5 Tests Pt. 01

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Hello, thanks for choosing to read my new series. I’ve had writer’s block the past while and since I finally had a decent premise pop into my head, I figured I would devote a bit of time and make it into a worthwhile read. All characters are both my own and completely fictional, with any resemblance to real life folks being coincidental and unintentional. Please rate and comment on this story if you like it, and please do so even if you don’t so I can improve my work. Enjoy!

– SoftlyPressingOnward

Five Tests

Test One:

I was confident I had made the right call. She was beautiful and sexy and kind, but there were too many disagreements, too many fights. I was just sick of arguing.

That’s how this story begins, with a break-up. What immediately followed is a harrowing journey of self-discovery and self-improvement that sounds too much like bragging to ever actually tell. Instead, I will assure you that from the moment I broke up with Ashley, I decided to make some serious changes in my life. Less crappy food, less wasted time. I decided to develop traits that would make me more likeable and far more fuck-able. I had no intention of staying single forever.

If you don’t mind, I would rather fast forward to Kim and her beautiful brown eyes. A girl who almost always kept her hair up in a bun, with freckles on her nose and shiny lips from the gloss she regularly applied. She was, in a word, stunning. She was smart too. Better than that, she was clever ¦ matching my stupid jokes with even wiser-cracks. The way she would laugh when I perfectly hit her funny bone was enough to make me want to quit my desk job and go into stand-up. We shared a sense of humor along with lots of other random qualities that made up our weird, eclectic personalities.

I’m no monk, though. There were other things I noticed about the great Kimberly McElroy. Her small frame dutifully supported a pair of 34C’s that made every girl at work at least a bit insecure. Her ass, as if only to serve as a counter-weight to her chest, was a perfect contour that even Michelangelo would have had trouble replicating. With a taught tummy and creamy thighs that made you impatient for summer, she was gorgeous almost to the point of disbelief.

What was very believable was how difficult it was for me to ask her out. While it was a smart decision in retrospect, I was not far out of a long term relationship and my confidence was shaken. Besides, I couldn’t remember how it was done. Do I just ask? Do I slip it in after one of my usual jabs? Do I get someone to do it for me? How did I do this last time!?

That was the real challenge. I barely knew Ashley when I decided to ask her out, so last time it was low pressure.

Ashley and I met during a summer course that by month’s end saw a desperately shy me ask a pretty girl for her (don’t laugh) twitter handle. She laughed and laughed and then gave it to me. I magically turned that into a phone number which somehow transformed into a date and culminated in a 3 year relationship. Thing is, I already had Kim on twitter…and facebook and tumblr and all the other social media apps that suck up all of my time. More importantly, I had her number, which I texted regularly.

While I was dating Ashley I became quick friends with Kim after she got hired at the dental office where I work. She even helped console me through my messy break up. But now that I wanted something less platonic, I was stuck without a way to shift into a more serious relationship. Then came the shock.

She excitedly told me in the break room one morning she had had a great night with this guy. “So I met this ridiculously handsome guy on tinder” was when I knew my plight was a lost cause. Kim apparently had the same ability to conjure relationships out of social media. Lasting relationships, apparently, because I had never seen her in such a good mood for such a long time.

While I worked on getting into better shape, reading more, being a better person in general, she was falling for him. Once I got to a sufficiently more mature place I realized it would be best to just kill the whole idea of us ever being a couple and just enjoy the friendship.

I confessed over text that I had had a crush on her for a while, that it would go away, and that I am happy for her and Amir (whom I spitefully referred to as the “new guy” for a little too long). Taken aback, she forgave me for never speaking up and said that we were fine. That was the last time my life was at least next to normal. Let me take you to a cold Friday afternoon in December, just a couple days after Amir had gone to visit family out west.

There I was in my chair, typing with purpose on the most frustrating computer that has ever existed. Kim was loitering next to me, reclined with her head leaning far back. This in no way matched the professional fashion ensemble she so carefully crafted. Her work blouse and tight button down combo clashed with her childish choice balçova escort bayan of sitting position.

“Nate, I’m bored” Kim whined, clearly having done all the work she had planned to do at the office that day.

“Super, I’m working” I made sure not to make eye-contact when I replied, damn those deep puppy-dog eyes.

“No…you’re typing up past patient files, that isn’t work… that’s torture.”

She was right, but it was December and that meant this had to get done before a new year’s influx of new patients.

“You’re going to make my suffering worse by prolonging this?”

“Maybe” she smirked.

I turned to face her. “How can I help you?” I said in a pseudo-exhausted voice. “Do you want a coloring book? Or how about a deck of cards to build up?”

Her face lit up. “I wanna go and dance!”

“I’m not…no…never again. We agreed.” I was no longer acting exhausted, recalling the last time she tried to be my wingman (wingwoman?) on the dancefloor and how I somehow managed to tell a girl she was wearing nice pants. The girl, tragically, was wearing a skirt.

“Not for that, I actually just want to dance. I have nobody to go with since…” she took a dramatic pause and sighed a loud sigh “I was left all alone.”

This was as manipulative as it was effective. Of course I didn’t want her to spend another night waiting for her dumb boyfriend to call, and going out would certainly negate her tendency to interrupt my work out of boredom for at least a couple of days. But her gorgeous dresses, her sultry dancing, that body swaying and her pretty face all dolled up, it made me excited just picturing it. This is exactly the opposite of what I was going for with the friendship angle.

“Make new friends! Meet new girls! Be social or whatever.”

“No!’ she huffed in a way that she used to helpfully indicate that I had no chance of reasoning with her. “It’s either you or Ben & Jerry’s and when I get fat and Amir leaves me and I die alone you can come to my funeral and tell all the sad people about sorry you are for being a lazy friend!” Kim rambled.

“Fine! I’ll come out dancing, now let me get back to my work, you butt.” I conceded defeat.

Satisfied, Kim pranced back to her desk and started typing something excitedly. I got back to work.

I entered the dim bachelor’s apartment I called home with a dire need to get out of my work clothes and into some cheap scotch. Moving out of Ashley’s apartment had been rough, but what added insult to injury was that, with my salary, I could barely afford my sad little cube of a home. I found solace in the little clean up required for such a small place and that I miraculously convinced my ex into letting me keep our comfy queen-sized.

I lay on my bed after taking a shot. Fifteen minutes later I lamented there being no rest for the weary. I showered and after drying stood naked in front of my mirror before deciding what to wear to this night out.

Though I spent most of my life as a noticeably chubby guy, this breakup had pushed me to finally make use of my broad shoulders and tree-trunk arms. With the toned abs and pecs that I fought so hard to get, I could at least be proud of where my life was in terms of my health. My eyes scanned down to the dangling six and half inches that were actively making the Kim situation more difficult every time I looked at her. I felt a chill brought on by prolonged nudity and figured I should get dressed.

Making my way to the only decent club in Copper Cliff, I picked up the impatient 23-year-old ready to have fun. I did my best not to stare or let my jaw hit the floor. Her dress was a classy black strapless number which opened up to be more freeing at the bottom. Her hair was finally let down to allow for a flowy careless look. Together, they accentuated everything I loved about her gorgeous body.

Her fare skin was contrasted by the black and her curves were being hugged by the contour of the dress. I snuck peaks while trying to focus on the road.

“You’ll be fighting guys off with a stick looking like that” I said, doing my best to compliment her without being obviously dumbstruck.

“I don’t have to do any stick work, I have you to fight for me.”

“So I suppose if I start looking for someone to dance with you’ll be left defenseless?”

She held her breath, then smiled and said “Tonight, you’re my dance partner, capiche?” She had finally watched The Godfather the night before and must have decided poorly imitated Italian accent was her new thing. As long as I never had to hear her more of her “Australian” accent resurrected from her Crocodile Dundee phase, I would keep quiet.

“Okay, but if I find a dead horse head in my bed tonight then you can find someone else to go dancing with.”

I’m alright at dancing. I’ve certainly never taken lessons but frankly guys don’t have to do a lot of work anymore. Fast dances you sway, slow balçova escort dances you sway slower. The whole process was easier with Kim as my partner.

Things with Kim always seemed to go smoothly as long as she was in charge. She was calming to the point that hours passed like minutes in her presence. We eventually made our way back to the bar and got a couple more drinks.

“2 G&T’s please” I asked while I caught my breath. Naturally, we had the same drink of choice. Just another thing linking us.

“Yay, it tastes like Christmas” she yelled, less sweaty than I was but a lot more intoxicated.

“Alright, Virgin Mary, where to next?” I asked while phoning a cab.

“Tim’s! No McDonalds! No Wendy’s! Bahahaha.” she was gone.

Classic lightweights.

We exited the club, entered the taxi, and I told the cabby to make his way to whichever delicious establishment was within walking distance of Kim’s apartment. Ending up at a Little Caesar’s we starting talking between bites.

“Do you think we’re overdressed for pizza?” Kim asked, demolishing another pepperoni slice.

“Frankly, I’d say were underdressed, I mean who eats pizza without a suit and gown?” I’d stopped eating my pizza. Getting in shape was great but it made me look at pizza as more work for later. Another love I would have to give up on.

“Nathan you better eat your pizza or else it will get cold. Or worse… eaten.” She grabbed my slice and grinned at me.

“Pizza is good, but we don’t all have a fifth dimension hidden in our stomach like you do, Lady Caesar” I mocked, only half-joking. That girl could pack it away better than some beastly men I knew.

“If I had a white glove I would slap you, sir” she said in her best, yet still pretty awful British accent, pausing from her pizza inhalation.

I watched her eat, sitting quietly as she zoned out into her pizza place. How is it that she could glow even while eating like a starved prisoner?

Then her phone rang.

“Shh” she whispered to her phone, as if she had the forethought to install an app that could reject calls by shushing.

“Go ahead, I’m good, take it” I knew who it was, and I didn’t want them to have any lost communication just because of me.

She got up and stumbled into the bathroom. A few minutes later I heard yelling that was quickly escalating, followed by sudden silence. A few minutes later I watched as a puffy-eyed, red-faced Kim B-lined to the table, picked up her pizza, and then tugged on my sleeve, apparently informing me it was time to go.

Not a word was said on the short 7 minute walk to her apartment. I scanned our occasional hangout den once we got to her place. A big green couch, a laptop, plenty of lamps and mini bookcases and a beautifully designed rug was all Kim ever needed in her humble living room.

We entered silently and as lights came on one by one, I watched her lazily mosey around the room and then collapse onto a very comfy position on her couch. I stood there awkwardly.

“I…Are you…Should I g¦” I began, but was cut off by the sound of gentle sobs.

That fucker.

I sat on the couch beside her crumpled up body. After a minute of watching her cry, I put my hand on her toes and began to rub her cold feet.

“Come on, Kim, you’ll be okay.” I was never good at consoling, so I said what I thought I should say. Not that I had a clue exactly what happened or if I was the right person to be doing any consoling.

She turned 180 degrees and her surprisingly heavy head was now planted on my lap.

I didn’t know what to do so I began to pet her hair. I remembered Ashley loved to be pet whenever she was upset and at that moment I assumed it was universal. It seemed to calm her down a little bit.

She sniffled so I passed her the nearby tissue box. After she sat up and blew her nose, she stared at me with glassy pink eyes. I could see her face unobscured for the first time since we got back. She looked miserable and contemplative. She was staring into my eyes like she was trying to see into a pitch black well.

“Are you okay K¦” but I was interrupted. She kissed me and every thought I had faded to white noise.

We held the kiss for 10 seconds or maybe forever, I can’t recall.

She slumped back down onto my chest and I sat there wide-eyed.

“…I-I was not expecting that” the words came out of my mouth without me considering them.

Then again, what do you say in that situation? I remembered my goal of being a better person. I immediately thought better of the exciting images I was envisioning and opted to be a gentleman. “Kim, maybe we should just call it a night, I mean you have had a lot and it’s late and…” I shut up when I heard a snore.

“Dammit Kim” I said with a smile. I leaned my head back, closed my eyes, and drifted in the afterglow of the light show.

My lap was noticeably lighter when I woke up. I smelled eggs and escort balçova bacon and realized I was not in my crap-den. There was humming coming from the other side of the wall and when I got up in my wrinkled button down shirt and slacks I couldn’t help but follow my nose. There I found Kim, beside a stove, concentrating on not burning breakfast.

When she glanced my way she jumped a bit, oblivious to my stealthy egress from the couch.

“Good Morning!” she was chipper and wearing the loudest yellow dress my eyes had ever attempted to look at.

“…Hey Kim” I replied, poorly trying to match her bright mood. I was confused, and hungry, and in need of a shower.

“Your food will be ready in a few minutes, you can go wash up if you’d like”

“Thanks…” I headed toward the bathroom. I closed the door and panic set in.

Staring at the disheveled man in the mirror I mouthed the word “what” as my eyes began to dart around to get my bearings. I have always been slow to wake up but the setting and situation were really helping me along.

“I slept at Kim’s house. Okay. Cool. Good good good. Great. That’s fine, we’re friends, we were tired, so whatever, right? It happens. But we kissed. Oh my god she kissed me. She kissed me. She was drunk and crying and then she…”

While putting the pieces together I realized two important details. One, I was talking out loud and it was probably best that I stopped. Two, there was a very real chance she did not remember last night.

I washed my face and tried to return to a more relaxed state. “If she brings it up, deal with it then, Nate.” I repeated to myself, forgetting about the plan to stop talking to myself.

I came back to the kitchen to find Kim waiting for me with her plate untouched and my plate waiting for me.

“You’re so polite, you must be starving” I said, knowing our matching appetites would prove my guess accurate.

“Dude, I already ate leftover pizza this morning, this is second breakfast”

We began eating in palpable silence. The food was delicious but not knowing what to say was unbearable.

Minutes passed when finally Kim decided to break the silence. “We broke up” she whispered and I looked up.

“You and Amir?”

“No, me and the pope, he was not a fan of the whole not-being-catholic thing”

“You’re kidding, why?”

That was not the question blaring loudly in my mind. I wanted to ask “So…you’re single?” but I thought better of it. This was not the time to think about what I wanted, not when my friend was heartbroken.

“I don’t want to get into that right this second, let’s just say that we broke up because we had to.” She continued, “No, I don’t want to talk about that, but I do want to discuss something else.”

My eyes dropped as I thought “Well shit, here it comes.”

“I want to thank you, Nate.” She got up. “Thanks for last night.”

“You’re…welcome?” I was very lost. What did I do that was worth being thanked for?

“I mean thanks for being there for me and not just ditching, and for trying to comfort me in your own… special way” she explained, walking around the table toward me, seeing my confusion.

“Oh! Sure, it was nothing” I said, trying to hide my relief. I was cringing while recalling that my best action plan was to pet her head, but I was glad she was taking things so well. She forgot about the kiss and I could just pretend nothing had happened. Everything, despite my worrying, was fine.

Kim gave me a side hug. I accepted it even though I wasn’t totally sure it was especially deserved. I mean, what did I even do?

“I think only a really good person would go along with the change in mood last night and not demand an explanation. The fact that you stayed isn’t nothing.” She was warm and was hugging me so tightly. She was also wearing lavender perfume and it was trumping the aroma of bacon that now permeated the apartment.

When she let go she smiled and said “And thanks for letting me kiss you…” she said, giving me a peck on the forehead.

Speechless, I sat there unblinking and staring into space. Kim sat back in her chair and looked at me, scrunched her face in confusion.

“Nate, honey, you okay?” she said as her look of confusion turned into concern.

My brain needed to process everything all over again. “What? Yes. No. I have to go.” I stood up in a hurry.

“Sit.” She said, unfazed.

I sat. I was very susceptible to suggestion at that moment.

“Talk to me. Please?”

“I’m confused” I admitted.

“Good,” she said, pleased with herself, “then we’re on the same page. I don’t know if I should have kissed you last night but I did. So that is that.”

I blurted out “But you’re with¦”

She continued “I was with Amir, but that was done as soon as last night’s call ended, so you’re in the clear, champ.”

“What happened?”

“That doesn’t matter, what matters is if you still want to date me or not.” she said, seemingly in complete earnest.

“Date?” I looked down embarrassed. How did she know I was still interested? Well I guess she didn’t because she was asking but why is this a discussion we were having? I thought this was settled. This was way too confusing for a Saturday morning.

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