78 The Early Bird

The sun was missing.

Stepping out to the porch, I wasn't exactly expecting to be basked in a surplus of 100% all-natural all-healthy organic space mad- vitamin D, but hell, at least a little tinge of it would have been nice.

Up above the world so dull, was a swirl of grey murky clouds so dense, you'd think the big yellow boy in the sky had received a restraining order to stay far from daylight or something from the way the streets and the trees looked so bleak.

A monochromatic grey no matter where you turn your eyes. Rain was such a bitch.

Didn't care. I walked out of the pavement and headed towards the direction of the bus stop. Silently.

And you know what silent means.

It seems they'll never be a day where they won't be a multitude of pressing concerns burrowing a small nest in my head.

Date was already daunting enough, stack that on to of what Amelia had said about our mysterious weatherman and all, add a nice fine touch of pacing back and forth waiting for an already belated bus, and you got yourself a mess of a man that was me.

By the time that damned bus wheeled around the corner, I only had half an hour to be there at the appointed time. Hardly could blame the bus driver either. I could have caught an earlier one had Amelia not stalled me back there, then again… I chose to indulge her. My fault.

Taking a seat, I did some quick math in my head, rounded off some numbers, pulled out the abacus, and realized, with a heavy strike to the gut - the bus ride there itself already takes more than the time I have left to get there, and I still had a walk ahead of me to reach the rest of the way there as well.

Uh oh.

Times like these make me wish I owned a car of my own. Being in the outskirts of town, you don't see much traffic your way in regards to taxis and the likes… walking was my only other alternative besides the motion sickness machine.

And comparing the distance from point A to B? Well, I'd take motion sickness machine any day over walking. Still though… late on the first date. You've outdone yourself, me. Don't bother to even show up next time, why don't you?

Seeing as there was nothing I could do besides sit and watch as the wheels on the bus go round and round till I get there, I pulled out my phone and browsed around for a bit.

Did my usual spree - Read the news, hop onto online forums and see what kind of trivial shit people are arguing about nowadays, and hung about social media for a bit.

The third one was when I had a brain blast, like a kick in my temporal lobe, I brought back forth something I've been meaning to do that was for all this time pushed to the back of my to-do list in light of more recent events.

I haven't looked her up at all yet, have I? And I was the one that asked her as well… my bad, Amanda.

Well, no time like the present, I suppose. Let's see here… a search for 'Amanda Collins' reveals… quite a character bio.

When she said to me that she was 'everywhere' I had thought it her simply exaggerating, a little ha-ha funny to lighten the mood. It probably was, but it also simply the truth of it all.

She was indeed everywhere online.

A social media butterfly first and foremost, and tacked alongside her online presence was a multitude of blogs and articles written about her accomplishments in life.

Apparently, she was a prodigy in her field… enrolling in quite a prestigious university under a scholarship. Program and design, huh? Apparently, she programmed and designed so good, she was making waves in the fields.

Gotta lot of companies lining up at her doorstep. Standing among her peers, she was basically the cream of the crop.

At the tender age of 23. Just a single year older than me.

Shit, she was leagues above me when it came to the game of life. In fact, she might as well won the genetical lottery for it.

Good looks, good brain, good life.

It was as if lady luck herself sprang to life, taking the form of a springy young gal with a heart of gold.

Didn't know lady luck was such an internet deviant. She practically lived in the cyber realm. Her feed, every post she makes, always updated in five-minute intervals.

And the site she most frequented displayed a bright blue logo of a little bluebird. Not surprising.

Didn't have an account, so on a whim, and deciding it wouldn't hurt, I made one of my own. About damn time, I suppose.

Wasn't the most creative when it came time to deciding on a username. Hmm… screw it, 'LeotheHero' it is.

First order of business, I went to her personal page. And would you look at that - her follower count exceeded past the tens of thousands, what a celebrity she was.

Starkly contrasting that was the number of accounts she followed in return. Wanna take a guess how low that number was?

Twenty? Ten, perhaps? A measly five, maybe?

How does zero sound? Yeah, strangely enough, Amanda wasn't much of a follower herself despite her online status.

If I added her to friends, what's the likelihood I'd be buried atop notification after notification of people doing the same as I?

I'd say it's pretty high actually, but I wouldn't know until I tried.

So I did.

'Would you like to add Amanda Collins to friends?', asked the prompt on my phone.

My finger tapped away at a resounding 'yes'. Then immediately as soon as the prompt was whisked away from sight, my phone went buzzing in my hands.

A notification. A direct message. I tapped at it and was greeted by the briefest, bluntest question ever.

<<Are you, you?>>

Sent by the one and only Amanda Collins only a few seconds ago. How diligently did she have to be to reply to me so instantaneously?

I received blunt, so I shall also be blunt in kind. It was only fair after all.

<<You who?>>

Apparently, Amanda didn't think so.

<<Funny. For real though, are you sneakers-in-the-washing-machine-guy? I've asked thirty different people already. If you are, give me an indication that you are.>>

An indication that proves that I am who I say I am. I know just the thing.

<Seen any Matriarchs around lately?>>

I received an answer almost at once.

<<IT'S YOU! Finally! Wow! Hello, again! Didn't think it'd take you this long to find me.>>

<<Were you just refreshing your feed all this time waiting to receive the notification for my friend request?>>

A little blurb consisting of three dots briefly appeared, and then - <Perhaps.>>

<<That's a little creepy…>>

<<Can't really blame me... you didn't add me last night, I was a bit worried you might have forgotten.>>

<<And if I did forget... what would you have done?>>

Didn't take long for her to write a reply, every answer I've received so far was within a span of a few seconds. Either she's a fast typer or she can read my mind, and the case was the same for the text she sent next.

<<Got a car. Know where you live. Don't close your window curtains, okay?>>


She sent another one. <<Joking.>>

Still creepy.

<<Anyway…>> Amanda continued. <<Now we're friends here, yay! I'm glad we're able to move past nodding at each other in the elevator and actually have a proper conversation now.>>


<< :) >>

Didn't really know how I was supposed to reply to a smiling emote, but luckily I was spared having to think about a new topic by another message that popped up.

<<Listen, I'm a bit busy right now. Gotta be somewhere and fast, and it looks like it's gonna rain again too - won't be available to talk much in the afternoon, but I'm free in the evening! What say you?>>

I replied, shrugging my shoulders in real life. <<Evening's good.>>

<<Sweet! See ya~>>

And that ends that, timing well with the halting screech coming from the bus' wheels as it entered the first stop into town which so happens to be my stop.

Time for a walk.

I got up from my seat and as soon as I did, my phone buzzed again in my clutches.

Amanda Collins is now following you.

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