Kathryn Olsen (aka Kaki) has been to 17 countries on five continents.
After an illustrious upbringing in Massachusetts, she studied English at Brigham Young University. As a result, she’s been known to find theological flaws in zombie lore and Peruvian sacrifice metaphors in Superman movies.
When not working a desk job or overanalyzing media, she enjoys writing about anything from possessed iPhones to dragon-smuggling androids and has been called upon to lecture on writing by various organizations.
Her debut novel, Swan and Shadow, was published in March, 2016.
Playing it by ear usually just meant that we’d spontaneously find a new store to check out or eat at a favorite place, people-watching all the way. Natalie got two guys’ phone numbers before we even boarded the T. I knew she wouldn’t ever call them because she liked keeping tally more than actually dating.
“Your turn next,” Laurie announced after getting one herself.
“I don’t need phone numbers. I’ve got Nick.”
“And we’re very happy for you,” Natalie said impatiently, “but flirting muscles can atrophy.”
“Two-timing isn’t my style,” I retorted.
“This isn’t even that,” Natalie insisted. “No physical contact necessary.”
“Or encouraged,” Laurie added helpfully. “That’s the lazy girl’s way to a man’s heart.”
“Whoa.” I held up a hand. “Now you’re just fighting dirty.”
“You’re stalling,” she shot back. “Get moving.”
Nick would probably laugh at the guys I chose, but it would be fun to give it a shot and it would shut them both up.
“Nick won’t find out,” Natalie reconsidered. “It’s just a number, not a fling.”
“I’m not the type to have flings,” I pointed out.
“You’re not over the hill yet, and neither is green sweatshirt at six o’clock,” Laurie answered. “Go for it.”
Green sweatshirt guy had dark hair and a cute enough backside for me to look forward to a front view.
“Go, fight, win,” Natalie added before shoving me in his direction.
He wasn’t facing my way, so he didn’t see me stumble like a nervous freshman. By the time I was ready to approach, I’d found my footing and was now a casual passerby. He got bonus points for not having earphones plugged in and reading a book. Since I wasn’t Aislin, I couldn’t use Twain as an icebreaker. That narrowed my range of pickup lines, but they were all good ones.
He turned to check the route of an incoming train and looked bewilderingly like I’d just made his weekend. “Hey,” he said. “I thought you were booked today.”
I suddenly forgot every clever thing I had planned to say. “I’m sorry,” I blurted out. “Did I reject you before?”
“Not really,” he said with a laugh. “You do remember our last conversation, right?”
“Honestly, no,” I said. I might have seen him before, but nothing about him was familiar. “Your name starts with a D?”
“N,” he corrected, his smile going a little wooden. “Well, this is humiliating.”
That went for the both of us. He looked a little like one of our football players, but . . .
And then my brain caught up. “N?” I asked quickly. “As in Nathaniel?”
“I knew we’d get there eventually,” he said, looking slightly less crestfallen. “Does that mean you’re not going to dinner with me?”
“Nate from Michigan, the future physical therapist . . .” It was time to let an explanation fix things. “My sister has told me so much about you.”
Color flooded back into his face and I couldn’t tell if he was blushing or just relieved that he had made a lasting impression. “Your sister,” he echoed.
I dug into my purse and whipped out my real license. I held it up for comparison so he could see I wasn’t bluffing, and then handed it over for closer inspection.
“I’m Maeve,” I explained, “and you’re Aislin’s favorite person on campus.”
His red face was now definitely caused by a blush. “Aislin didn’t mention her sister was a dead ringer,” he admitted.
“I promise I’m not crazy. We just haven’t been introduced.”
He passed the license back, turning the handoff into a handshake. “I’m Nate,” he said. “Some crazy is good.”
I wondered if he’d feel the same if he ran into my sister before she’d washed leaves and twigs from her hair.
“I’m glad you know that,” I said, letting go of his perfectly nice hand. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“You too,” he commented. “So, what were you actually doing over here?”
“Trying to get your number,” I admitted with genuine embarrassment.