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  • Kate Frey

Lunch Time Love Stories: In which a terrible mistake is made.

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

Twenty-Three didn’t feel a speck different than Twenty-Two. But there was something definitive about the birthday nonetheless. I was older. Firmly heading towards my mid-twenties, and unapologetically no longer a kid. But was I a kid in the ways that mattered?

He had said yes to the dinner. I had invited him to my own birthday dinner celebration, just him and I, so he could hardly have said no. Did that make his ‘yes’ worth less? Maybe. I wished it mattered to me.

I had had a plan. I was going to seduce him.

Make a list. Achievable Steps. Clear and concise actions. I had read enough chick-lit to know a sure-fire way to impress a man was visa vie his stomach. Extra points for showing skin. I had ordered Indian food, and along with it, conceived the idea to pass the food off as my own. I did say I was twenty-three at the time. I’m smarter now.

He arrived on time. Well, five minutes late, which is basically early if you think of it. Some cultures would think it rudely early, and who was I to go against culture? I had made use of the extra time, getting ready on my own.

Makeup had never been a strong suit. I will admit to trying though. My secret weapon? Pinnacle to my plan? Sally Hanson Spray On Nylons. That should date this story more than anything else, I’m quite sure the product was recalled shortly thereafter. The retrospect of hindsight.

I stood naked in front of the mirror. It wasn’t bad- the reflection I mean. I was thin, knobbly almost, but with dark eyes and elfin features I think the waif look worked for me more than against me. And the secret weapon would change everything? Propping a leg up onto the lip of an outstretched dresser drawer, I took aim. The aerosol smelled terrible. I faced momentary panic as I wondered if the cloud would dissipate before he arrived. But there was a silver lining: my leg looked fantastic.

Perhaps you will doubt my ability to judge what is in-fact, fantastic. But let me assure you dear reader, it was better than fantastic. My leg had transformed from an uncooked chicken wing to an even sun-kissed calf. Somehow the reflects in the spray made my muscles seem a little more supple. I immediately sprayed the second leg, then my overachieving brain pushed me to a terrible idea. I sprayed my thighs. They looked similarly fantastic, which egged me on. After only a moment’s hesitation, I aimed the spray at my chest and was rewarded with a pair of supply painted nipples peaking back at me. In for the penny, in for the pound. I sprayed everywhere. Yes. Even there.

Winged eyeliner and a nude lipstick gave me the full effect I was going for. Doe-eyed and sun kissed, I was far from irresistible but what I lacked in raw sex appeal I hoped to make up for with enthusiasm. Enthusiasm and my tan in a can.

And so, five minutes after he was due to arrive, I heard the knock.

“Dev,” I smiled at him, aiming the full wattage of my excitement in his direction.

Dev was short for devastatingly attractive. I had nicknamed him moments after meeting him, and it had sorta stuck. He called me “Lillypad”, which lacked a bit of my passion, but hey, it was better than “Buddy”, so I didn’t complain.

“Smells great in here Lillypad,” he sauntered in, sliding his book-bag against the wall of my entrance.

The dinner was good. I guess you do get what you pay for, which should have been perhaps, my first clue that Sally Hansen was not to be trusted. I was distracted. He was quite literally the best looking boy, man, I had ever seen in real life. Tonight I was going to make it happen.

OK kids. Now it’s time for the NSFW part of the evening.

The dishes ended up in the sink. He may, or may not, have seen the boxes of takeout in the garbage when he cleared the plates away. It was probably a mistake to have tried to pass off the Indian food as my own. I know that now.

He stood and took a step toward him. My breath caught in my chest, heart hammering so quickly I was sure it was a telltale snitch. But I was being cool.

“Thanks for dinner,” he shifted his weight as he stood. A year older than me, his dark hair fell into his eyes as he spoke.

“It was my pleasure.” I emphasised the word pleasure. That was another part of the plan. Use suggestive words and say them often. I had read it on a blog somewhere.

Thankfully, he didn’t move. I had been terrified he would get up and leave, but instead he asked, “Is there any more beer?”

After the last long necked bottles were drained, I just got up and walked to my bedroom. False bravado is better than no bravado at all.

He followed me, and we proceeded to have what to this day remains the worst sex of my life.

I had only been with one other guy previously. And it wasn’t earth shattering, but losing your virginity hardly ever was, or so I had heard. The first thought that ran through my head as I lay next to him, the few awkward thrusts behind us, was a hope that in fact my first time hadn’t been the peak. That it wasn’t all downhill from there.

He got up and searched for his shirt. We didn’t say anything. He just let himself out. What could possibly be said? I wasted my entire food budget for the month on tonight, for this?

I fell asleep without further fanfare, waking up the morning after having slept through my alarm. Damn. Uni was in five minutes. I pulled sweat pants on, having decided making the effort was clearly not worth it, and promptly prepared a breakfast of peanut butter toast.

Don’t ask me how, but I got peanut butter on my arm. I licked it off, then sputtered. It was like tasting peanut butter feet. I tasted like skunk. Like old nail varnish remover.

Flashes of the night came back to me. His lone kiss to my inner thigh, which I had been sure would result in a more exploratory effort, followed by a strangled cough. He must have thought I was the most peculiar woman in the world. And not in a good way.

My vermillion blush heated through the tan, the latter of which lasted four days. Dear reader, it was everywhere.

And so, the point of this lunch box love story? To remind you: you are beautiful just as you are. And don’t put liquid nylons on your Kiki. Just in case you were thinking of it. Or incase you’re only twenty-two and don’t know any better.

Photo Credit by ELSIE ZHONG

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