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Branching Out

The first date

By Koby SampsonPublished 2 years ago 5 min read
Branching Out
Photo by Sean Oulashin on Unsplash

Marla flexed whatever abdominal muscles she dearly hoped she had and sucked in her gut and held it there, having the twofold effect of masking her non-ironing board belly and pushing her chest out a smidge. She also wore a loose black Zeppelin top to further obscure the stomach she looked at in the mirror before her face every morning. She had, one morning, actually taken a silver dollar from her dad’s collection to verify that that was indeed the size of her areolas. They loomed large in her mind’s eye, infusing whatever daydreams of a date escalating to the stage of bra removal with a more-than-butterflies flutter of anxiety; same with the nickel-sized mole on her back that sprouted a single hair. She’d just plucked it out, and had about twenty-four hours in the clear.

A couple weeks ago, she had swallowed her pride and gave up all resistance to getting her copper-tinged brown mop changed to something called “Rodeo Drive” Blonde, along with cutting some layers in order to give it some discernible structure. It got a rave review from her mom, but Marla wasn’t so sure. The pride of reliance on whatever default biological settings had been bestowed on her had been gradually worn away by the forces that be. The de facto fashion establishment and tenuous tastemakers have extremely begrudgingly accepted the plus size model of woman, but the expectations still rhyme and have not laxed for the consumption of various beauty products.

She had tried before to impress on her brother the great fortune that he had. It still astounded her that he was allowed to go to school and work and play naked-faced without an iota of judgement. It’s calmed down some, but it’s still there. The backbiting murmurings.

Marla had been sitting in her car with the AC on full blast for about five minutes now, in order to keep her body at some sort of stasis and mitigate sweating. Kate Bush had been playing on her stereo the past hour as she had psyched herself up and driven up to Carmel from Salinas. She could pinpoint the exact moment that the property values increased by a zero and a comma. That’s where she was going. Into the quaint foggy lion’s den of the California elite. To meet a girl named Linda.


She looked at the message and the house and the message again, as she had done with the street sign.

This was the house.

A shiny postmodern postcard house. The front yard was a grotto with a blooming cherry tree in the middle, and a walkway of polished limestone slabs leading up to a monolith of a front door, all corralled in with a gleaming steel wall.

Jesus Christ. Oh, I don’t know.

She slapped the steering wheel.

Fortune belongs to the bold, goddammit.

Marla leaned her face into the vent, getting one final blast of cold air before she turned off the car and forced herself out onto the street.

The heels of her checkerboard vans clopped formally on the limestone as she made her intrepid way to the door. It was as tall as the whole house and had a three foot long vertical handle along the left side.

She steeled herself and pressed the button on the Ring console. It lit up red, and she heard the electronic doorbell tone echo inside.

Her heart hammered away inside her chest as she waited for the inevitable confrontation with failure or destiny or both.

The door swung mightily outward, and from behind it leaned Linda, and her head fluttered. She was so gorgeous, even more so than her profile.

Holy shit holy shit, I hope she doesn’t feel catfished.

“Hi Marla!”

Linda’s voice melted her.


“I got pizza called in, I hope that’s ok.”

“That’s totally fine, I’m an introvert too.”

Linda let out a trilling laugh that sounded too perfect to be real.

The house was rather acrylic on the inside, looking barely lived in. Linda glided across the floor in Birkenstocks to the counter and set out a plate for her.

There was wine.

It was a Zinfandel, and she poured it into whiskey tumblers.

“My dads a beer and whiskey man, never any wine in the house so there’s never a proper glass in the house either.”

“Hell, you could pour it right into my mouth.”

Another adorable laugh.

Two for two.

I got this.

The pizza was from a place in town, and Marla made a mental note of the name. Linda tore off her crusts. Marla ate them for her.

“So you’re at the Monterey Peninsula College?” Marla inquired.

“Yeah, just a communications degree, nothing too out of this world.”

“It’s more than I got. I’d get one if I could go to a campus like that.”

“Oh my god it’s gorgeous.”

Marla was two glasses deep and beginning to feel tipsy.

“So what do you do?”

“Almost nothing. I’m just getting this goddamn degree right now. What about you? I’ve heard enough about me.”

“There’s not much more to say about me, I’ve just been waiting all this shit out.”

“Yeah, not letting these last couple years get you.”

“No one’s getting out unscathed, just get out with the most.”

It was quiet again, but it didn’t bother her. The silence wasn’t awkward, rather it was mutual and organic. They shared it comfortably in equal slices.

Linda leaned her elbows on the table and arched her back.

Marla’s heart was thrumming at just about full speed. She wiped her palms off on her shorts before she made the move.

She lifted her hand from under the table and gently put her fingers on Linda’s hand, then locked eyes with her. Linda locked in with her azure eyes, smiled sweetly and took her hand into her own.

Without breaking eye contact or letting go, Linda got up and skirted the counter slowly. With her free hand, she brushed Marla’s hair back over her ear and traced her finger down her nape as she leaned in.

Marla was tingling and her breath was ragged, and she kept her eyes open until the last possible second to ensure her lips met hers perfectly. Her lips were sweet and her breath hot. The kiss happened in waves, breaking contact and finding each other again, strings of saliva stretching and breaking, in and out like the surf to the shore.

They both took a break to breathe and they embraced, listening to each other breathe.

“I needed this.”

“Oh me too. Me too.”


About the Creator

Koby Sampson

I’ve been a writer since I was about eight years old, and am now looking to make the transition to professional writer. If I could get paid to do this, each day would be better than the last.

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