Every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, Marie Winterbottom from next door took a shower, at precisely six o'clock in the evening. Although her house, number 42, had frosted windows, there was still a relatively clear view from the bedroom window of James Harley. He lived in number 44.
So every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, James and his three brothers – Sam, a year older, Reece, a year younger, and Edward, a year younger than Reece – would crowd into the bedroom that James shared with Sam and they'd peer through the window and watch the pale pink outline of Marie's body in the bathroom opposite.
They supposed it was very unfortunate that the shower was right next to the window, but it didn't really matter to them. They could still see, and that was all that was important to them.
Okay, so it wasn't a very good view – you could just see her curves and none of her bits, and one time James was sure they'd seen her mother showering instead (she just looked that teensy bit larger), but ever since the Harley boys' father had put parental control software on their computers, it'd been pretty hard for any of them to...Well, you get the idea.
Marie was a buxom girl with lots of curly dark hair and pouting red lips. She was a year older than Sam and worked part-time at the local WH Smiths, and was in her last year at the local college. She dressed like a 1950s movie star, with pearls and cute little dresses. Her hair was coiffed and styled and didn't look too dissimilar to that of Marilyn Monroe's, except that it was brown and not platinum blonde. She was quite gorgeous, really.
But James was a skinny, usually spotty sixteen-year-old boy and Marie was a well-developed young woman. The odds were not in his favour, as Sam was fond of reminding him.
Sam went to college with Marie. Although he wasn't in her classes, being younger, he still knew her and talked to her regularly. He usually seemed to think he was in with some kind of chance, but James knew this was nonsense. Marie's boyfriend, as most people were well aware of, was Simon Smithard, a rugby player for the local team. Not only was he probably capable of snapping Sam's head off with one hand, Simon was very nearly twenty and drove a car, and he had rich parents. Obviously, Marie was very much off-limits.
And then one day, James left his house at around seven o'clock to play footie with his mates at the park near his house, to find Jemima Winterbottom sat on her garden wall next door.
Jemima was Marie's little sister. James said little...Jemima was the same age as James and nearly as developed as her older sister, not to mention she was nearly the same height as James, that height being five foot eleven. The sisters also looked very similar, both being quite pretty with full lips. However, while Marie was undoubtedly a girl Jemima wore football strips and jeans and was still wearing the same pair of battered red Converse All Stars that she'd had since Year 8, the sort that were quite literally falling apart. She went to his school and could kick his ass quite easily at football...And, that said, could probably kick his ass full stop quite easily if she so pleased.
So he walked out of his house and found her sat there, grinning from ear to ear like a cat that had got the cream. "Hello, James," she beamed at him, hopping off the wall and falling into step next to him.
"Yes?" he said warily, eyes narrowing.
"I saw you," she sang brightly, an odd skip in her step.
"Saw me? Saw what?" he demanded, and one eyebrow rose. He tried to look intimidating, but Jemima just looked even more amused.
"I was in the kitchen washing the dishes when I looked up and saw you and your brothers in your bedroom window," she announced happily. "You all looked very...distracted."
He glared at her, resisting the urge to call her a bitch. He was quite happy with his nose; after all, he didn't want it breaking by his premenstrual next-door neighbour.
"Then I realised that my sister was showering in the bathroom," she continued, grin stretching wider if that were possible, "And it clicked! Clicked! You guys were perving on her! Which is pretty sad as the windows are frosted and all, so it's not like you can see her tits or something, oh, and the window probably stops at her waist, so, yeah, that's pretty sad. Can't you guys just watch porn or something?"
"Shut up," he growled.
"Temper temper," Jemima sniggered. "Don't worry. I won't tell her."
James stopped, staring at her. She turned on her heel and winked. "You won't?" he said, sounding hopeful. Jemima shook her head, and then stepped closer to him.
"Nah. You want to live, yeah? Simon would kill you. But, you see, I do need some form of payment for not running straight to Marie."
Payment. Huh. Of course there was a catch.
"I suppose you want to play football with us." James rolled his eyes and started walking. The last time they let Jemima play football with them, someone ended up breaking their leg because of her 'dramatic playing technique' (or that was what she called it).
"No?" he stopped and turned at her, and she took the full opportunity to kiss him straight on the mouth. It was a sloppy, messy kiss from someone who clearly hadn't got much experience, but James couldn't say much as he wasn't exactly the Casanova of Montgomery High.
"There," she said, sounding satisfied as she pulled away. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and giggled at his stunned expression. "That's my payment. You can also take me out on Saturday. I don't really care where." And she began to skip off down the street, not even pausing as she glanced over her shoulder to say to him, "Oh, and yes, I do want to play footie with you and your mates!"
James held a hand over his mouth, feeling slightly stunned. Had that just happened? Jemima had kissed him? Jemima Winterbottom had kissed him? As in his tomboyish next-door neighbour had just kissed him?
His admittedly cute next-door neighbour...Her arse did look great in a pair of jeans. But still. Jemima Winterbottom.
But then he felt the smile steal over his face. Well. She was certainly no Marie, that was for sure, but after this he was pretty sure he didn't want a 1950s movie star for his girlfriend, even one as fit as Marie. He was quite happy with the tomboy, thank you very much.
At least she understood the offside rule.
A/N: Firstly, I'm well aware that this story might seem a bit...weird. And creepy. It just kind of happened, that's all. I was writing to a 20 minute time limit, and I was just supposed to write, and this kind of...came out. Yes. Okay. Goodbye.