“I don’t get what the big deal is,” Curtis muttered as he stood uncomfortably outside the school office.
“I don’t particularly care, Mr. Black…” Mr. Mason checked his watch for the third time.
Curtis inhaled deeply, unafraid of showing his frustration; so he didn’t like school, he preferred to spend his time elsewhere. What was the issue?
“Ah,” Ronald Mason stood tall, “Here we are.”
The red school bus stopped outside the building, the breaks hissing loudly.
Curtis Black watched sceptically as the year seven children nervously exited the vehicle.
Remembering his first weeks at the senior school was difficult, most of it he had blocked out however he did remember being awfully scared, especially of the older students. This brought a smile to his lips. God, he was dying for a fag, the sooner this was over with the better.
Mr. Mason approached another teacher and Curtis Black delved into his bag for his tobacco.
Licking the paper and sealing the stick he watched as Ronald Mason returned to him, a small skinny brunette in tow. Curtis promptly hid the freshly rolled fag up his hoody sleeve.
“Curtis,” Mr. Mason eyed him suspiciously, “This is Lydia,” he gestured to the small girl who looked decidedly bored.
Curtis suppressed a laugh.”Whatever.”
“You’re to show her around, keep her right and make sure she reports to all her classes. The moment she’s late or does not show you’ll be held accountable.”
Curtis shrugged, starring down at the small child before him and Mr. Mason walked away.
“Hi,” she whispered, her voice a mere squeak.
“Whatever, you got your time table?”
The girl fumbled with her bag, placing it on the floor and delving inside – it was almost as big as she was.
“Fucks sake,” Curtis muttered, “hurry the fuck up…”
Scowling Lydia lobbed the card his chest.
“Good,” he quickly read it, then handed it back to her, “You don’t need me, just find the right room number and you’re sorted.”
Curtis started to walk away and was almost at the door when she reached him.
“What are you doing?” he asked her.
“You’re showing me the way…”
Lydia cocked an eyebrow at him. “Everyone knows you have to pass this year or you won’t get your inheritance…”
Sighing, Curtis couldn’t help but wonder – what is it about this place? Even little kids know your business…
“Are you black mailing me?”
Lydia shrugged, “Maybe.”
“You little shit,” Curtis attempted to hide his smile, “Well, Lydia…?” he waited for her full name.
“Lydia Sinclair,” she replied, “I own you.”
Curtis laughed, deep and throaty, “Little shit,” he said, “That’s your name. Come on then, I’ll take you to Math…”
My face hurts.
I’ve not stopped smiling for the past 4 days.
I trudge down the drive to my house, the early morning sunshine casting an orange glow over all it touches.
Carefully closing the front door I enter the hallway as quietly as I can muster, I make my way to the stairs.
“Where have you been?” my foot is on the bottom step when my father catches me.
“Jeez,” I clutch my chest, “Dad you scared the crap out of me…”
“Answer the question, Yves.”
“With Maya,” I turn to him scratching my nose and feeling sheepish under his stony gaze.
“You didn’t think to call?”
“It was just one night -”
“Yes but It’s also been every night this week,” my father interjects, “I haven’t seen you-” he begins to cough and I stand uncomfortably as his face goes mauve and he bends over clutching his ribs.
“Whoa, Dad,” I approach him and he holds up his hand.
“I’m fine,” he manages as he catches his breath.
Movement behind him catches my attention and I look over his shoulder and into the kitchen.
“Is there someone else here?” I ask.
“What,” Dad sounds like he just ran a marathon, “No… why?”
I shrug, “I thought I saw someone…”
Dad shakes his head and then narrows his eyes, with a sharp intake of breath he asks – “Yves, have you been smoking?”
I scowl, “No.”
Dad cocks an eyebrow at me.
“What, I haven’t!” I exclaim.
“OK,” Dad says after a few moments.
I have no idea why he’d ask me that, I haven’t been smoking and Maya certainly doesn’t.
“Can I go get a shower now?” I ask.
Dad nods once and retreats back into the kitchen.
I’m glad he’s my dad again but for god’s sake does he have to be so damn protective?
I let the hot water run over my body and resist the urge to sing.
I know how lame that sounds, I really do – but I could sing. I could sing any one of a number of cheesy love ballads you might be thinking of. Pick one, seriously – do it. I’ll sing it to you. You can mock me all you want but I’m in love and my heart is bursting.
I promised her I’d be back in half an hour but Dad’s kind of ruined that now.
I pour a small amount of shampoo into my hand and work it into my scalp, humming quietly as I do so. This could sound incredibly weird, but I don’t care if it does – part of me doesn’t want to get showered. Part of me thinks that I’m washing her away – her touch, her smell. I can’t wait to get it back. I’d never shower again if it means I feel close to her.
In that moment I’m aware of something else… no, not another feeling rising to the fore… another presence.
The hairs on my arms prickle and goose bumps rise over my body despite the humidity of the room.
My hair is now full of foamy shampoo, the water which runs down my face contains suds and I fear opening my eyes in case the soap irritates them.
With haste I massage my scalp and wash my hair, the feeling of another person in the room with me is so strong I can feel apprehension surging through my body.
I’m afraid to open my eyes for fear of what I might see but I know I can’t hang on like this forever.
Satisfied that my hair is now devoid of any shampoo remnants I wipe my eyes with my clumsy hands and peer through my sodden fridge.
The apparition before me is brief but unmistakable as the red headed woman I’ve seen before.
As always, she smiles coyly and winks; she brings a long slender finger to her lips – then she is gone.
“I thought you weren’t coming back!” Maya grabs my hand and drags me up the staircase.
“Maya!” Mrs. Hart peers at us, her expression stern.
“Leave your door open…”
Maya rolls her eyes and suppresses a giggle, “Yes…”
“I mean it,” Mrs. Hart calls as we clatter into her daughter’s bedroom.
Leaving the door ajar she pushes me onto the bed and straddles me, holding my face in her hands.
Lips meeting mine, we kiss slowly at first – small and tantalising moments of contact which gradually increase in intensity until her breath escapes in small gasps of pleasure and wanting.
I hold her hips and flip her over so that we lay facing each other, I continue our kissing.
My heart pounds in my ears, it’s thud so strong I feel it may burst through my chest at any moment.
I kiss her with all I can manage, my nose squashes against hers – almost painfully but I don’t care.
Maya’s hands are in my hair, tugging and pulling as her tongue slides into my mouth and then she’s kissing my neck – I feel I might go wild.
When she stops she smiles at me shyly and her kisses are replaced by a dull ache of need deep in the root of my body.
“I’m sorry to stop,” Maya says, snuggling into my side. “I know what will happen if I don’t,” she whispers and places a small kiss on my neck.
I know she’s talking about sex because I have no doubt in my mind that if we don’t stop now that’s exactly where our kissing will lead.
“It’s OK,” I manage despite my body’s protest.
“I’m just not ready yet,” Maya continues, “We’ve only known each other a few days, and then there’s Fin…”
Although I hadn’t forgotten about Fin I’d definitely put him to the back of my mind – I’m pretty certain that he believes he is Maya’s boyfriend, little does he know about what’s happened in the mean time.
“I can wait,” I smile at her.
“It’s your 18th birthday,” Maya says, “Next Friday… bonfire night…”
“I already have a bonfire party planned, but we can celebrate your birthday at the same time…”
“That sounds great.”
“… and maybe I can give you an extra birthday present…” she peers up at me through thick black lashes, a mischievous smile on her lips.
Suddenly we’re kissing once more, the world melting away until it’s just the two of us and nothing in the world matters more than this moment.
“I love you,” Maya whispers and my heart almost stops, we break apart and I stare into the fiery depths of her eyes.
As I’m about to respond she’s up on her feet, starring around the room vacantly.
“Yves…?” she stares at me, a hand to her lips.
“What’s wrong?” I stand, straitening my clothes and approaching her, but she backs away.
“Um-” she tucks her hair behind her ear and laughs nervously crossing her arms across her chest. “I’m sorry, but I think you should probably leave.”
“Wha-?” I can hardly believe my ears, “Did I do something wrong…?” I’m hot with fear.
Maya shakes her head, her eyes turn to the floor.
“Not at all, I..uh..I just need to be on my own.”
I pull the zip to my hoody up and delve my shaking hands deep into my pockets.
“OK,” I manage, deep disappointment growing inside of me – the room seems darker, greyer and oppressive, I don’t look back as I leave the room.
There’s no doubt in my mind as to what’s happened.
The spell, it’s worn off – it’s over.
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