By Kate Jones
Gina twists a thin finger through the ends of her hair. Today: electric blue. Her white blonde roots simmer through the top and ends. She’s splayed out across her duvet. I’m sat, back against the headboard, her head practically laid in my lap.
So, how’d it go with Sean last night? I ask, making an effort to make my voice sound normal. Disinterested.
She sighs. I watch the soft, white domes of her breasts rise sharply, then drop, their alabaster tops are lolling precariously over the top of her low-cut t-shirt.
The t-shirt is black, reflecting her white skin. It says ‘why not?’ in white lettering across it. I know it’s her favourite. She let me borrow it once, when I stayed over at her place. I’d basked in the smell of her sweat and Impulse against my skin for two days until I gave it back.
It was okaaaay, she says, stretching out the word. This means, I deduce, that Sean was a bit of a let down. The guys Gina sleeps with often are. She has high standards. Though not so high she considers saying no.
I wait in silence, knowing from practice that she’ll fill me in when she’s ready. Both wanting and not wanting to know.
The sex was all right, she says eventually, but he kisses like an uncle, you know?
She continues without an answer. Like, he was waiting for a fucking invitation to put his tongue in my mouth, or something.
I make understanding sounds, aching to move a strand of blue hair from her shoulder blade. Last time she stayed over, she borrowed my underwear. Watching her pulling them up her slim legs, I was thrilled to discover she dyed her pubic hair to match her head.
So… you seeing him again then?
Gina pushes herself up onto her elbows. Her breasts now sit back in their proper place. I try not to stare at the black shoelace strap of her bra where her t-shirt hangs from one shoulder. She screws up her eyes and smiles lopsidedly at me.
Well course, I’ll see him at the club tonight, and in college next week, you dork. She punches my arm gently. I hate it when she calls me dork. But I laugh, like it’s okay.
Yeah, I guess, I meant…
Relax, Janey. Not everything has to end in marriage, you know.
She lies back down. When you gonna get laid, anyway?
I shrug, but she doesn’t see.
It’s heaving in the club. Bodies line like pigeons at the bar. Somehow, Gina manages to get two bottled waters. Somehow, she parts the crowd like Moses. She looks fantastic, long legs poured into liquid black jeans and the black t-shirt. Her hair, pinned back with a grip.
We walk to the dance floor together and watch. Bodies move together, then apart. People choosing faceless partners for the night. The music has a heavy drum beat and I feel it through my feet.
A man gyrates in a corner of the dance floor by himself, eyes closed, lost. A hen party laugh raucously, as a group of young men brush around them. The bride-to-be has condoms stuck in her hair. She looks off her head.
Hey, a voice says. It’s Sean, and behind him, Paulie, his younger brother.
Hey, Gina says, a small smile that disappears as quickly as it crosses her mouth. Sean looks at her with mouth open, like a dog anticipating a treat. I take a drag from my bottle of water. Paulie meets my eyes, but I look away.
So, I enjoyed last night, Sean says to the back of Gina’s head. She nods but doesn’t turn round to face him.
Dance, she says over her shoulder to me, and stalks out onto the dance floor. It’s more of an order than an invitation. I follow. The guys stay watching on the sidelines.
We dance. Me, awkwardly. Gina, swaying hips caught up in the beat, eyes closed, arms above her head. She hasn’t shaved her armpits; small stubbly hairs push through. I wonder if she’ll dye them too.
We walk into the cool night to look for a taxi. Sean and Paulie are smoking under the lit up club sign. One letter flickers intermittently.
Hey, Sean shouts as he spots us, want a lift home?
Gina shrugs, looks at me. I shrug back. I really want to sit in the back of the taxi with her, her head falling onto my shoulder tiredly. Sometimes, when she’s sleepy and cuddles up to me, I can trace a finger round her shoulder blades. Touch my lips gently to her earlobe, without her noticing.
Or maybe she does, but doesn’t say.
Sure, saves taxi fare, Gina shouts back, and we walk towards them. Sean tosses a fag end toward the gutter and throws his car keys to Paulie. You drive, I’ve had too much to drink, he says.
As we walk off down the street, we pass the bride-to-be throwing up. A pool of vomit around her feet. Her friends stand around, laughing. She still has one sad condom stuck in her hair.
Sean takes Gina’s hand and they walk in front slightly. I walk beside Paulie. There’s awkward silence. His hand brushes mine as we turn the corner and I move further away. We get to the car, a VW with a deep dent in the passenger side.
Should have seen the other car, Paulie says, smiling, seeing my gaze. I smile back, embarrassed.
Sean pulls the back door open and pulls Gina in beside him. I climb into the front passenger seat beside Paulie and he starts the engine. Iron Maiden blasts from the speakers. He turns it down, apologising. We drive off down the dark deserted streets.
I sit on the grass of the park with Paulie. He asks if I want a smoke. I shake my head. The car windows are open and we can hear Sean moving in and out of Gina, swearing under his breath. We can hear Gina’s feet pushing against the door handle.
Paulie flicks his fag across the grass. He turns to me, we make eye contact.
I fall back against the cool grass as I let him gently push me down. He rolls on top of me, and begins kissing my neck. I turn away when he tries to kiss my face, pushing him down my body instead. He pulls up my dress, starts unfastening his jeans.
I want to tell him to use his tongue, not his dick, but I’m too late.
I let Paulie fuck me, to drown out the sound of him and her. I think maybe somebody’s arms are better than nobody’s.
Paulie’s quick and quiet; I can still hear Sean and Gina from the car. I stare at the sky. There is a small moon hanging like a single light bulb, no stars.
* * *
Kate Jones is a writer living in the UK. Her work has been published in various online literary magazines such as Spelk, Café Aphra, Gold Dust, Sick Lit and The Real Story. Kate recently placed first in the Flash500 competition, and her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She writes freelance reviews and features, primarily for Skirt Collective, an online women’s magazine.