You wake up in your own bed. You aren't alone, Beatriz is here. So is Ray, he's lying on your feet.
How was last night for you? You were intimate with Bea, in VR and then later, here. Which did you prefer?
How do you feel this morning? Bea, which is what she asked you to call her, isn't up yet
What do you do?
I enjoy being with Bea, but sleeping together? That's more a fantasy... She's a rich, and highly successful VC. I'm a client of her firm. I'm not sure what she wants from me, but it's probably safest to assume it's not to wake up in my bed every morning... I'd be happy to give her a VR headset though.
The worst part about IRL sex is how messy it gets, so I'm going to let her sleep a while and slip into the shower. I put one of my headsets on top of the pile of clothes she made in the doorway on my way out to the shower, and pat Ray on the head as I pass.
Thanks for last night, Raleigh. I caught a cab. Hope to see you before I fly out. If not, maybe in VR?
I quickly twitch out a reply for her:
It was my pleasure. You know where to find me!
Then I quickly get dressed, and go about my morning routine.
Jenni greets you at the elevator. She came out to wait for you, since you ended up coming in a little bit late. "Morning, Raleigh. Have a good night?"
I wave to Jenni, and smile. "As you'd expect. How about you?"
She walks with you into the office. The team is here, already working on bug fixes, tweaking and prepping for the next iteration.
Any plans for the day?
Oh and by the way, you get a text from Erin.
I am free for lunch today! I know, it's like NO NOTICE. But a client canceled. So, you know... You pick, I'll pay!
I go around the office saying good-morning, and seeing what people are up to, before finally sitting down at my desk and getting to work. When I spot the text from Erin, I kick my feet up on the table, and twitch out a message:
Sounds good! There's a new Thai place that opened just down the road I've been meaning to try. Should I get us a table for noon?
That sounds great! Tell me when and where, I'll see ya!
Once the location and time is sent, I'll wrap some things up and see if anyone needs me before heading out to lunch.
Then you're out. What's this Thai place like? Walking distance?
The Thai place is a little family owned deal about a 10 minutes walk away. I'm pretty sure they got in under a landed immigrant initiative, which is cool – and it's ordained with a collection of various traditional Thai decorations. Everyone's dressed in brightly colored silk, and the food smells amazing.
It's one of their best dishes - Thai Chicken Curry in Coconut Milk:
Do you order for Erin?
After a few minutes, you spot Erin. She's wide-eyed, that kind of tourist look where you're trying to see the directions to the place you've never been, but you aren't asking directions again
She's wearing a nice white blouse and a tweed skirt. She flashes that brilliant smile when she comes into the restaurant sees you. HEre's Erin:
She hustles over to you.
I sit down and take a few minutes to swipe through some news while I wait for Erin, but when I spot her come through the door, I stash my phone and stand to greet her. "Hey Erin! Wow! You look great!" Which she really does — dressed for success with that smile... I'll take a second to do the obligatory dance before offering her a seat. "I didn't know if you had any allergies or anything, so I didn't order for you — I hope you don't mind."
I sit down, and take a sip of my tea, "so how have you been? Life seems to be treating you well enough."
"Thank you. I'm good, Raleigh." Erin answers after ordering "what he's having". The tea is very sweet this time, by the way. "I'm doing advanced tutoring for a local academy. Mostly lit, but French, too. I'm sort of a gun-for-hire, but with, you know, textbooks. It pays well, and great bennies, too, so yaaaay." She makes a little "hands slightly up cheer" motion, like "go me".
The food arrives, and Erin carefully centers the plate, pulls out her spoon and fork and places them "just so" around the dish like it's some weird feng shui or something. Then she continues, not taking a bit. "I asked how you were, we ended up walking around the store together. I just had a basket of some veggies and soy milk, followed her around. She's really proud of you, you know."
She finally takes a bite, then makes an animated face of joy, "Mmmn!" She swallows, then dabs at her mouth with a napkin. "Wow, Raleigh. This is great! I tried cooking this dish, but the mix of curry and milk didn't come out this great!" She nibbles a few more bites, really enjoying the food.
Then, "What about you? Do you cook? Or like... do you, I dunno have a cook?" She grins, it's a joke.
I wave my hand modestly in a "so-so" gesture when she asks if I cook, and smirk when she implies I "have a cook" — as if small business owners are rich enough to have cooks. "Would it disappoint you if I said there's a void in my life where a chef should be? I've been the subject of a few interviews that paint me to be richer than I actually am. I can cook, for the record — I've taken a class or two online — but I'm a big foodie, so I like going out to places and seeing what other people dream up." One of the perks of owning a $5M company, I guess — eating out is easy to budget for.
I finish up some rice, "what else do you do for fun?"
"What else for fun?" she asks, buying herself time. You can practically hear her sifting through her life trying to figure out a good answer. "Is spinning fun? Reading of course. I have a well-worn Kindle. What, uhm, what about you?"
I lean back in my chair when she asks me what I like doing, "a bunch of stuff... I'm an avid member of the VR community, and a culture buff — food, movies, reading... I occasionally travel when our old colleagues hit major milestones — I saw Emma a few months ago, with her farm, and got myself a dog... So that, my dog, and my work eat up a lot of my time."
But then you mention Emma, and her mouth hangs open for a second (no food in it, of course). "Emma! Oh wow. I haven't seen her in years. A farm? Where? And you went to see her for a milestone? Like what?"
The meal seems to breeze along. Erin eats maybe half her plate, but it's obvious she enjoys every bite. Any work-related stuff you share? She talks about re-reading Pygmalion, enjoying it immensely.
Eventually, when the meal is dying down, I ask, "so do you have a public profile? It'd be good to keep in touch... Maybe do this again some time."
She looks up, frowns a little, "I'm sorry. It's... it's, uhm, baggage."
I take another sip of my tea, and add, "I'd sit through a few more lunches just like this regardless, mind you — your company is enough of a carrot for me!"
"Do you need a ride back to... to work?" Erin asks helpfully.
She walks with you a half block to her little Mini Cooper. It's a royal blue, in really nice shape. She pushes the button on her keychain, it chirps and the doors unlock.
"Hop in!" Erin calls as she opens her door and gets in. The interior is damn near spotless, she has a shoulder bag and a gym bag in the tiny backseat. She starts up the car, it purrs to life, and the radio comes blasting on, some pop song. She quickly turns it down, pauses, then turns it off. "Sorry."
I'm impressed that she's driving a Mini Cooper — they're neat little cars. I hop in the car after her, and smirk when the radio comes blaring on. "You must think I'm some kind of monster," I tease, looking at her with a big grin, "to think I'd think less of you for listening to music loudly in your own car."
All too soon, she's pulling up to your building. The ride, and the impromptu date, is over. She pulls over, puts the car in park, waits for you. To get out, or keep talking, hard to tell which way for sure.
You head inside, take the elevator up and return to work, I assume. Jenni and Greg offer friendly waves. Mindy is typing with her tongue slightly out, which means she's stressed. Hitesh is working out something on paper again. Another day at the office.
Beatriz has already secured VC funding for the new employee. You're good to start the hiring process ASAP. How are you handling that? Through a recruiter, reaching out to a network, what?
You finish off the meeting post mortem report that you began in the morning and then it's just a review of today's progress.
You realize the day is technically done when you look up to see Greg and Mindy are gone. Jenni's working on a new set of ads while Hitesh is revising some coding so it will process faster.
When the day starts winding down I come out of my office, and take a seat at the main work table to chat for a while, and pet Ray. I don't mean to stay too late, since I'd like to hit the Usenet's tonight.
Jenni orders some Chinese delivery for Hitesh and herself, asking you, "Raleigh, do you want anything?" She's asking if you're leaving soon, a gentle reminder. If you get food, you have to stay, but if you beg off, you could get home, eat whatever then hop on Usenets.
I shake my head when Jenni asks if I want some food, "I'm good thanks. I'm going to get a sandwich on the way home. What time are you working until, Jenni? Are you going to hit the mark this time?"
Anything you do before hopping on Usenets?
What are the Usenets like?
It's kind of like a gated community, but for VR rooms.