FIRST DATES by Ruth M. McCarty

Missy Bates sat in front of her mirror deciding how she wanted to look for this particular online dating video. She pulled at her scooped-neck sweater, turning her head left and right, judging at which angle she’d look her best.

Maybe the sweater’s a little too low cut. This is, after all, for a Christian dating service. She stripped off the sweater and picked up a frumpy white blouse. She slowly buttoned it in front of the mirror, checking her makeup as she did. She added a little more eyeliner and a touch more color to her lips, but not too much. Then she pulled her hair back off her face to show her tiny pearl earrings.

The dating site wanted good, moral singles. Honest people. She’d been surprised when she realized they didn’t do any background checks. They were a little too trusting.

Missy had already filled out her profile and entered her title: Seeking Sensitive Soul. She hoped it sounded a little sexy as well as religious. She’d listed her likes–walking on the beach at sunset, attending Christian retreats, and listening to Christian music.

She’d already set up the video camera across from her favorite chair–an old wingback that had belonged to the maternal grandmother who had raised her. She flung a crocheted afghan over one side for affect, turned on the video, then sat.

“I’m pretty new to this dating thing.” She smiled at the camera and then sat back. “I lost my husband nearly five years ago, and I’m ready now to find my soul mate. I’m putting this in God’s hands.”

She mentioned everything on her list and more. After a couple of edits, she was pleased with the video, uploaded it to her profile, and then checked that her new Facebook page was working.

Several matches came up right away. Missy studied the videos, read their profiles, and checked the men out on Facebook and Twitter. She narrowed it to three, and then sent her “rib” off to them. The first man who answered turned out to live in Oregon. Too far away–that would never work.

Missy and the second man e-mailed back and forth. She didn’t like some of his responses and didn’t get good feelings from him, so she politely ended it.

The third man lived in western Massachusetts. A couple hours drive from where she lived. Perfect.

She watched Jonathan Sawyer’s video several times before contacting him. He had beautiful blue eyes, rimmed with dark lashes and surfer blond hair. He, too, had lost his spouse and his parents as well. And she loved the sound of his voice.

Missy e-mailed him for well over a week and then they talked on Skype. Finally, he suggested they meet and she agreed to meet him halfway between her house and his. She told him about a coffee shop she knew about right near the Quabbin Reservoir.


It was after seven when Missy pulled into the parking lot. The building was completely dark and had a “For Lease” sign on the window. Parked right in front of the building though, was Jonathan’s red Mustang.

Missy reached into her bag, then got out of her car, flashing Jonathan a bright smile. “I’m so sorry. It looks like this place has gone out of business.”

“Alison,” Jonathan said, as he rushed up to Missy. “I was afraid I’d missed you.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t miss this for anything,” she said, as her derringer went off with a bang. “I just love these first dates.”

Ruth M. McCarty’s mysteries have appeared in Level Best Books anthologies and in Over My Dead Body! She won the 2009 Derringer for BEST FLASH STORY for “No Flowers for Stacey.” She is a past president of the New England SinC and a member of MWA.

Copyright © 2016 Ruth M. McCarty. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of the author is prohibited. 

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