It's In Her Eyes
I swore that I would relax, clear my head. Writer's block was shackling
my fingers and, anyway, I was dying to read a new trashy novel I had
picked up a few days ago. Having experienced this kind of brain haze
before, I knew that I just needed to leave the world behind and immerse
myself in anesthetization. I also knew I'd get frustrated listening to
the frat boys upstairs blare their music, so I went to a quiet coffee
shop around the corner with comfy couches, only the soft din of an
espresso machine and occasional employee laugh to contend with.
I bought a mug of hot chai, settled on a soft, cushiony love seat,
wrapped my leg under myself, and dove into the book. Some time passed
before I saw a large figure out of the corner of my eye enter the caf�.
I glanced up and there was a man in a dripping wet trench coat. At some
point it had started to rain outside and I hadn't even noticed. But I
noticed this stranger, wavy short black hair, striking cheekbones,
large dark eyes, neither very short nor very tall, and wonderfully fat.
Yes, wonderfully fat. Those striking cheekbones were offset by a hint
of jowly flesh and a chubby double chin. His trench coat opened and
revealed a pinstriped buttoned down blubbery belly that surged over his
gray trousers, hiding most evidence of a belt. I couldn't see any more
detail of his body than that, but I gazed at his width, imagining his
exceptional shape underneath the coat. I was thinking he looked rather
young to be dressed so professionally, spending too many seconds
lingering over his soft middle and noting he had no ring on his finger.
When I looked back up, I caught his big, dark eyes looking at mine. I
tried an embarrassed smile, but with discomfort in his eyes, he looked
away too quickly, pulling his coat around his gorgeous tummy. Buttoning
up, he grabbed his cup and hurried out.
A part of me wanted to run after him and profess my lustful need
explore his body, but I dutifully stayed right where I was, left to
feel both the lingering warmth of his face and the regretful sting of
his self-conscious exit. I read the same lines in the book over and
over again, unable to get his wounded eyes out of my head. I wanted so
much to right what seemed to go wrong in the moment that our eyes
I continued to think about him non-stop for a week, hoping I would see
him coming around the corner every time I headed in the vicinity of the
coffee shop. Yet another week had passed and while I gave up hope of
ever seeing him again, his adorable face and rotund shape still
smoldered in my imagination. Still no Mystery Man.
My best friend called to meet me at a pub nearby for happy hour drinks
as we hadn't seen each other in weeks. I walked into the pub, alone.
There were plenty of open seats, so I chose a small table in the middle
of no one. I sat down to wait and looked around.
Then I froze. There he sat, the Mystery Man, with two friends at a
table several yards away, closer to the bar. I could hardly believe it
possible to feel an even more urgent desire than the first time I saw
him, but I did. This time he was casual, wearing a green rugby style
shirt and khakis. The table covered up some his amazing body, but I
could see from his broad shoulders and round arms that he was still the
perfectly built guy I had first noticed two weeks before.
Seconds passed like hours while I waited for my friend. The waitress
came over to ask if I'd like a drink. When I spoke, "I'd like a stout,"
the Mystery Man and his friends turned to look in my direction. I
glanced back and locked eyes with him. I tried to smile and looked
away. Self-conscious, I grabbed a book from my bad and stuck my nose in
it. Of course, I didn't focus on a single word, as I couldn't stop
feeling the anxiety of being in the general vicinity of this man whom I
so deeply wanted.
I watched two minutes pass before the waitress brought me the beer.
Once again, the threesome was looking at me. The two friends were
smiling, but my Mystery Man was not. I smiled back in hopes he would
warm up, but he just looked away. My heart sunk.
Just then my friend entered, bouncing in with a smile on her face
giving me the warmest hug. Cynthia is my opposite. She's a bubbly,
outgoing cutie with wavy blonde hair and big round curves. She casts a
stark contrast to my calm introspection and lean figure. I'm usually
described as anything from sophisticated, to aloof, to downright
difficult, but I'm actually just far too shy for my own good. No matter
how well I am able to express myself in the written form, verbally I'm
a mess. I've been told that my even my non-verbal communication skills
leave much to be desired.
Cynthia and I have had many 'heart to heart' conversations about how
much each of us would like to be the other. "Cynthia," I always tell
her, "I would give anything to have your fearlessness, to command a
room the way you do."
"Lauren," she rebuts me, "I would give anything to command a room with
my beauty the way you do." She exaggerates. I think she's the
attractive one, the way that people flock to her. When she was in high
school she was the head cheerleader, president of the student body and
basically belonged to everything. I didn't have a normal high school
experience like she did. I was a teen model with tutors. I didn't begin
to know a normal life until I went to college and met Cynthia, my
"Check those guys out, they keep looking over here, " she laughed, I
glanced at Mr. Mystery Man and he remained uninterested in my fleeting
Cynthia began to tell me about her business trip to Asia. She's a buyer
for a well-known couture house in New York. When we graduated from
college, I introduced her to the head designer they hit it off, as I
knew they would. She's perfect for that world. She's the consummate
mover and shaker.
"Jesus, Lauren, you have to write a book about the industry, it would
be fabulous!" She was referring to the fashion world. I misspent too
much of my youth there. My writing style was already sarcastic enough.
Any tome I would write about that world would be caustic to say the
least. I'd burn many bridges if I did it any justice. So I just smiled.
Cynthia was having a ball with it. She didn't even seem to care that
her plump body didn't conform to the severe expectations of fashion,
which was something I deeply loathed about that business.
Cynthia ordered a fru-fru drink and we chatted for about a half an
hour, with my occasional glances at my Mystery Man going unnoticed. At
one point he got up to head toward the rest rooms and passed by our
table. I mindlessly watched his marvelous body move past us, noticeable
mounds of flesh on his chest, big round love handles and that belly,
undulating with his gate.
Just a few minutes later, Cynthia's cell phone rang. After a quick
upbeat chat she was on her way out the door, "Lauren... I'm sorry...
emergency... you know how these people are... I'll call you later!" She
rushed out and there I sat with my freshly served second stout, alone.
Almost as suddenly as Cynthia left, I looked up and there in front of
me was one of Mr. Mystery Man's friends. "Hi, I'm Troy, I saw that your
friend left you here…"
I looked over at his friends and they were both watching Troy swoop in
for the pickup. I'd seen that annoyingly self-assured look in men
before. The Mystery Man smirked. I felt completely dejected by his
"Hi Troy," I reluctantly spoke, realizing what was happening. Troy was
one of those overly confident pretty boys that spent much of his time
at the gym or looking in the mirror.
"Would you like to join us?" He asked.
I reluctantly spoke again, "I don't want to intrude."
"You wouldn't be," he gushed, "it's not often we see a beautiful woman
at this place," like I hadn't heard that line in it's numerous forms
I was becoming frustrated. "I don't think your friends would appreciate
it," glancing at the still sour Mr. M.
Troy tuned around to look at them, "Well, then," he sat down where
Cynthia had been sitting, "maybe I can keep you company while you
finish your drink." This has always been a hateful thing for me to
figure out. How to be pleasant when you're not interested and not
amused. "You can ask my friends, I'm a nice guy," he chuckled.
That gave me an idea. Emboldened from the frustration and negativity
coming from Mr. M, I called Troy's bluff. "Then let me ask, can you
send over your friend in the green shirt?"
Troy looked at me with a dubious smile, but then yielded, "Okay." He
stood up and walked over to his friends, asking Mr. M to come over. He
seemed annoyed with the request, said something back to Troy and stayed
seated. I was crushed. He had absolutely no interest in talking to me.
Troy seemed to persist and my Mystery Man finally got up and walked
over, following behind Troy. Troy sat down and the man of my dreams
"Troy, could you give us a minute," Troy looked confused, so I smiled,
"please?" He walked back over to the third friend at their table and
watched us. Mr. M stood in front of me, his arms folded across his big
beautiful body, his soft belly surging outward and downward, the
exquisite way I remembered from the coffee shop.
"Um," I sputtered, "I'm Lauren, do you mind sitting down for a minute?"
He did sit, without saying anything. "You're?"
"Nick," he admitted. Finally, I had a name for him.
"Nice to meet you, Nick," I smiled, He just nodded. "Apparently you're
not too amused with all of this," I blurted.
"Should I be?" He stated back.
"I guess not, but I can't understand why you're so negative toward me."
He looked surprised, "If you're interested in my buddy, you should just
talk to him, don't drag me into it."
"First of all, I'm not interested in your friend…"
He cut me off, "then why are you playing with him, dragging me over
"I'm not playing with him, I just wanted to talk to you," I reasoned,
"besides, you were giving me the evil eye before he ever approached me."
"Why do you want to talk to me? So you can make fun of the fat guy
"I've seen you before, you know," he still seemed angry.
"I've seen you too," I smiled, still trying to soften his mood.
"I suppose it's hard to miss me," he sarcastically berated himself.
"Yes, it is, it's hard to miss someone as attractive as you. If you
didn't have such a chip on your shoulder you'd be even more
attractive." Nick was totally stumped. He looked at me like I was an
alien from another planet. I boldly continued, "I had hoped you noticed
me..." I was going to finish saying, "looking at you" but he cut me off.
"I saw you in the coffee shop the other day, you were looking at me,
gawking at my body like it was the most amusing thing in the world to
you. You know I didn't appreciate that much."
I was really shocked and didn't know what to say. I was so lost in his
beauty that it didn't occur to me at the time that he could notice my
gaze and then be offended by it.
"Nick, trust me, I am not making fun of you. I never…"
He cut me off, "just because you're a supermodel or whatever doesn't
mean you can treat the rest of us like we're inferior."
Those words cut deep. I was done. I had done no such thing. "I'd like
more than anything to have a pleasant conversation with you but you
seem to have prejudged me into a neat little package."
I angrily stood up. Then he stood up. I was in awe of his marvelous
face and substantial size. I melted again. He started to move away when
I grabbed his arm, "Wait!" I grabbed a pen from my purse and scribbled
my number on the bar napkin in front of me, "This is for YOU, not for
I grabbed my bag and left. As I passed their table, I heard Troy say,
"what the f…?"
I sprinted home, fell into my pillow and cried, feeling doomed to be
alone forever. I thought about the horrible conversation I had with
Nick. It painfully reminded me of my first boyfriend, Derek, a boy I
met when I was 15 and working in London. He was the 17-year-old son of
a photographer and he would hang around shooting locations after
school. I was in awe of him. I loved his accent, his wild black wavy
hair and his round, soft body. We romped around the city for a couple
of week after I finished the shoot I had been working on.
One night we were sitting on the banks of the Thames and I leaned over
to kiss his cheek. When he looked at me I kissed his lips. He let my
hands roam his plumpness while we made out and I loved every extra
inch. After a few days of flaunting my first boyfriend, my mother found
out from my tutor that I was spending more time cuddling with Derek
than studying and requested my return.
Derek was upset when I told him I'd have to go back to Connecticut.
When I said I wasn't sure if we'd be able to carry anything on, he said
words like Nick had just said, "Being beautiful doesn't give you the
right to use me and then tromp on me." I never heard from Derek again
and I supposed Nick wouldn't call me either.
As I lay there enduring my own little pity party, I reflected on all of
my relationships. There actually were not very many and it made me feel
even lonelier. The next day I hammered on my keyboard all day long.
Social anxiety and loneliness always broke down my walls and cleared my
writer's block. I certainly had experience with it.
Later in the day I was still obsessing about Nick. I called my friend
Jonathan to get a reality check.
I met Jonathan in college. He was in my dramatic writing class and I
was wildly attracted to him. The class involved a lot of team exercises
and stage acting. He was so good at it. Funny, direct, honest and
compassionate, I was utterly hooked on him. Of course when I found out
he was gay, I had to put my crush away, and then we became good
friends. One day after class, he questioned me.
"Lauren, are you… how can I put this… into fat guys?"
Of course I was, I always had been, as far as I remember feeling
attracted to boys, but I never talked about it, "What?"
"You heard me."
I was defensive, "I don't know what you're getting at Jonathan, but
you're gay so I can't be in to you," I teased him. He was always
patting his big belly and referring to himself as a sexy Buddha boy.
"Lauren, you know what I'm talking about. You're so obvious the way you
look at big guys; the way you blow off the hard body boys that hit on
you and gaze at the fat ones? I've seen you check me out, Hello?" He
laughed, rubbing his sweet belly. I turned red.
"It's okay, if you are, I mean, if it weren't for chubby chasers I
would never get a date!" he laughed more.
"Is it that obvious?" I conceded meekly.
"It's obvious to me, then again, I'm used to looking for it," he
shrugged his shoulders.
From that conversation onward, Jonathan was my confidant in matters of
the heart. When it came to relationships, Cynthia was too flippant.
Jonathan understood me.
"Hey Jonathan, this is Lauren," I had him on the phone
"Hey you, gorgeous thing! What are you doing?" His voice always cheered
"Writing…" I murmured.
"Okay, what's wrong, when you call me when and you're writing, it
usually means you're bummed about something," he teased.
"Yes it is… come on, talk to me… fat boy trouble?"
"Jonathan," I laughed, "stop it. You always tease me about that," I
"I tease because I care," he laughed.
"Why can't I find a guy that doesn't judge me for my looks?" I whined
"Oh, you won't get any sympathy from me or most people on that one. You
poor beautiful thing," he laughed. "So who's judging you?"
"This guy…he's really amazingly great looking and…"
"Is he fat?"
"Very…" I gushed.
"Fatter than me?"
"Yes!" I giggled out loud. "Well, actually I haven't seen you lately,
are you still with that feeder?"
He called me a bitch. "So what's this guy's problem, is he blind?"
"No, just dumb, he thinks I was trying to insult him when I gawked at
his hot bod."
"Lauren, you have to be careful with us tubbies. You know you have a
way of not keeping track of where your eyes go. Most fat guys don't
think there are women who want them. A stare could be misconstrued as
mocking. Even as confident as I am, when I cute guy visually appraises
my body, my first reaction is that he probably thinks I would be much
cuter if I hit the gym."
Jonathan and I talked for a while. He always gave me perspective on the
fatter set of men when I needed it.
I moped for a few days with no call from Nick, not that I expected it,
before Cynthia called me to reconnect, "you know I owe you a drink the
way I ran out on you the other day," she apologized. I agreed to meet
her at the same pub, figuring it would be too much coincidence for Nick
and company to be there again.
I walked in and Cynthia was already waiting for me, and the coast was
clear. We gabbed for a while, talking mostly about Cynthia's new
boyfriend. Her love life was never dull. Sometimes I felt like I lived
through her, listening to her escapades like I was following a soap
She asked about my love life. "I have no love life," I answered.
"Is that a good or a bad thing?" she asked.
"I don't know, it just is. I just can't meet the right guy, I guess."
Cynthia rolled her eyes. She had heard me say those words before.
And just then, the right guy walked in: Nick. He was with another guy,
not Troy or the other friend from the week before. This time he was
wearing a button-down shirt tucked into Khakis that accentuated his
full form in the most sexy way. He stood at the bar waiting to order
and still had not seen me. I gazed at his magnificence for a moment.
Cynthia watched me watching him. "Lauren, you have the hots for that
big guy don't you, I noticed him in here last time and you were
checking him out." I turned red and smiled. "You want him! I knew it!"
"Shhh…" I giggled.
"You've always had eyes for heavier guys, haven't you?"
I just smiled sheepishly.
"You're this sickeningly beautiful woman who likes fat guys, and
there's a great looking one right in front of you, and yet here you sit
alone. Why don't you approach him?"
"We've kind of already talked."
"And, he's not interested."
"Bull!" she hit back.
Just then he turned around and looked at us. Cynthia waved him over to
our table. "Cynthia!" I exclaimed through clenched teeth, "don't do
"Oh, whatever," she pooh-poohed my embarrassment.
Nick walked over, and I forced my eyes to stay above his neck.
"Hi," she held her hand out with a huge smile, "I'm Cynthia, this is my
friend Lauren," she beamed.
"Yes, we've met," he weakly smiled at us, seeming a little less peevish.
His friend walked over, "Nick, listen, I just got paged by the office,
I'll have to catch up with you later," and he was gone.
"So," Cynthia sighed, "then you can join us for a drink?"
"Um, Sure," he sat down with his beer.
Cynthia quizzed him about everything and he answered politely,
occasionally glancing at me. He was a self-employed attorney fresh out
of law school. He had come from a small town in Michigan to go to
school in the city and stayed to start his small practice.
She finally let up on the quizzing and got up to use the restroom.
"Cynthia's inquisitive," I reassured him, blushing.
"Yes, she is." He half smiled, and asked, "Are you setting me up with
"No! No," I laughed, "She's got too many boyfriends already, I wouldn't
do that to you."
He nodded with another half-smile, "then why is she showing such an
interest in me?"
"Because… well she's a friendly person?" I offered.
We sat in silence for about five seconds, which passed like hours when
Cynthia returned. Then Nick asked her, "Why did you call me over here?"
Cynthia was never ashamed of the truth, "Because Lauren has the hots
for you. You haven't figured that out yet?"
We all went silent for a several seconds when Cynthia popped up from
her seat and said, "well you two have something to talk about so I'm
outtie." She hugged and kissed my cheek, "Later, Sweets."
So there Nick and I sat, alone, quiet.
"I'm sorry," I said, hating the silence…
"No, I'm sorry, I was thinking about the way I talked to you the other
day, and I'm embarrassed, I was going to call you but I didn't think
you really cared one way or the other."
"You were going to call?" I asked.
"Yeah, I just thought it was crazy…" he trailed off.
"When I saw you at the coffee shop I recognized you as Lauren O'Malley,
the author, and I was shocked at the way you looked at me."
"You knew who I was?"
"Sure, you had that best seller last year." People sometimes recognize
me, but I never think of my work in the same realm as my love life, or
lack thereof. "And then you were toying with my friend Troy and I
thought you were really full of yourself."
"But I didn't…."
"I know that now, I talked to him and realized it afterwards. I felt
bad, but I didn't think you would care if I apologized, so I saved us
the added embarrassment."
"Okay, so now you know, I wish you would have called," I sheepishly
smiled and for the first time, he looked at me with warmth in his eyes.
It was getting too smoky in the pub, "Do you want to go for a walk?" I
"Sure," he smiled.
As we walked, we began to talk easily about life in the city. I stole
occasional glances at his beefy body, feeling such excitement being
next to him.
After about ten minutes, he stopped and looked at me intently, "you
have to tell me why you keep checking out my body, it's making me
crazy!" He laughed nervously.
We stopped and I walked over to a park bench a few feet away. He sat
down with me.
"Nick, I'm sorry if I make you uncomfortable, it's just that I'm
attracted to you and I can't keep my eyes away from you, you have a
really nice body," I stammered.
He smiled, "Okay, women have said I'm cute or whatever, you know, maybe
they've been attracted to my personality or my great sense of humor,
but they never say I have a great body. Especially not models."
"I'm not a model you know," I smiled.
"You were," he smiled back.
"It's a job, not an identity," one of the many things I hated about
At that moment I was entranced by his eyes and lips, I moved close, put
my finger under his chubby chin and kissed him.
Happily he kissed back, giving way to more kissing. Which gave way to
more dating and more of everything, even a little more of Nick for my
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