The Taming of the Prude

Submitted into Contest #148 in response to: Write about a couple touring an empty apartment they might rent.... view prompt


Funny Contemporary Drama

This story contains sensitive content

Content Warning: language, sexual references, nudity (not descriptive).

Vrrrttttt. Vrrrttttt. Vrrr-

“Fuck off,” Mandy mumbled, backhanding her phone screen.

-ttt. Vrrrttttt. Vrrrttttt. Vr-

“It ain’t gonna snooze, Mands. It’s a phone call,” Brad groaned from the other side of the bed.

-rrttttt. Vrrrttttt. Vrrr-

“Good morning, Mandy speaking. Oh, hi Kate, how are you? Yes, of course. Oh- oh, you’re outside? No, sorry, I didn’t hear. Yes, er, yes, the viewing is still today. Would you mind- er, would you mind giving me a few moments to make some final adjustments? I’ll be right out. Okay, see you soon. Thanks Kate. Bye. Oh fuck. Brad, I got the days mixed up. This is bad. And you need to move.”

He yawned and blinked at her. “Eh?”

“What I mean to say,” Mandy said, as she pulled away the sheets to expose their nakedness to the crisp morning air, “is you need to get in that closet right fucking now.” She pointed across the room. 

“Eh? The closet?” Brad’s brain was jogging on the conversation’s motorway. “Why?”

Mandy shot out of bed and hastily pulled on her underwear. “Because if this preppy fucking couple don’t end up renting this place, I’m going to lose my job. And if I lose my job, I can’t pay my rent. And if I can’t pay my rent?” She waved a hand at the tangled sheets. “You can go back to doing whatever you used to do before you met me.”

That got Brad moving. He pushed off the bed with a grunt and was halfway into the closet before a final protest left his lips. “But why naked? What’s gonna happen if they find me?”

“We both know that thing you wore is broken,” she hissed, shoving him inside and slamming the door. “And they won’t.” 

She finished getting dressed and fixed her hair and makeup as best she could, thanking her lucky stars she’d come to the apartment right after work yesterday. Her blouse was crumpled and her usually pristine bun was leaking strands of platinum blonde, but a few flaws in her appearance were a small price to pay. Still, she decided it would be the last time she used one of the company’s empty rentals for a fling.

Making the bed took more time than she could spare. Fluffing the pillows, righting the nightstand they’d knocked over in their haste to get into bed, wiping lipstick marks off the mattress (how?) She sighed when she saw there was nothing to be done about the wrinkled sheets.

Ten minutes had passed since Kate’s phone call, and she could almost sense their impatience mounting - much like the sexual tension last night. Looking around the apartment one last time, she told herself there was no way they’d know. Another part of her giggled with absolute certainty she’d left something incriminating behind. Notwithstanding the naked man in the closet.

She took a deep breath, plastered a fake smile on her face, and pulled the door open.

“Hey, you two,” she exclaimed.

“Morning, Mandy,” Kate smiled. She wore a demure blue dress with tights and shiny black shoes. Her fiancé Colin echoed her from behind, but he was too slow to flip his expression of irritation to faux-delight. The latter suited his wide-faced, big-nosed, cowlicked, “I-went-to-private-school” aura much better. 

“Sorry for the wait,” Mandy said quickly. “I just had to make sure everything was in order for you. I’m telling you guys, this place is incredible. You’re both going to love it.” She stood aside and ushered them in. 

“Wow,” Kate murmured, her head on a swivel. “Not bad, huh?” she added to Colin. 

“Yeah,” he replied, in the tone people use when they’re asked if they want another spoonful of vegetables.

“Wow” was probably an exaggeration. Sure, the place was nice, all whitewashed walls and marble surfaces, but there was nothing to separate it from hundreds of others in town. The view was decent: a slice of harbor, vertigo-inducing panoramas of the crowded streets thirty floors below, seagulls chirping and wheeling through the sky. Other apartment buildings blocked the rest. Though, given the abundance of windows, they too offered views - it usually depended on how shameless the occupants were.

The kitchen was left of the entrance, and it was where Kate gravitated first. 

“The counters are so nice. Is that black marble?” she said.

“Yep. Freshly renovated,” said Mandy. “What do you think of the stove? Electric, touch-activated. Plenty of counter space around it, too. And lots of cupboards for storage. You two like to cook?”

“Of the two of us, Colin’s the cook. Aren’t you, honey?” Kate purred. “Kitchen’s nice, isn’t it?”

He nodded unsmilingly. “It’s not so bad. Whose wine?”

Mandy followed his pointing finger with horror. Yep, there it was, sitting innocently next to the toaster. The second $10 bottle of Pinot Gris she’d picked up last night. The first, drained, was probably rolling around somewhere else in the apartment. Another thing she’d forgotten.

She strode up and grabbed it before Colin could see the lipstick marks. “Uh, well, I thought we could celebrate if you two liked the place.”

Confusion flashed across his face. “But the bottle’s already open.”

“I guess that’s how confident I was you’d sign,” Mandy ventured. 

Her encouraging smile faltered at the awkward silence, before Kate threw her drowning rapport a lifeline.

“Wow, that’s so very thoughtful of you, Mandy, but we’re not drinkers anyway, so…”

“Nevermind, then,” she replied brightly, lobbing the bottle into the bin, where judging from the sound it almost certainly smashed. “Should we check out the living space and balcony?”

The apartment was partially furnished, so a glass coffee table and some very vanilla-looking couches populated the living area. “Left behind by the previous renters,” Mandy explained.

She let them enjoy the view from the balcony as she scouted around the room for any further clues to their activities the previous evening. Luckily, the coffee table was unsullied, since they’d sculled the wine straight from the bottles. She couldn't see any marks on the window from when they'd been pressed up against it. And she was sure they’d ended up on the couch at one point, but from where she stood, it looked relatively unruffled.

But when the couple came in from the balcony, their expressions set alarm bells ringing.

“Everything okay, guys?” 

Kate looked troubled. “Not really. I’m not so sure about that balcony. I didn’t realise it would look directly into the apartments on the other side of the street.”

“We were out there for just a few minutes and already got an eyeful,” Colin added. He seemed a little perkier than earlier. 

“Oh dear. I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry that happened,” Mandy stammered.

“It was- gosh, it was a bit much,” Kate dropped onto the couch. “Wow. I think I need a moment.”

“Take all the time you need. Sounds like it was quite something.”

“Well, it was. They were- you know. Doing it. And they were really going at it,” Kate said.

“Oh, my. Doing it? In the window, where everyone can see? People have no limits,” Mandy scoffed.

“Too true. I heard it’s a sin to do it with tongues. That’s why we only peck on the lips,” said Colin. Kate shot him a look and he retracted his neck like a turtle, cheeks reddening.

Mandy wished she had a third eyebrow to raise. With her mouth she said: “Well, Kate, when you’re feeling better, I’d love to show you two what else this apartment has to offer.”

But in her mind: “Well, Kate, when you’re feeling better, I’d love to tell you all about what happened here last night, you fucking prude.”

Minutes later, she led them down the short hallway opposite the apartment’s front door. 

“Bedroom on the left, bathroom on the right,” she announced, ignoring the pang of fear in her chest. She had no plan for what she would do if they found Brad. But her job was on the line, which made her want a bus to throw him under. It would need to be a giant triple-decker of a bus, though. How to explain away a random naked man in the closet?

As before, Colin trailed wherever Kate went, and her first stop was the bathroom. As they stood there discussing inane things like where the toilet brush would go, Mandy considered stepping into the bedroom and somehow bundling Brad out of there. She surreptitiously edged into the hallway. 

She was almost at the bedroom door when Kate turned around and said: “Okay, I think we’re ready to see the bedroom, Mandy.”

Narrowly suppressing a swear word, she smiled with all her teeth and beckoned them in. 

“Wow,” Kate said, to Mandy’s growing irritation. “What do you think, honey?”

“It’s nice,” replied Colin.

“It’s so spacious,” Kate breathed. Then her nose wrinkled and her exultant expression receded slightly. “Does it smell a little?”

After his earlier transgression, Colin had apparently tossed his vocabulary into the garbage can with Mandy’s wine. “Yeah, maybe.”

Her toes curled in fear even as she bit back a guffaw. Of course they didn’t recognise the smell.

Kate wandered into the room and trailed her hand across the soiled sheets as if they were the softest material on Earth. “I’m surprised the last renters left their bed here,” she commented.

“Free furniture. Just another reason you’d be very lucky if you sign this lease,” Mandy replied. 

Kate arrived at the closet. It was wall-set with a full-length mirror in the door. She reached out for the handle, then seemed to think better of it, looking at her reflection. 

“Enough space, hon?” Colin asked.

“I suppose so.” She absentmindedly pulled the closet door open - and her eyes widened in shock. Her face contorted into embarrassed appreciation. 

Mandy’s brain froze. The plan to whisk Brad away had failed, and she was too overwhelmed to think of an immediate explanation. Nothing her brain came up with made sense. A few seconds of tense quiet passed until she registered ‌Kate was still looking into the closet, and no naked man had come tumbling out. 

“I suppose the last renter was a police officer?” she asked, looking over her shoulder. 

Mandy came up behind her and audibly sighed, though it could have been relief or horror. The closet was empty apart from a set of handcuffs hanging from a peg, a long thin belt, and-

“What’s that leather thing?” Colin was with them now.

If her job wasn’t on the line, Mandy might have explained that strip of leather was the only thing between Brad and public nudity at the party last night, and it tore because her drunken self had thought it was sexy to remove it with her teeth. But mostly she was relieved that the man had somehow vanished.

Instead, she said: “Er, yes, he was in the force. And that looks like, er, some kind of lead? Maybe for a police dog? I’m not sure.”

“Really?” said Kate, shutting the closet door. “So the place is pet-friendly? Wow.”

She gritted her teeth. “Sure.”

Kate gripped Colin’s arm excitedly. “Now we can get the puppy I’ve been talking about.”

“Of course,” said Colin, with the tone people use when they’re pulled away for individual security checks at the airport. 

“Does that mean you’re willing to sign the lease?” Mandy said hopefully. Every muscle, neuron, and sphincter clenched. Not just because she was so close to success, but because there was a naked man somewhere in the apartment who could instantly jeopardize it. 

“Can we have a moment to talk about it?” said Kate. 

“Of course."

Before she could react, they left the bedroom and went back into the living area. She waited for shrieks of shock and disgust, but since none were forthcoming, she gathered Brad wasn't there. She hadn’t heard the front door open, so he couldn’t have left - not to mention he would have been naked, anyway. That meant the only place he could be was-

“The fuck was that, Mandy? You said they weren’t gonna open it.” Brad’s voice drifted from under the bed in a furious whisper. 

She sat down and replied out of the corner of her mouth. “Shut up. They didn’t find you, did they?”

“They sure woulda, if I hadn’t moved.” His head emerged to make surly eye contact. “And you never told me this wasn’t your place.”

“Can we not have this conversation now? At least wait until they leave. Fucking hell.”

“Who are you talking to?” said Colin from the doorway, making Mandy jump. A moment later, his eyes fell on Brad’s exposed head, and his mouth opened slack-jawed in bewilderment. 

“This is Brad. He’s my, er, assistant,” Mandy spluttered.

“Oh. Hi Brad. Why are you under the bed?” Colin asked. His narrowed eyes and furrowed brow asked further questions, such as “Where were you this whole time?” and “Where are your clothes?”

“Oh, it’s, er, you know. I was just doing some final inspections. Right, Mandy?”

“Sure was,” she agreed. “We always check under the beds for spiders before new tenants move in.”

Colin looked skeptical. “Er, okay. Anyway, nice to meet you.” 

He extended a hand, and after a second, Brad - still under the bed - extended his for the most positionally awkward handshake Mandy had ever seen. 

“Here, let me help you up.” Colin offered.

“No, no, I’m really quite fine down here,” Brad squawked back.

But Colin was already pulling him out, and his naked body slid into view like the Vitruvian Man unveiled on canvas. Colin’s eyes bulged, abruptly releasing Brad’s hand as he stood sheepishly.

Of course, at that very moment, the bathroom door opened, and Kate emerged. As she beheld Brad from the doorway, her eyes went wide as dinner plates and a single word burst forth from her lips.


May 29, 2022 12:21

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Tommy Goround
21:26 Jul 08, 2022

Fun reading a few of your stories last night.. Ty.


23:46 Jul 10, 2022

Thanks mate, much appreciated, glad they were fun. :)


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Esperanza Rivas
13:24 Jul 05, 2022

Wow! What a creative take on the prompt! I love how awkward and strange it is, yet suspenseful and interesting. The characters were all so unique and funny in their own ways, each possessing a very important element the story needed. Great, relatable, funny comparisons and too many favorite lines to count! (But if I had to just go with one) I'd have to say I loved "“Of course,” said Colin, with the tone people use when they’re pulled away for individual security checks at the airport."


23:55 Jul 10, 2022

I love it when my older stories get some love - this is one of my favourites but unfortunately it wasn't recognised in the contest. So, thank you for reading and I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :)


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Marty B
18:44 Jun 09, 2022

I liked this line -'Mandy wished she had a third eyebrow to raise.' after this story I agree!!


05:23 Jun 10, 2022

Haha thanks for the comment Marty, appreciate it. :)


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Zack Powell
06:09 Jun 09, 2022

I'm really amazed by your range, Shuvayon. This looks nothing like your story from last week, and it's honestly impressive that you can bounce so effortlessly from gritty and gripping to light and laughable. Very fun(ny) story, and the title was perfect! You really brought the characters and the situation to life. They all felt distinct and bursting with personality. From Mandy's sarcasm to Kate's innocence to Colin's skepticism to Brad being an unwilling accomplice. Plus, it's very well-written - obviously, since it's you. (I love the phra...


05:22 Jun 10, 2022

Mate, your comments always give me the warm fuzzies. Thank you for being so generous. :) I'm glad the humour came through lol. I always worry that I'll write something I think is funny but other people might see it as cringe. This story didn't make the recommended list this week, so I wonder if the jokes didn't land for the judges, but the comments on here reassure me that it's at least somewhat funny. I'm happy with that. I see your story is still on the longlist - I hope it gets recognised! That would be ironic since last week's one was ...


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Andi Hyland
22:37 Jun 04, 2022

Such a great story. I found myself holding my breath with Mandy. Best line: “Of course,” said Colin, with the tone people use when they’re pulled away for individual security checks at the airport.


05:30 Jun 06, 2022

Thanks Andi! Yeah, I thought that was a fairly relatable experience hahah


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Jay McKenzie
16:37 Jun 04, 2022

What a very fun read! I'm a huge fan of cringe, and this was dripping with it. I love how awkward the scenes were. Very well done.


05:31 Jun 06, 2022

Thanks for reading and commenting Jay, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :)


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Kelsey H
00:48 Jun 04, 2022

This was such a great read, and I loved the title too! All the characters were so fun to read, I loved Mandy's sarcastic POV and her view of the uptight couple and the inconvenient man she's trying to shove into a closet. Her trying to explain away all the odd things they keep noticing was so funny. I really liked how the obvious expectation is that Kate will open the closet and find a naked man there (her finding sex toys instead was hilarious though) but you didn't go with that and the way it ended with him under the bed was even better t...


02:24 Jun 04, 2022

Thanks Kelsey, really appreciate the read and comment! So glad you found it funny :D I'll definitely have a read of your story sometime this weekend!


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Zelda C. Thorne
21:17 May 31, 2022

Hahahaha this was so fun! Numerous lines made me laugh, especially, - But in her mind: “Well, Kate, when you’re feeling better, I’d love to tell you all about what happened here last night, you fucking prude.” LOL


05:53 Jun 01, 2022

Thanks for the read Rachel, I’m happy it made you laugh. :) Mandy’s internal monologue doesn’t pull any punches lol


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Michał Przywara
21:09 May 31, 2022

Lol! This was great :D The title was eye catching, and the story hit the ground running. What I really like about this is, even though it's ridiculous, it's also very believable. The situation is possible, and you managed to give all four people a distinct, interesting character. Hilarious :)


05:52 Jun 01, 2022

That makes me so happy to hear, cheers Michał. :)


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Suma Jayachandar
09:24 May 31, 2022

Haha, what a hoot! A voyeur's seat at the balcony and a Vitruvinian Man unfolding from under the bed is a potent cocktail to tame the prude indeed😂


05:50 Jun 01, 2022

Hahaha exactly. Thanks for reading Suma! Always appreciated. :)


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16:20 May 29, 2022

I love this, Shuvayon. A lighthearted and irreverent story that made me chuckle.


11:04 May 30, 2022

That makes me so happy to hear - if it made at least one person chuckle (other than myself lol) then it was well worth writing! Thanks for reading. :)


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Tommy Goround
21:32 Aug 18, 2022

Oops I already read this one. Totally memorable. Love the tension.


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Ionel Rusanu
18:20 Jun 08, 2022

Very funny story. I was a bit unnerved by the interjections in the beginning. It took me a while to get it was the phone ringing. Right? Other than that, thumbs up.


05:01 Jun 09, 2022

Thanks for your comment Ionel! Yes, it was the phone ringing. Not the strongest opening, I'll admit, but I had this mental image of how the story would start and stubbornly stuck with it lol


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