Home > The Introvert's Guide to Speed Dating

The Introvert's Guide to Speed Dating
Author: Emma Hart

 

CHAPTER ONE – LONDON


RULE ONE: STOP TELLING PEOPLE HOW MUCH YOU HATE PEOPLE.

 

“All right, guys, it’s time to move on to your next date!”

I almost sighed in relief as the guy in front of me moved on. He was most definitely not the kind of guy I could take home to my son.

That was the problem with speed dating.

The chance of me actually meeting anyone I would get along with was slim.

So why was I here, speed dating, you ask?

It was a favor to my aunt. After the whole blind date success thing earlier this year on Valentine’s, she’d decided that she wanted to have semi-regular events at the bar.

Speed dating was one of them.

And it sucked.

Partially because I wasn’t that great at dating—the small human I’d birthed several years ago was a bit time consuming—and partially because my cousin was in charge.

I couldn’t believe she’d been in a relationship for almost a year. Sebastian Stone had the patience of an absolute saint to put up with Holley’s slightly neurotic ways, because I’d been with her half an hour, and I wanted to throw her binder at her.

The next guy sat down in front of me. He was cute, if a little young for me, but he had kind eyes and a nice smile, so I’d play along.

Play along I did, for the whole two minutes I had with Mr. Babyface over here.

Two more guys I felt zero attraction to followed him, and after that, a break was called. I escaped my seat and beelined for Holley, who was talking to her mom, my aunt Jasmine.

“I’m leaving.”

She turned when I tapped her arm. “No! You can’t.”

“I have to relieve my sitter. Piper needs Felicity in early in the morning so I promised I wouldn’t stay out late. Besides, Leo has soccer practice after school tomorrow so I have a long day.”

“One more round. Please?”

“I can’t. Holley, there’s absolutely nobody here I’d go out with.” I shrugged and zipped up my coat. “I’m sorry. I really do need to go.”

“Let her go,” Aunt Jasmine said, touching her shoulder. “Thanks, London. I really appreciate it. We’re doing it again on Friday, so will you come then?”

I hesitated. “I can’t keep paying Felicity. The paper isn’t exactly paying me spectacularly just yet.”

“Which is horse crap considering you’re basically the editor.”

“Well, as long as Ebony is still there, she’s picking up the wage, even if I’m doing most of her job.” I stuffed my hands in my pockets. “So there’s not a lot I can do about it.”

“Anthony will watch him,” Aunt Jasmine offered. “He loves spending time with Leo. Last time he saw him he moaned at me for twenty minutes that I’d never birthed a boy for him.”

I fought back a laugh. “Does he know that’s down to his swimmers?”

“How do you think I got him to shut up?” She grinned.

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure. He won’t mind at all. He’ll come to your house, too.”

I sighed. “Okay, fine. But it’s the last time! I’m not doing it again after that.”

Holley’s eyes glittered. “Okay. I’m finding you a date, I swear. Piper, too.”

“Piper will not be amused.”

“Piper is never amused. It’s fine.” She waved her hand dismissively and looked over my shoulder. “If you need to go, go. Someone else in the bar will step in for you. Before I change my mind.”

I didn’t need to be told twice.

I darted out to the parking lot and got into my car, then quickly texted Felicity that I was on my way home. It was only the second time she’d babysat for me, but she got on really well with Leo.

It probably helped that she always came armed with donuts from the bakery.

If there was one way to my son’s heart, it was a road paved with fresh donuts.

Come to think of it, that was a road to mine, too.

It didn’t take long to get home. It was definitely a perk of living in a small town—I didn’t miss the traffic of the city at all. I was grateful for my time there. If I’d stayed in White Peak I wouldn’t have my journalistic experience or my son, but now was definitely the right time to come back.

Especially since Leo’s dad didn’t even live in the state anymore. He’d been the only reason I’d stayed away as long as I had.

I sighed and pulled into the driveway. All the lights were off except the living room and the upstairs bathroom, which meant Leo was either asleep or he was on the toilet.

I sincerely hoped it was sleeping.

I was out of air freshener, and boys were gross.

I let myself into the house and called out to Felicity. “It’s only me!” I walked into the living room and found her sitting cross-legged on the sofa in her pajamas, watching Schitt’s Creek. I grinned.

“Hi, London!” She waved at me, eyes fixed on the TV. “Wow, this show is so good.”

“I told you.” Laughing, I shrugged off my coat. “Is Leo in bed?”

“He sure is. He was asleep when I checked on him ten minutes ago.”

“Goddamn it, you’re good. If you ever need to run away from home, you can come and stay with me.”

Felicity laughed, and her beautiful curly hair bounced when she shook. “Do you mind if I finish this episode before I go home? There’s only ten minutes left.”

“You carry on. I promised Piper I’d be home early, and I am. Oh, before I forget.” I reached into my purse and pulled out thirty dollars for her. We’d agreed on twenty—she hadn’t been here even two hours—but she’d gotten my kid to sleep.

That was a bonus right there.

“Are you sure?” she asked as she took the money.

“Is my child asleep?” I winked at her. “Would you like a drink or anything before you go?”

She shook her head. “No, thanks. I’m fine. I’ll just finish this episode and get out of your hair.”

“I’ll be in the kitchen if you need me.” I smiled and bowed out, leaving her to finish the fourth episode of season one.

I hesitated in the kitchen. It was too late for coffee, I didn’t want tea, and I couldn’t decide if it was too late to open a bottle of wine or not. I hadn’t been drinking all night—and I didn’t drink a lot unless I didn’t have to wake up for Leo, which was rare.

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