I write erotica for pay under a number of pseudonyms. My favorite stories are the ones where I get to create entire worlds. Here is one of my favs – a short shapeshifter romance. Enjoy!
“I need a man like you,” Lucy said as she rubbed Jeff’s belly. “You know, a bigger guy, good beard, gentle and masculine at the same time. Someone who is not overly man-scaped.”
“Honey, if only you were a gay guy, I would have half of my friends knocking down your door!” Jeff wrapped his arms around his bestie, giving her a big, solid bear hug. “You’re my Goldilocks.”
Lucy laughed. She loved this term. Since she started hanging out with the bears at the local leather bar, she felt like she had found her people. Gay bears were the best. Big, hairy guys who were comfortable in their own skin, who did not conform to society’s ideals of masculinity or gayness, and who thought her own ample curves were sexy. They called her their “Goldilocks” and showered her with love and free beer whenever she went out with them.
“Le sigh. Alas, my lack of a dick means I will never be too big, too small or just right,” Lucy giggled at her own joke.
“You’re perfect the way you are honey! I mean, look at those curves! Who out there can’t resist your double-Gs!” Jeff gently squeezed her breasts together creating an inordinate amount of cleavage. “I mean, James Franco could lose his arm in there for 127 Hours!”
Lucy laughed, “I wish! The only things to get caught in there in the last four months have been crumbs! Can you believe it, four months since Paul and I split.” Lucy screwed up her mouth, “Such a dick-face.” She was still angry about the split.
“Sweetie, we will find you someone. Someone who deserves you. Not some guy who comes in pretending to be one thing, then three months later is all ‘I need you to know something. If you love me you will support me through this.’ Then goes out and cheats on you.’” Jeff wrapped his arm around Lucy’s shoulder and gave her a solid squeeze.
Lucy sighed. “You’re right. I know you are. I just can’t deal with another round of online dating. There are so many trolls out there who send me nasty messages about my weight. It’s hard not looking like a yoga model when you are trying to find a man.”
“We will find you a nice, straight bear. They are like unicorns. People think they are a myth, but if you believe they exist, you will eventually find one. The big difference is bears don’t fart glitter.” Jeff laughed.
“I couldn’t date a unicorn. I HATE cleaning glitter out of bedsheets!” Lucy smiled broadly. “See you Saturday?”
“Yep, four o’clock at Scuffy’s. They are doing a barbeque on the patio.” Jeff confirmed their regular Saturday date at the local gay bear bar.
* * * * *
“Fuck, I hate online dating,” Lucy thought to herself. She flipped to her Facebook page and scrolled through her list of friends. Reaching the end of her list, she sighed. With over 400 friends, there should be one datable man, but alas, no. They were friends but there was no romantic chemistry, or they were married or dating, or they were gay, or something. But she did not have one single male friend with the characteristics she wanted in a partner.
She sat and stared at her feed. It was a late Wednesday night. The usual pictures were up: memes about love and friendship, pictures of friends at dinner, lots of pictures of beers or food from various restaurants, a few invites for weekend events. The feed continued to load but she did not register what was on the screen.
She took the last sip of her vodka tonic and clicked over to LoveMatch, her online dating site. She clicked on her own profile to bring up any messages. Her own pale face with dark brown hair smiled back at her. She chose this photo because she thought she looked cute in it. Her hair was in a short bob, her make-up was on point, and she was sporting a Led Zeppelin t-shirt which she thought made her look hip. She was also out at a local park which she thought conveyed the idea she was active despite being overweight.
Her stats showed 17 men had “loved” her profile since she logged in on Monday, two had sent a “love tap” and there for three new inbox message. Looking at the flashing three above the envelope icon made her heart sink. Her thin girlfriends reported getting 40 or 50 messages a day on the site. Admittedly, most of the men that messaged them were dismissed out of hand as undatable for one reason or another, but still three in comparison to 50 was a blow to the ego.
She clicked on the first message from Hunkaburninluv.
“Hey you! Love the curves! Would love to roll around in those tits!”
“Delete. Asshole,” she spoke out loud. Did men really get dates with opening lines like that?
The second message was from PinkTacoLvr23. “Not a fucking chance,” she laughed. “God I hope there were not 22 other PinkTacoLvr’s on the site necessitating the 23.”
The last was from ManForYou. She clicked on the message.
“Hey there sexy lady. I love women with curves! They make me HOT!!! Want to meet? Click on my URL below and we can chat.”
Scam! She slammed the “Delete” link. Gigolos prowled these sites looking for less attractive women and those whose stats indicated they had not had a successful connection that week then sent url links to malware sites or pay-for-porn sites.
Disheartened, she closed her computer and picked up her phone. She poured herself a shot of vodka from the bottle on the coffee table and texted Jeff.
Assholes on LoveMatch tonight. : (
Lucy sipped the vodka and flipped through her Netflix selections on her television. Her phone chirped.
Sorry hon. Men suck. And not always in a fun way. : /
Lucy chuckled a little.
Where did you find your papa bear? Jeff had met his man online, a bear website she recalled.
Scruff. It’s an app for gay bears.
Fuck. Do they have one for straight bears?
Her phone was silent. She went back to scanning her movie selection. She decided to rewatch Being Human, a sci-fi thriller about paranormal beings. She started the pilot episode.
Finally her phone chirped.
Did some Googling. App called Shiftr. Apparently straight bears exist. Could try it?
Lucy couldn’t bring herself to type out “Thank you.” Her feeling was very half-hearted.
Luv ya Goldilocks!!!
Lucy found her app store function and typed in “Shiftr.”
An icon featuring the Wonder Twins from Marvel Comics was at the top of the list. It was listed as a dating app. She clicked on it to check it out. Apparently there were a half million downloads and it had 3.5 out of five stars for user ratings. She clicked “Install.”
Two minutes later the app opened on her phone. The Wonder Twins icon covered the top third of the screen and there was an option to sign up for a free account.
She had to come up with a user name. On LoveMatch she used “CurvyGirl4You.” That had not brought her luck so far. This was a chance to try something new.
“BearLover?” No, that didn’t feel right.
“YourGirl?” Eh, that sucks.
“Goldilocks” Lucy entered.
“Name not available” was spit back.
“Goldilocks22” was suggested. She spiced it up to Goldiloxxx. Her name was accepted.
She selected a password and entered her birthday, then clicked, “Sign Me Up!”
The app asked her to create a profile. It looked pretty standard.
Tag line, hmmmm. She hated these. They always seemed so trite. She opted to run with the Goldilocks idea. “Looking for a Bear who is just right!” She smiled to herself. That was as honest as she could get.
She finished her profile and uploaded a few pictures. The app gave her the option to take a quiz that was supposed to improve the quality of her matches. Three vodka tonics into her evening and she decided to take it.
The questions started out pretty standard. How many dates before you are willing to have sex? Is jealousy good in a relationship? How long was your longest relationship? Do you believe in birth control?
Then the questions got a little strange. Do you watch science fiction television shows and movies?
“Well, I am streaming Being Human, so that would be a yes.”
Do you believe in things like ghosts?
“Hmmmm, I guess there is a possibility they exist, so ‘yes.’”
Are you fascinated by the paranormal?
“Yes, very much so,” she thought. She loved paranormal shows and books.
“I wonder if there are a lot of gamers and role play people on this site,” she thought to herself.
Do you believe in the existence of shapeshifters?
“What the hell! That is a weird dating question. Wonder what they are getting at with this?” Lucy though. “I don’t even know what they are measuring. Open- mindedness maybe?”
She clicked yes. Politically she was liberal and wanted to attract other like-minded men.
Do you like men with a lot of body hair?
“Finally! This is a site for bears!” Lucy got a shot of hope that this site would pay off.
Describe your perfect match with one of the following words: Lion, wolf, shark, fish, cat, dog, horse, goat, snake, unicorn, bear, kangaroo, alien.
“Bear! Yes, finally! A bear!!!” Lucy hoped clicking this answer would send the right message in combination with her name.
She submitted her quiz. The app returned to the home screen. The tab for “Matches” flashed.
She clicked on the link. Forty-three potential matches loaded onto her screen. She scrolled down slowly. Picture after picture was a bearded man, a little heavy-set, not overly man-scaped with bright eyes. A wave of hope filled her chest.
A red-headed bear with green eyes caught her attention. She clicked on his profile name: GingerBear. She read through his profile. He seemed to be sane, he did not have kids, and said he was looking for a woman with a sense of humor. She clicked the “Wink” button to let GingerBear know she liked his profile.
She continued to read the profiles: BearWitness was a lawyer, PapaBear appeared to be very into leather, GummiBear was very cute but very young, BearNaked was a nudist. Then she saw FullMoonMan. He had dark, thick hair and a full curly beard. His hazel eyes had a bright yellow ring around the iris. He said he was a local construction worker, single and no kids. The five things he could not live without included music, laughter, a soft bed, community and the love of a good woman. Lucy was smitten.
She stepped outside her comfort zone and decided to message him.
“Hi! I love your profile and your pictures. You are quite handsome. I am a Goldilocks for many local gay bears but am looking for a bear to romance me. Check out my profile and message me if you are interested in chatting.”
She clicked “Send.”
As soon as the message disappeared and was replaced by the word “Sent,” she began to rethink what she had written. Was it clever enough? Did it make her sound desperate? Did she compliment him enough? Did she sound bossy with the phrase “to romance me?” Fuck! It was done. There was no way to retrieve the message.
She glanced at the time, 2:15 AM. “How did that happen?”
She picked up her glass and the vodka bottle and took them to the kitchen. She checked her phone. No new messages on Shiftr. She decided to go to bed.
* * * * *
Lucy sat in the cafeteria of her modern office building. She picked at the Caesar salad she had selected for lunch. Bored, she pulled out her phone. The Shiftr icon had a bright green “4” in the upper right corner. Messages!
Lucy clicked on the app. There were four messages waiting for her in her inbox. Three were from men whose profiles she had liked and there was a reply from FullMoonMan. She clicked on the reply.
“Hello! You are a beautiful lady! Thank you for the message. As you saw in my profile I am a bear and I am looking for the love of a special woman. I am very involved in my local community and I love the local music scene. I would love to chat! Barrett”
Lucy found herself smiling. A man, a straight bear at that, had messaged her back! He found her sexy!
“I have to thank Jeff!” Lucy thought. She took a screenshot of Barrett’s profile pic and sent Jeff a text.
Thank You!!! Apparently straight bears ARE more common than unicorns!!! Lucy attached the profile pic to the text and sent it to Jeff.
She clicked back to Shiftr. She needed to reply. The pressure!!
“Barrett, nice to meet you! I am Lucy. I have been waiting a long time to find a straight bear. I was beginning to think they did not exist! I love the local music scene too! What type of music do you like? What venues do you frequent? Maybe we could take in a show together and get to know each other a bit.”
She read the message over five times. It was forward, but now that she knew a straight bear existed she did not want to miss her chance because she was slow on the draw. She clicked send and returned to eating her salad.
She tapped her phone to check the time. The Shiftr icon was at 4 again. A new message!
Lucy opened the app. Garrett had replied to her message again.
“Hi Lucy! Nice to meet you. I like rock and alternative. I frequent most of the venues downtown. I like the Stork Club and Cry Wolf. I actually have friends playing at Back Alley this Saturday. They do folk-rock. Would you be interested in going to the show? Maybe grab a drink beforehand? If you are busy we can figure something else out. –B”
A date with an attractive bear at a cool bar was well worth foregoing her weekly date with Jeff at Scruffy’s. She Googled the band. The bar listed the show as starting at eight on Saturday night.
She sent Garrett a message, “Bar and band look cool. Yes, I would love to join you. Should we meet for a drink at seven? Lucy” She clicked send and watched her phone. She clicked reload, twice.
A new message came through. “Sounds great! We can meet at Back Alley at seven and chat before the show. I will have my buddy put you on the list so you won’t have to pay a cover. Looking forward to meeting you! Barrett”
Lucy replied immediately, “I am so excited. This sounds great to me! Looking forward to meeting you.”
She had a date with a very attractive man. She prayed the pictures were recent and representative of what he really looked like. She mentally scanned her closet for something to wear.
* * * * *
Saturday afternoon Lucy stood in her kimono staring into her closet. Jeff sat on her bed and flipped through his phone. “I have nothing to wear!” she moaned.
“You say that all the time. Go with the green top and black jeans.” Jeff had this conversation all the time with Lucy. She would become frustrated with her wardrobe, he would suggest one of her “go-to” outfits, and the crisis was over.
Lucy dropped her kimono on the bed.
“Sweetie, you have to have better bras than that one!” Jeff was appalled at the beige monstrosity his friend was wearing.
“What? Why? I don’t plan on sleeping with the guy tonight. This is supportive for these puppies!” Lucy lifted her breasts high.
“You never know girl. He is a bear. We like to cuddle. I think you should be prepared.” Jeff gave a half smile then frowned at her bra selection again.
“Ok. You are probably right.” Lucy opened her lingerie drawer and pulled out a satin black bra.
“Now that is upping your game!” Jeff encouraged his friend.
Lucy changed her bra, pulled on the green shirt with the logo of Dog Days, a local rock band and her black jeans. She turned toward Jeff, “So…?”
Jeff gave her the once over. “You look great. And approachable. And like you are not trying too hard but did put thought into your appearance. It will be a good balance for a bear.”
“Thanks. Pre-game?” Lucy raised her eyebrow.
“Sure. Where are you thinking?” Jeff knew Scruffy’s was out of the way for her date.
“Ummmm… Dad’s Biergarten?” Lucy suggested.
“Sure,” Jeff shrugged. He was along for the ride on this one.
* * * * *
“Ok girl, good luck! Hope Barrett is a great guy!” Jeff hugged his friend as they parted company.
“Thanks, I’ll text you tonight.” Lucy hugged him back.
“Hope it’s not too early!” Jeff smiled and walked toward his car.
Lucy walked the three blocks from Biergarten to Back Alley. She got to the door and the bouncer asked for her ID. “That will be five bucks for cover,” he said.
“Um, I think I was supposed to be on the list.” Lucy didn’t want to be pushy, but Barrett had mentioned he might get her on the list.
The bouncer referenced his list taped next to the door. “Lucy Mond. Yep, you’re here. Right hand.”
Lucy extended her right hand and the bouncer stamped it. “Have a good night.”
She walked into the bar. Lucy had been to Back Alley a couple of times, but it was not a regular haunt. The bar itself was unremarkable. Long bar, stage along the back wall, a few tables and chairs scattered about and a pool table occupied the inside space. Framed playbills of former shows donned the wall. The big draw of Back Alley was the enormous patio out back. The builders had sacrificed on the indoor space to maximize the amount of patio access. In the summer, misters kept it cool. It had been well appointed with a container garden and local metal artists featured their works on a rotating basis.
When she entered, Lucy looked around the bar for a man resembling Barrett’s photos. At the end of the bar there was a dark haired man that looked like he might be the man she was supposed to meet. She caught his eye and he smiled. He raised his glass and stood up.
The man standing looked somewhere between Hagrid from Harry Potter and Zack Galifinakis had a kid but he got Bob Marley’s nose and eyes. His hair was thick and black as was his beard. He was broad-chested and clearly comfortable in his own body.
As Lucy approached him she noticed his incredible presence. He was at least six-four, his shoulders were broad and square, and his beard was full and reached toward his chest and up into his hairline and his eyes seemed to glow. She reached him and confirmed, “Barrett?”
“Yes. And you are Lucy?” he asked, extending his hand.
“Yes, glad to meet you!” Lucy smiled broadly. Barrett leaned in and hugged her with one arm. He smelled amazing. It was some combination of sandalwood, musk, black pepper, and pine. It was woodsy, masculine and sensual all at once. She felt tingly all over.
“Can I get you a drink?” he asked.
“That would be lovely. How about a Guinness?” Lucy needed to stay with beer since she had started with one on her pre-game outing with Jeff.
“Good choice,” Barrett nodded in approval. He waved over the bartender and ordered a beer.
“Shall we adjourn to the patio?” Barrett asked and nodded toward the back door.
“Let’s!” Lucy smiled, picked up her beer and followed this wall of a man to the patio.
He led Lucy to one of the picnic tables at the back of the patio and they sat down. It was a perfect night: low 70s, a light breeze, and it was deep enough into summer it was still quite light out at seven.
Lucy sipped her beer but had a difficult time breaking away from Barrett’s eyes. They were like a tractor beam pulling her into him. “So, have you been on Shiftr long?” she asked.
“Only a couple of months. Just recently found the app. I think it is pretty new actually.” Barrett smiled. “And you?”
“Just started this week. You are actually the first person I contacted on it.” Lucy was a little embarrassed by this, but couldn’t break away from looking at Barrett to glance down when she blushed. As the blood filled her cheeks, she felt it warm throughout her body. The reaction was overly strong for her, she noted.
“What attracted you to my profile?” Barrett asked and took a sip of his beer.
Lucy raced back to the night when she was looking at photos on Shiftr. What had made her reach out to Barrett? “Honestly, I guess it was a combination of the way you looked and the five things you couldn’t live without.” She sipped her beer to force a pause.
“I am glad you sent me a message. I am actually really shy and it’s hard for me to initiate contact with women on dating sites,” Barrett admitted. Lucy was taken aback by this honesty. Most of her experience with online dates included men complaining about how women are so inundated they never get replies back from the women they message and how hard it is to find a woman without drama.
“You don’t seem overly shy. I am surprised that a man who appears as powerful as you would be slow to approach women.” Lucy had a hard time seeing the bear of a man being afraid to ask a woman out. He came across as powerful and comfortable in that large, hair-covered, sexy skin of his.
“When it comes to dating, I have a hard time putting myself out there. I am not your typically attractive guy and I tend to need my own space. A bit of an introvert, I guess. I don’t know if that makes sense.” Barrett looked down into his beer.
Fireworks went off in Lucy’s head. Finally! A man who understands what it is like for her on the dating scene. A rush of empathy and compassion and deep sexual attraction coursed through her veins. “I think I get it. It is hard not being a yoga model when you are looking to date.” She flashed a sympathetic smile. “I find you remarkably attractive.” She blushed again with this confession.
Barrett caught her eyes and reached out for her hand. He interlaced his enormous fingers with hers.
“Wow! Those are some paws on you!” Lucy loved this. Here was a man who could make her feel small and girly. That was no short order as she was five-ten and a good size 26. Seeing her hand look small in comparison to his was an enormous turn-on.
Lucy saw something flash in Barrett’s eyes when she said “paws.” The minute changes in his expression told her she had hit some nerve. Fearing she had offended him she over-corrected. “I’m sorry. Poor choice of words. I like you large hands. They make me feel girly.”
“It’s okay. So, how did you find Shiftr?” Barrett asked.
“A friend of mine, a gay bear, found it on Google. I was looking for a someone like the guys he hangs out with out with, but you know, straight. He said this might work. And so far, so good!” She felt bad about concentrating on the bear identity of her date. She wanted to shift the conversation to something else.
“Ah, ok. So you want a straight version of a gay bear?” Barrett asked.
“Pretty much. I like big guys, guys with good hair, manly guys. The gay guys I know who are bears tend to be comfortable in their own skin and they don’t have to conform to societal expectations of male beauty. They also tend to be confident.” Lucy shrugged her shoulders.
“So you aren’t interested in the other parts of the sight? Some of its special features?” Barrett asked.