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Happily ever after didn’t exist for her, though she inwardly craved it, even in its most realistic of manifestations. Oh, she’d already met her knight in shining armor. She knew it wasn’t a father complex though he was twenty-seven and a half years her senior, her birthday being on November fourth, his being on July fourth. Well, someone had to be born then, she thought before looking in the mirror. For all that she was curvy, she didn’t see it. She just didn’t see her appeal. Were she someone to view herself the way she viewed him, she’d see the paunch that came from years of eating her feelings and two miscarriages was pleasantly plump and that a lot of what she labeled grotesque fat was relaxed muscle. She just couldn’t see how any man could crave it. She was proud enough of her large breasts and her round butt. Even her thighs, of late, were acceptable. But she could not get past her gut. Formosa, which had that connotation of pleasingly curvy, would be what an Italian man would say of her. It would fall on deaf ears. She thought anyone who found her beautiful daft and was convinced that no man she found attractive would feel the same. That was, ever since him. He had high cheekbones, arched eyebrows, a square jawline, slim lips that in no way detracted from his appeal (rather went with it), and a scent and grin that drove her mad in the best way. Even his gray hair only added to the overall effect of making her need a drool bucket whenever she thought of him. He was a dad and that just made him a DILF. She kept a picture of him in her bedside drawer. This was her fantasy man, except he was all too real.
It had started when she began catering to the thought her parents had that she was overweight. He was her personal trainer. She remembered that his OCD would not permit him to allow anyone to make the mistake of calling him a physical trainer. It was personal trainer and physical therapist, both of which he was. Even that perfectionism was endearing. Her heart sang his praises, and it was all she could do to keep it together whenever she passed the gym at which she now used to train. He had advised her father that she should look elsewhere for a trainer due to his discomfort, nevermind that she wouldn’t make a single advance more than the one time she had. She had asked him out. When he’d said no, she had accepted it with all the grace she could muster at the time. She’d even gone through the motions of showing up and painting a feigned smile on her face for him. The “no” had belied years of having erections against her inner thighs, the reason she’d even had the confidence to ask him out.
She would knit. It wasn’t anything intricate though it seemed that way to those who didn’t know. She’d made a scarf for him and two for his daughter, one blue and pink, one purple. She never told anyone. The one for him was green, the color his blue eyes turned in the sunlight. They were baby blue, but aquatic-looking, like a pool. It was a pool she wanted to swim in for the rest of her time on earth.
She was Pagan, meaning she didn’t have standard-issue beliefs. Her life would be longer, and she still wanted him in it. Through love by proxy, she wanted Anna there too. That was his daughter’s name. David was his. Elizabeth was hers.
Elizabeth Smith would never be her name. She knew and bemoaned the fact in some way every day. Because she was in love with him, she would always be Elizabeth Chevigny, stuck with her maiden name and likely a bunch of cats for the rest of her life. It would be a sentence instead of a gift.
She could torture herself all she liked about the erections and what they meant. It wouldn’t change his decision. Her stars were no longer aligned, and wouldn’t align with his.
One Saturday, he was doing paperwork in his office. He called her over. She had no idea why. She went, out of pure curiosity. She noted there was no one else at the gym, a phenomenon that had occurred more than once before.
She sat down, looking defeated and confused. She finally looked up and it wasn’t until then that he spoke.
“I’ve asked you here to talk things over.”
She let out an exasperated breath, but girded herself for whatever lay ahead.
“How are you?” he asked.
“Fine.” She was anything but.
“If you’re going to be stubborn, this won’t work. I’m not here to tell you you completely misfired when you asked me out.”
Her jaw fell open. The only other indicator she knew what he meant was the lewd gesture of her forefinger going up like an erection.
He laughed a little. “Yes, I had them, and yes, they were over you. But my dick isn’t the only thing that speaks for me.”
“Considering your decision it doesn’t speak for you at all.”
“I only made that decision because I thought you didn’t want what I want.”
“What do you want?”
“A relationship, for me and for my daughter.”
“What does boyfriend mean to you? That’s what I asked you to be.”
“I thought you were h-humoring me.”
She smiled, adoring his stutter.
“You laughing at me?”
She shook her head. “I find you priceless.”
“So why did you ask me out?”
“I want a relationship,” she said simply, shrugging.
“Well, good. But what about my daughter?”
“She’s cute and priceless too. And what about your being sort of in a relationship?”
“I meant her.”
She nodded, oddly happy.
“What else do you want to know?”
“Why the ageism? We’re compatible in other ways.”
He smiled and laughed to himself at her tenacity. “It was about your emotional maturity. I remember one time when you mentioned you wanted to be called hot instead of beautiful.”
“To a guy, that says you want to date around, not have something steady.”
“Oh. I just meant that it feels good to be called hot.”
“Oh.” He nodded. “So how do we proceed?”
Another shrug. “I’m working off you. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”
He gently put his hand on her cheek. “That’s sweet.” Then he kissed her.
She was surprised at first, then seduced by it. Eventually she found herself holding him close from around his neck while he held her by the waist.
He broke the kiss and grinned when he saw her dazed expression.
“You laughing at me?”
He shook his head. “No. I just feel very lucky.”
Anna broke the silence by running into the office. She hugged him fiercely around the legs and he hugged her back, laughing. Elizabeth couldn’t help but smile.