"I'm not trying to stop you, love, if we're gonna do anything we might as well just -"
Based off the song 'Sex' by The 1975. Also, I wanted to try something more mature... Admittedly, a lot more mature.
The evening is muggy, the last traces of summer rain hanging trecherously in the air. He can hear a moth tentatively batting at the bulb on the porch, right outside his window. It buzzes and hisses at the heat, bouncing back. He sighs, kicking his sweat-stuck sheets to the wooden floors.
His phone buzzes from somewhere in the tangle of sheets. He sits up, shaking the sleep out of his bed-ridden hair and slumber-filled eyes, and leans down to get it. Unearthing it from the sheets, he checks the caller ID.
He quickly answers the call. "Hey."
"Adam," she says in greeting absently, but she sounds frustrated. He can hear her pacing. The picture unfolds in his mind; Steph walking around in her curve-hugging tank top underneath an oversized ripped tee. He lets himself linger in the moment, before answering.
She sighs. "Can you pick me up from mine?"
He stands up, checking the time. 7 o'clock. "Depends on how quickly you want me over."
"Fifteen minutes or less," she says. Another picture; Steph running a hand through her frizzy, champagne hair, scrunched up at her shoulders.
He adds it all up, grabbing an armload of clothes as he leaves his room, opening the bathroom door. His phone jars precariously from underneath his chin. "Twenty," he bargains.
"Fifteen," she says, and ends the call.
He can do fifteen.
He arrives at her place in thirteen minutes, hair damp but drying from the shower. He beeps the car horn thrice; Steph'll recognize it.
A minute later, she comes out. He revels at how sexy she is; black skinny jeans hugging the curve of her legs, and - yes, he was right, tank top underneath a ripped t-shirt. She's wearing eyeliner which brings out the fierce blue in her eyes... It always does.
He snaps back into focus as she yanks the passenger seat door open, climbing up and falling into the seat, heaving a sigh. She glances around the van, not meeting his eye, and leans down to stroke the upholstery.
"Missed this baby," she mutters, kicking her feet up against the dash. He doesn't stop her.
"Yeah, it's missing you too," he says wryly, and she smirks. "Where do you wanna go?"
She shrugs, the t-shirt fabric moving along with her, and through the tatters he can see smooth skin. Ambiguous. "Outside of town."
He doesn't get her. He starts the van, shrugging back. "Fine."
It's not a long ride; Steph lives just on the frays of town, anyway. Dust kicks up around them when he stops, parking in the desert, leaving his headlights to glower in the becoming dark. It's silent.
He pushes his palms against the steering wheel, then looks at Steph. The interior LED lights (it took a lot of hard work to install those; also, help from the local mechanic, Matthew) turn her a shade of neon blue.
"So?" he asks.
She shrugs, again - it's a habit. It's quiet for another couple of seconds (he tries to shove past them) before she speaks. "You know Ross?"
His chest tightens.
Of course he knows Ross; dark, shaggy hair, pale blue eyes, a great smile... the guy he could never replace.
"I know who your boyfriend is, Steph," he says, rolling his eyes, trying for mirth. She grins.
"Yeah, yeah. Anyway. You know he does theatre a lot."
He nods, because yeah, he knows. She talks about him a lot, that he's so hot, that he's incredibly nice, that he's just the best boyfriend ever. She just - talks about him. A lot. Too much, in his perspective.
In the past couple weeks, though, most of the words about him that fall from her mouth are negative.
"And he never has any time for me. I mean, he's always busy with one thing or another and I can't remember the last time we even made out, let alone had sex." She rolls her eyes, fluffing her hair up by force of habit. "I'm just pissed that I'm his second option."
He nods, letting her talk. His eyes graze over her waist, and she must notice, because as soon as he glances up, she's looking at him. She's still talking.
"Like, okay, yes. I get it, you're practicing and doing work and all that, but I really don't care. You need to give some time to me, even if it's just for some half-assed quickie in the bathroom. Do I look like a curtain rod to you?"
He shakes his head, no. Steph's still looking at him, eyes bright with interest - or maybe that's the LEDs.
This time, she's the one who looks him over, and he swallows. Her eyelashes look tumultuously long in the blue light.
"Adam," she says, voice only loud enough to not be a whisper, and then suddenly he's got a lapful of her. And they're kissing.
She's warm and right in his arms, his hands spanning from just below her chest to the bottom of her hips. It's heated and sensual at the same time, to him.
It's a while before she breaks apart from him, still in his lap. She grins at him, and that's when he figures out what she's thinking.
"We should," she says breathlessly, still panting from the frantic making out, "Do this. More often."
"Do what?" he asks, breathing quickly, even though he knows.
She does that ridiculously hot smirk, the LED lights against her back making her silhouette go lapiz lazuli. "Use your hands. And my spare time."
And so it goes.
He doesn't mind it, all - in fact, it's amazing. They had sex that very night, and now, whenever she calls him, they drive off to a deserted place and fuck to their heart's content.
Every time, she toes off her dusty high-tops and they crawl to the back of the van, her legs wrapped around his waist. It's dirty and provocative and teeming with lust.
He thinks his shirts look particularly nice when they're just hanging off her back.
He pushes all doubt to the forgotten hinterlands of his mind; all the little voices whispering, she's got a boyfriend, anyway.
Gradually, the amazing factor of it all dies out, a hot flare in the night that sizzles down and extinguishes in the cold ocean. He's just - he loves the fucking, obviously. But that's all they ever do; fuck. They do it, then they talk about it, then they talk about doing it again. Their conversations are carved around one shape, where it used to cornered and abstract.
They're driving back from the abandoned fields where he had parked, and she's laughing as she tries to hop back into her clothes in the back of the van.
"I don't even know how you did that, but it was amazing," she giggles, shimmying into her skinnies in a way that makes his mouth water. She pulls on her white bro-tank and then shrugs on a plaid button down, and then she clambers back into the passenger, slipping her high-tops on.
"Hah, yeah, you're not too bad yourself," he teases, but the words taste like charcoal in his mouth. He turns into her street. It's two minutes before she has to be home - Ross is coming.
He parks a couple houses away, and coughs. "You know, Steph. Why don't we hang out sometime again tommorow - minus the sex."
She throws him a weird look, eyebrows raised. "What point would there be in that?" she asks, cracking a grin. "We won't have anything to do. Besides, the only thing we have in common is that tongue of yours." She kisses him, quick and hot, before waggling her fingers and jumping out the van.
(He does not get her.)
He watches her, watches as she unlocks her front door and goes inside with that exaggerated fashion which he'd grown to love, but not enough.
The next day, his phone sneezes, indicating a text. He lazily flips it over, screen face-up, and checks who it is.
He quickly opens it, heart leaping, because Steph always calls before they meet up. Texting is rare, and a sign - of something good, usually.
hey, come to the theatre now? -s
And his heart takes a tumble.
He'd forgotten - Ross has a performance today. She'd mentioned it two days ago right after she'd jumped in the van - "Ross has rehearsals for the play day after tomorrow, and I need to meet him there, so we need to be quick".
On my way. -a
He arrives a little late, the lights low and silhouettes soft. Steph'd texted him the seat number - J-53. They're excellent seats, the best for looking at the stage, which must be why she bought them. That's also exactly why he wouldn't buy them.
He does not get her.
He creeps through the rows, muttering apologetic nothings as he wriggles past. He can just Steph now; he recognizes the attractively crazy halo and the jolt of eyeliner from pretty far.
He finally jerks to a halt and drops into his chair. Almsot instantaneously, the lights brighten and focus on side-stage. People applaud as she nudges him with the heel of her palm. "Hey."
"Hi," he replies, looking at her side profile in the fluorescent light. She's focusing on the stage, and he can tell her eyes are bright with pleasure.
Someone steps on stage, begins speaking, and he shuts up.
It's an original, he guesses. The audience looks entranced, leaning forward in their seats at all the right moments and he really wants to slap the daze out of their systems, but he can't. So he leans back, and watches Steph.
She doesn't notice; her eyes are holding on to Ross.
"Doesn't he look amazing," she says absently, and he wants to hook an arm around her tiny waist, cuddle her close as she laughs in protest and kiss her, posessively. But he can't.
He doesn't think Ross looks amazing, though. His hair is stuck in his eye-mask, and his face looks a dying yellow because of the stage lights.
"Yeah," he says, "He does."
The show continues, and as soon as it finishes Steph runs backstage and leaps right into Ross's arms, legs tight around his waist as she kisses him. He catches her easily, hands in places no longer truly under his territory.
"You were amazing, babe," Steph coos in between the toss of lips.
"Thanks." He grins manically, hair rumpled and eyes bright with post-show adrenaline. "Hi, Adam."
"Hi," he replies shortly, ducking his head. "Steph just told me to come, the show was nice."
He doubts his words are heard, though, because she's murmuring in to his lips, "How 'bout we go to yours and have a little celebration?"
Ross grimaces, and gently lets her to the ground. "Sorry, baby. There's this after-party which I have to go to, and I'm super-exhausted."
Her lips turn down, and she shifts her weight. "Oh."
"You can come with me, you know. I'd love to introduce you - " Ross says, reaching for her waist again, but she catches his wrist before it can make contact with her shirt.
"Nah. I'm pretty tired as well. Think I'll go home and sleep, hm?"
He can taste the dishonesty in the air, tarnishing the lust-struck moment. Ross, on the other hand, reels the lie in. "Sure?"
"Yeah." She pecks him briefly, having to lean up on her tip toes to do so. Then she rocks back down to her heels. "Have fun, babe."
He grins at her, all boyish charm and delight. "Bye, baby," he coos before jogging off to his castmates, smiling gleefully. The buzz of the show has clearly not worn off him yet, and he wears it like a cloak. That sort of stuff makes Ross easier to hate.
Steph turns around, walking with her head held high. She tangles a fist in the pale cotton of his shirt, startling him. She leans in, lips chapped and bizarrely attractive, and mutters, "Take me back to yours, yeah?"
He blinks. Rewinds the words in his head. Blinks again. "Mine."
She tilts her head, which is adorable apart from the sarcastic lilt of her tone. "No, I said yours as in the fucking McDonald's two streets away."
He blinks. And then cracks a grin, because her hands are particularly warm against his chest and he likes this, likes the idea of warm hands on skin. "Alright."
Hands are useful for many things, he notes absently as his fingers crawl underneath the stretch of her tank top and pull it away from her skin. The light hits Steph's hair waspishly, highlighting the stray strands and making her look earthly. Making her look like she's his.
Hands can be used to touch, to feel. To hurt, to caress. These thoughts chase themselves through his head as the floor is suddenly abundant in worn clothing and something like a dirty secret.
To put on (facades), to take off (clothes). Her flesh burns against his, and he mouths at the open skin of her neck.
To caress, to hurt - and Steph pushes at him, making him fall onto the foot end of the bed. She looks wild and deranged, untamed.
"I have a boyfriend," she whispers. "I have a boyfriend."
"Uh," he utters.
"I've got a boyfriend. Fuck. Fuckfuckfuck." Steph looks a panic. The sheets draw up to her chest.
"Yeah, you do," he replies slowly, because. He has no idea how to answer that. He does not get her.
"No - I have a fucking boyfriend - shit, just - shit," she curses, slipping all watery out of the bed and pulling all her clothes on, one by one.
"Where are you going?" he asks, rather irritatedly. The bed is suddenly cold and if he had a core, it would be ice.
The look she throws back at him is a painted mixture - horrified, shocked, distant. "I've got a boyfriend, I'm sorry, I can't do this."
"But do you though?" The words come out of his mouth easily. Steph pulls on her jeans.
"What?" she says, tiredly.
"Do you have a boyfriend?" he asks, snappish.
This, apparently, throws her off. She freezes, then shakes her head. "Adam, no - don't do that."
"I'm asking a simple question! He's never around, he's not caring for you, and if he was - why are you here, asking me to fuck you?"
Steph looks ages younger; ages older. "Maybe he's busy a lot. Maybe he doesn't take care of me, sexually or otherwise. Maybe he doesn't care about me! Are you happy? Will you just let it go at that?"
His world disintegrates; like burning leaves in the dark.
"Wait," he says quietly. "Could I have taken his place?"
She's already at the doorframe. "N - I don't - I can't talk about this, Adam, I'm sorry. I just - I have a boyfriend." And she leaves, the air whispering.
(She comes back in after five minutes, reminding him that he has to drop her home. He does, and the ride is filled with the stifling sound of silence.)
His phone is left without any notification of Steph's world. He doesn't see her, doesn't hear her, doesn't feel her around and doesn't taste her any more. He doesn't blame her, really. The days split from half to half to half, and they still don't speak.
It's an ache of a feeling; like something hollowed out inside his bones. He misses her, he always does - but he's just. Confused.
He knows Steph needs some time, though, and he waits. Waits.
She calls back after 2 weeks, 6 days.
"Adam," she says briefly, "I've just - I've been thinking. We should just stick to the basics, making out, handjobs. Having sex is actually cheating, and I don't want to do that, so this way we still make it out fine."
He yanks at his hair; he does not get her.
"Steph, did you even think about this." He sounds monotone.
"Do you not want to be with me anymore? Because I've given us both a way out, and I don't really need you. I do have a boyfriend, if you don't remember."
He grits his teeth. He does not get her. "Steph - I'm not trying to stop this, love. But just think. If we're going to do anything - we might as well just fuck."
She doesn't speak for a while. Her breathing is unsteady - inhale. Exha-l-e. I-n-h-a-le. E-xhale.
"Adam, just come and pick me up so we can talk."
"I can do that," he says agreeably, and she hangs up.
He drives over to hers quickly, and beeps the horn - one, one, one.
She comes out, and he revels at how sexy she is... - he does every time.
She sits, but her posture is awkward, and when he touches the key of the ignition her hands comes to stop him. "Hi," he says. "What's wrong?"
She faces him, the lamplight silhouetting her. "Adam - we need to finish this. The sex, the meeting up in secret, the meeting up at all. You want to make it more exclusive, and I've realized - I don't want to do that. I have a boyfriend who loves me, Adam, and like it or not... I love him too."
He's shaking his head before she finishes her last sentence. "You don't love him. Shit, Steph, don't be ridiculous, you never loved him."
Steph is looking at him with eyes like blue-tinted bottle shards. "Don't tell me that motherfucking crap. Just shut up. I am trying to do something right, and all you do is spout shit in my face about how I don't know about me or my life, like I'm some fucking kid." She takes in a deep breath. "I need to go."
She looks at him one last time; her eyes are like lenses now, snapping a last parting glance of him before leaving to print. She walks back, and the shadows taper around her waist and thighs.
He watches her, feeling a little lost. He doesn't miss her terribly like he would've before - he feels loss and hollowness and confusion, but it's not heartbreak. More like heartache.
He doesn't get her.
The car revs up, and drives out of the saffron lamplight.