1: Coq or cock?
My name is known all around my city.
Not because I wear three-inch-stilettos to walk the neighbour’s dog in the morning, or because my nightgown is my outfit for grocery shopping on Sundays.
Feminine beauty is strong and bold. I refuse to let that go unseen.
I wipe my thick eyeliner as I swipe through my Tinder candidates for the day. Kinda bald, left. Too bulky, left. Pistachio suit? Iconic. Left.
I let out a sigh grabbing my red lip balm and applying a shiny layer on my lips. Giving one last glance at my phone, I decided tonight will be a casual soirée in Stephen’s apartment. I made a quick mental note to carry a pair of black leggings in my bag before leaving the house.
Once my hair was neat in a ponytail, I picked my bag on one shoulder and I locked the door behind me.
The street had a different crowd, it kept changing every hour. I like it here. I never get to see the same face twice so I take my time to smile at each person I walk by.
I’m Layla and you probably heard of me from your best guy friend. Not the gay one.
The sun that burned me alive in the morning was now cold. Crazy how we experience four seasons in one day.
Talk about climate change.
I’ve always loved to dance. My father thought it was an easy way into prostitution and God forbids we have a prostitute in his family.
I wouldn’t say we don’t. We could’ve though.
When I left home, I got into Ballet. And that’s the only class I never skip. D’ailleurs, university was never an option.
When I finally left the ballet room, it was after eight. I skipped the shower and threw on a jacket over my thin dress. Stephen’s apartment is only two streets away. He better be free tonight because I didn’t take the extra step of calling.
The weather is too lovely to be home with a man I barely care about. I reached for my phone and logged into Tinder once again, rechecking if I got any exciting matches.
Hair too long, left.
Neon pink nails? Iconic. Left.
Eyes too Asian for my taste but kinda hot.
Right swipe. Instant match.
Now on to the hardest part. Getting my distracted mind to commit to the conversation.
I stopped to get a pack of chocolate mint candy while I waited for my notifications to buzz with messages from my new match, Kyle.
Fifteen minutes later, I was on Stephen’s apartment complex door and no message from Kyle.
This is it, Stephen. I have no other choice.
I tucked my phone in my jacket’s pocket and took a deep breath entering the elevator. As I approached Stephen’s door, the delicious smell of shrimp soup and chicken hit my nostrils. I almost felt myself salivating as I inhaled it deeply.
Now we’re sure he’s home.
A typical night chez the Dupont household.
Stephen wasted no time opening the door with his usual proud smile. He gave me a kiss on the lips as his hand reached for my waist in an attempt to deepen it. He was attractive for a 50-year-old, I had to give him that.
I, on the other hand, wasted no time dodging his attempt.
“Are you expecting someone?” I asked making my way through his tiny salon and to the kitchen. “It smells so good!”
“I’m making a classic Soupe aux crevettes," he said in his pretty french tongue. That’s what got me interested in the first time.
The way it rolled out the words. The french R I could never master, the beautiful U, and the language fillers, his euh and bah.
“Soupe aux shrimps,” I repeated in an Americanized french accent, taking a spoon and digging into the bowl to get a taste. Always a good chef. My eyes quickly drifted to the large plate on the counter. “And what is that?”
Stephen walked confidently to his masterpiece and proudly announced, “This is Coq au vin, my love.”
“Cock as in cock?” My eyes widened and a smirk planted on my lips.
“Yes, ma chérie. Coq.” He smiled.
It doesn’t look like a penis though. And whose penis was it? I approached taking a closer look. “Where did you get this?”
Stephen’s eyebrows locked in a confused expression. “Eh, the supermarket.”
America is a free country after all.
“Take a seat, let me serve you my coq, braised with wine and mushrooms.” He smirked pulling a chair for me. I took off my jacket and placed it carefully on the back of the chair excusing myself.
“I’ll run a quick shower and come for it.”
When I came back, twenty minutes later, Stephen was standing near my chair, eyes glued to his phone. Pretty pink phone case, he’s got some taste.
“Stephen? Is that my phone?” I asked walking towards him.
His eyes were filled with disappointment when he looked at me. “Why is Tinder on your phone?”
I gracefully took it from his hand with an innocent smile.
Rule number one: stay collected and play it innocent.
“Why were you checking my phone, chéri?”
Rule number two: don’t give replies, anything can be used against you. Reverse the investigation against him.
“It kept buzzing, I thought it was an emergency.”
“Awe, babe. You’re the sweetest in the world, you always look after me.”
Rule number three: bombard him with compliments. The higher his self esteem the more docile and distracted he is. Men’s ego is fragile, give it a boost.
I tossed my phone away and out of sight and let my arms around his waist pushing myself closer to him.
“Shall we continue our cock tasting?” I looked up at him, his eyes gained their loving gaze back. Mission accomplished.
My fingers rubbed his pants teasingly and I let our lips connect.
That was enough cue for him to unzip his pants. Poor little thing. That was my time to interrupt the kiss and turn to the table. “Dinner time,” I said pretending to not see how he hurriedly zipped his pants back. He swallowed back nervously and pulled my chair for me to sit down and took his place beside me.
“How’s the chicken?”
“Chicken?” I asked, “I thought we were having a penis for dinner.”
“I can serve you that for dessert,” he winked. “I can see you’re not really progressing with your french sessions, eh?”
It was my turn to swallow back. My French language classes, right. He pays for those.
“I’m slowly learning, you know me,” I avoided his gaze and focused on my plate. He reached for his wallet and pulled out 100 dollars.
“These should cover your spendings for the rest of the week. I’ll check on your card on Monday for classes fees. How’s the ballet going?”
I happily took my allowance thanking him and digging back into my plate.
“They’re great! I just bought new ballet shoes and tried them today for the first time, they’re so comfy!”
He smiled. “Happy wife happy life.”
I looked down, avoiding eye contact once again. I knew where this conversation was heading, and I had to find an exit as quickly as possible.
“This dinner is amazing! You’re the best, love. Should we carry this conversation to bed? I’m exhausted.” I got up to the sink without waiting for his reply and started washing my plate. I could feel his eyes burning a hole in my back. “Take a quick shower, I’ll wait for you in the bedroom.”
I winked and started walking towards the room, swaying my hips left to right carefully. But I knew I would be asleep by the time he finishes his shower. There’s no way I’m going to survive his marriage conversation twice in one week.
I closed the door behind me as soon as I entered and unlocked my phone. This was so close, I should be more careful, I’m not financially in a place where I can risk my only source of income.
Rule number four: delete all evidence.
New message: How do saggy balls taste?
My eyes widened as I muttered the words to myself before looking around the room. What kind of joke is this, Kyle?
Very funny. This is how you pick up your women? I hit send and walked to the window. The street was empty, as it should. Yes, this is definitely how young men pick up girls on dating apps. I should’ve known better before changing my preference from +50 to +25 years old.
You wanna see how I pick them up? My phone buzzed with new text bringing me out of my mild existential questioning. Clearly, this dude is not what I’m looking for. Tinder was a waste of battery, I guess.
As I tapped uninstall, a new message was received.
While it was too ate to know the content of it, I knew it was from Kyle.
Kyle, 27 years old. Asian fox eyes, black ruffed hair, and terrible pickup lines.