5 Minute Fiction: The Fifth Date

5 Minute Fiction: The Fifth Date

Photo: © irinavk | Depositphotos.com

Genre: Fantasy (Romantic, Humorous)

Note: And you thought your last date was kinda strange...

The minute I started up the steps to her apartment, I knew I’d made a terrible mistake.

Her tentacles had grown.

They were small at first, and seeing how beautiful she was otherwise, I was willing to overlook them.

She had dark hair, really deep brown eyes with—I swear—flecks of gold in them. She was athletic, and her nails were always painted. Sometimes red, sometimes blue, sometimes green. Really, just about every color of the rainbow showed up on her fingernails, but they were always painted. There was just something I liked about that.

But now…

She had told me she was half-octopus the first time I met her, and I was a little concerned, me being full-human and all, but attraction got the better of me.

I had been walking in the park that day. It was breezy but warm, and when I saw her, she was stretching. Her leg was propped up on top of a bench, and she was bent over it, stretching her hamstring.

I had never been the type to approach people, but a nice breeze came up at that moment and—I don’t know—inspired me. I didn’t see why I shouldn’t go up to her. If she didn’t want to talk, I would go on my way, and she would go on hers, and it would be no big deal.

I turned off the asphalt path and onto the grass.

“Excuse me,” I said. “Do you mind telling me what route you’re going to run? I’m a runner myself.”

She looked up at me and then yanked out her earbuds, which I hadn’t actually noticed she had in. That’s when I saw them. The tentacles.

Like I said, they were short at this time—an inch, maybe two—and they sprang out from around her head and neck. There weren’t many of them, but they were noticeable up close.

“What’s that?” she said, a neutral expression on her face.

I repeated my question, and we started chatting.

I have to admit, I was staring at the tentacles. I couldn’t decide exactly what animal they belonged to, but I was also distracted by the gold flecks in her eyes and her yellow fingernails.

“Octopus,” she finally said, with a knowing smile.

“Oh right,” I said, a little embarrassed she had caught me staring.

I knew all the common types—half dog, half cat, half mouse, half bear, etc. And I knew some of the uncommon types too—half giraffe, half sloth—just to name a couple. But sea creatures were pretty rare.

We talked for a couple more minutes, then exchanged phone numbers so we could run together sometime, and off she went.

Half-octopus, I thought as she ran away. Half-octopus.

I had never dated anyone with tentacles before. A tail? Yes. But tentacles were a whole other thing. I took some time to consider when I got back to my apartment. She was beautiful, friendly, and a runner. In any other circumstance, that was a yes for me. And the tentacles were small. You could barely see them from eight feet away.

A few days later, I decided I could overlook the tentacles, and I texted to see if she wanted to go running. She was up for it, and we met at the park.

Her fingernails were now green, and the tentacles were still there. During our run, I glanced over periodically to find them swinging back and forth with the movement, trying to gauge my comfort level with them.

But the run and conversation were great, and those eyes… It was okay, I thought. I could deal.

We ran a couple more times, then out for drinks, and then made dinner plans. And here I was. But when she opened the door…

Her tentacles had at least doubled in size, and there seemed to be more of them too. One of them was definitely the better part of a foot long. I leaned in to kiss her hello but couldn’t take my eyes off that one.

She needed a few more minutes, so I sat down on her couch to wait, feeling just a bit too warm. What had happened in the week since I saw her last? Why had the tentacles grown? Would they continue to grow?

In my mind, I saw her before me and watched as all the tentacles grew longer and longer until they almost reached the floor. Even gold-flecked eyes couldn’t help floor-length tentacles. I was starting to sweat. Should I make a run for it before she comes back out?

But it was too late. She emerged from her bedroom looking fantastic, except for her writhing tentacles.

I unsteadily got up from the couch, a smile plastered on my face.

“Ready?” I said, entertaining fantasies of bolting once we were seated at the restaurant.

“All set,” she said. “Did you have any place in mind?” The longest tentacle wriggled as she spoke.

“Just no seafood,” I said before I could even think about what I was saying. “Uhhh, I mean, I’m flexible, but maybe something vegetarian tonight.”

“Sure,” she said and grabbed her bag, poised at the door. “You coming?”

I realized I had been glued to the spot where I had gotten up from the couch. I put one foot forward and then the other.

“Yep,” I said, watching as she turned the doorknob and pulled it open.

I hadn’t even noticed that her fingernails were red today.

Amanda Linehan is a multi-genre fiction writer and indie author. She has published 13 titles since 2012 and has been read in 113 countries. She also loves bubbly water. If you enjoyed this story you can "buy her a club soda" on her Ko-fi page by clicking the button below. All support is voluntary and appreciated. :)

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