Authors: Nikki Mathis Thompson
To all my beautiful single friends living life on their own terms.
"If you aren't happy single, you wont be happy taken. Happiness comes from within, not from men."
"I've been single for a while and I have to say it's going very well. Like...it's working out. I think I'm the one."
"What should I have for dinner tonight? A spicy tuna roll sounds really good. No. I had sushi two days ago...maybe I should go to the grocery store and actually cook. Yes. That's what I'll do. All of this eating out is taking a chunk out of my bank account, and putting the chunk back into my ass. I have to go pick up my dry cleaning..."
"How's that, baby?" a husky voice asked, interrupting her to-do list.
"Ooh yeah, that's the spot." Thankfully he was between her legs, so he couldn't see her eyes rolling.
This guys wouldn't know the spot if it had a neon sign with an arrow. How a man reaches his thirties without knowing his way around a clitoris was a mystery. Her gynecologist had gotten closer to her G spot than this guy. And maybe giving him false encouragement was perpetuating the cycle, and the pay it forward thing to do was to give him a few pointers...buuut, not her problem.
her problem was getting out of his place without having sex with him. She'd felt the goods and was skeptical about his coital prowess as well. The size of a man's biceps does not directly correlate to the size of his package.
That's the last time she let a guy pick her up at the gym.
They'd flirted for weeks. She'd bend over to grab the weights on the lower rack. He'd wink and try to take her water bottle. When he finally asked her out she was pumped, because he was really hot. Not to mention the fact she was a little flattered by his interest, what with the plethora of Barbie-esque girls prancing around the gym.
Their first date was a hike around the lake, ending with a kiss on the cheek. The second was dinner at a quaint Thai joint by her house. Longer kiss, pleasant and stimulating—which was why she agreed to a third, which entailed brunch and few margaritas on the patio of his favorite Mexican restaurant. Damn tequila. Always made her horny. That's how she found herself on his couch being underwhelmed by his oral skills.
Really? It's not that hard. Put your tongue on the little bundle of nerves...oh no...what the hell is he doing with his finger? In and out, not side to side...idiot."
It was obvious to her that the only muscle he
exercise was his tongue.
At least she sounded convincing. Years of disappointing encounters had honed her faking skills like the sword skills of a samurai. It was all very choreographed. She imagined herself wielding a blade. Slash..."moan." Slash..."ooh." Jab..."yes, that's it."
Raising her sword above her head, she went in for the kill...the not so subtle, but highly effective, shudder.
He lifted his head, his mouth glistening from her meager wetness.
"Wow...that was really something." She gave him what she hoped was a dreamy "just had an orgasm" face, gripping her fists to keep from giving him a thumbs up. But the sarcastic gesture would've derailed all of her hard work.
So deluded—his face cocky with the triumph only pleasuring a woman can bring. Even if it was completely fictitious.
He was attractive, and
nice enough. The conversation had centered around bench pressing and juicing, but hey, she was hoping there were layers under the bicep without an I.Q. act. Nope. No layers. So, why did she go back to his apartment? Why did she mess around with him? And why, for the love of all things sacred, did she let him see her nether regions?
She lifted herself into a seated position and reached for her pants. "Thanks for lunch, and er...this. But I really have to get going."
He tried to hide his disappointment, but failed. She felt a little bad about it, but not bad enough to endure the best thirty seconds he had to offer. Not only had she perfected the art of faking, but also the art of getting her clothes on faster than the speed of sound.
"Well, thanks again, Jase. I'll see you later." She kissed him on the cheek, carefully avoiding his mouth. He didn't get the memo, so the side face smoosh that followed was awkward. She backed away and fumbled for the door knob.
"You're working out Monday, right?" he asked, his brow crinkled in confusion.
"Yeah. Sure. I'll be there...bye."
"You're welcome. Bye, Tess."
She grinned and closed the door with a small wave. Looking up at the now fading sunlight, she sighed, pulling her sunglasses from her purse. They say once you do something enough you get better, you become an expert. Well, that was all malarky, because after over a decade on the dating scene she was as clueless as ever. She could find the pick of the litter like nobody's business...unfortunately it usually ended up being the litter box.
Tess walked toward her car, pulling at her gray tank top. She cursed as she pressed her key fob.
"Great, now I need to find a new gym."
The air in her office was stale. Due to an annoying attempt to save on utilities, the air conditioner was always turned low over the weekends. She'd even left her beveled glass door open to allow the air to circulate, but it hadn't helped. Ignoring the fact that her sandy hair was starting to curl around her forehead, she pulled out a small notebook from her messenger bag and threw it on her desk. She sat at her desk enjoying the familiar noises, the ringing phones, laughter, and clicking of keyboards out in the pit. This was her happy place, the place where her life made sense. Some might think the fact that work was her happy place made her peculiar, or pathetic. Maybe it did, maybe it didn't. She wasn't asking.
There was a rap on her door frame. "Morning, Tess. Just brewed a fresh pot." Willa Gibbons was the office admin and overall ruler of the fifth floor which housed their small magazine. She was a good person to have in your corner and lucky for Tess, Willa was one of her closest friends. That scored her the good creamer, and the chocolate chip muffins which were prized above gold to the vultures she worked with. They'd met ten years ago when they'd both started working at
, a community lifestyle magazine distributed to affluent neighborhoods in the area. Their bond was swift, fueled by their mutual love of
and their mutual disdain for their coworker Fred Santiago and his penchant for burping while masticating his gum like a cow.
Yes, it was a match made in friendship heaven.
"Oh, good. I could really use about one or twelve cups today."
"If you consider an awkward sexual encounter, followed by an even more awkward departure, then yes, rough is as good a word as any."
Willa grimaced, causing the splatter of brown freckles on her nose to congeal into one large spot. "Mr. Universe not as advertised?"
Tess let out a long breath. "I need coffee to tell this story."
She logged onto her computer and led the way to the break room, her strides long and determined. Willa's shorter stems had to double time it to keep up—the sounds of her heels magnified by the shiny wood floors.
Tess pulled her mug,
This is my first Cup so Zip it
, written across it, from the cabinet. Willa was a flurry of motion, grabbing the cinnamon creamer from the stainless steel sub zero, then placing an oversized muffin on a plate. Tess raised an eyebrow at her friend; Willa's solicitous gestures no doubt her attempt to grease the wheels of information.
"Thank you." Tess slid into the chair in front of the muffin that didn't stand a chance. Willa plopped her chin into her hands, her deep blue eyes sparkling with anticipation. Tess slid the plate closer, then pulled at the paper surrounding the calorie fest she was about to call breakfast. It was a slow methodical undressing, causing an impatient tapping of Willa's designer sling backs.
"Oh my god. Peel the damn paper!"
Tess laughed, then took a sip of coffee and plopped a small bite into her mouth. "Okay, okay. Keep your skirt on. There's not much to tell. And by not much..." Tess put two fingers close together.
Willa groaned. "Why do the buff ones always have small ones? That's why I love Ben. His arms muscles might be minuscule, but he has inches where he's supposed to..." She smiled. "...In his pants."
"Yah, I got it, and yuck, un-needed visual."
Willa and Ben had been together since college. Married for five years. The model of perfect coupledom. The measure to which all of Tess's relationships had been found wanting. The type that you had to say both names when the two of them came up in conversation, like PB&J. They were still nauseatingly in love and not afraid to show it. So maybe more PDA, then PB&J.
"So, it didn't go well?" Willa prompted, giving Tess the get going motion with her hand.
"He was nice enough and super hot, too hot for me...which should have been my first clue...anyway, I thought his looks might detract from his mind numbing vapidity, but it was not the case, at all. So, I figured one more meal and an orgasm and we could call it a day." She filled Willa in on the details of Mr. cunna-lingering in the wrong place.
"That sucks, Tess. You'd think a man his age would have a clue."
"I know! Exactly what I thought. I mean how hard is it to get a girl off that way? Going down should be the go-to in a guy's sexual arsenal. He couldn't even work the fingers. It was kinda sad. I feel like I should have given him a tutorial or something."
The disgusted look on Willa's face confirmed that her decision to escape rather than educate had been spot on.
"That's the last time I go out with a guy from the gym," Tess mumbled, throwing her half-eaten muffin into the waste basket. The retelling of her ordeal ruined her appetite.
"Isn't he like the fourth guy you've went out with from the gym?"
"Uh, no...the fifth...that's beside the point." Tess put one hand on her hip and the other held her now empty mug.
"And the point being?"
"I'm running out of places to work out."
Willa laughed and gave her a side hug, which Tess returned.
"Oh, shit. I'm late for my morning meeting with Chewy." Mitch Jacobs was the editor in chief of their monthly gem. He was lovingly named Chewy for his fluffy Wookie-like mane of hair. Tess had to pitch her ideas for the next few months. Sure
The New Yorker
, but Tess was content to be employed doing what she loved, and she was damn good at it. In fact, her article on the grand opening of the Faux Paws boutique had been the highlight of last months issue. Pets munching organic dog treats in bedazzled fabrics may have seemed like a frivolous fluff piece to some, ahem...cynical assholes...but those with a sense of humor and a love of animals found it delightful. Only the most seasoned journalist can bring dimension to designer doggie capes and tiara wearing pussies.
"Lunch?" Tess asked from outside the office kitchen.
"Sure! Ben wants to go to Eduardo's," Willa said.
"Count me in."
It didn't phase her that they'd be eating with Ben. At this point in Tess's life, she had third wheel monogrammed on her underwear.
Her feet throbbed. In fact, they'd been hurting since everyone had left the church, making the prospect of enduring the next four hours wretched. She kicked herself, again, for not wearing the sensible ballet-style slippers instead of the four inch torture devices she plucked from her closet at the last minute. But Tess had felt like the flats made her look frumpy, the heels, statuesque—as statuesque as one could be at five foot five. When you're wearing a royal blue YSL number, a birthday gift from your mom—frumpy was not an option. This line of logic didn't mean squat now that her toes were being choked out by the narrow toe of said shoes, and her arches were burning like the fires of hell.