SHE HAD A FEW MINUTES TO SPARE between meetings and sat at her desk, chatting with Rebecca via ADKAR instant messenger.
<Rebecca> Did you go to Sports-Page yesterday?
<Rebecca> How was it?
<Mag> Monica told a lot of stories. You missed some exciting tales 🙂
<Rebecca> Yeah. I bet I did. Tell me about it during lunch?
Her cell phone vibrated from a call and Mag inspected her caller ID.
The call originated from an unknown number and she would normally ignore it. But it arrived on her work phone, not her personal phone, and she thought… it might be work-related.
<Mag> Hold on, someone’s calling me
She answered, “Hello?”
“Hi Mag. It’s Summer from Excitement. Is this a good time to chat?”
Mag flushed… no this isn’t a good time! Rebecca’s sitting right next to me!
She replied nervously, “Sure. Can you hold on a minute?”
Exiting her building… she speed walked to the campus parking lot and glanced around, ensuring isolation, “Okay. I’m here.”
“Did I catch you at a bad time?”
“No. I was at my desk. I can’t talk there. I can talk now.”
“Good. I wanted to see how you enjoyed your interaction yesterday.”
Her face scrunched… what interaction? I didn’t have an interaction yesterday.
“What do you mean?”
“As part of your Excitement trial engagement. You should’ve interacted with Lance yesterday. Lance Patel. Did you meet him?”
Flashing back to her meeting with Lance.
Their impromptu discussion.
The casual nature of their conversation and the euphoria she felt afterwards…
he works for Excitement?
“Uh, yeah. I did meet Lance. But I… I didn’t know he was…”
“Don’t worry.” Summer interrupted. “I’m guessing you didn’t know he was from Excitement?”
“I had no idea.”
“Then we did a good job. Hopefully, each interaction occurs as naturally as that one did. Like you’re engaged in conversation with a new friend. Your interactions should never be obvious. Never feel forced.”
“It didn’t feel forced at all. I’m actually surprised I didn’t realize he worked for Excitement. The thought never crossed my mind.”
“Don’t beat yourself up. This is what we do. It’s our job to keep interactions as fluid as possible. If we fail to do that, we rely on clients like you to let us know how we screwed it up, so we can fix things and get it right.”
“That makes sense.”
“What I’m curious about is… afterward; how did the interaction make you feel?”
Recalling last night’s feelings.
The anticipation she experienced walking through her apartment door and her desire for Drew.
Plus, the intoxicating result.
She wondered… didn’t Drew benefit from that too?
“It… it made me feel nice.”
“Good. I wanna talk more about that feeling. But not over the phone. Do you have time to meet today? I know you’re busy at work, but we can meet after five. Same as our previous meeting. Does that work for you?”
Thinking about her evening obligations, she pondered… I can take the early shuttle again and arrive at Excitement around five-thirty.
“Yeah. That’s fine. I can be there around five-thirty. If that’s okay.”
“Perfect. See you then.”
DURING LUNCH, SHE INFORMED REBECCA of Monica’s happy hour stories. Including the boredom she experienced listening to them.
It was the first time Mag was unwilling to share a positive experience with Rebecca. Unable to discuss her interaction with Lance, or the feelings she experienced afterwards… much less, her desire for Drew when she arrived home.
Thinking more about yesterday’s events… the experience seemed like someone else’s… as if she traveled back in time and was single again. Dating Drew.
Arriving at Excitement, she met Summer in the reception area and followed her down the hall to the same room as before.
Similar to her previous visit, the office bustled and Summer wore another Excitement-molded, business casual outfit.
Engaging in small-talk… Summer’s wolf-like gaze focused narrowly on Mag, inciting the same sense of disarmament she experienced during their last meeting.
At a lull in conversation, Summer’s palm pressed on the table,
“Mag? I need to ask specific questions about how you felt during yesterday’s interaction.”
She spoke precisely.
Slow and assured,
“You don’t need to provide specific details about anything emotionally intimate. My goal is to make sure yesterday’s interaction was comfortable and empowering to you. The sole purpose of my questions is to fully understand how we can provide the best possible service for you in the future, okay?
“Also if it makes it easier; you can answer with basic yes or no responses.”
“Okay.” Mag straightened her frame. Feeling as though an inquisition were about to begin.
Leaning forward. Summer’s chin angled to the right,
“During last night’s interaction, did you ever feel uncomfortable?”
“Perfect. Did you at any point feel like the conversation was staged or predictable?”
“No. It seemed totally natural.”
“Did you ever feel like the person you spoke with was trying to pick you up? Like he was trying to hit on you?”
“Not at all. I mean, he was flirting. But I never felt like he was trying to pick me up or anything.”
“Excellent. Now tell me about how you felt after the interaction? Did you experience any positive emotions that you’d felt in the past?”
“Tell me about those feelings. How would you describe them?”
Mag leaned back.
Unwilling to share intimate emotions with a stranger…
when did this become a psychiatric session?
Summer recognized her reluctance, “You don’t have to give me details. I’m just trying to get better acquainted with the emotional state you occupied last night. That’s all.”
Mag organized her thoughts, “It was a good feeling. Almost like intoxication. I only had one drink while I was out. But after the interaction, I felt like I had more than one. Even though I only drank one.”
She sighed. “I know it sounds weird.”
“It’s not weird at all. That’s the feeling I hoped you had.”
Mag smiled. Nodding nervously.
“And later. Did that feeling continue?”
Wanting to avoid details of last night’s escapade with Drew, she answered bluntly, “Yes. It did. I felt really good the rest of the evening.”
“That’s perfect. One last question. Is there anything you wish happened differently during the interaction? Anything that wasn’t quite right?”
Her eyes shifted down to the left. Expression puzzled,
“I don’t think so. Everything seemed fine.”
“Are you sure? Since it was your first interaction, I need to make certain we got everything right.”
She thought again… what could have been different?
Everything was fine.
“I can’t think of anything.”
Summer leaned back and pressed her palms on the table between them.
“That’s good. How about I tell you more about our service?”
“After that, I’ll answer any questions you have. Then the final thing we’ll discuss is price.”
For fifteen minutes, she explained Excitement’s service engagement details.
Noting… Their fee varies depending on client specifications.
Customers desiring intricate, precise preferences experience higher fees because the pool of individuals matching their specifications becomes smaller with each criteria.
She encouraged Mag… “Be specific about what you want. But also realize if you limit your preferences to only interact with Master degreed, six-foot six-inch blonde, athletic men with facial hair; then your fee will increase to reflect those special traits, because those attributes aren’t readily available outside of Northern Europe.”
She cautioned, “It’s also possible to select criteria that Excitement doesn’t have, and i that ever happens… we’ll inform you immediately.”
Opening a personal computer tablet, she cradled it in one arm and swiped screens, “Based on your initial preferences… you have nothing to worry about. You’re currently in our medium specification category, which is perfect. But I like to be as transparent as possible about potential price increases. That way, there are fewer surprises down the road. Does all that make sense?”
“I usually recommend new clients start with one interaction per week. Based on your current medium-level preferences. For a one year engagement, you’re looking at this low amount.”
Placing the tablet on the table. She spun it around and pointed at a four-digit number.
“How does this sound?”
Mag glanced at the price and the room fell silent.
Recognizing her apprehension, Summer smiled, “We have a six-month package too. Actually, it’s the option I would take instead of a full year. You can always renew it.”
Swiping across the tablet, she loaded a new page and pointed at a lower four-digit number,
“This is the same engagement your co-worker Monica started with. And know this; if you don’t like it for any reason, you can cancel in the first seven days for a full refund. It’s the most popular engagement package we have. A lot of women love it.”
Pondering her commitment.
Trepidation tightened Mag’s stomach and it became blatantly obvious.
She had to keep this hidden from Drew… he can never find out.
The only person she could inform was Monica, whom Mag didn’t trust.
She rationalized… wasn’t last nights experience good?
Isn’t it worth repeating? Didn’t Drew benefit too?
– It was good. It is worth repeating and Drew did benefit.
– So did I.
If this engagement adds passion to our relationship, then I should do it.
Nothing else worked. We went to counseling and talked about our issues.
Argued about them.
None of that stuff worked. But this… This works.
And it’s not like I’m cheating. This isn’t cheating. This is helping!
She nodded at Summer,
“Let’s do it.”