By: Sara Wylde


“You’re pretty. For a fat girl.”

For a second, I wasn’t sure it had actually happened. An insult is one thing, but that kind of “compliment” is like getting hit in the face with a baseball. You feel the impact, but then you go numb and you’re never quite sure if something’s broken or not.

But no blood gushed down my face and when my vision cleared from the cloud of disbelief, I could see none running down his face either. He didn’t know it, but today was his lucky day. It was even money whether I would have punched him or not.

I took a deep breath, and smiled. “You’re hot. For a douchebag.”

I decided that since I’d done the time, I might as well do the crime and headed over to the dessert table. Champagne and chocolate truffle cheesecake for my trouble.

“Oh, hey. Come on. I didn’t mean it like that,” he said, as he walked up behind me.

I’ve never understood this about people. What other way could he possibly mean it? It wasn’t that I thought “fat” was an insult. It was an adjective, like any other. No, it was the way he said it that was insulting. The compliment that came with a condition, the kiss before the kick. It seemed to me like fatness had become the last legal and socially acceptable form of discrimination. Like anyone could just say anything to me, because I dared to exist while being fat.

“You know what you look like,” he said.

I didn’t even know this guy’s name and I had to say that I didn’t care to. “Are you talking to me? And if so, why are you still talking to me?” And I did know what I looked like. I was 5’10 and a size twenty-six, with DDD breasts that looked amazing in my cherry-print pin-up dress, which complemented my victory-rolled hair, my half-sleeve of tattoos and my Kat Von D lipstick in Oh My Goth. Yeah, I knew what I looked like. I looked fucking fabulous.

“Because you’re pretty.”

“For a fat girl,” I added. “There, I fixed that for you.”

“Okay, so maybe that didn’t come out the way I meant it.”

“I’m pretty sure it did.” I grabbed a flute of champagne and scanned the crowd for April. It was her birthday and she was the only reason I’d bothered to show up to a party at—I looked around for the name of the restaurant—somewhere I couldn’t pronounce, let alone afford.

“Look, I was just startled. I’ve never been attracted to a woman like you before.”

“I’ve never been attracted to a man like you.” That was a lie. I’d spent my teen years pining over guys like him. Perfect smile, broad shoulders, chiseled jaw… the standard football player-boy-next-door type who only went for size zero, blond cheerleaders. I had no reason to set myself up for that kind of disappointment.

“Can we start over? I’m Gavin.”

I finally turned to look at him. He seemed sincere. I’d done my own share of tripping over my tongue and I guess the least I could do was agree. That didn’t mean I had to like him, or talk to him, or even go home with him. It was just a conversation. I’d taught myself a long time ago not to let words mean anything to me. Unless they were my own.

“I’m Claire.”

“I know.” He looked sheepish. “April and I work together at Bausch.”

Oh sweet Jesus. This was the Gavin she was always talking about wanting to set me up with. “Well, I guess that was a big fail, wasn’t it?”

“What was?” He cocked his head to the side.

Heat climbed my neck and spread up over my face. I was sure I was blushing. She must not have mentioned it to him. Color me embarrassed. “Nothing. I’ve got to go.”

“You just got here.”

“Seems that way, doesn’t it?” I started scanning the crowd for my roommate, Kieran. He’d driven us there, since my car was currently in the garage and would probably be there until shit stuck to the moon, or I paid off my Torrid credit card. Neither would ever happen.

“Can I give you my card?”

“Why would you want to do that?”

“You make it hard on a guy. I’m trying to ask you out.”

I knew his type. He thought since I was fat, I was easy. He’d show me a little attention, I wouldn’t say no because guys like him didn’t like girls like me. What a bunch of crap. Before I could answer, it was as if Kieran had sensed my distress and was at my side. He was a great wingman.

“You ready to go? We’ve got that thing.” He nodded to the door.

“Yeah. Let me find April and say goodbye.”

“She’s coming to the thing.” He grabbed my elbow.