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ConSensual
ConSensual

Episode · 1 year ago

Welcome to Niagara

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Cleo signs on the dotted line and heads north to be the star of the show. Little does she know, Hot Elevator Guy will make more than a few appearances himself.

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Welcome back, consensual lovers. Our long awaited season two has finally landed. If you want us to keep the love stories coming, let us know by dropping us a review wherever you get your podcasts and sharing the season with a friend. It helps us a ton. You can follow us on Instagram at consensual pod and did you know you can watch this love story play out on your instagram feed? To follow at the Cleo Walker and at Dean of NYC to peek into the lives of our protagonists, from the meat cute to the happily ever after. Anyway, Enough Chit Chat. Here's Hook Up. State of mind. I want to play with the tablet. I look up from my phone to see two little Brown eyes blinking at me from across the white marble countertop. No tablet at the dinner table, Brady, you know that. I gesture toward the untouched plate of peas and chicken nuggets he talked me into making instead of the bowl of Quinoa his mom left instructions for eat up buttercup. Brady crinkles his nose at me and gives the play a push across the counter. Upon closer inspection, each of the five nuggets has a single bite taken out of it. The pile of peas, on the other hand, he's ignored all together. Hi, heave a sigh, resisting the urge to flick a pea at Brady's tiny blond head. Would you rather I made you the quinoabble? His face turns from cabbage patch kid to sour patch kid. I don't want dinner, I want to play with the tablet. It's moments like these that make me grateful that I'm a nanny, not a mom. As far as survival jobs go, getting paid to hang out with the seven year old son of a hotel mogul in their fancy Manhattan Brown Stone Beats Retail any day of the week. But having him on loan nine hundred to twenty five, that's more than enough kid time for me. The Best Cure for baby fever is knowing those Pudgy cheeked cuties grow into stubborn second graders who won't eat their dinner. I plant a hand on my hip. You begged me to make nuggets, now you're not even going to finish them. He shakes his head, his sunny blond hair flying into his eyes. They're good one. My brother makes them you do it wrong, leave. It's a brady mcdaniel to have discerning taste and chicken nuggets. His mom, Helen, took mcdaniel hotels international when he was only two, meaning he's probably had nuggets from more countries than I'll visit in my lifetime. I turned my attention back to my phone, relenting. Fine, skip the nuggets, but the peas are not negotiable. His little mouth forms a line. What's that mean? It means that we're not going to your Dad's until you finish them. Thirty minutes until I'm supposed to have him fed, packed and dropped off at his dad's on the other side of Central Park. This is not the time for picky eating. Brady rolls his eyes at me as I push the plate back towards him. Watch the SASP or I'll make you leave the tablet here. What if I read on the tablet while I eat? But like I did, like I did this morning? He tries out his best set of puppy dog eyes, but those don't work on me, not after the two years I've had to develop immunity against them. Not Uh, I saw you playing angry birds on it earlier. You're not as sneaky as you think. Plus your mom and Stepdack said, only thirty minutes of screen time today. Part of me wonders why they bought the kid a tablet in the first place if they don't want him playing with it. But I'm not a parrot and if I were and I had the kind of money Helen mcdaniel has, my son would probably sleep on a bed made out of tablets. So I have no room to talk. Brady jets out his lower lip. But but you're plan on your phone shit. Good Point. I click the power button on the side and the screen turns black. In the name of setting a good example, my phone usually stays in my purse while I'm Nannying, but today it's different, and I'm not launching animated birds at stacks of pigs. I'm refreshing my inbox over and over, hoping the casting email I've been waiting for all day will appear, which honestly, might be just as much of a waste of time. I set my phone, screen side down on the counter. I'm not playing on my phone, Brady, I'm waiting for an important email. His eyes wide in half an inch for movie. The only thing that Interests Brady more than a screen is the idea of me being on one, probably a side effect of all the Times I've made him watch red carpet coverage with me. The kid is a fiend for all things Hollywood, Glamor now and is constantly asking me what I'm going to be in next, more than my parents even. I don't have the courage to tell him that the last big thing I booked was a cottage cheese commercial, which was national, by...

...the way, and paid my rent for two and a half months. It's not a movie, it's a miniseries, like a TV show, but the episodes are shorter, about what Niagara Falls sort of the people who live around it. I guess Canna Watch it. Least let's see if I get it first. Okay, YOU'RE gonna get it, he says it's so matter of factly, folding his pale little arms over his chest like a tiny businessman considering a tiny business deal. You'll get the bar because you're really really getting you are really hard working, you're really nice. His thinking face fades into a big goony smile, showing off the space where his front teeth used to be. Even the most frustrating. GOBLINS can be cute sometimes. Well, thanks be we'll have to wait and see. I've Jut my Chin towards his plate. Now peas make him disappear a big guy. He rolls his eyes again, and now I'm starting to worry that he picked that up from me. My brother never makes me eat peas. Oh good, we're back to this. I rest my elbows on the counter, balancing my Chin in my hands. Well, when your brother makes you dinner than you can believe by his rules. We're in a standoff, my Brown eyes locked with his, a standoff I ultimately lose when my phone buzzes on the counter and I snatch it up, breaking eye contact. One new email. This is it. I swipe my thumb across the screen, holding my breath as I read the subject line. Full super sale all candles, forty percent off Christ. I hit the UNSUBSCRIBE button out of spite. Did you get it? The excitement in his voice only adds insult to injury. No, that was something else. I set my phone down again, tugging the flannel tighter on my waist, a little tighter. Are you going to get to go on a red color bit? I don't know be if you do get can I come with I adjust my flannel for a second time and shoot Brady a drop it look, but my attitude shifts when I see the hope in his eyes. Yes, he's a seven year old and therefore annoying by definition, but he's also my number one fan and debatably my best friend in the city, now that Ingrid is traveling so much. Jury's out on whether that's cute or sad. All right, I'll make you deal. I rest my forearms on the counter, slouching so that Brady and I are eye to eye. If you eat your peas and I get this part, and if, for some reason, I get to lock a red carpet for it, you can come with me. I hardly finished the offer before Brady scoops up a pile of peas and drops them into his mouth, sending a few tumbling across the floor and under the oven. After some ferocious chewing, he sticks out his tongue with an eye to prove they're all gone. Nicely done, but you still have half a plate to go. A little man. Can I have butter on them? Sure, why not? I had for the fridge to dig up whatever bullshit healthy butter substitute helling keeps around. But the buzz of my phone on the counter makes me backtrack. Unfortunately, Brady's grubby nugget fingers are quicker on the draw than I am. He grabs the phone and squints at the screen, tilting his head as he sounds out the words. Now Nig I put out a hand expectantly, curling my fingers in the givet motion. He plops it in my palm. I'm braced for another stupid candle email, but one look at the subject line staring back at me and I nearly drop my phone on the kitchen floor. Niagara Contract and script. Oh my God, the sound I make falls somewhere between a gasp and a squeal. This is it, the medium sized break I've been waiting for. For once, I'm acting in something that people actually view for entertainment, not just the commercials that interrupt the thing you're trying to watch. I'm the main event. Finally, all I have to do is sign on the dotted line. Oh, Oh my God, I got it, you got it. Brady echoes me with a screech and then throws his hands in the air, knocking his plate and sending nuggets and the remainder of his peas flying across the kitchen. I don't even care. I booked it my first job in months. It's a freaking Web Flix series. I read through the first few lines of the email, getting the gist of the filming scheduled and the location, my eyes finally landing on the Pay Holy Crap, that's an entire year of student loan payments. I I got it, I've really got it. Brady is still tossing peas around and flailing and shrieking for my attention, but I can't take my eyes off the...

...character description for the role Carmen, a twenty something employee at Niagara Falls Visitor Center with a love interest who works across the Canadian border. Very Romeo and Juliet. I've never been a Juliet before. At best, I've been Juliet's nurse, the side character who doesn't get much of a story other than advancing the ingenus plot. Day One of my BFA program my advisor looked me in the eye and spelled it out for me. My Niche's character parts funny fat girl Rolls. Best case scenario, somebody writes a fat character who actually has a sex life, and it's meant to be some kind of joke. HMM, too funny. America get all laughed together because a woman larger than a size six has a libido. Always the Paulette, never the l woods. But reading through this script, that's not the VIBE I'm getting. I don't even think this role was written with a plus sized person in mind, but that's who they cast, that's who they want me, and my size seems to have nothing to do with it. Sweet Jesus, is everything all right in here? It must have been a slow day at the MC Daniel Hotel's office, or I've been looking at this email way longer than I thought, because Brady's mom is home much sooner than I expected. She looks a little displeased with the mess, giving a smattering of Pie's a kick and clearing a path for her nude pumps, which are probably worth more than I make in a month. Just a little accident, I can clean it up. CLAS gonna be on to Y. Brady hops down from his stool and pinches a few peas off the ground before tossing them into the air like Confetti. Helen, who seems shockingly unfazed by her son's behavior, lifts a perfectly penciled in eyebrow in my direction. Yeah, I just got word that I booked a Web Flix series. I try to maintain some semblance of calm as I gestured to the email on my phone screen. But how can I fake any ounce of chill when, after years of doing more nannying than acting, I just booked one of the largest streaming platforms in the world? That's big news, is it local? The ridiculous amount of upspeak in that question is a clear indication of what she's really asking. Oh are you still going to be able to watch my kid? My excited smile fades into more of a nervous cringe. It films on site at Niagara Falls, actually, but just for a week at the end of the month. I'm sure I can find a sub to watch brady her scrunched features loosen as much as her botox will allow. Our marketing offices are in Buffalo, just a quick drive from Niagara. Lots of good looking men in that department too. Maybe I could arrange a dinner date for you while you're there. Might be nice to have some company. I forced a smile internalizing my scream. This is easily the hundredth time Helen has tried to butt into my dating life or set me up with some cousins, friend or whatever she seems to think the fact that I'm twenty eight and single means I'm a desperate spinster seeking any kind of male companionship. I pull all the companionship I need, thank you very much. Sure they're not all winners, just ask my last stint in his sketchy condom policies, but the occasional fucking ron suits me a whole lot better than being divorced by now. Time to steer the conversation back to my job. I can put feelers out to a few friends to see if anyone could fill in for me that week. No need, I'll just have terry call off work. Terry is Helen's second husband, Brady's step dad. I've never had the privilege of meeting the guy, but if he's anything like Brady's Dad, husband number one, he's half sweetheart, half sleeves bag. From what I understand, marriage number one ended because husband number one was fucking nanny number one. For that reason, my emo as nanny number two has been to keep a safe distance from anyone in this family. I'm not paid to supervise. So far, so good. I offered a clean up the jolly green giant murder scene and drop Brady at his dad's before I go, but Helen waves it off like it's nothing, firing up the robot vacuum instead, while insisting she can call Brady and Uberth. I question the safety of throwing your child in the back of a stranger's car, but I'm the nanny, not the MOM, so instead I go desperately searching for my dignity. After the one to punch reminder that my job can be done by a cleaning robot and a ride sharing service. Helen pulls out her phone to pay me. Let me know about those marketing boys, though. I know it's nice to have a friendly face, especially a handsome one, if you know what I mean, someone to show you around. She shoots me a wink that makes me feel grimy, to say the least. Thanks, but I can hold my own. I'm hoping she reads...

...between the lines and catches the polite version of back the fuck off and my tone. If I need a socalled friendly face, there are plenty of men waiting on APPs meant specifically for filling that role. A sacur and smile spreads across her lips. Well, I guess you always have been a brave one. That word sits in my stomach like a piece of gravel. Brave. If she weren't about to send two weeks pay my way, I would ask her which part of my work made me so courageous, the part where I'm a woman going to a different city without a man supervising me, or the part where I'm trying to build a career as an actor without carving out a thigh gap? Put My phone buzzes in my hand, confirming the mobile transfer, so I shoot her a tight lips smile, thank her and I'm out the door. As I leap down the stairs two at a time, my thumb waivers between my contacts, trying to decide who to call first with the good news. I make the obvious right choice and ingrid picks up after just two rings. Hello, I put that ever dig the words tumble out so quickly that only my best friend would be able to understand them. Of course you did, Bitch. Her Shriek is loud enough that I have to pull my phone back from my ear gratulation. I just got the email while I was watching Brady, so I had to wait a second to call you, but I'm leaving work now and I got it. Okay, I hate that Brady knew this before me. I huff, hoping she can hear my eye roll through the phone. I didn't call you so you could be jealous of a literal child. Suddenly, her voice is muffled and it doesn't sound directed at me anymore. Right, I'm here. Sorry, I'm working remotely in Pittsburgh this week and had to bract know a about how you're going to be a web flick star. We get the whole tell Noah, I say hi. CLEO says hi, I say hi. Back stick out of the way. As I step back out onto Park Ave, I habitually float one hand up to plug the ear that isn't pressed against my phone, trying to drown out the sound of rush hour traffic. I'm going to postmates you a bottle of Champagne, okay, just don't share it with your new best friend Brady. I promise not to share champagne with the seven year old, but thank you. I will probably drink the whole bottle by myself while watching a star is born. Good. You deserve it. Okay, getting on the subway now. got a bounce. Can I call you later? When I'm looking through the script, the line is quiet for a second and I thumb up the volume on my phone in case the car horns are drowning her out. Sorry, did you say something? No, but Noah and I are actually getting sushi tonight. They just opened up a new place down the block. Text me, though. Okay, my stomach flops in a way that I'm embarrassed to admit. I shouldn't feel jealous of Noah, just like Ingrid shouldn't feel jealous of a greasy fingered kid, but now that ingrid has noah, I have to share, and I know that's life. Somehow I managed to swallow my jealousy. Of course, have fun. Thanks for picking up. I love you. Get a shrim temper role for me, oh, and some miso soup. Done and done. Oh, one more thing, though, dry or brute? Dry Or wet? Dry or brute champagne, dummy, I told you, I'm ordering you some. You have to drink to the biggest gig of your career so far. It's the biggest Gig of my career so far. The mcdaniel Niagara Hotel and convention center is an enormous expanse of white white tile, white rugs and white leather couches, each one dotted with white men in black suits, like some twisted game of corporate domino's. I'm standing dumbfounded just inside the revolving door, blinking at the buzzing crowd of America's one percent. Did I miss the dress code memo, or is this hotel holding the annual men's Warehouse Convention? If my life were a movie, I know how this would play out. Enter big girl in the electric pink wind breaker que. The record scratches, time stops and everyone's head snap to stare at the Weirdo. But here in reality, no one so much as looks my way. They're all two wrapped up in whatever super important emails are pouring into their super important cell phones. I scan the lobby looking for anyone I might recognize from the call back or anyone who just looks like they don't work on Wall Street. Any confirmation that I'm in the right place would be fantastic, but no dice. I'm the only one around who isn't living up to the business casual dress code, not that anyone other than me seems to be noticing that, or noticing me at all. When you're a big girl in just about any public location, you're one of two things, a spectacle...

...or a wall flower. Today it's Wallflower, at least for now. I fish out my phone to triple check the hotel confirmation in my inbox. The blank screen reminds me that this prehistoric thing has no battery life and died on me in the Uber stupid planned obsolescence. I guess I'm going up to the front desk. Maneuvering past the Concierge, I take my place in line behind a group of nearly identical women with low shinyons and skin tight pencil skirts. I have to buy my lip to keep from laughing at how they walk like penguins with absolutely no range of motion. Luckily, the line shifts quickly and it's not long before the pencil skirts are waddling away and the desk attendant is waving me up checking in for Walker. The statement comes off more like a question than I intended, but honestly, God knows if I'm in the system. While his fingers fly across the keyboard, I shrug off my windbreaker, tying it extra tight around my waist. Is it hot in here, or is it just the crippling amount of imposter syndrome coursing through my veins? Are you here for the conference? The attendant looks up from the screen, giving me a quick onceover with the critical eye of a project run way. Judge, I get it, I'm under dressed. No, I'm here for a film shoot. I pull my id out of my wallet and Nudge it across the counter. Am I in the right spot? Ah, right rights, yes, that is here too. He smiles apologetically as he verifies the name on the license. I've got a lot happening here this week. Everyone wants to come to Nagara in the fall. I guess that's why they call it the falls. Huh? I fake a pity laugh, which is a lot more than he deserves, but the relief of knowing I'm in the right place has me feeling a bit more generous than usual. A few rapid fire mouse clicks later, I've got two key cards, a generic hotel pamphlet and a full lowdown on how late the hotel bar is open, everything a girl could need. With that, I make off toward the elevators, daydreaming about the long hot shower I'm going to take. I need to scrub the airplane off of me and maybe change into something that'll help me blend in with all these mid career minions, speaking of. When I turned down the hall, one of those minions is mashing the elevator call button as though impatients will make it come quicker. From a distance, he looks just like every other guy in the lobby. Nice suit, wing tips, a watch that probably costs four times my rent, but when I get closer, there's something about him that my eyes can't quite pass up. He's handsome, Duh, but he doesn't quite fit the generic corporate flunky casting call that the rest of the hotel seems to be hosting. The stubble creeping along his jaw line is just a little bit too roguish for a corporate event. His caramel blond hair, while styled back, is the tiniest bit tossled, like he was speeding down the highway with the windows down. And, let me tell you, with the way his biceps flex beneath his suit jacket as he runs one hand through his hair. I certainly wouldn't mind riding shotgun. I'm still a few steps away when the elevator dings open and he disappears inside. Hold it please. With suitcase and toe, I jog the last stretch of the hallway to the Elevator Bay, thankful to find my finest fuck elevator mate holding the door open with one outstretched arm. Probably talk about that with Monica. She's thank you, I know. I cut myself off, realizing he's on a call. Then mouthward's my bad, as he shoots me a tight lipped smile and steps out of the way of the elevator. Buttons a different floor is already lit up, confirming what I was afraid of. Elevator Haughty and I are not headed to the same place and therefore almost definitely not at this hotel, for the same reason as if that expensive suit did it make that abundantly clear, which his arms look so fucking good in. By the way, part of me wants to pretend I'm going wherever he's going, but in favor of not being accused of stalking, I veto that idea for an easier one. Checking him out with some side eye. I fidget with my windbreaker, tightening and loosening it around my waist in an effort to look occupied instead of blatantly staring at him. If my phone weren't dead, I'd probably try to grab a creep shot of him to send to Ingrid later, something we always do whenever we spot a hawk eye in the wild. I have an entire album of hot subway riders from her some where. They're in the background of a faked Selfie and more than a few full on blurs from the time she's accidentally left her flash on and tried to hide her crime. It sounds creepier than it is. Sadly, the only image I'll be getting of hot elevator guy is a mental one, so I better soak it in while I can. I let my eyes linger on his broad shoulders before trailing down the ridge of his BICEP, neatly outlined by his fitted suit jacket. Then he looks my way and that...

...tight lipped grin it turns into a full on smile. Shit, he caught me staring. Sounds good, I'll touch base with you later. He rattles the words off into his phone a little quicker than sounds a natural, then ends the call and turns toward me, his coffee colored eyes locking with mine. Love the jacket. Thanks. I tighten the knot around my waist, hoping it'll hold his attention. there. I got it thrift in Williamsburg like three years ago. Hot Elevator Guy Brightens. Now, Shit, I live in the East village. Yeah, I'm in Harlem. Columbia Student, Columbia Grad. I studied theater at Barnard and that awful Bitch Sally May won't let me forget it. My goto student loans joke earns me a laugh, like it has the other dozen times I've used it. What surprises me, though, is the tingly feeling inching up the arches of my feet at the sound of his low throaty chuckle. And funny the man ditches any attempt of subtlety as his eyes sweep over me head to toe. Maybe I should make it up to Harlem more often. Before I can muster an equally clever reply, the elevator slows to a halt, the doors opening to let my hot co writer out, and if I thought his arms looked good in his suit, it's only because I hadn't seen his butt yet. Christ this man does not skip a leg day. I wonder if you could squat me? are better yet hip thrust me, please? Anne. Thank you. At the last second he calls over his shoulder. I'll see you round and, as doubtful as that is, I can't help but to call back. I sure hope so. He gives me a two finger wave as the doors sink closed, my view of him shrinking into gradually smaller slivers until he disappears all together. Goodbye, sexy stranger. My vibrator and I will remember you later. The elevator surges back to life, whisking me up to the thirty second floor, which immediately feels more like home than the lobby. The low buzzing chatter of MIC levels and wardrobe adjustments is an instant shot, a dope, a mean to the head. I've hardly cleared the elevator doors when I'm greeted by a perky guy dressed in all black, a Niagara hard card dangling from a lanyard around his neck. You must be Cleo. I'm a Keem, the production assistant. Hope the Cafferns din't throw you off too much. Only a little. I tuck my hotel brochures into my armpit and shake his hand, then the hands of the director, the Wardrobe Guy, a pair of producers and joy, a petite blond actress who will be playing my co worker at the Niagara Falls Visitor Center. Don't worry, everyone's names, rolls and numbers are on here. HACKEM hands over a deep black folder with the Teal Niagara logo printed across the front. There's also a print out of a filming schedule of call times and locations in there, and your credentials, which will get you access to craft services, but that starts tomorrow. Dinner is on your own tonight, but just expense it to the room or say the receipt so we can reimburse you. Sound good. Before I can answer, the elevator dings behind me and Ha Chem's eyes light up with recognition. Great timing. Even this is Cleo, she's playing your love interest. Some synaps in my brain must be out of order, because try as I made a turn around, I just stand there frozen like a complete dumb ass. Could even be the guy from the elevator. It's unlikely, but as long as I don't turn around, he remains Schrodinger as actor, not hot elevator guy and not not hot elevator guy. If I don't look, I'll never have to know. Until tomorrow one we're on set and we have to make out with each other, so I guess we should get the band aid ripped off now. I suck in a deep breath, roll my shoulders back and turn on my heels, my eyes locking with a dark haired guy in a New York mets shirt and a pair of joggers. I can't decide if I'm disappointed or relieved. I say this in the kindest way possible. Evan looks like every guy in Bushwick trying to make it as an actor. He's got maybe three inches on my five six frame, medium bill old, his cropped dark hair too short to do much with other than come it back. If my memory serves me, his character is a Community College Baseball Player who works at a casino on the Canadian side of Niagara. Major hot but broke vibes. I'd say the casting director hit the nail on the head. So your Cleo, Evans, sizes me up from behind his clear frame glasses. Sure, I am nice to meet you, for sure. We stand there in silence for a second, the conversation having fallen dead on the ground in front of his nikes. For an actor, Evan isn't much of a talker. I use my Niagara Folder to jesture down the hall. I'M gonna go scope out my room. Maybe we can run lines later tonight for sure. MMM, there's that same...

...flat vocal fry. I've got a real charmer on my hands. Oh Joy, come here, Evan, this is our other female lead. Hakeem waves joy over and the glazed look and Evans Eyes brightens into one of interest. AH, figures. I guess that's my cute to piece out. After Thinking Hakeem and waving goodbye to the rest of the team, I head down the hall to room three thousand, two hundred and sixty eight, home sweet home for the next six nights. It's definitely more fancy than I'm used to. A queen bed with a fluffy White Duvet and at to get plumb curtains to block out the sun in the morning, plus a mini fridge. Bless it's a far cry from the three bedroom I share with two roommates and one of their ever lingering girl friends. That's for sure. Just knowing I'll have my own bathroom for the week is a borderline turn on, but what I'm not used to is this level of silence in the room. I live with an opera singer and a cellist. Comparatively, this feels like a Goddamn an ACHOIC chamber. I dropped my pile of paperwork on the Dresser and slip my key card into my wallet before making a Bee Line for the bathroom, cranking the shower knob as far as it goes until the Hollywood style mirror fogs over with steam. One extra long shower later, I'm cozied up in the Terry cloth robe provided by the hotel, muttering my lines to myself while flipping through the materials in the folder Hakeem gave me. According to the schedule, will be doing the bulk of our filming at the Niagara Falls Visitor Center, which is only about a five minute drive from the hotel, meaning that the next time I see any of my cast mates it'll probably be in the back of a shared Uber tomorrow morning. Damn. For A moment I consider the list of casting crew phone numbers, but end up tucking it back into the folder. It'd be weird to text one of them and ask if they want to do dinner together. Right, but what are my other options? I'm going to go completely stir crazy if I just sit here alone for the next five hours until I fall asleep. I reach for my phone and open the APP store. Maybe Helen was right. I need company while I'm here, just not quite the whining and dining kind. She suggested serial dating APP deleter that I am autocomplete fills in exactly what I want after only typing the letter t into the search bar. All right, I get it. It's the third time this month that I've read downloaded the stupid tender APP, but it's empowering to delete it, get that garbage off my phone. I don't give a fuck about dating or man or anyone's approval. And then, inevitably I'm in a situation like this and I came crawling back again. It doesn't take more than a few seconds to reactivate my account. Everything is still here. The choice six pictures, consisting of a few selfies my actor had shot and a picture of Ingrid and me at our favorite brunch spot. To prove that I have friends, my bio has stayed the same for two years now. Actor, nanny memos, a drinker, I never understood the people on here with paragraph long BIOS. We all know why we're here and it's sure a shit not to get to know each other, not unless we're talking biblically. Next up, preferences. I change my settings to only include guys within a one mile radius. No one is trying to go for a hike here. My previous age parameters of forty, two undred and fifty five is evidence of my brief stint seeking a sugar daddy shortly after the last breakup, a fruitless and ever much to my dismay. I adjust the range to twenty five to thirty five before hitting safe. Then close out of the APP and hook both my phone and my vibrator up to their respective chargers. I'll get dressed, order some takeout and wait for a few matches to accumulate. Maybe I'll get lucky and run into a cast made on my way to meet my delivery eye, but if not, fuck it. I'll bring my food back up here, swipe to my heart's content and get off a few times to whatever fantasy starring hot elevator guy I can drink of his getting stuck in an elevator with him too predictable, because that imaginary porno pretty much writes itself. Hey guys, it's back a here from consensual cock blocking our regular romance programming with a quick message from our friends at early to bed. Whether your booed up or totally single, I'm just saying you deserve a new vibrator. Any and every sex toy you'd ever want, you can find it at early to bed. Quit giving Jeff Besos your money and support this queer, friendly, woman owned Chicago based sack shop that has guaranteed the world better sex since two thousand and one. That's twenty years of orgasms. With an extensive collection of curated toys to choose from, this feminist sex shop aims to be accessible to adults of all genders, orientations, experience levels and relationship statuses. Yeah, sisters are doing it...

...for themselves. Find them on instagram at early to bed, that's the number two, and and online at early to bedcom again, that's the number two. Fast, discrete shipping check, top notch customer service, double check, founded on the kind of feminist sex positivity that we're all about, do you even have to ask? All right, all right, let's get back to Cleo and Deane. Catch you later. Master raiders. My screen grays with the graphic of a radar, presumably scanning the area for available women. Back home. I'd sooner run out of swipes than run out of options. You'd think, with a thousand or so people in town for this conference, I have a little more luck. Instead, the only notifications I'm getting are work emails, so I fixed my gaze on the back lit bottles of liquor lining the shelves at the Hotel Bar. I quit attending these conferences when I realized that the days off aren't worth the shit ton of work waiting for me when I return. But this past year I napped a spot on the thirty under thirty list, barely squeaking by at twenty nine years young. Then my inbox turned into a breeding ground for invites to speak at these kinds of things, because prestige or whatever. While I've turned down most of them, it'd be a pretty Dick move not to speak at the conference my own company is hosting double IPA. The bartender looks expectantly between me and my colleagues until one of the social media interns brought along to live tweet the weekend. Sheepishly steps forward to claim it. Hi, that's me and the MOHITO. I lift a hand, motioning the drink over pears, our golden boy. A hand claps my shoulder and I turned to find one of our developers, todd, standing behind me with an empty glass in one hand and a lot of cash in the other. His smile practically falls off his face. What do you say? Shots on me celebrate the panel and all. Seven years ago, I would have gladly accepted as offer. I would have slapped todd on the back and we would have down double shots of Jack until we passed out or, worse, until we convince some very unlucky ladies to stumble back to our hotel rooms where we couldn't get hard, and then blames them for it. Things have changed since then. I've changed. Probably shouldn't? I give my Mohito a swirl so the ice clinks against the sides of the glass. Come on, man, don't be a pussy. One shot won't kill you. I'm good, todd, and by the looks of it, so are you. I keep my voice even and measured, but the hairs in the back of my neck st are to Bristle. This is the kind of Alpha Bullshit I'm trying to avoid these days. Todd snorts and turns away to search for a more willing accomplice. I watch as each woman in a ten foot radius turns him down one by one, until he retreats to the end of the bar like a huffy little toddler who didn't get his way. Something tells me he's destined for date night with his mini bar and I'd be willing to bet good money that tomorrow morning he shows up late, unshaven and smelling like Piss and Bourbon. Great Look for the company. Turning back to my phone, I scroll past a picture of a pretty blond who looks like every girl in the city. Her Bio is pretty standard. Lover of tacos and Margs. If you can't handle me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best, followed by a few too many emojis for my taste. Pass I swipe left to find a redhead with a almost identical bio, only with a different quote and a few new emojis thrown in. Looks like it's going to be a long, boring trip. So are you going to be on your phone all night or what? I look up to find my co worker, Monica, leaning on the bar next to me. Okay, CO worker is cold. She was hired a few days before I was and we've been neck and neck for years working our way up in the company. We're kind of each other's Day once in this place. When she got married a few summers back, I was one of the few co workers who got an invite. It took us a while to warm up to each other, but hey, one particularly rough buy out is enough to bond even the most unlikely of friends. Just had an email to send. I lock my screen and set my phone down on the polished wood. She waves the bartender over. I forget. Have you always worked this harder? If this all part of the golden boy campaign, you're not ordering a drink right now, are you? She shrugs. Gweneth paltrow says Tequila is actually good for the baby. Make some pop out with a full head of hair. Is that something you want in a...

...new born? I've seen Antonio's baby pictures. No Way I'm letting this grapefruit eggsit my womb looking like a tiny, angry old man, she orders a Ginger Ale with extra ice, shooting me a look that says happy. Now, what are you at now? Like twenty weeks, Monica Groans, running her hand along her belly. Twenty three. This little asshole thinks it's funny to wake mommy up at three in the morning to show off his Kung Fu skills. Ah, I thought we weren't allowed to swear in front of the baby. It's my fucking rule. I get to decide when to enforce it. I raise my hands in surrender and Monica laughs, shaking her head. How long do we have to sit here before it's acceptable to leave? Todd's cornered a board looking woman and is talking loudly about his plans to buy a second condo and the peak skills. Your twenty three weeks pregnant. I'm shocked your here at all. Well, you know what happens if you stop going to these things. It's bad enough that I'm a woman, now I've got a bump the size of a basketball. That won't these fuckers forget it. She Jerks her Chin and todd's direction. Fuck Todd. I drain the last of my Mohito. Monica narrows her eyes. I mean screw todd, Eileen, in directing my speech at her belly. Listen, little a home. Todd is what we call a bad dude, and sometimes he makes your mom feel like, hmm, I mean crap, even though she's the best thing that's happened to this company in the last century. She scoffs. There's a reason you're on that panel and not me. My last name might have something to do with it. Hey, stop that. The ECO initiative would be nothing without you, and you know it. Lord knows, this company was severely lacking on the Sustainability Front. You saw a problem and decided to do something about it. I don't know if throwing money at climate change research is really doing something about it. You have money, you're giving it to the people who can come up with solutions. That sounds like something to me. Tell that to todd. Fuck Todd. She smiles and then burp's placing her palm firmly on her chest. Who Yeah, I'm out of here. Don't let any of these ass holes talk you into getting wasted. You've got a big day tomorrow. She hoists herself off the bar. Stool and starts walking towards the elevators. Thanks, mom. She flips me the bird before disappearing around the corner. Turning back to my phone, I reopened tinder and swipe quickly through a couple of nondescript faces. All I have to do is kill ten more minutes here. Then it's just me, my hotel bed and my notes for the upcoming panel. I keep swiping until I land on a profile that makes me pause, my thumb hovering over the screen. A gorgeous, laughing Brunette is smiling up at me and something about her feels oddly familiar. Cleo, as I scroll through her profile, each picture makes me like her more. She's clearly confident and funny and sexy as hell. Goddamnit. Where have I seen this girl before? I scrolled back to the top to read her bio. Actor, nanny MIMOSA drinker, straightforward to the point. Half jobs aside, I respect it. I swipe right and wait for a match notification, but instead I'm greeted with a blurry picture of three indistinguishable blond women. Seriously, not a match. Fair enough, Cleo. Guess you'll remain a mystery forever. Unless you haven't viewed my profile yet. I'll hang on to that prayer for the rest of the night. With a wounded ego and an empty glass, I pocket my phone and decide to call it a night. Sending a halfhearted salute to my coworkers, I'm about to slide off the bar stool when I feel a buzz. My pulse jumps. Maybe CLEO's come to her senses and swiped right after all. But when I opened my phone, I'm let down all over again. It's just a spam email from a men's dress sock subscription company. As I go through the infuriating steps to unsubscribe, the bartender walks by. Can I get you another? Nah, I'm on my way out. What about you, sweetheart? No thanks, I'm just waiting for my postmates. Just like the pictures of the sexy tinder Brunette, the voice is vaguely familiar chipper, but with an edge, like she's being ironic, but you're too dumb to know. What about? Curious, I turned toward her. My brain automatically coughs up a handful of tired pickup...

...lines, but I tuck them away. It's a hotel bar, for fuck's sake. The situation is sleezy enough as it is, but when my eyes land on the woman sitting on the stool just a few yards down the bar, my mouth goes dry. Cleo, I might have been thinking it, but they're there's no way that name came out of my mouth. I'm pretty sure I'm about seven drinks away from shouting a woman's name at her from a mere ten feet away. She looks up and our eyes meet. God fucking Damn, she's even hotter in person. Her dark hair is a little damp, creating small translucent circles where the strands meet her white tshirt. Please tell me I'm not the asshole making this woman look confused. CLEO, the voice is louder this time and coming from behind me. Okay, it's definitely not me. CLEO looks over my shoulder and I follow her gaze to find a tall man in the bike helmet holding a large brown paper bag with a receipt staple to the side. I think it's your postmate's. I point a thumb over my shoulder. Lucky me. Her lips curled into a coy smile. Holy Shit, she skims past me her fingers trailing against my arm. As she waves the man down, I catch a hint of something flowery as she breezes by her shampoo. Maybe it takes a lot of willpower not to take a long, hard look at her ass. She takes the bag and thanks the man, who nods and jogs through the revolving door. To my surprise, she walks back my way. It's a small opening, but damn if I'm not going to shoot my shot. Did you check? She stops a few feet away from me, her brow arched in a way that causes a stir behind my zipper the bag. Did you check? A slow smile spreads across her face. She closes the distance between us and holds the bag out for inspection. Why don't you take a look and tell me what you see? Her eyes are trained on mine. We're not talking about the food. Got To make sure they didn't forget anything. I hold her gaze, taking the bag out of her hands. Hate it when that happens. I glanced into the bag and assess its contents, buying some time. Hmm, well, clearly you have good taste. She nods expectantly. HMM, but it looks like you have no one to eat it with. Her smile widens awfully presumptuous of you to assume I'm here alone or that I like to share. Call it wishful thinking. She nods slowly, taking some time to weigh her options. I like a woman who's not afraid to make me sweat. Finally, she says, I guess I could make an exception for you. I like the sound of that. What do you say? We head back to this guy. Before I can finish, an arm slings heavily around my shoulders, almost knocking the food out of my hands. I save it and turned to see, or rather smell, a severely inebriated todd hanging off me. He stares at Cleo with a smug, sloppy smile. This guy, he's a pussy machine. You know that? fucking drowning in it. You've got to be fucking kidding me. CLEO's lip curls and disgust she lets out a low sigh and before I can think of something to say to save the situation, she takes the back from my hands, her eyes narrowed right. Well, you do have a good night. I watch her disappear around the corner, kicking myself for not reacting sooner or trying to explain. But todd's droning on about females these days, you know, and the last thing I want to do is give him another opportunity to be near her. I shrug him off and put a glass of water in his hands before signaling to the bartender I'm ready to close out. I'm done for the night, but I don't want Cleo to think I'm following her or anything. Then it hits me, the elevator. That's where I've seen her before. She was the hotty and pink I made a pass at on the way to the gym. Clearly she's not here for the conference, unless some CEO is enough of an asshole to drag their kid and nanny along. So what brings an actor, nanny, MIMOSA drinker to Niagara and, more importantly, why do we keep running into each other? Unlocking my phone, I opened tinder again. Still nothing, just another oversaturated picture of a blond with a snapchat filter. Come on, CLEO's swipe right. Let's find out whether it's God or fate that keeps bringing us together or, worse, my self indulgent pattern seeking brain, just looking for something someone different Hook Up. State of mind is written by Becca Morgan...

...and Amelia J rose, produced by consensual creating steamy feminist first romance for riot girls. Special thanks to baby money in the down payments for the use of our theme song, Oh boy, streamable on spotify. Head sound engineer, John McNeil, studio recording by John McNeil and Sam Silver, mood lighting engineer, mixing by spiral light, creative and mastering by aiding of Vaura. This episode was performed by Nadia Pelletier, Daniel Jordan, Bianca Shaw, Drew Michelle, Stephanie Lewis, Alison Grishau, Herschel bought, RJ Seacott, Evan Wiseman, Austin, Santoniello, Sophie Malucky, John McNeil, Aaron McNeil and Travis Donahue. Who that's a cast. Tune in next week to hear Cleo say. Okay, tender, take your best shot. I'm not looking for Mr Wright so much as I'm looking for Mr doesn't have any fish or guns in his pictures.

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