Reegan Brown is a first year English student at Strathclyde. She has a red belt in tae kwon do and loves The Velvet Underground. This short story looks at female sexuality and it is a powerful account of gender roles and the affect they can have on our lives.
Dark hair, blue eyes, satin sheets.
I say nothing as he strokes my hair. I never say anything. Instead I sit and smoke the cigarettes he bought for me, lighting a new one with the end of the last. As his hand crawls down my back, I stand up.
“I need to go, Nick.”
He exhales in frustration and I smile as he runs his hands through his slightly greying hair. He lights a cigarette of his own and lies back in his bed. I walk over and kiss him lightly on the cheek, looking him in the eye.
“I’ll see you soon,” I breathe as I pull on my new leather jacket.
“Ok,” he smiles and puts his cigarette to his lips.
I pull my hair into a pony tail and shove my feet into my boots. Swaying slightly, I walk to his back door and, grabbing the bottle of vodka from the counter, let myself out. He always bought me separate bottles, lest his wife suspect.
He is newly married but resigned to the fact that they won’t have children – she is incapable, apparently. I’d feel sorry for him, but, quite honestly, I’m just glad I don’t have to watch where I’m walking in case I stand on one of his kid’s stupid toys – like I do at Mark’s.
They are all merely a means to an end. I don’t care for any of them, or anyone. I prefer the ones who are married, though, because they never ask questions. And they buy me stuff to keep quiet. I saunter down the street with my jacket hanging from my shoulders, smoking a cigarette and blasting the Sex Pistols through my IPod (another “gift”).
When I reach my house I let myself in, kick off my boots and enter the living room. It’s empty. Shocker. Dad’s in his study finishing off some dumb presentation or other. I climb the stairs and throw open the door to the study. He doesn’t look up.
“What is it?” he says, monotone, without looking up.
This is our routine: neither of us is pleased to see the other, and neither of us pretend to be. Ever since my mother died this house has been completely silent. I think, the day it happened, Dad and I entered an unspoken agreement that he would keep the money flowing, I’d keep myself silent, and neither of us would ask the other any questions. It works for me, I have nothing to say to him.
I make my way to my room. I don’t bother changing out of my school uniform and instead lie on my bed and stare at the ceiling for a while, thinking about Mark’s stupid child and his stupid toys. Damn kid’s got more toy cars than he knows what to do with.
Nobody looks at me at school. I think I intimidate them- and I like this. I intrigue people because human beings are always infatuated with things they will never know, can never know. I’m sitting alone at lunch reading Carrie by Stephen King when I get a text from Nick. He’s asking if I’m free tonight. I say I am. Today’s Thursday so Nick’s wife is probably taking a long weekend at a spa or something. Nick is a defence lawyer. A good one. Or a bad one. Either way, a lot of bad people walk free because of him, not that I give a fuck, of course- I don’t care where he gets his money, so long as he has it.
Nick calls me a taxi at ten o’ clock on Friday night. I stayed the night and even cut school to go shopping first. He took me to dinner and then we spent the night drinking champagne in the lounge. I kiss him on the cheek as I walk down his drive way laden with bags: Nick spoils me every time we are together, and this time I leave with two new Donna Karen black dresses, a pair of Valentino heels and a small bag of cocaine. I ask the driver to take me a detour.
I arrive home at four in the morning, after meeting Patrick at a bar – we did a few lines and went back to his. I realise that I have nothing planned for today, and this panics me. I can not spend the whole day in the house. I resolve to go to the library to return some books. Maybe take myself to a movie. Or go to a club.
My weekend passes in a haze of sex, drugs and taxi rides.
School this week was a breeze, I wrote a critical essay on The Beautiful and the Damned and the only conclusion I could reach was that I would rather have my work written about, than write about the works of others. I threw up a few times on the Friday, but otherwise nothing of note. I resolve to spend my Saturday with Mark; he rents a movie and orders us a pizza. I eat very little, because frankly the smell of the pizza is making me want to be sick. I relate this to Mark, who laughs and tells me it’s okay, because he’s happy to eat my half.
I leave early on Sunday morning, before his wife comes home from her mother’s with the kid. Honestly, I’m glad to be leaving because all that booze and food meant I’ve already thrown up twice and I kinda want my own bed. I get home at nine and I unlock the door to my empty black and white house and wash the previous night away. This week passes more painfully, with sporadic onsets of vomit interrupting my lessons and forcing me to remain at home on Wednesday and Thursday. This suits me fine as I’m completely exhausted, and I sleep dreamlessly until Friday evening. I wake up to numerous texts from Nick asking where I am. We had a reservation that I’ve now missed. I call him and apologise vehemently, even though I could care less about the dinner. Still, it never hurts to maintain an illusion that I give a shit, does it?
We decide to just have dinner at his instead, so I wear one of the Donna Karen’s that he bought me, and put on his favourite perfume. I tell my Dad that I’m leaving, and not to wait up. He grunts, and does not look up at me. I call a taxi, and put on some red lipstick. When the taxi arrives, I get in the back seat and drive away from that silent house.
I arrive at Nick’s and he doesn’t seem as pissed off as he sounded on the phone. Donna Karen dresses and red lipstick generally have that effect. I smile as he escorts me to his living room where there is a bottle of champagne sitting in ice. He takes my coat from my shoulders and drinks me in. I look at him and tell him to pour me a glass whilst I use the bathroom. I head to the bathroom mirror and fix my hair. I open the mirror to look for some Xanax. As I’m rooting around, my fingertips graze a pack of tampons. I freeze. Wasn’t I due my period two weeks ago? I’m never late. My mind flashes through any time a mistake could have been made. I walk back into the living room, with the god-forsaken box of tampons still in my hand.
“NIck.” I say, with one hand on my hip. He looks up at me, taking a sip from his glass with this eyebrows raised. “Last time I was here, we used something, right?”
“Aren’t you on the pill?”
My eyes widen and I drop the box. He comes over to me and puts his arm round my shoulder while i stare blankly at the floor. “Do you think you might be…” he cuts off. I continue to look at the floor. He sits back down on the couch and runs his fingers through his expensive haircut as I start to yell at him. Downing his champagne and mine too, he tells me not to worry; we’ll go and buy a test tomorrow and then he’ll take me shopping.
We get blind drunk.
Photography by Suzie Scordecchia Wilson