Four Years

Discussion in 'Fiction' started by Hypatia, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. Hypatia

    Hypatia Member

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    Hello ladies. This is my first post, comment, or anything on AE. I wanted to share my short story with someone and figured you folks might like to read it. I am looking to improve this story so that I can enter it into a competition. I take criticism well so please be as mean as you like. ;-) I hope you enjoy!

    --


    ­Four Years

    The mirror was more unkind than usual. It made rats' tails of her hair. Despaired at her lack of jawline. Yellowed her teeth.

    Sandi took a gulp of wine. The face wasn't going to change, but the clothes could. The only way to assess her outfit was to stand on the swivel chair. She climbed up, wobbled, spun 180 degrees, and used the chest of drawers to edge herself back round.

    It could not be denied. She was dumpy. She didn't remember being this dumpy in the days of Sandi-and-Jill. Her size 14 jeans were filled to the brim, and, moving upwards, there was a generous roll of fat beneath her shirt before you got anywhere near the breasts.

    On the rig she'd never had any comments about her weight. The guys had treated her as one of their own. Why couldn't they have shamed her into losing some?

    No time for the confused guilt that begged to follow this thought. She had to focus on remembering how to be sexy. At some point, years ago, she must have felt sexy. The first three years of her time with Jill had seen enough lovemaking to – well, apparently enough to kill their passion. After that: three more years in a sexless relationship. One on an oil rig. She carried the sum around with her like a full hod of bricks.

    Four unsexy, barren years. Who went for that long without sex? Had anyone ever tried it before? What if, over time, the flames of desire burnt out? Was there an empty chasm in there – the byproduct of inadvertent celibacy?

    But her frown slowly broke into a smile as she thought about the imminent rendez-vous. If she wasn’t mistaken, the vaguely familiar ache of longing was beginning to resurface.

    She pulled off the black shirt and took her navy blue camisole top out of the drawer. It didn’t do her any more favours than the shirt, but the girl may as well see what she was in for from the start. Sandi checked her latest message as she fumbled with her keys. Signed Rebecca. A run-of-the-mill name. Why didn’t she call herself Becky? Was she uptight? Posh? Insecure?

    Insecure or otherwise, Sandi was not feeling picky. Rebecca, Jill, however named, a girl was a girl. Experience had taught her that, whatever they may say, everyone wanted the same things. Who you got them from was a matter of chance, fashion, and whim. Jill had given her most of the things most of the time. In some moments, Sandi couldn’t remember why that hadn’t been enough.

    She took out her phone as the rain pounded down on to the bus shelter. In the girl’s picture her black bouncy curls were tied up in an ostentatious red bow. A bit pretentious, Sandi thought. And then: cheeky smile, nose stud, bright red jacket. She felt her stomach tighten. The girl was out of her league. What if their mutual love of the Eurythmics and Breaking Bad didn't last them the evening? According to the profile she was a fan of gyoza. What even was that? A rock band? A furry animal? What if the girl expected witty observations, a knowledge of literature, or someone thinner? As she took a deep breath, the advice of her brother echoed in her mind. You've nothing to lose, so just go for it. And whatever you do, don't talk about your ex!

    She bit her lip and steeled herself as she mounted the bus. What was the worst that could happen? If no spark, they’d drink some wine, exchange coming out stories, eat a delicious meal, and never have to see each other again. That wouldn't be so bad.

    -

    ‘Hahaha! Hilarious. I love it!’

    Rebecca was shaking her head in amused disbelief at Sandi’s tale about the time they had filled up the derrickhand’s boots with cement while he slept.

    ‘So tell me’, Rebecca continued, having tempered her laughter, ‘what’s life like on an oil rig?’

    Rebecca was at least as beautiful as her photograph. Thankfully, she didn't seem to expect Sandi to be anyone other than herself; and it appeared that the pair liked similar types and amounts of wine. The main course was soon to arrive.

    ‘Oh, you know. You just get used to it I suppose.’

    Both of Sandi’s cheeks were still burning from the kisses they had been graced with at the start of the evening. In the end it hadn’t taken much to unblock the pipes. She felt gloriously new, a hot-blooded human once again.

    ‘How do you stop yourself from going crazy?’

    ‘There’s the work. And there’s the banter.’

    ‘And porn?’

    ‘Porn? Oh, the guys watched a lot of it. I was more interested in standpipes and turntables.’

    ‘An orgasm a day keeps the doctors away. I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes, no?’

    They laughed.

    ‘I said I wasn’t into porn. I said nothing about orgasms!’

    This was getting intense. Sandi escaped to the bathroom and dabbed her fiery cheeks with water. In the reflection her hair was looking quite sophisticated: side-parted, shoulder-flickable, blow-dried almost straight. The spare tyre wasn’t so voluminous as she’d thought, and she congratulated herself on her choice of bra, which made her breasts look rounded and supple.

    Deep breath. Back into the spotlight. A waiter was talking at Rebecca.

    ‘… crème brûlée, strawberry and pecan cheesecake, cherry chocolate gâteau…’

    ‘Thanks,' she cut him off and looked at Sandi, who had returned to her chair.

    The tables were small and covered in light cotton cloth. Sandi wasn’t sure whether this or Rebecca’s dress had brushed against her jeans, but something made her shiver.

    ‘Do you feel like dessert?’ asked Rebecca, half-smiling in a manner that made clear she felt like something else.

    The waiter’s turn to have burning cheeks now.

    ‘No, thanks,’ said Sandi, doing her best to steady her voice and pacify her heart. ‘Shall we just get the bill?’

    ‘Sure.’

    Sandi sat back in her chair and felt a rush of anticipation. Rebecca, she thought. With bouncy curls and a taste for gyoza. Rebecca. A beautiful name.

    -

    The stars were shining brightly as they slid in blurs past the cab window. They could in fact have been street lamps. It didn’t matter.

    'What's the happiest you've ever been in your life?' Rebecca was leaning to the side with her legs crossing the middle of the car, shoes off, her feet resting on Sandi's boots.

    'The happiest?'

    Whatever you do, don’t talk about your ex. Sandi hazily grappled around in her mind for a non-Jill Happy Moment.

    ‘It’s got to be … the first time I went on leave from the rig. I was twenty-four. Dry land was just so solid and reassuring. And I got fish and chips.’

    ‘By yourself?’

    ‘Yes.’

    ‘The happiest time of your life, you were alone. Love it.'

    Climbing Ben Nevis in the rain. Saturday afternoons on the sofa. Blasting out Blondie from the Fiesta. Cuddling Mark, their godson. Burgers on the barbecue in their poky little garden. The whole catalogue flashed through Sandi’s mind, a whirlwind of distant fantasies. Jill and Happy Moments: a one-time reality.

    She felt Rebecca’s fingers curl into her own.

    ‘Hey, dreamer. Is this your house?’

    The almost-empty glass of red wine was still on the coffee table, placed there after the confidence-boosting sip that had propelled her out of the door earlier on. That nervousness seemed silly now. Swaggering to the kitchen and back, Sandi replaced the glass with two more full ones and stepped over Rebecca’s knees to join her on the sofa. Her second leg got caught in the dress and she collapsed into the cushions, giggling with excitement. Rebecca tugged playfully at her arm and she sat up to meet two shining brown eyes, crowned with long eyelashes, a hair’s breadth from her own.

    A wine-soaked, fertile breath passed between them. Fireworks shooting up her torso, Sandi closed her eyes and allowed their lips to touch.

    Before she knew it they were deep into the sofa, almost drowning in the softness. Unbuttoning, unzipping, unguardedly tearing at fabric – nothing but surplus barriers – get it off, get it all off. The sensation, once again, of skin on skin. Four years! A divine rapture, with every touch sending electric currents rushing to all corners of her body – corners she had forgotten about. Eyes closed; hearts beating apace; deep, hungry kisses; trembling limbs; a long-parched soul in a fountain of pleasure.

    ‘Who’s Jill?’

    Rebecca was perched on the arm of the sofa. She stood up and walked to the other side of the table, pulling her dress back down over her knees.

    ‘Why – what?’ said Sandi, shocked. A draft from the window brought goose pimples to her thighs.

    ‘Jill. Who is Jill? You just said the name.’ Rebecca was looking at her with red wine-stained lips and a face of bemused disappointment.

    Blast. How had it happened?

    ‘Look,’ she continued, sitting down on the armchair. ‘It sounds like you’re somewhere else.’

    ‘No, I’m not! I’m right here. Honestly. It’s just…I was with her for a long time. It’s a reaction. It won’t happen again.’

    ‘Sure.’ She looked at her phone. ‘Well, it’s getting late. It was great to meet you, Sandi. Sleep well.’

    And with that, Rebecca picked up her bag, curls bouncing everywhere, and walked out of the front door, without so much as a glance back in Sandi’s direction.
     
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