GOING VIRAL By Amelie Stephens
Meet Abbie, cubicle dweller by day, blogger by night. Acting as her online diary, the blog feature a no-holds-barred, true life, gritty account of her sometimes funny, sometimes painful, often dirty love life. Oh, and she doesn't always change the names to protect the innocent. After a date with coworker, Toby, she has a new reason to hate Mondays. When the post goes viral, Toby seeks revenge and enlists the help of his buddy Parker to do it. Both guys soon realize when she isn't bad -mouthing men, she's pretty likable, maybe even lovable. All may be fair in love and war, but what happens next will rock the internet and her world. She's in love with not one, but two men. What's a girl to do?
The Office Eye Candy: Fun to Look at, Painful to Date
Abbie Baker | On March 21, 2015 If you had asked me a year ago just what I thought about office romances, I would have told you that nobody in their right mind would ever have one. Nothing good could happen from one, right? If you had asked me that a year ago, though, I would have taken inventory of all the men I worked with and would have come up with Nathan, 47, balding and wheezy; Derek, 59, a happily married father and grandfather; and Tyler, who while the right age, is gay. When you have the male coworkers I had then, it is easy to be judgmental about workplace romances. When your elderly fellow employee retires and is replaced with a young, good-looking, single, straight guy, however, it becomes a whole lot easier to decide that nothing is just black or white. I am here to tell you, though, that your first instincts are correct: do not cross the line. Because if you do, you could end up right where I am now: loveless, mad, and with yet another reason to hate Mondays. If you have been following the dating drama that is my life, you know that tonight was my much-anticipated date with Toby, my heart-stopping, next-cubicle neighbor. We bonded over a jammed printer, shared dismay when we thought the company was being closed, and laughed together in relief when we found out that we were only changing buildings. All in all, we were clearly destined for couple greatness. In preparation for the big event, I was waxed, polished, and tweezed. I spent a week’s salary on a form-flattering outfit, and I spent an hour on my hair. But I didn’t mind. It was an investment in my future position as Mrs. Toby Lockland. Is there someone you can sue when a fool-proof investment falls flat? That’s right, ladies. Toby was an epic failure, and you guys are all going to reap the rewards of my humiliating ordeal.
Sometimes the gentlemen’s guide to living right sucked. Like how you always had to repay your debts. Normally, repaying a debt was something that Parker Bryant would do without flinching. He hated owing someone; he loved finally being debt-free. Not this time, though. If these were his choices, he would much rather just keep owing Toby. “I need you to meet Abbie and pretend to date her.” Toby had said this seriously, but Parker still hoped it was a joke. “What do you mean? Why?” “I need you to make her fall in love with you. I need you to become her perfect man. I need you to do this for me. And then I need you to break up with her, and break her heart.” “WHAT? NO! No way, Toby. No. I know you are upset. But I can’t do that for you. No.” “You have to. Just listen. It’s the only way. It’s the only way to get revenge. She needs awful material? She needs stories to fuel her hate-filled fans? She needs men to treat her badly in order to get attention and please her followers? Then let’s give her something real to write about.” “Listen, Toby. I get it. I get why you want payback. And I support it. I just cannot do this.” “But you don’t get it, do you? You don’t have a choice. You owe me, remember? And I am calling in the favor now.” Parker sighed because he could not deny it was true. It happened the year before when Parker’s girlfriend at the time, Becky, had cheated on him. He was not in a good place and he had done some things he was not proud of as a result of her treachery. Namely, he had stolen her most valuable possession – the ring she had gotten from her mother, who had gotten it from her mother, who had gotten it from her mother, who had received it on her 25th wedding anniversary. It was the only sure fire way he knew to emotionally ruin her like she had done for him. Becky had called him in a panic when she realized it was missing. “Please, Parker,” she had begged. “I know you hate me right now, but you have to help me! Have you seen it? I think it was stolen, but maybe I dropped it somewhere? I .. I’m not sure. Please. Would you look around your place for me?” He told her he didn’t see it and asked her not to call him anymore. A month later, the shock and initial anger having worn off, it finally hit him just what he had done. He knew he had to return the ring but certainly didn’t want her to know he had stolen it. So he asked Toby for advice. “Give me the ring, Park, and let me take care of it.” “What are you going to do?” “I’m going to return it. I’ll think of a reason for having it, I promise.” Parker handed over the ring, and Toby left. And returned a few hours later with a black eye. “What happened?” “I gave her the ring, and she asked how I had it. I told her I found it in my car and said it must have fallen off when I was giving her a ride home at some point. She didn’t believe me. Neither did the guy she was with. They knew they couldn’t prove it, though, so he gave me a little vigilante justice and roughed me up a bit before I could leave. You know. Just in case I wasn’t saying everything I knew.” By this point, Toby had taken a bag of peas out of the freezer and placed it on his eye. “I’m sorry, Toby! That should’ve been me. How could I let you take the fall, dude?” Toby looked at him as if he were crazy. “Are you kidding me? If it had been you, they would have really caused some damage. She definitely wouldn’t have believed you were innocent, and he would have loved to prove his worth by defending her from her lying, stealing ex. I’ll be alright. I’ve gotten a lot worse, you know. Relax. It’s over now, but just remember you owe me.” They had both laughed at the time because they knew that it was unlikely Toby would ever call in the favor. But neither of them was laughing now. So Parker did not want to have to pay his debt, or at least he did not want to pay it in this way, but Toby was right. He didn’t have a choice. He owed Toby, and he would do whatever it took to pay him back. “Alright,” he asked his waiting friend, “how exactly are we going to do this?”
Amelie Stephens is a twenty-something wife and mother who loves to tell sweet and funny romantic stories, often those that have come from her own life. When she's not changing diapers or cooking meals for her family, she's writing