Taala unlocked the wooden chest sitting on her dresser. The plump pink padlock fell with a clunk. She lifted out the small foil pouch within, took a long, healthy sniff of its interior, and moaned softly. Taala promised herself this would be the last time as she grabbed her phone and texted Anand.
I’m jonesing for your meat.
I know. <Wink emoji>
What would your
That it’s your fault. Facetime?
Taala dove under the covers, accepting his FaceTime call. She could feel heat coursing through her body as the image of Anand filled the screen. He wore a signature In-N-Out cap jauntily upon his black curls. A rumbling fluttered in her stomach.
“I’m going to get in trouble,” whispered Anand.
“Show me. I need it so bad,” demanded Taala, hands sweaty, mouth parted in excitement.
Anand switched views to show the grill. Succulent meat patties dripping in their own juices flooded the screen. Anand took a spatula and flipped one before her eyes, and the resultant sizzle made her swoon.
“So hot! I want it animal-style!” She hugged the phone to her chest and heard Anand laughing just as her mother burst in.
“Taala, what’s going on? You should be studying, not on your face times with that scoundrel,” said her mother, grabbing her phone and replacing it with a thick calculus textbook.
“Mom! It’s the weekend!”
Saturday afternoons were regimented at the Thakor household, with studies followed by more studies followed by casual reading and tea. According to her mother, Anand lived in one of the more “permissive” households, which meant he enjoyed the average life of a hot-blooded American carnivore.
Anand. They met when he beaned her with a tray of half-finished milkshakes. He paid for her dry cleaning and a new order of fries. When he moved up from busboy to fry-cook, something about the way he spoke about sliding meat between toasted buns aroused something within. She needed to know what she was missing. Anand was happy to oblige. Hindu dietary restrictions fell away with that first glorious bite. Since then, she could hide her desire from the world but not keep her cravings unfulfilled. It was also getting harder for her to separate the boy from the burger. Did Anand feel the same way?
That evening, when the household was asleep, Taala lay in bed, hungry. As she contemplated Impossible™ Beef, there came a rap at her window.
Anand! She rushed to the window to help him in. She breathed in his deep-fried scent as they sat on her bed.
“Behold! A double-double, animal-style, as m’lady ordered.”
Taala needed no coaxing as she tore off its wrappings and gorged herself. Secret sauce oozed from her moaning lips. Anand watched, his laughter quieting to a shy smile. She looked into his dark brown eyes and sighed as he wiped away a stray onion.
“I’m in love,” they said in unison, moments before a juicy first kiss.