Annalise skipped out of her editor’s office, beaming about her new
column at the Mount Hampton Herald, her North Carolinian private
college’s newspaper. Over the summer months, she interned at her
hometown newspaper in Ohio, shuffling papers and getting coffee. During
those humid, monotonous days, she dreamed up an idea and put it
together in a proposal:
“Annalise Jonsson as ‘Dear Suzanne,’ an advice column for college
students. Suzanne can help you sort out your problems with academics,
work, friends and, of course, romance.”
In her proposal, she created a series of faux letters containing modern
problems, and gave answers that included a dose of thoughtfulness, a
pinch of responsibility and a sprinkle of southern humor. She
fine-tuned the proposal throughout the summer and on her first day back
at school, submitted the idea to her editor, Professor Decker, for
“If you want this to work, Annalise, you’ll have to keep Suzanne a
complete secret. Tell no one. No one on the staff, not your family, not
even your closest friends,” she warned her eager student.
“I am great at keeping secrets, no problem, Professor!”
“And, you’ll have to keep doing some regular reporting around here too,
so no one grows suspicious of why you hang around the newspaper offices
with no assignments,” she also reminded Annalise.
“I can do it, Professor Decker, I know can fit it all in,” she
“Alright, you’ve done your homework on this, I can see, so I’m giving
you a shot, let’s see how it goes.”
Professor Decker and Annalise laid the groundwork, publishing a teaser
in the first issue of the year:
“Problems with school, parents, friends? Love-life got you down? Get
some advice from Mount Hampton’s smartest Southern Belle, Suzanne.” She
had her brother the artist draw her a sketch of a sexy, busty Scarlett
O’Hara type to accompany the column. He was a safe bet though, for not
spilling the beans, since he was attending art school in San Francisco,
unaware of the scope of her secret identity.
Within a couple of days, the first letter than came in:
I really want to switch majors. My
father wants me to stay in Business Administration, but I want to move
into English Literature. He’s adamant about it and implied that if I
change my major, he’ll stop paying the tuition bill. I can’t afford to
go it on my own, so am I stuck with a major and a career, and a life
that I’ll hate? Help!
As I see it, you’ve got options,
all adults have options. You can A… make your parentals happy and your
life a torturous hell on earth, if you want to cower like a nervous dog
your whole life… Or B… You can take a stand and take out college loans
until your eyeballs turn green… or C… you can do what a successful
financier would do and combine hard work with a swindle: go get a
double major or a major-minor combination. Daddy will get your ‘report
cards,’ see that you’re still taking business classes, and not find out
you switched programs until graduation day. Then he’ll be too dang
proud to quibble over major-minor semantics.
“This is good,” Professor Decker told Annalise, “it’s helpful, fun
advice, but pay close attention to ethics, your options steered him to
something less than ethical. But it’s good, keep it up!”
The next week classes started and Suzanne had a few more letters flow
into her specially set up email account. The usual stuff, “my boyfriend
dumped me at the end of this summer, how do I go on?” and “I want to
break up with my boyfriend, how do I do it?” She carefully, yet
playfully answered the letters with kindness where warranted and
sarcasm where it entertained.
I’m a 21 year old female
senior who’s recently fallen for an 18-year old freshman. At first the
age difference didn’t bother me, but then I started getting hassled by
my friends because he’s so young. He’s mature for his age, and kind,
and I’ll admit, adorably hot, and it’s not like its illegal (barely!),
but I am frustrated that he cannot go out to the bars with me, and that
he only talks about high school experiences because he has no college
experiences yet. Should I wise up and find a man my own age, or let my
buzzing feelings for him continue to dictate the situation?”
First of all, worrying about what
your friends think is a recipe for a life full of messed up
relationships. You’ll pursue people that will make others’ happy and
not yourself. Get rid of those dandelions and move on to a higher level
of thinking about yourself and your relationship.
Second, the tone of your letter
indicates that you think you’re being illogical, and you’re not happy
with that. Now, since when were relationships about what’s logical?
Still, you should pay the closest attention to the mesh factor, beyond
the superficial fluff. Do you get along? Share a similar sense of
humor? Can you have an stimulating conversation with this person? Do
you respect their mind? Let these questions be your guide, not your
friends or your drinking habits.
Soon, students were buzzing about the letters, wondering who the
writers were, but even more, wondering about the identity of Miss
Suzanne. Annalise kept mum on the topic, other than to join in the
speculation when appropriate. “Maybe it’s a guy!” she even offered as
an idea to her roommate.
Within a couple of weeks, she was receiving praise via email for her
advice; people seemed to be reading it, and based on feedback, finding
success with it. She actually started to think that if she could handle
the world’s problems, she wouldn’t have any of her own.
October rolled around, and Annalise was in a whirlwind schedule,
keeping up with classes, working her regular reporting job at the paper
and clandestinely moonlighting as Miss Suzanne. She almost didn’t
notice until midterm week that a guy in her 11am Philosophy of Human
Nature class was utterly mesmerizing to look at.
Anthropology was on her schedule at 10am, right before the philosophy
class. Her anthropology professor loved to hear himself talk, and
consequently, his lectures always ran painfully long. After a brisk
walk across campus to get to her philosophy class, she would still
always be last into the room, sitting wherever she could find an open
desk, usually near the front. This routine never allowed her to notice
who else was in the room.
She dashed in as usual, this time ending up next to a guy who
physically embodied what she loved in a man: big and cute. As a matter
of fact, she mused after glancing sideways, very big and very cute. The
image of his soft sides sent a shiver down her spine, and she could not
resist stealing another look. This time, he glanced back, looking
almost annoyed. Before she could smile at him, he quickly looked away.
“Well, he may be big and cute, but he’s not very friendly,” she thought
and sulked silently.
Still, in those few moments, she was able to observe that his eyes were
big, in a nice, light shade of milk chocolate. His face was rugged, but
still boyishly charming, and his hair was short yet thick with a hint
of curl, in a deep espresso shade. He didn’t cover himself up with a
baseball hat or five o’clock shadow like so many college guys do, and
she appreciated that. But he covered his body too much, she thought.
The extra, extra large sweatshirt he wore hinted at the shape of a
stunning belly, but the rolling details were still left to her
As they were leaving class, she followed out behind him, watching his
large body move in front of her. “He is beefy,” she laughed inside
herself again, wishing she could run up beside him and grab a handful
of his bulk, to show them both just exactly how big he was. She had a
hard time getting a view of his full body, but there was no denying he
possessed a wide back and ample love handles, in the size and shape of
love handles that she always appreciated. She would have to get to that
class sooner, she resolved. She felt the need to make sure she would
sit next to him again.
That evening, Annalise drank too many lattes again, and wound up lying
in bed awake. Yet instead of obsessing about a class or a news story,
she could only think of the big, cute boy in her Philosophy class. Her
mind drifted, wondering, “Why am I interested in fat guys? Why do I
find fat so sexy?” Which usually led to her to contemplate how would
her friends react to her dating a boy so round? And would her parents
say anything about her choice of partners? Not that their opinions
would dictate her decisions, she just wondered what she would face.
And then she drifted into her own relationship history, which was
devoid of fat, and didn’t have much of any action, for that matter.
Boys had always been after Annalise. She was a pretty girl, even back
in grade school. In the schoolyard, they clamored to push her swing and
pick her for their teams. Her flaxen ponytails, button nose and petite
frame developed into a grown-up beauty before she was ready to handle
the testosterone-spiked attention that came along with it.
She continually rejected all adolescent affections in favor of
immersing herself in schoolwork, the track and tennis teams, and most
especially, caring for and riding Buckingham, her 5 year-old horse. She
missed Buck during the long weeks at school, but returned home as much
as she could to reassure him that he was the only man in her life.
Up until now, her only real relationship had happened when she was
still in high school, although he was much older and far more
experienced. Craig was a 24 year-old professional soccer player for the
Columbus Crew. She met him the summer before her senior year at a 10K
charity event in Columbus. They made small talk before the race began,
and by the end of the race, he had asked her out on a date.
He was a little too lean for her tastes, and she sometimes even
fantasized about him gaining a lot of weight. Still, he was extremely
good looking, and she felt great excitement to have the attention of an
attractive, magnetic guy in a semi-celebrity profession. She kept their
affair a strict secret, so much so that her parents never found out.
When he was transferred to the Los Angeles Galaxy, their relationship
soon ended and no one was the wiser, least of all Annalise.
It was a couple of months after the break up before she stopped feeling
sorry for herself. She quickly realized she had gotten into too much
too soon, both in terms of physical intimacy and her emotional
attachment to Craig. She decided that she would not get hurt again, and
put up an even colder front to guys her own age. She would justify to
her friends that she wasn’t interested in immature high school boys and
when she got to college, she told them she didn’t have time for
self-centered college boys. Yet all along, she’d find herself madly,
yet secretly attracted to fatter boys, whenever they crossed her path.
At least she knew she wasn’t alone. From a young age she had been
researching her interests on the internet, and by junior high, she had
figured out that she was an FA. But being private about her feelings,
she kept it her own secret, save some stealth emails exchanged with
other FFAs she met online. In fact, she figured, that’s probably why
she thought she’d be a good ‘Miss Suzanne.’ She was always keeping
She began to wear running gear to her Anthropology class so she could
sprint even faster to get to Philosophy on time. The next week, she
arrived early enough to seek out the big and cute guy she had a new
crush on. This time, she jumped in the open chair next to him, looked
over at him, and whispered, “Hi” with a big smile.
He smiled back. “How could he refuse my smile,” she thought to herself
smugly, almost having fun with it, “I’ve been told I have a beautiful
smile,” she reminded herself, with brazen immodesty bubbling under her
A couple of days later, her Philosophy professor was running a few of
minutes late, so she was able to make small talk with him. “By the way,
I’m Annalise,” she extended her hand.
“Luke,” he reached back, his plump hand gave hers a firm shake.
“Nice to meet you, Luke,” she flirted, imaging that plump hand
caressing her thighs. More electricity ran through her body.
At the end of class, she asked Luke a question about the ideas they
were covering. His answer revealed that he knew the material at least
as well as she did. Then again, he didn’t have to know how well she
knew it, but it made her attempts at conversation easier. “Do you have
a class or something right now? I’d like to talk more about Plato’s
‘Allegory of the Cave,’ if you have time…” she almost batted her
“Uh, yeah,” he seemed a little confused, but then smiled pleasantly,
“Sure, you want to stop by the Union?”
They spent a couple of hours talking in the Union coffee shop, mostly
about Plato. But she was able to glean some personal information from
him too. Like Annalise, he was a sophomore, and they were the same age.
Surprisingly, she took comfort in the idea of a guy who wasn’t much
older like her last boyfriend had been. He was from Oregon, and his
major was political science. He decided on Mount Hampton because his
parents were originally from South Carolina and had always encouraged
him to follow in their footsteps and attend a genteel southern
She was surprised she could remember anything he said, since she spent
the whole time studying his physical form. His round face revealed an
adorable amount of plumpness that didn’t detract from his round, light
brown eyes or his sexy, full lips. She also snuck in a few glances of
his body and felt enormous excitement at the sight of his belly filling
the button down shirt he wore that day, pouring down a bit in front of
his beltline. She also took happy notice of a fold of flab that creased
along the side seam of that shirt.
When Analise mentioned to Luke that she was a journalism major, he
quickly brought up the Dear Suzzanne column, which wasn’t surprising to
Annalise. Most people had the same question when they found out she was
a reporter for the Herald.
“So, do you know who Miss Suzanne is?” he queried.
She lied to Luke, like she lied to everyone else about it, with a shrug
of her shoulders, “None of us have a clue.”
That afternoon, as she walked to the Herald offices, she thought about
Luke. She imagined him wrapping his arms around her small waist and
pressing his large front into hers, kissing her with the gusto she
expected he might have for a delicious snack. And at the same time she
wondered why she was so weird about fat? Why was she so fixated on his
Then, Annalise received this email in her Miss Suzanne account the next
Annalise was anxious about this
letter in particular. She imagined that it was from Luke, and that he
wanted to ask her out. But it could have been anyone. There were a fair
number of chubby guys she noticed walking around the campus every day,
and plenty of pretty southern beauty queen types to turn their heads.
She took her best stab at encouraging him without banal, trite, ‘just
go for it’-style advice.
There’s a girl in one of my classes
who I have a major crush on. I’ll admit, at first I noticed her because
she waltzed into the room, late everyday, looking amazing. And I was
even slightly annoyed with her, because I figured she was one of those
beautiful people that gets away with everything. But then I talked to
her, and realized she’s also very intelligent and incredibly sweet. So
now I’m practically in love with her. And so I should just ask her out,
right? Yeah, right, except for one big, fat problem. I’m a big guy:
stout, heavy, tubby, whatever you want to call it. Guys like me never
get girls like her. So should I just be her friend, or risk humiliation
and discomfort in all future interactions with this girl?”
The Overweight Lover
If I had a dollar for every person
who felt they were not good enough for the object of their affection,
why, I’d be a very wealthy gal (or at least much wealthier than I
already am). So you THINK that your weight is a problem for this teen
queen, but how do you KNOW that? For all you know, this girl could be a
big fan of a big man. If you don’t believe me, check out ffaforbhm.com.
If that doesn’t make you rethink your premise, I don’t know what will.
As a matter of fact, Miss Suzanne has been known to appreciate a sturdy
So onto the advice… Perhaps you
should get to know this young lady a bit more, make sure she’s worth
agonizing over and not just another pretty face who thinks the sun
comes up just to hear her crow. Even better, she’ll get to know you a
little more too. Don’t rush too fast with ladies, we like to be courted
in the proper way.
The next day, the letter was published and she raced to her classes.
Luke was sitting there, with a copy of the latest edition, unopened.
She sat down, with a smile, “Hi Luke.”
He smiled back, “Hi.”
“Did you read the latest edition yet?” She asked him, pointing to the
“No, I just grabbed it on my way to class.”
She started to think he couldn’t have been the letter writer, he would
have jumped into it right away to see if had gotten answered. “I have
an item in there,” she bragged, “the story about the activity fee
increases,” she trailed off, realizing he might be very bored with her
“Cool,” he smiled, “where is it?” He opened the paper and before he
could get to page 5, his eyes landed on her Dear Suzzanne column. He
paused and seemed to start to read it, and then looked back at
Annalise, “What page?”
“Page 5, but it’s not very exciting, you don’t have to read it,” she
felt weirdly insecure.
Just then, the professor walked in and he closed the paper.
She wondered through the entire class, “Did that pause at Dear Suzzanne
mean he recognized his own letter? Or am I imagining more than just a
As the next couple of weeks went by, Luke and Annalise continued with
pleasantries and small talk, but nothing earth shattering happened. One
part of her longed to be with him, and yet another part of her felt so
uncertain about getting into any kind of relationship. These
contradictory feelings kept her from flirting with him too much more
than she already had.
She imagined her own letter to Suzanne:
I’m a college girl, nice-looking,
friendly, active, busy, single… all of the things nice girls are. I
have a male acquaintance who I find very attractive and sweet.
Actually, I think about him quite a bit. On one hand, I’d like to ask
him out, you know, make it more than “just friends.” On the other hand,
I’m worried I don’t have the ability to be a good girlfriend. I’m very
set in my ways, I worry about taking on close relationships because I
don’t want to give up my independence. And I’m most worried about
whether I’d be any good for him at all. My life is perfect when I’m
single, and I was most miserable when a guy did come into my life. I
could find out that relationships are not right for me and break his
heart… Or my own. What is a nice girl to do?
Fears Full Attachment
How would Suzanne answer this letter? For once, Annalise didn’t have a
clue. Why were other people's problems so much easier to solve than her
As the Thanksgiving break approached, Annalise noticed something
different about Luke. He seemed to be losing weight. She apparently
didn’t notice right away, but the clothing that had been nicely
tightened around his body the month before was becoming loose and
hanging on his less full frame. He was still a big guy, but there was
just slightly less of him to admire, she disappointedly observed.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving, Annalise returned to her
apartment with a message on her machine from her friend Joe, asking her
to play a couple of games of Tennis at the Rec Center. Joe was on the
newspaper too, and was the first person she met on Campus her freshman
year. Their schedules hadn’t allowed them to talk much yet this
semester, and Annalise felt like she needed the exercise after a long
weekend of lounging at home in Ohio.
Joe was somewhat quiet, very intelligent, and often got attention from
women for his loner-rebel good looks. Yet he didn’t date at all as far
as Annalise knew. Annalise had a hunch he was gay, but he never talked
about it, so she never asked. She didn’t date much either, so who was
she to judge?
As they played, they carried on conversation. “So, Lise, what’s up in
the men department? Are you still too busy for a boyfriend?”
She laughed, “Probably, but there is one guy I have my eye on,” she
admitted, which was unlike her to admit.
“Really? Wow,” he mocked her playfully, “I didn’t think you were
emotionally available,” he teased more, remembering some of their
late-night conversations the year before.
“You hush!” she laughed, hitting the ball back over to him as hard as
she could. The ball sailed past him.
They finished up and walked toward the locker area. Passing by the
racquetball courts, she glanced in and saw a hefty looking guy playing.
He shifted around and she realized it was Luke.
Joe noticed she stopped in her tracks to watch the match, and walked
back a few steps to see what the show was. “Hey… what’s so interesting
“Oh,” she realized Joe was watching her watch Luke, “Uh, that’s a guy
in one of my classes, Luke, he’s a friend, I wanted to ask him about
something that’s supposed to be on our exam,” she awkwardly spit out,
“Oh, for a second I thought you might be checking him out,” he poked
“So what if I was? He’s a cutie,” she smiled at Joe, feeling defensive,
and revealing more than she was usually comfortable with.
”Hey, whatever you say, I just didn’t know you were a chubby chaser,”
She was flabbergasted by his directness, “I’m not anything!” She didn’t
like that crude label. “Can’t someone just like someone without it
being a big judgmental thing?” she was half smiling and half frustrated.
“Sorry Lise, I didn’t mean to be a prick about it, I was just teasing
you. I don’t care who you have a thing for, as long as you still like
me,” he smiled.
Just then, Luke walked out of the racquetball court, and his eyes
landed on Annalise, then Joe.
“Hey Luke!” she brightly greeted him, “how was your Thanksgiving?”
“Not much to tell,” he sighed, sweat running down his soft cheek, “I
just stayed here in town,” he shrugged his shoulders.
“Did I miss anything?” she continued small talk.
“Naw, it was dead around here,” he trailed off, being less
conversational than usual, occasionally glancing at Joe.
“Luke, this is my friend Joe,” she introduced them. They shook hands.
“Joe is my journalism buddy,” she tried to explain so that he wouldn’t
get the wrong idea.
“And Tennis buddy,” Joe added. They were all silent for a second.
“Well, kids, I gotta fly, I didn’t do any studying this weekend so I
better go get started… Nice to meet you Luke.” He lightly hugged
Annalise, “don’t be such a stranger,” he winked at her.
Annalise wondered if Luke would take Joes ‘don’t be a stranger’ comment
as, “we are just friends,” or if he would assume Joe and her had a
romantic history. She turned her attention back to Luke, “I didn’t know
you played racquetball,” she wanted to keep talking to him.
“I used to when I was a kid,” he explained, “but then I got away from
it. I figured I needed to get more active again, so…” he trailed off,
absentmindedly brushing his hand along his middle.
“That’s cool,” she didn’t want to say anything that implied she agreed
that he needed more exercise. “So, can I ask you about that whole
Nietzsche Nihilism thing?” She had grown to love talking about
philosophy with Luke. His ideas were very thought provoking. And he was
so darn cute too.
“Uh sure, but I really need to shower first,” he smiled.
“Of course, sorry, yeah, I do too,” she apologized, imagining him
tearing off his shirt and revealing his slightly reduced, but still
full, jiggling belly. Then she spent a little time fantasizing about
the shower part, with shampoo cascading down his rounded body, weaving
all over his padding. Electricity ran down her spine at the soft and
They met back at the entrance of the Rec Center and walked toward the
Library, talking about existentialism and relativism. She noticed again
his clothes were even looser, and she felt strangely annoyed with his
weight loss. Still, every time she looked into his eyes, she became
more certain that she wanted him to put his arms around her.
They stayed at the coffee shop for a while before Luke changed the
“So, is that Joe guy your boyfriend?”
“Joe? No, we’re just friends,” she felt her face getting hot.
“Were you an item before or something?” Luke pressed her.
“Nope, just buds,” she explained.
“Then, do you have a boyfriend?” He continued, her face getting even
“No,” she smiled, but didn’t know what else to say. She couldn’t easily
elaborate on the topic, especially to Luke.
“That surprises me,” he leaned back.
“Why?” she was slightly annoyed at the suggestion that she should fit
into a mold.
“Because hot girls always have boyfriends…” his words flooded over her.
Despite his stereotyping, she was thrilled he called her “hot.”
“Well, do you have a girlfriend?” she teased back.
He laughed, “No, then again, that shouldn’t be surprising.”
“Well, that’s true, it’s not surprising, since cute guys usually like
to play the field,” she smirked with a smile.
“You are too funny,” he mocked, then gazed at her and then looked away
for a moment. Just when Annalise thought she was going to open up a
little more to him, he glanced at his watch, “I have to go, I’ve got to
finish a paper that’s due Tuesday.”
“Okay, see you later,” she was frustrated, but realized she would have
plenty of Dear Suzanne emails to wade through and needed to get back to
work on them.
Late that night, another email arrived into her Dear Suzanne email box:
I took the advice you gave me to
get friendlier with the beautiful girl I have a crush on, and so far it
seems to be working. Every once in a while I get the feeling that she
is flirting with me, or that she likes me back. I’m pretty sure that
she is the kind of girl worthy of my agonizing.
I also started to lose some weight,
hoping that would help, but I’m still a pretty big guy, so she won’t
magically be more attracted to me if she’s turned off by fat guys, I
guess. At this point, I just don’t know what the next step is. Chances
are very high she will reject me, but I feel ridiculous obsessing about
her and doing nothing about it.
The Slightly Less Overweight Lover
Annalise stared at her computer screen, reading it over and over, for
several minutes. It sounded so much like it could be Luke. She froze
up. What do I do? Do I encourage him? Do I know too much? Is it
unethical for me to publish this, knowing that my answer is biased? Is
it possible that there’s another fat guy on campus who’s become friends
with a cute girl that flirts with him, and has coincidently just
started losing weight?
She laid in bed, thinking about it. By 2 a.m., she still couldn’t
sleep, so she jumped from under her covers and wrote a response for the
You sound like the kind of boy that
any gal would be lucky to have. I’m glad you took my advice to continue
the friendship, we can never be too rich or have too many friends. And
I’m glad to hear she’s responded in a flirtatious mode; that bodes well
for you. Now, you need to pay closer attention to her flirtation. Does
she talk to everyone that way, or just to you? Does she go out of her
way to sit next to you? To chat with you? To spend time with you? All
men would do well to pay attention to the subtleties of a woman’s
charms. If you can look closely at your non-verbal interaction with
her, it will speak volumes.
About the weight loss thing. You
shouldn’t do it because you’re trying to please someone else, or it
will tear you up. If you can honestly say you’re doing it for you, then
great, just be healthy about it. Dieting for the quick fix will
backfire… every time.
The letter was published a couple of days later. Annalise walked into
class that day, sat down next to Luke, and things were the same as
always. No more or less. They spent a little time studying for the
final exam, she continued to flirt, but he didn’t ask her out. Maybe he
wasn’t “The Overweight Lover” after all. Or, maybe she wasn’t the girl
in the letters, and Luke was interested in an entirely different person.
Annalise got to thinking, what if she changed that letter she’d write
to Miss Suzanne. What if she stopped dancing around her preconceived
notions that she hadn’t the time or the ability to deal with a
relationship? What if she just followed her heart?
She thought on it, and a few days later, she published the usual
question and answer as her service to the random campus downtrodden and
forlorn, and then added at the bottom:
“The following communication is not a request for advice, but a reader
I could very well be the object of
affection contained in your letters from “The Overweight Lover.” I have
a blooming friendship with a big guy whom I make excuses to spend time
with, and yes, flirt with. I like him, very much, as a person. And I’m
also very attracted to him physically. He’s got wonderful brown eyes
and a nice, full body. If he’s reading this, he doesn’t need to lose an
ounce of weight for me. So why don’t I just ask him out? I’m scared.
Yes, pathetic, but I’m scared that I don’t know how to handle what it
takes to make a successful relationship. I have very little experience,
and what experience I had was not pleasant. Singlehood is when I am
most in control, most comfortable, and least likely to be hurt. He
implies that this pretty girl is too good for him, but I think he might
be too good for the girl who is too afraid to open her door and invite
him in. But, maybe if he would knock a bit louder, the walls might just
tumble down around her.
The next week, Annalise walked into Philosophy for the final exam, and
sat down next to Luke, smiling but saying nothing. He passed her a
note, “Not sure how long each of us will take on this exam, so can you
meet me at 2pm at the Union Coffee House? My flight leaves for Portland
tomorrow, and I want to find out how you think you did.”
She looked over at him, and smiled, and nodded “yes.”
Luke flew through the exam and left within an hour. Annalise took
longer, as she always poured over her words, writing and re-writing.
The journalist in her sometimes made her overly critical of how she
should grammatically express herself on essay exams.
She ran back to her apartment to fix up her hair and change into
something new before her meeting with Luke. She knew she was falling
for him, because she rarely primped for anyone.
She showed up at their usual coffee shop meeting place, and Luke was
already there. She sat down and he smiled, “so what did you think of
“It was okay, I think I got most of it right,” she sighed.
“Yeah, it wasn’t that bad,” he agreed.
“You helped me so much Luke, just talking through the material, I
really appreciated you taking the time,” Annalise thanked him.
“You helped me just as much,” he thanked her in return. Then Luke
paused, and smiled, “I’ll miss our conversations. We should take
another Philosophy class together, I think.”
“Yep,” she agreed, “although, we don’t have to have a class together to
have a reason to hang out together,” she smiled, her face reddening.
He smiled, and instead of looking away as he usually did, his gaze
stayed glued to her eyes. She felt warmness flood over her and her
brain went haywire. At that moment the only thing that raced through
her head was the letters from the Overweight Lover. So she just came
out and asked him, “Can I ask you something… personal?”
“Sure,” he looked confused.
“Did you ever write a letter to ‘Dear Suzanne’?”
His face turned as crimson as hers, “Why do you ask?”
“I just thought maybe you did…” she trailed off, realizing that she was
going the direction of recognizing his identity as the Overweight
Lover, calling attention to his weight. She felt sick inside, imagining
how offended he might be.
His face shifted from embarrassment to assuredness, “Yeah, I did. I’m
the ‘Overweight Lover’ guy, I’ll admit it.”
“Really?!” She exclaimed loudly, and then realized that embarrassed
Luke more, so she turned the volume down. “What’s happened with the
girl you mentioned in the letters?” She prodded, wondering more than
ever if it was a different girl.
“I don’t know,” he smiled, “I’m still trying to figure her out,” he
paused. “What made you think it was me? There’s plenty of fat guys on
campus,” he chuckled through and embarrassed smile.
“I wrote to Miss Suzanne too,” Annalise offered. She knew she had to
come clean too.
“Really? Which letter?” Luke implored.
“Miss Independent,” she admitted, looking down.
They were both silent for several seconds.
“So, wait…” he trailed off, “I don’t get it…” he was putting it
together, but seemed too afraid to say what he knew was going on.
“Luke,” she paused, afraid to say it, but then just blurted it out, “Am
I the girl you like? The one from the letters?”
“Yes Annalise, you are, isn’t it obvious?” he almost whispered.
“No,” she countered, and paused, “I mean, it made sense, especially the
description about me being late for class all the time, and then you
losing…,” she stopped herself. She was so afraid of talking about his
weight because it was as sexy to her as it was potentially offensive to
him. It felt like a time bomb waiting to go off.
“So, who is the guy your letter referred to?”
“You,” she nearly whispered.
“You’re actually attracted to me?” he remained incredulous.
“Yes,” she whispered, smiling. He looked dumbfounded. She reacted, “Why
should that be such a strange thing? Why should you be surprised?
You’re wonderful to talk to, Luke, and… cute… and…” she paused, “sexy…”
she began to whisper, smiling like the Cheshire cat.
His shock turned into a smile, “Annalise, I can’t believe how much time
I wasted,” he shook his head. “But why didn’t you say something? You
know you could have had me, or any guy like me on his knees in an
instant,” he laughed.
“Luke, I just didn’t know,” she paused. “I didn’t know if I could deal
with a relationship. I didn’t know if I wanted to change my perfect,
single world. I only have to be responsible to myself, it’s easy that
“So does that mean there’s no hope of you going out with me tonight?”
he teased, lightening the mood.
“Only if you forget the diet tonight and eat something good,” she
“You got it!”
They walked back to his place, where Annalise let the time bomb go off,
and proved a nice girl could let a fat boy pass a couple of bases, even
on a first date.
© 2015 Ashblonde /