iYou play forgiveness, watch it now, here he comes/i

An automatic groan escaped my lips as I woke up the following morning, curled up on Lucy's bedroom floor, my sleeping bag haphazardly over me, my feet tangled in it's bottom. My back ached, my head thumped, my throat felt like sandpaper.

The sunlight streamed in through the window, and I let out another moan. I wasn't used to the light this early – the blinds in my bedroom blocked out all possible natural light. Reaching my hand out, I smacked the ground until I found my phone. Pressing a button, I tired to focus on the time.

Just gone one o'clock.

"You awake?"

I tried to lift my head, failed and let it slam back into the ground, missing mi pillow. "Yeah, unfortunately."

I squeezed my eyes shut, then opened one to see Lucy swing her legs out of her bed, run a hand through her hair and smile softly. "Want a drink?"

"Please." I croaked, my voice more of a growl, sore and harsh.

Through my hazy gaze I saw her roll her eyes as she climbed over me, slipping quietly out of the door. I moved my hand, and pain shot through my thumb, causing me to let out a whimper. I wanted to yell, cry out loud but knew the walls were thin; I didn't want my voice to resonate down the hall.

Slowly, I brought my hand to my face. I groaned at the sight of my thumb; a deep cut, along the side, dried blood caking my poor digit.

Flashes of the night before came back to me – getting to the club, dancing, drinking, me and Ian, finding Lucy, chips, taxi, threesome...

Staggering back in the general direction of the halls, falling on the path, cutting my thumb on a jagged rock. Lucy staring at me as I tried to scramble to my feet. Falling again until finally I tottered up and we carried on. Getting to Lucy's room, her hand flicking the computer on, her saying she wanted to be alone.

Outside. Smoking. Scared and frightened about what would happen to us now. Thoughts bouncing around my mind.

Did she hate me?

She should hate me.

I wouldn't blame her.

Thinking about leaving, packing and getting the earliest train as possible home.

Wondering if it would be better to stay to make sure our friendship wasn't completely broken; were cracks better left for a bit, or was it best to fix them straight away?

Throwing the butt down, striding into the hallway, Lucy's card-key in my back pocket. Lingering outside her door. As if sensing me there she opened it, tilted her head to one side.

In the background, The Used. I Caught Fire.

The lyrics drumming into my mind.

I don't think I'll ever forget the way Lucy looked at me then, the way she studied me, her eyes seeing right through me.

Lucy was always better at reading me than most people – most times she could tell I liked a guy before I even knew. There had been an exception to this tonight, but Lucy had sobered up in the taxi, and now she studied at me, reading the signs.

The song played in the background, and I felt myself gripping the doorway, wondering why she wasn't stepping aside to let me in.

The song changed. This could be my chance to break out...

The Taste of Ink.

Trust Lucy to turn to Bert and Jepha when she was upset.


"Uh huh?"

"Go to him."

My mind slammed back into the present as Lucy opened the door and stepped inside, carrying two pints of squash. Smiling gratefully I sat up and took one from her, sipping it and feeling the freezing cold water sooth my throat.

Lucy sat on the desk chair, watching me with a carefully concealed expression. "Didn't notice you come in."

"You were asleep." I mumbled, pulling myself up and onto her bed, sitting so I faced her.



She gave me an odd half-smile. "What happened?"

I frowned, felt my cheeks go red. "I knocked on his door. We kissed."

She lent forward slightly, eyes watching me. Part of me wanted to laugh – Lucy loved gossip (though she rarely dished it out to anyone who didn't need to know) and I could see her almost aching for details.


"And..." I paused, knowing there were some bits I wanted to keep to myself. How he had answered the door in just his boxers, hair ruffled by sleep. How when I kissed him his mouth tasted of toothpaste, how his chest felt so good and smooth beneath my hands, how his grip on me tightened as my tongue roamed over his teeth, licking at the remnants of minty fresh toothpaste. "And I told him you wanted to be alone." How I had stepped back slightly, looking into those half-asleep eyes, that soft smile, my eyes locking on his and how I tried to convey without a word – relaying on the way my hips turned into him – what I wanted.

"What'd he say?" Lucy asked, and suddenly the pair of us were lying on her bed, side by side, both staring at the ceiling.

Minutes passed as I replayed the moment in my head over and over again – the way his sleepy smile disappeared, how his eyes flashed with the slightest trace of fear.

Lucy waited in silence.

"He said..." I closed my eyes, scrunched my face up. "He said 'you can stay here, if you like'." The way my heart had thumped at that, the way my mind almost jumped up and down in nervous excitement. "'In my bed.'" Lucy gasped. The way my thoughts suddenly leapt into action; this was it, this was the moment. Ian would be my first. I opened my eyes, let out a sigh. "'And I'll sleep on the sofa. In the kitchen.'"

Lucy let out a strange laugh that seemed to stop halfway out of her mouth. Her hands jumped up, covering her lips as she looked sideways at me.

I smiled at her, a smile that conveyed both 'I know' and 'It's OK to laugh'.

"I...am...shocked." She spluttered, her body shaking with the desire to laugh.

"Yeah, well."

"You got out of there then?"

"Of course. I said 'it's OK, she'll be OK' then tried to make a graceful exit."

Light danced in her eyes as she turned her body to face mine. Not cruel light, but the kind of light that betrayed she so wanted to hear what next.

"I almost fell over." I grinned shyly. "Managed to get the door stuck. Finally opened it and kind of...staggered out."

She giggled quietly, shaking her head. "He's an idiot Belle."

"Meh." I shrugged. "Whatever."

The smile and laughter died instantly, to be replaced with a look of concern. She reached out, resting a hand on my shoulder.

"Are you OK Belle?"

"Of course." I flashed her my best grin. "It's lucky really; I only wanted to sleep with him because I was drunk."

"Yeah." She didn't believe me.

She turned onto her back, and once more we stared at the white-washed ceiling, parts of it peeling.

"We going to be OK Luce?" I asked, almost afraid to hear the answer.

A wry smile appeared on her face. "We will be."