A MOTHER'S GIFT
by Cherie Reich
Cat and Izzy sat side by side upon the twin bed. The glow of the silver Dell laptop illuminated their faces. A knock startled the girls, and Cat quickly shut the laptop. "You girls okay in there?" Aunt Sarah's voice rang out.
"We're fine. Working on homework," Cat called out, elbowing Izzy when she began to giggle.
"That's good. Let me know if you need anything." The sounds of her footsteps drifted down the hallway.
"You have to be quiet, Izzy." Cat opened the laptop back up, and the dating site's screen appeared. CupidsArrowsAgain.net was a dating site for divorced or widowed people who found themselves thrust back into the dating scene after a number of years away from it. The fourteen-year-old quickly typed in the user name lonely_librarian1114 and the password, logging into her mother's account.
A picture of Julie filled the top left corner of the screen. Her mousy brown hair was pulled back into a messy bun with wisps of hair floating around the sides of her heart-shaped face. The blue blouse brought out her dark sky blue eyes. Her small nose tilted slightly upward. Rose lips formed a Mona Lisa smile, full of mystery. She held a James Patterson book in her hand, the title obstructed by her hand. The circulation desk cut out the rest of her body from view in the photograph.
"I want to see who has written back, Cat." Izzy snatched at the laptop, wanting to scroll down the website beyond their mom's information.
"Hold on a sec." Cat wrenched it from her sister's hands. Scrolling past the general information, she found what they were looking for. "There are four new messages."
Before she could click on the first one, adonis69 IMed them.
Adonis69: Hey there, sweetheart! What's up?
Lonely_librarian1114: Hey. Nothing much. U?
Adonis69: Just looking at your beautiful picture.
Lonely_librarian1114: Aw! Thanks.
Adonis69: So, what are you? B, C cup?
"Ew!" Cat and Izzy exclaimed together. Cat quickly clicked "Block user."
"He sent mom a message, too." Izzy pointed to the screen, smearing fingerprints on it.
"Get your fingers off, Iz." Cat started to click on the message until she noticed the picture attachment. "Maybe we better not." She deleted the message unread. "We're not going through that again."
"I know! Perv!" Izzy shuddered at the thoughts of photograph they accidentally saw.
"Definite creeper." Cat clicked on a message from hotrod010.
Hey, baby! How you doing? How about you and me get together sometime? I have something large that you can check out. Call me 555-2637.
Cat moved the mouse over and checked on Mick's profile. She winced and quickly blocked him.
"We're never gonna find a date for mom," Izzy lamented.
"There has to be someone good here." Cat mumbled 'creeper' again as she read the next message from a copper_phil.
Re: Hello, gorgeous!
Hi! I just wanted to check you out. LOL! Get it! Check you out! You seem lovely, doll. IM me. I can be a Romeo to your Julie. ;)
The teenager checked out Phil's profile. He didn't seem half-bad, but she thought his sense of humor sucked.
"I don't think he's mom's type, Cat."
"Yeah." Cat didn't block him, but she didn't send him a message back. "Last one for today." She clicked on the message from a professor_charles.
Re: Hello. It's nice to meet you.
My name is Charles. I'm 42 and a widower of six years. I noticed that you have two daughters from your profile. My daughter Anna is seventeen-years-old and a senior in high school. As for myself, I am a Literature professor at Riverside Community College, and I taught high school English until my daughter started high school. She didn't want old dad teaching her, I suppose.
I've never done a dating service like this before, but my daughter suggested that it was time to get out there and have some fun. From your profile, I found that we have similar interests, even classic rock and reading mysteries (I couldn't help but notice that you were holding James Patterson's 3rd Degree).
I would like to get to know you better. Maybe we could have dinner sometime. There is a mystery dinner theatre group performing next weekend at Cedar's Bar & Grill. I can get tickets, if you would like to come.
I hope to speak with you soon.
Cat clicked on professor_charles profile. His profile picture looked nice. He was a middle-aged man with thinning sandy-blond hair. He wore wire rimmed glasses. His eyes appeared hazel. He wore a green polo shirt with khakis, and he leaned casually against a tree in some park. Izzy and she scanned through his profile, noticing he appeared nearly perfect for their mom.
"I like him," Izzy said.
"Me too. Let's send him a message back." Cat opened the message again and clicked on "reply," thinking hard on how to respond like their mom.
Re: Re: Hello. It's nice to meet you.
Thank you for writing to me. I don't typically look for dates on websites, but my daughters thought it was time to put myself out there again, too. My daughter Catherine, Cat for short, is fourteen, and she is a freshman in high school. My other daughter Isabella, Izzy for short, is eleven, and she is in the sixth grade.
I've been a widow for ten years now. I work two jobs to support my children, and I don't know how I would do it without my sister, who helps watch the kids.
I would absolutely love to see a mystery dinner theatre performance. I've never been to one before, but it would be a blast. Let me check my schedule, and I'll see if we can set a date.
Talk to you later.
Cat sent the message. "Now, we just wait and see."
"And check out mom's schedule," Izzy added.
"Definitely! This will be so cool." Cat logged off of the dating site and shut down the computer as they heard a car door slam shut outside. "Mom's home. Let's see if we can get her on that date." The two bumped knuckles and grinned at each other at their perfect plan.
To Chapter Three