short stories · wording

A Girl’s Guide to Couch-crash Love

Sat, 17 Apr 2010 08:50:57 +0000

Very old, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I was pretty proud of it back then, though! So here you go.

“’s the kitchen.  You…you can cook if ya wanna but I never bother. The bedroom’s in…” the boy who was speaking blinked a few times as his companion interrupted him.

“I’ve been here before.” Payne’s tone was annoyed, and she watched her new and temporary friend drag a hand through his wavy hair.  It was more than a  little tempting to go on and point out the conditions that had led him to be so fucked up he didn’t remember ever having her over before, but he had agreed to let her crash for a while and hell, that was something. She leaned in the doorway and tried not to pull away when he came up behind her and wrapped lean, muscled arms around her middle, resting his chin on her shoulder. Clingy fucker.

“So…” despite being on home turf his tone was insecure, deferential. “You like the place?” he went from nuzzling to kissing the back of her neck and Payne felt her abdominal wall tighten. She laughed high and light.

“Don’t matter’f I like it, y’know? You saw where I was before.” He pulled from her then and when she saw the look on his sensitive guitar hero face she almost felt bad for being so hard on him. …almost.

“Well then I’m really glad I could offer you this, Payne. Really. I mean…it’s going to be awesome to have some company till…” she interrupted.

“Till she gets back from Europe.”

“…..yeah.” she’d hurt his feelings, she could tell but she couldn’t understand. Did most girls like to play this lying game? She’d rather be pragmatic, rather see the situation in it’s harshest terms: I want a bed to sleep in, you want someone to warm yours up for you. And she’d rather stick with the idea that that was all this was.

But then he had to grab her and swing her around the small dingy rooms in an awkward dance. And then he had to go and kiss her as if he liked her (really liked her!) and be an idiot and say adorable things. And that was far scarier than spending another night in the flop house on Granada and Two. And he was so cute and took her to the best Chinese restaurants and was always good to her and fuck, but she kind of liked him, definitely wanted him and it was getting harder and harder to resist the urge to hurt him. Anything to make him stop being so almost-sweet.

“….so I figure for the next couple weeks this shouldn’t be so bad, right Payne? I mean…are you listening?”

“Uh? Umm, yeah. Not bad a’tall.” a distracted smile.

“I mean, you don’t have to pay rent or anything…” he was eager, hands on her hips, a flop-haired puppy in threadbare corduroys.

“Course I do.” and even as she started she knew it was cruel and worse, stupid. Not only because it would hurt him but because he might just take back the offer. And it wasn’t summer yet. He stuttered a bit before she cut him off again and turned to dump her bag on the bed so that he couldn’t see her face. She felt colourless somehow; wan, bleached and bleak.

“I do, you’re jus’ lettin’ me pay in pussy, right?” A laugh was forced out of that narrow chest, and she set her hands on her hips as if the careless comment was just any sort of joke.  And she knew before she turned that he would gasp and protest. What she hadn’t suspected was that when he gasped out;

“Payne…babe. Don’t make it like that!” and stare at her wide-eyed with eyes filled with hurt and wounded affection, like a dog she’d fed and then kicked, what she didn’t know was that she would turn and feel a pang of sudden regret and wish – actually wish really, really, really hard – that it really wasn’t anything like that.