Status: :~)



When Sarah first started talking with MusicHouse74, she had fantasized.

She had predetermined what his mannerisms would be: how he would talk, how his hands would move along with his lips, how he would blink his eyes in rhythm of his syllables. She had created this mannequin that could flirt and make her heart flutter. She had aged him down to a sweet eighteen.

The first time he called her a bitch, Sarah imagined him with a crooked tooth and long fingers. The nails would be yellow from smoking cigarettes, and he had a shadow of a beard. He was now twenty. He lived vicariously, and that made him rough around the edges.

As he began talking about his career, Sarah, in turn, imagined herself as an adult. She had much longer, blonder hair with a pencil skirt to match. Her profession (whatever it was, she never decided on that one) required her to wear heels. She had to have been a business tycoon who was feared and also respected. She would come home from work and have MusicHouse74 greet her at their door.

She wanted to pretend that she was older than she really was. She was always open about her actual age, but Sarah wanted to appear to be mature. She was above all her other classmates. She was deserving of these fantasies. She was deserving of MusicHouse74's real attention.

What Sarah kept coming back to was that she was a child, and MusicHouse74 was an adult. Why would an adult want to waste his time on her? So, Sarah felt like if she used big words, if she did not talk about school, if she only talked about her future vaguely, MusicHouse74 would forget about her age.

Online, he never seemed to care. He complimented her often, messaged her sporadically through out the day, and chastised her whenever she got out of line. He treated her like an equal.

And sure enough, the fantasies moved to them with their true ages. Sarah was okay that he was in his forties, as long that he was okay that she was in her teens. That was easy to maintain when they just messaged online. Sarah still always pictured herself with sharper cheek bones, no childhood roundness, and at a taller stature. Sarah imagined herself like how you see a teenager on a tv show, the ones that have actors in their thirties playing them.

She had dissociated her appearance from their conversations, and she felt like she was the stranger sitting at this table. Sarah was the liar.

MusicHouse74 had on thin framed glasses, and a longer nose than what she perceived from his photo listed on the employee page of the community college. His skin looked fresh. No visible pores, beard cleanly trimmed, no puffiness around his eyes. Along with his clothes, which looked freshly ironed, MusicHouse74 looked radiant.

Sarah was aware of how she looked. She tightened her cardigan around her torso, trying to hide her t-shirt. She wished she wore a simple dress, she wished she didn't have mud on her shoes. She only dressed to be comfortable, not to make an impression. She wondered if MusicHouse74 would judge or commend for it.

Sarah couldn't find words. She stared at him, rather awkwardly, and she wondered if she should ask him his name or fess up that she had researched him beforehand. Did she call him by his username out loud? There was no social etiquette for this because this was outside society's norm.

MuiscHouse74 studied her. He didn't speak either. He looked mischievous, like he was completely at ease and he was laughing inwardly at Sarah's reaction. Would he ask Sarah her name? Or would he just continue to call her Pink?

Sarah wanted him to speak first. She wanted to know how level his voice was, if he tapped his teeth with tongue, if there was a twang to his syllables. She had imagined the man but just down to what he was physically. She knew his personality through their chats, but she was never able to put a voice to the text.

She wanted to know, truly, who she was meeting with.

Sarah reached for her coffee, mostly watered down from the ice at this point, and took a sip. She kept her eyes on MusicHouse74. He smiled, amused.

"So," he leaned forward across the table, getting closer to her face, "what are you drinking?"

"Just coffee." He didn't respond to that. "Are you going to get something to drink?" Sarah wanted to get him talking.



He just nodded at that. He was studying her, watching her too closely. His eyes kept dipping down to her fingers curled around her cup, to the neckline of her shirt, and back to catch her gaze for only a second. Sarah didn't like it.

"You drag me to a coffee shop," Sarah began, "in the middle of school hours, made me walk in the cold, waited for you to show up for forever, only for you to tell me you don't want anything to drink?"

He smiled. A real smile, teeth bared and everything. "I'm not a fan on caffeine. I do like this place though. It's.." he shakes his head side to side as he thought for the word, a strange, playful mannerism, "quaint."

"It's a coffee shop," Sarah said, "we could be sitting anywhere. A park bench would be quaint. You chose this place for a reason. Why?"

"We would be cold on a park bench."

"No we wouldn't. It's already twenty degrees hotter outside than it was when I first got here. There's a reason, MusicHouse, you gotta fess up." Sarah had pressed both her palms flat on the table as if she was bracing herself. She did not like the way that MusicHouse74 was watching her.

He seemed too annoyed. There was a devilish glint behind his eyes - that was playful. There was no harm in good teasing, Sarah was good at teasing, but even over chat, MusicHouse74 liked to have his way. Every time she poked at his word choice, challenged what he said, he grew annoyed. He would call her out over it in chat, make sure Sarah understood exactly who she was talking to, and that type of behavior would not be allowed.

MusicHouse74 liked control.

Sarah wondered if he would chastise her in public. She wondered if he was the same man online and in real life.

"I like the paintings," he pointed at the frames on the walls. "They're made by local artists. They're not the best, so to say, but I like how they integrate the community into their business here. They're also open late, so I come down here to grade papers. No one ever talks to me, so I figured it would be the next best thing to being completely alone with you."

Sarah smiled up at him before taking another sip of her coffee. She was growing disappointed. She wanted a scathing reply.

She wanted something she could work with. "You wanted to be alone with me?"

"Wasn't that point of this?" He leaned forward once more, his entire presence taking up the surface of the table now, "What are you drinking anyways, Pink? Didn't ya Mom ever tell you caffeine was bad for a growing girl?"

"No," she replied too fast. She wanted him to say something sharp, "And, this isn't exactly alone. Again, we would have a lot more privacy on a park bench."

He took a sharp breath in, straightening against the back of his chair, "What were you expecting from today?"

What was Sarah expecting from today?

She knew that she wanted the sweat on the back of her neck, she knew that she wanted the butterflies in her stomach to take flight, she knew that she wanted to be afraid of what passerby's would hear come from MusicHouse's mouth.

He was guarding himself. He was afraid of what they looked like sitting here.

He wouldn't dare call her a bitch as she sipped on a coffee surrounded by other patrons ordering lattes. He wouldn't slip up like that - Sarah had fantasized a little too much on what this meeting would be like.

"Where would you have me" Sarah hated the way her words sounded - much too old for her mouth.

MusicHouse barked out a laugh, no one looked towards their table. They were a natural scene together. "Where would you prefer to be?"

The truth was that Sarah would rather be home, sitting in front of her computer screen, logged in and waiting for MusicHouses74's response. She'd rather be at school, getting ready to eat the brownie her mother packed her.

She was having doubts about what type of man MusicHouse74 was - maybe he was all bark in theory, never once bit. Maybe she was just a lot more interested in the persona her fronted. She wanted to see his crooked tooth come out.

"I thought we would be alone - truly."

And, he gave her the smile that she had been waiting for.
♠ ♠ ♠
next chapter will be a lot better i promise