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Her Billionaires_ Boxed Set

By:Julia Kent

off her trusty toy, a persistent voice said, You, Laura. You.

She really did. Some wishes were never meant to be, she sighed inwardly, drying her hair and rushing to get dressed.

Just a fantasy that got her off.

It didn’t help that she felt like there was a huge discrepancy between what she saw in herself, and what she saw in the pictures of Dylan, and what she saw when she did a search for him online. This guy was a catch; not just a catch, but a catch. Like, the difference between catching a good-sized bass in a great lake versus catching a giant, enormous marlin. He was outstanding. There was no other term for it.

He looked like something that was sculpted by an artist and the more that she thought about it and the more that she mulled over it, the more that she was excited about it—the more it turned her into a quivering, uncharacteristically nervous pile of goo.

“I don’t think I can do this, Josie,” she said that night as she prepared for the actual date. Dylan had picked out a rather nice restaurant in a part of town that was above her pay grade, and she wondered how on earth he could afford it on a firefighter’s salary. But she wasn’t going to question it because maybe, just maybe, she had finally found somebody who was going to treat her properly. The way she had always dreamed of being treated, and not treated like a booty call or a person you’d settle for when you really want something more but settle for good enough.

“You’re more than ready and you know it, Laura. It’s about time you found some guy who...” Josie looked at the screen again. “Oh, dear, I don’t think I remember what I was about to say because I’m about to burst into flames if I look at that guy one more time.”

“He’s mine,” said Laura, baring her teeth in a fake show of territoriality. It wasn’t that fake, though. Some part of her meant it.

“I can look. I know I can’t touch, but I know I can look,” Josie joked.

Laura had picked out three different sets of clothes, being as meticulous as possible today, trying so hard to cover what she felt were definitely deficits. Big, enormous deficits. Calling her a fluffy woman would be a perfectly nice euphemism, if you didn’t prefer the term fat. Not fat in a derogatory way. Just fat as a practical, pragmatic way of describing how she was. It’s not like you get to be a size eighteen by meticulously eating 700 calories a day and never, ever doing anything wrong in terms of what you put in your mouth. She couldn’t stand it when people would claim that they’re fat because of their genes, they’re fat because they have a thyroid problem, they’re fat because— because, because, because.

She owned it. She was fat because she put too much unhealthy stuff in her mouth, and even of the healthy stuff she put in her mouth, she put in too much. And she didn’t really mind it— she liked food. She really, really liked food. Enjoyed it. Savored it. Pleasured it. Found it to be a joy in her life.

And she paid the price with the extra pounds, the padding—what a lovely euphemism that was, too. She liked her curves; the curves made her feel normal, gentle, open, emotional— bare. You couldn’t hide from a curve; you couldn’t hide from a love handle or from a padded hip or from a booty that made enough men blush and drool. She knew it was an asset (pun intended) to some guys.

What she hoped, what she deeply hoped, was that to a guy like Dylan, maybe, just maybe, she could beat the odds and find in him someone who really valued someone like her. So far that hadn’t been the case. Online dating had turned out to be a giant nightmare of electrons that didn’t line up exactly the way that anybody had planned. She seemed to photograph well because she got an awful lot of come-ons and she figured maybe there was something to that.

She was blonde, with a healthy glow in her face and a pretty decent smile with two dimples that appeared when she laughed hard enough. Her shoulders carried some of her weight, but it just made her look bosomy and big chested, and if she picked the right form-fitting sweater she could come across a good twenty pounds lighter than she really was. That may have been part of the problem, though, because it was always that look that the guys gave her when she walked into the bar, the coffee shop, the plaza, the restaurant— whatever public place that they had planned to meet.

It was that look, that fucking look.

It was a look of surprise—and not of good surprise. It was the look of, oh, you’re not what I was looking for. Oh, you’re not what you look like in your picture. Oh, you’re a fat chick.

Oh.

Sometimes they had the decency to tell her the truth and to actually say those things aloud. Yeah, really—the decency. Because it was better to hear it up front, to her face, in her face even, than to sit down with that type of guy, to try to read the signals, the tilt of the face, the grin, the look in his eyes, the lack of a look in his eyes if he glanced away. All of the little tells, the way he held his hand, the way he fidgeted, the way he reached for his phone for a text that didn’t really exist. All of those sights and sounds and movements that added up to one thing.

Rejection.

So far, she had had a few one night stands, a few guys who were willing to fuck the fat chick. She didn’t turn them down because the offers were few and far between and because it wasn’t obvious that these were pity fucks—until it was glaringly, painfully, heartbreakingly obvious. Most recently, like she had told Josie, she was sick of it. Just sick of it. So this last ditch attempt at online dating really was the final attempt.

Dylan seemed too good to be true. Here she stood in front of Tempo Bistro at 6 p.m. sharp wearing a pencil skirt, really nice high heels, and a mohair sweater, the same one she had worn in the dating site picture, just so she could—in her own head, in her own internal thoughts— not consider herself to have been falsely adv

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