Just a little story I wrote this summer, just for fun. (Adult content. NSFKids)
Shara absentmindedly pocketed the ring, barely noting the warped copper and the word luck repeatedly stamped around it. Looked like a forgotten piece of junk. It was a big day at the hotel, the conference was that night and every room needed to be turned over. And that damned new girl wasn’t pulling her weight too much. There was a lot of shit to do.
She sighed, blowing a lock of her frizzy hair away from her slightly damp forehead. It was hot that morning already. Shara despised working on hot days the most, never feeling more overweight in her life than on those sticky humid days. She could feel her skin becoming rashy, like it always did. Those were the days she swore up and down that she would finally lose weight, goddammit. Her boss was always encouraging use of the hotel gym for the girls, telling them it was a great perk to a mind-numbing drudge of a job. God, it was only 30 pounds. How hard could it be?
She did go to the gym once, when she was sure to be alone. She got on the stair climber which resembled more of a medieval torture device than something that would eventually make her ass look good. She randomly punched a button and started the climb to nowhere. Five minutes in, Shara was breathing heavily, her heart pounding and sweat was dripping off her. The good sweat though. Not that nasty I’m-too-fat sweat that she was familiar with. She was feeling, well, kind of good. Her thighs were burning, screaming actually, but she gripped the handle a bit tighter and kept climbing. Deep down there was a little voice that often whispered to her and that voice was saying Oh Yeah. That was when two young-ish business men in wife beaters and tight shorts came in, laughing and talking of some fucking cow in Vancouver who didn’t get the papers signed in time and holy fuck, how lucky was it that the deal did go through after all? She was fired for sure, they assured each other.
Shara felt instantly deflated and hit the stop button and got off the machine. She kept her eyes directly focused on the floor as she went to the woman’s change room. So intent was her gaze that she wacked herself on the cheek with the door. Although she wasn’t sure, she thought she heard a muffled chortle behind her. Was it fat-ass that they whispered? She wasn’t sure.
Anyways, Shara felt that the gym was too much for her, too exposed for her. She wasn’t technically obese. More frumpy and plump, if you wanted to get picky about it. Chubby. Maybe she could do stuff at home, or maybe start running? But home was never an uplifting place to be anyway. It was a cramped and stuffy apartment that still bore the remnants of Derrick. Derrick was long gone, a class-A douchebag, a chronic wake n’ baker, a lazy bum who couldn’t hold down a job for more than a couple of weeks. She knew it was for the best, but man, it got mighty lonely sometimes. He always did know how to make her laugh and laughing was a good thing. Their friendship and subsequent love affair was doomed to fail anyhow but she often thought that it was fun while it lasted.
Miranda had plans for them that weekend and Shara was looking forward to heading out on the town. The tips that week were pretty good and she figured she could afford something new to wear out. Miranda was a riot. She was Shara’s best friend, a crass wise-ass who never knew when to shut up. Shara loved that the most about her. When they did go out and seriously tie one on, they called themselves the Fitch Patrol, the fat bitch patrol. Secretly Shara hated that name but Miranda couldn’t let it go. Grudgingly, Shara admitted to herself, sometimes guys liked it and bought them a round or two. Every once in a while, Miranda would shock Shara and go home with one of them. Shara could never find it within herself to slut around, as Miranda called it. A beer-riddled smirk on a guy’s face and a hand creeping up her thigh was enough for her. “Oh, for fuck’s sake, Shara. Fat girls are allowed to get laid too,” Miranda would always admonish, usually shaking her breasts right at Shara’s face while saying this.
Shara’s shift was almost over. The last two rooms were done and laundry sent down. Tess, her boss, gave Shara a hug goodbye that afternoon. It was vacation time for Tess and Shara was excited to take over the management position for two weeks while Tess was sunning it up down south. No drudgery of cleaning, just making sure that shit got done for two whole weeks. It was almost like a vacation for Shara too.
She found the ring that evening after getting out of the shower and putting her work clothes in the hamper. She wondered briefly if she should call the hotel to report the ring but then she shrugged, promising to do it on Monday. Honestly, it looked like a dollar store special and like most of the things Shara and her coworkers had found while cleaning hotel rooms (everything from the double-headed gold dildo that Jimmy had found and hung up on the cleaning supply closet wall that no one wanted to touch to take down, to the strange set of pictures of that couple going for it while wearing animal costumes which offered Shara a whole new insight to the word fetish), this was probably not going to be claimed as well. The ring fit her pinky perfectly and looked kind of bohemian. Matched her flowy shirt and crazy feather earrings she loved. Miranda called her Pokahotass when she wore them. Shara often thought Miranda a little on the racist side, but oh man, she could make anyone laugh. Miranda called herself an equal-opportunity bigot.
The bar was packed as always on Friday nights. The band wasn’t coming on until 11 so Miranda and Shara got themselves settled in their favourite section. Miranda was regaling more of her sexual exploits to Shara, ignoring the frown on Shara’s face.
“He likes the ass, so what am I going to say?”
“Uh, you could say no.”
Miranda laughed. “And give up a night with that guy? Did you see his tattoos? No fucking way. I mean, it hurt for a bit, but hell, if I’m saving anything for marriage, that ain’t it. Plus his dick wasn’t that big, so I wasn’t that scared.”
“You don’t have anything left that you saved for marriage, you whore,” Shara offered, and Miranda howled.
“You know it, bitch. Sluts to the end!” She raised her glass and Shara clinked it against her own.
The night was fun. Loads of friends were in the bar and the laughs and drinks just kept rolling. Shara passed the point of no return, realising in her fog that tomorrow morning was going to suck. Suck in a big time way, probably hovering over the toilet promising that age-old pledge to never, ever do that again.
At some point on the dance floor, she found herself with some guy, some hot guy, taller than her with amazing eyes and shoulders that were so broad and muscular and they were grinding and groping and Shara found herself unable to stop. Then they were reeling outside, kissing and laughing and Miranda yelling “have fun you two” and then they were stumbling up her steps and falling over the laundry basket, still kissing and groping and then collapsing on her bed. Clothes off, bodies hot, muffled whispers. Touching and kissing and oh my God, then she found herself doing things she never thought she’d do with a complete stranger.
They slept curled up together and when morning came, Shara snuck out of bed to run to the bathroom. Her head was clogged full of regret and self-hate and nauseous waves churned in her belly. She washed her face, wiping away the mascara and then brushed her teeth after chugging back a couple of ibuprofen and a huge glass of water.
She made a pot of coffee while he still slept, peeking in at him from time to time. He was pretty cute, she admitted. The lines around his eyes and slight grooves on his forehead comforted her. She figured he was a few years older than her own 31 years. And what an ass on that man she recalled. She blushed as she remembered gripping it last night. Lucky her.
He wandered out about an hour later, sleepily pulling his shirt over his head. She took a quick glance at him, instantly adoring his bit of a paunchy belly and muscular arms. He took the coffee she offered with a shy grin.
“You may not believe this, but I don’t usually do this sort of thing,” he said, sipping his coffee, breaking that awkward silence that was lurking around them.
“Neither do I,” Shara said. “I generally know the guy’s name at least.”
He laughed. “I’m sure we told each other our names last night.”
“Really, though, I don’t actually ever do this. My friend does, but not me.” She felt like she was blathering nervously.
“Russ,” he said and put out his hand to shake hers.
“Shara,” she replied while they shook hands. “Pleased to meet you.” The absurdity of it made them both laugh.
“I’ll get out of your hair,” Russ said.
“No, it’s okay. Have more coffee if you want.”
Shara and Russ sat over coffee for almost an hour, chatting as if they were already old friends. Every so often, she marvelled at her audacity. Oh, this was finally a story to tell Miranda! She was braced for the inevitable good bye, knowing the chance of seeing him again wasn’t too great. At one point, he did touch her arm in a kind of affectionate way. The touch burned and hummed for several minutes. Shara wondered if Russ was just a super kind guy, reluctant to admit that he shouldn’t have gone home with such a blob like herself. Alcohol makes strange bedfellows.
He glanced up at the clock and said he had to get going.
After grabbing his stuff from her room, he took out his phone and asked for her number.
He looked at her and blinked. “You don’t want me to call you?”
“Um, no. I mean, yes. But guys never do, you know?”
“What, call? Well. I’m not most guys. And Shara, I wasn’t that drunk last night that I didn’t have some kind of sense. You’re really cute and I like you. I’m feeling kind of lucky that my buddies and I picked that bar.”
Shara blushed and gave him her number. He leaned in and kissed her cheek.
“Thanks. For the coffee and for last night,” he said as he left.
Perhaps it was the giddiness that kept her hangover away, but Shara suddenly felt fantastic. She hopped into the shower and sang as she soaped and shaved and shampooed herself clean. She ran around the apartment, tidying up when she heard her phone beep.
Knowing it was Miranda’s text as she was finally crawling out of bed to ask how her night was, Shara picked up her phone.
“I meant what I said. You’re cute and I like you,” the text message read.
Shara sat down re-reading the text, her heart doing a funny little pitter-patter. “No way,” she whispered to herself.
It beeped again. “Lunch? Tomorrow?”
Shara could hardly believe it.
“Perfect, gives me time to get over my hangover haha!” she typed back and hit send.
“Me too. Noon, Sammy’s Bistro?”
“Can’t wait!” she wrote back. His response of a smiley face was almost instant.
Her phone rang in her hand. Miranda.
Shara spilled the beans to her best friend and when she told her about the lunch date the next day, Miranda couldn’t hold back. She hollered into the phone, almost breaking Shara’s eardrum. “I knew it! I knew it! He couldn’t keep his eyes off you! You lucky bitch!”
Lucky, indeed, Shara thought, as she looked down on her pinky finger where the ring was still on. Maybe she was crazy, but she thought she’d just keep the ring on for a few more days.
A week later, Shara was still wandering around in a sort of love-sick daze. Lunch had turned into an afternoon spent together. Two dinners that week and a promise of another. He confessed to her that he thought she was silly to think she was fat. Marilyn Monroe wasn’t fat, was she? he had asked her, while patting his own tummy and raising his eyes at her. Flowers appeared for her at work on that Friday. “I still think you’re cute” the card read and Shara couldn’t help but think she was going to literally swoon in the office.
The weekend flew by in a whirl of holding hands and sweet kisses and a night spent together, this time with no boozy fog surrounding them. Shara wondered if she was going crazy. Is this really happening to her? It was like a Nora Ephron movie for Christ’s sake.
Monday morning at work, Tess called the office from California as Shara was prepping the list for all the housekeepers.
“Hey girl. I have some news,” she said as Shara sat down. “I never told you this, but I applied for another job and just found out that I got it.”
“Congrats Tess!” Shara said. “What is it?”
“I’m going to be managing that new hotel across town, managing the whole shit and shinola! Finally that pain-in-the-ass hotel management program I studied is paying off!”
“Wow!” Shara swallowed the jealousy that surged up in her throat. “I’m so excited for you!”
“Here’s the part where you come in. They gave me the go ahead to hire my own assistant.”
Shara’s breath stopped. No way.
“And I want to hire you. No more cleaning for you, baby! What do you say? We can talk more when I get back. Jimmy already knew this was in the works so he’s kind of prepared for it.”
“You’re kidding right?” Shara felt torn, as if she was realizing that she was both the unsuspecting victim of a nasty prank and holding a winning lottery ticket. Could this be her turn, finally? After years of struggling, getting shafted, always missing out on some sort of lucky break?
“Nope. You deserve it, and I know how you roll. You always get shit done and I know I’m going to need that kind of person. And luck had it that I could pick and choose.”
Shara felt the tears sting her eyes and wiped them away. “Tess, you have no idea how grateful I am.”
“Aw, honey. You deserve it. I’ve always thought you needed a bit of luck come your way.”
Shara hung up the phone and sat back in her chair. Her head was truly whirling. She twisted the ring around her pinky finger, not wanting to admit anything to that voice whispering in the back of her mind.
Luck. Finally coming her way. Oh, she did need it. She had needed this for so long.
Tess’s voice echoed. “I’ve always thought you needed a bit of luck come your way.”
Shara couldn’t have agreed more.