General Disclaimer: I don't create 'em, I just defile 'em.

Author's Note: I've never written anything of this style before so if you're expecting my usual romantic-type cathartic fiction you'll be disappointed. First of all it's in first person, which I usually stay far away from, and second of all I wrote it while extremely bored on a thirteen-hour plane ride with no cute flight attendants to keep me occupied. But here it is nonetheless. It's rated "R" not for any actual gratuity, more like for general content level and to keep my nose clean. Enjoy! Or not as the case may be.

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Just some advice for any males out there who may read this.

No matter how beautiful she is, no matter how smart she is, no matter how talented, funny, witty, charming, or confident she may seem, it doesn't always mean she's taken.

Talk to her. She just may be the loneliest girl in the world.

I can vouch for that with the utmost surety. For here I sit, next to the window in Balamb City's newest and trendiest café, requisite espresso placed just so on the table, legs crossed but relaxed, chin cupped in palm, lips curved just enough, gaze wistful yet bright, feeling very much a single woman.

There's no reason for it either. None that I can think of. And believe me I've done a lot of ruminating on the subject. I know as a twenty-one year old Balamb Garden Instructor, soon to be head instructor if I have my way, I'm quite the catch. Everyone I know has told me what a "shame" it is, my ever-present single-hood.

If it's such a bloody waste then why don't they do something about it? This is what I'm liking to know. But if I voice such thoughts they suddenly are unaccountably busy with mission reports or exams or the always handy "training" excuse.

Which is how I ended up here, the prime meat-market for enterprising young women. The best place to be seen on the whole island. Even better, it's out of Garden. Away from all the zaniness that is life in a military academy, from the stereotypes, from the guys who care more about killing grats than getting laid. I had hope that out in the civilian world  I could find a guy with his priorities straight.

So far I'm aught for aught.

I really don't believe it's me either. There was a time I did, not so long ago. I used to think all my problems, romantic and otherwise, stemmed from the fact that there was something stringently wrong with my make-up. That there was something inside me I couldn't see but everyone else could and it was all negative. I blamed the cosmos, and when that didn't comfort I turned to my studies.

Okay, so I'm a complete and utter bookworm. But that in itself can't be a total turn-off. It's certainly not stopped that simpering little thing in the library from getting some action.

Brains are sexy now. At least that's what the magazine Rinoa lent me said. There was a whole article on how glasses were the new accessory and on how to maximise one's "I.Q. Vibes" by pairing some flashy frames with a designer scarf. I distinctly remember it said to carry a classic novel or volume of poetry to give off the right "aura of smarts".

Glasses, check. Scarf, check. Book, check. Yet when I glance around even the highschooler pouring java won't return my gaze. Not even after that tip I gave him for no reason whatsoever.


Clearly he has not read the magazines.

So brains are out then. Take that off the mental list of possible man-detractors. Besides, while scintillating wit has its purposes there's really no use for it in bed. What other assets have I to offer?

It can't be my appearance that has males ducking and covering every time I intimate some kind of after-class socialisation. I'm not the most beautiful woman in the world but I have my moments. I know what I see in the mirror every morning and it's not some deformed creature fifty pounds overweight with hairy underarms.

Let's be honest here, shall we? I happen to think I have a very nice figure, slightly too lean perhaps, maybe could use a bit more oomph in the back but not bad at all really. My face isn't ghastly either, oval-shaped, no over-bite, decent-looking nose – though snubbed just a fraction over the ideal. There's absolutely wrong with my eyebrows, they've always been my personal favourite feature.

What real woman looks like a fashion model anyway? I have my own fan club for pity's sake! Who can beat that? And no one can tell me it's because I'm such a good teacher. I've read the message boards.

I wonder if that has something to do with it. If the cursed "Trepies" aren't a repellent all by themselves. That I understand. My stomach churns just thinking about them. I can only imagine how a possible paramour would feel.

But they're back at Garden. The dark-haired man reading the newspaper in the corner can't know anything about their bizarre and somewhat-frightening hero-worship. Didn't stop him from averting his gaze when I smiled at him though, did it?

Okay, so it's not my intellect, and it's not my looks.

Is it my self-esteem? Am I not exuding the right amount of joie de vive?

That can't be right. I've come a long way from the misery of my teen years. Helping to save the world from utter destruction will do that. Funny how nearly dying by the hand of one's former playmate will put things into perspective. All it took was one look at Ultimecia and my depression was cured.

The alcohol at the party afterward helped even more. Or rather what happened after the champagne had dried up. If only I could remember his name… Oh well, live and learn.

Moving on to the present then, it's obvious lack of confidence is not what's giving me my biggest troubles any longer.

Therefore, I've come to the conclusion that it's their fault.

The men. They all must be stupid, blind, and insecure. So timid, in fact, that the mere sight of a bright, stunning, ambitious, and engaging young woman turns their whole systems upside down. They want to talk to me but they are so afraid of potential rejection that they convince themselves someone of my calibre couldn't possibly be unattached. If I can't figure out why I am I can't expect them to. That must be it.

Still, my problem isn't solved. I have no idea how to go about ridding them of this wide off the mark concept. Short of parading round in the nude with a sandwich board sporting the words "I'm Available" in giant capitals I don't see how I can go about it. How do I capture their attention?

Playing hard to get is out. That's what I've been doing for the past six years more or less and all it's done is given me a reputation as frigid. I can assure you I'm not. If I could remember that guy's name from the party he would second that.

If playing hard to get is not the solution than getting smashed is even less of one.

I've tried the aggressive approach on occasion and the results of that have been less than satisfactory - to put it nicely. One can spew all the feminist jargon he likes but we still live in a world where men like to think they hold all the power. If not in politics or society any more, again we have Ultimecia to thank for that, then even more especially in relationships. They like coy women, malleable women, who will rub their feet at night and make lots of babies. I don't care what advances we've made, it'll always be that way.

It's not as if I'm looking for anything particularly lasting. All I want is a night or two, or three. Something casual, fun. Someone to warm my bed after a long day, or maybe even rub my feet every now and then. I'm not searching for a soul mate or an undying love. That's all well and good for those willing to settle. But I'm a warrior. I can't make promises like that.

Sometimes I really wish I'd turned down that spokesperson-ship of the Women of the World Feminist Society last year. It can't be doing anything for my mystique.

Zell says most guys respect me too much to take advantage of me. I can visualise it. "Gee, Quis, I'd love to have a romp but gosh, I admire you too dang much to get it up."

Right. Whatever happened to guys who just wanted to get laid? There were oodles of them in the early days. It's a shame that by the time I put down the books long enough to notice, they've all grown up and want to talk about their feelings. More than a little unfair, I say.

I'm wondering now as I stir my coffee and try to angle my body to its best advantage while working out stiff muscles – not an easy task – if I shouldn't take up a personal ad. Single white female with whip skills looking for breathing male with security issues.

That would be a disaster and a half. Besides, Selphie would only find out and get on my case for not going to her first. Because a date with one of the gaga males that woman has on "reserve" is exactly what I'm needing. I'm sure I don't want to know anything about it at all.

I'd roll my eyes but I think the guy who just entered is checking me out.

Yes, eye contact has definitely been established. Now what? Would smiling be too bold? If only they taught lessons at Garden. Right after "How to Kill a Man in Fifty Seconds Without a Mess" could be "Remedial Flirtation for the Sexually Inexperienced." It would give Irvine something to do in the off-hours.

Never mind, he's not looking anymore. Would prefer to chat with the highschooler. I didn't want him anyway. He's probably some kind of homosexual paedophile. Look at the man, the way he's all smiley and jokey with the kid. Aw, isn't that sweet, he told him to keep the change. He must be at least eight years older. It's disgusting.

Men are pigs.

My coffee's cold at any rate. I've been seated here for at least three quarters of an hour. Any longer and I'll start to look desperate. Time to pack it in.

I heard something about a new attachment for my wizard wand. I'll go to my office and look it up online. I'm Quistis Trepe, world-saviour. I need no man for anything.

I'm such a hypocrite.

"Leaving already?"

"Actually, I've been here for quite some time…" Wait a minute. I look up. It's the paedophile. The extremely adorable paedophile who is standing in front of me and smiling. Yes, smiling. And not in that impersonal-polite way but in a friendly-would-like-to-get-to-know-you-better way. Well now, that changes things completely doesn't it? Ahem.

All I have to do is maintain my enigmatic serenity while appearing receptive and ingenuous. Not a problem.


"My coffee's cold."

Oh, sweet mother of all that's divine, that's what I come up with? That's the line that's going to end my celibacy? If there is any decency in this world please let a hurricane suddenly overtake the island, drown my agony. It's all I've got left.

Is he… is he laughing? Yes, I believe he is. It's a very nice laugh too, rich and warm. What do I care? He's alive and breathing and he may not be gay after all! I'm saved!

"To tell you the truth," I'm sounding a lot more poised now, "I was just looking for a reason to stay." Perfect. Now just leave that thought hanging. He'd be an idiot to pass up such an obvious offer.

"Don't let me stop you." Another smile. "This is my favourite table. When I saw you sitting here I didn't think I'd get a shot at it."

He's an idiot. Plain and simple. A boarish, sightless idiot. I hope he and the highschooler are very happy together. I have better things to do with my time. His loss. Unless there's a ring…

Nope. He's just a moron. Who turns down a sure thing?

I don't say anything as I pass him by, just walk away without looking back and breeze out the door. One day he'll realise what he missed out on and feel very sorry indeed. When that day comes I'll be sure to rub it in his face, so to speak.

Until it does, it looks like I have a long-standing date with my computer.