One glass of Merlot and a laptop later...
Shaun Miles walks into the Tech Deck with a laptop bag over his shoulder and eyes darting around like he’s trying to avoid being seen. He heads straight to the tech support desk in the back as fast as he can without running, his black mask hiding the shame written all over his face. He stands there for a moment, rocking back and forth while looking around for someone to help him. He runs his fingers over his long brown ponytail and adjusts the band at the back of his head. He tightens the band and sighs, tapping his fingers on the counter. As he turns to leave, Bridget Conner comes out from behind the curtain in the back. She cracks her neck from side to side as she walks up to the desk in front of Shaun. She adjusts her green mask and her brown glasses, then puts her long black hair up in a ponytail before smiling at Shaun.
“Welcome to Tech Deck,” says Bridget. “I’m Bridget. How may I help you today?”
Shaun sheepishly runs his hands through his hair. “Hi. I’m here to see if the warranty I bought for my laptop covers an, um, certain type of repair.”
“What type of repair is that?”
Shaun looks past Bridget and sighs. “Cards on the table?”
“Where else would you put them?”
Shaun chuckles. “I, uh, don’t know if the type of repair is covered under my warranty.” Shaun leans over the counter and Bridget leans in as well. “I didn’t exactly read the terms and conditions of my warranty,” Shaun whispers through a smirk.
“You didn’t read the terms and conditions?” Bridget mockingly smacks her hands against her cheeks. “What? You mean to tell me you didn’t read the printed wall of legalese on the brochure?” She shrugs. “I’m sorry. Because you didn’t read the terms and conditions of your agreement, I can’t help you.”
Shaun’s smirk drops a bit. “What? Seriously?”
Bridget smiles. “I’m just messing with you. But in order to determine whether or not the damage is covered for repair, I’m going to need some things from you.”
“Well, first I’ll need your name to search for your warranty in our system.”
“Thank you, Mr. Miles.”
Bridget turns to the computer and her fingers fly over the keys. She takes a moment to read the screen before turning her attention back to Shaun. “You’ll also need to answer all of my questions to determine eligibility for the repair.”
“Sounds easy enough.”
“I’ll also need your thumbprint for identification, a blood sample for DNA verification and the promise to name your next child after a random employee from this shop.”
Shaun busts out into laughter as Bridget’s face never changes. Shaun’s laugh trails off the less Bridget smiles, but picks right back up when she starts laughing with him.
“I’m glad you took that joke well,” says Bridget. “The last guy wanted to speak to my manager.”
Shaun shakes his head. “Some people just don’t understand a good dark sense of humor. Weird.”
Bridget nods. “I know, right?!” She motions for Shaun to put the laptop bag on the table. “Let’s see what we’re working with here.”
Shaun sighs before hesitantly taking the bag off his shoulder and resting it on the counter in front of them. He unzips the bag and slides his laptop out. To Bridget’s surprise, it takes a large amount of force to simply open the screen. But when she does, a couple of keys pull off of the keyboard and stick to the monitor!
Bridget’s head cocks to the side in confusion as she runs her fingers across the remaining keys and a red substance sticks to her hand. Bridget pulls out a bottle of hand sanitizer and pumps it a couple of times before rubbing her hands together feverishly. “I think I’m going to have a lot more questions than I thought.”
Shaun sighs. “Yeah. It’s a little hard to explain.”
“With the keys sticking to the monitor as well as this substance all over the rest of them, I’m starting to think I don’t want to know the answers.”
Shaun’s eyes widen with embarrassment. “No, no, no! It’s not like that! I wasn’t…you know….”
Bridget giggles. “I know that. Unless you’ve got red…I’m pretty sure this didn’t come from you.”
Shaun wipes the sweat from his forehead and exhales hard. “Okay. Glad we got that straightened out.”
Bridget nods and continues to analyze the laptop. “That being said, my first question has to be what is this stuff?”
“Wine? As in cheese and wine?”
Bridget’s eyes narrow. “Was there a cat involved?”
Shaun chuckles. “No. No cat. No pets at all.”
“Okay. No pets. Got it. Did someone else do it?”
“No. It was just me.”
“Okay. Did you have a few too many glasses before this one?”
“No. This was my first one. I hadn’t even tasted it yet.”
Bridget looks up from the laptop to try to meet Shaun’s averting eyes. “Really?”
Shaun shakes his head and turns his attention back to Bridget. “Yeah. The wine was for a date.”
Bridget’s eyebrows crinkle together. “A date? I thought you said nobody else…”
“The glass wasn’t for my date. It was for me on my date.”
“With someone else?”
“Yes. It was a virtual date.”
“Is this something you two do often?”
“No. It was our first date. We were going to taste wine and then watch a movie together.”
Bridget sighs. “What kind of hoity-toity silver spoon-fed snob goes with wine tasting as a first date?” Bridget’s eyes flash with self-realization before filling with embarrassment. “I mean, unless you’re…”
Shaun holds up his hands to cut her off. “I’ve never even seen a silver spoon let alone been fed with one. It wasn’t my choice. It was hers. I honestly found it a little weird too since I’m more of a Code Red guy myself.”
Bridget nods. “The choice of gamers everywhere. What kind of wine was this?”
Shaun shrugs. “A Merlot something or other. I just got what she asked me to get.”
“And you still went through with this date because?”
“It’s hard to meet people in general, but it’s even harder now.”
Bridget shakes her head. “Tell me about it. My app is drier than Shino’s sense of humor.” Her cheeks get a bit flush. “Um, Shino is this…”
“I know Naruto. I mean, I’ve seen Naruto. I don’t actually know him, you know?”
Bridget smiles and Shaun lightly scratches his arm. There’s an awkward silence as both of them avoid looking at each other for fear of embarrassing themselves even further. Bridget clears her throat as she reaches for a bottle of water from the mini-fridge behind the desk.
“So, what movie where you two going to watch?”
Shaun’s eyebrow raises. “Why? Is that relevant?”
Bridget smirks and shrugs. “Terms and conditions man. I don’t make the rules.”
Shaun smirks in return. “Star Wars.”
“A New Hope.”
Bridget nods her head. “Oh good. A classic you’re both familiar with. Excuse me.” She twists open the bottle of water and takes her mask down a bit. She takes a couple of gulps before Shaun rubs the back of his neck.
“Actually, she had never seen it before.”
Bridget spits her water down towards the floor and coughs a bit as Shaun sighs. “And that’s how the wine got on my laptop,” says Shaun.
Bridget wipes her mouth with a couple of paper towels and puts her mask back up. She stares at Shaun in disbelief. “How in the hell did she make it to wine tasting age without knowing the man who made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs?!”
Shaun’s eyes widen and he slaps his hand on the counter. “That’s what I’m saying! Or, at least, I would have said if the wine didn’t kind of kill my laptop.”
Bridget clears her throat to get the last of the water out and pumps out some sanitizer. She rubs her hands together and exhales, then puts her fists onto her hips and puffs out her chest. “Well, never fear…”
Shaun adopts the same pose, smiling widely under his mask. “For you are here!”
Bridget and Shaun throw their heads back in loud and hearty laughter, then break out into giggle fits.
“Well,” says Bridget, “I have good news and bad news, Mr. Miles. Which one do you want to hear first?”
Shaun exhales. “I take my vegetables before my dessert, so hit me.”
Bridget slides Shaun’s laptop to the left of her. “The squash of the matter…”
“I hate squash.”
“Me too.” Bridget clears her throat. “The squash is that your laptop isn’t able to be repaired. Because of the liquid damage to the motherboard, your warranty will not cover a repair that costs more than the current value of your machine.”
Shaun sighs, then raises an eyebrow. “And the chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream is?”
Bridget puts her hand over her chest and shakes her head. “My favorite. The scoop with hot fudge and caramel is that your warranty does cover product replacement in these cases.”
Shaun smiles so wide the corners of his mouth are visible around his mask. “That’s great!”
Bridget holds her hands up. “Provided that the new laptop you choose is of equal or lesser value than your current one.”
Shaun snaps his fingers. “Well, darn. There goes my free new gaming system with all the bells and whistles.”
Bridget shrugs. “Those are the breaks.” Bridget takes a moment before motioning back to the displays. “But, if you want, I’ll help you pick out the best machine warranty money can buy. A laptop so good, you’ll be able to see every individual grain of Tatooine sand. That way, you can give your date another chance.” Bridget holds up a finger. “Or, you could try going on a date with someone who’s well-versed in classic movies instead of classic wines. Someone who would be willing to bring over a certain flavor ice cream and test out said choice of laptop to guarantee customer service?”
Shaun smirks. “Really? You know someone who’d be willing to do all that?”
Bridget nods. “It’s in our terms and conditions.”
“Well. That’s a hard offer to pass up. But I just have one question. What would I call this person and when?”
“You’d call her Bridget and at 7:30 on Friday. Does that sound like something you’d like, sir?”
Shaun smiles. “I’d love that.”
Bridget winks. “I know.”
As Bridget walks to the partition in the counter and lifts it up, Shaun quickly pulls his phone out of his pocket and taps into his app. He taps the deny button for a date request before following her to the displays.