Disclaimer: Don't own them and can't wait until they come back this season.

This time Nina is piloted by nynaeve, nccjfann and jmkw. We hope you enjoy our look at online dating.


Chapter 1

Single Physician Seeks Someone to Play Doctor With

Jordan kicked off her shoes and wiggled her toes. It was Friday night, after a long busy week. She wasn't on call, which was something that only happened once in a blue moon. She was looking forward to a blissfully quiet weekend. Peace and quiet.

She figured that was reason alone was good enough excuse to let loose a little.

Since her little black book was covered with more white-out than actual phone numbers she opted for an intimate date with the perfect bottle of merlot.

After all, wine is the perfect companion.

Unlike a man, a glass of wine is predicable. Wine didn't feel obligated to engage in stimulating conversation or fake interest just because it thought it would score more points with her.

Always selfless, wine never complained about quality time...or lack of it. Wine never insisted on exclusivity. It didn't care if she changed vintages on a whim.

Strong, heady and intoxicating...Wine never commanded control. It was there when she needed it and didn't feel left out when she didn't. It never criticized or changed the rules on her. And it never hogged the TV remote.

Wine had a wonderful knack of going with everything, Jordan smiled to herself, pulling a can if chocolate frosting out of the cupboard. Adaptable, it was right at home in anything from leaded crystal to paper cups...whatever way her mood swung.

As long as that mood didn't include anything as risky as flirting, romancing, touching...dancing.

As quick as they came, she brushed those thoughts away. At least she didn't have to worry about wine stepping on her toes or trying to cop a feel on the some crowded dance floor.

Peace and quiet. She was almost giddy.

Carefully, she sliced through the foil sheath on top of the bottle and with a practiced wrist popped the cork. She poured a glass and savored the aroma before she lifted the glass to her lips.

No matter the age, wine never failed to make her stomach warm and tingly with the first sip. Its long, warm fingers caressed psyche and relaxed her mind.

Wine never demanded her attention, it only rewarded it.

Above all, wine never smothered her. It never made unrealistic demands or tell her she needed to change. Nor did it did roll over and go to sleep before she was ready... Wine never needed its ego stroked...or anything else for that matter. Wine was the perfect date...always.

Then why did she feel so...so?

"Nevermind," she told herself, taking her glass and the can of frosting over to the couch. A few more drinks and even paint drying would be entertaining.


When the weekend was over Jordan had to admit that wine made a lousy surrogate boyfriend. Especially when it brought friends to the party. Red, white...even that cheap rosé she found loitering on top of her refrigerator. They were all the same. All fun and games until the morning after.

Monday morning and Jordan was still feeling the remnants of a headache the size of Seely's ego. She kept an industrial sized bottle of extra strength Tylenol in her desk. She needed a few before the morning meeting. If she hurried she could pop a few before she had to be sociable. Only she had to pass Trace to get to her office...

Ten more steps and she'd be home free. Ten was all she needed. Nine...eight...seven...

"It looks like someone had an interesting weekend...details, darling."

So close. Jordan slipped her sunglasses off and fought the urge to pinch the bridge of her nose.

"'Morning," she mumbled.

"Fascinating..." Nigel said, falling into step beside her. "What's his name and are we planning on returning his calls?"

His cocky smile looked oddly out of place for a Monday morning. Jordan blinked. Nobody should look so...smug...on a Monday morning. The city of Boston was over two hundred years old. There should be a law on the books against A.M. giddiness ...somewhere. It was Monday for goodness sake. She kept walking.

He arched an eyebrow. "No names?! Even better..."

She would have given her right eye, her throbbing right eye, to make Nigel go away and take his imagination with him. Instead, she smiled her sweetest smile.

"When was the last time you went out with a woman that you knew more than her screen name?"

It was true. Since Nigel joined an online dating service a few months ago, he'd gone from being a closet dater to a serial dater, and making sure everyone around him knew it.

He was the company's best salesman. He'd already persuaded Sidney, Peter and God knows who else, to fork over heaven knows how much money to buy a membership. Jordan prided herself for being immune. Dating Services were for the desperate, which she wasn't.

"You're changing the subject," Nigel stated.

"His name was ...Cabernet, Chardonnay...Carmenere, take your pick. And no, I think I've learned my lesson. I'm not inviting him back. My head...and my liver...can't take it."

"I see," he chuckled. "Drinking alone is never a good idea."

"Neither is wearing white after Labor Day" she said keying the lock on her office door. "But it still happens."

"There are many more satisfying ways to spend your free time love," he added with a pirate's smile.

"It depends on how much crap you have to put up with to get to that satisfaction part.

"Not to mention, it's just easier to take matters in your own hands." Lonelier, but much more convenient. Jordan looked anywhere but at Nigel.

"It's worse than I thought..."he tsked. "Have you ever considered something different..."

Jordan tossed her bag on the top of the desk and made a production of rooting around the desk drawer for the elusive headache medicine, hoping he'd take the hint. She could feel a sales pitch starting.

"Don't even try Nige. I'm not going to join that lonely-hearts club you call a matchmaking service. I don't need help meeting men. "

She meant to wipe the smile off his face, but his expression only widened. "When was the last time you met someone new that wasn't on a slab?"

"I don't need a man in my life."

"I never said you did...but it would be better for your liver to have someone help with your French friends."

"Chilean. Carmenere is Chilean...or at least the label said so."

"Do you know how utterly pathetic that sounds?" he clucked.

"And picking-up strange women with names like 2hot4you and SxyAznBabe69 with a name like longtallcuppaT isn't?"

"Have you been reading my email again?" he teased, sitting on the edge of her desk.

Even though it hurt, Jordan rolled her eyes. "You can't tell me having a social life is as easy as hitting a computer key..."

There was that Cheshire cat smile again. "Welcome to the new millennium, darling."

She sighed. Sickboy23 used the ambiguity of the cyber-world to engineer a murder. She knew Nigel had too many web-smarts to get caught up in anything as deadly, but still there were whack-jobs out there looking to boil some guy's bunny.

"I don't trust anyone I can't see with my own two eyes."

"Many subscribers post pictures..."

"Pictures they've cut and pasted after Googling the words, 'tall, dark and handsome'."

"Looks aren't everything..." Nigel said in all seriousness.

"That sounded pretty shallow, huh? Jordan winced. "It's just trying to get to know someone without being able to be face-to-face. There's something...scary about that."

"You'd be surprised how open and honest the anonymity of online dating makes a person. For some people, it's easier to show their real selves in front of a keyboard instead of having to look in someone's eyes," he said softly.

Jordan would later blame her curiosity on dehydration. "So, it really works. What the hell? Tell me more."

Nigel tick off the rewards he's found in online dating with his fingers. When he started recycling his right hand Jordan stopped him. "So how much money are we talking here?"

That smile again. "There's the beauty point my love. For lovely ladies like yourself, the first three months are free of charge."

"You're kidding."

"No, I'm not," he said crossing his fingers over his heart. "Think about it Jordan. You have nothing to lose...except maybe a few lonely nights."

"So, you're telling me there's no contract, obligation, or exchange of private information involved?"

Cocky, he said, "Only as private as you want to get."

"I wouldn't have to go to any of those weird speed dating nights..."

"Nope"

"No minimum requirements. I call the shots."

"You respond to as many or as few contacts as you want."

"There are no corny single-ads to write..."she said warily.

"Well..."

"I'm not writing some stupid hard-up want ad," Jordan shrugged as if to say she was no longer interested.

"Is that all?" Nigel clucked rounding the desk and gently pulling Jordan out of her chair. "That's nothing we can't handle," he mused turning on her PC. "In fact, I have a knack..."

Nigel cracked his knuckles while the machine warmed up. His fingers flew deftly over the keyboard and before Jordan knew it she was the newest member of the Charles River Cyber-friends Network.

"Let's see...we need an online name." He leaned back in the chair tapping his tented fingers against his chin, analyzing her like she was a riddle produced by one of the mysterious specimens in his lab. Jordan shifted from one foot to the other.

Nigel thought for a moment and with a smug smile tapped 'ICdeadpeople' in the required field.

"I see dead people?!" Jordan exclaimed.

"Apropos, don't you think?"

She chucked nervously. Her inability to comprehend anything remotely in computer-eze left Jordan utterly and completely at Nigel's mercy. Her left eye began to twitch like it did when she knew she was walking into trouble.

"Relax love," he purred as if he could read her mind. "You're in good hands. Now for the vitals..."

Jordan watched as he typed in her sex, material status and age. When it came to profession she put a hand on his arm.

"How many single, heterosexual, 30-something, dark-haired female ME's are in the city of Boston?"

"Not nearly enough in my humble opinion..." Nigel said with a devilish grin.

Jordan slapped his shoulder and replied. "My point exactly. I don't want to take the chance some virtual-stalker will try to get my attention by dropping extra work at our door."

Nigel shifted uncomfortably at the thought and quickly backspaced the words Medical Examiner from the career blank. Instead he simply typed ...Physician.

"We need to put in some compatibility points."

"Compatibility points?!" Jordan touched the corner of her eye to see if it was still twitching. It was.

"Just a few details about who you are and what you look for."

"Why does that sound like a Playmate Data Sheet...?" she asked suspiciously.

"I already told you, pictures are optional...and the way you look this morning I think it's in our best interest to forgo that entry."

"Thanks a lot."

"To me you're always beautiful, darling," Nigel smirked. "Let's keep it simple. We can use a few basic profiling questions."

Twitch...twitch. "Shoot."

"How would you describe yourself Jordan?

The pain in her grin had nothing to do with her headache. She pushed away from the desk with a shrug. "As you so quaintly pointed out...I see dead people."

Nigel blinked and looked at her expectantly.

"Oh, okay. Ah...I'm a workaholic with trust issues and a crappy attitude, who likes living by her own rules."

Nigel sighed. Filling out a dating profile was like writing a sales ad for a used car. The magic came in the wording. Luckily, she had him to help. Who knew what a man looked for in one of things than another man? Nigel typed.

I'm a self-sufficient professional Virgo who believes in living every moment to the fullest. I'm known for my dynamic personality and free-spirited outlook. They go along with my killer body...

Pleased with himself, Nigel said, "Alright love, name something that annoys you ..."

"Wasting time with online dating questionnaires."

Nigel didn't wait for her to clarify. He was already feeling inspired. He just typed.

...I don't believe in wasting time with games. I've been around long enough to have played them all. I know what I want and expect the people I meet do too. I can open my own doors, thank you very much...but what girl doesn't like being pampered every once in awhile?

Jordan leaned over the desk and tried to look at the computer screen but Nigel had already clicked to the next area.

"What's your idea of a good night out Jordan? And happy-hour at the Beef and Brew doesn't count," he added with a wink.

"It's been so long since I've been out on a real date, I don't think I even remember what a night out is like that doesn't include a long run with my Ipod. I guess it depends on my mood."

Nigel lips curled up at the corners as his fingers tapped against the keyword.

...I feel just as home closing the hippest nightclubs as I do spending the evening cuddling in front of a roaring fire. I'm a lover of great music and working up a good sweat...only if the mood strikes me, of course...

"Are you going to let my look at this before you send it?" Jordan asked, her tone ripe with curiosity.

"Trust me, Jordan. I know what I'm doing," he said clicking to the next entry. "Now for the interesting part. What do you look for in a companion?"

Jordan toyed with a box of latex gloves that she kept on edge of her desk. She studied the writing on the label as if it had the answer written somewhere on it.

"If the answer to that question were that easy I'd've picked some guy out of a line-up by now and be living happily ever after...in the 'burbs somewhere...with a handful of kids...driving a minivan...baking meatloaf..."

Nigel put up his hand to stop her. They both visibly shuttered.

"I doubt you'll ever be the Mommy-jeans type Jordan. But still, let's face the facts. You've been too busy concentrating on the kind of men that have a habit of actually turning up in line-ups instead of letting yourself open up to the ones that could truly make you happy..."

Jordan chuckled mirthlessly. Nigel wasn't that far off base.

"So you think there's someone outside of the MCI-Cedar Junction general lock-up out there for me?"

"More than a few, darling," Nigel assured her. "All you have to do is being willing to open your eyes, and your heart, to see."

In effort to look nonchalant about the advice Nigel was trying to give her, Jordan repositioned the box of latex gloves 90 degrees and then back again. The simple fact of the matter is she was lonely. Yes, she'd like someone there to help warm her bed...but what she really wanted companionship. Someone who was there when she had a bad day...or distract her when she was bored enough to spend way to much time inside a bottle of wine.

She still wasn't too sure about meeting someone this way. Even with all of Nigel's assurances she couldn't picture finding anyone with whom she could find any thing in common with ...let alone find her soul mate. Thank God she wasn't in the market for one of those. Love was just too complicated and soul mates were only for those who learned to settle.

If she found someone to spend some time with that was great...if she didn't...that was great too. It wasn't like she had anything to lose. The Chilean would understand.

She took a deep breath and launched into a dialog that sounded more like a shopping list than a dream date.

As long as they were too young for Viagra or too old to live with their mamas she wasn't that choosy about age. Smokers were out, and so were the kind of guys that had Blackie Conroy on speed dial.

She needed someone that understood her hours and could at least deal with the particulars of her job without turning green or want her to play out some deep-seeded necrophilic fantasy.

She wanted someone that didn't think she should have left her El Camino in the bottom of the lake or question her independent lifestyle.

Selfishly she admitted tall, dark and handsome would be a plus. But being self-sufficient and self-confident were even bigger pluses. Neatness counted and good hygiene was a must. And it would hurt if he had a smile that could make her forget her name.

Above all she wanted someone that wasn't looking for happily ever after. She didn't think it was in her to give it.

Nigel's fingertips skipped over the keys.

I'm in the market for a clean, healthy, like-minded companion with a fabulous presence and a personality to match. Must be looking for some mutual exploration, but not looking to find the center of your universe. An easy smile is a big turn-on, along with an appreciation for classic automobiles. Must not be overly judgmental, involved in criminal activities, or easily shocked. A strong stomach and no latex allergy is a big advantage.

I look forward to hearing from you...

"That's it," Nigel said with a flamboyant click of the mouse. "As we speak millions of electronic pulses are analyzing your statistics and complying a list of likely candidates, who, within minutes, will be emailed with a copy of your profile page. If they like what they see...and they will, darling...they will be contacting you through your site email..."

"The ICdeadpeople thing right?"

"Correct. All you have to do is sit back and check your email.."

"Just like that?"

"Just like that."

Nigel's confident reply was interrupted with a series of electronic tones that said Jordan already had an email.

"That was quick..." Jordan murmured. She rounded the desk just as Nigel opened it.

IC. Baby. Tell me more about the sweat and the latex...