Home > Single and Ready to Jingle

Single and Ready to Jingle
Author: Piper Rayne



Chapter One






Not much draws the gaze of a New Yorker. Except maybe a twenty-eight-year-old woman running down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan while wearing red-and-white-striped tights, elf ears, and curved green shoes with hanging bells.

I rush past the gawking men and women clutching their shopping bags that contain items that cost more than my monthly rent.

“Damn it,” I mumble, stopping at a red light, sounding like a Christmas carol as I jog in place. I’m going to be late and there’s nothing I hate more than disrespecting another person’s time. It’s just plain rude.

As soon as the cars clear the intersection, before the little walking man pedestrian signal lights up, I step off the curb. If you ever want to tell the difference between a tourist and a born and bred New Yorker, wait to see when they cross the street. A real Manhattanite believes that pedestrian signals are merely suggestions, not rule of law.

I run down the sidewalk, my blonde braids bouncing with every step, the bells hanging from my toes and skirt ringing the entire way.

I love Christmas.

Like, love love Christmas.

Most Americans wait until after Thanksgiving to put up their Christmas decorations, but not me. Mine go up the day after Halloween.

At the next light, I pull my phone from my purse to see how close I am to the restaurant my date chose for tonight. I’m only a few blocks away.

IOBJECT and I met on the Blind Dating app. The idea behind the app is that you converse with people and get to know them without seeing a picture of them. Everyone is vetted thoroughly before they can join the app, and because it isn’t free, it keeps out a lot of the creeps. In fact, I pay a premium to have no idea who I’m going out with, which sounds kind of crazy because I’m not exactly swimming in money, but if you had my same history when it comes to dating you would too.

Safety is paramount though. When you confirm to meet in person, you have to load all the details into the app—when, where, with what user, etc. I guess that way if my body shows up in the Hudson, the police will know who to question first.

No, I haven’t found a love match yet, but I’ve been on some decent dates with some okay guys. All the other apps seem to be full of guys looking only for hookups, misogynists, or men with foot fetishes. If I never have to see an unsolicited dick pic again in my life, that premium is worth it.

Dating in New York City is its own version of Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell, so I decided the new app was worth giving a try. What’s the worst that can happen? I’ll go on more bad dates? Been there, done that, have the therapist bill to prove it.

All I know about IOBJECT is that he’s thirty-four, enjoys watching football, and he’s a lawyer. I’m trying not to hold the lawyer thing against him since my older brother is also a lawyer. We’ve chatted a few times on the app, and even though I don’t think we’ve really connected in a big way, he asked me out and I figured why not give it a try. At the very least, I might score a free meal with some interesting conversation.

I didn’t plan on showing up dressed as an elf though, but hey, it’s a great icebreaker. If he’s the guy for me, he’ll see the humor in the fact that I forgot my change of clothes at home this morning, and because work ran late, I didn’t have time to take the subway all the way downtown to grab presentable attire before our date.

I turn off Fifth Avenue onto Fifty-Second, spotting the restaurant sign. I slow to a fast walk, hoping some of the sweat that’s causing my costume to stick to my skin will dissipate.

A man and woman are leaving the restaurant as I arrive, and he holds the door open for me while the woman openly cranes her neck to watch me. My gaze roams the expensive restaurant and I realize I may have made a mistake in choosing not to be late over going home and changing.

The couple waiting to be seated turns to look at me.

“Have a candy cane.” I dig a few out of my pockets and hand them to them. “Remember, Santa’s always watching.”

Rather than cowering, I raise my chin to project confidence, as if it’s not weird to be dressed as one of Santa’s helpers in a five-star restaurant.

The hostess gives me a tight-lipped smile. “We don’t allow singing telegrams here,” she leans forward and whispers, her platinum-blonde hair slipping from behind her ears.

“Oh no. I’m meeting someone. The reservation is under the name Marshall.”

Marshall was a pet hamster I had growing up and the name I told IOBJECT to put the reservation under.

She doesn’t say a word as she looks from me to the tablet in her hands. “Your party has already arrived. Follow me.”

“Thank you.”

She turns and walks farther into the restaurant, weaving through tables. The bells hanging off me sound obnoxious in the subdued space. Out on the streets of Manhattan, they didn’t seem so loud, but there’s nothing I can do about them now. I’m here, and we’ll make the best of it. If anything, it’s a cute story if things turn out good with IOBJECT.

She leads me to a table for two. It’s hard to mistake the horror in my date’s eyes as I approach the table.

He’s handsome, dressed in an expensive navy suit with a red tie. His square jaw is covered with a short beard that matches his light-brown hair, which has a copper sheen to it. The most interesting thing about his hair is the inch-wide streak of gray at the front on his left side. It’s unique and different.

“Here you are,” the hostess says and gestures.

IOBJECT slides out of his chair to stand. Well, good start. At least he’s a gentleman.

“Hi, I’m RAINBOWRIDER.” I wave a little shyly as his bluish-gray eyes take me in from head to toe.

It’s not in the sexual way one would hope on a first date. More in a questioning way, as if asking, “Are you really wearing an elf costume?”

I’ll just have to win him over with my charming personality.



Chapter Two






It’s already been a shit day.

First, my sole competitor for partnership at the law firm won his case and is being lauded as the next Johnnie Cochran, regardless of the fact that the case was a slam dunk from the beginning. The defense’s staggering ineptitude practically handed him the victory.

Second, my daft assistant entered the wrong time in my calendar, so when my biggest client showed up, I was unprepared.

And third, my blind date just arrived… dressed like an elf. I’m not clear on if she actually thinks of herself as an elf or maybe there’s a weird Christmas role-playing underbelly within the city that I’m unaware of.

Doesn’t matter. This is definitely not a match.

The only question is, how soon can I get this date to end?

“Hi, I’m RAINBOWRIDER.” She smiles as though nothing is amiss.

I suppose there’s not much to be done now, except suffer through dinner and get out of here as soon as humanly possible.

“Good to meet you.” I nod and take my seat.

She pulls out her chair and sits, sounding like a goddamn chorus of bells. The diners nearby all glance over, and my hand clenches the armrest of the chair. Lord, please, if you’re taking requests, please do not let anyone I know see me with an absolute barmy woman.

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