“Whoa, Nelly.”

That is one full inbox.

“Maybe I’m a babe and don’t know it,” I mutter, then laugh.

Please, if I were a babe, I’d be well aware. I’m simply the friendly neighborhood math whiz, the girl the boys asked to be their math tutor, their science tutor, and their applied calculus tutor.

As if applied calculus is hard.


But I suppose it can be if you don’t spend all day mired in the gorgeousness of math problems.

That’s what dating is. One giant math variable waiting to be solved. All I have to do is figure out the way to that connection and closeness I crave. I’ll crack the code to a relationship. I know I will.

I click through the chat with Porter, but as he tells me about a new article on astrophysics, I keep picturing him with ladies’ panties.

I switch over to Wallace, but as we opine on spreadsheets, I wonder if he has an ax somewhere in his house.

“Shake it off, shake it off.”

Maybe I need an entirely new man to chat with. Someone Grams doesn’t know about yet. Someone whose image she hasn’t sullied in my head.

I return to the inbox and murmur appreciatively when I spot a new name, alongside a handsome picture of a thirty-something man with a fantastic smile, blond hair, bright blue eyes, and a face that, quite simply, looks kind.

ThinkingMan is his name. I laugh then scan his profile. His mantra is “Opposites attract” is for magnets only. Oh yes, it is, ThinkingMan.

I click open his note.

Dear Telescoper,

As you may have surmised, I’m not a big believer in the “opposites attract” theory. But I do love theories, and from your profile, I can see you do too. While I won’t pretend to be someone I’m not, and I can’t claim to be conversant in all things mathematical, I do love theories, debating them, dissecting them, and deconstructing them.

Also, stargazing rules. Did you know that the Andromeda Galaxy is going to crash into the Milky Way in 4.5 billion years? Of course you do. But what do you think that collision will look like?



That’s literally one of my favorite things to discuss. With a crazy grin, I reply in the chat box.

Telescoper: Greetings, ThinkingMan! I don’t believe opposites attract either. In fact, there was a University of Kansas study that debunked the entire theory as it applies to relationships.

ThinkingMan: I do enjoy a good debunking. Especially since true similarities play the biggest part in pairings.

Telescoper: They do! Also, I like to think that collision will look like two stars ramming into each other, monster truck–style. But I suspect it’ll be more like a river merging into an ocean.

ThinkingMan: I like that analogy. I can see that perfectly. One massive, bright, and beautiful galaxy flowing into another. I do think it’ll be quite loud.

Telescoper: We’re talking cover-your-eardrums loud.

ThinkingMan: Louder than the big bang?

Telescoper: I’d bet on it. By the way, did you know the Andromeda Galaxy is visible to the naked eye tonight?

ThinkingMan: I’m looking at it right now. It’s always lovely on a moonless night.

Telescoper: I’m looking at Orion Nebula right now.

ThinkingMan: Don’t even tell me you have some top-of-the-line NASA-style telescope. I’ll be too jealous.

Telescoper: I’d hate to make you jealous, then, especially since it is an awfully big scope.

ThinkingMan: Oh no, you didn’t just go there!

Telescoper: Oh yes, I did! It is huge though. After all, what I don’t spend on shoes and cosmos, I spend on my telescope.

ThinkingMan: So you gave up cosmos for the cosmos.

Telescoper: Nice wordplay. Ten points to you.

ThinkingMan: And for ten points, I’ll go check out the Orion Nebula too.

As we chat about the constellation and how it looks this evening, and I gaze at the night sky, I don’t have to wonder if he’s looking at the same stars. He is.

And even though it’s premature to think this means anything, I’m giving my first swing at online dating a gold star.

* * *

I’ll admit it.

I’m eager to talk to ThinkingMan again the next evening after I come home from work.

He’s not online though, so I put aside my disappointment, burying myself in a presentation on new ways to harness wind power to make dishwashers run more efficiently.

Midway through, Grams knocks on my door, dressed in her mechanic coveralls. “I need to do some work on my Camaro. Can you babysit my Crock-Pot?”

“Isn’t that the point of a Crock-Pot? It babysits itself?”

“It does, true. But dinner should be ready in a few minutes, and I want you to turn it off.”

I grab my tablet and head to her place next door. When I reach the kitchen, she hands me her phone. “Take this too.”

“Your phone also needs babysitting?”

She shoots me a duh look. “Of course it does. I’m in the middle of a game. I’m close to hitting a poker streak, but I need to get some work done on this car for Betty. Can you take over my game?”

Tags: Lauren Blakely Romance
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