Gluten Free Singles | Short Story by Lauren Roach
Updated: Aug 8
The sharp ping! of my phone notifying me echoed in the quiet bathroom. I dried my hands on the front of my jeans and grabbed my phone out of my back pocket.
You have one new match! It was a Tinder notification.
Excitedly, I opened the app to see who had matched with me. A picture of a gorgeous brunette with pearly white teeth and unnaturally green eyes smiled back at me from my phone screen. Her name was Isabella and she was way out of my league, but I'm sure she couldn't tell from my photos. Each picture I had posted was expertly handpicked to let the ladies know that even though I was on tinder, I was not desperate and I wouldn't hook up with just anyone.
She had to be beautiful. She had to be smart. She had to be as close to perfect as humanly possible because I do have standards. My profile picture was of me standing next to a Rolls Royce. I had seen it parked in the lot of the mall when I was walking in to start my shift and I wanted to take a picture with it so I could show it to my mom later. Ended up being the perfect profile picture. I had uploaded two more, one of me at the beach and the other in the game room at my brother's house. My three pictures showed that I had good taste, liked to travel and I had a playful side. I scrolled through her pictures just to make sure she wasn't a catfish. Everything looked consistent. I just needed to find the perfect message to get the ball rolling.
"Twinkle twinkle little star, let's have sex inside my car." Perfect. A quick joke to make her laugh. My car was in the shop indefinitely, since I haven't been able to save up the money to fix it but I'm sure my brother would let me use his. Or maybe we could use hers to go on our date. She looked like the type to have one of those funny looking cars. Like a Prius or a Volkswagen. It probably had one of those fruity air fresheners and a fuzzy steering wheel cover. I hated those things. I'd have to take it off when I drove it around, but that was no big deal. I could work with that. I looked down at my phone, seeing the gray bubbles pop up in the message thread indicating that she was typing a response. I prayed it was positive.
"Wtf? Gross. I'd rather die." she responded. Clearly my joke didn't land. As I thought of something to say in response, the screen refreshed and our conversation completely disappeared. I stared at my phone in shock. Are you serious? That whore unmatched me! I swallowed back the sting of rejection and shoved my phone back in my pocket. She wasn't all that cute anyway. Didn't even matter. My fifteen minute break was up, had to get back out on the floor. It was my turn to make sure we had enough meet for the tacos.
"Nah man. You wasting your time on Tinder. The girls up there are mid. What you need to do is sign up for Gluten Free Singles." I had been looking down at the register counting the cash to close when he spoke, but at the mention of the website name my head snapped up to look at Darius dead in the face. "You lyin'. Aint no website called Gluten Free Singles." I rolled my eyes at him and went back to counting. Darius pulled out his phone and showed it to me.
"If I'm lyin' I'm dying, bro. Women up here are bad af" I scrolled through some of the profiles showing on the front page. He was right. Gorgeous women of all types smiled back at me. One woman in particular caught my eye almost immediately. She was beautiful. Brown skin, kind eyes, and fluffy natural hair that looked soft to the touch. I couldn't help but imagine what it would feel like when I ran my hands through it. Or when it was on my chest while we laid together in bed. I blinked to erase the images from my mind before I got too carried away. "But you're not gluten free though, neither am I." What was the point of being on the website when it didn't even apply to you? Darius shrugged and made a face.
"Bro just lie about it. Same way you lying about driving a Rolls Royce." He cackled at my expense. I shook my head, but didn't respond. I got sick of the jokes sometimes. I never said I drove the Rolls Royce. I like just liked the picture. Not my fault if someone saw it and assumed it was my car. They shouldn't make assumptions. I didn't want to seem like I was thirsty, so I slid his phone back to him and finished closing the register for the night. I would worry about making a profile when I got home later.
Darius agreed to drop me off since we had worked the closing shift together. As much as he got on my nerves, Darius felt more like my brother than my actual brother did. We did everything together. No matter what crazy idea either one of us cooked up, we were always down to ride for each other. When Darius started hooking up with our coworker Shameka, I was more than supportive. Even after he had gotten her pregnant and then promptly dumped her, I still stood by my boy. I couldn't lie, I did feel bad for her though. After they broke up, she got so stressed seeing him flirting with all the other girl's at work that she threw hot taco meat grease on him. He has a burn scar across his chest and on his neck from it. She was promptly fired and arrested. Their child was sent to live with Shameka's mom because Darius didn't make enough money to support him. He conveniently forgets he has a child whenever it suits him.
By the time I made it home, my grandparents were already asleep. They usually fell asleep around 6:30pm so I would have the house pretty much to myself on my nights off. I used to sneak girls over to my room but that ended one night after I got caught with Shameka's sister, Tameka. My grandma turned the lights on in my room and there we were. Butterball naked. She claimed she had heard a noise and was concerned. I didn't mean to moan so loud, but Tameka was clearly trying to steal my soul. I was just trying to stay alive. Since then, I make sure to only go over to the girl's house or apartment.
I pulled out my phone and typed in Gluten Free Singles .com in the web browser on my phone. The website pulled up almost immediately. After making a quick profile and uploading the same pictures from Tinder, I settled into my bed to begin swiping right on girls until I fell asleep. Almost immediately, my phone pinged with a match. It was that same gorgeous girl I had seen when Darius was showing me the website. I smiled to myself and typed out a quick message.
"Girl I would eat you like a dingo going at a meat pie."
She responded almost immediately.
"If I was a make a wish kid, my last wish would be for you to sit on my face." in the back of my mind, I realized that my messages were coming off a little creepy, but I figured she could probably tell I was only joking. It was a compliment. I'm a nice guy and I would never hurt or disrespect anyone. Common sense should tell her that I'm just flirting. I watched as the bubbles popped up on the screen, hoping she wouldn't give up and un-match me like that ugly female from Tinder.
"You ever have your butthole licked by a fat chick in a trench coat?"
I sat straight up in the bed and looked at my phone in shock. Of all of the things I'd expected her to respond with, or even hoped she would respond with, that was not it at all. I scratched my head, completely lost on how to even respond to that message. Do I keep flirting? Do I say something serious? Do I make a joke? My forehead beaded with sweat. I didn't want to ruin things with this girl, but I was also a little scared.
"......Hi. I'm Kevin."
"😂 I'm Dionne Saunders." I breathed a sigh of relief. She must have been joking with that message. I will give her credit, it did catch me off guard for a second, but points for originality. I settled back into the bed and started typing. I was determined to go on a date with this girl, even if she was a little weird. The weird ones were always the best ones in the bedroom, from my experience.
We ended up texting most of the night. Before I fell asleep, I had finally worked up the courage to ask her out on a date. She agreed to meet up with me at a nearby restaurant the next day. I made sure they had a gluten free menu and they were within walking distance from my house. I didn't want to be too far away from home just in case the date didn't go well. I was off work today, so after texting Darius to tell him what happened with Dionne, I helped my grandma with her yard work until it was time to get ready.
I was fifteen minutes early on purpose. I wanted to get in and get a table before she noticed that I didn't have a car. She had asked me about the Rolls Royce in the picture but I didn't have the heart to tell her it wasn't actually mine. She seemed so excited about it in the messages. I made a mental note to text my brother to ask if he would let me use his game room this weekend. Had to be prepared to score. Just in case.
I had just scarfed down my third dinner roll when she walked in. I didn't have a lot of money to spend, so I wanted to make sure I was already halfway to full before we started eating. That way, I wouldn't have to order as much and it wouldn't look like I was broke. Dionne spotted me at the table and gave a small wave. She was just as beautiful in person as she was in her pictures, with an emerald silk dress hugging her curves perfectly. Her curls cascaded around her shoulders in tight ringlets. My stomach jumped in my throat.
"Hey Kevin." She flashed her beautiful teeth at me and took a seat. I stared at her, too stunned to speak. When her smiled faltered a little, at my lack of response, I pinched myself under the table to snap out of it.
"Hi, I'm Kevin." I responded and immediately regretted it. She literally used my name when she greeted me and here I was telling it to her like she didn't know it. I mentally slapped myself, preparing for the worst. Instead of berating me or making fun of me, she laughed and touched my hand. Electric shocks coursed through my body under her touch. Her skin was cold and clammy against mine.
It took a second to gather myself, but when I finally did, everything went smoothly. I almost ordered a burger on a regular bun, forgetting that I was supposed to be gluten free, but Instead I ordered a gluten free personal pizza. I was so happy I had eaten the dinner rolls, because the pizza tasted like cardboard with tomato sauce. Who in their right mind would eat this mess?
"So what made you decide to become gluten free?" I asked.
"It makes your flesh taste better." She responded nonchalantly. I choked on my water, completely caught off guard with her answer. She smiled as I spluttered and coughed. I could tell she got some kind of enjoyment out of saying things for the shock factor. She liked catching people off guard. I cleared my throat, trying to regain my composure. "So you wanna taste me, huh?" I ask, trying my hardest to sound like I was turned on by her comment and not mildly creeped out. I had to shift in my seat uncomfortably. She was pretty, but kind of weird.
"Your lips are so soft." She reached out and touched my bottom lip with her thumb. I resisted the urge to close my eyes and melt under her touch. I was definitely getting laid tonight. Finally, after what felt like a decade long dry spell. "You like 'em?" I asked. I could deal with weird. Weird was hot.
"I do. When you fall asleep after we have sex tonight, I'ma steal them from you." Her eyes sparkled with mischief. My brain canceled out everything after have sex tonight like it was doing a math problem. Subtract the clothes, multiply the orgasms, and add in a round or two. She was really in to me and I was suddenly no longer interested in this cardboard pizza in front of me. No longer cared about the fact that she kept making comments that seemed a little off. "You wanna get out of here?" I asked, hoping with everything in me that she would say yes. A devilish grin spread across her lips. If I wasn't so horny it'd be kind of creepy. The smile didn't quite reach her eyes.
"I thought you'd never ask."
Her house was dark, but she moved around like a bat, clearly able to see perfectly fine without the need of a lamp or a light fixture. I strained my ears, trying to figure out where she was in that moment. My disaster level horniness had waned just enough for apprehension to settle in. I really didn't know this girl, but here I was in her house with no way home. I'd have to pull out all the stops in the bedroom in order to secure my place to sleep for the night. It was a long drive from the restaurant so it would be a miserable walk home. I didn't have money for an uber. I spent my last on that terrible pizza. Maybe in the morning I could make her some breakfast. It was the least I could do, I suppose. Her hand slid up my arm and I jumped under the coldness of her touch. The woman was freezing. She had somehow gotten colder between here and the restaurant, even though it was hot out. Felt like I was being touched by a corpse. Is that what happens when you don't eat gluten?
"Come." she whispered in my ear. All thoughts vanished as I allowed her to lead me, still in the dark, to what I assumed was her bedroom. I instinctively put my hands out in front of me, trying to feel for something I could use to guide my path, but no use. My hands came up empty. Were we in a hallway? Where are the doors? She stopped walking suddenly, and leaned against my chest. Her breath smelled vaguely like tomato paste. I was momentarily glad for the darkness, because I'm sure I was making a face at the smell. "Do you trust me?" she asked, her voice low and sexy. It sent tingles through my body, making me want to ravage her right there. I had to keep my cool.
"I do." I tried to use the same sexy whisper she was using, but it came out crackly and hoarse like I hadn't had any water for forty days and forty nights. I cleared my throat, hoping she wouldn't notice. I felt her stiffen against me. "You shouldn't." my brain was so foggy, with all the blood rushing to the hairy canary in my pants, that what she said almost didn't register. The words bounced around in my skull, knocking into my jumbled thoughts and increasing amount of confusion.
"Wait...what?" I asked, just as I felt a sharp prick in my neck. I reached up to swat at the bug and quickly realized I hadn't been stung by a bug, it was a needle. "I said, you shouldn't." All traces of sexy in her voice evaporated. What was left sounded eerily close to a super villain of some kind. I stumbled backwards. Breathing suddenly felt hard. My head started to swim. Everything felt like it was closing in around me. I didn't want to die here, in the dark. Where no one would find me. I felt around frantically, trying to find a light switch of some kind. If I could see where I was, maybe I could see how to get out of here. As if reading my mind, she leaned forward and flicked on the light.
My blood turned to ice in my veins.
In front of me stood a shelf, lined with jars. Each jar held what looked like a body part floating in liquid. Through the blurry spots in my vision I could see hands, two feet, and something that resembled a pair of ears. Each jar had a small piece of tap on the front and names. There were names on all of them.
An empty jar sat next to them with a nametag that read "Kevin" I felt like I was suddenly trapped inside a horror movie. None of this made sense. She had man parts in her bedroom? In jars? Like a creepy science teacher? I wished desperately for this to be some type of nightmare that I would wake up from. I concentrated, hoping I could convince myself to wake up and be in my bed. I tried to swallow but my throat felt like it was full of socks. I couldn't breathe. My legs gave way and I sank to the floor in a heap. My body felt like it had been filled with lead. I wanted to run or at least give myself a fighting chance, but my body wouldn't move. Whatever she had injected me with left me frozen in one spot. Drool dribbled down my shirt and puddled into my lap.
"This will only hurt for a second." I heard Dionne's voice but it felt like it was underwater and I was sinking further into the darkness. I couldn't respond, only thing out of my mouth sounded like a wounded animal as I desperately tried to form words.
1 Year Later
I sat in front of my computer and logged into my newest profile on GlutenFree Singles. The name read: Danielle Summers. I always kept the initials the same but would change my name every time I made a profile. This website is so stupid to me, a whole website dedicated to people with dietary restrictions. Like being gluten free was their entire personality instead of just a piece, but it's been one of the most successful sites I had been on since I was released from the state hospital. I had been trying to do better, but the quest to find the perfect man sometimes made me a little crazy. At the end of the day, I wanted no I deserve to be loved.
Every guy I've dated had good qualities for the most part, but none matched completely. One day I was watching tv and a build-a-bear workshop commercial came on. And I wondered why I couldn't just do the same with my man? If I couldn't find the perfect man, I'd just have to build one! So that's what I did. I logged into my dating profiles with new resolve. Jamal was the first one I'd matched with. Jamal had really strong hands. He had touched me in ways that no one else had been able to, but his body odor was insufferable. Being around him made me want to gag. It felt like I had stuck my face into a dirty sock full of liverwurst. He honestly smelled better dead. Never thought I'd say that about anyone.
I met Grady maybe 6 months after I had preserved those beautiful hands from otherwise stinky Jamal. Grady was a jerk. He ridiculed my clothes and the choice to wear my hair natural. I barely made it through dinner with him and that lousy performance he called sex, but then I noticed his feet. They were perfect. Manicured to perfection, no dry skin, no funky toenails. You rarely see feet like that on a man. He tried to ghost me after we slept together, I caught him putting on his shoes in the middle of the night trying to walk out before I woke up. So I stole his feet.
Jadyn was much easier than the first two. He was an addict and didn't really have much concern for his own wellbeing. He let me do whatever I wanted to him, in the hopes that he would get money for his next fix. I put him out of his misery and took the only thing from him that hadn't been ravaged by disease and addiction. His ears.
And then there was Kevin. I smiled at the thought of him. He was a complete cornball and so easily flustered by an attractive woman, but he had beautiful lips. His profile had been full of lies. Claiming to drive a Rolls Royce and have a game room in his house. I was more straightforward with him than I had been with anyone else and he didn't even notice. So enthralled with the idea of being able to sleep with me, that he completely missed all the signs that I had basically handed to him. Taking his lips had been more difficult than I had anticipated, trying to extract them but still keep the shape. Took a while, but I got it. Since then, it had been a bit of a dry spell, but that's okay. I am patient. I'm playing the long game here. I clicked on the first message thread waiting for me.
"Wat up, Danielle? I'm Darius. You look like the type of naughty girl I need. You single?" I rolled my eyes at his message. Unoriginal. "Darius, I doubt you could handle me." I responded. I clicked on his profile to get a better look at him. The more I swiped, the more interesting he became. I could work with this. He was attractive, aside from that ugly burn scar on his neck and chest. I wonder where that came from. I'd have to ask him about that during our date. I clicked back over to our messages to see that he had already responded. He must have been waiting with the phone in his hand.
"Is that right?"
"Yes but I'll make an exception, because you have really pretty eyes. They're perfect"
"Thank you. We can arrange it so you can see them up close. Would you like that?"
I chuckled to myself and glanced back at the jars behind me. I had space for another one.
"You have no idea.."
Thank you for reading! What'd you think of this one? It was definitely different for me. If you want to check out more short stories written by me, check out the short story page here . I'd love to know your thoughts. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook and be sure to let us know what you thought of the story. Until then...
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