By: Jettie Woodruff

Chapter 1

“Come on, Cass. It’s the newest, biggest thing,” Justine urged.

“You do it. Let’s just start with one account and see what we think.”

“Cass, this game has gone viral in a matter of days. Do you have any idea how many men are going to be in here?”

“Yeah, and they’re all going to be a bunch of losers. Fat, ugly, and broke. You don’t really think these guys are going to show their real profile, do you? You’re probably going to meet some guy in a club, get raped, and then murdered. I’ll go from having one friend, to zero friends. I’ll grow to be an old, lonely cat lady,” I assured Justine. I wasn’t spending twelve bucks a month on a video game.

“Fine, I’ll pay your twelve dollars, tight ass. And if you end up with some hot guy worth millions, you have to take care of me.”

“I don’t want you to pay for it. I think it’s ridiculous. I don’t get the whole online dating thing.”

“This is way different than the other dating sites, Cass. This is interactive. We get to go to clubs, run the streets of Glitter City. We’ll be roommates. Come on. Let’s play. What else are we going to do? You won’t go to Starters with me.”

“It’s Sunday. We have to get up and go to work tomorrow,” I argued. Not to mention, we were just at Starters Club the night before. I was home by ten and Justine went home with someone. I didn’t ask who. She would have lied anyway.

“Are you nervous?” Justine asked about my first real day at my father’s company.

I wasn’t nervous at all. I was irritated. I didn’t want to work for my father, but at least I was going to get out of that office. Finally. It only took five years. My father insisted I wasn’t ready and wanted me to wait until I was twenty-two. Why he thought twenty-two was the magic number was beyond me. It wasn’t like I hadn’t lived in that dingy office since I was a child. Although I guess I never really paid attention to the cases.

“No, it’ll be fine. I’m looking forward to it,” I explained, trying to convince myself more so than Justine.

“I still think you should go to school and work with me.”

“Never. I could never touch feet. It freaks me out. No way.” I could just imagine an old lady with blue hair and half an inch of dead skin being scraped from the heels of her feet. No thank you.

“Okay. We’re both on. Set up your player. You’re supposed to make her look as close to your real looks as possible.”

Groaning, I tilted the screen on my laptop, grabbing a napkin before the wind sent it flying through the air. Why did I have to attract the weirdo friends? Justine wasn’t really a weirdo, well, sort of. She was going to school to learn how to make feet pretty. That was just weird.

Justine’s grandma lived in the house across the street from my Grandma Belle. We never went to the same school but played together when I stayed with my grandma on weekends or summer vacation. Grandma Belle was good friends with her grandma, and when she knew Justine was going to be there, she came and picked me up.

I loved staying there. Spending the weekend at Grandma’s was more of a getaway for me. I was fiveish the first time I met Justine. My mom was there with me and we were sitting on the same front porch that Justine and I were sitting on. I was shy when Justine’s grandmother brought her over to play with me. Grandma Belle cut us both cold watermelon. I shied behind my mom and timidly nibbled on my cool treat.

Justine was spitting seeds in the yard, trying to see how far she could spit them. My mom smiled down at me, leaned over the banister, and spit a seed halfway across the yard. I giggled and followed suit. Justine and I stood side by side, spitting watermelon seeds to the front yard, sure they would turn into watermelon trees by the end of summer. Of course, there was never any watermelon trees, but a friendship was born.

“Okay, what do I do?” I asked, trying to figure out what the hell to do in the game. The game I didn’t want to play. Justine and I spent the next two hours, designing our characters to look as much like ourselves as possible. I was a little impressed at how real the graphics were. I looked hauntingly real, except maybe my hair. Justine blamed that on me. My long hair was just long hair, no style, no shape, just long, dark hair. None of the hairstyles I could choose from were like mine.

“If you would let me do your hair, you could find something more suitable,” she accused.

“When you graduate and have a license to cut my hair, I’ll let you do it.”

“It’s not like I could mess it up.”

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