Wasted Words

By: Staci Hart

I imagined her looking up at him and smiling, then him moving down to talk to her. Then he’d ask her out, they’d exchange numbers, and she would blush sweetly. They’d go to dinner, talk about books and life, he’d kiss her in front of her door. And then marriage and babies and the whole lot.

I sighed dreamily.

Batman could have had a solid shot at The Reader with nothing more than a breath of self-confidence, but that was always the trick. He didn’t have any, and neither did she. Which was where I came in.

My roommate, Tyler, chuffed at me. “Leave them be, Cam.”

I narrowed my eyes at him playfully. “Don’t tell me what to do, Tyler.”

He laughed and shook his head, and all I could do was smile across the bar at him. Tyler sat in the seat he always took, near the back of the horseshoe bar where he kept me company at work. He was six feet, six inches of absolute man with friendly, warm eyes, a smile like stadium lights, and a jaw that was straight out of an Abercrombie ad. I freaking hate Abercrombie, but I’d buy everything they sold if Tyler were on the billboard in his underwear.

What a catch, right? Thing was, his fish and my fish didn’t even live in the same pond. No, his pond was full of cheerleaders and beauty queens, models and girls who also belong on Abercrombie ads and … I don’t know. Not me, that was for sure. Don’t get me wrong — I wasn’t butthurt about it or anything. It was just one of those facts of life. Nerdy girls wearing flannel and Death Star T-shirts brandishing the quote That’s no moon don’t date gorgeous ex-tight ends. They date video game testers and baristas who moonlight at Magic: The Gathering tournaments. Guys who blow their money on cosplay outfits and PC upgrades.

I smiled and jerked my chin toward the two, guiding my thoughts back to things I could change. “Look at them. They’d be so sweet together.”

“You don’t know that. Maybe he’s abusive.”

I snorted. “Yeah, right. I’m pretty sure she could take him.”

He smirked and picked up his beer. “I’m just saying. You don’t know anything about them.”

“Not true, I know at least a little bit. Look, she has ink on her fingers, so I’m betting she’s an artist of some sort.”

“Maybe she sells newspapers.”

I gave him a flat look. “No one buys newspapers anymore.”

Tyler eyed me, amused. “There’s no way you’re right.”

I hung my hand on my hip. “Really? Should I remind you of Jane and Charlie?”

“No, really, Cam. You shouldn’t.”

But I did anyway. “If it weren’t for me, they would never have gone on their first date, which means they never would have gotten married, which means they wouldn’t have their adorable babies who I’m the honorary aunt of. They hated each other, Tyler. Hated. And now they’re the happiest people I know, all thanks to me.”

He shook his head again and tipped his beer toward me. “And thus began your crusade to make matches for everyone you meet.”

“Yes, it did. Because if I can make two people as happy as Jane and Charlie are? That’s what it’s all about.”

“But I still believe in the old fashioned idea of letting people decide who they want to date.”

“But what if they do want to date, but they just don’t know it yet?” I asked emphatically.

“It’s a sick hobby, Cam,” he joked.

“It’s so satisfying. Like peeling a sunburn.”

He made a face, but he still laughed.

“Oh, or watching power washing porn.”

“What?” His lip curled.

“You’ve never seen it?” I pulled out my phone, chuckling. “Oh, man, are you in for a treat.”

He glanced around. “Are you sure I should be looking at porn?”

I rolled my eyes and handed my phone over. “It’s not actual porn, it’s just gifs of people power washing stuff. Like before and after.”

He watched it for a second before humphing. “How about that. It is really satisfying.”

“Told you. Just like I told you that girl’s an artist.”

He didn’t look convinced.

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