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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 473

An unusually good-looking young man, Ron is quietly unwinding after work at Osgood’s, a small upscale bar, where he is approached by Sarah Cole, the homeliest woman he has ever seen. Acting on a dare from her friends, Sarah introduces herself to Ron. As they converse over drinks, Ron finds...

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An unusually good-looking young man, Ron is quietly unwinding after work at Osgood’s, a small upscale bar, where he is approached by Sarah Cole, the homeliest woman he has ever seen. Acting on a dare from her friends, Sarah introduces herself to Ron. As they converse over drinks, Ron finds himself becoming inexplicably attracted to the lumpish Sarah.

Two days later Ron and Sarah meet again at Osgood’s. Though Ron has almost forgotten about their previous encounter, he once more finds himself inexplicably attracted to Sarah and tries to draw her out—to include her within his life. After they leave the bar together, Ron readily offers Sarah sympathy when she discovers that her car has been slightly dented in the parking lot, but they do not go home together. Ron finds himself the object of snickering scrutiny by other patrons of Osgood’s as Sarah takes her leave of him.

After another encounter at Osgood’s several weeks later, Ron invites Sarah to his apartment. There they discuss their mutual attraction and grow more comfortable in each other’s presence. They admit that they would like to sleep together, but both recognize the real differences between them—in their lifestyles and appearances.

Some weeks later Ron remains obsessed with Sarah, though he has avoided seeing her. He unexpectedly meets her while running an errand on his bicycle. She invites him up to her apartment and suddenly takes the initiative by kissing him. Seeming perplexed and shaken by Sarah’s impulsiveness, Ron silently leaves. The next morning Sarah appears at his apartment, where they are soon making love.

Over the next several weeks Ron and Sarah continue their uneasy affair. They never go out together, but instead meet at Ron’s apartment, where they enjoy their lovemaking and learn more about each other. Tensions develop, however, when Sarah asks Ron to take her out in public with him. When Ron resists that suggestion, Sarah accuses him of being ashamed to be seen with her. He finally relents, and after enduring several miserable outings to bars or to Sarah’s friend’s houses, where Sarah often drinks to the point of incoherence, he becomes disgusted with the relationship. Sarah, who apparently wants something more from Ron, wishes for him to meet her children from her first marriage. When Ron hesitates, trying to come up with an excuse, Sarah senses a problem. They agree to meet to talk about it.

Ron informs Sarah that the relationship is over, and she briefly resists his wishes, pretending that it cannot be true. He finally forces her to leave his apartment and calls her a “disgusting, ugly bitch.” As he speaks, Sarah becomes more beautiful to him with every mean word that he utters. She leaves, crying, and he feels as if he has killed her.

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