In his perfectly curated brunch attire. Jeans and a stark white shirt. Black sunglass saying look at me, I’m not looking at you. Converse sneakers saying I’m not even trying. The wind kicked up the few leaves strewn along the sidewalk and glittering rays of sun pierced Kate’s skin, drawing her out of the fog from last night’s smokey dance club.
As she and Mel came upon the group, Kate diverted her gaze, so as not to seem too interested. A guy like that gets off on the attention, and she wasn’t interested in feeding the image… but she couldn’t deny her intrigue. “Kate this is Jerrod, Aaron’s friend from New York.” Mel introduced Kate to the stranger behind the black Raybans. “A pleasure,” came his reply, followed by two curt nods and her smile. Could she ever help but to smile?
Brunch was uneventful and Kate made conversation as normal with everyone there, including the new comer, but not exclusively so. And so it was, that a few mimosa later, with lips greased by hollandaise sauce she kissed Mel and the others farewell, then made her way back home to her favorite Sunday afternoon spot - the sofa in the window lit corner of her living room.
Barely had she time to give Mr. Raybans another thought than did her phone light up. “Hey Kate.” Pause. Does he mean to be calling me?
“Hey there….” Kate’s reply was weak and befuddled. No way this type of guy was into her? Kate knew she was an attractive girl and got plenty of looks cast her way by apprising men, but she had always conducted herself with the air of being a simple, down home girl. At times this semblance may have been appealing to country boys with equally simple-set perspectives, but never had it served to bait the highbrowed breed of men about town.
And yet, she appeared to be wrong. He was into her.
In fact, it wasn’t but two weeks later that she found herself having been out on four dates with the guy, becoming ever more thickly entangled in his persona. Good lord he was….cultured. He’d seen the world, lived all over, done over half the things on her bucket list, and made more money in a month that she did in a year! Swoon.
It might have continued like this for awhile - the lavish dinners, the doors held open, the compliments delivered with an intentional stare (of which she could never determine was sincere or domineering…), the falling into his world… Oh yes, she might have continued to eat this up for quite some time— that is if it hadn’t been for, the game.
The game: Truth or Dare. Innocent enough, purely playful thought Kate. They ordered a second bottle of wine. Truth: “Hmmmm, Ok. Once my roommate in college had a personal vendetta against the girl that lived next door, claimed she was trying to hook up with her boyfriend or something like that. So when we went to a house party at her place, we swiped the toilet with her toothbrush in revenge. Awful, I know! We were so dumb. OK you go.”
“Ha,” He shrugged. “Ok…Truth: When I was 14, I spent New Years Eve in St. Barths. All these super hot Brazilian girls were there and we ended up stealing bottles of liquor from the hotel bar and getting wasted together behind the cabana house. Two of girls started getting frisky. They took off their clothes and started wrestling in the sand, then ripped off my clothes too and pulled me into the romp. Ha, it was kind of awesome. I guess you could say they both ended up winning.” “Fun,” Kate didn’t know what else to say.
“Ok I’ll go again. Truth: I once kissed a girl, or rather, let her kiss me! I was too embarrassed to stop it! I didn’t know what to do!” Kate giggled girlishly.
“Hmph.” He said with a half roll of his eyes. “Ok you want me to go again? Look maybe I shouldn’t say this, I don’t want to sound like an asshole, but girls in New York call me up begging me to fuck them.” he raised his eyebrows in emphasis. “Oh, yeah, no” responded Kate, “You don’t sound like an asshole, I get that.” What an asshole. “I mean I don’t ask for it,” he continued, “but who am I to say no? I would end up letting at least one or two a week come over.”
And folks, that exchange was all it took. Like the shock of a stiff drink, the glossy veil was yanked from Kate’s eyes and for the first time she opened them wide. Who was this egomaniac sitting across from her anyway? And who was this girl slurping up his words and reaffirming his every notion of superiority? Barf. She recoiled at the scene. Without wasting another second, she promptly picked herself up, wiped the smitten from her eyes and excused herself claiming nausea.
That was the last of it. She exited the restaurant never needing to see him again. As she raised her hand to hail a cab, her arm shot up with extreme lightness. Her entire being was relieved to have shrugged off the image she’d been bearing. And it was with this same lightness of being that she tucked herself into bed that night and floated into sweet slumber.