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It was a song by the Editors that was playing in the background of the house party as Dean Blake, the supposed author of this story, saw Esmeralda Hemingold in the distance, and as deep and wise as he tries to make himself out to be sometimes, all that he was really thinking about at that moment was this: he wanted to get a blowjob from her, he wanted to photograph her doing it and he wanted to send that photograph to his friends. He imagined (rather hoped) that she was the type who swallowed, who never complained or flinched while swallowing. He also wished – and desperately begged the universe – that she would happily swallow even after months of being in a relationship. It was a simple wish, but it was an important wish to Dean, because the act of finding an attractive girl who willingly and consistently swallowed was something that felt like an impossibility in his tragic life. As he kept glancing at Esmeralda he felt rather depressed knowing that he wasn’t charming enough to convince decent looking girls to regularly swallow and wondered if he would ever find true love.
Esmeralda Hemingold knew none of this. To be honest, Esmeralda Hemingold only came to the party to accompany her heartbroken sister and to eat the free food and maybe get a little drunk. Esmeralda Hemingold liked to tell people that she was seventeen years old, but in fact, she was sixteen turning seventeen in February. Esmeralda had a boyfriend who would send her love letters every week. The first love letters made her cry, but the remaining love letters kind of bored her. To her, the letters were all the same and had no tangible benefit to her life, and in fact only served to make her sometimes secretly think how pathetic her boyfriend was. She’d actually stopped reading those letters for months now, but she never told anybody this, not even her Mum, who she believed was her best friend. The last handjob Esmeralda Hemingold had given her boyfriend was four months ago on his birthday. She wasn’t a swallower and in fact despised the taste and overall idea of semen.
Esmeralda’s boyfriend, Tim, had a feeling that Esmeralda didn’t love her anymore and spent countless, desperate evenings on various dating websites and apps like Zoosk, OkCupid and Tinder to find someone who would replace her. He never struck any luck with any of these, and the most success he’d ever gotten out of the thousands of women he’d reached out to were a handful who would say “hi” or “lol” to him but nothing else. After a month of constant rejection online Tim developed a habit – and even a hobby – of changing his innocent “Hi beautiful I like your profile” approach to an angrier approach that he felt both turned on and guilty about at the same time. He’d say things like, “I’m gonna bite your clit off and swallow it” and “You fucking ugly bitch no wonder you’re online dating” and his favourite, “Hi I noticed we have a lot in common can I bat off on your face?” He liked that women always replied to these sorts of comments, even if they’d say things like “Fuck off” and “No thanks” and “I’ve reported you.” Tim masturbated (and sometimes cried) to various porn websites two to three times a day and has had sex with two Russian prostitutes at three hundred dollars a pop. Tim became increasingly angry and bitter over time, and the realisation that all of his happiness depended on a loving text from his own girlfriend (which were becoming less and less frequent) made it all even worse. But he told nobody about this and sometimes, as he would hold Esmeralda’s hand, he would think about how he hated women much more than he hated himself. Tim regularly contemplated either killing himself, killing a group of women or moving to Melbourne without even telling his parents.
Dean had been glancing at Esmeralda for about two hours until he finally summed the courage to speak to the girl who was sitting next to her. When it came to picking up women, Dean was taught that the best strategy would be to win over their friends. If you won over their friends, their friends were more likely to let you go home with her. But this wasn’t the real reason Dean spoke to the friend. The real reason was that he was nervous as hell and her friend was ugly and therefore less intimidating to speak to. Her friend was so ugly, in fact, that Dean was slightly offended by it. How could a woman let herself become this ugly? Why would she do this to herself? Her thighs, which were bulging and doughy, had stubble. She was overweight and awkwardly tall and she had a repulsive, ogre-like hunch. Her teeth were fucked and her eyebrows were fucked and her makeup was so incorrectly placed that she looked like a sad, masculine clown. He imagined her taking selfies at home and then spending hours air brushing them for her Facebook profile – hours she could have spent working out, or brushing her teeth, or having the decency to work on not looking so fucking offensive, because behind all of her layers of horrific fat he believed that there could’ve been a glimmer of hope. He was annoyed and depressed by this reality, and he felt slightly guilty for thinking this way. But she seemed friendly. Dean and the ugly person spoke for a few minutes until what Dean hoped for happened: Esmeralda butted into the conversation.
Esmeralda’s sister, Harriett Hemingold, was sort of relieved that Dean had approached her. It was a significant moment for her: she was beginning to turn her life around and was looking for the right man to hold her hand through her journey of weight loss. It had been over a year since her rather ugly breakup with Sam, and she had foolishly let herself fall into a downwards spiral of pizza, endless tears, laziness and self-pity. She was a model when she was dating Sam, and she was on the verge of reaching the next level of her career by striking a lucrative deal with L’Oreal – that all ended, of course, after her breakup. Back in her glory days, Harriett was quite used to being approached ten to twenty times a day by men of all shapes and sizes. But she loved Sam, and she stuck by Sam, and she did everything she could to maintain her love with Sam. Unlike most of her model friends at the time, she loved sex, and unlike all of the women she’d ever met, she loved the taste of semen. She couldn’t understand why, but she simply loved its texture and unpredictability, and she never grew tired of giving Sam blowjobs and sucking him for all he was worth, even if they’d been dating for over five years – she believed that if it weren’t for her Christian upbringing, she could have had a wonderful career in porn. It was Harriett’s looks and her never-ending yearning for sex that kept her confident that Sam would never leave her, but apparently it wasn’t enough for him. She vowed to get it right the next time. She vowed to give her new man all of what she gave Sam, plus more. She was going to lose weight, she was going to contact her agent, she was going to become that model – no, supermodel – that she’d always dreamt of becoming, and this Dean person, although a little short and not that impressive to look at at first glance, seemed like a great guy who Harriett could take care of, and who could take care of her through her career of success and endless happiness and endless sex.
Esmeralda Hemingold shook the guy’s hand. She was quite happy, and actually quite relieved, that a guy had approached her sister, especially after everything her sister had been through this past year. She was about to leave her sister alone with this person but her inner competitiveness got the best of her. This inner competitiveness of hers had gotten the best of her throughout her entire sixteen-and-a-bit years of life. Although nobody outwardly said it, Esmeralda Hemingold knew that the world saw her as the ‘ugly’ younger sister. Her grades were never as great as Harriett’s, and the quality of men who chased after her were never as great, either. She felt disgusting every morning she woke up, and she knew that she was partly responsible for one of the worst years of her sister’s life: she encouraged her sister to eat her sorrows away, to abandon her contract to “focus on Sam first as love was more important”, to not sign up to a gym just yet, to wear her makeup a specific way. She knew she could be a horrible person sometimes, but the world was cruel to her and she just wanted everything to be even and fair. She decided to stay there and let Dean decide which sister was the more attractive one to speak to.
Dean loved Esmeralda’s hand. It was slender, soft, elegant; she wore a few nice rings and shiny bracelets – she reminded him of a younger, better looking version of an ex-girlfriend of his. She giggled at a few of his jokes and he wondered if they were legitimate giggles. But it didn’t matter to him: all that mattered was that he was having a rather positive conversation with an attractive woman who he had been eyeing for hours. For a while, he included her ugly friend into the conversation until it became very clear that the spotlight was on Dean and his new friend Esmeralda. Esmeralda turned Dean’s next moments into moments of happiness. To Dean, the first butterflies were always the most colourful. Ever since his teens, Dean had only been in a constant stream of disastrous relationships – after a few suicides, deaths and a series of other less severe (yet still damaging) breakups, Dean concluded that the initial heightened feelings of infatuation brought by the exciting first three months of a relationship were the only moments that mattered when it came to “love”. Any relationship that lasted longer than those three months were merely forced and only served to weaken one’s identity. Having just been through another breakup, Dean didn’t want a weak identity anymore.
Esmeralda enjoyed the guy’s company. Although a little eccentric, she found him funny and slightly charming in a blunt, immature sort of way. The next hour felt like five minutes, even if they spoke about everything that mattered: what she wanted to do with her future, her annoying best friend, her parents, a few movies, Facebook. She’d been with Tim for far too long to consider anything serious with this guy she was speaking to, but she enjoyed the attention he was giving her anyway. It had been a while since she’d been out like this, and she put a lot of effort into what she was wearing – she wasn’t going to let her makeup be put to waste. Plus he made her giggle, and he made life more fun than it had been in a long time. He was the perfect escape she needed from Tim. She remembered the first time she met Tim. Things were so much happier back then, so much purer. Tim… she thought about him more and more as they spoke and begun to feel sickeningly guilty and relieved at the same time. She wondered if she was going to kiss another man tonight.
Dean walked with Esmeralda to the backyard, and for some reason they both laughed at nothing, and they both asked each other why they laughed at nothing, and they both said they didn’t know and laughed even more. He briefly imagined her going down on him in the bathroom or at the side of the house or where they were standing and he considered the logistics of it all: would he care what people thought, would she care that he hasn’t showered since the morning, would the owner of the house be offended, would he tell her that he was about to blow or stay silent, did she have herpes? He had begun to even like her a little, and part of him didn’t mind if she settled for an awkward handjob or if they did nothing sexual at all until a few hours later. Images of fireworks crossed his mind, and of holding her hand and of glitters and of stars and of a whole bunch of other lovey dovey bullshit. He couldn’t wait to photograph her naked. Esmeralda was in the middle of telling him a story about her friend when she received a phone call – a guy’s photo appeared on screen. It flashed “Tim” and she stared at it for a while before finally picking up. She left Dean to himself, and he looked around hopelessly. In the distance he spotted Esmerelda’s ugly friend sulking in the dark, scrolling up and down her Facebook Newsfeed like some kind of deformed gargoyle. He considered talking to her briefly, but changed his mind.
Tim was pissed. The plan was for him to pick her and Harriett up at nine, because, as he recalled her words exactly, “It’s going to be boring. Don’t pick us up any later than nine, okay?” He was already on his way to the party when he called to make sure that her and Harriett would meet him at the front. “We might stay until eleven or later or something, can you just come then?” She said on the phone. He yelled at her about her always doing this, and she mocked him and said, “Always?” and he said, “Yes, fucking always!” And they fought for a while until they both agreed that Tim would still pick them up at nine. Tim was furious, and he believed that if he was a stronger person he would’ve told her to find her own way home. But he was afraid that someone as friendly and pretty as Esmeralda actually would easily find her own way home, most likely with some other guy from the party. He wanted to make Esmeralda jealous for making him feel this way but there were no other women who were interested in him, and even if there was another woman in his life, he was confident that Esmeralda wouldn’t care. After dropping Esmeralda and her sister home, Tim planned to angrily masturbate to Esmeralda’s Facebook photos in the bathroom or fuck another prostitute, or both.
Esmeralda loved Tim. She told him she loved him every night. That “love”, however, had evolved over time from something that made her alive to something that was uninspired, routine. She’d considered breaking up with Tim several times, but the fear of never finding someone as caring as he was always prevented her from following through. Her mother had always told her that most men in the world were liars, cheats and violent when provoked. Tim didn’t have any of these traits, and because of this Tim was a rarity in Esmeralda’s eyes. This guy she’d been flirting with tonight seemed like a great guy, and if she wasn’t as screwed up as she was, she might have even given him a shot. But the world wasn’t like that, so she decided to avoid any more temptation by not speaking to the guy anymore: she grabbed her sister; they walked to the front lawn and waited, and when Tim picked them up she let herself become satisfied with the fact that she will probably never see the guy again.