“Hey!” The sound of her voice made me turn, and I saw her sitting in the corner of the common room, her head in Jason’s lap – I tensed – and her fingers absently plaiting the ends of her hair. “Nathan, come be my footrest?” She was pleading a little bit... and it made me feel a little giddy inside.
Grinning to myself, I sat just out of reach of her feet, and she shuffled closer to me in an attempt to put her feet up.
“Don’t make me beg!” She giggled pathetically and I shifted closer, still slightly out of reach, enjoying this game a lot and feeling as though I had a lot of power. “Please Nathan?” I rolled my eyes and shifted right up, so she could drape her knees across my thighs. “Thank you.” She stared up at me, where I was staring out at the rest of the Common room, watching the way a couple were playing cards, the girl looking up suddenly at a newcomer who, it appeared, was horrified to see her sitting there, and the boy attempting to introduce the pair, looking confused as the tension radiated off of the newcomer. They stood together for a long minute, the girl staring at the boy, who was still, and unsuccessfully trying to calm her down. His hand reached between them as she made to pull her scarf a little tighter around her neck, and touched her hand, almost bringing her back into the present, and she looked up at him and blushed bright pink, then looked back at the floor, embarrassed.
“Hey?” I looked down at Katie and she reached out her hand as I spoke, silently asking for help sitting up. “What’s up there?” I gestured vaguely and she glanced over at the awkward trio.
“I assume,” She paused and looked at me, then at Jason. “She used to fancy the one standing up, and he knew about it, and now, she’s moved onto the guy she’s attempting to beat.” She paused, and smiled, “Kind of funny really.”
There was a long silence, where I simply looked at her, and she watched me for a long time, running her fingers through her hair, her legs still curled over mine. Oddly intimate, and genuinely comfortable to me.
“Very.” I murmured, and she smirked slightly, “How’s English coursework going?”
“It’s like watching a train wreck.” I quirked an eyebrow and tilted my head. “Essentially, you can see it crashing, it’s getting closer and closer and it’s going to slam into the wall and explode, but you can’t look away, you just can’t-” Her voice cracked dramatically and she giggled. “Not too badly, to be honest. Thought it was going to be worse-”
“Oi! Kayy?” Her head whipped around and the ends of her hair smacked into my face, making me gasp sharply. She turned back to me and grinned an apology, then looked back at the shout.
“Davis, what’s up?” He stepped closer and looked at me, shooting me a half-glare which I returned as Katie swung her legs from across mine and looked at him, a small smile on her face.
“Just wondered if you wanted to come see the new... Twilight movie on Saturday?” I felt my face heat up as he spoke. We were going to go to see it on Friday, Katie, Jason, Emily and I, and then we were going to Mandie’s for a movie night in. It was Katie’s birthday, and we were going to spend it as a group, happy and comfortable... and I could actually ask her out.
“Er...” She looked at me, then across at Jason. He shrugged and smiled, and I forced myself to grimace in a similar way, trying to ignore the fact that she could be slipping into a relationship straight in front of me, and I was just sitting by and letting it happen... because I couldn’t do anything. “Er...” She stopped for longer and looked at us again. Her expression had changed, however, into one of fear and slight worry, her eyes wide and her mouth moving slightly nervously. “Can I...” She shut her eyes and held her breath for a second, “Can I take a rain check?”
He seemed to consider her for a long time, and she smiled back at him with what I hoped was a blank stare in her eyes.
“Course.” He muttered, then turned away and I felt a surge of pride and happiness in my chest. I resisted the urge to shout ‘take that, motherfucker’ at his retreating back too, though I think that was just part of the insane gene I’d inherited from my mother.
When we were all quiet again, her legs across mine once more, I chanced a look at her. She was staring straight ahead, and with the position she was sitting in, that meant that her solid, bright eyes were staring at me. I felt my breath catch in my throat and at the cough that movement made, she ripped her gaze from me and looked away, up at the ceiling, falling back into Jason’s side with a low groan.
I couldn’t help but stare at her as she sat, looking at me, watching me as she attempted to nap. Jason’s arm came around her shoulders and wrapped lazily around her waist, and I felt a pang of jealousy as I desperately wanted to be those fingers, holding her tightly and making sure she didn’t fall.
A few seconds later, I watched his fingers start to drum lightly on her side, as though he was playing the piano, or trying to, at least, against her skin. She made a small noise and leaned against his side a little harder, and I wondered whether the look he gave her was... well... the look.
A moment later, he pulled back and looked over at her, she still had her head against his side, but he gripped her shoulders and slowly pulled her back into his lap.
And I felt sick, because he had his hands on her.
“Jase?” Her voice was small and calm, almost sleepy as she nearly buried herself into his lap, her head comfortable and cradled by his hands. “Jase, have you got any water?”
“Yeah.” He shifted slightly, reaching for his bag and passing her the bottle, then sitting back, putting his feet up and letting her drink. She sat back and put her head in his lap again, her hair splayed out behind her and his fingers quickly knotting in it as he played around with it. I shut my eyes and tried to get rid of the image as she kicked at me lightly in an attempt to get up, sit up straight and look at Jason.
“Thanks, man.” They watched each other for too long. They bloody stared at each other. I closed my eyes again, got up and walked away. My hands clenched into fists as I got to the doors of the sixth form block and looked back to see them, still looking at each other, talking in whispers and leaned into each other as though they were together.
I ran a hand through my hair and wished... really, really wished I had a cigarette.