Short Story Series- You got Scammed – Chapter 9

They had just reached the food court and had put in their orders and were waiting for their food. She had offered to pay as it was a habit of hers to treat her friends, and plus she figured she had chosen this ramen place. He hadn’t even offered to pay… but ohwell.

“Soo…you said you worked as a chef she asked?”. Trying to break the awkward silence. Both of them had their masks on still.

“Yeah. Well, I am training to become a chef.. So I am just a kitchen-hand at the moment. But due to Covid-19 I think they will be reducing a lot of the staff, so I have a feeling I will lose my job soon”. He said sadly.

“Oh, sorry to hear that, do you have any ways of supporting yourself if you do lose your job?.” She asked.

“Well my mother has been sending money to me from Japan to support me. But I don’t want to rely on her so much….My lease for the apartment in the city will end at the end of this month as well, so I also need to look for a cheaper place to rent.”

“Oh..I. see… so no plans to go home? Do you like living in Australia?” She asked. She tried to sound as sympathetic as she could, but a part of her felt like he wasn’t telling the truth.

“Yeah, I want to stay here…but I can’t with no job and no money to pay rent.” He said somewhat sadly.

“Oh…is it hard to find another job at the moment?”. Lilly asked. She didn’t really know much about the hospitality industry, just that it had taken a huge hit because of Covid.

“Yeah it’s really hard right now. A lot of my friends have already lost their jobs and gone back to their home countries. I am really lucky to have had a job for so long. But I don’t think I will be able to stay when I lose my job too.”.

“Ahh that sucks”. She really did not know what to say or how to respond.

“I am also planning to go back to Japan for the death anniversary of my ex-girlfriend too, it might be hard to come back to Australia after that” He said.

“Oh, I see..yeah that’s true. There are limited overseas flights in and out of Australia at the moment and it’s so expensive!” She said.

Just then the food vendor shouted the number for their order and they went to get their food to eat outside as indoor dining was not allowed. They found a table and bench outside and sat down.

This was it, she was finally going to see his face.

“Well I guess we can finally see each other’s faces! Or we could eat with the masks on I guess..” She said jokingly.

They both went to remove their masks and put it on the table….

Short Story Series- You got Scammed – Chapter 8

Oh Shit. He had seen her already…well this was awkward. She slowly looked towards her right and saw the same masked man that she had seen in the video. Well, at least he was the same person in the video call. However, nothing like on his profile photos.

She quickly put her mask on and opened her door and went to greet him. She had to be polite at least. Scammer or not, he was still a person…right? Her strict upbringing meant she was always taught to be kind and polite to everyone she met. She took a deep breath and said..

“Hi! Are you Hiroshi?” she asked a bit nervously.

She couldn’t see his face, but she could feel him smiling through the mask.

“Hello Lilly! I am so glad to finally meet you! I have to say, you look better in person than in your photos!” He said delighted.

Ummm…how was she even supposed to respond to that? That he looked worse than his photos? Well, he looked nothing alike his photos?

“Uhh, thanks? I guess? I am pretty bad at taking photos of myself..haha, but I guess you are good at taking photos, because your photos looked cool?” … More like because you look nothing like your photos she thought to herself.

As if he had read her mind, he replied, “I do get that a lot! The photos on my profile are pretty old…I haven’t updated them in a while..haha…I gained a lot of weight since coming to Melbourne. I think I gained 15 kg since I got here in January…and the lockdown, you know..it changed how I looked haha…” His tone gave out the impression he was little nervous, but he seemed he had rehearsed this story multiple times.

“Oh… I see! Haha I think I gained weight too during this year…but I did some work outs at home…sooo I think it wasn’t that much”. Lilly said awkwardly.

“Are you disappointed? That I look worse in real life.” He asked suddenly in a somewhat sad tone with a hint of joking..

Wow. He was …So direct.

“Ohhh no I am not disappointed! Looks doesn’t matter that much anyway to me! Shall we go to the food court?” She stammered, trying to change the subject. Let’s get this over and done with.

“Yeah! Let’s go! I can’t wait to try this ramen store that you recommend!”

As they walked towards the food court, Lilly thought about how she would respond to seeing his face for the first time and getting to know him. It would confirm or reject the conclusion that she had that she smelled a catfish..

Short Story Series- You got Scammed – Chapter 6

“Oh…but what if we ever met up? Would you still be too shy to meet up then also?”. She asked curiously. This guy was acting sooo weird., what was he hiding under his mask? Why was he so relunctant to reveal how he looked like?

“I’ll only take my mask off when we meet up. So when are you free? Let’s meet up really soon,as I really want to see you in person”. Hiroshi said playfully.

Lilly didn’t know how to answer. Was it safe to meet someone who was so cautious about revealing their face? She had no way to confirm that the person on the other side of the screen was who they said they were. However, she felt drawn towards this mysterious person and she wanted to find out who they really were, so she guessed she would just play along for now.

“Ohhh sure. That’s fine! I Just had hoped to see your face online before we met, but anyways…are you free this Saturday? Do you want to meet at Central M-City Mall? Maybe we can have lunch at the food court there? I heard they have a really nice ramen store!”

“That sounds like a plan! What time should we meet?” he said enthusiastically.

“How about 12 pm at the M-City train station?” She suggested.

“Sounds great! I can’t wait to finally meet you! I am so excited!” he replied.

“Uhh.. me too”. His enthusiasm was somewhat contagious even though it seemed absurd that he would be so excited to meet a girl he had literally talked to for like …two days?

“Sorry, I am going to head to bed soon, I’ll see you on Saturday then?” She said.

“Sweet dreams beautiful girl! I am going to be so excited I won’t be able to sleep”. He laughed.

“..hhahha good night…” She hung up the phone. Semi creeped out, but also loving the attention that she was receiving. She hadn’t had any dates that had been so genuinely interested in her or had called her beautiful. It felt nice, but she still had that nagging doubt in her stomach that something did not seem right with this Hiroshi. Who was he and what was he hiding underneath that mask?

Short Story Series- You Got Scammed- Chapter 2

Lilly looked at her phone in surprise, the tiredness slipping away momentarily. Another two “Ding! Ding!” sounds went off on her phone as Hiroshi send another two messages. She pressed the notifications, the first message read, “Hi Lilly! How are you? Thank you so much for matching with me!”. The second message said, “I am so happy you matched with me, I promise I will be loyal to you forever if you let me. Lmao”. The third and final message said, “Now that I have found you, I am going to delete Hinge. Can I have your mobile number please?”.

Lilly stared at the messages not knowing what to think. This guy was so…forward? She liked that in a guy and he promised loyalty too…She had bad experiences of exes who had cheated on her or were constantly flirting with other girls in front of her and she wanted to avoid any guy that was like that. Sure, maybe he was bullshitting. But to ask me for my number this early on? She wasn’t sure that was a safe thing to do this early in their encounter. Hmmm, she was not going to give her number straight away, but how should she respond to him…? She typed, “Hi Hiroshi! I should thank you for matching back with me. So can you tell me about yourself? Can we talk on Facebook or Instagram instead? I don’t like giving my number out to people who I don’t know that well yet.” She sent the message and waited for a few minutes. Not seeing a response, she decided to go to sleep….

That night she dreamt about her first love, the one who had promised to love her and only her for the rest of her life. They had plans of getting married, having kids, and the future of things that the planned to do. But, all of that burnt into the ground as ashes when she found out that he had been cheating on her. She couldn’t forgive him, she couldn’t imagine trusting him again…and from there on she was scarred, deformed, and hesitant to trust men again. Trust issues…SUCK… Why does trust take so long to build, yet can be so easily destroyed?

Would this new guy she just met be able to be the guy for her? I mean it was just words. Do words even really mean anything these days? But Lilly was lonely, if you never let your guard down and let anyone in, you will forever remain all alone. But, when you let your guard down, you can get hurt….I guess you just have to choose whether it’s worth taking the risk or not…