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A Date for the Goose Girl: A Middleton Prep Novella by Laura Ann (1)

Lucy Gosling sat still as stone while her finger hovered over the ‘submit’ button on her keyboard. Her heart raced, her breathing was shallow and she felt sweat forming at her temples.

Come on Luce, you can do this.

For the last several months, Lucy had watched her best friends slowly pair off, each finding their own happy ever after, leaving Lucy behind. Since Piper, Charlotte and Rory had all found their men at the school all of them taught at, it left Lucy feeling even more like a third wheel.

The breaking point had come when Piper, who was like a sister to Lucy, had been proposed to in the staff lunch room today. Although Lucy was happy for her friend, she was lonely.

Grading papers and managing school dances just doesn’t cut it anymore.

She wanted love. She wanted companionship. She wanted what everyone else seemed to be finding ... except her.

A fellow teacher, Ruby, had told Lucy about an internet dating site that she, herself, was using. FindYourFairyTale.com  No pictures or names were exchanged in order to help people find a deeper connection. Plus they matched you with people as close as possible to your local area, so no one had to work out a long distance relationship.

Am I really this desperate? Ugh! She banged her head on the desk she was sitting at. Yes, Lucy. Yes you are. Just do it! With a quick jab, she hit the key and sent off her dating resume.

It’s going to be okay Luce. It’s going to be okay. This could be the start of something really awesome! Her pep talk didn’t work and Lucy found tears filling her eyes. Why can’t I just meet someone kind and intelligent at work? I’m at a school for heaven’s sake! It seems like it shouldn’t be that hard! She wiped at the tears dribbling down her cheeks. Probably because all the good ones are taken. Lucy sighed and pushed back from the computer, refusing to dwell on the situation.

*****

A WEEK LATER, LUCY scrolled through her emails, only to stop in shock. An email from FindYourFairyTale.com lay in her inbox. ‘You’ve got a response!’, glowed at her from the subject line. Nerves and excitement fought for dominance in her system as she slowly moved the cursor to open the email.

L.G.,

I read your profile thing and thought we might fit good.

It’s a good thing you have a job, cause I

Prefer to stay home. To tell you—

“You’ve got to be kidding.” Lucy stopped reading and immediately pressed the delete button. “Nope, nope, nope aaaaannnd nope.” Shaking her head she went back to cleaning up her inbox.

L.G.,

Howdy! I know that’s not how all you city folk—

Delete.

L.G.,

As far as I can tell, you and I are complete

Opposites, but you know what they say...

Opposites attract, right?

Delete.

L.G.,

I hope you don’t like animals because I suffer from—

Delete. Delete. Delete.

“Are there no NORMAL men left in this world?” Lucy yelled at the computer screen. Over the last month she had deleted over two dozen men. Not a single one sounded like what she was looking for. “Why is this so hard? One. All I’m asking is ONE good man!”

Lucy thought of Ruby, who was also doing the internet thing. Just within the last week, Ruby had met someone she thought might work. They had an actual date scheduled soon and Lucy felt happy for her friend but jealous at the same time.

“Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s not that I can’t find a good guy, it’s that something about me draws in the wrong guys?” Lucy felt a sinking feeling in her stomach. “Arrgh!” She growled. “This is so stupid.”

Just as she was ready to slam down the top of her laptop, another email notification sprang onto the screen. Lucy closed her eyes and her shoulders slumped. She moved the cursor to the delete button, too upset to even bother reading the note, but the eternal flicker of hope that beats in every woman’s breast won out.

With a sigh she opened the email and began to read.

Dear L.G.,

I realize these types of emails are extremely

Awkward and I wish I knew how to fix that. Alas,

Pretty words and eloquent phrases are not my

Specialty. In fact, internet dating in general

Is not my specialty. I’m new to this digital world,

And often feel like I’m fighting a losing battle.

Lucy paused. How does he know exactly how I’m feeling? Is this a trick? Does he start every email like this just to get the woman’s attention?

By now you’re probably wondering if what I’m

Saying is all to get your attention. But I hope

I can convince you that is not the case. I signed

Up on this website because I am new to the area

And have been struggling to meet anyone. And

In all truth, you’re the first woman I have

Contacted. You sounded nice, kind and above all,

Normal. I’m hoping you’re in a similar boat to me.

Just a normal person, looking for another normal

Person. If that is indeed you, I’d love to email

And get to know you. Let me know your thoughts.

M.K.

Lucy sat back in her chair. She tilted her head to the side and narrowed her eyes at the screen. “Color me intrigued,” she whispered at the computer screen. She hesitated as she moved to put her fingers over the keyboard, still unsure if this guy was for real or not. Only one way to find out. With a deep breath, she pushed the reply button.

Dear M.K.,

Thank you for your email. I’ll admit your words

Intrigued me. I like to believe I’m just a

Normal girl looking for a normal guy,

But sometimes it feels harder than it should,

which is how I ended up on this site. A

Colleague friend suggested it and here I am.

I’m willing to email back and forth to get

To know each other. I’m not someone who

Wants to jump straight into meeting in person. If

You feel you can work with a slow pace,

Then let me know. Thanks again for emailing

Me. I hope to get to know you.

L.G.

After pushing send, Lucy let out the breath she was holding. “There,” she murmured to herself. “Guess we’ll see what that brings.”

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