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My eyes were glassy. My mouth open.
“Close your mouth,” rang the shrill and irritating voice of Emilia Johnson, the pretty girl across from me.
French. We were in French class – a compulsory subject that I’d grown to hate. Emilia Johnson poked me with the sharp tip of a pink pen. Oh, how I’d grown to hate that girl, also. She with her mirthful eyes. She with her cute nose and maddened grin. Emilia Johnson was always ready to play. Always ready to leap about and wrestle – something that our poor Mr. Jackson had grown to dread.
It had been on more than one occasion that he’d had to deal with two eighteen year olds squealing on the floor of his classroom, one trying to bite the other, that other raising a hand to strike.
I’d quickly learned that biting Emilia only fuelled her desire to tease me with her pokes, and her kicks, and the way she’d lean over to steal things off my desk.
Fucking Emilia Johnson.
Tempted to drop my jaw lower, I decided to spare Emilia the pleasure of my retaliation. Instead, I closed my mouth, and shifted my gaze to Mr. Jackson.
Mr. J had begun to grow old. It could easily be seen in the way that his eyes had grown watery, his belly full and left to hang over the belt that secured his trousers, and the hair that had gradually disappeared to expose a shiny disc of bare skin on the top of his head.
Despite my fetish for older men, I found no pleasure in the idea of sucking Mr. J’s cock, nor in having his hands on my breasts or waist. Yuck. As if Mr. J would even dare. A religious fanatic, that’s what he was. I could swear that he spent greater chunks of each lesson debating the perks of religion and virtue than actually teaching French.
I rolled my eyes. Since when had I become such a pessimist?
Perhaps I wasn’t a pessimist. Perhaps I just saw the raw truth in things.
Who was I kidding?
I was a goddamn pessimist.
“What are you doing, this afternoon?” Emilia demanded, and I looked over to lock my gaze with her wide, psychotic green eyes.
I hesitated, contemplating my response.
Finally, exasperated, I snapped, “Why do you want to know?”
I’d meant for the words to be sharp and insulting, but instead they came out wispily weak.
Emilia leant down to her bag – and then proceeded to casually slam a dictionary onto her desk – all the while happily nattering, “We are neighbours, after all, Georgie. I thought that we could walk home together. Or take the bus. It could be fun. We don’t spend nearly enough time together, specially seeing as we live so close, you know? I mean, we could have regular hangout sessions, you always seem so glum, though, and -”
By this point, I had most certainly heard enough, and so interrupted the annoying creature, “Nah. I’m staying for a bit, after school.”
Something strange happened, then. Of course, I would later understand why Emilia’s eyes flashed with some obscure emotion, in that moment. At the time, I chose to ignore the flash, and the grin, and the way her hands dropped into her lap to fiddle with the hem of her skirt.
“How long will you be staying for?”
She was incorrigible.
I sighed, “I don’t know. An hour?”
“Shouldn’t you be working?” Mr. Jackson questioned, and quirked an eyebrow from behind his narrow desk, “Because it doesn’t sound as if either of you are being productive.”
“Sorry, Sir,” Emilia said, but did so in the most feminine and sensual voice she could muster. She flashed her rows of pearly whites, and her freckled cheeks raised to accommodate the cute grin. Mr. Jackson stared for a moment, and then (blushing like some fool), returned his gaze to the papers set atop his desk.
It was the last period of the day – a Friday, at that – and all of our classmates seemed too worn to chatter or misbehave or do anything other than stare vacantly down at their books. I sighed, lifted a leg and crossed it over the other, and then leant back in the chair to stare from the window and out to the quiet grounds beyond.
I glanced at Mr. Jackson. Still, he blushed, and seemed too busy to take much notice of the way I’d taken to ignoring my studies for the entire lesson.
The classroom felt heated. Stuffy. And to add to this, no one had taken the initiative to crack open even one window. Quietly, Emilia began fanning her school skirt above her thighs.
Emilia always looked so good in uniform. The tartan skirt hugged her hips so snugly, and the white button-up long-sleeve failed to look frumpy in being pulled tight over her large breasts. I, on the other hand, was skinny and tall enough to make the whole outfit seem awkward, and lengthy, and like some form of sack.
Five minutes to go. It felt like suffocation. Like some slow, agonising death.
“Sir?” rang a tired voice from the back.
“Mmm?” Mr. Jackson glanced up and to Harriet, a small blonde thing with a round, pallid face.
“What does ‘vitesse’ mean?”
“Velocity,” etlik escort Mr. Jackson replied simply.
What the fuck was Harriet reading?
The bell rang.
I sighed in relief, and all at once everyone seemed energised as they leapt up to pack away their books and stationery. The classroom came alive with the voices and the grinning faces of girls who quickly left Mr. Jackson with a, “Thank you, Sir!” or a, “Have a great weekend, Sir!” before fleeing the room.
We were all free. For two days, at least.
And I had no idea, at the very moment I stepped from Mr. J’s class and into the afternoon sunshine, that the next fifty-seven hours would prove to be a grotesque blur that’d transform my world forever.
Doing all I could to avoid Emilia on the way out, I quickly escaped into a surge of students who, in a loud group, were evidently making their way to the school’s main entrance. Escaping from the group, I dodged into a fairly quiet corridor (weird, considering the time) and then out and into the school’s gardens.
I rounded a building, and then slung my bag up to rummage around for a fresh cigarette. The very back of the Science labs loomed up behind me, and I peered into a window to ensure no teachers were loitering about inside. Taking on the role of the delinquent I’d chosen to become, I lit the little stick of death, and mock-contemplated the great mystery of life, and the great mystery of annoying Emilia Johnson’s beauty. A little ant crawled up the length of my arm, and I squashed it with the underside of my thumb.
An angry voice shouted from above, “Hey! You! What exactly do you think you’re doing?”
I glanced up to see a teacher leaning from a window set into the second floor’s wall. I smirked, and then very hurriedly bolted back into the school corridor and down to the driveway. I was sure Emilia had begun to make her way home, and that I’d wasted enough time to keep from bumping into her. Confident about this, and with the cigarette wedged between my teeth (people passing by in cars could go fuck themselves), I languidly took the twenty minute walk home.
Soon enough, I found myself strolling up the pathway to the home I shared with my father. It had been a year since Mom had passed away. This is probably why Dad had grown so lenient in his approach to parenting, as I’m sure grief had transformed his insides into feeble mounds of jelly, but of course I did not mind.
With a squeak and a slam and a squawk (Mom’s remaining parrot, Billy, enjoyed greeting us when we came home), I stepped into the house.
“Yo! Dad!” I yelled, and became too preoccupied with greeting Billy to care much for the clattering and shuffling which resonated (very suddenly) from the kitchen. Curious as to Dad’s silence, I dropped my bag to the floor, and called out a second time, “Dad? Hello? I’m home!”
Leaning against a wall to pull off my school shoes, I casually responded to dad’s feeble, “Hey Georgette,” with a, “Oh? You’re in the kitchen? What are you making for lunch?”
Dad never made lunch. Intrigued, I rounded the kitchen’s doorway and then paused. No wonder Dad had been so quiet. There, sitting on one of the counters, sat annoying Emilia Johnson. Across from her stood my dad, and he very slowly went about rinsing a bowlful of mushrooms. I wondered how long he had had to tolerate her. He was probably thanking his lucky stars that I’d come in, and saved him from her.
“What are you doing here?” I asked, and casually seated myself at the kitchen table.
Dad still hadn’t turned to greet me. Had she really been irritating enough to have traumatised him into shocked silence? Hah. I wouldn’t be surprised.
“Well, like I said earlier, I think we should hangout some, Georgie,” Emilia smiled.
Suddenly, Dad responded, “Yes. Em popped by to wait for you.”
My eyes narrowed.
Why on earth was my dad referring to Emilia as “Em”?
Shrugging this off, I stated, “Well. I’m kind of busy. Maybe another time, Emilia, but not today. Nice to see you. You can let yourself out. Have a great day. Cheers.”
I watched as Emilia bit her lip, dropped from the counter, and made to walk from the kitchen. Something caught my eye, then. On her left thigh sat a red and glistening patch, as if someone had just pressed their suckling mouth to her skin.
“What is that?” I questioned, and pointed.
“Oh,” Emilia stared down, and then, completely composed, looked up, “I hit my leg on the table. Mr. Wilford was kind enough to give me some ice to press against it.”
Emilia and I stared at each other, for a moment.
“See you around, then, Georgette,” she said, and then walked to the kitchen doorway, where she paused, “Thanks again, Mr. Wilford.”
Seconds passed before there came the sound of the front door opening and closing.
Relaxed by Emilia’s absence, I leant back and gazed at my father, “Sorry ’bout that, Dad. She’s so irritating.”
Dad looked at me, frowned, etlik escort bayan nodded, and then continued on with washing the mushrooms.
“What are you going to do with those?” I asked.
Dad’s frown deepened, and he stared down at the ‘shrooms, almost as if he had no recollection of why he’d removed them from the fridge. He rubbed his forehead with wet fingers.
Then, chuckling quietly, Dad said, “I actually don’t know. What do you suggest, Georgette?”
It had been years since Dad had referred to me as anything other than “Georgette”. He seemed to have grown cold. Distant. Any affection, verbal or otherwise, had become a rarity in our house. Since mom had died, it had become unbearably worse. Dad refused to hug me, most days. I frowned, and grew suddenly angry. Here, this man refused to refer to me as anything other than “Georgette” – not even “Georgie” or “Sweetheart”, yet he very willingly called our annoying next-door neighbour by some sweet, shortened version of her name. “Em”.
“I don’t care,” I said, and then abruptly stood, “I’m going out tonight. Don’t wait up for me.”
With that, I disappeared from the kitchen, and up to my bedroom. Once there, I very carefully shut the white door. Pressing my back to its prestick-littered surface, I stared at the room, and attempted to calm myself with deep breaths.
I rummaged about in a pocket, pulled out my phone, and pressed it up to my ear after dialling a girl named Kelly-Anne. It had been a year since Kelly had graduated, and she now attended a local university. Despite her being slightly older, I took comfort in her company, and she seemed to tolerate me just fine.
“What?” Kelly answered, and there came the usual smacking of her teeth on bubble-gum.
“I feel like shit. Let’s go out tonight?”
Kelly snorted, “What? Failed another Math test, did you?”
“That was a once-off occurrence,” I assured, and raked a finger through my hair, removing my red hairband in the process, “Nah. My dad is just being a dick.”
Suddenly impatient, I bounced and petulantly demanded, “Come on, Kelly! Let’s go out. Don’t leave me here to suffer.”
“You are so melodramatic, Georgie. So very melodramatic.”
“So? What’s the verdict? Yes? No?”
“Sure, George. I will pick you up at six-thirty?”
I could hear the smile in Kelly’s voice. She did enjoy being wanted, I suppose. Agreements made, Kelly hung up, and I was left in silence. Having hours to prep, I opened the windows, neglected my schoolbag in leaving it downstairs, texted a dull boy, removed my clothes, and ended up swaying in the shower to tinny rock music.
Singing, rubbing my hands over my body, my curly hair wet and sticking to my back – I felt invincible. I felt “badass”, so to speak.
It was afterwards that I paused in front of the mirror, wrapped up in a towel, to stare at myself. I had my father’s face. Long and pallid – lips full and eyes as black as a raven’s. Only, my hair was a curly and ashy blonde, while Dad’s had, for years, remained a thick tangle of black. It had begun to go grey, in recent times. He was getting older, after all.
“You suck,” I whispered to my own reflection.
Then, teeth bared, I leant in to harshly snarl, “I hate you, Georgette. You bitch. I hate you. I hate you.”
Mom would have been there. Mom would have questioned my impolite response to the mushroom question, earlier. Mom would have held me as I’d cried on that bathroom floor. She would’ve whispered sweet things and stroked the hair from my face.
But Mom wasn’t here. No. I was stuck with a father who might as well have been a stranger.
After having had my meltdown, I picked myself up and spent the next while readying myself with makeup and perfume and so. 6.30 came, and I peered from my window and out to look at Emilia’s house. The lights were all on, and Emilia could be seen dining with her family on the first floor. Curling my lip in distaste, I descended the stairs, ignored my father on the way out, and waited on the curb for Kelly-Anne.
A sense of illness had begun to poke at me. My throat felt suddenly dry and raw – my head pounded painfully, and my stomach churned with nausea.
Finally, the girl rounded the corner at the end of the street in a beat-up red car. She leant over, cracked open the passenger door, and beckoned for me to get in. I complied, and greeted her with a friendly peck on the lips.
“Hey, sweet thing,” Kelly acknowledged, and raked a slender hand through her mess of tousled hair.
I smiled. Kelly was one of the only people I found wonderful.
The car set into motion.
“Thanks for coming.”
Kelly, as per usual, snorted in amusement.
“Of course. We’re friends, no?”
I nodded, and if it were not for the darkness, I am sure that Kelly would’ve seen the admiration shining in my eyes.
“Where are we going?”
“Nowhere escort etlik special.”
The cemetery acted as a pathway to the thick and dark forest. Kelly lead the way, and I instinctively remained silent as we weaved about gravestones and benches and lone trees. Clouds had gathered overhead, and the darkness seemed almost stifling.
I enjoyed the atmosphere. A cold wind had begun to roll in, and Kelly pulled her faux fur jacket tight about her torso.
I suppose that I should’ve been scared, considering the dark and dead bodies underfoot. Somehow, fear failed to manifest.
Into the thicket we went, and Kelly settled into step beside me as we wove about trees. I could now see the way a warm glow filtered out from between the pines. Still, my head pounded, although the cool air soothed the pain (to a very small degree, mind you).
We drew ever closer to the glow, until almost suddenly I could spy its source. There, in a small clearing, crackled a fire, and a few silhouettes lounged around it.
A boy (his age difficult to guess in the dim light) managed to catch sight of both Kelly and I as we appeared from the treeline, and his face seemed to brighten with excitement.
And then he was up and hugging her.
We were introduced, and I discovered that his name was Benjamin. Not that I cared much for him, or his name. Both Kelly and I settled in among the group, and I engaged briefly in dull conversation before impolitely abandoning it so as to stare up at the bonfire’s rising and quickly escaping smoke.
An assumedly insecure female faked drunkenness, and fell into Benjamin’s lap to twist and giggle and spout out random garbage.
The wind, which had previously served as a means to soothe my headache, blew a gust of smoke into my face and over my body.
My eyes watered. I felt sicker than ever.
A stranger offered me a beer, and I sipped at it sheepishly. Kelly had become engrossed in a conversation across from me, although paused to lean in and whisper a concerned, “Are you OK? You look glum.”
I felt glum.
Not wishing to spoil Kelly’s night (especially after forcing her to bring me along) I faked a smile and responded with a, “I’m great. Don’t worry.”
It was then that my stomach churned in a most disconcerting manner, and I bolted to the nearest bush to hurl and choke and splutter out disgusting fluids and sounds. Kelly stroked my back. Only an hour or so had passed, and now we were bouncing our way back to my home in Kelly’s little red car.
“Don’t sweat it, Cupcake,” Kelly cooed as we pulled up outside the house, and her fingers stroked across my cheek tenderly.
I missed my mom.
Belching, I sluggishly lugged my way up the garden path, and paused at the door.
It was perplexing. The illness had come on so soon.
I fumbled for a moment with my key, and feeling exhausted and ashamed and nauseous, shuffled into the hall without my usual squeak and slam and squawk. Billy sat perched in his cage, partially asleep and partially oblivious. I tapped at his cage with a fingernail, and then began to make my ascent up the stairs.
All of the lights were on, yet my father was nowhere to be seen. This, also, was perplexing, as Dad usually took to watching television or reading downstairs. If this were not the case, then he would turn off all lights and head to bed.
The mere thought of that man drained me.
I spun out into the upstairs hallway, and made to retreat to my bedroom when I heard something strange. Down the hall my father’s door had been left ajar, and from it came the distinct twang of Emilia’s voice.
My brow furrowed.
Impulsively, I stormed down the hall (trampling the homey rugs and bumping furniture in the process), to lurch angrily into my father’s bedroom.
I had expected to find Emilia fully-clothed, either seated on the floor or one of the room’s armchairs, nattering annoyingly away at my father.
What I saw, instead, sent icy shivers through my spine and veins.
There, on Dad’s bed, lay Emilia. Her pretty, red curls splayed out about her head, and her head had been thrown back in pleasure. Her eyes were closed, her legs open, and between those lithe, creamy thighs crouched my father.
He was fucking her.
They were both on his bed, and he was pumping into her – the force of this very real motion bouncing her head back and forth against his pillows.
“What the fuck?” I roared, illness forgotten.
As if bewitched, both bodies froze. Emilia’s eyes had opened, and stunned, they stared up into my father’s face. His had changed. It had transformed from a twist of ecstasy and into a blank, tight-lipped stare. For a few moments they lay there like that, both staring at each other, as if unsure of what to do. As if ignoring me for long enough would magically cause me to leave and forget.
Then, as if they’d both rehearsed it, both pairs of eyes slowly swivelled to look at me, moving at the same speed and at the very same moment.
My face burned up with fury.
I must have looked like a witch, standing there in the doorway with flashing eyes and balled fists and twitching lips and bright red skin.
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