Short Stories 366:259 — “The Pick-Me-Up,” by Suleikha Snyder

I adore a good meet-cute, to the point where it’s honestly my favourite part of most rom-coms, romances, and erotica pieces, and “The Pick-Me-Up” is a great example of just such a meet-cute. Found in Prem Numbers, Suleikha Snyder’s wonderful collection, “The Pick-Me-Up” starts us off in a woman’s local bar, where she often comes after crushing days of work for exactly that: a little bit of recovery before heading home. There are familiar voices, familiar shows on the television, and if she’s generally tucked herself into a seat and not really taken part so much as people-watched? That’s fair, and it’s still as restorative.

Until tonight, when she’s really down, and there’s a pair of men who often joke and snark at each other, one of whom is a lean ginger with an Irish brogue and a tendency to zingers. Out of nowhere, she hits a tipping point and zings right back at something he says to his mate, and before long, they’re sparring. And not long after that, they’re trying to make a casual show of leaving the bar a few minutes apart. She’s pretty sure no one will buy it.

But Aleja just feels something about this guy, and tonight she’s giving in to it. What follows is a super-sizzly erotic interlude (something I’m learning Snyder really excels at), with just enough of a promise to nudge this piece from a one-night-stand erotica to a maybe-sorta romance (or start of one) in all the best ways. I love Aleja’s shift into snark, her rising to Conn’s bait when he ups the anté, and the pillow-revelations were also wonderfully on-point to shift Aleja’s notions of Conn. All in all, this was exactly what it says on the tin, a Pick-Me-Up.

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