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I’ve never really seen myself as pretty. I never found myself ugly either, but no more than average would I ever be. I didn’t expect to be sought after, didn’t expect to attract anyone the way I wanted to. I tried, I tried numerous times, but it never really worked. Not that I knew of anyway.
It started last summer. I was becoming more comfortable in my own skin, and I decided to start showing it off. All my clothes were fitted perfectly to every curve, well, every curve they covered. My tank tops had thin, almost nonexistent straps. My shorts barely touched the tops of my thighs. My cleavage was extreme, and I loved my appearance.
Even then I didn’t think I would attract any attention. I didn’t notice the stares I was getting from those of the opposite sex, not until they were pointed out to me. I knew it was expected I would find this repulsive, and normally this would have been the perfect reaction for me, but not now. I liked it; I liked it a lot more than I should have.
My summer wasn’t filled with many activities, I only had the occasional odd job to pick up some extra cash, and then the rest were outings with various friends. The days I had nothing to do, and there were many, I spent laying outside, soaking up the warm sun on my bare skin. A playlist with my favorite songs was the only thing that kept me company. I didn’t need anyone else. I was perfectly content.
Summer days dwindled, and I began high school. Because of my many days spent in the sunlight, my skin had a pretty golden glow. And although I did have to cover up a bit more to fit dress code, I still gave myself ample cleavage. I felt it was my reminder of summer days, with my tight clothes and tan skin.
By this time I had perfected my flirting routine. I had been practicing on any person I had noticed was watching me with a look of lust in their eyes. Shaking my head so my pin straight hair, a result of my flat iron and a twenty fourth of my day, would sway as it fell down my back. As I walked, I made sure my hips swung back and fourth, I commanded the hallways. I created my own playfully embarrassed smile, making those around me think I was looking at them the same way they looked at me, with a feeling of lust.
My greatest accomplishment was seducing someone I had met after only an hour. I could see I made him nervous, but it was obvious he didn’t want me anywhere that wasn’t in his line of vision. I made sure to give him just what he wanted, making him fall deeper into my trap. Never before had it been so easy, so within my reach.
I reveled in the fact I was attractive. It was a new concept that I might be pretty, that I might be worthy of someone’s undivided attraction. I never planned on letting that go. But why stop with one person? I felt I had enough, but I didn’t see the need to stop my flirting.
The second one I had been working on for a while. I was drawing this one out with a purpose, as when I finally went in for the kill I wanted to keep him within my clutches for a long time. It was easy in the end; all I needed to do was give him a little push. After that, he was all mine.
The next one wasn’t even someone I was actually working on. I saw nothing in him, nothing at all that resembled even the slightest bit of attraction. He was just…there. When I began to even notice what I was doing to him, it was too late to snap him out of it. I watched him fall harder and harder, slightly intrigued by how sure he was his feelings were returned. Even after I told him a flat out no he persisted, still sure I was mesmerized with love for him.
The fourth. Ah, the fourth. He was merely hours after the third, so I wasn’t expecting it. He was sweet, his words were only kind, his goal in life to make me smile. We spoke about problems, told each other stories of our pasts. Sometimes we would playfully argue, laughing the entire time. But even with all of that, I didn’t notice anything different about how he felt about me other than a strong friendship we had built over the past few months. He had to tell me for it to click in my mind.
I had a different reaction with him. I didn’t say anything, didn’t look into his eyes. I hugged him. I wrapped my arms around him and held him tight. We stayed like that, perfectly still for a few seconds. I let him go, and just looked at him. For once, I wasn’t entirely sure what to say. At this point in time I wasn’t single, but my relationship was coming to a rapid close. Even so, I wasn’t on the prowl for a new one just yet.
I was honest with him. I wasn’t sure jut yet, and I felt he deserved to know that. I told him I was going to think, going to see how I felt about him now with this new information playing about in my head. He agreed, refusing to let it faze him. I smiled at him. Even now he was happy and hyper, just like always.
That night, I was speaking to a few friends as I readied to go to bed. Only one I had confided in told him everything I had experienced throughout the day. He listened, laughing at the stupidity of the over-confidence of the third, and smiling at the kindness of the fourth. He offered no advice, saying the decision was up to me. But he did listen. He listened for as long as I spoke, offering the occasional reaction when one of them did something incredibly ignorant, almost always the third. I briefly wondered if this friend would become the fifth, but I tried to reject the idea.
As much as I tried pushing the thought out of my head, I kept imagining how the conversation would play out if he were to become the fifth. I imagined we would be alone, no one around to eavesdrop on the conversation. I thought it might be different from the others, who told me as they walked or sat beside me, never brave enough to look into my eyes, lest I see into them, every weakness, every opening. They knew they would be giving away too much too fast, and they knew it to be true.
But he would look into my eyes as he spoke. He would be nervous, yes, but he would hold my gaze instead of avoiding it at all costs. I would look at him with a thoughtful gaze, not showing any true emotion until after he finished. Only then would I show him a smile.
I snapped out of my fantasy at that moment. What did I mean I would smile? Where was my racing mind, trying to figure out the perfect way to tell him no? Didn’t I want to tell him no? Or did I want to say yes? Where was this coming from? How could I be the one with the attraction for him? That just didn’t happen anymore.
He told me goodnight, that he was going to sleep, and that he would see me in the morning. He didn’t know about my sudden epiphany, how I suddenly realized he was doing to me exactly what I was doing to the four before him. The only difference was I wasn’t going to tell. I was going to keep quiet, act like nothing had happened. I didn’t want to receive the no I had been giving out so many times already.