Top Level by eacomiskey

665 48 12

"What in the world am I supposed to wear?" I asked.

"Hold on." Tatiana bounced up off my king size bed and disappeared into my closet. "You have to be who you are. You're a big time executive, right? So you're smart and powerful. But you're only twenty four, so you're still playful and young. And you founded a company that builds equipment used by every rock band on the radio, so you're clearly a little bit edgy." She reappeared with an armful of clothes. "Here," she said, laying the items out on the bed, one at a time. "Black skirt. Smart and powerful. Bright red shirt and heels. Playful and young. Leather jacket. Edgy."

I didn't even know I owned a bright red shirt and I hadn't worn that skirt since I begged the bankers for start up money three years ago.

Tatiana rolled her eyes at me. "Seriously, Kate. Just wear the clothes. You know a sense of fashion is the one and only thing I have that you don't."

It was undeniable.

"OK," I agreed. "But if this date sucks I'll never forgive you." The whole thing had been her idea. She's the one who'd convinced me I'd been working too hard and needed a night on the town. She's the one who registered me on She even picked the guy.

"Look at this one!" She'd said. "Top level male. Worth millions. Works eighty plus hours, guaranteed. He sounds perfect for you. He's as rich as you, so you know he's not in it for the money. And he works just as much as you, so you know he won't be all weird and clingy."

"Let me see the graphic," I insisted.

She turned the screen toward me. He wasn't a movie star, but he was solid. His dark skin was smooth, his hair cropped short. He was clean shaven, and he had a nice smile with straight, white teeth. His brown eyes looked clear and intelligent. Nothing about him screamed, 'serial killer.'

"How can I be sure he's not a serial killer?" I asked.

My best friend rolled her eyes at me. "Do you have any idea the background checks required to even be listed on a site like this?"

"I never agreed to a background check," I said.

"Yes you did. You just don't remember me clicking the authorization button while you weren't in the room."

I'd finally caved and let her give him a green light. Almost instantly, he'd responded with a date and time. I was stunned to see that it was the one night that month when it would actually be OK for me to schedule a social meeting.

And now the moment was upon me. And I was wearing a skirt. Lord have mercy.

The knock came on the door at exactly 7:00pm.

"Dang!" Tatiana said. "He's prompt."

"Score a point for the serial killer," I said. I pressed the button on the interface and the pleasant face I remember appeared before me. "Hi. I'll be right down," I said.

He smiled. "I am looking forward to seeing you in person."

I tried to smile, made a weird grunting noise that I hope he took as agreement, and switched off the interface. "I can't do this, Tatiana. I can't. I won't. I don't date. I program. I market. I direct. I don't date."

She rose and pushed me toward the door. "Go. Figure out how to act like a human, for heaven's sake. Coding isn't going to keep you warm at night."

And then I was in the elevator.

Why do I let her get me into these situations? I should just apologize and cancel. If I go back up now, I'll still have time to read all of the sales analysis reports before I go to bed.

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