So Many Horror Stories

Young woman talk on mobile Pic: Istockphoto


What could go wrong with internet dating?

Vicky hadn’t told any of her colleagues she’d arranged to meet a man from a dating website, but when the nerves started getting the better of her one evening, she snatched up her mobile, called her old friend Lesley and told her what she was going to do.

“Really?” Lesley said, as if Vicky had just announced that she was planning to scale Everest. “But you said you’d never get involved with a man again after Joe dumped you.”

“But I’m lonely,” Vicky explained, hoping her friend would encourage her.

“So get a cat,” Lesley suggested.

Vicky laughed. “But a cat wouldn’t talk to me and I need to be with someone again. I’m bored.”

I’ve heard so many horror stories about these dating websites, Vicky

“Yes, but at least you’re safe,” Lesley pointed out. “I’ve heard so many horror stories about these dating websites, Vicky. Some terrible things go on. Have you seen a photo of this man?”

“Yes, I have,” Vicky said, a smile playing across her lips.

“Well, you might be in for a disappointment,” Lesley said, obviously realising that Vicky had been quite taken with the photograph she’d seen. “Lots of men use old photographs, you know. One woman met up with a man who turned out to be about twenty years older than he said he was!”

“Yes, but not many people do that.”

“No – some use fake photographs,” Lesley growled. “One guy my friend met used a picture of a male model. He looked more like Mr Blobby in the flesh!”

Vicky had to laugh at that.

“He couldn’t have been that bad.”

Oh, you will be careful, won’t you?

“Oh, he was. And he was just after her money!” Lesley sounded horrified. “Oh, you will be careful, won’t you? I’ve heard so many horror stories about these blind dates, Vicky. This man you’re meeting might be as nice as pie at first, but he might start asking for cash.”

“Well, he’ll be pretty disappointed,” Vicky replied with a grin. “I haven’t got any money I could give him.”

“He might persuade you to get a loan or something,” Lesley said. “There are some really awful men out there… and you’re vulnerable ‘cos you’re lonely.”

“I’m not gullible and I’m not going to get deeply involved with this man after one date. I’ll just see how it goes.”

“But you will be careful, won’t you?”

“Of course I will,” Vicky assured her.

“You mustn’t go anywhere isolated with him and you definitely mustn’t tell him where you live.”

“Oh, he knows where I live,” Vicky replied calmly.

 Why on earth did you tell him that?

“What?” Lesley sounded aghast. “Why on earth did you tell him that?”

“I’ve told him all sorts of things,” Vicky replied. “I’ve been chatting to this man for months. We sent emails to each other at first, but just lately we’ve been chatting on the phone as well.”

“And you told him where you live?” Lesley said in disbelief. “Well, don’t be surprised if you can’t get shot of him. He might be one of those stalker types.”

“No, no – I don’t think so,” Vicky replied with a grin.

“He might,” Lesley muttered. “You hear such horror stories, Vicky. This woman at work’s cousin’s neighbour had to call the police because this nutter kept serenading her every night. He stood outside and belted out power ballads. Drove her round the bend!”

Vicky pictured the scene and laughed. “Could he sing?”

Apparently he did a mean Bon Jovi, but that’s not the point!

“Well, yes, apparently he did a mean Bon Jovi, but that’s not the point! You don’t want somebody singing to you every night, do you?”

“I quite like Livin’ On A Prayer…”

“Not at two in the morning!”

“I suppose not,” Vicky said. “I don’t think anything like that’s going to happen, though. This man’s really nice.”

“But you thought Joe was nice.”

“He was nice,” Vicky said. “It was my fault he dumped me.”

“What?” Lesley shrieked.

I was obsessed with my job and I kept letting him down

“I neglected him. I was obsessed with my job and I kept letting him down.”

“Yes, but he shouldn’t have dumped you. He should have talked to you.”

“I wouldn’t have listened,” Vicky said, remembering how inconsiderate she’d been. “I wasn’t ready for a relationship back then, Lesley. I was far too selfish, but I’ve learned my lesson. I’m not going to talk about myself at all on this date.”

“So what will you talk about?”

“Him,” Vicky said, deciding not to go into any more detail in case Lesley worked out who she was meeting and came out with a horror story about a woman who’d gone back out with an ex.

She was sure the date was going to be fine. She and Joe had been talking everything through for months, and she’d agreed to meet up with him because she’d fallen in love with him all over again.

Her heart had flipped when she’d come across his photo on the website and she’d melted when she’d first heard his voice on the phone. It had felt like old times, and she hadn’t hesitated when Joe finally suggested they meet.

She’d agreed to a date and felt nothing but excitement until the nerves had set in, but hearing Lesley’s horror stories had made her realise that she had no reason to feel nervous at all.

If the evening went half as well as their phone calls had, she’d have a love story to relate instead.

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Karen Byrom

My coffee mug says "professional bookworm" which sums me up really! As commissioning fiction editor on the magazine, I love sharing my reading experience of the latest books, debut authors and more with you all, and would like to hear from you about your favourite books and authors! Email me