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You Can Count On Me

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Kat absolutely did not want to go on a blind date. Let alone a blind date that was also a double date with her boss.

But that was the whole problem, wasn't it? She liked to think she'd gotten a little better at listening to authority figures and, most of the time, Linda was a pretty awesome boss, so Kat figured she could suck it for an evening.

It was just, she hated it when people assumed just because some guy was from California, Kat would get along with them. She barely even considered herself a Californian and she'd hated most of the guys she'd known there.

So she didn't really try as hard as she should have to get ready for the date. (And, anyway, who said she had to look pretty, anyway? Let her words speak for her instead of her face.)

She probably should've tried to make it on time, though.

"Sorry, sorry!" Kat said, when she got to the restaurant. "I"

She saw her date.

"Okay, you can't possibly be who you look like," she said.

And Patrick Verona stood up and said, "With that response, I know you're who I think you are."

He gave her a hug, grinned at her, and she felt like she was seventeen again, ready to jump on the back of his motorcycle and go anywhere.

"Wait, you two know each other?" Linda asked. "Kat, you're going to have to stop telling me California is a huge state."

"Oh, we know each other," Patrick said.

And Kat smacked his arm. And then laughed. "Sorry. Old habits die hard."

Greg, Linda's husband, smiled. "So, I'm guessing you two dated?"

"In high school. Patrick was my bad boy," Kat said. "Leather jacket, motorcycle. My dad hated him."

"Your dad hated all guys."

"Yeah, but he hated you the most."

"So, what happened?" Linda asked.

"Kat went off to college and broke my heart," Patrick said.

"Oh, please," Kat said. "You probably hooked up with someone the day after I left."

"And, let me guess, you dated a professor?" Patrick said. "Someone young and radical?"

She hadn't. She'd been tempted, though.

"Wait," Kat said. "Are you moving here?"

She hadn't paid that much attention when Linda had told her about the date. Now she regretted it. Patrick Verona. It had been years since she'd even stalked him on Facebook.

"Yeah." Patrick said, and hesitated. "With my daughter."

"You have a daughter?"

At first, it was shocking and then it wasn't at all. She could see it.

Could see it quite literally when Patrick pulled out his wallet. His daughter looked . . . well, Kat didn't really know how old she looked. But young. A toddler.

"But you're not married?" she confirmed.

"What, have you turned traditional in your old age, Kat?"

She made a face at him.

"No," Patrick said. "It's a long story."

And Kat nodded and dropped it. Never say she hadn't learned how to take a hint.

So she turned her attention back to Linda and her husband. Linda was beaming and Greg looked like he was trying not to laugh.

"See, Kat, I told you I was good at setting people up," Linda said.

"I'm not sure it counts as setting them up if they already dated," Greg said.

"Of course, it does! I helped them reconnect!"

And now it was Greg and Linda's turn to dominate the conversation as Kat and Patrick looked on.

Patrick looked at her and Kat felt herself begin to blush. It was ridiculous. You couldn't go back to your high school boyfriend. She'd changed so much and she was sure he had, too. It would never work.

But she smiled at Patrick and let her imagination run away with her. Maybe Linda was good at setting people up.