A. Fae © 2017
All Rights Reserved
“Damn, Nadia. You are literally the grumpiest individual I’ve ever met. You make shopping for this crap completely no fun.” Mattie turned on his heel, a handful of dresses for Nadia to try on. “Girl, let’s just get through this, please. There’s some good shit here that I think you’ll look fab in.”
Despite the awkward glances from the dressing room staff, Mattie swished past them and snatched up the handicapped room at the end of the line of doors. It was bigger, and unfortunately for Nadia, there was no getting out of Mattie being right up her ass while she tried on every single one of these godforsaken gowns for a Christmas gala she didn’t want to attend anyway. She was much more comfortable in her jeans and T-shirts than some glitzy, fancy crap. But, alas, it was her duty as the mayor’s daughter to attend.
“I keep telling you, Nadia, you’ll probably meet Mrs. Right at this thing. You’ve just got to be lookin’ fierce when you meet her.”
“Why? So she’s disappointed when I rip this shit off as soon as the clock strikes midnight?” Nadia snort-laughed. “Don’t even think you’re getting me in any damn heels,” she said as she shut the dressing room door behind them.
“Ha! If you think you’re wearing some nasty ass Chucks or your flip-flops, you’re a crazier bitch than I thought you were.”
Mattie pulled the first gown off its hanger and held it out to Nadia, who was still tugging off her pewter-colored T-shirt and unrolling the torn-on-purpose jeans. Nadia’s face crinkled, but despite the look, Mattie shoved it toward her forcefully with an expression on his face that Nadia knew too well. He would not be taking no for an answer, so she might as well suck it up and put on this little fashion show for him.
Nadia was a pleasant size sixteen, with full hips and ass and an average-sized chest, but she felt like she was struggling to get into the gown because she truly had no idea what she was doing. She watched herself in the mirror and thought she might as well have been trying to pull on a potato sack. But, when she finally got it on, she was shocked at the way her body looked. It fit right in all the places most women like to emphasize and hid all the places they don’t want anyone seeing.
Mattie laughed. “You look so surprised, girlie. It’s amazing what a gown can do for a girl who only wears jeans and T-shirts.” His hands ran over the soft bodice of the gown, emphasizing her curves. “Look at you, hot mamma! Do you see this body?”
Nadia swatted him away playfully with a shy smile. “Shut up, Mattie. You’re so dumb.”
Her gaze was locked on her reflection in the mirror. Aside from the fact that her blue-black hair was pulled up in a tight ponytail and she didn’t have a spot of makeup on, she was transfixed by the woman she saw before her. Sure, in her twenty-three years alive there’d been a few occasions that had called for a dress, but it was a rare occurrence. And standing there, seeing herself looking like an entirely different woman, she began to feel nervous.
“Why are you twisting your face like that, woman? You look fab.” Mattie reached for another gown and poked it in her direction. “Here. Try on the next one.”
But Nadia didn’t respond. She felt awkward and tugged at the gown like she was trying to escape from a straitjacket.
“What’re you freakin’ out about, chick?” Mattie moved toward her, his hands assisting in removing the gown before she ripped it off. “Here, I’m helping you. Stop!” He swatted at her hands, trying to stop her from destroying the beaded fabric.
“You were fine just a minute ago. Why you freakin’ out now?”
Nadia stood there in just a pair of snug, black boy shorts before plopping down on the dressing room floor dropping her head into her hands. “Ugh! Mattie, I hate this crap. It just isn’t me. I never went to any of those dances in high school or any of the fancy galas my parents always wanted me to go to, for this very reason. That shit just doesn’t look right on me.”
Mattie knelt next to her and stroked her head. “Love, you look brilliant. And it doesn’t have to mean you’re transforming into some sort of princess. It’s just for one night. This thing means a crap ton to your parents. I mean, hell, girl, your mother is the first female mayor of Bayside. You could at least do her a solid and show up looking the part of her daughter, not the tomboy-tough chick you pretend to be.”
Nadia lifted her head and grinned at him. “You always make things seem so fucking sunny, don’t cha?” She smirked and then reached for and hugged his neck. The two embraced briefly before she quickly pulled away. Nadia wasn’t into dresses, and she definitely wasn’t into affection either.
After a dozen or so dresses, Mattie convinced Nadia to pick a two-piece black-and-print gown. The black halter-top came to just above the navel. The bottom of the gown flowed full-length to the floor and was black with beautiful white oleanders all over. Mattie joked that the oleander was perfect since Nadia was poisonous as well. He agreed that the bottom of the gown was long enough that she could get away with wearing some Swarovski crystal-bejeweled, black gladiator sandals. Since she was already so tall, it was probably not a good idea to add any more height. Mattie told her that a six-foot-plus-tall glamazon woman might be intimidating wearing heels. They made a couple more stops to pick up an on-loan diamond necklace, bracelet, earrings, and hairband.
“How come you don’t just charge this shit, girl?”
Nadia laughed and punched him playfully in the arm. “My allowance isn’t that hefty.” They stopped in front of Auntie Annie’s pretzel place. “Besides, when would I ever wear this junk again?”
“You could always give it to a girl in need,” he pouted as he held out his downturned wrist to her, while his other hand was placed on his neck, where the necklace would hang.
They both cracked up laughing while the counter help stood there looking at them as if they were lunatics. “Did you want to place an order?” he said in a monotone voice, tufts of his shaggy black hair sticking out from beneath the edges of his uniform ball cap.
Trying to control their laughter, the two each ordered a cup of salted pretzel bites and a large, freshly squeezed lemonade. They paid, grabbed a handful of mustard packs, and made their way toward one of the food court tables. Mattie carefully draped the fabric-covered hanging bag over one of the chairs, and they set their other packages in the two extra chairs.
Nadia plopped down in one of the seats with a grumble. Her eyes scanned the mall around them. There were Christmas decorations hanging from everywhere they could possibly be hung. “Bah humbug,” she growled to no one in particular. “It looks like Santa threw up in here.” Nadia wasn’t very fond of the Christmas holidays, feeling as though they were no longer about giving but receiving. It just wasn’t her thing.
“What’s wrong, Scrooge? Don’t you know that this year Santa is going to bring you what you want for Christmas?”
“What’s that?” she asked Mattie, raising an eyebrow in anticipation.
“You’re gonna get the ‘it’ girl, love.” He scrunched his nose and said, “Then you can do all that sexy stuff you girls like to do.” Mattie pretended to gag.
Nadia laughed loud enough for other food court patrons to turn in their direction. She popped a pretzel bite in her mouth and talked around it. “You know me better than that, Mattie. I don’t get down like that, babe.”
“Yeah, I know. You’re not the sexual type. What do you call it?” He attempted to open a mustard pack, but managed to squirt it on his red polo. “Dammit!”
Nadia handed him a handful of napkins. “I’m just not sexual, if that’s what you’re referring to. You don’t have to call it anything.”
“Asexual! Yeah, that’s the word I was looking for,” he replied as he continued to make the mustard stain worse by scrubbing it.
“I just don’t dig sex is all. I’m not sure if that makes sense to such a prolific lover as yourself.” She snort-laughed at her own joke. He just glared back at her and gave up on the mustard stain.
“I don’t see how anyone can not enjoy sex. I couldn’t live without it.”
“That’s exactly what I mean: I can’t live with it. But”—she stressed her last word—“that doesn’t mean I don’t like to be affectionate sometimes. Like—” She cleared her throat. “—I don’t mind kissing, hugging, cuddling, and even fondling from time to time. But”—again she put emphasis on the word—“I just don’t desire sex.”
Mattie had an unusually confused look on his face when he replied, “But you’ve had sex before. Was it bad or something?”
She growled quietly. “Look, Mattie. We’ve been friends for how long now? Like four years?”
He nodded in agreement. “Something like that.”
“That’s the only reason I’m not strangling you right now for asking dumb-ass questions. Yeah. Yes, I’ve had sex in the past; however, that has nothing to do with the fact that I don’t find it even the slightest bit appealing. There’s been more than once that I did it to please the other person.” Nadia sighed, thinking back to the one person who she did partake of for her own sake.
Mattie cleared his throat, bringing her out of her reverie.
“Sorry, Mattie. I was just thinking back—”
“Was it Lauren? The one you did it for?”
“Damn, Mattie. Get off my ass about this.” She took a long drink of her lemonade. “Look, it isn’t much different than your relationships—if you wanna call them that—except that I don’t choose to be a horndog. No, bad sex isn’t the reason I’m asexual. It’s just not something I get into.” She pointed her finger at him and said, “And don’t even try to say that no one will want to be with me because I don’t get down like that. I know there’s someone who will understand. I just have to find them.”
“And I hope she’s out there, for your sake.” He seemed sincere and said no more about the subject.
“Thanks for being a good friend, Mattie. I appreciate you not judging me. It’s hard enough dealing with the ladies.” She smirked. “You done?” He nodded. “Let’s get outta here before they try to hang tinsel off us.”
The two of them laughed, grabbed their empties and packages, tossed the trash in the garbage can, and headed for the mall exit. Little was said between them as they headed for the town car waiting for them outside the Macy’s men’s section entrance.