Today's Reading

Andy placed the phone on the arm of Katrina's chair and regarded her with kind eyes. Katrina had run through . . . well, she couldn't count how many therapists she'd run through at this point in her life. But Andy had been around longer than most, a few years now. "Thank you for letting me see what it's like. It feels like a game, but I can see how this must get exhausting after a time."

Katrina spun the phone around. "I don't think it helps that I know how the sausage is made, so to speak."

"Yes, of course, your equity in Crush."

Katrina's investment in Crush was a fact not many people knew. She was a fairly silent partner, even if she took on a more active role than in her other investments.

Andy steepled her fingers under her chin. "I'm sure you know the numbers and all, but you seem pretty savvy on the ins and outs of people's profiles. You've been spending time on here."

"I told you I was going to." When she'd decided she wanted a romantic partner, she'd made a deal with herself, one she hadn't really shared with anyone but her best friend and roommate, Rhiannon.

If she could make it out of her house to ten places, ten places where she felt comfortable and cozy and safe, then she could date.

She'd hit ten last month. Had managed road trips to ever-farther destinations. And then she'd had no excuse, right? She had to start going after the thing she wanted.

The thing you said you wanted.

Crush had seemed like the easiest way to go about that. Beyond the fact that it was as woman-friendly as a dating app could get, with Rhiannon as CEO and herself as a minority shareholder, she'd felt safe in creating a profile there. Her roommates had helped her take some blurry, unidentifiable photos—her looks had changed since she'd been a model, but she was cautious—and she'd drafted a short bio after much agonizing.

Looking for a partner in mostly legal activities. Enjoy cooking, gardening, the outdoors, romance, art, reading, and animals. Please be kind and have more emotional intelligence than a turnip.

Rhiannon had written the last part, and it had made Katrina laugh, so she'd kept it in.

Andy leaned back. "How many people have you messaged since we last spoke?"

"Two."

"How many messages did you exchange with them?"

She winced. "Um . . . two."

"Each?"

"No. I said hi and ghosted when they replied. Which I'm not proud of," she hurried to tack on. Ghosting wasn't a good thing to do to people, even if it was digitally. "But I did message, so I technically did my homework."

Andy cocked her head. "I suggested you try talking to some of your matches. It wasn't homework."

If I do this thing my therapist says, then she will give me an A-plus, was a thought process she was trying to shake. The people-pleaser in her made life rough. "Right, of course."

"What are you looking to get out of this app, Katrina?"

"I want to meet someone." Katrina looked down at her hands. "Feel that . . . zing."

"Zing?"

"Yeah. You know? That little zing, when you talk to someone or touch someone that you're attracted to and like? That's a thing, right?"

The lines around Andy's eyes crinkled. "I think we all call the zing something different, but yes. How long has it been since you've felt that zing?"

Since about an hour ago. Katrina carefully avoided glancing in the direction of the office door. Or more accurately, at the man who was waiting for her outside it. She wasn't ready to talk about that yet with Andy. She kind of hoped she'd never need to. "I don't know. I've always been a romantic, but . . . I didn't think it was for me, and I was at peace with that. These urges are kinda new."

"Not wanting sex and romance is totally natural. So is wanting sex and romance. Going back and forth between those wants, depending on where you are in your life, that's also fine."

"I'm not doing this because I feel pressured or anything, don't worry." She lifted her shoulders. I want to figure out if these things I've started feeling for this one particular man will translate over to other men, because I can't . . . with him.

Later. She'd discuss him with Andy later. She needed to process him first.
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