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“Howie, man, this girl, there was just something about her.” Howie listened to his friend ramble about the date he'd been on the night before.

“That's great man, but isn't your timer still counting down?” Howie himself did not have a timer yet, but he was intrigued with the wrist devices that would tell you when you found your one true love. “I thought you still had over three years.”

“I do,” AJ's voice sounded sullen on the other side of the phone. “It's just, this girl, Howie, she's not like some of the other girl's I've met.” Howie nodded even though AJ could not see him. “She's smart and knows how to have a good time. We are going to British Invasion karaoke tonight.”

“Jay that's great, but.” Howie didn't want to bring his friend down, but he knew his next comment would. “She's not your one. Your timer hasn't zeroed out.”

“I don't care about that right now.” He could his friend throwing something in frustration.

“It's your life Jay and I will be your friend no matter what you do. You like her, go for it.” Howie replied and they said their good-byes and got off the phone. He jammed his phone in his pocket as he flipped through the brochure on the counter, the brochure to get a timer implanted.

“What are you looking at?” Anna's voice startled Howie, he quickly shoved the brochure under stacks of bills and junk mail.

“Nothing babe,” He turned and wrapped his arms around her waist. “You smell like lavender.” He brought her closer and took a deep breath taking in the scent of her hair.

“I thought I would try a new scent. I love cherry blossom, but I needed a change.” She moaned quietly as Howie kissed her neck below her ear, moving her dark brown hair out of the way.

“I like it.” He let his hands roam over her body, kissing her neck and face gently.

“Not that I don't love the attention,” Anna pushed Howie away smiling. “but I have a meeting at work I can't miss.” He nodded and watched her finish her preparations around the kitchen, grabbing a nutri-grain bar, a cup of coffee and her satchel knocking off the pile of mail in the process. “Oh shit.” she cursed and bent down to pick up the papers.

“Let me do that,” Howie rushed to her side and started grabbing the mail from her hands. “You have that meeting, remember, I am not rushing off.” He kissed her head and continued to clean up.


“Mmmm?” Howie murmured, concentrating on getting everything off the floor.

“What's this?” She held out the timer brochure, the one item Howie had been trying desperately to pick up and keep hidden from her.

“I don't know.” He played innocent.

“It looks like a pamphlet for those psychos who insert timers in your wrist.” She stood, coffee down, hands on her hips. “What is this doing here?”

“Babe, I know how you feel about those things. I am sure that was left here from when AJ or Nick were preparing to get their implants.” He lied. He hated lying to Anna but she didn't need to know the truth, not yet at least.

Anna moved towards the trash can and using her heeled foot, pressed the pedal down and tossed it. “There, now it's where it belongs, in the trash.” She moved back to the counter, grabbed her coffee and kissed Howie before turning to leave. “I love you, Howie.”

When he heard the car drive out of the garage and away from the house, Howie released the breath he was holding and re-opened the trash can digging the leaflet. He moved into the living room and threw himself on the couch. He re-opened the paperwork and stared again at the handwriting inside. He thanked heaven Anna hadn't opened it when she found it, inside, in neat handwriting was the notation “Howard Dorough 1:00 pm August 27 Implantation.”

It was something Anna disapproved of, but he wanted them both to get implanted. He and Anna had a chance meeting at an after party, her friend had an extra ticket due to her friend dropping out. Anna was nice enough to go along when her friend begged her, she told him later that she was a fan of the songs she heard but that she hadn't heard many. Howie saw her sitting at a table sipping her drink.

“Designated purse babysitter.” Anna had told him when she asked. They struck up a conversation that night and, even though they were soon surrounded by the owners of the purses, they had enjoyed themselves thoroughly. He left with her number, she expressed her doubts he would call but gave it to him anyway. He called the next morning and set up a date for the following Saturday.

It wasn't long before the financial adviser and Howie decided to become exclusive and then shortly after, they moved in together. AJ thought he was crazy, Brian was happy for him and Nick, well Nick really had no opinion, he had been fighting his own demons then.

When AJ and Nick got their timers implanted, Howie thought nothing of it. It wasn't until he heard the story of the couple who were having marriage problems and decided to get the timer to help them decide if they should end their marriage. They zeroed out almost immediately and the next time they saw each other, the alarm that let you know you'd met your one was sounding.

Being the romantic that he was, Howie started gathering the information to get the timers for Anna and himself. The only relationship issue they were having was Anna's avoidance of marriage. Howie had asked her last Christmas and she told him she wasn't ready for that step, yet. He knew that when the timers went off for them, she would change her mind and agree to marry him. He wanted nothing more than to live the rest of his life with her.

When he casually brought up the devices over dinner one evening, Anna went off on a tirade about technology deciding who to love. “First internet dating and now these.” She expressed an extreme disapproval about the implants, but Howie was still determined it was his only way to prove his ultimate love for her, to prove there was no other girl for him but her.

He dropped his head into his hands. Two weeks, that was all the time he had to convince Anna getting implanted was the right step for their relationship. Two weeks until he would know for sure if Anna was his one true love he hoped, no, she knew she was.