Home > My Favorite Half-Night Stand(11)

My Favorite Half-Night Stand(11)
Author: Christina Lauren

“Shaylene all set?” I ask.

He nods. “They’re fucking HEK cells, Reid, and Shaylene is super smart. She didn’t really need help.”

She may be “super smart,” but Shaylene is a first-year graduate student in my lab, with minimal hands-on bench work experience under her belt. As someone who claims to aspire to be a career postdoc in my lab, Ed has taken on the role of mentoring the new graduate students. But he sometimes forgets that we aren’t all born knowing molecular biology.

“Besides,” he says, “I’ve got to work on this essay for Millie.”

It takes me a beat to get his meaning. “The dating profile?”

He runs a harried hand through his wild curls. I catch a glimpse of sweat forming right at his hairline. “Yeah.”

“Ed, I think you might be taking this a bit seriously.”

He stops near the water fountain and bends, slurping. Coming up, he swipes at the water running down his chin. “Chris has me all stressed out, man. And look at you guys! What if it’s just me who doesn’t get a date? It’s Chris—Mr. Deep-Voiced Chemist, and you—Mr. Lifeguard-Body Neuro-Geek, and Alex—the hot Latin lover who bangs women in that darkroom every fucking day. Then there’s me. Seth Rogen but Somehow Even Pastier.”

I start to reply that I think he’s actually more Zach Galifianakis but do a double take as we pass the darkroom in question, noting the IN USE sign lit up on the outside. “Wait, what did you say about Alex?”

“Dude, everyone knows that’s where he gets laid, like, all the fucking time.” Ed waves me off and stops me outside the department conference room. “But what if I agreed to this, and you all end up with dates for the banquet, and those dates turn into more, and where does that leave me?”

I have a flash of realization that this really matters to Ed, that deep down, this chubby science nerd really does want to meet someone and build something lasting. But since I don’t think he’d appreciate the condescending vibe of this new awareness of mine, I clap a reassuring hand on his shoulder and go for glib: “You’ll find someone. And if not, you’ve always got Cheetos and Madden NFL 18.”

“Man, fuck you.”

Thankfully, only one other person has arrived already to overhear this. Unfortunately, it’s the neurobiology department chair, Scott Ilian. He looks up, but noting that it’s just Ed, blinks back down to the journal article in front of him. “Gentlemen.”

The faculty meetings are so tedious that even I, an admitted workaholic, often want to slowly bleed myself to death at some point during the back-and-forth. Each week, emeritus professors return to continue to feel valuable—but mostly to hear themselves speak—most often on new department policies they know nothing about and which will not impact their retired lives in the slightest. New faculty want to be seen and heard and will fervently advocate for technology the department has either already considered and rejected, or can’t justify purchasing for use by only one or two labs. There will be a segment where a decision is being made, and everyone generally agrees but needs to make the point themselves, which results in ten people saying the same thing, just mildly rephrased each time.

Forty-five minutes in, and in the depths of the Rephrasing Phase, I take a deep, steadying breath and glance around the room.

Norm McMaster, our oldest faculty member, with ears the size of shoes, is asleep with his chin to his chest. Annika Stark, the department’s only neuroendocrinologist, is staring daggers at her nemesis/fuck buddy, Isaac Helm, who is currently rewording Scott’s point about the need for more stringent admissions criteria. Deborah recently had to kick a student out of her lab for failing classes two terms in a row, and Isaac is clearly just poking the bear, hoping for a fight that may or may not end up as sex later.

Sitting in his normal spot toward the back of the room, Ed is surreptitiously playing Clash of Clans on his phone. My own screen lights up with a text from Alex, sent only to me and the other guys.

Dude, did you guys see what Millie sent?

Chris replies a moment later.

These profiles are good.

I slide my phone onto the table, resisting the urge to check my email right now. Did Millie end up rewriting our dating profiles after all? And if she did mine . . . is that weird? What would she say? My name is Reid Campbell, I’m 31, six foot two, and when I’m not being a workaholic idiot, I enjoy running, manning the barbecue, and having astonishing sex with my best friend?

When I return to my office, I see that, in fact, it’s far, far better than that.

From: Morris, Millie

To: Campbell, Reid

Subject: FINE.

I wrote this because yours came into my head, and then I realized I had to write all of them because I am an enabler and way too nice to all four of you. If you don’t like it, don’t tell me. I just wasted like an hour on these.


I was raised on a vineyard and live near the ocean, yet I know neither how to make wine nor surf. But I do love to be outdoors: hiking, sailing, even hanging on the beach with friends. My travel bucket list is a mile long. I have weekends where I’m kicking back at home, catching up on Netflix, and weekends where I take off on a road trip with friends to find the newest, greatest brewpub. I’ve run a few marathons, but can never resist cookies, or barbecue. I’m probably considered old-fashioned when it comes to dating—I think a first date is dinner, not just drinks—but I was raised by a woman who thinks a man needs to take his time and earn respect, and I agree. I absolutely love what I do for work, but am looking for someone to help me find adventure elsewhere, too. If you think we might be a good fit, I’d love to hear from you.

I reread it once, and then again. It’s simple but . . . better than anything I’d come up with on my own.

I’m reminded of the day I showed up at Millie’s last summer, in the impulsive mood to tear down the highway with the windows down and music turned up loud. We drove toward San Luis Obispo, and found a tiny new brewery there, had a lunch of messy burgers and tangy IPAs, and then drove home, quieter on the way back, with full bellies and the sound of flapping air and Tom Petty in the car. It was the perfect day with the perfect person.

And I remember when all five of us tried to surf, and only Chris managed to get up on the board while the rest of us gave up and watched from the warm sand of the shore. Millie was beside me, wearing a blue two-piece. She didn’t bother to spread out her towel; her stomach and legs were dusted with coarse sand, her eyes closed and face tilted up to the sky. We were new friends; she’d only been out of the relationship with Dustin for a matter of weeks at that point, and it was the first time we’d really talked about it—after a decent amount of prodding on my end: about how distracted Dustin was, about how weird it felt to be single, about how relieved she was to no longer be living with someone with such a hot temper.

I see our moments in every line of this profile, except one: I don’t know how she knows that I can’t imagine going on a date with only drinks, that a first date over coffee seems odd to me. I wonder whether she sees deeper, too, to a place even I can’t really access, and which understands better than my conscious mind does the ache I feel at the thought of Millie also writing a profile for herself, for others out there to read.

I’m unprepared for the way this hits me. The train of thought gives me a lurching nausea that resembles what I felt earlier, talking to Mom—the sense of something being all wrong. I press the heels of my hands to my eyes, and then open the IM thread with the guys.

Reid Campbell

Ok Millie’s attempt at my profile is pretty good.

Christopher Hill

Let’s see it.

Reid Campbell

You, too. Here’s mine . . .

I paste it in, and then read theirs as they pop up on the screen.

Christopher Hill

My friends would call me the calmest member of our group, and although I think it’s true, I sometimes feel like I have so much strident curiosity burning inside me that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to retire. I have a silver Labrador named Maisie, and she is the current love of my life, but there’s absolutely room in there for more. Having married—and later divorced—my high school sweetheart, I learned not that relationships are treacherous, but that finding the right one isn’t easy, and we are all constantly growing with the world around us. I am a devoted fan of Cal football, roosters in any form, road biking, and will drive a hundred miles to find the best doughnut.

Christopher Hill

That rooster line is going, but otherwise—it’s pretty good.

Alex Ramirez

I love her so hard for slipping that in. Here’s mine: I see so many people around here emphasizing how laid-back they are, and I’ll be honest: that’s not me at all—I love to get out there and make some noise. I grew up racing dirt bikes in Huntington Beach, and now spend as much free time as I can mountain biking in the hills around Santa Barbara. I love to cook, I love to eat, and I love to dance my face off at weddings. But don’t worry—I don’t need to find someone who loves all the things I do, I want to find someone who knows who she is, is happy with who I am, and is ready to get out there and have some fun.

Stephen (Ed) D’Onofrio

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
Most Popular
» My Favorite Half-Night Stand
» Faking Forever (First Wives #4)
» Chasing Shadows (First Wives #3)
» Half Empty (First Wives #2)
» Fool Me Once (First Wives #1)
» Winter in Paradise (Paradise #1)
» Sin & Salvation (Demigod of San Francis
» Sin & Magic (Demigod of San Francisco #