Imperfect Truth(7)

By: Ava Harrison

As if fate intervenes, my phone vibrates in my pocket. I open Facebook Messenger.

Ryder Matthews: Damn Amazon!

Ava Readsalot: What’s wrong???

Ryder Matthews: The usual, my preorder.

Ava Readsalot: Anything I can do to help?

As I type, I pick up a paisley printed prairie skirt and lift it up to show Jules. She shakes her head no and rolls her eyes. Guess not. My phone vibrates again in my hand.

Ryder Matthews: Post my link.

Ava Readsalot: That all?

Ryder Matthews: I can think of a few other things…

Ryder Matthews: ;)

I laugh to myself at his attempt to flirt. Why the heck not? Crossing the line sounds fun. Here goes nothing.

Ava Readsalot: Oh really…

Ryder Matthews: Yep.

Ava Readsalot: Care to elaborate?

Ryder Matthews: Nope.

Ava Readsalot: But now I’m intrigued.

Ryder Matthews: You know what they say…

Ava Readsalot: Hmm…What do they say?

Ryder Matthews: Curiosity killed the cat.

Ava Readsalot: Oh, are we talking about pussies now?

Ryder Matthews: SMH. You, Ava, are too much.

Ava Readsalot: Who me? What did I say ;-)

Ryder Matthews: You are trouble. Cute trouble, but still trouble.

Lost in thought and that delicious interaction that just took place, I don’t notice that Jules is staring at me.

“What are you laughing at over there?”

“What? Oh nothing, just a funny post on Facebook.”

“Must have been really funny. You’re beaming.”

“It was. Give me a sec.” I hold up one finger as I stare at my phone, trying to decide my next quip. As I start to type, the window indicates that Ryder is responding first.

Ryder Matthews: What are you doing today?

Ava Readsalot: Just shopping, maybe trying on dresses.

Ryder Matthews: Really??

Ryder Matthews: I wouldn’t mind spending my day doing that.

Ava Readsalot: You want to try on dresses? LOL.

Ava Readsalot: Is wearing women’s dresses your thing?

Ryder Matthews: Wow!

Ryder Matthews: No…I want to watch YOU try on dresses.

I start to type back, then erase, then I find myself staring blankly at my phone. A witty comeback is necessary, but my brain has been rendered useless. I settle for a simple…

Ava Readsalot: Oh.

Ava Readsalot: Why in the world would you want to waste your day doing that?

Ryder Matthews: Anytime with you would not be wasted. It’s a shame you think otherwise.

Ava Readsalot: This is strange don’t you think?

Ryder Matthews: What exactly?

Ava Readsalot: You. Me. Us talking…it’s strange.

Ryder Matthews: You’re going to have to elaborate here babe.

I shudder at the moniker. Something about him calling me babe has me flustered in the best way possible.

Ava Readsalot: I just mean we’ve never talked before and now we are talking all the time.

Ryder Matthews: Is that not ok with you? I don’t want you to feel awkward about talking to a colleague.

Ava Readsalot: You’re not a colleague. Lol

Ryder Matthews: Well we work within the same industry and networking is a good thing, right?

Ava Readsalot: So this is networking?

Ryder Matthews: This is definitely networking…but it’s also fun;)

Ava Readsalot: I think you’re the one who’s trouble Mr. Matthews.

Ryder Matthews: I like that…

Ava Readsalot:???

Ryder Matthews: You calling me Mr. Matthews.

Ava Readsalot: Lol would you prefer I call you Mr. Matthews? I kind of thought we were past the formal stage.

Ryder Matthews: We are.

Ava Readsalot: Well then wouldn’t it be strange if I started calling you Mr. Matthews…lol

Ryder Matthews: Ok, you’re right. In public you call me Ryder. In private I’m Mr. Matthews;)

Ava Readsalot: Good God, you are such a male. Lol

Ryder Matthews: You know it. I’m all male babe;)

I went from wanting to avoid all interaction with Ryder to anticipating and needing these exchanges between us. He just gets me somehow. He makes me feel alive. Every time we speak I feel like he unlocks another piece of me that I’ve hidden away for years. It’s scary yet such a rush. I feel like I have a friend in Ryder. A friend I desperately need.

Sliding my phone into my pocket, I turn my attention back to the store. Damn, this store is amazing. They have the coolest accessories I have ever seen. I pick up a metal studded clutch and realize the sales woman is already beside me, obviously chomping at the bit to make a sale.

“This bag is kind of fabulous. Jules, check this out.” Jules looks over at me and flashes her award-winning smile. When Jules smiles, all is right in the world.

“I’ll take the bag,” I affirm, turning to the sales lady. As I hand her the clutch, she beams, and I can see the excitement radiating off her. I bet I’m her first client of the day.

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