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A MATCH MADE IN…SOMEWHERE, one of the stories from Joe’s Patreon, is FREE for you to read. Just scroll down. Enjoy!
A Match Made in…Somewhere
by Joe DeRouen
Copyright © Joe DeRouen, 2022. All Right Reserved.
Veronica swiped through Matchstick, the newest matchmaking app, trying to find a date. She hadn’t been out with a man other than Stephen in over seven years, and it’d been eighteen months since he’d passed. It was time to get back in the saddle again, as it were.
She’d set up her profile last night and already had three messages. She was surprised, especially because she had no profile picture, just a photo of a portrait a friend had painted for her ages ago.
“Hey, Veronica,” read the first message, from someone named Aaron, “you sound great, and I love the painting. Very unconventional. I’d love to get together, maybe for coffee Sunday, sometime after church. What do you think?”
Veronica laughed. That wasn’t going to happen. She looked at the guy’s photo. Tall, handsome enough, with black hair and a beard to match. Ah, well. She deleted the message unanswered.
“Why hide behind a painting?” read the next one, from Will. That’s all it said. Fuck you, Will, she thought, as she deleted his message and blocked him from ever again seeing her profile.
The third message was from a douchebag named Chad. In her mind, all Chads were douchebags, simply because they were named Chad, but she opened the message anyway.
“Hey, Ronnie,” said the message from douchebag Chad, “you sound fun.”
There was more, but she deleted the message without reading the rest. She hated the nickname “Ronnie.” Chad was indeed a douchebag, as were all Chads. Theory proven.
She was about to close the app when a new message came in, from someone named James. She warily thumbed open the message, expecting more douchebaggery, but was pleasantly surprised.
“Dear Veronica,” the message began, “Your portrait is gorgeous, your profile enchanting, and I’d love to take you to dinner. Would Saturday evening work? You sound like an amazing woman, and I eagerly look forward to learning more about you. Best, James.”
She was intrigued. James had no photo, but so what? It didn’t really matter what he looked like, and she could hardly throw stones, since her profile pic was a painting. Dinner Saturday night sounded lovely. Still, she scanned the rest of his profile. A girl couldn’t be too careful.
He was a night owl with a thirst for life who enjoyed collecting art, attending concerts, and studying history. He was looking for someone who enjoyed candlelit dinners and moonlit walks. He wasn’t a fan of spicy food, which was good, because she wasn’t either.
“Dear James,” she spoke into her phone, letting voice-to-text do her typing for her, “I’ve enjoyed reading your profile, and I’d love dinner Saturday night. When and where? Let me know. I’m including my phone number, so feel free to text or call. Sincerely, Veronica.”
She glanced at her watch. It was 9:30 p.m. He said he was a night owl, so she was curious if he’d respond right away. She was soon rewarded with a trill from her cellphone.
“Hello,” Veronica said, as she thumbed the answer button.
“Veronica, this is James. I decided since you just wrote me, it would probably be okay to call. If I’ve been too bold and you’re busy or about to head to bed, let me know and we can talk another time.”
He had a British accent, which for some reason surprised her. It was sexy as hell, though. She’d lived in London for a while many years ago, and absolutely loved the accent.
“Hello, James,” she said, smiling, though of course he couldn’t see her. “This is a perfect time. I’m not busy, and I’m a bit of a night owl myself.”
“Well, then. We’re a match made in…well, somewhere.”
She laughed. “Indeed, we are. So, James, tell me about yourself.”
“Well,” he said, drawing out the word, “what would you like to know that my profile didn’t already cover?”
“Whatever you want to tell me. I’m not the least bit sleepy, so I have time if you do.”
She stretched out on the large couch that took up almost the entire south wall of her study, getting comfortable. She was already enjoying the conversation and looked forward to where it might lead.
“Where do I begin?” he said. “At the beginning, I suppose. I was born in the United Kindgom, as you probably guessed by my accent, in a small town named Bristol. That was…well, longer ago than I’d care to admit.”
He laughed, and she laughed with him.
“What do you do for a living, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Not at all. I deal in antiquities. Mostly paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries. I think that’s partly why I was so intrigued with your profile. Your portrait is beautiful. If you don’t mind me asking, who did it?”
“An old friend,” she said, “long since passed away.”
“I’m so sorry to hear that.”
“It’s okay. At least I have the painting to remember him by.”
“So, what do you do for a living, if I may be so bold to ask?”
“I suppose I was bold for asking,” she said, laughing, “so you can be bold as well. I’m a hematologist. That’s a—”
“A blood doctor,” he finished for her. “Unfortunately, I have an iron deficiency, so I’m all too familiar with blood.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” she said, and she meant it. “I hope you’re not scared of hematologists.”
He laughed, which was the response she was hoping for. “Maybe a little, but I suspect you’ll be worth the risk.”
They talked all night, until just before dawn. They talked about their childhoods, their former romantic partners, their regrets about the past, their hopes and dreams for the future, and everything else in between.
The next night, after she’d had dinner, she called him. It was Thursday, just two days before their date. They once again talked into the wee hours of the morning before saying their goodbyes.
Friday night, it was his turn to call her again. That’s when things got really interesting.
“I have to admit, James,” she whispered into the phone, “I find you incredibly intriguing, and we haven’t even met yet. I haven’t felt this way about a man in a long time.”
“I feel exactly the same way,” he said, sending shivers up her spine. “I wish it were Saturday night already.”
“Mm-hmm. You and me both. And I’m already pretty sure I’m going to invite you back to my place after dinner. If that isn’t too forward of a thing for a girl to say.”
“If I’m not being too forward myself, I certainly hope that you do.”
She had an idea. “If you were here right now…what would you do?”
“Well,” he said, “I am a gentleman, so what I’d want to do may well be different from what I’d actually do, at least on a first date.”
“Pretend you’re not a gentleman,” Veronica said, slowly sliding her hand under her skirt and past her panties, “at least for tonight.”
“I’d love to kiss you,” he said, as her fingers found their destination, “your lips, and then your neck. I’d spend so much time nibbling on your neck.”
“That sounds incredible, and I know I couldn’t help myself from reciprocating.”
“And then I’d lead you to the bedroom…”
Friday night was amazing, twice over. When they finally hung up, she was sure she’d found exactly who she’d been looking for. This really could be a match made in…somewhere, as he’d said.
She fell asleep satiated for the moment but desiring more. Tomorrow couldn’t come fast enough.
Veronica pulled up to the La Grenouille at just past nine o’clock at night, tossing the keys to her candy apple red Jaguar to the valet. She was dressed to kill in a tight black top, a red miniskirt, and black stiletto heels.
Walking into the fancy French restaurant, she scanned the bar area for James. He’d told her he was tall, had short black hair, and would be wearing a black pinstripe suit. And there he was!
“James, I presume,” she said, walking up to him.
He turned to look at her with piercing blue eyes, which took her breath away. Yes, he was almost definitely the one.
“Veronica. You look amazing, even more beautiful than your portrait.”
They shared a brief hug and a kiss on the cheek. He ordered them a bottle of Château Margaux, a red wine that she absolutely adored, and they sat at the bar and talked while they waited for their table.
“Is it weird,” she asked, as her fingers brushed across his hand, “seeing me in person, after our…conversation last night?”
“If by ‘weird’ you mean exciting and utterly wonderful,” James said, “then yes, it’s incredibly weird.”
They talked for a while, sipping their wine, and then their table was ready. James pulled out the chair for her, and she lowered herself into the seat. A true gentleman.
“Have you been here before?” he asked, after he was seated.
“I have not, but I’ve always wanted to. This is the perfect place for a first date. The wine is delicious, and the company even better.”
“The first date of what I hope is many,” he said, as he picked up a menu and began to read.
“I’ll have the le Bass a I’Huile de Truffe et Foie Gras, Soba et Enokis, please,” Veronica said, when the waiter came to take their order, which was Chilean sea bass with white truffle oil with noodles and mushrooms.
“And I’ll have the Le Canard au Bok Choy et Raisins, Couscous Israelien Citrone,” said James, which was roasted duck with bok choy, candied raisins, and Israeli couscous.
After the waiter was gone, James said, “Votre français est magnifique. Je ne savais pas que tu parlais français.”
Her French was beautiful, he hadn’t known she spoke the language.
“J’imagine qu’il y a beaucoup de choses que tu ne sais pas encore sur moi,” she replied, “mais j’ai hâte de vous donner la tournée complète.”
I’d imagine there’s a great deal you don’t yet know about me, but I look forward to giving you the full tour.
He laughed. “My dear, you are full of surprises. Your French is so much better than my own.”
“I’m not sure that’s the case, but I’m nevertheless flattered. I’m amazed I remember as much as I do, it’s been years since I lived in France.”
He smiled at her. “New York, London, France…is there any place you haven’t been?”
In your bed, she wanted to say, but she didn’t. She wasn’t quite that brazen, at least not yet. Instead, she said, “Life is far too short not to see the world. I’ve been many places, but there are still many, many more that I wish to visit.”
“My thoughts exactly,” he said, and then the food arrived.
The sea bass was exquisite, though she wasn’t exactly hungry for fish. In fact, they both seemed to do more pushing the food around their plates than eating.
When they were done, James paid the bill and left a more than generous tip. As they left the restaurant, Veronica reached out to take his hand, and his fingers squeezed hers.
“At the risk of being forward,” James said, looking into her eyes, “would you like to come back to my place?”
“I was about to ask you the same thing,” said Veronica, laughing. “We’re quite the pair, aren’t we?”
“Indeed,” he said.
In the end, they settled on his place. She followed him to his home, which was just about half an hour from the restaurant. He lived in a beautiful condominium in the West Village area of the city, on Washington Street.
He led her through the entryway and into the darkened living room, and then made his way to the coffee table and lit a trio of candles.
“Might I get us some wine?” he asked, as he blew out the match.
The room was gorgeous. A long black leather couch filled the south wall of the room, while a huge flatscreen television took up a good portion of the north wall. A beautiful marble fireplace occupied part of the west wall of the room. Vibrant paintings depicting scenes from all over the world adorned the walls, interspersed with bookshelves holding what looked like hundreds of books.
“I am thirsty,” she said, pulling him towards her, “but not for wine.”
They kissed deeply and with passion, lost in the moment. Finally, he pulled back.
“Have you ever wanted to live forever?” he asked her, looking into her eyes.
“Sometimes I feel like I have. But yes, that’s one of my greatest desires. How about you?”
“Very much so. The world is huge, and there’s so much to do. But what is forever without a companion to share it with?” He took her hand and led her to the couch.
She sat beside him, her hand in his. She’d always miss Stephen, but it really was time for a new love to walk with through this crazy adventure we call life.
“Life is certainly better when you have someone who shares their heart with you,” she said, “and with whom you can share yours.”
“I agree completely. Imagine the things we might do together, the places we might go, the sights we might see.”
She kissed him again, long and hard. “You had me at ‘I agree completely.’” She said, when they came up for air.
“Before we go any further, Veronica,” James said, “I have something to confess. I’m a lot older than I might at first appear. Several hundred years older, in fact. I know that sounds insane, but—”
She silenced him with a finger to his lips. “I knew it! I should have guessed your secret earlier, when you didn’t have a profile picture, but I finally figured it out in the restaurant.”
“Figured what out?”
“That you’re a vampire, silly.”
“You know?” he asked, “and you’re not scared?”
“I do know, and I’m not the least bit scared. In fact, I think I just might be falling in love with you.”
He smiled, bearing his fangs. “As I am with you. Would you join me, then, Veronica? Allow me to turn you, so we can rule the night together?”
“James,” she said, bearing her own fangs, “I’m 342 years old myself, and I was just about to ask you the exact same question, before I realized that I didn’t have to.”
His eyes grew large, and then he laughed. “I guess we really are a match made in…somewhere.”
“You know what?” Veronica inquired. “I’m starving. Since neither one of us really ate much of our suppers, how about we go out and find ourselves a little snack and then come back here and see what happens?”
“I thought you’d never ask,” James responded, as he quickly shed his clothing and turned into a bat.
Veronica followed suit, transforming. They flew up the chimney and out into the night, to hunt, and to see what their future together might bring.