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Sam is what happens to the typical high school jock when they get a bit older but don't grow up. Full of ego and testosterone, Sam lives for two things; sports and casual sex with the never ending supply of young, morally flexible, local college dollies. That is, until he meets Hope, an entirely different type of girl, and begins to realize that less isn't always more. View table of contents...


Chapters:

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Submitted:Feb 20, 2013    Reads: 449    Comments: 2    Likes: 2   


B.B.W. Chapter Three: If, At First, You Don't Succeed...

Sam was astonished by what was apparently happening to him. He had never experienced rejection from a woman before. He was the work out king of San Luis Obispo, it was unthinkable. And yet, he stood here, in the smoke shop, being let down gently by a fat girl. One that happened to be so sexy, he hadn't been able to stop thinking about her in days, but still. His mind struggled to make sense of this unexpected outcome.

"So, what is your type then?" he asked Hope, with some difficulty as she gave him her equally stunning "warm, consolation" smile. He wasn't quite enough of a pig to assume that any woman that rejected him was automatically gay, but, still thinking about her size, he was nevertheless certain the next word out of Hope's mouth would be "women".

"Well," she started, somewhat awkwardly, "don't take this the wrong way, it's not a physical thing, I mean, you're obviously very handsome, but, well, you probably date a lot right?"

Sam did indeed date a lot. He occasionally had longer relationships but they never seemed to last past late April or early May, not coincidentally, whenever bikini season descended on the pool at his apartment complex. "I do OK." he offered, in response.

"Yeah, I bet you do OK." Hope smiled at him "I'll bet your stomach looks like it's been airbrushed. I don't go out with players, I learned that lesson the hard way a long time ago. I'm sure you're really nice and I'm not saying every date I go on turns into a long term relationship, but I really only go out with guys that have at least some boyfriend potential, and that just doesn't really seem like you, does it?"

Sam had to admit, even to himself, that it didn't. While even Sam knew that commitment-phobia was an almost universal turn off for women, it hadn't been holding him back much, before now at any rate. "Well," he said, tying not to sound dejected, "if that's the way you feel, sorry to have bothered you." He started again for the door.

"No, no, like I said, it was very sweet of you to ask." Hope said kindly, and added "And for what it's worth, I'm flattered, you are really hot.". She gave him a wink, which did, actually, cheer him up a little. The thought that Hope just knew what his ego needed to hear never occurred to him, after all he was really hot.

"Bye" he said as he opened the door.

"Bye" she called back.

Sam left Newsbeat, his confidence shaken like it had never been before. For most of us mere mortals, rejection is something we learn to cope with at an early age, but this was a new experience for Sam, and at the ripe old age of 29 and still a perpetual adolescent, it hit him hard. He raced through the stages of grief on the way home. He didn't spend much time with denial, the events were just too real and recent. He spent a little time on guilt, feeling that he was off his game, tripping over his words like that couldn't have impressed her. Then he parked on Anger for a while, wondering who the hell this stuck up bitch thought she was turning him down like that, but soon he had to admit that he had no right to be angry. Then it was depression's turn. Sam wallowed in this stage for a while, feeling old and impotent. In the back of his mind, he had always known his lifestyle couldn't hold out forever, that someday, no matter how much he continued to sculpt his body, 21 year old girls just wouldn't bite anymore. He had seen it happen to some of the older guys back in his triathlon days, chasing tail that was way too young for them, getting laughed at behind their backs, a sad parody of their former selves. Sam knew that he would have to change his ways some day but he thought he had another five years, at least. Now he wasn't so sure. Maybe it was time to find the last girl he was ever going to get and settle down. When he had that thought, Hope's face popped into his mind again, he he careened back to anger for a little while. By the time he got home, however, he had taken the upward turn. Sam realized that, while he may have never faced rejection, he had faced defeat before. That's all this situation was; defeat. Sam had been a competitive athlete for fifteen years and no one performs perfectly every time out. He knew what to do with defeat; look it right in the eye and get back on your damn bike. That was the solution, not to give up an slink away, but to get up, disinfect the road rash and race right back up that hill. He made up his mind to go back and try again the next day.

Sam embraced the idea of dealing with his pain like a competition, it was well within his comfort zone. He came home and had an early, light dinner, like he would the night before an event. He planned strategy, like he would before a race, gaming out small talk scenarios in his head. After his brief conversation with Hope that afternoon, his instincts told him humor was the way to go so he went through his repertoire of one liners, dusting off the best ones and rehearsing them in his head. The one problem he kept banging his head against was how to respond to the concern Hope voiced about Sam's roaming nature. He decided that, since she was going to be predisposed to believe any line he fed her on the subject was bullshit, he might as well just be as honest as he could be, within reason, of course. He went to bed early, fully convinced that, the next day, he would be making a date with Hope, and by the end of the week, at the most, he would finally have the satisfaction he had been lusting after.

That night, he was plagued by a frustrating dream, only fragments of which, he could recall the next day. Somehow, Hope was dating his buddy Mark, one of the co-owners of the gym. Mark was supposed to be getting married next month to his longtime girlfriend Jenn, but now he was somehow marrying Hope instead.. In the dream, Sam had to go to all these different places; the gym, his mom's house, even the Jack Ranch Cafe out in the middle of nowhere on highway 46 (it was a dream after all), and Hope and Mark would be there as well. Sam had to pretend to be happy for them and be nice to Mark, the whole time wanting to kick his ass. It was no wonder Sam awoke, pissed off.

He got up and went for a run, trying to move past the crappy mood the dream had put him in. Afterward he showered and got dressed. He chose jeans and a T-shirt given to him for participation in a large cycling event for a children's hospital charity. It was one of the few things he owned that might say, "I'm not a douchebag." although he didn't really think of it in quite those terms. As he grabbed his keys and wallet out of the dish on his dresser, he saw the unopened can of Kodiak he bought yesterday. He still hadn't quite finished the can he had bought on Friday. "Oh well," he thought, "I wonder if that crap goes bad?".

He drove down to Newsbeat around eleven and marched up to the entrance, where Cynthia (the Grouchy lesbian) was smoking. She saw him and smiled, waving. He'd seen her dozens of times and she had never before shown the slightest inclination toward friendliness. His mental Rolodex grudgingly edited her card to simply read Cynthia. "Back already?" she said knowingly.

"Yeah, that's why they call it a habit I guess." he said blithely and breezed past her, jangling the little brass bell.

Hope was behind the counter and the store was empty. "Perfect." Sam thought. She was clad in a light yellow sleeveless polo shirt and khaki capri pants. It was the first time he saw her without a sweater. Her bare arms were well formed, not flabby, just big. He warmly imagined what they would feel like wrapped around his neck.

Although he was still a little nervous after yesterday's false start (that's what he was calling it now), he had his game face on and was ready to play. He wasn't sure how Hope would react to seeing him, and worried about the initial awkwardness, but Hope just smiled widely, reminding Sam why he had come back. "Hi!" She said warmly.

"Good morning Hope," Sam said cheerfully, walking up to the counter.

"A can of Kodiak?" Hope asked, starting to turn to the rows of chewing tobacco on the back counter.

"Please." he said.

Hope got the can and said "Four thirty five please.".

Sam handed her his money and said "So, have you come to your senses yet?" trying to sound playful instead of arrogant.

Hope's smile widened and she laughed, "About what?".

"About going out with me, of course." he replied, displaying his time tested crooked grin.

"Now why would I do that?" She said demurely, "Are you going to tell me you became a different person over night?".

"Come on Hope, be realistic" he plied, "you don't know me as well as you think you do, you can't, we just met. But if you go out with me, then you can find out that I'm just as shallow as you think I am and bask in the satisfaction of being right."

Hope laughed and the sound echoed like wind chimes in Sam's ears. "It's hard to argue with that logic, but I think I'm still going to have to pass."

"Look, I'm being honest here Hope, I don't chase girls. Frankly, I don't usually have to but you're making me work here. Ever since I saw you on Thursday, I can't stop thinking about you. Do you know how hard it was for me to come back in a try again after you shot me down yesterday?". He could see that got to her a little bit, a hairline crack visible in her resolve.

She nodded, still smiling, "Well, that is flattering. Let me ask you something, hypothetically, if I were to agree to go out with you, what would we do?".

"I don't know, how about just a traditional movie?" Sam offered.

Hope nodded her head cynically and said "Someplace dark right? Well at least you didn't say pizza and a six pack at you place."

"What? No..." Sam protested, but he knew he was busted. "Ok, sorry, really, what would you want to do?".

Hope grinned, a little savagely and said, "Go to a big gathering of all your friends and family, right out in broad daylight. What do you think of that?"

"Well, I'm sorry, I'm not currently planning any bar mitzvahs, quinceaneras, or family reunions for us to go to just now." Sam said defensively.

"Well that's just too bad for you then." Hope said, giggling.

"Come on, Hope, one date. What do you say?"

"I'm sorry Sam, you really do seem nice, funny at least, but like I said yesterday, I just don't think it's a good idea.".

Sam shook his head. He couldn't believe it but he refused to give up. "I'm just going to keep asking," he grinned.

"It's a free country," she said aloofly, but she couldn't suppress her smile.

"The problem is, you don't work again until next weekend right?" he asked.

"So." she replied.

"So, that's a really long time for me to have to wait to ask you out again. I may have to ask a hundred times before you say yes, and at a rate of twice a week, that would take..." his eyes rolled up to the ceiling as he calculated, "just under a year.".

"Nice math skills," Hope teased, "So you think, by March of 2014, you'll be able to get me to go out with you?".

"Well, it wouldn't take nearly as long if I didn't just get to see you at work. If there was somewhere else you went periodically, and I met you there, I could ask again, and that would make things go a lot faster. Maybe get it down to eight or nine months." he joked.

"Sam, are you trying to get me to make a date with you so that you can ask me out on a date?" Hope asked laughing genuinely and driving Sam crazy.

"Too smart to fall for that one huh, I can see I'm in over my head here." he said, smiling sheepishly.

"Sorry" she commiserated, "it was a good try though.".

Sam took his chew and started walking toward the door. He didn't have a date with the big, sexy girl yet, but he took some encouragement from their flirtations. "Alright then" he said as he reached the door, "I guess I'll see you next week." he sighed melodramatically and continued "seven loooong days.". He opened the door slowly, again ringing the bell.

Hope sighed in mock exasperation "I walk my dog sometimes, Wednesday mornings at ten am. At Santa Rosa park." She pointed her finger at him, wagging it sternly, "If I happen to run into you there, it is not a date, you understand me mister?".

"No, of course not! Definitely not a date." He said, smiling like the village idiot, "It would just be two acquaintances running into each other at the park.".

"Right." Hope agreed, "Goodbye, Sam." she once again smiled her sweet smile.

"Gooooodbye Hope." Sam half sang as he exited the store.

"Fuck that," he thought, walking to his car, "it's a date!".





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