Preview: Maybe You're A Raccoon
This is a short preview of my story Maybe You're A Raccoon from the When The Lights Go Out series. If you haven't read the introduction, consider giving it a read here first. After the introduction, the stories from this series can be read in any order as they all exist within the same universe.
This story is a male/female erotica short story.
You know that one girl?
Everyone knows a girl like her. It seems like she’s unfair, like everything about her is just… perfect. All of the words that describe a pretty girl apply to her. She’s cute and adorable and beautiful and sexy. Her nose scrunches when she laughs and her eyes go wide when she’s shocked or scared. Her smile could end wars. Everyone knows that girl who is just unfairly beautiful.
On top of that, she’s the kindest, sweetest, most genuine person you’ll ever meet. She’s hopeful and optimistic. Everyone wants to be around her because she makes them feel like the most important person in the world, even if thirty people are surrounding her. Even if you’re in a line-up of people vying for her attention, you feel like you matter around her. And she’s wholesome and perfect and anyone who hurts her is showing what a piece of trash they are because it’s like kicking a puppy or murdering a baby unicorn.
You know that girl, right? That perfect girl? That beautiful and kind and amazing girl?
In my world, that girl was Shay Brady. She was the sweetest person anyone had ever met, she was my roommate, and that Thursday night, she was polishing off her third glass of red wine with tears streaming down her cheeks.
“What’s wrong with me, Austin?” she asked tearfully.
“Nothing’s wrong with you,” I said. “Landon was just…”
If anyone who hurt Shay was a piece of trash, Landon Boyko was King of Trash Mountain. Landon Boyko was the entire fucking overflowing landfill and all of the garbage trucks full of garbage that was spilling out because the landfill was overflowing.
Landon Boyko was a motherfucking stinking, flaming, burning trash pile, and I didn’t just say that because I was in love with Shay or something. He was a pile of trash because he was dating Shay and fucking every woman he could get his dick into on the side.
“...he was trash,” I finished. “Smelly, rotting garbage.”
Shay giggled thickly, sniffing as she wiped her face. “I really thought he was different.”
I bit back my instinctive response, but she was too observant.
“What?” she asked, reaching for the bottle of wine.
“Nothing,” I said.
“Please, Austin? You want to say something. I can tell.”
I looked across the table at Shay, her eyes rimmed with red and her cheeks shiny with tears. Crumpled Kleenex dotted the table around her as she studied me back. It wasn’t in my nature to hide things from Shay—she was my best friend, after all—but what I wanted to say would be more hurtful than helpful.
She found out about Landon’s extracurricular activities while she was working her shift at the animal shelter. Shay loved animals and had volunteered there as a teenager, then went to one of the nearby community colleges to get her vet tech diploma. She came back to Minwack Falls just before Alice McGrady retired, and Mrs. McGrady had demanded that they hire Shay, going so far as to say she’d never retire if they didn’t bring Shay on as her replacement.
I heard through the grapevine that they were planning on hiring Shay anyway, but Mrs. McGrady liked to feel important and involved, so no one told her it wasn’t her doing that got Shay the job.
Anyway, Shay had been at work when a girl we’d gone to school with, Orianne Forrest, burst into the shelter, bawling her eyes out. Shay, being Shay, immediately thought she’d lost her pet or maybe had a sick animal or something and ran to her.
“No!” sobbed Orianne as Shay wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “I’m here to apologize.”
“Apologize for what?” Shay asked, handing Orianne a Kleenex.
“I didn’t know he was… I’m so sorry,” she sniffled. “I swear, Shay, I had no idea he was your boyfriend. I feel awful.”
Shay, still being Shay, comforted Orianne as she told her all about how she’d ended up sleeping with Landon, not realizing he and Shay had been dating for six months, and how they’d been hooking up for at least three months at that point. Shay held her hand as Orianne sobbed that she’d thought Landon was cheating on her, and he was: not only with Shay, but with Kayla Voychka, the nineteen-year-old redhead who lived in the townhouses on Park Road, and some girl named Patricia who lived in the next town over.
“And those are just the ones I could find,” Orianne blubbered as Shay held her hand. “You have to believe me. I feel so bad, Shay, I can’t believe I did this and to you, of all people!”
Orianne seemed shocked that any guy would treat Shay like that, and Shay seemed pretty surprised by the revelation that her trashbag boyfriend was acting like trash. It wasn’t surprising, though. Not if you knew Shay.
I’d known her since we were kids who lived next-door to each other. In a perfect world, we would have been best friends who were inseparable since birth or something, but that wasn’t the case.
Shay was a year younger than me, and I only lived next-door to her part of the time, since I spent the weekends with my dad. So, growing up, it wasn’t like we ever played together or anything. It wasn’t until we were in high school that we even spoke, and that was only because my mom was throwing all my stuff onto the lawn and screaming at me. I don’t remember what that particular fight was about, but it was the first time she’d done it so publicly.
Clothes and books and other stupid things were flying out the door faster than I could collect them as my mom yelled. I remember Mrs. Roth, the Homeowners Association lady, watching from down the street, and I remember seeing Mrs. McGrady walk by and thinking that everyone in town would know I’d been kicked out by the end of the day. I remember the final slam of the door and the sudden silence in the middle of the afternoon as I stared at the house I’d grown up in, my face red as I held an armful of clothes in the front yard.
That’s when Shay came over.
“Are you okay?” she’d asked.
“Uh…” I said.
“That was a dumb question,” she said, biting her lip. “Austin, right?”
“Let’s pick all this up and you can come over to my house while we figure things out.”
Just like that, it was “we.” I wasn’t figuring things out on my own; Shay was there to help me. Her parents seemed surprised when they came home from work to discover the two of us sitting in their kitchen, folding my clothes and trying to figure out if I could sneak back in the house to get the things my mom hadn’t thrown out on the lawn, but they were as kind to me as Shay was. When my dad refused to let me stay with him, Mrs. Brady insisted I stay in their guest room, at least until I figured things out.
My mom relented and took me back in a few days later, but I moved out as soon as I turned eighteen. I ended up with a roommate, but Shay came to visit almost every day until she graduated high school. It was devastating when she left town to get her vet tech diploma, but it ended up working out: my old roommate moved out two months before she came back, and when I asked if she wanted to be my new roommate, she jumped at the chance.
All that was to say that Shay was a fixer. She saw the best in everyone and even when people weren’t the best, she wanted to make them their best. She was inherently attracted to people who needed someone to believe in them, the problem being that a lot of the time, those people didn’t want to be believed in.
“Tell me what you’re thinking, Austin,” Shay begged, bringing me out of my memory.
“It’s not the right time,” I replied.
She stared at me for a moment. “Don’t tell me you’re in love with me.”
“No!” I exclaimed, certain my face had immediately turned maroon. Coughing, I lowered my voice. “I mean… no. Not that you aren’t, you know…”
“Ouch,” she said.
I cringed. “This came out wrong, can I try again?”
“I was just joking, you know,” she said.
I laughed uncomfortably, shaking my head. “I was just thinking that I didn’t think Landon was different than the others.”
She frowned. “What do you mean?”
“Well… think about your other exes. What about Dan?”
She thought for a moment. “Well, he was like… I mean, I was kind of immature when I started dating him. He just seemed so mature and mysterious.”
“He wore a leather jacket when it was thirty Celsius and bummed money off you all the time to fill up that shitty motorcycle he had.”
“Well, yeah. He didn’t have a job,” she admitted.
“And then there was Alex.”
She bit her lip. “I broke up with him, though.”
“After you caught him stealing from you.”
She didn’t say anything.
“Jonathan?” I said.
“He got help for his anger issues after we broke up,” she said in a tiny voice.
“He was addicted to cocaine, Shay."
She sighed. “And then Landon. I just seem to attract the worst people, don’t I?”
I twisted my mouth. “I mean, to an extent, I guess.”
“I’m starting to think that men are just garbage,” she said bluntly.
“Well, we do suck.”
“Not you!” she said quickly, her eyebrows creasing with worry. “That was mean. I was just… I’m exaggerating. I’m just bitter right now.”
“Yeah, but…” I hesitated, then took a deep breath. “Okay. If men are garbage, maybe you’re like a raccoon.”
Shay raised her eyebrows. “What?”
My face wasn’t just red anymore. It felt like my skin was crawling, like I was allergic to the anxiety the conversation was giving me.
“Like, maybe… maybe it’s not that you’re attracting a certain type, it’s that you’re kind of attracted to a certain type.”
“I like garbage, you mean,” she said flatly.
“That’s… that came out wrong, too.”
She barely heard me. “You think I’m a tiny little trash panda digging through the dumpster trying to find the juiciest piece of rotten meat, and then I’m surprised when it makes me sick.”
“Uh… well, sort of? Not…” I sighed, looking at her. “This is why I didn’t want to say this right now.”
“No, you… I asked you to,” she said. “I just didn’t realize that’s what you thought of me.”
“I don’t think of you like that!” I protested. “I just meant—”
“You just called me a raccoon,” she said sadly.
“Raccoons are cute, though,” I said desperately. “Right?”
I wasn’t just digging myself into a hole, I was creating a man-made stormwater pond using nothing but a shitty raccoon analogy and inappropriate timing. Shay’s lips flicked downwards as she nodded.
“Yeah, I guess,” she said.
“Shay, I didn’t mean—”
“No, it’s fine,” she said, draining the rest of her glass. “I think I’m just gonna go to bed.”
“Well, I also have an early shift tomorrow.”
“I’m sorry,” I said, looking down.
She stood up and smiled half-heartedly. “I don’t know if all men are garbage, but even if they are, that’ll never apply to you. You’re the nicest guy, Austin. Really. I’ll feel better tomorrow.”
She hugged my shoulders as she walked by, a quick squeeze that told me she wasn’t mad, but I hadn’t done anything to make her feel better. She was far too polite to say it, though, and guilt scraped down my bones as I watched her go into her bedroom. I sighed, then stood up and cleared the wine bottle and glasses away, finished the half-glass I’d poured for myself so she didn’t feel like she was drinking alone, and went into my room.
I hated being called a nice guy.
There was weight to being called a nice guy. “Nice guys” weren’t really nice guys, they were guys who thought they were nice and got all mopey when the women they liked didn’t like them back. “Women only like bad boys,” they’d say. “Women don’t like nice guys. Nice guys finish last. You go out of your way to respect women and they won’t even date you.”
Like respecting women was some step you were supposed to take to get laid rather than just being the right thing to do.
“Nice guys” befriended women with the expectation that they’d eventually get moved out of the so-called friend-zone. “Nice guys” didn’t tell these women they liked about their feelings, then got angry and jealous and self-deprecating when said women dated other men.
You know, like exactly what I was doing to Shay.
Maybe You're A Raccoon can be read in full on my Patreon or will be posted here in the coming months.
About The Author:
Cheryl Terra writes romance stories for people who hate romance stories, as well as for people who love romance stories. Writing is one of her greatest passions and she can often be found sitting in front of her laptop, ignoring the world around her as she finds elaborate ways for her characters to hook up with each other. When she’s not doing that, Cheryl enjoys knitting, spending time with her pets, annoying her fiancé, and trying to convince people civilization exists in the vast stretch of Canada between Vancouver and Toronto.