There really was such a thing as love on first sight. That remarkable feeling of meant-to-be, that made the world fade to nothingness and all that existed for a moment is you and them. Of course, it only applied to items of clothing.
Deborah was out shopping for something that would make her feel special at her high school reunion, when she got such a love-high. Reality melted away the moment she laid eyes on the stockings in her favorite boutique. A small fishnet weave with a intricate lace pattern that covered the front of the lower thigh and went down to the knee. Adding to the perfection was the fact that the garter belt came attached. No clips to ruin the lines of a dress or skirt or poke into the flesh when sitting down. It was a remarkable marriage of comfort, function and fashion.
She was mentally recalculating her budget for the rest of the month — she would happily sacrifice all of her little luxuries if it meant she was walking out with these stockings today. But when she turned her package around and looked at the price, she realized she would not have to sacrifice anything at all. The perfect stockings came for a perfectly reasonable price. Deborah could not believe it. These are going to be my lucky stockings, she thought as she briskly made her way to the cash register.
On the way home, Deborah felt like she was floating on air. She knew exactly what she was going to wear the stockings with — her navy blue dress. The dress had a skirt that came just beneath the knee and flared out a bit. If she crossed her legs in it, the fabric always rode up her leg, half way to the thigh. It had always been one of her favorite flirting tools. And now, instead of simply showing some knee and thigh, she could reveal some pretty black lace against her fair skin. Something she was sure would get a man’s head spinning. She had a particular man in mind. One who had cruelly ignored her for years, preferring the company of vapid but well rounded girls. The only time he had taken note of her, was when he needed to copy the answers of a test. Deborah couldn’t really fault him for not noticing the awkward, late-blossoming version of her when there were so many bouncing busts screaming for attention. But now, ten years later, she was determined to show him the error of his ways. And also how kindly late puberty had treated her.
Daft Punk’s Get Lucky started playing on the radio. Deborah took that as one more sign her new purchase would turn out to be lucky. She turned the volume up and sang along all the way home.
The program for the day seemed simple. Deborah enjoyed thinking it was reluctantly simple, with the two social Queens of the class of ’97, Susan and Lindsay, frustrated that they couldn’t pull out more bells and whistles. There was a meet-and-greet brunch in the early afternoon and a reception with open bar starting at eight. The band playing at the reception were all alumni, which was a nice touch.
In the hours between the brunch and the reception there was an art show. That sounded interesting until Deborah noticed the “artist” was Lindsay herself. She thought herself a photographer. Deborah’s Facebook and Instagram feed were already flooded with the pictures she uploaded, which were mediocre at best. That’s a solid thanks, but no thanks, Deborah decided. Besides, with any luck, she would be busy in those hours. She caressed the stockings, still in their package. Luck wasn’t going to be the problem.
She tossed the official reunion program on the motel bed and walked into the bathroom. The motel was on the edge of what she could comfortably afford. Deborah suspected high school reunion had driven the prices up. While she would have preferred a nice small bed and breakfast, the room was clean and it had a bath tub. That was really all she needed. With a big grin she filled the tub, her mind on her high school crush; Leo.
She often wondered what had become of Leo. In this time where it was so easy to keep tabs on people, Leo had managed to stay a mystery. If he had a Facebook account, she had not been able to find it. And it was not for a lack of searching. Nor did she find anything on LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter. In fact Leo seemed to shun any sort of social media. In her mind Deborah had spun an adventurous and interesting life for him, one that didn’t need electronic distractions or superfluous validations. He had probably become something noble and necessary, like a firefighter. She had dreamed about Leo saving her from a raging inferno many nights.
The first news she had gotten from Leo since their graduation had come two months ago, when she spotted his name in the reunion commission on the official reunion website. This told her he had stayed in their home town. And it confirmed her ideas of what kind of man he grew up to be. Of course he would volunteer his time. Of course community was important to him. Of course he would be in the middle of whatever was happening. It made perfectly sense. Even if that meant he had to endure the likes of Susan and Lindsay. Deborah had RSVP-ed right then, and her mission was born. It was finally coming together. Today was the day she would finally seduce Leo, her hot fire fighter. And she wouldn’t even have to resort to arson.
Deborah laid out her navy blue dress on the bed, together with the black bodice that would flatten her belly and push up her breasts. She then carefully slipped her new lucky stockings out of the package. For a moment she wondered if maybe the outfit would be too overdressed for a brunch. She quickly pushed those worries aside. If she was going to make a fashion faux pas, she would rather it be on the side of overdressing. Besides, she was planning to come out of the gates, guns blazing. Shock and awe. Emphasis on awe. Although she decided to forgo her original plan of wearing the antique gold and sapphire jewelry set she inherited from her grandmother, and go with her less flashy pearl pendant necklace. That should be enough concession to ‘daytime’.
Satisfied with her clothing and accessory choices, Deborah slipped into the steaming hot water of her bath and fantasized about Leo’s killer smile.
Deborah recognized the strangeness of the social script they were all engaging in, as she, along with her former school mates, arrived at the restaurant. Everyone trying to look their best, while also looking like they weren’t trying to look their best at all. Men weren’t exempt from this, in fact they had the added pressure of looking like they didn’t care what they looked like, while trying to look their best — with severely limited outfit choices compared to their female counterparts. In greeting, everyone told everyone else how good they looked, while silently judging the hell out of every detail of their appearance. Deborah might have resented the dynamic, had she not felt like she definitely was winning the game. To be honest about it, she was loving every minute of every look and every raised eyebrow thrown her way. The one thing she was less happy about was the name tag they were expecting her to paste on her dress. Such a tacky thing diminished the effect somewhat. But, this was a meet-and-greet after all. Name tags came standard. She patiently waited near the table where Susan and Lindsay were distributing the tags and recorded attendance. At least they had them professionally printed. Better then those “hello my name is” things filled in with a Sharpie.
“Deborah!” Susan said, a sickly sweet smile on her lips and voice dripping with fake affection. “How have you been? You look beautiful!”
Deborah doubted very much Susan had any idea who she was, but since she now looked like Susan should know, Deborah would be her former good friend for the rest of the day. “Susan, it’s been too long!” She responded, matching Susan’s tone effortlessly. “You look absolutely radiant.”
Susan placed her hand on her heavy belly. “Thank you so much. Pregnancy is agreeing with me.”
Deborah glanced at the trophy husband standing a step behind Susan with a painful grin pasted on his face. That’s not what she said at home, did she, bucko? She smirked at him as she walked past.
She made her way to the bar where trays of mimosa were waiting. The guests were standing in slightly awkward clusters near the drinks. No one had searched for their place at the tables yet. Deborah took a glass and scanned the room. Surely, as one of the organizers Leo should be here already? Would he have changed so much she can’t recognize him? She softly snorted a half felt laugh at her own silliness. Of course she would recognize him.
“I know you.” a masculine voice suddenly said behind her. She felt his breath moving the air near her neck. A slight shiver ran down her spine. “You always let me copy your biology answers. You’re the reason I was able to graduate.”
A flash of recognition made Deborah’s heart beat faster. There was only one person she ever allowed to cheat off her. She turned around, nervous anticipation fluttering in her stomach. “Leo?”
For a split second, Deborah found herself looking in those playfully twinkling eyes, almost blinded by that same killer smile and everything was as she had always imagined it would be. Her heart skipped a beat. That one beat was as long as the enchantment lasted, before the cold, harsh reality took over. This was what had become of Leo? Where was her hot fire fighter?
“You remembered!” His open-armed offer for a hug seemed warm and genuine. Deborah quickly took it, if only to hide the disappointment on her face. He had really let himself go. No trace of the fit muscular physique she remembered. His body was soft and a bit pudgy. By a cruel trick of genetics, his neck seemed to hold a disproportionate large amount of fat. He turned into a bullfrog! Deborah thought and started giggling.
“What’s funny?” Leo asked. Not a hint of self-consciousness in his voice. He really wanted to be let in on the joke, she realized. Deborah slipped out from between his arms and looked at him again. Same killer smile, same piercing eyes. It really was her own fault for the disappointment she felt, had she not been building the man up so much, she might have been pleasantly surprised. It took her just a fraction of a second to make a decision. There was no way she would tell Leo he had reminded her of a bullfrog. Her mission was still on.
“Oh, you know, the tests.” She said, doing her best to sound as charming as possible. “Every time I was so sure we would get caught, but we never did.”
“Really?” he responded. “If you were that worried about it, why didn’t you say something…”
Deborah tilted her head back a bit laughed, with a hint of embarrassment. She had actually practiced this part of the conversation in her mind. Her performance was flawless. “Oh no, being involved in cheating was the biggest rush. It felt so bad.” She shook her head and curled her lips into a well practiced little smirk. “I was so innocent, back then.”
His chuckle told her the little innuendo had not been lost on Leo. Everything was going just as she planned. After that it was easy to keep him engaged in conversation. Some questions about what he had been up to, some light ego stroking, placing her hand on his arm briefly while she was talking for ‘emphasis’. Ten minutes in, he offered to get her a mimosa refill. Time for the finishing move.
Deborah pulled out a nearby chair and sat down, waiting for Leo to return. When he did, he handed her a glass and pulled up a chair of his own. So far so good. Leo was in the middle of some anecdote from college, when Deborah leaned back a bit and crossed her right leg over her left, the fabric of her dress falling back to reveal the lace above her knee. She knew she had him, when Leo lost his train of thought mid sentence and it took him a second to recover.
The rest of the brunch was simply a matter of passing time. Deborah even chatted with some other former class mates. It wouldn’t do to come over too possessive. She did keep an eye on Leo and noticed him glancing at her often as well. Somewhere she felt a little let down that it had been so easy. But she certainly wasn’t going to complain about that.
Some hours later, after the plates were all cleared, Leo came up to Deborah again. He was standing just a bit too close for it to be casual. “Do you want to go to the art show?” he asked.
“Not particularly.” She replied in a hushed, conspiratorial voice. “I’ve seen Lindsay’s pics on Instagram.”
Leo breathed a short laugh. “Yeah,” he admitted. He leaned even closer. Deborah could feel his breath on her neck again. “Or, I could give you a tour of my house?”
She looked him over for a moment with a grin on her face, to make it seem she had to consider his proposal. “That would be lovely.”
They had their first kiss in Leo’s car. It was nice. Not earth shattering, no sparks or anything, but nice. She knew Leo had a lot of practice kissing. By now, so had she. If Leo had as much skill in everything else, this was going to be a fun afternoon. Even without a fire fighter body.
His ‘house’ turned out to be an apartment in a older building not too far away from the restaurant. Nothing fancy but nice. Surprisingly nice in fact. Nothing like the men’s apartments she usually saw. He must have hired a interior decorator, Deborah decided. It wouldn’t be much of a tour though. Of course, they weren’t really here for a tour.
Leo put on music. Deborah giggled when she realized he choose a Barry White CD. “How retro.” She smirked at him. Who has this sort of cheesy music in their stereo? Who still uses CDs for that matter?
“I grew up with this,” Leo smiled back. “And you have to admit, it does set a nice mood.” He wrapped his arms around Deborah’s waist. She brought her’s up around his shoulders and they slow danced and kissed for a while. “I will have to admit, I am curious what else you are wearing under that dress,” he whispered in her ear.
“Would you like to find out?” Deborah purred to him.
She softly pushed Leo backwards until he sat down on the couch. Then she slowly stripteased her dress off to the music. He watched her with a big grin. She did a turn for him, showing off her black lace bodice, wiggling her hips.
Leo got up and wrapped his arms around her waist again. His hands resting on her ass and squeezing. “I always enjoyed cheating with you.” he said, sounding amused.
Cheating? “Wait, what?” Deborah asked confused.
At that point they heard the door open. “Leo?” a female voice called out from the little hallway. “Didn’t you have your reunion thing today?”
“Shit,” Leo said, startled, “she wasn’t supposed to be home for hours.”
“What?” Deborah repeated, louder this time. She pushed Leo away from her and turned towards the door, eyes wide. The knob was already turning. There was no time to get away. There was nowhere to get away to.
“I talked my boss into giving me the afternoon off, so…” the woman, who was presumably Leo’s wife, stopped mid sentence when she saw Deborah standing in the middle of her living room, in her lacy undergarments. Her mouth fell open. It was a short moment where everyone was too shocked to do anything.
The woman was the first to come to her senses. “What the fuck is this whore doing in my house? she yelled, her eyes blazing with rage.
“Now, honey, I can explain…” Leo started pleading.
The woman ignored Leo completely. Her eyes never left Deborah as she reached to the side of the door opening, where a broom rested against the wall. her fist wrapped itself around the handle so tight, Deborah could see her knuckles turning white. Holding the broom as if it were a baseball bat, she started walking towards Deborah.
“I’m so sorry, I’m leaving now,” Deborah said, backing up with her hands raised, palms out. She wanted to grab her dress and get the fuck out of the building.
The woman swung the broom hard in a wide arc. Deborah ducked, barely avoiding the swishing wood pole over head. She forgot about the dress and sprinted out the room as the woman brought the broom around. The front door was closed, but luckily not locked. In the brief moment it took Deborah to get the door open, the woman swung her broom over head and brought it down hard on her shoulder. She yelled out in pain. And ran as fast as she could, out of the apartment and down the stairs, with the woman on her heels.
“I’m going to kill you, you fucking bitch!” the woman screamed. Deborah ran out of the apartment building. Still the woman was following her.
“Help! Help me! She’s crazy!” Deborah screamed. She feared the woman meant it when she said she would kill her, if she got that chance.
A car pulled over and the passengers side door opened. “Need a lift?” the driver asked Deborah. Without a second thought Deborah jumped in and the car drove off, wheels squealing.
“Having a bad day, sweetheart?” The man asked, clearly amused by the scene he just witnessed.
“I didn’t know he was married!” Deborah exclaimed. She was breathing heavily, her eyes still wide in fear. “He never mentioned his wife.” She turned to look at the man who owned the car. His face looked vaguely familiar.
“Hooking up with your high school crush never quite turns out the way you planned.” the man chuckled.
“Do I…know you?” Deborah asked.
“Probably not,” the man replied, taking his eyes off the road for a moment to grin at her. “I only sat next to you in English for four years while you were pining for that asshole Leo.”
She buried her face in her hands. “I feel like such a fool.”
“Happens to the best of us.” The man glanced at her again. “Nice stockings.”