Excerpt - Love Request by Tara Chevrestt

Tammy returned and handed Ciara a steaming mug before she sat down once again. “I see you have been drinking a lot of wine.” Her tone was accusing. She must have seen the empty bottles in the kitchen. “That’s not going to solve your problems, you know.” She blew on her coffee while eyeing Ciara over the rim.

Ciara set her own mug on the coffee table and ran a hand through her short, rumpled bed head. “I know. It does help numb things for a while though.” She offered a sheepish grin.

“There, now. There’s that smile I haven’t seen in two weeks.” Tammy winked.
“Now if you just shower and put some makeup on, we can discuss going back to work. You need to start somewhere.”

“I have vacation time saved.” Ciara waved her suggestion off.

“Bullshit,” Tammy declared. “You may have vacation time saved, but I’ll be damned if I’ll stand by and let you use it to wallow in self-pity.”

Ciara choked on a sip of coffee. “Damn, Tammy! Why don’t you tell me how you really feel?”

“Girl, this is what friends are for.” Tammy sighed and began on one of her favorite topics. “You need a man.”

“Oh, now I need a maid and a man.” Ciara rolled her eyes heavenward.

“You could get a two-in-one deal if you’re real lucky.”

Ciara snorted. “Tammy, where the hell am I going to meet a man? I don’t even have any friends outside of work, and they’re all married or Mormon. I’m not religiously inclined and let’s not forget I’m deaf. That doesn’t normally go over well with the fellows. They usually get tired of repeating themselves.”

Tammy looked thoughtful for a moment and took another sip of coffee. Her gray gaze scanned the room as though searching for ideas. It lit on Ciara’s laptop, lying forgotten on the coffee table, dangerously close to Ciara’s coffee mug. “How about an online dating service?”

Ciara shook her head. “Again, location, location. I’d have to give up coffee, alcohol, and cursing to hook up with anyone nearby. And those are kind of scary. I know one lady who had a guy claim he loved her and wanted to visit her, but fed her some story about his paycheck being late and he needed money—”

“Oh, forget that then,” Tammy interrupted. “But don’t look for someone nearby. Look internationally. Darling, you’re a very attractive woman. There is hope. Look outside the box.” Tammy punctuated her words by miming a box with her hands.

“You’re crazy.” Ciara laughed for the first time in two weeks. Having her friend and coworker here was perking her up considerably. It was nice to know someone cared. As she’d expected, the family had not stuck around long once her mother was put in the ground. They hadn’t been there when her mom was sick, why would they keep in contact now? No, she wasn’t expecting any phone calls, cards, or even invitations to family reunions anytime soon.

Tammy stood and began marching around the living room, picking up discarded papers, wineglasses, and crumpled tissues. “The Internet is an amazing thing,” she chattered as she worked, turning her head in Ciara’s direction when she did so. “You know I’ve said a zillion times, you must get on Facebook. For such a young, hip person, you sure are out of touch with technology.” She pointed the rim of a wineglass in Ciara’s direction. “It would be a good start and you wouldn’t even have to read lips on there.”

“That stuff is stupid,” Ciara scoffed. “And who would I friend on Facebook? The same people I see now!” she answered her own question.

“Anybody you want to. You could even look up old lovers.” Tammy gestured grandly, cringing as a tissue flew out of her hand and across the room.

Ciara thought about that for a moment. “I don’t even remember most of their names,” she shook her head sadly. “I wouldn’t call them lovers, but one-nighters.”

Tammy left the room to discard her findings and came back, grabbing the laptop as she plopped down on the arm of Ciara’s chair. “You’ve never been in love?” she asked as she opened the laptop. “That’s seriously sad.”

Ciara shrugged. “In school, I was the deaf kid. The boys preferred to make fun of me, not date me. And the ones who weren’t making fun of me were afraid to date me cause they would be made fun of too.” She rolled her eyes. “Then there was college and you know how that is.” She shot her friend a knowing look. They giggled together, both remembering the frat boys and beer kegs. “And then Mom got sick,” Ciara finished.

Tammy began typing on the laptop and her demeanor turned serious. “Well, first we are going to get you hooked up to the outside world.” She held up one finger. “Then we are going to clean this place up.” She held up a second finger before finishing with a flourish. “Then you’re getting on with your life.”

Ciara shook her head in disbelief as she watched Tammy open a page on the Internet. “Facebook, though? Do I have to?” she whined.

“Yes, you do.” Tammy stated firmly. “It’s the first step toward getting you a social life. Now, go get dressed and dolled up, ‘cause we’re going to take a profile picture.” She coaxed Ciara of the chair with her free arm and shoved her toward the bedroom. “Wear something sexy!” she hollered.

“Next thing you know, you’ll have me doing that chirping thing,” Ciara grumbled over her shoulder.

“Chirping? You mean Twitter?” Tammy laughed and choked.

“Whatever! Chirp this!” Tammy ducked just in time as Ciara threw a pillow at her head.

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