Narrator: Michelle Hanes
The new kid baffled me, but someone I felt unusually comfortable around despite the ambiguity of their sex. I suspected Frith knew what it is he or she was doing, or what we were giving him – a pass to stay with us in turn that their gender is revealed at some point. Our social group never seemed to lack any confusion, mystery, heartbreak and if lucky, heartmake.
I don’t think I ever truly got sleep that Friday night, or more accurately very early Saturday morning. Subconsciously, the both of us were concentrating on keeping our hands in that unified position on the sheets of that comfortable sofa bed. Or at least, that particular night the bed was unusually comfortable. Much to my dismay, Penny was picked up much too early that Saturday. The sun was shining too brightly for anyone to have to say goodbye to another – even though it had only been hours since our relationship bloomed, and no moving of country was involved.
“I think I should take a shower before my dad gets here,” Penny said. She took the last bite of her banana pancakes which Juliet’s mom, Sheena, had kindly made mountains of.
“If that is your wish dearie, you may. I kindly advise you to make use of the washroom on the floor above, located in the room of Juliet. A towel should be open to use for you in an easily accessible basket. Other necessities such as shampoo and body wash should be already provided,” Juliet replied, tone purposefully unchanging throughout.
I was surprised at the unfaltering energy she had in her after the longest night of our lives, I’d expect. Leslie especially, for she was still asleep and we did not risk waking her up. The color of her hair seemed less prominent when she slept and her face less intense; innocent.
“Right. I’m finished, so I’ll think I’ll go do that.” Penny took her napkin off her lap gracefully, folded it, and started towards the stairs.
I stared at the triangular piece of my pancake that was on the table, now soggy from the absorbed maple syrup. It had been sitting on the plate for the past ten minutes, touched with the spears of my fork, creating the mini holes.
I was contemplating whether it was wise to tell Juliet about Penny and I. After finding out how it had turned out with Edward on the ride to her house from the party, it seemed inconsiderate of me. Repeating her name would inevitably brighten up the sleepy and faded eyeliner lined face of mine.
“So my dearest darling dear, how did you sleep last night?” The volume of her voice decreasing as the sentence finished.
I analyzed her expression; something I hadn’t done in quite some time since getting used to her suggestive expressions. However, for an odd reason, I was unable to determine what it was she knew, or if she did not know at all. As it always was with Juliet, I supposed that there was a 75% chance she was not in the dark about it.
“Wonderfully, actually.” I played with my fingers as I said it.
“The person next to you wasn’t a bother, was she? I find it a most uncomfortable a sleep when required to share the bed with another,” Juliet responded casually.
“No. Penny’s a great person to sleep next to.” The straight back of hers slouched, her lips curving into an intrigued smile.
“Oh, is she now?” It was a rhetorical question, towards which I answered with a smack of the lips and raising of eyebrows.
Footsteps resonated from above, and soon Penny’s voice interrupted our catching up of gossip.
“Can anyone tell me how to use these faucets?” She called, and Juliet and I exchanged looks.
“Michelle’s done. She knows how to do it!” Juliet urged me to get up, and I did so, soon finding myself in the upstairs bathroom with Penny.
“Hot, cold. Press that if you want the bath water running instead of the showerhead. Cool?” I instructed, making eye contact only at the last word.
“Anything you need darlin’,” I replied with a casual smile, not suggestive nor cold. I made my way towards the door.
“Hey, uh, could you just wait here? In case I…” Penny’s voice trailed off in mid-sentence, and I looked at her blankly. It did not seem to me that she wanted any more or any less than what she had just requested. I gave a confident nod, making sure to not give her any reason to be embarrassed or question where she was going. Where we were going. I pulled down the lid of the toilet, and sat.
Penny entered the bathtub, drew the shower curtains as one would normally do and undressed in there. She threw her clothes in a bundle through the small opening of the curtain, and it landed by the basket of towels. I could hear the water running, and the steam became more prominent in the air. I never liked the way that it made my breathing feel labored, and blurred my vision with a haze. I stayed there anyway, passed her clothes and towel when she needed it, through the gap. My ass hurt after, but I didn’t mind that either.
Someone’s breathing sounded clearly in my ear, and ticked my neck.
“You guys did it, didn’t you?” For God’s sake, Juliet!
“No! For the last time, no!” I yelled in response, as she cackled. Her annoying me was obviously the best start to her morning.
“No what, Michelle?” Joshua asked, interrupting his conversation with CJ up front. Frith must have disappeared as I was reminiscing. I wondered what my face looked like as I stood there leaning against the lockers, thinking.
“Nothing. Juliet’s just being a dumbass.” I glared at Juliet as I said it. She sniggered.
Joshua looked at me suspiciously, “I will find out, rest assured of it.” I smiled to myself for a split second. There was really, truly nothing to find out and for the first time, it contented me.