For the NaNo Excerpt Blog Chain.

“You should have gotten her number, dude,” Jim said. He was walking beside me across the quad, toward a destination that his text—and his physical form next to me—had refused to divulge. “Sounds like she’s into you. No accounting for taste, but how do you expect to take it anywhere without some digits?

“Look, Jim,” I said. “It’s not that simple. You know that I can’t read people. She could just be a nice person who’s taking pity on me. I’ve got to talk to her, work information out, look her up on Facebook to make sure she’s single or at the very least ‘it’s complicated.’ Then I’ll send a Facebook message or an IM and once that’s going I’ll ask for her number in a very mature and natural way.”

Jim laughed. “By that time someone else will have come in and sniped her from you eBay style,” he said. “The internet is a sex aid, not a sex crutch. You’ve got to be proactive, like me.”

I cocked my head. “I don’t think having the same long-distance girlfriend since high school counts as being proactive,” I said. “In fact, as an honorary single person, I think you might be the least qualified person to give romantic advice in the history of the universe.”

“Honorary single? Eric, you wound me,” Jim said, placing his hands over his breast. “I’ll have you know I’m very proactive, as you’ll see when we get where we’re going. And don’t forget that single people have a lot of fun. Hugh Hefner is ostensibly single a lot fo the time, after all.”

We were approaching Delerue Hall, one of the many mixed-use buildings on campus. It had some of the School of Computer Science offices in it as well as some computer labs and server space, if I remembered correctly. “Speaking of which, why are you being so goddamn coy about why we’re here? If its important enough, why not just tell me?”

“Because secrecy is fun, people might genuinely be listening, and that crack about honorary singlehood cut me to the very quick,” said Jim. “Incidentally, Eric, I’ll have you know that Melinda and I have done plenty together through the wonderful medium of the internet.”

I shuddered. “Thanks, Jim. Now I’m going to have that mental image burned into my retinas forever. When I’m lying in a gutter with cotton balls where my eyeballs should be, you’ll feel the keen knife of guilt.”

Jim and I reached the Delerue Hall entrance, which was protected by a card swipe. “Don’t be such a drama queen, Eric,” he said as he swiped us in. “If anything, I’m the one who should be tearing his eyes out at the thought of you e-stalking a girl for six months before screwing up the courage to get her goddamn digits.”

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