Chapter 1: Preparation: 1
Peridot opened her eyes as her alarm clock beeped quietly. The incessant flashing is what normally woke her up, but if either of those failed, the vibrating would ensure she wasn’t late. Peridot had designed the alarm clock herself. While she recognized that soothing sounds wouldn’t wake her, the typical jarring noises other alarm clocks made frustrated her. A thorough search of the internet determined there weren’t any commercially available alarm clocks that suited her needs, resulting in her desire to create her own.
The blueprints weren’t simple. She decided there needed to be a three-tiered system to guarantee she didn’t sleep through any alarm. The first tier was auditory. Obviously, the alarm should play a sound, this was the easiest way to get her attention, especially if she was already awake. She designed the tone to be mild, preventing any unnecessary discomfort. If the tone failed to wake her, next came a visual cue. She found that blue light worked well, but as she was partial to green, the resulting flashes hinted more towards teal. Finally, a tactile alert. The system was fastened to the corner of her mattress, providing physical agitation until the user deactivated or reset it.
The alarm clock was one of many items Peridot had altered or outright re-invented. Her room lights, the webcam, even the doorbell were all altered to her liking. Peridot was by training, an engineer. She had individual, traditional degrees in both engineering and computer science, with a third, specialty concentration she designed herself in computer engineering. The dual degrees seemed like they should afford Peridot a fancy job with incredible pay, but she found those jobs had one significant downfall; she was required to socialize.
Instead, Peridot worked as a freelance computer engineer. She did most of her work at home, fulfilling emailed custom requests from clients and shipping them once they were done. She was amazing at her job and over time gained several loyal customers. The best part, in Peridot’s opinion was that no one knew who she was. She went by an alias (or rather her user name), Rebel_Takis, and used neutral, or no pronouns to keep her identity unknown. Her client list had grown significantly, allowing her to choose which jobs she was interested in. People would excitedly wait to see whose project Rebel_Takis would work on next.
Her business didn’t start off successfully, it started with Peridot receiving requests to do work for free or at highly discounted prices. Like any other freelancer, Peridot knew this wasn’t a sustainable model and refused, but it resulted in a need to find other ways to make money. Through a series of strange and awkward events, Peridot became the founder of the sex toy blog You Clods Don’t Know What You’re Doing. She provided practical reviews and tutorials along with suggestions and answers to subscriber questions. The blog’s success was linked to the sex shop in town. It was owned by an acquaintance, Jayden, and her sister Lana. Jay and Ell (as most of their friends referred to them) had come across the knowledge that Peridot ran this website and commissioned her to review some of their store’s items. Now, Jay and Ell send customers to Peridot’s site, and Peridot sends subscribers to Jay and Ell’s store.
Today, Peridot was scheduled to pick up some items from the sex shop for her next review. Jay usually just handed her a box with items they were considering stocking. As she finished getting dressed, she glanced at her phone. One new message.
Are we still on for a date tonight?
Oh, right. Peridot had agreed to go on a blind date.
Chapter 2: Preparation: 2
“Yo! Peridot!” Jay called from behind the counter.
“Hello Jayden,” Peridot replied.
Jay sighed. “When are you going to start calling me Jay, like everyone else?”
“Hey Peridot!” Lana called as she breezed by with a few boxes in her arms.
“Hi Lana.” Peridot turned back to Jay. “I like the name Jayden. Does it bother you?”
“Nah, do what you want,” Jay replied with a grin. “Here, I’ve got the new box for you. I packaged everything up since you said you wanted to do an unboxing. And here is the master list so you know what’s in each box.” Jay handed Peridot a list just as Ell returned.
“What’s the matter Peridot? You seem more distracted than usual.” Jay may have known Peridot since middle school, but Ell was observant and was always the first to notice when something was wrong. Today, Peridot was fidgeting with her keys she kept looped to her belt.
“I have a blind date tonight,” Peridot said flatly.
“Oh! How fun!” Jay cheered at the thought.
“Are you nervous?” Ell asked.
“No. I’m agitated. There’s a subtle difference. I dislike doing things that aren’t part of my typical schedule. But, I’m intellectually aware that is the only way to meet new people. And it seems that would be required in order to find a partner. ” Jay looked confused, but Ell smiled brightly at Peridot.
“Well, I hope it goes perfectly! Definitely drop us a text and let us know.”
“Wait,” Jay said as she processed the information. “You’re actively looking for a relationship?”
“Was I not clear?” Peridot said with confusion, not malice, in her tone.
“I mean,” Jay wrinkled her nose, “yes, that’s what you said. That’s why I was checking. Peridot! Why didn’t you ask me and Ell to set you up?”
“Because anecdotally, dating friends of friends or acquaintances ends poorly. And we have a professional relationship that is important to me to maintain.”
“So, am I the friend or the acquaintance in this example?” Jay asked suspiciously. Ell clamped her hand over Jay’s mouth.
“What my less than tactful big sister is trying to say,” Ell replied. “Is that we consider you a friend, Peridot. We are happy to help in any way you think would be useful.”
“Yeah,” Jay said when Ell finally released her. “What Lana said.”
“Oh. Well, I appreciate the sentiment,” Peridot said with a smile. “I’ve got to go. I want to at least block out the unboxing and maybe shoot some of the scenes today. I’ll send you my notes!” With that, Peridot picked up the box and left the small storefront.
Her next stop was the coffee shop. When she arrived she cheerfully greeted the barista at the register. “Good morning Amethyst.”
“Hey P-dot,” Amethyst replied casually. “What ya got there?” Amethyst glanced at the box before making a subtle oh noise. “You went to see Ell and Jay?”
“Yes. They gave me my newest box of items to review. Jay boxed them nicely, so I could do some unboxing videos along with the testing.” Amethyst offered an indifferent shrug. She didn’t quite understand how Peridot had such a following for reviewing sex toys, but, whatever made her happy.
“Alright nerd. You want your regular?” Peridot nodded before handing Amethyst her debit card. Shortly after, her drink and muffin were ready. “Box it up?”
“Yes, please. I need to get back to the apartment.”
“Will do. See you online tonight? Lapis is really excited to play that new game.”
“Oh, no. I have a blind date tonight, so I will be unable to play Battle Battle 3 with you and Lapis.”
“What?!” Amethyst pulled the bag away from Peridot. “You have a date tonight?”
“Yes.” Peridot wasn’t sure why Amethyst was withholding her breakfast.
“And you didn’t even tell me? How could you keep something like this from me?”
“Well, I didn’t think it was a detail of my life you needed to be informed of.” Amethyst just groaned.
“Fine. I am going to text you tonight and I expect a full play by play.” Peridot looked puzzled.
“A play by play of what?”
“Just respond to my texts tonight, alright?” Amethyst handed Peridot her bag and drink before giving her a wink. “Have a good night.”
Chapter 3: Preparation: 3
When Peridot arrived home, she dropped her muffin on the coffee table before setting the box from Jay and Ell on the couch. “Coffee first,” she thought, “then work.” She nudged at the grey cat resting on the couch to make room before she sat down and pulled out her phone. 2 new messages.
Then I’ll see you tonight.
6:30 at North Tavern?
As Peridot typed a confirmation text, she realized she needed to find something appropriate to wear on this date. “After breakfast,” Peridot said to the cat as he rubbed his head against her arm. She dropped her phone on the couch and began to eat her muffin.
After breakfast, Peridot stood in her room staring into the closet. While she normally didn’t worry about how her clothing looked, Peridot did understand the societal standards for a date. Her typical attire of jeans and T-shirts was buried in her dresser, but the handful of items deemed societally acceptable for a person her age were located in her closet. She didn’t worry about how she looked in clothing, her focus was on how it felt to wear them, and that made Peridot terrible at shopping for clothing. Luckily, last year, a few friends had gone shopping with her, picking out things that looked good. For special occasions, Peridot replicated those outfits and snapped a selfie to send to her friends for final approval. Today would be no difference.
After finally picking out an outfit, Peridot did a quick change to take a selfie. She sent the image to Amethyst and threw her phone on the bed. She sat down at her desk and pulled out her journal. I suppose I should determine the order of the unboxing first. Peridot thought to herself. She pulled out the list Jay had given her and ran through the contents of this week’s package. Just as she had begun grouping the items, her phone chirped, followed by her computer. Peridot rolled her eyes as she turned on her camera and pulled her headphones over her ears.
“What Amethyst? Aren’t you supposed to be working?”
“I am. But I’m on break right now.” It was clear Amethyst was using her cellphone, awkwardly shifting the camera in weird angles. “Was that the outfit you planned on wearing on your date?”
“Yes,” Peridot said, looking back down at her journal.
“No,” Amethyst replied before sighing deeply. “You can’t wear that.”
“Why not?” Peridot still hadn’t looked up from her journal. Always a champion multitasker, she wasn’t about to let Amethyst’s call keep her from her planned work.
“It isn’t … uh, appropriate?” Amethyst trailed off, trying to figure out how to explain to Peridot what was wrong with it.
“Hey!” Peridot finally looked directly into her computer’s camera. “YOU picked that one out when we went shopping. If there’s something wrong with it, it’s your fault!” With a final glare, Peridot went back to her journal.
“Don’t get all pissy! Just … okay look. Your outfit can say a lot about your intention to some people okay? The outfit you picked says ‘business meeting’. You need to find one that says something more like ‘fun, social, flirty’ if you want to wear it for a date.” Amethyst could see Peridot raise her eyes just slightly, pencil still in hand.
“Fine. Which one do you suggest?” Peridot wasn’t angry at Amethyst, she was annoyed that picking out clothing had to be so complicated. She had countless previous experiences where people had commented on the appropriateness of her clothing, so she knew attire selection was not her strong point. She trusted her friends were only looking out for her.
“You feel up for wearing a dress?” Amethyst asked. She knew that although Peridot owned several dresses, she didn’t always want to project herself in such a feminine way.
“Sure,” Peridot shrugged, “a dress is fine. But I’m wearing my sandals with it.”
“Fine,” Amethyst replied. After several back and forth discussions on perception and image, they agreed on a pale-yellow cocktail dress with small green flowers lining the bottom hem. Peridot had even agreed to model it for Amethyst.
“There. Are we in agreement now?” Amethyst scrunched her face in her signature ‘I’m thinking’ look.
“Turn around?” She asked Peridot. “Yeah, I think it’s a good choice. But what are you going to do with your hair?”
“Pull it back, like I always do?” Peridot called from her walk-in closet where she was stripping off the dress. “Why?” She said as she returned to the computer. “Is that a problem?”
“I suppose not,” Amethyst said thoughtfully. “But if you’re pulling it back, that leaves your neck and shoulders exposed. You should wear a necklace.”
“Ugh! There is nothing I would enjoy less. Well, almost nothing.”
“Okay, okay. No necklace. It’s fine. The dress looks good on you P-dot. I have to get back to work, but let me know how the date goes?”
“Will do,” Peridot replied, already back to blocking her unboxing video. “Ciao,” she said, offering Amethyst a lazily side salute before hanging up.
Soon after, Peridot had the unboxing scenes blocked and ordered. She had decided to do a comparison between the 5 non-vibrating, dildo type toys, a skin and a toy test with the 6 different types of lube, and finally a plain unboxing with no rating for the remaining toys which she believed were “novelty” toys. With her outline complete, she pulled up a text message box on her computer and sent a message to Ell and Jay.
Did you want the novelty toys rated? The ones in cartoonish shapes and colors? I assume you just tossed them in there to get an opinion on them. I can rate them if you’d like, but I don’t believe they are worth a whole video. Please advise. -Peridot
Peridot leaned backwards in her chair and glanced at the clock. She had enough time to film some of the lube video and decided to get to work. She set up her bedroom to appropriate studio conditions. Lighting and sound were tightly controlled as she set up her camera. The boxes were placed in the order she had determined during the blocking phase and she began the painful process of imaging each one. She took a close-up of the product packaging, front, back, and sides, before carefully removing the bottle from its packaging and placed it in front of its box. After that she acquired images of the product in front of its packaging then, she took some of the product alone. She did this for each of the 6 containers of lube before she uploaded her images to her computer.
Peridot changed into her signature UFO T-shirt, ran a brush through her hair, and sat in front of her webcam. “Hello Clods, Peridot here. Today, I’m going to review some new lube Ell and Jay are considering stocking and are also available on the internet, obviously.” She pulled out each bottle, squirting the contents onto both her arm and a high-quality toy then describing the texture, glide, and thickness. After she did all the tests, she gave each bottle a score. “In conclusion, I would say that this bottle is the best of the group, but of course is rather expensive. If you’re looking for something less expensive, this one is pretty good for the money. As always, stay tuned for my next video. Peridot out.”
Peridot stretched as she stood from her desk chair. It was time to get ready for her date. While she wouldn’t say she had lost her nerve, she had lost at least some of her interest in participating in dating rituals. It sounded much more appealing when it was an abstract thought and not something she had to attend to in the very near future. She hoped showering would renew her interest.
It wasn’t long before she was dressed and working on pulling back her hair. The stubborn blonde locks were fighting against the hairpins and Peridot was getting tired of fighting with them. She considered leaving it down, but it always dried into a weird, pointy mess. “Why won’t you just behave!” Peridot shouted into the mirror only to send a hairpin flying through the room. Eventually, she had had enough, pulling a brush through the blonde mess and called it a night. “Great. Now I’m going to be late.”