22nd July 2021
“Touched” was the runner-up of the Liverpool Guild Student Media Short Story Competition 2021. You can read her entry below. Keep an eye out for the other entries on the shortlist too.
“This story contains adult themes”
‘… Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.’ Mathew 6:13
Ahh-mmh. Gabriel scrunches his face. “Does that feel nice?” I try to suppress a sarcastic comment, something like, “The kiwi I found in the fridge last week was better than this.’ It’s a funny thought but something tells me it might kill the mood. Shame. Instead, I nod. I’ve always been good at convincing Gabe of how I feel. In response Gabe starts moving faster, like two trains crashing, we slam and shudder inside other each, moaning until he’s finished. I don’t have long to wait. Gabe holds me for a minute and then let’s go. He moves to get changed quickly exiting the bed, leaving me exposed.
I lie, drifting far away until I hear,
“Get changed, we haven’t got all night.’’
I sigh, get up and lazily drift across the hall to get changed in the bathroom. Somehow, this gives me privacy when I have nothing left to hide. I guess you can subconsciously delude yourself. Ten minutes later I’m on Gabe’s doorstep awkwardly saying goodbye, he leans in kissing me hurriedly.
Waiting for the bus I get a text from Izzy, ‘Bolognese. Now’. I get more of a thrill from this than Gabe’s text earlier to come over. It starts raining and I have to wipe the translucent, collapsing droplets off the phones screen. The light highlights my pale face which is incongruous against the black backdrop. Exactly one hour later the bus arrives. I step inside, the doors close shut behind me.
I knock three times before Sigh opens the door. I take a step back not expecting to see him. Simultaneously I forget the steps behind me and fall. Liquid heat swirls and rises underneath the skin of my cheeks exposing a red shade. Without missing a second, his hand reaches down, grasping mine. He helps me up, out of embarrassment I avoid his eye line. Mumbling thanks, I head up the stairs to the flat I share with his sister Lizzy. I hear his footsteps a step behind mine. When did Bolognese become code for Simon? Was it after tequila shots last Wednesday evening? My thoughts whirl inside my mind leaving me dizzy. I throw myself down on the Barnardos sofa we got last summer.
“Are you okay?” Simon’s soft voice pulls me from the depths of my thoughts.
I fire back automatically, “Fine, you?”
Two seconds pass and I don’t breathe before he replies.
“Well, if fine means my flat got flooded and the sofa you’re lying on is my new bed for the next month, then yeah I’m fine.”
Without thinking I jump off the sofa apologetically.
“Shit sorry, do you know where Lizzy is?”
Simon now looks at the floor avoiding my gaze.
“Picking me up some extra clothes and toiletries I think.”
The door slams open and closes again. Either Lizzy’s back or someone else needs somewhere to stay. If it’s the latter I hope we didn’t breakup like me and Sigh did.
‘But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Mathew 5:28
I watch Sam leave until her figure is consumed by the night. I gently close the door behind her. My heart races in competition with my feet which are running up the stairs. My phone beeps and I look down. It’s Chloe. Naked. I can’t help but smirk. Two seconds later my phone beeps again.
‘See you at 9, C xxx’
I reply thirty minutes later.
‘On my way.’
That’s a lie. I still need to shower and get changed but I like to keep her waiting. I grab a towel and a clean pair of boxers. In the bathroom I get distracted, focusing on the mirror. Rusty green eyes stare back, smudged by condensation from the shower. I close them.
I’m back in school. The shrill screech of the lunch bell rings, I’m with my friends, I’m popular again. Sigh’s laughing as Sam whispers something in his ear. She’s nestled in his lap. Her shirts tight around her chest. I used to fascinate about what bra she would be wearing, a lace one, maybe a push up or even better, nothing.
Last year I told her about this fascination. She winced when I said Sigh’s name. It reminded me of Sam the first night we had sex, uncomfortable and vulnerable. She was writing. She used to write a lot then. Poems, things I used to laugh at. Suddenly my thoughts are punctured by one she wrote about me.
‘Didn’t think we would date,
We’ve always been mates,
I’m watching you suck your mcflurry spoon
Didn’t think later I’d be sucking you.’
At the time it made me laugh. Now I shiver remembering it. I exit the bathroom shaking. I throw sweats and a white top on. Again, I look in the mirror. I’m attractive but inside I feel like a carcass, hollow and scavenged. I get in the car. Focus on the road ahead, trying to keep the vomit rising in my throat down.
For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.’ Matthew 18:20
I take a deep breathe before opening the door. Driving home my brain transformed into a projector broadcasting the potential scenarios developing upstairs. They ranged from Sam storming out after seeing Sigh or finding them enveloped in each other’s arms, sealed together. I open the door, heading upstairs I’m cautious to discern the atmosphere I’m about to become submerged by. Sam and Sigh are both standing beside the sofa, sharing an equal look of longing and alertness. I decide to break the screeching silence.
Third-Year Law Student
Feature Image Credit: Pixaby