Stephanie stood on his front door step in shorts and a bikini top and told him Kylie couldn’t make it after all.
‘That’s a pity,’ Thomas lied. He thought quickly. ‘And neither can Zeb.’
He opened the door wide and Stephanie had room enough to step into the cool of the hall without brushing up against him. The movement of the air crashed against his chest.
‘Just go through,’ he said, surprising himself at how calm his voice sounded. He followed her, his eyes on the denim of her shorts like he was some superhero who could see through anything.
‘My first swim this year and it’s not even summer yet. I can’t wait to get in,’ Stephanie said, and then she turned and smiled and Thomas lifted his eyes from her bum, but probably not in time.
‘You go out to the pool and I’ll get some drinks.’
The sliding door rattled like a freight train in its metal track. Thomas closed it behind her to keep the cool in, and so his mum wouldn’t get on his back going on about Global Warming and Unnaturally Hot Springtimes when she got home from work. He watched Stephanie step out of her shorts as he hit Zeb’s number on his mobile.
‘It’s off. Swimming. The girls can’t come,’ he told his best friend. Stephanie threw her shorts onto a deckchair and flicked her lime green bikini bottoms back over the cheeks of her bum. ‘
‘No don’t bother coming over,’ Thomas insisted. ‘We should get on with those essays. No I’m not a swat. Yes, year 10 does matter, you dickhead.’ He stood at the open fridge door eyeing off what there was to drink in there. ‘No I am not going to discuss Romeo and Juliet with you. Read it. Work it out for yourself.’
The smack of a body hitting water could be heard through the shut windows.
‘Hey, I know there’s another week of hols but I’m on a roll. Come round tomorrow. End of.’ He put the phone on the kitchen table and ignored its vibrations.
‘Come on in,’ Stephanie shouted, her voice a siren call through the glass.
So he forgot drinks and went out and felt like he was walking with someone else’s limbs because she was watching him. Only her pixie face hung above the waterline. Her eyes were huge. His t-shirt got snagged on his nose as he took it off and he struggled and knew those eyes were all over his bare chest and he wished he had more hair like a real man. Or less hair like a body builder. He shivered. Fear. He did a huge bomb up the deep end and swamped the decking.
‘You’ve still got your shorts on, you duffer,’ she said from the other end of the pool when his head came clear of the fizz of noise.
As if he was going to expose himself in only a thin clinging stretch of Speedos which never hid anyone’s erection anywhere, anytime. He could hide it under water, but he couldn’t stop it leading him straight toward her. She was breast-stroking toward him, her hair mermaid-long, floating behind her. They met and circled, treading water. Drops of water were netted in her eyelashes.
‘Kiss me,’ she said. Or maybe she didn’t and it only felt like she did. He lunged and they went down under the surface and flayed about and scrambled back to the shallow end. She was drawing in deep breaths but smiling too so he pushed her up against the edge near the steps and really kissed her, tongue darting like a fish in and out of her mouth.
It was extraordinary: her lips pushed back and then sucked him in and her hands grabbed at the stringy eels of wet hair dragging down his neck. So he stopped thinking for the two seconds it took to step his pelvis up to hers. ‘She won’t notice,’ he told himself as he pushed himself up against a hard mound of flesh. And she didn’t seem to. All her action was up here kissing and sucking and breathing heavy. But all he could feel was his knob trampolining off layers of cloth. If only she’d reach down he’d know it was okay. If only she’d move her legs a little apart. If only he’d taken his shorts off earlier. He thrust a little, and then a little harder and she moaned directly into his open mouth. And the water exploded behind them.
‘Kylie, what the fuck?’ Stephanie screamed next to Thomas’ ear.
‘Sorry I’m late,’ Kylie shouted back.
‘I told you it was cancelled. Didn’t you get my message?’
‘Mum’s confiscated my iPhone, because she’s a bitch.’
Stephanie slipped out from between Thomas and the edge of the pool. Thomas felt it like a suction cup letting go. He saw a dark nipple as hard as a Malteser above her lime green cloth before she lowered herself into the water and swam away towards her friend.
Kylie was cacking herself. ‘Sexy-time, Stephie, sexy-time,’ she goaded.
Stephanie responded with a tsunami of splashing and Kylie splashed back, the water turning frothy and white around their heads.
Jane Downing‘s stories have appeared around Australia in The Big Issue, Seizure, Verity La, Southerly, and other places. She can be found at https://janedowning.wordpress.com/