She’s got a penchant for turning straight girls gay

I can see her watching me. Pretending not to, casting her eyes down to the novel in front of her every time I catch her eye from across the patio of this open-air café. Well, I’ve been watching her, too—long enough to know that she’s been “reading” the same page for the last 45 minutes.

I’m used to stares, and I’ve gotten pretty good at deciphering them. I know the glare of disapproval by those who think my tattoos, piercings, and radically dyed hair (today? black and red faux-hawk) are wholly inappropriate for a young lady such as myself. But I much prefer this kind of staring, not of outright lust (I know that one, too, and believe me, I’ve gotten my share of it, from women and men), but of curiosity and tentative arousal—usually from young, twentysomethings like this luscious little chick who’s looking at me now, totally oblivious to the copy of Jane Eyre she’s supposed to be reading.

I know I look pretty good, too, in this wifebeater tank that shows off the tats on my shoulders (a red star and a raven) and my armbands. When I catch her looking at me again, I hold her eyes for a second and slowly lick the silver bead on the tip of my lipring—a subtle move, indiscernible to most of the other patrons of the café, but one that reads loud and clear to the prey of my seduction, four tables over. She blushes and looks back down at her page, but I can see her trying to keep herself from grinning.

It’s a weakness of mine, these straight girls. I live in a college town, so there’s usually no shortage of nubile innocents who are living away from home for the first time and want to “experiment.” Luckily for them, I don’t mind being the lab.

I put out my cigarette, take a final sip of my espresso, and shut my notebook rather audibly. I make a big show of putting it into my backpack and I get her attention—there it is. That’s the look I was going for. She looks at me with mild panic, thinking I’m going to leave and kicking herself for being so timid. I get up and make like I’m going for the gate, then at the last minute swerve over to her table and sit down in the empty chair across from her.

“Hi, I’m Lara,” I say, offering my hand, as natural as if we’d just been introduced at a party.

“H-hi!” she replies, her brown doe-eyes wide with surprise at my arrival. She’s nervous, but excited—more the latter than the former, I can tell. I hold a beat longer than necessary for a standard handshake, and trace my fingers along her palm as I take my hand out of hers. I see the soft hair on her arms jump up with gooseflesh at the feel of my touch. She’s mine.

“Reading Jane Eyre, I see. How do you like it?”

“It’s . . . okay, I guess.” She looks baffled. It never ceases to amaze me how many people naturally assume I’m illiterate just because I don’t wear LL Bean or some shit like that. I read more than most. She recovers quickly. “I just haven’t gotten very far yet, so I’m not sure what I think of it . . . yet.” She bites her pouty pink lip ever so slightly, locking those big brown eyes of hers with my heavily-lined green ones. Lovers have told me that my eyes turn from their ordinary hazel to a deep emerald when I am in lust, and I am pretty sure that they are sparkling now. I can see the outline of her bra, barely traceable under the baby blue of her tight-fitting T-shirt. They hold her breasts (not too big, not too small—just the way I like ’em, a handful apiece) into a most appealing shape. Underneath the table, I slip my foot out of my clog and gently trace my toe along the bare side of her foot, which is left wonderfully naked by the strappy high-heeled sandals she’s wearing.

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