Bad Girl Gone GoodBy: N. Franko
“Whatever. They’re just squiggles.”
“You don’t give yourself enough credit. You’re a good artist. You should worry less about me going to college and think about going to art school.”
I laughed at his idea. “You’re the brains of the family. You’re the one with the future here. My job is to make sure you get there but it won’t happen if you keep dealing.”
“Sis, you need to stop worrying. I’m out of high school now and technically an adult. I appreciate everything you’ve done for me but you’re done. You don’t have to take care of me anymore.”
“Yes, I do. My job isn’t done until you graduate college and get a job making more than minimum wage.”
I counted the money he handed me. It was enough to cover all the rent for the month. I sighed in frustration as I walked over to our small kitchen area and reached under the sink. I pulled out Colin’s jar of the college fund and stuffed the money inside. What else was I supposed to do?
Katelyn, the hot blond across the table, had been talking for half an hour about what, I couldn’t tell you. Not because I was too busy staring at her boobs—although I had glanced down a few times, I’ll admit—but because I couldn’t follow what she was saying. First, she went on and on about her shoes, which turned into a story about her getting her hair done at the salon with a bunch of people she assumed I knew but I obviously didn’t. She was criticizing Kristina (whoever that was) and her beach hat.
“All I’m saying is that if you’re going to wear a hat to the beach, at least make it match your bag, ya know?”
“Totally,” I lied. A breath. Finally. Here was my chance to change the subject. “So what books are you into?”
She looked puzzled for a second then scoffed. “Books? You know they have this thing called the Internet, right?”
I waited a few seconds before laughing because I wasn’t sure if she was serious. When she didn’t laugh with me, I stopped and awkwardly swirled the last of my beer in its bottle. She pulled out her phone and began to text someone, probably about how badly this date was going. I needed a way out of this. She would not be The One for me, not even for the night. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll bang a hot, dumb blond any day, but I would like her to have a brain at least. Serves me right for chatting up the first girl I saw at the bar.
“So….” She said looking up from her phone. Her eyes darting this way and that and I knew she was thinking about bailing. I could feel my phone buzzing in my pocket and I took it out. John’s name flashed across the caller ID. Work. Perfect.
“Sorry, I have to take this. It’s a work call. It was nice meeting you,” I said and answered the phone. Well, that was easy. “Hey John, how’s business?”
“We need to talk,” he said, his tone more grim than usual.
“We’re talking right now,” I said.
“You know what I mean. Can you meet me at the office?”
Uh oh. Office? I haven’t been to the office in ages. “Sure. What’s this about?”
“Just get here.” He hung up before I could get anything more out of him.
John was usually on the grim side, but I attributed this to the fact that he was happily married with kids. Besides, he had to be at the office all day. I told him he worked too hard but his response was usually “well someone has to” and left it at that. I didn’t understand why he bothered going in to the office at all but then I remembered that he was married with kids. I swear he goes in just to get away from them.
We sold our little start-up almost a year ago. It’s a dating site you might have heard of called eLove. Yeah, we built it and sold it for millions. All of your dates on Saturday night are thanks to yours truly. I realize that not everybody can be as smooth with the ladies—or gentlemen—as I am. With my brains and John’s business sense, we brought love, or at least a fun one-night stand to the masses. We’re basically Cupids. I’m nothing if not a romantic.
Actually, I wrote the algorithm for the dating site for myself because—surprise, surprise—I was a nerd. I hate to admit it, but I was kind of socially awkward kid who grew into a socially awkward man. Until we sold eLove, that is. John and I became millionaires over night and suddenly, women loved me. It’s funny how that happens.