Home > Single Dad Seeks Juliet(3)

Single Dad Seeks Juliet(3)
Author: Max Monroe

I want happiness for him more than anything in this world. He’s the best dad, and he deserves it. He deserves to find a woman who will make him happy. Someone who will make him laugh and smile. Someone he can spend time with when I’m away at college and no longer living at home. Someone he can build a life with.

But I can’t help but ask myself…Am I really prepared for him to win?

Because if he does, I can guarantee he’s going to be pissed.

Gah. Immediately, I glance at the date on iCalendar—June 15th. And then, I scour SoCal Tribune’s website to find out when the last round of voting for Bachelor Anonymous will occur—July 26th.

So…okay…almost six weeks of summer to enjoy until I have to worry about whether or not I’ll make it to see the first day of my senior year of high school…

Fingers and toes and pretty much everything crossed the next month and a half moves like Hailie that time she attempted to try out for the track team in the name of her crush on Taylor McKinley and ran the sixty-yard dash in a staggering two minutes—aka very, very, very slowly.

 

 

Holley

 

Today might be a Tuesday, but it’s feeling all kinds of Monday.

My work to-do list is a mile-long, and I have the lovely—cough painful cough—pleasure of fitting in a quick meeting with my editor in chief before I start my day.

With the fresh cup of coffee I snagged from the shop up the street in tow, I tip-tap my heels across the shiny white tile floor as I take a left out of the elevators and head down the long hallway that leads to Gloria Favorelli’s large corner office. Her door is already open, and the lively, early-August sun peeks its rays through the partially opened blinds of the window behind her desk.

And unfortunately for me, once I step inside, she doesn’t waste any time diving into the meat and potatoes of why she requested this powwow.

“Are you just as thrilled as I am about our Bachelor Anonymous contest, Holley?” Gloria asks, a far-too-happy smile on her face.

Sigh. I sit down in the chair across from her desk, and it takes a Herculean effort not to let out a deep, heaving, frustrated breath. Of all the journalists at the SoCal Tribune, for some insane reason, Gloria chose me—the woman who, just a little over six months ago, ended a more-than-a-decade-long relationship—to run this three-ring dating circus.

“Oh yeah,” I answer, the phony friendly tone of my voice not at all matching the pain that’s already starting to make its way inside my chest.

I had a feeling this was why she wanted me to stop by her office this morning, but I was desperately hoping it was about something else. Like, her telling me I’ve been switched to a new assignment and will no longer be running the dreaded Bachelor Anonymous contest.

Hello, wishful thinking? It’s me, Holley.

“So, I take it we’re all set with our bachelor and his five lucky dates?”

“Yes.” I dig deep and force a smile to my face. “He has officially been chosen by the readers, and I’ll be meeting with the five selected women today.”

“How exciting!” She flashes a grin in my direction and rubs her hands together.

“Uh-huh.” I grind my back molars together. “So exciting.”

I’m probably the last woman on earth who should be spearheading a contest that involves helping people find love, yet here I am, pretending to be absolutely delighted. Call it survival. Call it a desire to keep my job. Call it a thirty-three-year-old woman in the middle of some kind of nervous breakdown. Whatever the reason for my agreement, the fact remains that I am a journalist through and through, and no matter the story, I will write it.

“So, tell me about our bachelor. What’s his name? What’s he like? Is he as hunky as we’re all hoping he’ll be?” she asks, her voice giddy and her short red hair bobbing up and down with each enthusiastic word. For a woman who can be such a hard-ass about deadlines, Gloria is the world’s biggest romantic. Her penchant for watching every single season of The Bachelor is proof of that. Also, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where she obtained the inspiration for this contest.

Thanks for nothing, Chris Harrison.

“His name is Jake Brent,” I answer, but I choose to skirt around the whole issue of my not actually being in contact with him yet. “And…he’s certainly something.”

“I have to tell you, Holley. I’m a little jealous that you get to be the one who goes on all the dates with our bachelor and witnesses the swoony romance in real-time,” she says through a little squeal. I swear to God, if her smile grows any bigger, it might break her damn face.

Yep. I’m so lucky. Not only do I get to run the whole freaking contest, I also get to discreetly attend the dates as a third wheel. FML.

“Well, you know, I’d be more than happy to let you take my place,” I respond without hesitation, but what I really want to say is, Seriously, Gloria, for the love of everything, put me out of my misery and sacrifice yourself to this stupid contest you created! “Pretty sure that’s the benefit of being the boss,” I add, in a sad, pathetic attempt to persuade her. “You get to call dibs on any assignment you want.”

“Don’t be silly.” She waves off my words with a casual hand. “You’re going to have so much fun with this.”

Oh yeah, Gloria. So much fun. A deathly, so-painful-it-feels-more-like-hell amount of fun.

“And what about his dates?” she asks. “Were you able to find five women that you think meet the criteria?”

Was I able to find five women? Yes.

Was it a horrible, mind-numbing process that took me days upon days of scouring through a weirdly peppy cesspool of hundreds and hundreds of female applicants? Also yes.

“Uh-huh. And actually, they should be here in the next fifteen minutes or so to sign NDAs and get abreast of how the contest will move forward.”

“Fantastic. Sounds like everything is running smoothly on your end, then.”

“Sure is.” Considering I’ve yet to officially talk to our Bachelor Anonymous, it’s safe to say things aren’t exactly running smoothly. But if there’s one thing you learn as a journalist early on, only tell your dictator—I mean editor in chief—what you need to tell them. And right now, all Gloria needs to know is that the contest is in progress.

“Well, if you don’t mind,” I add before she can ask me any more giddy fucking questions I don’t have answers to. “I’m going to head out and get ready for my meeting with the five women.” She gives a little nod of approval, and I waste zero time hauling ass out of her office.

Once I’m settled at my desk, I prepare myself for the first priority of the day—the nerve-racking phone call to Mr. Bachelor himself.

It takes several deep breaths and numerous more read-throughs of the bullet-pointed and numbered notes I took in preparation.

 

1. Name: Jake Brent. (Don’t forget to identify yourself as Holley Fields from the Tribune!)

2. Tell him the readers loved his personal ad submission and he has been selected as the Bachelor in the SoCal Tribune’s Bachelor Anonymous Contest.

3. Give some time for him to react positively; act supportive and excited.

4. Tell him it’s best if we get together in person to go over all the details and sign some paperwork; ask what time works best for him. Possible locations if he doesn’t suggest any: Grey Street Coffee, Ballard’s Restaurant.

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