Narrator: Penelope Lee
"Act normally, and do not talk slight of the subject prior to her speaking of it herself. Do I make myself clear, dearest darlings?" Juliet said.
Her voice was impatient; one) to open the door, and two) to get back to watching the last fifteen minutes of The L Word. I, was also in a hurry. Michelle's hands were doing magic to the aches in my shoulders.
"Yes, Juliet. The door?" Michelle replied.
Juliet turned the doorknob quietly, and there stood Leslie. She looked brighter than I had expected. Her hair was washed, smelling of artificial lemons, and her eyelashes looked abnormally long. A face that should have been marked with exhaustion, was surprisingly not.
"Hi Leslie! Welcome to my humble abode. It is a pleasure to have you in our presence, and you are most welcome to apparel of some comfort. Do follow!" Juliet called, as she skipped back to the TV room.
"She's a little wack at the moment - I apologize profusely, on her behalf," Michelle informed Leslie with a pitying frown, as she watched Juliet.
"Are you doing okay, Leslie? You're not hungry or anything?" I was being expected to act normally. Normally, meant keeping by the conventions of common courtesy. Common courtesy towards one whose only parent has died, would be to care.
"No, thanks Penny," Leslie answered.
We soon entered the room and in Juliet's hands were a pair of Barbie pajamas: a pink top and bottom. Queen Frog presented these to Leslie, beaming and trying to stop herself from laughing. Michelle and I just let the laughter pour; it felt nice to hear myself do that. I noticed how one does not think while they laugh.
Leslie stared at the pink PJs expressionlessly, took them, and went into the nearest bathroom. I was relieved she didn't change right in front of us, for that was what I'd expected from a girl like Leslie. However, she came out, fully clothed looking rather...
"It matches with your hair, at least!" Juliet exclaimed in between her chuckles.
"Oh, get over it, Jules. You're the one who made her wear that hideous thing. Just finishing watching the show." Michelle pressed the play button on the DVD player remote, and the scene resumed with Jenny accepting a phone call in her much more appropriate sleepwear.
"What're you watching?" Leslie asked. She seemed quite interested in the show due to the fact that it was so easily able to make Juliet shut up.
"The L Word," I answered.
"Oh, that lesbian romance thing? Nice." Her voice was not sarcastic, and she did not appear to be surprised at the choice of show. I expected she knew of Juliet's two mothers, and sat down next to the intently-watching Juliet Flanagan.
"Let's sit down then."
I followed Michelle to the sofa. She sat on it, as I leaned my back against it right in front of her. Her legs were on either side of me, and her hands went for my shoulders again. They resumed smoothly, just like the show had - from pause to play.
I could feel my tensity dropping, my chords untangling and the muffling sound of the DVD just contributed to my sleepiness. It was as if I was dreaming a happy dream, just without the pretty images and technically still awake. I sighed rather loudly, in euphoria.
Leslie looked back at me, and shot me a friendly smile, quickly turning back to the TV screen. I wondered why nothing ever surprised Leslie. She seemed little effected by her stepfather's death, by Brent's infidelity, and the slightly questionable position I was in at the moment with Michelle. Perhaps it was just experience; maybe I was more naive than I'd initially considered myself to be.
Michelle's hands advanced towards the back of my neck. The insides of my throat felt cold. A good kind of cold - like the feel of freezing ice on your hot sweaty face after a good game of soccer.
My scalp yearned for her to touch. The storage for all the thoughts needed to be filtered... I took her wrists, and positioned it so that her fingertips were now at my head. I gulped and closed my eyes as she slid her fingers back and forth. I began to breathe slightly heavier, trying my best not to draw too much attention through the sound.
I opened my eyes to see to naked bodies on the screen. Two female naked bodies. The camera up close to their breasts, the two women kissing with desire and pleasure. I did not close my eyes again. Instead, I watched them bot; not studying them or staring at them in shock, just watching.
And that was it. The fact that no intense feeling generated through my veins as I watched those women; no lust, no pain - nothing - I knew that that wasn't what I wanted. I did not want to indulge in Michelle's breasts, or her nicely shaped butt. There was no need for such things, as long as she was there and as long as I didn't have the need to hide.
"Aw, damn! The threesome is over," Juliet exclaimed to herself, as a half-naked man left the scene angrily.
Leslie yawned quite audibly, and it was my chance to get some rest. I was taking advantage of the pity towards a newly orphaned girl, but the massage had worked on me like a sleeping pill.
"Jules, I think we ought to watch the rest of this tomorrow; Leslie seems tired," I suggested.
"Are you m'dear? Do you want to sleep?" Juliet asked, pausing the episode.
"Um yeah, well, I've had a long day. I guess I'm pretty tired out," Leslie answered.
Juliet looked slightly disappointed at her answer, and sighed. "Then I guess we better get some shut-eye."
Juliet set out the nicely rolled sleeping bag from the corner. The purple sheet was next to the couch, and she then turned off the TV, keeping the DVD inside. Michelle indicated for me to get up, as she got rid of the sofa cushions and revealed a double bed. It was obvious she'd worked the sofa bed a number of times, and I thought for a while.
"If any of you are to require my assistance, please kindly proceed to the upstairs bedroom, second to the right. I advise that two sleep on the sofa bed, and the other in the sleeping bag. Trust me when I say it is highly uncomfortable for two to be sleeping in that small pocket of a bed," Juliet informed us. "Good night my darling tadpoles!" She left the room, blowing each of us a kiss.
"I'll sleep on the couch," Michelle offered, looking not at Leslie, but at me only. She was expecting me to say the same, and I was afraid she was thinking of other plans. But Leslie's here! She wouldn't.
"I like sleeping bags." Leslie zipped it open and slid in cozily. I turned off the lights, indicating the end of the conversation. They had made the decision for me.
Michelle laid down as well, picking up the blanket Juliet left on the coffee table for us to use. She did not have a suggestive position, and she was fully clothed - safe. I climbed in next to her, pulling the cover over myself. We were faced in opposite directions. Leslie was on her left, as was the window, and on my right was the entrance. It was darker my way, and I listened to the silence.
The quiet rang in my ears, and I heard a piercing screech instead. It hurt, and with it, I could not sleep. No one was fidgeting under the sheets, and there was no sound of a snore. Oh God. I turned around, needing to hear the rumpling of the sheets at the very least.
My right hand lay flat on top of the cushion, and soon I could hear an echo of the shifting sheets. Her left hand gently placed onto mine. Her fingers moved in search for the gap between mine and clasped at my hand. She squeezed hard, and soon our hands were engaged. Squeezing back and forth, like a lullaby of motion.