By: Sara Wylde

“Don’t make me come back up here and drag you down. If you do, I’m bringing reinforcements.” Rosa went back through the door.

I leaned flat on the picnic table and looked up at the sky. That was something about the city that I didn’t like so well. I couldn’t see as many of the stars. It was important to me to see them, to feel wonder when I looked up at the sky. For some reason, it helped me breathe. It made me feel small and insignificant, but kind of magical at the same time.

“Don’t you just look like a midnight picnic,” Brant said from the door.

I sat up and smoothed my hands down the bodice and skirt of the dress. “I thought you were getting ready to go on.”

“I’ve got more important business.”

My smile came easy. “Really? Like what?”

“Like you.” He was serious. “I’ve been asking you out forever and now that you finally said yes, I don’t want you to change your mind.”

“It’s a little early for breakfast then, isn’t it?” The club didn’t close until two and he wouldn’t get out of there until three, so late night truck stop breakfast was one of the only things to do.

“We can do whatever you want. Dinner. Late movie.”

Whatever I wanted? My mind blanked. “It’s been so long since I’ve been out with someone, I don’t even know what we’re supposed to do.”

He shrugged. “Supposed to?” Brant made a face. “Fuck that. How about whatever we want to do?”

Suddenly, there wasn’t so much pressure to be any certain thing. To do any certain thing. It was just spending time together. That was something that logically I knew, but my social anxiety tried to convince me otherwise.

I grabbed my phone and texted the girls. Leaving with Brant. Catch you later. Xo

April wouldn’t care, but she’d want juicy details tomorrow morning. When she could walk. Hell, she’d probably be in my kitchen doing unspeakable things to my Keurig by the time I got up anyway.

After doing depraved things to my roommate. Damn it, I didn’t want to think about that.

“So what do you want to do?” I asked.

“There’s a late evening river cruise.” He checked his watch. “We might just make it. Or we can do the carriage ride on the Plaza.”

Those were much better options than the standard dinner and a movie gig. “The river cruise sounds fun. Are you sure you want to give up a Saturday night, though?” I knew the weekend was when they made the most money.

“I can afford a night off. My car’s in the lot.”

We took a seldom used exit to make our escape. He took my hand to help me down the stairs. His fingers were warm and strong curled around mine. Our hands were about the same size.

He was shorter than me by four inches, but he wasn’t exactly small. He wasn’t waif-like or slight. He had nice shoulders and guns just like all the guys that worked at The Rooster.

“Watch that last stair.” He still held my hand and made sure I didn’t trip. And all things being equal, I would have.


We went out to his car, a classic ‘67 Shelby Mustang. Red. “I’m going to have to take over the parking lot of The Rooster when I do my fashion shoots for Chubbalicious. I want girls on all of these cars wearing my designs.” I was only half teasing. That would make for an awesome spread.

“I’m game.”

Inspiration struck. “Dude. I want you and Kieran and maybe a few other guys in the shoot, too.”

“But you’re not selling men’s clothes.”

“No, but I’m selling an idea. An idea that women can be sexy no matter their size. And who better to show that than you guys all posed with my models?”

“Are you going to be in the shoot?”

“Certainly not. I’m the designer. Not the model.”

“I’ll pose with you.”

I laughed. That was crazy. I couldn’t put myself in the campaign. Could I? More importantly, did I want to? I hated pictures of myself more than a double-barreled yeast infection. Even before I’d gotten fat, I hated pictures of me. That’s not to say I didn’t think I was pretty. I was. But I wasn’t photogenic.

“How about one for you with me, and then you pose with Rosa for the site?”

“I guess I can work with that.” He grinned. “So are all of your friends posing? April isn’t exactly…”

I waited to see what word he was going to use.


That was about as tactful as he could be. “No, she’s not. She might model some of the shoes because she really wants to be involved.”