He erupts into a fit of giggles, finding it ten kinds of hilarious to balance my copy of The Children’s Bach on his boner. Helen Garner’s sweet, withered face bobs up and down at me.
“You’re an idiot,” I tell him.
Luke nudges the book from his crotch, rolling his eyes. “And you have no sense of humour.”
He stretches out languidly, pale skin sliding across bone. He was always scrawny in high school, getting tackled and knocked around on the football field, though that had more to do with his mouth than his stature. The extra years look good on him, his body lithe, almost athletic. His penis is still semi-hard, angling ever so slightly to the left.
I glance up at his face, admiring his sharp cheekbones and crooked grin, the brown hair that curls at his temples. The face of a spoilt but beautiful boy. My eyes fall to his chest and I spot the Hakuna Matata tattoo emblazoned under his left nipple. I suddenly try to recall why I ever decided to have sex with him.
He picks up The Children’s Bach again, thumbing through it carelessly, fingers creasing its yellow pages.
“Is this that shitty book we were supposed to read for English?”
“No, you’re thinking of Bypass.”
The book I read cover to cover so I could write a three-thousand word essay that you then blatantly plagiarised.
“What’s it about?”
“A family in Melbourne. The father invites his ex to stay and she brings her teenage sister along. It’s all about how their lives and relationships intertwine. It’s pretty great, actually. All about the banalities of life but it’s also kind of…”
His eyes have glazed over. I stop talking.
I clear my throat and cast my eyes around the room, trying to mentally retrace my steps so I can remember where he flung my bra. If I stand up naked he’s going to see exactly where all my flesh actually hangs.
I reach over him and pluck the novel from the night stand. I roll over and slide it safely back in my handbag. I use this opportunity to reach for my shirt so I can slide it across my breasts like a shawl.
“You’ve always liked writing and stuff, hey?”
I tilt my head, smiling shyly at him. “Yeah. I’m going to do creative writing next year at Uni.”
Luke snorts, staring up at the ceiling. “You’re too boring to write a book.”
I splutter, my cheeks turning pink. “I’m not going to write a memoir,” is my snappy retort as I try to ignore the fact that he has just tapped into my deepest insecurity. While I’m naked, no less.
“What’s a memoir?”
Great. He’s stupid and a prick.
He rolls over, evidently bored with our conversation, and covers my body with his. He reaches down between my legs and frowns. If I wasn’t so timid around him perhaps I’d have the guts to tell him that no, insulting me does not in fact, make me wet.
He plants soft kisses on my neck and it’s good and damn, it gives me butterflies but makes me sick because by all accounts I should despise this boy.
I think about the narrators from my favourite books; The Great Gatsby, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Secret History. Weren’t they boring too? Hopelessly infatuated with the more effervescent characters in their orbit? Is Luke the interesting party here?
All my life I’ve wanted to be a Holly Golightly. What if I’m better suited to the sidelines? The Nick to somebody’s Gatsby, the Richard to their Camilla. Chiming in at the appropriate moment with the appropriate comment to mask the fact that my story isn’t fascinating enough to stand on its own.
I feel Luke growing hard again but I’ve lost all desire to be penetrated for six blissful minutes so I ease him onto his back instead. I wonder what it says about me that I only like giving head because it means sex won’t last as long.
Luke chokes back a moan and slides his hands into my hair, tightening his grip. All the while I keep my eyes trained on his ridiculous tattoo.
I slip my shirt on, buttoning hastily and I squeeze back into my skinny jeans. Luke slides a Bin Tang singlet over his head and calls it a day. His penis looks sad and limp as it juts out from under the hem.
I meet him at the doorway, hesitant, unable to decide on an appropriate goodbye. He gently touches the small of my back.
“I’ll text ya.”
“No worries,” I say.
Tegan Lyon hatched from the Creative Writing Program at RMIT University and has since found financial success moonlighting as a hotel receptionist. She is currently working up the courage to give it all up to become a poor, creatively fulfilled writer, but has a pesky tendency for taking off overseas. Her work has been published in The Morning Bell and Little Raven and she is a regular contributor to The Reel Word. She can be found lurking on twitter @TeganLyon.