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Just about every another world story starts the same. A truck comes barreling down the street. An unexpecting pedestrian is hit. Some jump in the way to save some kind of damsel-in-distress. Whether they failed or not, that is always left for later. Well, my accident also involved a damsel, but it was hardly so noble. If it came to describing my accident, I just wasn’t paying attention while crossing the street. I was on my phone, looking for a job when it happened suddenly. There were the bright headlights, the honk of a horn, the screeching of breaks, and then I was hit. It was all followed by darkness.
And pain, lots of pain. My eyes opened to a bright light. I felt like I had just been struck by a truck. I hadn’t, I was struck by a Tesla, so I reckoned that I was in better shape. Wait, I could see the car? Those bright lights were just headlights! I was still alive. I realized I was just lying on the chilly street after just being hit. This was a nearly deserted road, and no one but the driver had seemingly even noticed the accident.
Were they going to swerve around me and abandon me in the middle of the road? It would have been incredibly easy to do at this moment. The car engine cut and the headlines turned off, plunging me into darkness. I heard the opening and closing of a car door and the sound of heels clicking on the concrete.
“Oh, no… I can’t believe I hit someone again!”
Again!? Lady, you need to give up your license!
As my eyes adjusted to the new lighting, I could see a grey overcast sky above me. A moment later, a pretty face popped in front of my vision. She appeared to be a young businesswoman in her twenties. She had brown hair, brown eyes, and stylized hair put up in a bun. Her long legs were covered with dark panty house that stretched up to her thighs, and a black professional dress that just barely revealed a piece of pale thigh, but that’s because I could see partially up her dress while on the ground in such a state.
“Are you okay? You look like someone who is used to bad hits. You’re fine, right? We don’t need to let the police get involved, right?” The woman sounded more frantic than me. “Okay, now, just sign this document that absolved me from all responsibility…”
What the heck is she having me sign?
I ripped my hand away. While I was in a daze, she had put a pen in it while bringing a piece of paper toward the dotted line. I sat up in a rush, feeling a bout of dizziness. She snapped her fingers, looking somewhat disappointed.
“I’m alright.” I groaned, putting my hand to my head. “Just give me a second.”
“Is anything broken? Nothing be broken! What about this…”
“Why are you reaching for that?” I twisted my legs before she grabbed something important.
“My dad always said that all men think with that. It would be bad if it was broken.”
“Don’t take your dad so seriously!” I cried out.
“My dad was very wise. He was born in this world, you know? I miss him dearly.”
I opened my mouth to ask what she was talking about, but upon hearing about her dad’s death, I stopped myself.
“My parents recently passed away too.” I admitted, feeling a deep weight on my heart.”
“Oh, he’s not dead. He just went away a while. I just don’t know what world he went to.”
This conversation is taking years off my life.
“Well, I’m okay, as you can see…” I stood up, but then stumbled slightly.
The girl caught me and felt something soft nestling my arm. I stiffened slightly, making sure that my eyes did not look down. Her dress was a bit low cut, and she showed a bit of ample bosom. However, I knew women these days didn’t like men looking, and I didn’t want to end up causing an incident by being impolite.
“Are you sure you’re alright?” She asked, close enough I could feel the heat of her breath on this cold, murky Friday.
“I’m sure.” Just as I said that my stomach suddenly growled.
It wasn’t that surprising. I hadn’t eaten anything today. I didn’t even have the money to afford to eat anything. I had spent my last dollar on a bus fare to reach this job interview, only for the person to claim they filled the position just before I arrived. I pulled my arm away from the woman, only feeling slightly regretful, and then straightened my sports jacket, only to see there was a tear in it from the accident. I could only sigh.
The woman watched me carefully for a moment, and then she spoke. “How about I take you to lunch to make it up to you? It’s still early.”
I wanted to say no, but the sudden feeling of hunger got the better of me, and I couldn’t help but nod. That’s how I ended up in her car, driving away from the accident scene with the woman who had hit me. Her car was very comfortable. At first, I appreciated the heat compared to the chilly outdoors, but pretty soon it was hot enough I had to pull off my coat. She reached the AC unit. I thought she was going to turn it down, but she turned up the heat instead!
“Since you took off your coat, you can handle more heat, right?” She asked.
What is with this woman?
I found myself asking this question over and over again in my head. I decided to keep my mouth shut and bear with it until I got my food. Anything would do at this point, but I was starting to sweat.
She gave me a side glance. “I’m sorry… I’m just not used to the cold. The outside is freezing. I can barely feel my hands.”
“You come from someplace hot?” I asked, thinking that while it was a bit chilly, it was hardly that bad.
She nodded. “On Atraxia, it’s usually above 100 degrees. It never gets much colder than this. I hear you water even turns to ice and falls from the sky here in the winter.”
“You mean snow?”
She shivered and made a face. “Y-yeah… that.”
Atraxia? Is that a city? I had never heard of it. However, it had to be someplace in the desert if it was that hot. I had heard some places never saw snow, so it wasn’t that hard to believe.
“So, you just moved here?”
“Mm…” She nodded. “I’m opening up an office for my father’s business here.”
I was starting to understand this girl a bit better. She was just some girl who had a wealthy eccentric father. She followed in his footsteps, so that’s probably why she kept saying such weird things. She was rich.
“Good luck,” I responded nonchalantly.
She glanced at me suddenly. “You look like a virgin, are you?”
“What?” I nearly hit my knee on the dash. “What are you saying?”
“My business!” She responded. “You could be our first local customer! It’s really cheap. Just $1000 for a consultation… then $100 an hour. Oh, and then there is the $500 first meeting…”
“How is any of that cheap!” I shot back, causing her eyes to widen. “Do you think I could afford those costs? I don’t even have a job. I’d need to worry about that far before I could worry about my love life.”
“I thought you said your parents passed away. Didn’t they leave you anything?”
As expected of a sheltered rich girl.
I grimaced. “They did… but I was only sixteen at the time. My Uncle stole the money that was supposed to go to me. I had to scrounge every penny just to finish high school. Now, I’m trying to get a job, and that hasn’t been working out so well either. It’s a long story, I don’t want to get into it.”
“I see…” She responded, but remained somewhat silent for the rest of the job.
She ended up pulling into a little café. It was more upscale than I was used to, but not so much as to make me uncomfortable. We got a table, and she ordered tea while I got a soda. When I ordered a meal, she passed.
“You’re not going to eat.”
“I need to watch my weight.” She admitted. “I can’t get a guy. It’s definitely because of my weight!”
“It’s not your weight.”
“Hmm?” She tapped her lips. “But I can’t think of any other reason a guy wouldn’t be interested in me. Can you think of any reasons?”
I can think of several reasons.
It was true that she was very pretty, but she came off as rather high strung and high maintenance. That was just my personal opinion as the guy she ran over with a car. Of course, I wasn’t going to tell her that.
“Have you tried the locals dating websites?” I tried to give the most generic answer I could think of.
“A dating site!” She spoke too loudly for the small and quiet café, drawing a few looks. “For locals? Isn’t that selection far too small? I might as well just hook up with any guy! The guy who I want should be perfect! He should be kind, attractive, and caring. He should be rich, obviously, but he shouldn’t let that get into his head. Do you know what I mean?”
“Mmhmm…” I tapped my fingers, waiting for the food to arrive.
“You know, speaking of looks, I want a blonde… I don’t really don’t care about skin color, as long as they have it.”
“Skin,” She responded before putting out her finger animatedly, “and he definitely needs two legs and two arms, and one head!”
She’s discriminating against the disabled! Wait, what about a head?
Before I could dwell on it, we were interrupted by the waiter bringing out the drinks and a plate of food. “Sir, your order.”
I had just ordered a sandwich and chips, so there was no cooking time. I immediately found that to be a good decision. Right after I left, the strange woman started up again. Her mouth just didn’t seem to stop moving as she enthusiastically relayed every detail about her dream guy. As she spoke, her hands swung around wildly, creating quite the scene. I grabbed the food and started stuffing it down my mouth quickly, eager to get out of this situation. Well, I was also really starving.
“I really want him to be strong. He doesn’t necessarily need to have beaten a dragon, but he definitely needs to be able to pick me up in his arms and protect me from bandits and thugs. Preferably, he’s proficient with weapons. I just feel like using your fists is far too barbaric. I want a man who’s reserved, someone who is well-read and book-knowledgeable.”
“The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest of the past centuries,” I quoted.
“It’s a quote from Descartes.”
“Oh, I don’t read.”
“Anyway, while I said he didn’t have to kill a dragon, doing some accomplishment at least that far would be appreciated. He should have some trophies in his bag, is all I’m saying…”
I quickly finished the sandwich, and then instead of opening the bag of chips, I shoved it into my pocket. There was no saying where my next meal would come from. I was just sipping my soda when I realized she had stopped talking and was looking at me. She had her arms crossed in front of her, which caused her chest to pop up the top and show a lot of cleavage. That only brought focus to her face, which didn’t look pleased at all.
“Ah, what?” I asked.
“Are you even listening?” She demanded.
“I-I was…” I responded defensively.
“Then, what do you think? What’s your advice?”
“Um… good luck?”
Her face dropped into a frown. I didn’t know what it was, but there was something about her expression that struck me. It reminded me of a time years ago when my mother was still alive. She wore such an expression when I had accidentally flunked out of my philosophy class in high school. I had tried to hide my grade from her, making the ‘F’ look like an ‘A’. Of course, she had found out immediately and scolded me.
“I’m not mad.” Mother had told me. “I’m just disappointed.”
This woman wore a similar look. She had been expecting something, and I had failed to deliver. I didn’t know what to say. I opened my mouth, but the words weren’t there. At that moment, a beeping sound could be heard. She lifted her purse and then pulled out a cellphone. She glanced at it and then gave an irritated sigh.
“It’s my work. I need to get going.” She swung her purse over her shoulder and stood up.
As she turned to leave, I suddenly got a strange feeling deep inside. Something about the sadness and expectation in her eyes struck me, and before I could help myself, I spoke out.
“You’ll find them.” I declared.
She stopped, her back still facing me. “Find what?”
“You expected more. You expected better. You wanted a man who could meet your expectations, and time and time again you’ve not found anyone who could meet your standards. However, it’s not too hard to understand, since it’s not your standards you’re trying to meet, it’s his. Your father. You want to find a man as accomplished, as worldly, as smart, and as loving as your father, because deep down you miss him so much.
“That’s why you’ve only recently become so caught on finding a man. It’s just a coping method for your feelings of loneliness with your father gone. I know that feeling…” I looked down. “Perhaps a bit too well. No one can replace my parents. I put my faith in my extended family, thinking that my uncle would love me as my parents did, and treat me just like they did. In the end, it was a lie that I told myself because I couldn’t face the truth. I was just settling.
“You’ve also settled. You’re still young, and beautiful, and you have all the time in the world to meet the right person. You will find them. If you don’t find them in this city, then you’ll find them somewhere in the country. If not the country, they’ll be somewhere in this world. If you can’t find them in this world, then you’ll just have to try another! I believe that the man you want, the kind, attractive, caring, strong, rich man, and when you find him, he’ll be all of those things, or maybe none of them, because ultimately, the one you fall in love with won’t be a choice. It isn’t something that can be manufactured. That’s why they call it falling in love because it’s something beyond our control. All we can do is keep jumping, and one day the fall will happen.”
When I stopped, I realized I had stood up, and I had also been speaking nearly as fervently as she had been. The woman hadn’t moved a single step as I spoke. All I could see was her back. To me, those words had just come out, and I felt a bit embarrassed. I didn’t know if they sounded sappy, or if she thought I was coming onto her, or what.
She spun around, revealing a large smile on her face. She took two steps and then pushed something down on the table. I blinked before looking to see a card. It was gilded with gold and looked rather fancy. She nodded to it, and I slowly leaned over and read the contents.
Lead Supervisor of H.I.L.D.A
“Hilda?” I asked as I reached down and picked it up, noticing an address and phone number on the back.
“It’s the name of our business, HILDA. We are a matchmaking service. We find any customer their soul mate, no matter how far we must search. Our success is guaranteed.”
“A… dating service?”
“You said that you needed a job.” She declared confidently. “Well, as an upstart company, we’re also in need of new consultants. I was the top consultant, but I’ve been extremely busy with opening the local division, so I don’t have the time to focus on individual cases anymore. That’s why I need a replacement, and that replacement is you!”
She ended her words by pointing right at me.
“Me? A matchmaking consultant.”
“I originally had my doubts, but after what you just said, I believe you have the potential to do well working for Hilda.” She declared. “Come in tomorrow, and we’ll get you started with training immediately.”
“Do you think couples have time to find relationships during the weekdays?” She raised an eyebrow. “Just show up. I’ll see you there.”
She turned around and began to strut away.
“W-wait…” I hadn’t even told her I accepted the job.
However, she was already gone before I could say anything. I was left sitting there dumbfounded with a card in my hand. I had said that I wanted a job, didn’t I? Rather, I didn’t just want a job, I needed a job. I was going to starve, and that didn’t even have anything to do with living expenses. Next week my rent was due, and I didn’t have any money to pay it. A job that started right away was exactly what I needed. On top of that, she had earlier mentioned the costs like $100 an hour. Was it possible that consultants were paid pretty good money?
Just as I began to feel very excited, a piece of paper was plopped on my table by the waiter, who had a somewhat annoyed expression on his face. “Your bill, sir.”
That night, I ended up with another job, doing the dishes for the café. They did let me take home leftovers for dinner, so it all turned out. Perhaps my luck was just starting to change.
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