Although he didn’t get much sleep, Kevin got to work on time. As soon as the morning tea-break arrived, he was on his phone, checking his profile on the dating site. Eleven more matches to think about. He was excited, but still had another look at Alice’s profile, wondering if he would summon up the courage to send her a direct message later. He decided to tell Mr Reynolds that he had taken his advice. The older man smiled at Kevin’s excitement. “Be careful now, son. There are so many to choose from, so don’t go rushing into anything too soon now”.
The afternoon was a blur as he bolted together the machines in for repair, his actions done almost unconsciously, as if he was on auto-pilot. On the way home he bought pie and chips, yelling to his Mum as he went through the door. “No dinner for me tonight, Mum, I bought something. I’ll be up in my room”. He only ate half of the meal before he could stand the waiting no longer. Gulping down a can of Pepsi, he logged on to his account, and started to examine those new matches.
Some of them were very impressive. But Kevin thought at least ten of them might be out of his league, as they were a bit flashy, and almost too good-looking. The last one had a lot of facial piercings, so he deleted her immediately. Sitting back for a moment, he thought about what he would write to the chosen eight women. He would start with Alice, as she was the one that appealed to him the most. If she wasn’t interested, he would move down the list. He liked to have a plan, and thought this was a good one. But he hoped that Alice would respond, as he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her all day.
Bringing up her profile, Kevin opened the ‘Send Message’ link, and stared at the three photos. She was almost fragile to look at. Slim, short, and with a rather haunted expression. Her short hair suited her, and the big round eyes seemed to be looking right at him. Her skin was so pale it was almost translucent, and the smile seemed to come with some effort. There was nothing brash or confident about her gaze. He thought that was a face he could fall in love with. But what would he say to her? That would need more thought, and another can of Pepsi.
After deleting his first three attempts, he sat and read the fourth try. It would have to do. One last read, before he pressed ‘Send Message’.
‘Dear Alice. I have never been on any dating site before, but I have to say that I was really impressed by your profile, and your photos. You look like the type of young woman I would really like, and I hope that you feel the same about me when you get this, and see my own profile. I haven’t had a lot of experience with women, I admit that. But I am a nice person, at least I think so, and would be kind and caring too. I hope that you will message me back, so we can get to know each other better.
Kind regards, Kevin. x
He had thought long and hard about adding the kiss. Other messages he had seen on the site, public messages, had all been full of emoticons, beating hearts, even quite rude things. He settled for that one small kiss. More his style.
While he waited, he checked her profile again. She was 22, loved pets, liked reading books, and lived alone. Her location wasn’t specified, but he presumed it must be within his chosen area. Nothing much else about her, except her height of five feet three, dress size eight, and brown hair and brown eyes. Non-smoker, non-driver, and no religion preferred. Kevin worried about the reading books. He rarely read any books since leaving school, and hoped she wouldn’t be too mad on books and writers, as he knew next to nothing about literature. But he would be happy to listen to her talk about it, as he was a good listener. At least he thought he was.
The screen suddenly refreshed, and the website showed a dialogue box.
‘You have a new message! (1)’
Kevin’s stomach flipped as he saw it, but disappointment followed, when it wasn’t from Alice. It was a girl called Hayley, one of his eight choices. He opened the private message, and his face fell. She had added a photo of herself wearing a very low-cut vest, and there were massive tattoos all across her chest. They were dark and swirling, some sort of pattern, looking harsh against the white skin of her cleavage. He didn’t like that, not his thing at all. But he decided to read the message anyway.
‘Hi Kevin I C U added me as a match. That’s fab. Perhaps we could get together soon? U look nice. Lurve Hayley. XXXXXX’
He shook his head. The way she had written that, like a text message. And six big kisses, as well as writing ‘Lurve’ instead of ‘love’. He pressed ‘Discard’, not even giving her the courtesy of a reply. Kevin now realised that the profile wasn’t always to be trusted. He hadn’t expected that at all.
When he refreshed the screen, he had a new message. He felt the smile spread across his face as he clicked on it.
It was from Alice.