This story ought to have been longer, and it will be, but that’s what procrastination gets you. This one wasn’t even half the 2,000-word Size Riot limit, so I’ll be joining the company of those like Olo, for instance, who provide the extended cuts of their stories after the contest results have been announced. Keep an eye out for my expanded version!
“You’re taller than you said in your profile.”
“So you noticed.”
“I’m used to guys rounding up their heights or just lying, but I’ve never had a guy say he was shorter.”
“I didn’t mean to. I was really shooting for an even six feet.”
Ryan shifted awkwardly in his shift. Theater curtains were less comfortable than he had imagined they would be.
Chelsea laughed, causing the white cotton around her chest to bounce in a way that made Ryan’s curtains even less comfortable.
“Well, you could’ve just put 60 instead of six!”
“Uh, yeah, you’re right… if I’d updated it this morning, though, you wouldn’t have seen it. And it would’ve been weird texting you that I’m, uh—”
“Fucking huge?” Chelsea’s laugh floated up to Ryan like the sound of an open music box.
“Yeah. I’m not usually, it’s kinda new.” He scooted back a bit on the grass of the student union’s lawn, so his neck hurt less from looking down at Chelsea. He almost missed looking up at her.
“Huh. So you’re a biochem major?”
“That’s right! That’s how this all happened.”
“Ooohh, a mad science experiment gone wrong?” Chelsea tossed her curls madly about and cackled. “‘Now I know how it feels to be God!’”
The hair on Ryan’s neck stood up. He remembered watching Chelsea Beaugrand as Victor Frankenstein in the all-female Frankenstein they’d put on in the black box theater in October. She was fantastic.
“Aww, thank you, Ryan!”
Oh, shit, he said that out loud.
And that, too.
“It was more desperate science than mad science,” he said hurriedly. “Because we matched and I couldn’t believe it, and I wanted to actually be the six feet I said I was…”
“So you poured a bunch of colorful beakers into each other and drank the result? You could’ve died.”
Chelsea could make as grave a statement as that sound no more serious than “That was pretty fucking stupid,” but that was bad enough.
“Besides,” she went on, crosssing her legs and adjusting her short skirt (and making Ryan hold his breath), “I don’t care that much how tall my date is.”
“A lot of girls do.” Ryan looked back over his broader-than-before shoulders; people were milling about, playing frisbee; kites patrolled the air; a few people were snapping selfies with Ryan’s gigantic form dominating the background. “And guys. Your roommate said you don’t date anyone under six feet.”
“Uggghhh, Millie only ever saw me with Trent. So just because I’m 6’2 in heels and I went out with one basketball player for a couple months, she thinks I only go for big guys.”
“Now she’s really gonna think that.”
“Ha! True. But seriously, what if you’re stuck like this, wouldn’t that be silly? Just to impress me?”
She tilted her head and made a pouty face.
“You’re taking this pretty well. How come nobody’s screaming anymore? Why isn’t campus police putting yellow tape around me?”
“Campus police probably wouldn’t notice you if you were 100 feet tall, they suck that bad. And why would anyone want to freak out? You’re just a hot giant talking to his date, you haven’t stepped on anyone.”
She smirked and stretched in her lawn chair, as if trying to see if one of his feet bore an unfortunate red stain.
“Y-you think I’m hot?” Ryan knew his reaction to that word had to be immediately visible even under all the curtain-folds. He hardly cared. He wanted nothing more than to hold Chelsea’s perfect little figurine of a body, press her against his lips, press her into the wet sod of the lawn under the weight of his—
“Fine, fine, a cute giant, then. Don’t need to give that ego of yours a growth potion, too.” She got up from her chair and walked up to Ryan. He tingled at the feeling of her laying a hand on his leg.
“Does your neck hurt?” she asked. “Maybe you should pick me up.”
Ryan cupped his palms around her, as if she were a baby bird.
“Oooohoho, cool!” she shouted, giddy as Ryan lifted her.
“Glad you’re not afraid of heights.”
“At 6’2 in heels, I can’t afford to be.”
Close to Ryan’s face, she laid her hand on his nose.
“Wanna go someplace with a little more privacy?” she said, quiet enough that he barely caught it.
“I…” Ryan fished with his tongue for more good words. “I’d love to.” Love came out as a pubescent crack, but so be it.
The earth shook, but not from their hearts pounding.
Chelsea looked past him with saucer eyes.
“Uh, Ryan? Was she your lab partner or something?”
On the other side of the student union building, and with her waist higher than its roof, Kiana Sterling was tiptoeing through the street with a nothing but pool tarp wrapped around her waist, her swaying chest exposed and glistening in the sun. She was calling Ryan’s name in frustration.
“No,” Ryan said. “But… I think I probably left the mixture out on the counter in the common area before I ran outside.”
Chelsea laughed. She trumpeted over to Kiana with thunderous theatre-trained projection that made Ryan feel like a mouse at her feet. “Hey, over here! Go pick up a little man, we can make this a mixed-size double-date!”
Folks, the kids are alright.