Pinky the Matchmaker

Sharon Hughson

The ungrateful ferret wanted to kill her chance at happiness. When had Pinkie woken, tipped over the turquoise tote, and meandered down three rows of auditorium seating? Riann didn’t know, but her glare in his direction screamed displeasure. 

Pinkie didn’t notice because a charging cord dangled inches above his quivering nose. The cord belonged to the guy she always sat behind during the economics lecture, hoping to find confidence to strike up a conversation with him. 

One bite from her naughty nibbler on that white cord would keep her wish to date Mr. Dreamy ungranted. She’d be forced to fantasize hopelessly about running her fingers through the brown hair curling over the collar of his black t-shirt. 

Riann dug a package of peanut butter crackers from her tote—where her ferret should have been sleeping—and swung his favorite treat over an empty seat. The crackling plastic sounded explosive, but the professor droned on, and no one paid attention to her back row antics. 

Unfortunately, the beady pink eyes she hoped to ensnare ignored her, too. Her silly white weasel reared on hind legs and snuffled the cord. 

“Pinkie,” she whispered, stretching over the vacant row while waving the crackers like a flag of surrender. 

Mr. Dreamy swiveled toward Riann, brushing the cord onto the ground. His elbow nearly rammed Pinkie’s head. 

A strong chin and high cheekbones outlined perfection. His well-shaped dark brows furrowed as his green-flecked hazel eyes zeroed in on the package of crackers. Her pulse spiked. He shook his head.

Heat boiled her cheeks. Maybe her dark skin would conceal the embarrassment. His attention returned to the front of the class before she could say anything. 

She gulped to catch her breath. He’d looked at her. He probably thought she was a crazy person, but he noticed her. As she reeled from the exchange, Pinkie snatched the cord and scurried toward her. 

Mr. Dreamy grabbed for his charger and missed. The violent movement upended the folding tablet arm, and his electronics smashed to the cement floor. 

Riann cringed. 

Every head pivoted in their direction, and the professor’s sleep-inducing voice cut off. “Is there a problem, Mr. Anders?” 

Mr. Anders was Mr. Dreamy. He bent to retrieve his tablet and phone. 

“No trouble, Professor.” The deep voice reminded her of a radio announcer.

The instigator of the kerfuffle paused, emitting a soft cluck, before slithering under the seat in front of Riann and scurrying toward his nest. Riann scraped him off the floor.

“You’re so in trouble,” she hissed near his ear. 

She smoothed the pale brown hair on his face and trapped the cord with her forearm. His claws scraped at the unopened package of snacks, the stolen charger forgotten. A few people glanced toward Riann, but most of the students faced the front. The professor cleared his throat and waved his pointer at the colorless slide in his presentation.

Once the lecture resumed, Riann righted her bag and dumped Pinkie inside. She snatched the contraband away before digging out a baggie of cat treats. Pinkie—his expression pitiful—stared at the crackers.

That ploy wasn’t working today. Not after he destroyed a tablet and her chances with the hot and dreamy Mr. Anders. 

Riann traced the jagged edge on her sketchpad, proof of Pinkie’s nibbling, and doodled an outline of said hottie. Pinkie’s munching faded to white noise as Riann divided her attention between copying the slides and adding detail to the drawing. Soon, an intricate depiction of the manly face and compelling eyes filled the right side of the page. 

Sudden silence jarred her back to reality. Students streamed up the stairs and bolted out the door. Riann’s breathing sped as she tucked the notebook and pen into her backpack, zipped it and stood. Mr. Anders faced her from his row. 

“I’m sorry.” She held out the pilfered cord. 

His fingers brushed her palm. Shivers raced up her arms, reigniting the flames in her face. She ducked her chin, shrugged into her backpack, and lifted the oversized purse. As she did, a mischievous face poked over the edge. 

“You have a ferret?” Excitement creased the guy’s face, carving lines around his espresso eyes and pale lips. 

“Pinkie. He stole your cord.” 

“Sneaky rascal.” His easy grin punched her in the gut. 

She swallowed hard. “Is your tablet okay?” 

He nodded. “Can I walk out with you? I want to know how you get him to stay in that bag.” 

Her heart stuttered. “Obviously I don’t.” 

He laughed. Warmth oozed into her tightening stomach. 

She rubbed two fingers over Pinkie’s fur. “After today, I should call you Chaos.”

They headed toward the aisle. 

“Or Houdini.” Smooth as rich chocolate, his voice sent tingles charging through her middle. 

Riann met the smiling heartthrob where the seats ended. 

“I’m Riann.” 

“Christopher.” His gaze shifted to Pinkie. “I’ve never met a ferret before. Can I pet him?”

She angled the bag toward the swoon-worthy co-ed. 

He reached an open palm toward Pinkie, whose nose stretched to meet the hand. His whiskers vibrated. 

“Hey, Pinkie. I’m Christopher.” His eyes glittered with enthusiasm. “You’re smart.”

Riann stared. Handsome and engaging the ferret as if expecting a reply? She melted.

Christopher edged his broad-shouldered frame closer and rubbed his index finger over Pinkie’s head. “So cool. I miss my dog.” 

“Did you have to leave him behind when you came to college?” Her voice sounded higher than normal. 

“My mom thinks the dog belongs to her.” Another sexy laugh rumbled through his chest.

Riann’s tongue transformed to lead. 

“I’m going to grab lunch.” His fresh masculine scent caused heart palpitations. “Want to join me?” 

She blinked twice at the unexpected invitation and nodded. 

Maybe her pet wasn’t trying to thwart her happiness after all. Today’s stunt made him an unlikely matchmaker.

Sharon Hughson
Sharon Hughson loves the portal into stories. She writes fiction and coaches writers at her home on the Columbia River in Oregon. In her “free” time, Sharon enjoys playing piano, walking, biking, hiking, crocheting, and traveling with her husband. With two grown sons living nearby, she often spoils her four grandchildren, much to the chagrin of her two entitled cats.

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