep breath. As he exhaled, the crisp night air turned his breath into a soft cloud of fog. Waiting for him to dream up a great lie was driving her nuts. She glanced toward the traffic light, following his gaze and frowned. The streets were empty. No cars passed by, no sounds of people talking or dogs barking. Where was everyone? The quiet surrounding them was almost palpable. Weird, she thought to herself as she ran her hands up and down her arms. Looking back up at Todd, a chill shot down her spine. The fog from his breath was taking shape. Shifting.
“How did you...”
“Shhh... I've got to concentrate,” he whispered.
Gradually he lifted his hand, his fingers tapping out an invisible melody in the air. Her jaw dropped when she heard the faint cry of a single guitar. Where was it coming from? The fog dipped until it looked like a small staircase, and finally she recognized the tune.
“It's Stairway to Heaven,” she said, glancing back up at him. “How...”
Sweat beaded up on his brow as his hand lowered back to his side and his eyes met hers. “I told you I was a Mage.”
“Yeah but,” She watched the stairs drift away into the night. “I thought you meant you were a computer gamer. You know, World of Warcraft or Ever Quest or... something.”
He shook his head with a hint of a smile. “Nope. I'm the real thing.”
Janet stared down the street. Noise was filling the silence as the magic disappeared with the music. It couldn't be real. Could it?
Todd took her hand in his. “I'm sorry if I scared you, but I wasn't sure you'd believe me if I didn't show you.”
“I'm not sure I believe even after you showed me...” Her words faded as she gave his hand a squeeze. “Your hand is like ice.”
“It takes a lot out of me to perform that much magic all at once. I'm still in training.”
Almost on cue, the tall leggy blond applauded and walked toward them. Todd stepped back with a smile. “Janet, I'd like you to meet Aria Dobson. I'm her apprentice.”
“Apprentice?” Janet asked, as she shook hands with Aria. “So you're his...”
“Mentor,” she answered. “Not his date. Sorry about the confusion.”
Janet blushed with a shrug. “That's ok. I guess I was jumping to conclusions, but in my defense, who would have ever believed...”
Aria laughed. “That he's magic? There are believers out there. Sometimes you just have to,” she glanced at Todd. “Open their eyes.”
With a crooked smirk, she snapped her fingers. All that was left was the echo.
Todd caught Janet’s hand and placed it in the crook of his arm. “So can we start over?”
She laughed. “You just made time stand still to serenade me with my favorite song. I suppose I could let you buy me dinner.”
“Good. Oh and Janet?”
“You can't tell anyone about this.”
She chuckled as she stepped through the door into the restaurant. “Who would believe me?”
Todd led her to the booth, and Janet picked up her menu with a smile. She had a secret to share too. Just wait until the next full moon...
Ms. Kessler's blog can be found here: