Welcome to “So You Want To…” the series where I give you outfits and *~*lewks~*~ for things like: time of year, random event, vibe, energy!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I have more mini fiction novels for you! These aren’t the main characters you’ve come to know and love over the past year, but a new generation of 2022 protagonists, because honestly, I wrapped up our old friends so well that I didn’t want to disrupt their life ! And honestly, as a famous bachelor, writing about couples on Valentine’s Day… I disagree. Let’s get into cute dating, cute dating, and of course, fashion!

The Jet Setting musician who won’t let anyone in

It was just two days, that’s what you told your manager. After a whirlwind tour and three award shows, you only needed two days to write and catch your breath. Not serious. Totally reasonable. Erik caved in the end, like you knew he would, and while he was pissed that you were skipping the Interview magazine article, keeping you happy was better for him in the long run. His bank account too.
In retrospect, your insistence on driving home alone in Palm Springs might not have been the smartest choice you ever made. You’d had fantasies of wind in your hair and bright sunshine, but luckily the sky opened up the second you shot the 10. You pressed it down a bit, then let out a sigh. There was a rest area right out front, you hadn’t driven in a while, and you couldn’t tell Erik that this two-day break was therapeutic if you ended up in the hospital.

The tension in your shoulders eased when you parked, and you waited for a break in the rain for as long as your bladder could hold. Ultimately, you’d rather risk getting wet than relive the days before — riding around in a van with a band of musicians with no showers and peeing in bottles. Lowering your head, you jumped out of the car and ran like mad for the bathroom.

You hadn’t noticed you’d forgotten your usual disguise—hair up, sunglasses—until you bumped into someone and watched their eyes light up in recognition. “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” she asked, cracking a smile.

The panic in your eyes must have given you away, she lowered her voice. “Sorry, that was stupid, I just – it never happens to me, but I won’t bother you, I promise.” The dimple on his cheek deepened.

You ignored the little buzz of attraction at the base of your neck and smiled back.

“I owe you one.”

The shy bookseller who thinks no one sees her that way

“I’m not too picky,” you breathe as you walk past another person. “I just know what I like.”

“Did you know that only difficult people bother to say they’re not difficult? Carmen rolled her eyes and snatched your phone from your hands. “Let me do a little, I’m very good at sliding for my friends.”

“We are not friends, I am your boss.” You tried to think so, but Carmen was laughing before you even finished speaking.

“Oh that’s sad. So deeply sad. Lying to each other like that. No wonder you can’t get a date. They crumpled up their noise looking at your phone. “Mmm, no…no…oh my God, absolutely not.

“See! It’s not me! I’m not the problem! You sigh as you slump against the counter. “Besides, it’s not like my life is empty, I have the store, and my nieces, you and Jordan. I don’t need to complicate this with dates.

“Friends now, right?” Carmen shook her head and returned your phone. “Okay, I agree that the apps might be a little dark, but I’m not giving up hope. I’m going to start preparing for the author’s talk tonight, and you… just try to look approachable. You never know who might come in!

“You are a wonderful friend and employee,” you called after they returned from retirement. “But I don’t have a date anytime soon!”

The store door creaked open and you turned around, preparing a cheerful greeting that died in your throat when you saw them. Tall, with even white teeth that gleamed as they smiled at you, locs brushing broad shoulders. Strong hands. He wasn’t someone you would walk past.

For God Sake.

The CEO who’s too busy to even think about dating, are you kidding?

Left to right: Button-down satin dress: J.Brooks ($40) // Margot velvet blazer: rag & bone ($353) // Leather block heel ankle boot: Nordstrom Rack ($120) // Tote bag – all tied up: Madewell ($168)

All in all, you handled the news very well. Yes, it was a surprise that your long-time clients thought of “changing direction” and wanted to hire another company to compete for a bid on this project, and yes, you enjoyed a brief, vivid fantasy to very physically wipe the smirk off the chairman of the board’s face, but really, you had handled it like a pro.

It wasn’t until you stopped in the bathroom and saw her that you almost lost control. Because of course the other company they had brought was his. She’s been your backbone since college, vying for the top spot in class, internships, and job offers. If you had known that the new management team was planning to make a change, you would have been prepared to see it. But it wasn’t, so when she looked up from the sink, she met your gaze and smiled, your jaw clenched and your fists involuntarily clenched at your sides. The insult of having to compete for a client you’ve had for years, versus her.

She chuckled as she dried her hands, prolonging the moment, clearly relishing it. “Well,” she said, tossing her heavy jet-black hair over her shoulder. “I imagine that must be a blow to your considerable ego.” She had a perfect gray streak at her temple since college, she shone when she caught the light.

You smiled in response – although in all honesty, it was more like showing your teeth. “My ego is always up for a little competition. Isn’t it yours?

Another laugh, before she bends down to touch up her lipstick. “I think you know that.” Satisfied with her appearance, she lowered her head as she walked past you. “May the best woman win.” One last smirk and she was gone, only a hint of her scent remaining. It smelled both flowery and salty, like the gardens of a house by the sea.

Not that you noticed. Or cared about something other than getting that offer. Because that was the only thing that mattered, not her perfume, her hair or her smirk. Only work.

Just win.

The Heartbroken Addicted Professional Soccer Player

You usually didn’t spend much time in bars. Your training schedule was too demanding and nothing seemed less appealing than a football field after too many tequila sodas. But you had nothing planned tonight, none of your usual dates were scheduled, and you felt too excited to sit in your apartment and watch TV.
At first you thought you were going for a walk, but the little bar around the corner looked inviting, and maybe a drink would take that edge off, and you could go home and fall asleep. It wasn’t crowded, just crowded, but you managed to snag a stool at the far corner of the long bar, tucked against the wall.

After sitting for about five minutes you realized it wasn’t regularly busy, but the kind of harried busyness that made you feel understaffed. You had done the service industry thing in college, and you weren’t in a hurry, so you snuck up against the wall and opened up a random dating app, swiping right without paying too much attention to it. Warning.

“Sorry for the wait, what can I get you?” A happy but tired voice snapped you out of your runaway state. You looked across the bar into smoky gray eyes, wisps of curls trying to escape a hastily thrown bun, and smiled. Good Hello the.

“No worries”, you said easily. “Looks like you’re a little shorthanded tonight.”

“Nothing I can’t handle.” They fired back, a bit arrogantly. Hot.

“Well, if you’re sure you don’t need another pair of hands over there…” you trail off, letting the implication linger.

The tips of their ears turned red. “We’re fine, what can I get you?” There was a popping sound in the narrow hallway that one guessed was going to the kitchen, quickly followed by swearing. They tensed and started drumming their fingers on the bar, clearly eager to see what was happening.

“The offer still stands,” you said. “I was a bartender for six years, it’s not going away.”

They bit their lip as the swearing increased. Maybe a full fight now. “Just – just a second, so I can see what’s going on?”

You were up and sliding behind the bar by the time they finished talking. “I get it. I promise,” you said, nodding at the guy in front of you who beckoned for an IPA project. It was clean and tidy here, it wasn’t difficult to find a glass and draw the beer.

“Okay, I…I’ll be back in a second.” Thank you.” They rushed down the hall without sparing you a backward glance.

It was probably crazy, but you’ve done crazier things for cute people before, and honestly, it was a better way to get that weird jitters out than getting drunk and texting someone that you would regret in the morning. Much less predictable. Someone waved at the other end of the bar and you went to work, still thinking of those smoky eyes and the way their necks flushed when you stood near them.

No, tonight was not at all predictable.

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