Home > Kiss Kiss Fang Fang

Kiss Kiss Fang Fang
Author: Penelope Bloom

1

 

 

Cara

 

 

In the movie version of my life, the director would probably start with a brief tease. It’d be one dramatic snapshot to show you just how abnormal my mostly normal existence was about to get.

They’d probably open with a black screen that slowly brightened until a fuzzy image became clear.

There I’d be, looking like I just got thrown from an exploding building to land on the wet pavement. Face up, of course—for cinematic reasons.

The camera would rotate and rise upwards so you had plenty of time to study my face and the “what the hell am I doing here” look written all over it.

The average viewer might not notice the smoking gun in the scene right away. But that was okay. It would add to the drama.

If they were a person of taste, they might go straight to the awesome Chuck Taylor’s I snagged on clearance.

If they were a nitpicker, they might get stuck on my black-haired pixie cut that was in desperate need of a trim.

And if they were an asshole, they’d probably laugh to see a gym membership card on my keychain—the same keychain that was dramatically strewn a few feet from my outstretched hand.

And yes, I’d been on a little fitness hiatus since New Year’s. Okay? And no, I wasn’t talking about this past New Year’s or even the one before it.

But even the assholes in the audience would feel bad when they noticed the most important detail in the scene.

Cue the slowly growing pool of blood spreading from behind me.

A good director would change the camera angle at this point. Maybe something low that gave a shot of my impressive A-cup cleavage and let you see him.

There he’d be, approaching me from the shadows with concern all over his offensively hot face.

Somewhere between admiring his impeccable jawline and to-die-for eyebrows they’d see the teeth. That is when the real question would start to form.

They’d ask themselves, “Are his canines extra-long, or is it just my imagination?”

If I wasn’t passed out, I would’ve happily cracked my eyes open to say that, “Nope. You’ve pretty much got it on the nose. Good job, detective.”

As with any proper tease, the scene would cut away abruptly and bring you straight to the soul-crushingly ordinary existence of my Monday morning.

Temporarily ordinary, at least.

 

I looked for something to spread on my bagel before I rushed out the door. Birds were chirping outside, the air was pleasantly cool, and some asshole had left the cream cheese out on the counter until it fossilized. I gave the tub a dejected jab with a fork, then stuffed the bagel between my teeth and shouldered my bag.

I had class to get to, then my internship, then my late-night gig. Just another day of chasing the dream.

“Hey.” Zack appeared in the cramped, deteriorating kitchen. He played on the basketball team for our college, along with all the other guys I lived with. And no, there was absolutely no shenanigans going on, if you were wondering. The situation was a combination of coincidence, guys who weren’t pervs, and me not having enough disposable income to be picky.

Besides, I was thirty years old, and if dating was a menu at a fancy restaurant, college guys were the section in another language. It probably would’ve been more accurate to say the entire menu on dating had gone up in flames when I decided to sacrifice my personal life to keep up with my academic goals.

Zack was wearing a tank-top and his wild, curly brown hair was even messier than usual. “Have you seen the cream cheese?”

I had a bagel in my mouth, arms full of books, and a bag on my shoulder that weighed as much as a tank. All I could manage for him was to make an indistinct noise and point my eyes toward the cream cheese container I’d knocked into the sink.

“Ah, right on.” Zack pulled out a piece of bread from a bag that I had reason to believe was doubling as a mold and fungus culture. He ran tap water into the hardened cream cheese, then jammed a knife around in the container a few times until it softened and started spreading it on his bread.

I knew I’d been living with a pack of mannerless, barbaric college guys too long when I didn’t even vomit all over myself at the sight of his antics.

I was using my butt cheek and a tip-toe technique to push the door handle down when Zack lifted his knife and pointed it toward me. “Hey, wait a sec.”

I bulged my eyes. This was worse than the hygienist trying to ask me about my day while she had four power tools jammed down to my tonsils.

“You going to be coming home super late again?”

I nodded my head.

Zack made a face to show his disapproval. “You coming from that place you do the tours? Just text one of us. We’ll come walk you back.”

I spit out my bagel and tried to call on some of my experience as a high school soccer player to knee it up and into my half-open bag. All I managed to do was knock it away, where it landed on edge and rolled under the couch. “I don’t need a personal escort,” I said. “But thanks.”

“No,” Niles said. He was coming down the stairs as he spoke. Niles was the kind of tall that meant he had to duck his head to get through doorways. He was also so rail-thin that he could’ve probably walked through a fence by turning sideways, too. He had big, expressive eyes and a shaved head. “You shouldn’t be walking home that late by yourself. You at least need something. Do you still have that pepper spray Mooney gave you?”

I felt like my shoulder and arms were going to disintegrate if I had to stand there holding my stuff any longer than necessary. “I know you guys mean well, but seriously. I don’t need a squad of over-protective, freakishly tall little brothers. I’ll be fine. I promise.”

Zack and Niles shared a disapproving look on my behalf.

I let myself out before they had time to argue more. As much as I appreciated their concern, it all only felt like a reminder of where I was. Thirty, still living in college-style housing, still trying to make a name for myself in my field, and still a student.

There was also the ever-present, ever-depressing thought that I was spending the twilight of my most datable years with my eyes glued to microscopes and my nose buried in books. I worried I’d wind up achieving all my goals only to find there was nobody who was still waiting around to share my life with.

But I did what I always did and shoved those concerns down to my core where they could fester away in the background.

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