Home > Professor Feelgood (Masters of Love #2)(2)

Professor Feelgood (Masters of Love #2)(2)
Author: Leisa Rayven

“I still can’t believe you landed Mister Romance as a boyfriend,” I say, leaning back in my chair and twirling around to face the office. “And to think, you owe it all to me.”

“Yeah, yeah. Here we go again.”

“Well, can you deny that you wouldn’t have even known Max existed if I hadn’t told you? Not to mention I set you up on your first date. You both owe me, big time. But don’t worry. I won’t hold it over you forever. Just a decade or two.”

She groans. I know she tries to hide how sappy and lovesick she is, but it’s beyond obvious. And honestly, I don’t blame her. Max is pretty special. Until recently, he was the best kept secret of New York’s social elite. He was a professional escort who provided women with something way better than sex: swoony dates that gave healthy boosts to their self-esteem. He may have been able to keep his alter-ego on the down-low for a couple of years, but ever since Eden’s story on him went viral, he’s become a full-on celebrity. I still find it strange that the guy I see on all the talk shows is the same one who unclogged our kitchen sink yesterday.

As I finish that thought, I shift my gaze to stare out the window, and that’s when I see what looks suspiciously like our photocopier’s document feeder plummeting toward the ground.

Oh, Fergus. What did you do?

I make a note on my day planner to call our Xerox repair dude ASAP. A few seconds later, I turn to see Fergus emerge from the stairwell with a huge smile on his face. I guess some days, you take your wins wherever you can get them.

“If you’ve finished your daily ‘told you so’,” Eden says, bringing me back to our conversation, “can we move onto something more important? I feel like we haven’t had a real conversation in days. Are you okay? How are things going with your French boy?”

I let out a happy sigh. “Aw, fantastic, Edie. He’s amazing. I really think he could be the one.”

“Ohhhh,” she groans, as if she’s watching a skateboarder fall off a handrail straight onto his crotch. “That bad, huh?”

I lean back in my chair and cross my legs. “What are you talking about? I just told you we’re great. He’s checked more boxes than any man I’ve ever dated.”

“Uh huh. You realize having a checklist for guys isn’t realistic, right?”

“It’s not a checklist.” I ignore her scoffing laugh. “It’s a list of guidelines. General characteristics that help me refine my search for true love.”

“No, little sister, it’s a list of specific characteristics you use on every guy you date. If they dare deviate from your must-haves, you dump them.”

“Not true.”

“Oh, really? Let’s review, shall we?” She clears her throat. “Your dream man must have a college degree, be employed and at least moderately successful, love kids, like Aaron Sorkin dramas––”

“That one’s a soft limit.”

“––be romantic, have great taste, say all the consonants in the words ‘recognize’, ‘entertainment’, and ‘frustrated’––”

“Excuse me for liking diction.”

“He must never use the word ‘drug’ as a verb instead of a noun——”

I throw up my hands. “‘Dragged’ is the past-tense verb! It’s not that hard.”

“And every time you’ve dated a guy long enough for your pretty rose-colored glasses to smudge, you go into a weird period of denial, because you’re too proud to admit that you’re about to torpedo yet another decent guy. You’re at that point with Phillipe now, right?”

I fake-laugh for a few moments before winding down like a tiny female air-raid siren. “Oh, Eden. My poor deluded sister. You couldn’t be more wrong.”

Of course, she’s mostly right. Damn her for knowing me so well.

I met a guy in Paris recently and had the type of whirlwind romance I’d always dreamed about. But even though I adore him and have an incredible time when we’re together, the issue I always have with my boyfriends is rearing its ugly head, and I can’t figure out how to fix it. Mind you, it’ll be a dry day in Atlantis before I admit that to my smartass sister.

“Let talk about something else,” I say, as I head to the break room to brew some fresh coffee. “Anything else.” I hear a noise and realize Eden is making coffee, too. Great minds, and all that.

“But seriously,” she says. “You have to break this cycle, Ash. It’s getting ridiculous. Tell me again why you broke up with the guy before this one? That Gary person.”

“You know why.” I shove a crisp filter into the machine and fill it with coffee.

“You claimed he was too clingy.”

“Exactly,” I say, while pouring in the water. “Never mind that he considered our Jersey/Brooklyn living situation a ‘long distance relationship’, but calling me ten times a day ‘just to hear my voice’? No thank you.”

“Uh huh. And the guy before him … John? He wasn’t clingy enough, right?”

“Yeah. So?” The machine coughs and splutters as the steaming coffee dribbles into the pot.

“And further down your list of rejects there was Pablo – too short; Damien - too tall; Bartholomew - too blond.”

“You know why I can’t do blond guys”

“And then there was poor perfect Peter who you dumped because he manscaped.”

I grab a clean mug from the cupboard and scoop four sugars into it. “Hey, you didn’t have to look at his perfect eyebrows all the time. It was off-putting how arched they were. And he had zero hair below his waist. I mean, come on. I don’t mind guys keeping it tidy down there, but he was totally smooth. I tried to get past it, but it was like dating a Ken doll.”

I can practically hear Eden’s eye-roll. “Have you ever considered that maybe the reason you can’t maintain a long-term relationship is because you don’t really want one?”

I give her an extra-loud eye-roll in return. “Yes, of course, dear sister. That’s definitely my motivation for spending time with all these men. To never have a loving, fulfilling relationship and die alone.” I don’t mention the real reason I dumped all those men. It’s too embarrassing to discuss, even with her.

“But then why do you find weak, lame-ass excuses to break up with every guy you date? Did you ever consider you’re too fussy?”

“I’m not fussy. I just know what I want in a relationship, and I’m not willing to compromise my standards for a guy who isn’t exactly right.”

Eden makes a noise of protest before going suspiciously silent.

“What?” I say, pouring in some creamer and stirring my coffee. “What sarcastic quip are you suppressing right now?”

She clears her throat. “I was going to say that there isn’t a man alive who could live up to all of your impossible standards, but then I realized there is at least one, and I’m dating him.”

I make a triumphant noise. “Exactly. You have your perfect guy, and yet you’re encouraging me to give up on mine? Shame on you, Eden Marigold Tate.”

After throwing my stirrer in the trash, I grab my coffee and head back to my desk.

“Okay, you have a point.” Eden says. “Anyway, I just wanted to check in with you. I know I’ve been spending a lot of time with Max recently, and … well, I miss you. Are you sure there’s nothing you want to talk about? No other possible guys on the horizon? No celebrity crushes you want to share?”

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