LOVE BITES

***UPDATE – a slightly more polished and beautifully typeset version is part of the MORE LOVE book.

(made available to read online for free once-in-a-while or generally with a donation based password.)


[ a short story ]

 

Kate & Claire

Hard, metallic techno always irritated Claire, but it was fun. But soon the next gig would take over anyway, and by then that weird looking guy chatting to Kate would’ve certainly bought them another round of alco-pops. She looked around to see if there was anybody whom she might throw out her net for, but decided there was none. Lame party. Bloody lame boys, every fucking single one of them.
Kate came over, laughing artificially. The weird boy next to her looked like a complete joke but he stretched out his hand offering her favourite drinks. At least, he made up with effort what he didn’t have on personality.


“Are you enjoying yourself?”, Kate cried in Claire’s ear while the petty boy stood by idly. He held on to Kate’s drink for her, so that she could converse more freely with her best friend. How sweet.
“Yeah, kind of. Waiting for the next gig, though. That bloody techno is doing my head in. How about you? Any good?”, Claire asker her best friend, pulling away from her ear to cast a quick, un-noticable look at the subject in question.
Kate picked up on it, laughing. But it, or ‘he’, wasn’t worth a reply so she just raised her shoulders and flicked her eyes to the ceiling as if to say, ‘what can you do?’. Without looking at him, Kate took her drink from the hand of her docile suitor.
“Should we move over there?”, Claire asked by merely contorting her lips. She pointed her finger towards a corner that looked quite a bit more crowded. Even if she found only a dull guy, she needed at least some kind of action here. What was otherwise the point?
Only too keen to carry on playing the field as well, Kate was quick to tell her pet that they’d change location – secretly hoping that he’d stay behind, but he didn’t. Once on the other side, everyone was off in a world of posing and hopping and digging. And, of course, vainly hoping and covertly despairing as well. It was a marvellous sight. Claire tore the loose neck of her top down a little bit more to let her juvenile fruits spring out ever more poignantly and then stepped into the crowd to pull off a couple of her most lascivious moves. They were peppered with the unique grace that she’d carried in her bones from childhood ballet classes. At the end of the day, it did pay off to have well-educated parents taking care of your own education – even though, as cool as they may be, they’d never be cool enough to really make sense to their kid’s headlong immersion into modern day’s complicatedness of worldly affairs.
A cheeky bugger picked up on her writhing and tried the ‘look I’m so cool I’ll do some sensual contact dance with you’ bullshit. She needed to ward this cocksucker off but try not acting too rude to totally scare off any other hopeful contenders. As if she didn’t notice the guy, she just turned her back to him and – zingo – there was another one already brimming to step up to her. He was pretty good-looking and by far not as pretentious and full of himself as the earlier guy. Kind-of-normal, whatever that meant in a house full of weirdos. Claire decided to move closer to him in order to turn him on and over. He took it the right way and soon they were giving a little show on the dance floor. She could feel eyes from everywhere subscribing to their sexy moves and postures. Here it was, that little bit of action-fun that she’d so much urgently needed. Yeah, man. This were little bits of proper enjoyment.
Flicking her head from the right to the left at one time, Claire could catch a glimpse of Kate still standing at the edge of the dance floor. She was genuinely laughing while being chatted up by a guy who looked really quite cool, at least from the distance. Better looking and definitely more interesting at that than the one Claire herself was currently entertaining.
Not far from Kate, her paying pet was still holding all their fizzy bottles. Claire could now ‘see’ the sad tail that the poor guy had clamped between his legs while against the odds he attempted to keep upright and standing. This was the decisive moment, then, when Claire did feel sorry for him and the urge to walk over. Having anyway lost her attention for the guy in front of her to the same degree as her desire arose to meet the cutie her best friend Kate was talking to, she faked a smile of ‘thank you’ and left yet another bonded boy behind. Of course, the boy needed to carry on as if nothing had happened, pretending to be enjoying himself – in order to keep his chances alive, of hopefully scoring any of the other girls at the party. He had an incredibly hard time, though. Girls who’d been jealously watching them, now gleefully cheered at his failure. There was a silent ritual slaughter scorching like a wildfire across the bloodthirsty crowd. Yet despite such uplifting spirits flushing female cheeks rosy over this one aspiring bedfellow getting torn into pieces, most girls, even then, looked pitiful, out-of-place and ridiculous. Kate and Claire were the only ones at this party who had it all. They had looks, wits, charisma, zest, originality and beauty.
Kate glanced over, still chatting with gorgeous, while Claire was approaching her friend’s former pet boy. There was a sense of triumph in Kate’s look, she certainly knew what she had presently scored, but it was also laced with warning-signs of apprehension, so as not wanting to be disturbed for the time being. That was fine with Claire. She planted herself next to the rejected boy with all their drinks on his hands. Unfortunately, here wasn’t much to talk about.
“You’re Kate’s friend?”, he shouted into her ear at one stage, probably to break an ice that was actually beyond unbreakable.
Claire smiled at him without answering and then looked away to pretend watching the crowd of partying, self-ingratiatied dancers. How fucking sad. Probably make a move soon. But then, thankfully, the next gig took over, it was soulful house for a change, and Claire felt again like dancing for a little while. But then again, Kate seemed to do so much more than just enjoy talking to that damn cute and hot guy by her side. And somehow this fact was all just too irritating. Why wouldn’t she introduce him? Where was all the sharing now that they’d always been going on about. That they were so proud about? A weird hard-to-get-a-handle-on jealousy cropped up in Claire and although that now made her have a lot in common with the tail-clamping cup-bearer next to her, another ten minutes of darkness and silence passed between them. Finally she said fuck-it and scorched off to wiggle her ass some more.
Two hours later, they both went home boyless and lonesome. It’s been another great Friday night out.

Kate was in a mood to chat when she came back home after her art class. She and Claire had been flatmates for over two years now but already had been to the same school together. They were best friends pretty much since the day they’d first met. A strong and mysterious connection seemingly bound them together, which was funny because they were actually quite different. As if on two different planets, as they’d often say.
Kate believed in total freedom of the individual and that all women must, by all means, be liberated. She herself certainly was – a quirky and crazy free-spirit with her heart at the right place. No one could tell her what to do. Kate really didn’t give a damn.
Her figurative and oftentimes frighteningly expressive art usually depicted men as invalids and by the virtue of that, she was already a little star in her art class. Some serious collectors have already begun to purchase some of her stuff. She was confident, pretty and talented and her entire future looked more than just bright.
Claire, on the other hand, was what you’d call straight-laced and somewhat quite conservative. Yet she wasn’t conservative in a boring or repressed sense. She certainly wasn’t the wallflower, to be sure. On the contrary – she was a stunning looker and she perfectly knew it. It was just that, unlike Kate who felt that casual sex was okay if the guy was enough sweet and cool (who knew what might come out of it, maybe a long-term partner-in-crime?), Claire would’ve never given herself to anyone if it didn’t involve marriage – i.e. being contractually bound together for life. That kind of conservative. And she also didn’t have any of Kate’s fancy creative ambitions. She was rather content to work as a sales clerk in any odd clothing store, and should Mr. Right stumble into her life one day – well, we shall see, was what Claire thought. It was all pretty simple.
Kate began, “you were asking me the other day, why I didn’t introduce you to the guy I ended up talking to at the party on Friday. I didn’t answer back then because I was so pissed off when we left. What a twat! What a cheat!”
“Haha, well, we all know what men are like”, Claire said.
“You probably know, Claire – or at least, you’re telling yourself that you know. I don’t know. I like men. I still haven’t given up hope to meet somebody special one day and I don’t think I’ll ever lose hope.”
“I didn’t say I’ve given up hope, either. You never know what’s gonna happen. Someone could be walking into your life any minute. It’s a big world, that’s what I know.”
Kate had to laugh. Not in her worldview. “Ha ha ha, to me the world is actually quite a small place. I don’t believe we two have met by chance, for example. Anyway. I kept thinking to myself why I wouldn’t have introduced you to Johnny and in the end I thought … well, it must be some sort of jealousy. And maybe that’s what it was. Jealousy. I’m sorry and I’m embarrassed. I promise, it won’t happen again. It wasn’t even worth it, the jealousy. What a tosser!”
“I accept your apology. I know how those things can happen. Haha, but tosser or not, he certainly was good-looking. Maybe I could’ve converted him to ‘my breasts only’, ha ha ha”.
“Ha ha ha”, Kate agreed, “‘my breasts only’ – that’s a good one. You know what? I’d like to promise you that I’ll always introduce you to anyone I meet in the future. You’d be the first person he’d get to know after me. That’s a promise”.
“Maybe it’s a good idea to make such a promise. Like in those cheesy girl mags, ‘best friends forever’ or ‘let’s share everything’. I’ll promise the same to you, then. I think in a way we’re more than sisters, Kate. Makes a lot of sense to me, at least. And nothing is uglier than jealousy, I think. For real.”
“That’s true. Only the biggest losers are jealous. Because, you know, truth is truth, isn’t it? What’s there to be jealous of? You have your principles and I have mine. And guys are just guys. A guy is just a guy. Isn’t it up to them to decide who they eventually go for?”
“None of the guys I’ve met so far have made such a decision,” Claire said, “but exactly because of that, it’s never been mutual. True love needs to be mutual, I think, otherwise it doesn’t count. But I suppose, that’s something where you think very differently.”
“I suppose so. I don’t know about mutual. All the guys I had so far have felt right in the beginning. But then after a while their flaws became unbearable and I called it off again. Might as well be that someone comes along where it’s mutual. He sees me and I see him. But from my experience it will be rather a case of not minding his flaws too much. Or better – liking him enough so that they aren’t that irritating to me anymore.”
“That’s actually a very dark view, don’t you think? But it might as well be true. Who knows? I’m not a ‘philosophetrice’. All I know is what’s in my heart and I only trust what I feel. What I feel is that somewhere out there, there’s someone who’s equal and maybe such a someone will one day come into my life.”
“Haha, yeah, sweetie, you’re a very romantic girl. That’s why I love you so much … Tea?”. Kate switched on the kettle. Those kitchen conversations were always so wonderful. So full of wonder. If ever a guy would come as close to the friendship as the friendship that they both had.
Claire smiled and nodded. “Green tea, please.”
“Haha, of course”, Kate said and slid a black tea bag into her own cup.

 

Roy

Yeah. He definitely liked that. Crazy exhibition. That girl was like orange-blossom honey, laced with home-grown weed. And spicy. The kind of peppery, nutty spice. Delicious.
“Is that your stuff? D’you also paint female invalids?”, he asked her.
“Haha, no female invalids, my friend. You think, they exist?”, Kate asked him back.
“I’ve certainly seen one or two in my time”. He looked over the series of consecutive hilarious paintings in the patchouli scented degree-show booth. Let’s push this a bit. “They all still got their cocks, though. Have you ever actually done it with a cripple, may I ask?”. His eyes pierced Kate stark naked from deep, dark, drugged sockets.
The girl blushed. He thus reckoned she wished that she had. Excellent stuff. “My name is Roy, by the way”, he said, “I like your work.”
“Thanks, Roy. My name is Kate”, she said. Her cheeks had still a rosy tint going. Delicious.
Then she suddenly said, “Have you?”.
Haha, Roy laughed to himself, that answer comes a little late, baby, too telling a break, my friend. Late, but all the more sweet. “Almost entirely. Very rarely was there a normal girl among my lays”, he joked. And she sure as hell got it and laughed for quite a long time.

Later on, after she’d packed her bits and pieces at the end of the show, Roy pinned her on one of the concrete pillars behind the panels of her stall. Patchouli incense still kept crawling with oily fumes through the exhibition air. Some empty beer bottles tumbled and clanked down the large unlit warehouse. Kate almost shat herself while being banged into oblivion.

At her place, there was another girl and she looked – man, he’d discovered a fucking treasure chest today. This was all just too good to be true. The painting girl called Kate was preparing him tea in the kitchen, walking with wobbly knees from cloud 9 to probably 11. She was smiling continuously as if she’d taken a whole spoonful of MDMA – actually, that would’ve been a crazy thing to do right now, just to give the whole situation some funky alternative framework.
The other girl, the flatmate of the painter, seemed more stern and tight, but ultimately just wouldn’t leave them alone. So Roy figured, that would obviously mean that she wasn’t entirely off-limits, no no. Her razor-sharp, almond-shaped eyes surely were pretty intense and she’d probably be ‘someone’ in bed who you’d never forget your entire life.
“So what do you do?”, the girl asked him with almost surreal sincerity. There was absolutely no irony in her voice. She really was giving a damn.
“Haha, swinging my drum-sticks, sweetie. Can show you some, one day,” he said and looked at her with unfeigned interest. He most definitely liked the way how she nervously fingered the cup of tea that she’d held pressed onto her chest. She was either too innocent or too intelligent, and probably was both, to be intimidated or angry by what he just said – which pleased him even more.
Kate slid down a fresh tea mug for him like a schoolbook geisha, and smiling, tripping, fidgeting, melting, joined them sitting down at the table. “He’s the drummer at the Fleetnicks – you know the band, don’t you?”, she said.
“Nah, not into all that band stuff, you know that”, the other girl said to her painter friend.
“Ha ha ha, that’s Claire for you”, Kate said to him. It was pretty obvious how fond she was of her friend.
“Well, my name is Roy”, he said to her, making sure he took out most of his scruffy edge as he stretched out his hand for her.
She didn’t take it, though. “Nice to meet you”, she said instead, keeping the tea mug breasted between her firm assets. But the girl was covertly mocking the saying, a fact that translated over to him as flirtatious. And so it was. “Is it hard work, your ‘job’?”, she asked now, loosened and really quite cheerful and up for a little play.
Haha, what a funny girl. “I don’t know whether hard is the right word”, Roy said. He was trying to give the impression that he found it a bit boring to talk about his job, which actually wasn’t too difficult, as he was bored about work – considering that he was presently sitting together, alone in a flat, with two such precious, glittering honeybees.
“What would be the right word?”, Claire asked him, ignoring his boredom and looking him straight in the face.
“Crazy, maybe”, Roy said, now standing up. Kate rose with him as if connected through invisible wires. He wasn’t entirely sure why the other girl would want to have this conversation, except that he could sense that she liked him and that she was fascinated alright. But she also certainly needed her time, so much was clear. And he of course needed to seal the one contract first, before he could move on to extend terms and conditions which would render more fleshy bonuses for everyone. Therefore, as much as he would’ve enjoyed to dig deeper into the mysterious being behind those almond-shaped eyes right then and there, Roy decided that he’d play a much better game if he let her bounce for the time being. She certainly was confident enough not to take it too much to heart. Rather, from what he knew about girls, she’d probably be one of those who’d be going out of her way from now on, to be listened to, seen and noticed by him, the rejector.
“Crazy”, the almond-eyed girl mumbled into her mug while Roy disappeared with Kate into her room to do her.

 

Claire, Kate & Roy

Never has Claire seen her friend so happy. That was a good thing, of course. Or not? “So are you two ready to be married off now, haha?”, Claire said. Was she being too harshly sarcastic behind the ironic remark? Was she catching herself with an ugly bout of envy? Kate didn’t notice or mind, though. Being in love surely is giving you wings, so much was clear.
“Haha, I don’t think Roy’s that kind of guy to get married to. Whatever we have, though, it’s amazing. Never thought it existed”, said Kate.
Claire was alarmed. Her friend had changed beyond recognition. If they’d bet a million two days ago that Kate would utter a sentence like this in two days time, she’d now be rich. The alarm changed into concern. “What about your cripple pictures?”. Again, this came out harsher than she wanted. She also didn’t want to play the role of someone ending up in condescension. And yet again, Kate didn’t notice or care.
“What about them? Haha. Roy’s definitely not a cripple. Might end up painting handicapped girls as well, like he suggested when we met. Feeling a bit handicapped myself now, after everything, haha.”
“What you mean, handicapped?”
“Well, you know … I’ve slept with many guys, as you know, but this one … it’s a bit like I’ve never actually had sex before.”
“Oh my … sounds pretty mad and intense.”
“Mad and intense, that’s what it is. Or crazy, like he always keeps saying.”
There was a funny wobbling sensation in Claire’s groins while her head kept getting dizzier and dizzier from a cocktail of – what was it again, was it envy? Maybe, but there was also a strange and unspeakable desire throwing its anchors down there. God knows. Probably a good idea to tighten the bridles for a little bit. “Are you not afraid of losing him to another girl?”
Now Kate looked a bit sobered but she’d obviously thought about it, also. “So what? He’s a free man. As long as he doesn’t reject me”, she said.
Again, there was no way her friend would’ve talked like this two days ago. “Haha, that still Kate there? Sounds like this one’s really got you”, Claire joked. She couldn’t tell apart anymore, whether the state Kate was in was either utterly dreadful or indeed utmost desirable.
“Haha, it’s still me. Just understood something about myself that I hadn’t understood before. What more could you ask, to find out with a guy? There’ll always be a part of him in my heart, for ever and ever, no matter what happens in the future”.
“Well, sounds like ‘true love’ from what my ears hear. Whether that confirms what my eyes see, I couldn’t say. This guy and what you’re going through has changed me as well, you know.” Claire definitely didn’t want to put Ray down in the least, although there were ruptures of hatred seething inside her whenever she thought about him – which was increasingly, frighteningly often. But the tickling sensations downstairs were also madly and icreasingly happening. It all was bloody strong stuff, all of it. So much was clear.
“True love, maybe”, Kate said, “but at least I know now, what ‘normal’ love is, haha”.
The kettle flicked-off again. Kate hadn’t noticed that a black tea-bag hung in Claire’s cup this time, and a green tea-bag in hers. Claire saw it now, laughing to herself, and just let it be. Why not? All she needed was a bit of milk, though.

Next time Roy came, he felt that he slowly had them where he wanted. Kate was demure and fluffy like a minx kitten. She sat on his lap, nearly purring. All her bad stuff had been dumped out like a black, fetid lump of rotten stool.
And to her friend Claire he now said, “how’s your love-life going?” Of course, the cutie was totally gobsmacked but he grinned at her in such a caring-charming-disarming way that acting upset or angry was not an option unless she wanted to make a fool of herself. So she answered.
“Well, you probably figured, I’m not the kind of girl to just go off with someone. Seeing another person is very serious”, Claire said.
“She totally believes in the ritual of marriage”, Kate added to help her friend explain herself.
“Ah?”, Roy said.
“Of course, I’m not trying to say that what you two are doing and having is wrong”, Claire was quick to add, “but it wouldn’t work for me.”
“That’s okay. So I would have to marry you”, Roy told her with a smile that made the undersides of her thighs shiver.
“Ha ha ha”, Kate on his lap burst out nervously. She was quick to sling her arm around Roy’s neck, kissing his cheek continuously. His gaze still on Claire, Roy whisked away Kate’s silly kisses and took her left ear lobe between his thumb and forefinger. He began rubbing it and the poor girl couldn’t help but to close her eyes. One random tear fell off the eye near the pleasured ear lobe. Claire saw it and wasn’t entirely sure what that meant.
“You never thought about getting married?”, Claire then asked him, trying to break up some of the awkward tension.
Roy now looked at her full-on. He pulled away from Kate with a gentle brush across her cheek. Her eyes remained closed and she kept being perched on Roy’s knee as if paralyzed. Maybe she was, Claire thought. “If I ever meet the right girl, why not?”, Roy said. “On the other hand …”, and he placed his palm on Kate’s inner thigh while he said it, not too far up but bold enough to send a pang of raw lust up Claire’s own untouched thigh, “ … how would I ever cope with the fact that there seem to be always more than one girl who’d be worth marrying?”
Claire pretended to laugh, but also – there really was something weirdly funny about it – since Roy was probably right and she was probably wrong.
“Where do you get your confidence from?”, Claire eventually asked him after a couple of minutes had passed, during which this crazy man shamelessly skidded along Kate’s inner thigh, and during which she let herself tune in to the ghostly sensations of what her best friend was obviously going through.
Roy just looked at her and smirked. “Where do you get yours from?”
Claire laughed again. This time, it was more wholehearted. He really was a great guy. And very funny, too.
Roy suddenly stopped the fondling and pulled his hand away. Kate opened her eyes and glilmpsed at him from the side demurely. A delirious haze covered her face as if multiple layers of silken veils withdrew her from any tangible reality. Claire couldn’t recognize her old friend anymmore. Now Roy had them both where he wanted. He knew.
Kissing Claire’s hand goodbye in a courtier’s mock gesture, he navigated the limp and hot artist girl into her room to make her even more happy.

The atmosphere in the flat wasn’t the same anymore after that. Claire couldn’t exactly say what it was, but their friendship seemed miraculously divided. For her, any feelings of envy or jealousy were gone now. She now knew that Roy liked her perhaps more genuinely than he liked Kate. Feelings of sincere compassion now warmed her heart for Kate – great, vibrant, lively, confident Kate, the gifted Artist.
It was irritating, that was true, that those hitherto unknown sensations that you’d call ‘sexual’ overrode her usual calm. They came rolling upon her in Roy’s presence, with such compelling force to shatter her dearly-held beliefs and values into merely silly little pieces. On the other hand, what else was it, that he and Kate ultimately had together? Other than that, the sex part? And if there was nothing else, then was it really worth all the humiliation and self-sacrifice that Kate, from Claire’s perspective, was currently going through? But then again, was she really going through them?
On the surface, everything still seemed unchanged. “What are you doing today?”, Claire would ask her in the morning.
“Ehm, go to class … and then I’m supposed to have a long chat with my supervisor. She thinks that I should broaden my reach and horizon and show some of my latest bits overseas. There are a few nice grants going, apparently.”
“Sounds good. You definitely deserve to become famous, haha”, Claire would then tell her and she’d most truly mean it.
“Haha, I don’t know. Good thing, I now care even less, since Roy’s in my head all the time. Will soon better start implementing female cripples as well, haha.”
“Haha, you better do”, Claire would then tell her friend and again, indeed, mean it.
Then Kate would go off to college and Claire would go to her own job – ie. advising aged women who’d still want to look like teenagers what outfit to wear, so that they could imagine themselves, if ever so remotely, to live out such a ridiculous dream. This way, they’d feel that they’re still in control over the emotional potpourri with which they ensnared their various lovers and partners. Feel ‘safe’, ‘content’ and ‘happy’ through the out-of-control spiralling means of hide-and-seek lying.
What a crazy world. Claire carried on.

 

Claire & Roy

It wasn’t so much that he’d try to waylay her. Roy just knew that this girl needed a little bit more than the usual persuasion. The last thing he could see himself in was the role of a stalker. Could anything be more pathetic? But there he was, and there was the girl he stalked, coming back home from a hard day’s mind-numbing labour.
“Is Kate not at home?”, Claire asked when she saw Roy standing around in front of their house. There was not a trace of snippiness in her voice. This girl was only enormously sweet, in the end.
Roy stepped forward. “It wasn’t actually Kate that I came here for.” Claire itched backward. “You know – what we were talking about last time … it really just got into my head. I wondered whether we could carry on chatting more along those lines.”
Scared but determined to stand her ground, Claire got back to him. “I don’t know whether that’s a good idea, Roy. I mean, what would Kate think if she knew.”
“We’re just talking, that’s all. What’s wrong about that?”
Of course, there was nothing within this universe that Claire dwelled in that might’ve labelled the sticker ‘wrong’ on what she was now allowing herself to do. “Okay then. Let’s go for a walk.”
And they walked.

“Want to come up for a cup of coffee …”, Roy dropped by the time they were nearing his place.
“I don’t know …”
“… or at least I can finally show you my drumsticks, ha ha ha”, he intercepted her shadows of doubt.
“Ha ha ha, alright then, you bastard. Just one cup of coffee and then I’ll leave,” Claire said. It was just that they’d gotten on so beautifully, while they freely chatted away. And he was just – well – just a really great guy. And so funny. They were both free people, weren’t they? What could happen, anyway?
His place was as crazy as he was. Stuff hung about and was lying around everywhere. It was one open-space shell, a former warehouse, Roy said.
The first thing he did, was to turn on the stereo. Out came some funky kind of elevator music. Then Roy swiched on a snake of light that constantly changed colours – from green to red and back again. It was enough light to make out the features of the room., while their own features lit up only whenever stray-lights from outside would scatterthe room. Sirens were zipping past often and their signal lights burst onto the ceiling. They were located in the busiest centre of town. Then Claire saw the drum-kit standing majestically in one prominent corner. Roy noticed her seeing it. “Wanna play?”, he asked.
She did want but maybe not now. Another time. Claire didn’t talk, only smiled at him for an answer.
Roy went off to another corner where a few kitchen items were carefully arranged. Fridge, washing machine, microwave, electric stove. Some of the cupboards were expressively sprayed with silver chrome paint. Roy went about filling a legacy espresso machine with the finest coffee on earth and grabbed two battered ironware mugs from the cupboard that had colourful labels from an exotic airline. “You’re not the kind of girl to take sugar, are you?”, he asked, or better, told her.
“Haha, you guessed right. How did you know?”, she said, in cheerful flirting mood.
“Isn’t that usually how it works when you’re already sweet enough.” He didn’t look at her when he said this, but pretended to be someplace else in his thoughts.
You charming bastard, Claire thought, and refrained from talking for a while. She looked around and then fixed her eyes on a large couch that easily fitted about four or five people. Claire went over to give it a try. It was almost too comfortable. She thought about stretching out on it but then felt it might seem indecent and not quite appropriate. They were just having a coffee, and talking – that was all.
But then again, being friends, just fooling around? So she did it, lying down on the couch, and empowered by her boldness, she began to whistle a tune to accompany the soothing dub-stepped airport-lounge music. Another siren-car whizzed past and scattered its flickers as accentuated drum-beats to the ever-changing haze of the red-green mood-snake.
If Roy didn’t know himself better, he’d have probably felt that he’d finally found the right match for him. A truly awesome girl, this one was. Never had he met anyone like her. But he knew himself. It wasn’t so much that he wasn’t yet ready to officially settle down for a bit. It was just not him, that’s all. Just not Rock’n’Roll enough, baby.
Roy brought her the coffee, put it down on the low table in front of the couch and sat himself in the feather-cushioned easy-chair opposite. They didn’t talk, still. The music had filled the large room now completely and Claire’s whistling provided a soothing melody to the noisy background track of a bustling inner-city evening, outside. The whole situation was blanking out everything else that he’d ever seen and heard. He looked at her thighs, alarmingly flashing at him from underneath a bright-yellow summer-skirt which had been raised up high from her spread-out lying position.
As if she’d read his mind, Claire brushed her skirt to straighten it down again. She turned her head towards him. “Do you practice a lot here?”, she asked.
“Not as much as I’d like to but enough to sustain my position in the band.”
They were silent again but Claire didn’t resume her whistle.
“Listen”, Roy said, got up from his easy-chair pillows and moved over to the girl. He sat down at the edge of the sofa, right next to her head. Claire felt a lava shockwave exploding deep in her womb. She suddenly tried to sit up.
But it was, of course, too late.
Roy grabbed her throat with one hand while the other went straight under her skirt. Claire almost climaxed right then and there while another part of her attempted to break free.
His hot mouth pressed down on hers and her numb legs weighed down on the couch like pieces of lead. The insides of Claire’s thighs kept convulsing. The tips of her breasts pierced through her silk blouse. Roy’s hand reached straight into Claire’s centre and soon crept under her final, laced cotton membrane in search for hot liquid gold.
And then he had her.

Half an hour later, Roy and Claire were both lying on the same couch, stretched out, both fatigued and happy. Their lives had been altered beyond recognition but they didn’t really know it yet. On the surface, everything was seemingly the same. Roy relaxing and enjoying himself, arms folded behind his head, one leg resting between the legs of the lovely girl next to him. Claire, not whistling, but now humming a tune over the still very same record playing its groovy intellectual chill-out music on loop. They made a perfect couple. Perfectly in-tune friends. Soulmates, enjoying together the time that they shared – in a busy city, in a busy life.
Yet below all of this – something, in both of them, was suddenly missing. Claire was now not a girl anymore, but a woman, and some hidden internal mechanisms, somewhere deep inside her, had silently changed their gears. And Roy, in the deepest recesses of his heart, knew that he’d just obtained, and forever burdened himself with, the boundless treasures of an eternally irretrievable first-fruit.
Consciously, though, and outwardly, Roy and Claire, now lovers, were still both exactly the same.

With Kate they were determined not to beat around the bush. Besides, Roy still intended to step up the gear and proceed with plan B. Nobody had said that by liking Claire and taking her, he’d stopped liking Kate as well, and still taking her also. But of course, he couldn’t openly tell the girl whose virginity he’d just plucked straight into her face. Roy thought it was better to let things go their natural course. And he was, of course, right.
They went to Kate and Claire’s place together and let Kate face the fact that way. Claire entered the flat first. And Kate was there. She saw Roy coming in behind her best friend and instantly knew what’s been happening. She didn’t flinch. Maybe she’d guessed from the very beginning that this was how it was supposed to be?
“You didn’t pick up your phone”, was the first thing Kate said when Roy came in through the door. She felt a bit tired but calm.
“I lost it and thought that’s a sign and kept it like that. Who needs those bloody things, anyway?”, Roy said.
“They’re just a pain in the arse. Brrriing Brrriing, Hello this, hello that”, Claire added, now herself walking on clouds. That her formerly so vibrant friend seemed so grey now, did cause Claire grief. But her spirits were just too far up in the sky to let it come close, let alone deal with it.
Roy sat down where he once sat with Kate on his lap. Claire kept standing and so much wanted to console her friend. All she could do, though, was to let her do the talking.
“So is this the situation now”, Kate asked her. Roy watched them both intently.
“I don’t know what the situation is, Kate, but I’m happy, Roy is happy and I’d like to see you happy, too.” Kate suppressed her tears, the pain was simply tremendous. But she somehow had known all along that this would happen and she all along did prepare herself. That it now had suddenly and irretrievably become a reality in her life meant that she was required to quickly become real herself, again. Crippled women – oh yeah. Hasn’t the world all of a sudden become ever so small?
Kate clenched both fists and looked at her so-called best friend while she went over to Roy and sat down on one of his knees exactly like she’d done just two days ago. She knew he wouldn’t push her away. Roy started to play with Kate’s hair and let the whole situation unfold further. It was now progressing on its natural course.
Claire didn’t expect Roy to push Kate away. It would’ve just been too ridiculous – for him to lie for her sake! Yet – those possessive streaks creeping up on her were ridiculous, too. Therefore, ultimately, there was nothing else left to do for her, other than walk over to her new lover and sit down on his other knee. He’s got two, anyway. And that’s what she did.

So here we are, ready for ever more truthful action, Roy thought. The two girls on his knees made quite an effort not to touch each other – they even avoided eye contact for the time being. But he knew that would change soon, once they reclined onto their beds and let nature drop its shy leaves through the raptures of naked desire. Roy now played with both of their hairs, one blond, one black, and let the situation gradually lose its nervous edges by kissing one neck and then the other one softly.
After a long time, the sun had long gone down and no one had bothered switching the lights on, Kate whispered, after it was again Claire’s neck turn to be attended to – “Tea, anyone?”
Yet Claire intercepted Roy’s kisses and said to her, “let me do it”, and she unwound and got up to switch on the kettle.

 

Epilogue

Many years later, Kate and Claire met again, on the street, randomly, while they were both out to do some shopping.
Kate was now with husband and two lovely kids. Claire was alone now. She’d been alone ever since Roy eventually went off to new adventures. There was simply no point seeing anyone else if the only guy you ever loved wasn’t there anymore.
The fact was, Roy had left both their lives shattered.
Kate didn’t paint anymore. Her creativity had overnight just disappeared. The husband that she was with was pretty much the same kind of guy they’d always been laughing about, even frowning upon, whenever they’d gone out. It might’ve actually been the same one who kept holding on to Kate’s drinks one night and who Claire had suddenly so much in common with, joined together through jealousy towards Kate’s ‘having fun’. That same bland-faced and spine-less guy he certainly was.
Now that kind of guy had fathered two lovely kids on her and paid all the shopping bills but didn’t seem too unhappy about it. Kate didn’t seem too happy, though. But then again, not too unhappy, either. She was now an openly crippled woman, but underneath her ageing surface still beautiful. She was, as she’d always been, a really bright and exceptional star, full of life and untamed vigour. Only that a chance for her to shine had now settled for an opportunity to choose appropriately crazy, yet still responsibly instructive toys for her witty, naughty, bright and promising children. Or a not-too-repellent aftershave and not-too-ridiculous socks for her docile, nice, caring and home-loving husband.
All in all, after they’d both seen from life what was to be seen, it was probably a very good life that Kate had now, and quite possibly a woman’s life how it should be, Claire earnestly thought.
For her, though, things had turned out quite differently and maybe not so good in comparison. Yet then again, who was to say? One could almost view their roles, values and outlooks, as having reversed after their mutually fatal episode with Roy. While Kate abandoned her apparent freedom and abundant creativity, Claire suddenly left her safe existence behind and only pursued art from then on. She’d never been hugely successful with it but didn’t mind living on the verge of poverty. It seemed to be her fate, or punishment even, for having ‘known’ what she shouldn’t have known. A guy that she loved but that she mustn’t. Hasn’t she sold out everything that was dear to her, only to be with him? Was any of it worth it? Was a guy like Roy ever worth it? Was anything worth anything? So – as critics have put it, her work ended up ‘pretty dark’. The loss of innocence wasn’t something that could be joked about easily.
Kate, on her part, had already heard what happened to her former best friend. But in the end facing reality, it was simply too shocking to see Claire’s beautiful and strong face – her piercing, noble cheekbones and her determined, pouting lips – distorted forever through pitiless age and grief. Since her original depth and intensity hadn’t just gone away, there was still the same erotic intensity about her. But the inevitable end that shone forth from this unforgiving intensity, was quite clearly insanity. Kate couldn’t help herself seeing herself mirrored in it. Too close they once were, too much they had shared. Weren’t they ‘more than sisters’?
Yet, despite everything – the most shocking fact of all was that there was simply nothing to talk about anymore. Where have they all gone – all their wonderful, free-spirited years of fondness and closeness?
They absolutely couldn’t exchange their contact details or make any promises, not even fake ones, to ever meet up again. The shame and fear and awkwardness of their passed friendship – the failure of their fundamental relationship as human beings – made it not even impossible for them to ever step on any common ground again, but it had altogether become something simply unthinkable.
And the fact that they both knew all of this, that their deeply-buried knowing-sides, at the very least, both understood this situation clearly, caused them to forget their ever meeting – their even existing – as quickly as possible, once they hastily exclaimed their empty good-byes to each other.

In another room, in another dimension maybe, yet at about the same time, a former rock-star and now unemployable car mechanic (those engines had changed too quickly), sat with one of his latest conquests in a shabby bedsit. Some poems were scattered all over the floor, mixed with ashes and cigarette butts, and a new piece, raw in the works, was clipped in a blood-stained vintage typewriter waiting on the desk. Months of beer cans had been squashed off its inebriating content across the entire room.
The conquest was quite young, probably what they call ‘underage’, and she laughed at him, striaght from his lap, in a way that made it not altogether clear if that wasn’t meant to be mockingly. When he’d picked her up earlier, she’d seemed all too keen and curious. Keen she still was, gauging from her fickly hot buttocks squirming on end on his knees. But maybe she was just young and still brimming with overdoses of pointless energy.
There was a sudden, sharp pain on his scalp and then the pre-pubic girl laughed out loud. The whole room was suddenly flooded with youthful buoyancy. “Look what I found”, she squealed and showed him a white hair.
It was then, that Roy suddenly understood everything. He was subjected to an invisible cold shower while his hand was foraying into blossoming chest territory under her skimpy ‘Let’s Make Love’ t-shirt. His head slid down to her non-existent bosom.
“Forgive me”, Roy said, and it was clear that it was someone else he was addressing.
But whoever it was he was addressing, the girl just kept laughing. She didn’t console him or in any other way respond to his pledges. Looking down on his bent head now, she found another hair that had turned white, plucked it, and then another and another one. “You’ve got loads”, the girl said and in her voice rang the curiosity of a child who’s seen that Santa Claus was actually her embarrassing daddy.
Roy began to sob and kept incessantly repeating, “forgive me, forgive me, forgive me”, in an ever-more pledging whine. He clasped his arms around the girl’s waist. And since he didn’t stop and she was definitely up for something, in the end, the girl just got bored and left him.

 

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