AN: New story! I hope you'll forgive me for not updating My Shadow and Me immediately, but I promise I'll keep working on it. This one's been living in my brain for a while.
Here I am, for the first time trying my hand at femmeslash. I hope you like it. Reviews are welcomed and adored, constructive criticism is wonderful, flames are stupid and pointless. If you don't like the story, review and tell me why or don't bother at all, shouting at me won't help anything.
Also, no offence to Catholics. I have several Catholic friends who I like very much.
NOTES ON THE STORY: Although the school and teachers in the story are based off my own, and some of the conversations and problems are modelled off my own life and that of my friends, the story is not based directly on my own or their experiences. I'm trying out a new style here, with the main character being in first person and the rest of it being a bit more sketchy than is my norm. Please tell me what you think.
WARNINGS: This story is SLASH and contains HOMOSEXUAL CONTENT, in this case meaning LESBIANS, from the very beginning. If you don't like that, nobody is forcing you to read it. It also contains sexual references, as well as passing mentions of self harm, abortion, eating disorders, drinking, and drugs.
Chapter 1: Sometimes I wonder
I'm standing in the queue in the cafeteria when arms slide around my middle, and a chin manages to stretch up and rest on my shoulder. I don't look around: there's only one person it could be, and a glance down at the hand on my waist confirms it, for each nail is painted a different colour, most of them sparkly, and all of them chipped.
"Hey, love," I say affectionately.
"Bah, I can't believe you're wearing pink," Natalie announces scornfully. "I may have to break up with you just for that. And heels! Like you aren't tall enough already."
I laugh. I am indeed wearing a pale pink top, matched with a long black skirt and the aforementioned heels. "Mum made me," I shrug. "You think I'd pick this colour myself? She said it made me look pretty." I roll my eyes, despite the fact that she can't see it.
"It does," Natalie agrees, and I put a little more force into my eye-rolling.
"Even though it's pink?" I tease her. Having already seen her once this morning, I know for a fact that Natalie is in her usual style of clothing, which makes her the total opposite to me. An old, baggy black t-shirt, proudly emblazoned with the slogan 'David Bowie: the man who sold the world' and a picture of the man himself; jeans that are just as old and even more worn, with a truly impressive number of badges pinned all over them. On her feet are multi-coloured, velvet Doc Martens, which I would so have stolen ages ago were they not a size too small. I love those Docs. They're strokable.
Needless to say, Natalie isn't too popular with the teachers.
We're a bit of a walking cliché, really, discounting the fact that we're currently standing still while we wait for the line to move. Me: good girl, mathematician, blonde, overly-dressy skirt and top so routine it might as well be a uniform. Her: bad girl, classicist, black hair and always wearing dark clothing to match, often with boots, usually with wristbands, and once with handcuffs.
We're best friends. The teachers have never figured out why. But they don't know who gave her the handcuffs.
"You always look pretty," Natalie assures me, and I snort.
It's not that I suffer from ugly duckling syndrome: that sort of martyrdom is just another form of vanity to which I have never subscribed. No, what I have is ordinary duckling syndrome. I'm too plump to be thin, too lazy to be athletic, too freckled to be pale, and too pear-shaped to be curvy. While I know I'm not particularly bad-looking, I have no illusions that I'll ever grow into anything other than a very average duck.
I guess Natalie's the same. She's short (and hates it), just as plump as me, even more indolent (when she's not insanely hyperactive), and far more apathetic. Her one vanity is her long black hair. It's wavy. It's shiny. It eats hairbrushes. Touch it and she hurts you.
She claims that her hair retains all her magical powers, which is why no one's ever allowed to pull it. She also sheds like the kitten she so often emulates, so I tend to amuse myself by plucking long, thick black strands free from clothing and imprisoning them forever in a tic-tac box I keep specially for the purpose. Natalie claims I'm just a crazy stalker person by nature; I say I'm using it to do voodoo.
I stopped trying to act normally a long time ago.
"Girls!" A sharp voice interrupts my reverie. "This is inappropriate behaviour within school!"
I smirk with triumph as Natalie relinquishes her grip on me. "What's the score, now?" I ask her curiously as the teacher stalks away.
"Um," she thinks for a moment. "Twelve. Gallagher, Gladman, O'Flaherty, Breese, Thorne, Jones... Mr. Michaels leered at us, so we counted that -"
"Perverted old bastard," I grumble.
"- Cowan, May, Banks, and now Ms. Stone."
I count on my fingers. "That's only eleven," I say accusingly.
"Yes, but Mrs. Banks threatened to get us suspended if she caught us cuddling in her class again," Natalie reminds me. "So I counted her as two."
"Ah, Mrs. Banks," I sigh reflectively. "How the days would drag, could we not jerk your homophobic chain."
We've been playing this game for a month, now, mostly in defence of poor Steph. I'll try and explain: Weatherton's is an all girls school, and thus is widely considered a hotbed of rampant lesbianism. Steph's a fairly good demonstration of this, actually; she got sent to the Headteacher's office three times in two weeks for inappropriate behaviour. The third time, they sent a letter home to her parents, and I'm never going to forgive them for that.
Steph's parents are insanely Catholic. Oh, I don't have anything against Catholicism, really, but her Mum is the only Catholic I've encountered who actually likes Ratzinger - I guess I should call him Pope Benedict the whatevereth at this point, but the name doesn't really suit him. Most of my religious acquaintances just have a quiet 'grit your teeth and bear it' attitude to his appointment. Anyway, Steph's Mum said that both her and her girlfriend were going to hell, that Emma (the girlfriend) was the spawn of the devil, and that Steph was no longer her daughter.
Bitch. And she probably didn't even notice that the number of cuts on Steph's arms doubled overnight.
I think the school should have just kept their mouths shut. It's not like the little year sevens who witnessed the kissing couple were all that traumatised; I think they more regarded the pair in the light of a floorshow.
Er. Bad word choice, there. Wallshow. It was nothing more explicit than a wallshow, I promise.
Anyway, it was shortly after this incident that the school decided to outlaw hugging in the corridors, with the stated reason that it caused 'traffic congestion'. Of course, that only made things worse, particularly among my group of friends.
"Claire!" Natalie would exclaim enthusiastically, sweeping the girl into an enthusiastic embrace. "I haven't seen you since yesterday!"
I think Claire probably licked her neck. You've gotta love that girl.
"Amy!" she'd continue, seeing me from the corner of her eye and hurrying over. "I haven't seen you since -"
"Ten minutes ago," I generally used to finish, hugging her back. Yeah, the hallways were just full of affection for a while there.
But that's not really why Natalie and I are so busy courting trouble. That came later, again with the homophobic Mrs. Banks. Steph had just broken up with Emma (not that you could blame her, because Emma was very, very annoying at times) and she was pretty upset about the whole messy business - particularly, I feel, the swearing - so Natalie was giving her a hug. Mrs. Banks - who happens, through some hideous twist of ill-luck, to be our form teacher this year - walked in and promptly blew a fuse. For some reason, she can't seem to grasp the fact that when your friend is crying, you don't normally consider her sexuality to be an issue when you go to comfort her, even if you give a damn about her preferences in the first place. Which we didn't.
That was the day Natalie and I declared war.
It hasn't (thus far) been a terribly violent battle; just a little challenge to ourselves, to see who we could convince that we were a couple, and how many funny looks we could collect from teachers.
"We still haven't gotten Mrs. Dale to react," Natalie pouts, bringing me back to the present.
"Mrs. Thorne did, though," I counter, naming the other of our English teachers.
"I should hope so, considering the fact that you were groping me under the desk," she snorts.
I give her my best innocent look. "Just your thigh," I object. Then I wink. "Anyway, you liked it." She chokes, and I smile serenely as I buy my cookie.
"If you'd let me sit on your lap before Mrs. Dale comes into the room..." Natalie wheedles, buying her drink and following me to the other side of the till. "Or - we could walk in ten minutes late, and flushed -"
"Like you did with Lily last week?" I shoot back, smirking.
"We were studying, and didn't hear the bell!" she exclaims immediately.
"Yeah, sure," I drawl through a mouthful of cookie. "You can't hide it from me! I know you're cheating on me with that whore!" I assume a tragic expression.
"I was drunk!" Natalie protests with matching melodrama. "And stoned! I swear, it'll never happen again!"
"Yo, bitches," Claire greets us happily. We're used to her by now, though, and hardly turn a hair. "Who's drunk and stoned?"
"You?" I offer with a shrug.
"Nah," she sighs mournfully. "The bastards confiscated my tequila. All I have left is the Baileys fudge."
"Wow, share?" This is Lily, who has just joined us, Steph and Kristine in tow. The gang's all here.
No one's going to refuse Lily when she actually wants to eat something for once, and Claire promptly pulls out a plastic container half-full of heavy, chocolate sludge. She only has two teaspoons to offer, but I use my fingers and Natalie pulls a pair of plastic sporks from her pocket, and Lily and Steph share one while she uses the other. Natalie never runs out of new, cleanly packaged cutlery to share; she steals them all from a convenience store down the road. I swear she's got some kind of crazy spork fetish.
"We scored another disapproving look," I announce proudly, licking chocolate off my hands. Claire cheers with satisfying enthusiasm, and Lily applauds us ironically. Kristine looks more dubious, but we ignore her.
"I love you guys," Steph laughs softly.
Natalie beams and bounces, and too late I realise that she's been drinking Coke; sugar and caffeine in one lethal package. At least the school cafeteria doesn't sell tic-tacs, so she won't be able to go completely sugar-mad until after lunch, when we're allowed off the school grounds to seek out new sugar fixes and to terrorise the neighbourhood.
All that, and we get to wear our own clothes; such are the joys of being in Sixth Form.
"No," Natalie says firmly, taking the packet of peppermints from my hands and replacing it resolutely on the shelf.
"But -" I object plaintively.
"No," she repeats more emphatically. "We all know what happened last time."
"I had minty fresh breath for the rest of the day?" I suggest guilelessly.
"You couldn't stop giggling all through English," Natalie corrects me.
"That's different from your usual behaviour how, exactly?" Lily asks us both. "Honestly, the department must be ruing the day they decided to put you two in the same class."
I grin. They probably are, too: on our own, we're both studious - well, no, that's a blatant lie, considering the fact that I draw cartoons all through maths and she sleeps all through classics. But at least we're quiet. Put us together, though, and we become a force of pure distraction; even discounting the cuddling, groping, and flirting (which is, after all, a recent tactic), we're the perfect match for our varyingly depraved and perverted thoughts.
While we were reading Antony and Cleopatra, for example, we spent the entire time coming up with highly convoluted reasons behind the rivalry between Octavius Caesar and Antony, namely a bad break-up and an incestuous threesome with them and dear old Julius Caesar. And then smirked all the way through the video version with them in there miniskirts and their blazing looks. Natalie thoughtfully highlighted all the stage directions which stated 'Antony's Camp' or 'Caesar's Camp'. "I knew it," she hissed to me. "Shakespeare's sending us secret messages. We've got to tell the world that Antony and Caesar were both gay, and explain the euphemism behind this whole 'single combat' thing."
I have innuendos scrawled all over that book in various bright colours. My personal favourite was someone else's contribution first: the tatty old books dispensed by the English department are far from pristine, but I still have a vague admiration for the person who scrawled beside the lines "Only th' adulterous Antony, most large in his abominations, turns you off," 'Why is being large a turn-off?'
It made Natalie and me snigger for the entire lesson. We have the minds of perverted eight year olds, it seems. But really, Antony chose to live in Athens, of all places! What more proof do you need?
In Mrs. Dale's lessons, we were reading A Passage to India. "So, do you know much about the colonies?" she prompted us, and Natalie and I grinned in unison.
"Basically, it's stealing countries," we chorused, our intonations identical, "With the cunning use of flags." We cackled, as did Lily, the only other person to pick up on the quote.
"Just sail around the world and stick a flag in," Natalie explained further, waving her hand excitedly. "'I claim India for Britain!'"
"And they're going, 'You can't claim us, we live here!'" I protested to her, continuing the sketch. "'Five hundred million of us!'"
"'Do you have a flag?'" Natalie retorted snootily. "'No flag, no country. Those are the rules that ... I just made up.'"
"Excuse me?" Mrs. Dale asked us in bafflement.
"Eddie Izzard," we chorused again.
"Do I want to know?" she sighed wearily.
"No," Lily assures her. "No, you really don't."
Sometimes all it takes is for us to exchange one look, and we'll both crack up laughing.
"Must you?" Lily sighs at us later.
I stop blowing into the pipe and gaze at her questioningly, the mouthpiece still held between my teeth. Natalie prods ineffectually at the keys of the tiny, wind-powered keyboard for a few more seconds before turning reproachfully. "We're making beautiful music," she informs our friend petulantly.
"You're poking tunelessly at a child's toy you found in a cupboard." Lily corrects us.
"Hey, don't knock the cupboard," I tell her seriously, spitting the mouthpiece out at last.
"Some of us actually need to study," Lily sighs, ignoring me, and Kristine looks up from her physics textbook, nodding.
"You don't, though," Natalie tells her. "You get a hundred percent in every essay. Bitch." Lily's in all of Natalie's classes, and this constant outdoing rankles a little.
"My bitch," Claire chimes in, staring at Lily possessively.
"Nuh uh. Mine," Steph retorts, taking Lily's arm.
"Boyfriend, remember?" she points out, shaking her arm free, but smiling.
"Psh, Tom's gay," I dismiss this notion. "In only a few months he will leave you, and run off to Japan with Will."
"Hey!" Kristine objects. "Will's my boyfriend!"
"Not for long," I advise her sagely. "He goes to an all boys' school, Krissie. You're lucky to have kept him on the straight team this long."
"We go to an all girls school," Lily counters. "And we're not engaged in some huge lesbianic orgy."
"Oh, really?" Claire asks innocently, leaning over and licking Steph's ear. I swear, that girl has an unhealthy obsession with licking things. Natalie leans against me, and I wrap my arms around her. "There are four of us," Claire continues, "So if we aren't having an orgy, perhaps we should be."
Lily just laughs her surrender and rolls her eyes, but Kristine groans impatiently. "Steph's really gay, we all know that," she says, "And Claire - well, with Claire, who knows?" The girl thus mentioned winks at Kristine, and is ignored. "But you two," she points at me and Natalie, "You're just playing a part."
"Oh, are we?" I smirk.
"Yes," Kristine says confidently. "If you aren't, then you can prove it right now - kiss."
I shrug, but Natalie pulls away and walks from the room. Steph shoots Kristine an exasperated look, and follows.
Sometimes... Sometimes, I wonder.