Lilly couldn’t help staring across the table in nervous expectation at how the man she had been talking to all week looked like…
He was… chubbier than she had imagined…a mask really does change and hide the shape of the face. This reminded her of a Webtoon she once read, in which all of the characters had to wear masks to conceal their face. They were only allowed to take their masks off to their immediate family members and lovers. Who would have thought that this would become a reality for her as well.
But, he was not bad. Cute..maybe if you really squinted your eyes a little. Did he look like any of the blurred and pixelated photos on his dating profile? Nope. This was a completely different person sitting in front of her… She was such a fool. Who was this person? Was he going to try get something from her?
“Hey! You didn’t have to hide your face! You look alright!” She said, she felt nervous when she didn’t know what to say.
“I can see it in your eyes! You are disappointed that I don’t look like my photos right?”. He said, pointing out the obvious.
“Well, as you said they were really old photos right? Before you somehow gained 15 kg?”. She said trying to recall their previous conversation.
“Yeah something like that. I used to practice Muay Thai and kick boxing in the United States before coming here…But I didn’t do any exercise since I moved here. I cam at the worst time”. He laughed.
“Say, are you living on your at the moment?” He asked suddenly.
Why did he suddenly want to know about this she wondered?…
“Well kind of, I am sharing a house with a few other people..but I guess I have my own kitchenette and bathroom, so its not too bad. I just share the laundry room with the others.” She said carefully, she didn’t want to make it sound she lived alone.
“Oh…how much is the rent there? I need to move out from the place in the city soon and moving to your suburb should be cheaper I think…” He said.
“Oh..ummmm its probably about $300 a week? Not including electricity or Wifi…” She said.
“Oh…that’s still more expensive than I thought! I guess I will have to keep looking for a place sharing with more people”. He said disappointingly..
“Oh…What’s your budget per week?” She asked.
“Hmmm…Maybe around $150 a week?”.. He said hopefully.
“Oh…haha that’s half my rent…are you offering to share my rent?” She said nervously. What was he trying to hint at?
“No…of course not~! I don’t think I can afford that…especially since it doesn’t cover all the bills..I mean…I can offer to cook and clean for you if you would like, in exchange for board!” He said hopefully.
I don’t even know you mate, and you are already offering to move in she thought.
“Haha! Yes, that would be great. I am incredibly lazy to cook sometimes!” She tried to laugh it off.
“Oh YUM. This is really delicious!” She said trying to change the topic and focusing on eating her ramen instead.
“Yeah it is great! Thank you for the meal. Let me treat you next time to something nice and even more delicious ..” He said while eating some ramen.
They ate in silence for a few minutes. The silence was then broken by the iconic facebook notification sound coming from his phone. She could see someone had sent him a emoji of someone blowing a kiss flashed across the screen.
“Oh sorry about that! I should really put my phone on silent my phone during our date!” He turned his phone over and pressed a few buttons on his phones, I am guessing to turn off his notifications.
Strange. She recalled him clearly saying he had no social media accounts. Does she call him out now? was that weird? Hmm…So suspicious.
“Sooo anyway Lilly. Tell me all about you! What are you doing for a living and how are you surviving during covid?” He asked.
How about you tell me about YOURSELF? Is what she thought in her head, but she held herself back in saying it out loud.
“WELL to be honest, I am actually doing it pretty hard myself at the moment. I have a huge credit card bill that I have to pay off soon but I don’t have any money in my bank! I know this is quite sudden and we just met, but is there any chance that you could lend me $500? I actually need $1000, but anything helps”. She lied. She had read somewhere online that if you wanted to avoid being asked to borrow money, you have to ask FIRST. She hated lying but she had a gut feeling he would be asking her for money.
“….What?” He said, looking flabbergasted.
“Yeah, I am really sorry to ask you. But I promise to pay you back as soon as I get my next paycheck!” She said. Wow she should win an Oscar with her hopefully convincing act.
“Oh…sorry…I don’t think I can. Why don’t you ask you family or friends to lend it to you?”. He said sounding a bit pissed off.
“Yeah..too bad that are being hit REAL bad due to Covid too..”She said sadly.
“OHHH…I am SOOO sorry. I think I have to attend to an emergency at work!” He said looking at his phone screen which was blank.
“I’ll definitely make it up to you next time? My shout”. He winked and was off.
Sure you will..And that was the last time she ever heard or saw from him again. His number suddenly stopped working and as he “did not have” any social media accounts, he really was gone.
Good riddance Mr too good to be true.
Thank you for reading my first short story series!
Please stay tuned for more in the future 😀 !