Wednesday, September 9, 2020

#ShortStory Series - The Day Dave Broke the Internet - 9

  

Dave didn't know he was lonely until his friends pointed it out. But when he gives in and tries an online dating site, something catastrophic happens - talk about a bad omen.

The Day Dave Broke the Internet
by Tara Tyler

RECAP 8:
Dave wondered if having Nathan behind him would help him overcome his unfounded trepidation. He had no idea what caused his body to behave so unreasonably around Sharon. And with such a negative physical reaction, he also couldn't understand why he was so drawn to her. His scientific curiosity drove him to continue his original directive. Surely he could use mind over matter. He swallowed his fear, determined to discover if all his bodily agonizing and concern was worth it.

But when he exited the basement, she was nowhere to be found.

9

Nathan tugged on Dave's sleeve. "So where to, superman?"

"Superman?"

"Yeah, you're going to save the world, right?"

"Uh, I guess. At least I'm gonna try."

Disappointed at losing the girl he hoped would change his life, Dave's shoulders dropped. But he had to keep going despite his sudden, unfounded depression. Her face would probably haunt him for all eternity. And then he would kick himself for being so dramatic. What was wrong with him?

They stepped out of the house and headed for Nathan's car.

"How are you going to save the world?"

Her voice played a poetic melody like a finely tuned harp. Could it be her?

Before Dave turned around, his stomach flip-flopped again. His outlook leapt from deepest despair to outright optimism. But this time he squelched the nausea and coached himself: Head over foolish heart. You can do this. It's just words.

He faced her. Sharon Baker's closeness and sparkling gaze almost made him falter, but he took a deep breath and held firm.

"Hi. I'm Dave." He was all business, no smile. He'd have to work on that later. He didn't want to scare her off, but he had to keep his woozy stomach under control.

Sharon smirked, giving Dave a chill. It was an energizing, tingley chill.

"I'm Sharon."

Nathan adjusted his glasses and cleared his throat.

"Hi, Sharon. This is my friend from work."

"Oh. Hello. Nathan, right? Are you guys leaving?"

"Well, we can't save the world if we're hiding in a basement." Dave knew that might be a little harsh if she was a believer, but he had to speak his mind. No games. Truth from the start. He felt a little better, despite his goosebumps.

Sharon nodded. "Good point."

Good answer. Another chill.

"Want to join us?"

Nathan stared at them with his mouth hanging open.

"Dave?"

"What?"

"What are you doing?"

"Hey, I'll take all the brainpower I can find."

Sharon smiled again. "I'd love to help you save the world."

Now Dave couldn't stop grinning. As he watched Sharon wave bye to her friends, his heart was beating out of his chest. He felt like he was about to cross the Grand Canyon on a high wire. And he'd probably do it if she asked him to.

Nathan scrunched his brow at Dave then shrugged. "Whatever."

They piled into Nathan's car. Dave felt compelled to let Sharon have the coveted shotgun, and sat in the back. He had to shove a heavy, black duffle bag over as he slid in.

"Nathan, what's in this thing?"

"Oh, that's my emergency bag. Two-way radios, an AM/FM radio, a couple of extra cell phones, a bull horn, batteries, protein snacks, water bottles, a flashlight, flares, blankets, an old lap top. Just a few things."

"So only the necessities."

"Right."

Sharon smirked at Dave, and he smiled back, feeling his cheeks warm up. Every time she paid attention to him, his brain got a jolt of electricity, and he had to remember how to think and speak.

Luckily, she switched her focus to Nathan. "Where's your wife? I thought she came with you to the meetings."

Nathan squirmed and frowned. "Kitty? Yeah. I'd rather not say."

Dave had a feeling he knew.

"What? Is she in a secret bunker?"

"Well, of course.  But only because I wouldn't leave until she went in."

Sharon tilted her head. "Why?"

"Um."

Dave would get it out of him. "Spill, Nathan. This could be the end of the world, right? Secrets turn friends into enemies."

"Geez. Fine. She's pregnant."

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