You’re the Seventh
“Tall pumpkin spice latte for Angela!” the tall, male barista shouted with a wink in my direction.
I grabbed my drink, enjoying the warmth it gave my hands, and sat down next to my friend Olivia. It was Sunday afternoon and time for our weekly coffee date where we would catch each other up on our lives and gossip about mutual friends. That day I felt particularly relaxed, as I knew I had the week off and had no reason to rush home afterward.
“Did he wink at you?” Olivia asked as soon as I sat down, “He’s cute.”
“He’s gay,” I said with a roll of my eyes.
She looked at him and shrugged.
“Well, have there been any other men piquing your interest lately?”
I sighed and recounted how my coworker, who I had no interest in, had increased his usual amount of flirting. Next, I told her about some annoying catcalls I’d been getting from construction workers on my street. That was the extent of it for the week.
“What about you ’Livia?” I asked with my usual nickname for her, “Have any men been getting your attention lately?”
“Not a single one. I’m really starting to hate guys,” she said, deeply glaring her bright green eyes.
I touched my drink to hers in agreement before taking a big sip. Our conversation moved on to the ridiculous amount of friends we had that were getting engaged. At the age of 23, neither of us could understand how so many of our friends were engaged already. Eventually, we hugged and parted ways for the next week. Olivia off to do laundry and me to buy my week’s groceries.
We live in a world where, for women, the smaller your body, the bigger your power. Therefore, in order to stay thin, my weekly menu never varied. It just made it easier for me to keep track of calories and other nutritional values. Robotically walking through the aisles, grabbing food items was mechanical. While not paying attention, I ran into somebody’s overly filled cart. As I fell, my skirt flew up, and several items fell on and next to me.
“Sorry!” I heard the voice before I saw the face.
I pulled my skirt down and then accepted a hand from an attractive male stranger.
“No, I’M sorry,” I told him as I started to help pick up some of the fallen items.
I grabbed some raspberries and blueberries as I gazed at his blond, wavy hair, and laughing brown eyes.
“These are all crushed. I’ll go get you some new ones,” I told him.
As we walked over to the fruit section, I inquired if he was having some sort of celebration because of the amount of food in his cart. It turns out that was just ONE of his carts. As a chef, he often tested out recipes at home before trying them at work.
“What restaurant do you work at? If the food is as good as the ingredients I’d love to try it. I’m off this week. Maybe I’ll treat myself tomorrow.”
“Well, if you went tomorrow, you wouldn’t get to taste my cooking. Mondays are my day off. How about you come over to my place tomorrow morning and I’ll make you breakfast?”
Normally, I wouldn’t accept that type of offer, but I was in drawn to this man in a way I wasn’t used to. I agreed, typed his address into my phone, and made plans to arrive at 9:00am the next morning. Used to having dates at night, rather than the morning, I wasn’t sure what to wear. Settling on a short, fitted, floral dress, I drove off to the address I had typed. When I arrived, my jaw dropped. This was no normal house. It was more of a Gothic castle. But, the address matched, so I decided to go ahead on knock. Before he even opened the door enough for me to see his face, I could smell the food. In a trance, without even saying hello, I walked towards the kitchen.
“Sit down and I’ll bring you something,” he directed.
“Sorry, hi! Thank you!” I said, trying to regain some sense of politeness.
I tried to concentrate on forming sentences, but was having trouble exhaling. I just kept inhaling the intoxicating scents. A few seconds later he set a plate down in front of me and gave me a fork. I dived in as he described the food.
“Those are lemon blueberry pancakes with raspberry whipped cream.”
“Oh my God,” I said between bites, “where do you get raspberry whipped cream? It’s incredible!”
“I created it,” he said simply and walked away. When he returned I was finishing my last bite of pancakes. He replaced my empty plate with a full one.
“Egg white omelet with butternut squash and sweet potato hash browns,” he announced excitedly.
It didn’t matter what he called the food, it looked and smelled too delicious not to eat. After that and some chocolate mocha scones, I felt as if I were going to explode. I regretted the choice of the tight-fitted dress.
“Maybe you’d like to borrow something more comfy to wear for a bit?” he asked as if reading my mind.
Again, that’s not the sort of offer I’d normally accept, but this dress had begun to suffocate me, so I accepted. A moment later he returned with a gray t-shirt and some white and gray plaid shorts. I changed in the bathroom and went back to the kitchen.
“This material is so soft! Where did you get these?” I asked him.
“Actually, those belong to my brother.”
“Oh, does he live here too? That makes sense -this place is huge! Do many people live here?”
“All my brothers and I live here. There are five of us total. Six if you include one of my brother’s son.”
“Five boys! Wow, your poor mom. Are they all as great of cooks as you?”
“No,” he laughed, “We’re all very different. But, let me get you something to eat, you must be really hungry.”
I was about to protest when my stomach growled. Impossibly, I was indeed hungry again. My logic went out the window and I decided to trust my senses. My first sense was to kiss my date. Next, it was to sit for more food. As more and more food was placed in front of me, I ate until he stopped bringing it.
“It’s getting late,” he finally told me.
I looked at the time on my phone and shook my head disbelieving that it was actually almost 11:00 at night. I thought to myself that time was acting very strange. Then I thought to myself: I’m going to throw up. I gagged.
After being directed to the bathroom, I ran to it. Then I puked until every inch of my insides felt raw. My body collapsed on the ground in exhaustion. I inched up when I heard a light knock and crawled to answer the door.
“I’m sorry,” I said quietly.
“Nothing to be sorry about,” he told me, “but you must be tired. The door to your right is a guest room. You’re welcome to stay in it tonight.”
“Thank you,” I accepted his invitation.
I knew it would take all my strength just to brush my teeth and make it to the guestroom bed. There was no chance I could get to my car and drive home safely. I fell into the deepest sleep of my life. When I awoke, I was not alone. I tensed, feeling a body next to me. Had my date creeped in and taken advantage of me during the night? I didn’t feel violated.
No, nothing like that could have happened. He must have been concerned about me last night, came to check on me, and fallen asleep, I told myself. But, when I turned around, I screamed. I had no idea who was laying next to me. The, admittedly cute, man ran a hand over his buzzed head and blinked a few times, showing glimpses of his water blue eyes, before closing them again.
“Shhhhh,” he told me.
“I will not ‘shhhh!’” I warned as I scooted away, “What are you doing in my bed?”
“You’re the one in my house, wearing my pajamas.”
“Your brother lent them to me after he cooked for me. I still don’t see why you’re in this bed. This is a guest room, right?” I said, my fear and anger both already subsiding.
“My room needs cleaning and I’m tired. This room is clean. Let’s not argue. It’s early.”
“I should say goodbye to your brother and go,” I said without really wanting to do either.
“Oh I’m sure he left for work already. Go if you must, but personally, I’d sleep a few more
hours first. Aren’t you tired?”
I was. The combination of all the food and all the energy it took throwing up still had me tired. Plus, it did still seem to be early.
“Actually, I am. Should I, um, go to another guest room?”
“Shhh, just sleep,” he encouraged me.
Against my better judgment, I shrugged and lied back down. Within a few seconds, I had fallen asleep. At some point, I started to wake up and felt his arm around me. Instead of moving away, I snuggled deeper into it, and allowed sleep to take me again. At one point I remember groggily waking up and kissing him before falling into another slumber. When I woke up again it was to a voice I didn’t recognize. I felt around the bed, realized I was alone, and sat up to see who was talking to me.
“Is this yours?” I was asked by a man holding my dress.
However, what was in his left hand was of the least interest to me. The man standing in front of me was the single most attractive individual I had ever seen, or even imagined possible. His wet, dark hair matched his dark brown eyes perfectly, but even that couldn’t hold my attention. His abs could only be described as an eight pack, followed by that dangerous V shape which pointed to the soft white towel hanging around his waist. I’d never wanted to grab a towel so badly.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” he told me.
“Um, yes, sorry,” I said, shaking my head to gather it, “What time is it?”
“It’s about 11:30 in the morning, Gorgeous.”
“That’s it?” my surprise momentarily distracting me from my obvious staring, I grabbed my phone.
It was indeed 11:30 in the morning. On Wednesday.
“Did I sleep the entire day? Oh my gosh, I need to get home and-“
“Shower?” he supplied as he tossed my dress at me and used the now free hand to rub some water off his hair.
“Yes,” I replied, shamelessly staring again.
“You can use the one in the bathroom next door. There’s shampoo and everything else you’ll need in there. There’s a robe on the hook and I can grab you a towel for your hair.”
“Can it be that one?” I scandalously proposed as I stared down at his.
“If you’re lucky,” he said with a wink and walked away.
Blushing at my sudden boldness, I took that as my cue and went into the bathroom for my shower. Normally, I turn the heat all the way up. Today, I turned it all the way down. Despite the icy water, when I climbed out of the shower, I felt hot. Had the water simply evaporated off of me in an instant, I might not even have been surprised.
I put on the robe and wrapped a towel around my hair that I hadn’t remembered being there before. Had he come in and put it there while I showered? The heat in my cheeks increased. I left the bathroom and wandered back to the guest room where I had left my dress. Next to it, lying leisurely on the bed, this time sporting a pair of low cut jeans instead of a towel, was the unbelievably sexy man.
“There’s my dress. Help me put it on?” I asked with my hands ready to drop my robe.
“No,” he replied, “You can’t put that on. It’s dirty.”
“Maybe I like it dirty,” I replied, not believing my own voice.
I watched as he slowly walked over to me, lifted my chin, and kissed me. My arms went around his neck instantly and I was determined to never release him. The next thing I remember is waking up in that bed again. Somehow, I was in another pair of pajamas. I quickly overcame my disorientation –I wanted that man again. But, when I opened the bedroom door, I was facing another stranger. His indigo eyes searched mine immediately.
“Hello,” I said, “I’m looking for one of your brothers. He’s-”
I was interrupted by a small child running down the hallway.
“Daddy!” the black-haired child screamed and ran into the man’s arms.
The pair had the same eyes, hair, and obvious love for each other. My heart melted.
“I’m hungry. Let’s go eat!” the child announced.
“Whatever you want,” his father told him as they started to walk downstairs.
The kid whipped his head back and shouted, “You’re eating with us! Come on!” Obediently, I followed.
The rest of the day, I was at that child’s mercy.
When he said to give him something –I gave it.
When he said to say something –I said it.
When he said to do something –I did it.
There was no end to his wants and expectancy to get them. As I grew hungry –he didn’t care. As I grew tired –he didn’t care. But, neither did I, for some reason. He wanted all of my attention and refused to let an ounce of it go to another. And it flattered me more than I would have thought possible.
“Now we’re all going to have a sleepover in the living room!” the child demanded.
“As fun as today has been, I really think it’s time I go home,” I tried.
“No! I need you to have a sleepover!” I agreed. Right before bed, I received his final demand.
“Give me a bedtime kiss!”
I tried to give him a kiss on the cheek, but he turned his head so it landed on his lips. We all laughed and fell asleep on the floor. When I awoke in the morning, the child was gone and I was left sleeping next to his father, who woke up at the same time I did.
“Where is your son?” I asked right away.
“He’s off with his private tutor. Then he has piano and swimming lessons. I make sure that he has everything he needs. He’s perfect.”
I stared at his father as he continued to brag about his son and how he was the one to make him. Normally, the bragging would turn me off, but as I was completely enamored by the child, I couldn’t help but think the bragging was deserved. What deserved praise more than raising a child? The child’s confidence and intelligence was a result of his upbringing.
His father was the reason the child was so amazing. Any other children he had would probably turn out just as perfect. I could be the mother to a perfect child, if only I were with that man. Well, there was once place to start. I kissed him. Then, he continued to talk about himself until I eventually fell asleep, smiling at his achievements.
Saturday, I awoke with a start. This time, rather than waking up alone, or with one man, I was surrounded with all the men I had met in that house, with the addition of another. His long red hair was slicked back and his long beard was pointed like a dagger. I watched as his sharp green eyes glared at each of the men in turn.
“You fed her until her body couldn’t handle another ounce! It started to reject the food and made her throw it all up!” he screamed at my chef.
“And you, keeping her in bed the ENTIRE DAY! If you had let her go home as she wanted she wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see this one,” he yelled as he switched his focus from my snuggling buddy to the sexiest man in existence.
“WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?” is all he asked before a punch caused his victim to fall on the ground.
I started to move forward to help him, but the child’s insistent whisper against it kept me in my place.
“Oh, yes, how can I forget the little brat who always gets his way and the father thinks so much of his parenting skills that he lets him? You’re as bad as the rest of them. YOU ALL TOOK ADVANTAGE OF HER!” he roared.
He’s right, I realized. They had, in their own ways, all taken advantage of me. And each of them had allowed the others to do so as well. In the entire place, this stranger was the only person really sticking up for me. His harshness wasn’t just warranted, but I gladly welcomed it.
“Thank you,” I told him, before placing a kiss upon his cheek.
“GET OUT OF HERE!” the stranger growled at me, causing a shiver to spread throughout my body.
With that direction, I quickly dashed outside and into my car. I drove home without looking back. Even though it must have been morning, exhaustion hit me again, and I immediately changed into a pair of my own pajamas and went to bed. In the morning I
awoke to a text message from Olivia.
Cant wait 2 C U today and hear abt your week off!!!
My mind was reeling over the week’s events, but I decided to still go on our weekly coffee date. Maybe my friend could help me organize my thoughts. When I arrived she was
already sitting at our usual table with two drinks.
“You got my drink for me! Thanks ’Livia!”
“No problem! So, any men catch your attention this week?”
“Yes! You won’t even believe it!”
Olivia scooted forward in anticipation, those green eyes glowing.
“I met a cute guy at the grocery store Sunday night and let him make me breakfast at his house Monday morning!”
“Oh my gosh!” she squealed, “What did he look like? What was his name?”
“He was tall with blond hair and brown eyes and…oh, wow. I never asked his name!” I laughed.
“Angela! How do you not know his name? I’m guessing you didn’t sleep with him then,” she laughed as well.
“No, I slept with his brother!” I said before seeing her face and adding, “Not like that!” Sleep sleeping…like where you actually sleep!”
“Um, how did that happen? His brother was insanely attractive or something?”
“No, I mean he was cute, but it was their other brother who couldn’t have looked better! And the way he kissed!”
“Two brothers? Did you learn their names?”
“Oh my God, NO! I didn’t learn a single one of their names. I can’t believe there were six people there and I don’t know any their names.”
“SIX? How many of these six did you kiss?”
I didn’t answer in words, but my blush did it for me.
“You kissed all six men!” I thought her eyes were going to pop out of her head.
“One was a kid!” I said before realizing that didn’t help my case.
“Seriously, Angela? What is WRONG with you?”
“You’re just jealous!” I threw at her.
“You’re right, I am,” were her last words before kissing me.
I stared at her, speechless.
Awkwardly, she tried to change the subject, “Want to try some of my scone? It tastes so good it’s sinful.”
I didn’t know what to make of Olivia’s sudden attitude, but I also didn’t know what to make of how I’d been acting the entire week. After parting with Olivia, and pretending things were normal between us, I made a decision. I needed to return to that house and confront each of the men. I drove back to the address, but was unable to talk to any of
The house was no longer there.