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Caramel Cigarettes [Thirteenth Addition]

I’m getting closer and closer to the end of this story.

Here is the new addition!

Please enjoy, and if you need to catch up, I got you!

12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 3 2 1  

– Dahv

 

Jacqueline was still wearing my t-shirt. She hugged me at the door and soon backed off. “Cigarettes again?”

I sighed, jaw clenched. “My friend drove me.”

“The smoker?” She sat on her bed; I closed the door behind me. The t-shirt, still tied in the back, matched her leggings. Revealed midriff looked like vanilla ice cream between the dark clothes that covered her like chocolate. “So, you were busy.”

“You called me crying, I wasn’t going to say no.” I motioned towards her comforter. “Can I sit?”

She moved over. Leaned back on her hands. I sat down, slouched forward, elbows on knees. I looked over at her alarm clock, which read: 7:15. Keeping my eyes on it, I watched the five blink to a six. I had been there for merely a few minutes, and it felt like an hour. We sat next to each other, keeping our hands to ourselves: mine clenched, hers on the bed.

“I need to be honest with you.” She slouched forward beside me. “But I need to know right now if you like me.”

“I do-”

“I mean it, Kell.”

I removed my phone and awoke the screen. “Suit yourself,” I placed the phone on her thigh. Still confided within the screen was Jacqueline’s picture from the other night. “I love that picture.” I said, looking over her shoulder.

“Yeah, I know.” Her voice was still serious. She passed me back the phone.

I threw it beside me and linked my arms around her waist, resting my chin on her shoulder. “I’m here for you, Jac. What’s up?”

Jacqueline lodged her fingers in between mine. She twisted my thumb ring nervously like Nicky did. She breathed in. Forearms against her bare skin, I could feel goose bumps. “I can’t stop thinking about you.” She squeezed my hands. “And I know I hurt you the other day.”

“It’s okay-”

“No it’s not, Kelly.” Pulling my arms apart she turned to face me. “I haven’t been fair with you.” She grabbed my hands and pulled me to her. Our lips were just inches apart. Her fingers fiddled with my thumb ring. The twisting tickled like it did before. I rose to my knees, keeping my eyes on her. Her eyes, red with fatigue, looked like Christmas lights. I pushed my other thumb on her hipbone and thought of how her hips, thrusting towards me, moving on me, would feel in my hands. She looked down and moved back, closer to her headboard, keeping her hand in mine. When our eyes met, she bit down on her lip.

“I want you so bad.”

“Yeah?” She asked, opening her legs.

Keeping my thumb on her hip and my hand in hers, I lowered, filling the space between her legs. As our noses met, she foisted her crotch onto mine. “Do you want me?”

She closed her eyes and tears passed through her lashes. “Oh, Kelly.” Opening her eyes, more tears fell. “I don’t want to play with you.”

I sat back on my heels. “What’s wrong?” I too felt tears form in my eyes.

“I’ve never done this before.” Knees to chest, she wrapped her arms around her legs. “I really like you though.”

“Are you a virgin?”

She kicked my knee. “Hell no.” She cleared her throat. “I’ve never been with a girl.”

“Oh.” My throat tightened. “Are you straight?”

“If I was straight would I do all that stuff with you?”

I thought of Nicky, who claimed to not liking me, on the dance floor. I thought of Nicky in my car. Although drunk, she said she ‘loved me’ when sober. I glanced over at Jacqueline: cheeks lined with watered-down mascara, lips pursed. She was so different.

“I left because my ex called me. I didn’t go home. We met at the park.”

“Oh.” I pictured Jacqueline leaning down, back flat, hands pressed into tree bark, as some guy fucked her from behind. “What happened?”

“I told him about you.” She straightened her legs out and leaned back on her hands. “He laughed at me. Said it was just a phase.”

“A phase?” I glared at her.

Tears came to her eyes again. “I-I didn’t know.” She stuttered, lips quivered.

“Is that why you flipped out on me?”

“Pretty much, yeah.” She wiped her eyes. “I missed you though.”

“I’m sure you did.” I looked away. My head filled with heat, eyes began to sting. “Did he fuck you?”

“What?”

“Your ex. Did he fuck you?” We made eye contact. Both of us were on the verge of tears. Still imagining her pushed up against the tree, I could her moan.

Head down, she pinched between her eyes and mumbled, “yes.”

In my mind, her moans grew louder until finally reaching the climax. That last scream that cracks in the middle. “Asshole.”

“He was trying to prove me wrong.”

“And you let him!” I yelled, getting off of her bed.

“Kelly, why are you yelling at me?”

“Cause you’re fucking with me Jacqueline!” I pounded my heels into the floor. “You’re fucking me over.”

“No I’m not!” She yelled back, now standing on her feet.

“It is just a phase, isn’t it?” We inched closed to each other.

“No, it isn’t!”

“You think you like me!”

“I know I like you!” Our noses squished together.

Hands fisted, I raised them over my head. Jacqueline’s hands grasped my arms. Her thumbs brushed up and down my biceps. We started to sway, distributing weight to one foot and than the other. She guided my arms down, until my hands reached her waist. We were silent for a moment before I asked, “Are we dancing?”

Jacqueline hoisted herself onto me, wrapping her legs around my waist. As her shirt crept up, her leggings sagged. I could feel her thong’s lace against my forearm. I could feel her warmth; I knew she wanted me. She put her nose on mine. Her hair canopied my face; her breath on my lips was so minty, so fresh.

“Can I kiss you?” With her still in my arms, I sat on the bed. She slowly slid down, straddling my lap.

Her cheeks bloomed pink. She sat higher up on my thighs. Our chests were touching. When she smiled at me, I knew she could feel my heart race. “You always know how to make me smile.”

Fingers tangled in her hair, I kissed her as my other hand roamed up her thigh and stopped at the curve of her ass. When our kiss parted, I said, “It’s magic.”

“I’m not going to do anything you don’t want me to.” We had moved more onto her bed. My back was now against her headboard; Jacqueline was still straddling me. “If you don’t like it, tell me.”

“Okay, Kell.” She smiled without showing teeth. “You can show me what you like too. I don’t want to leave you hanging.”

“Oh, please. Looking at you is enough.” I slipped my thumb into the back of her leggings and rubbed her lace.

“What?” She blushed again.

“You’re like really, really beautiful.” My thumb followed the lace along her curves. “I’m actually surprised I picked a decent word. Cause when I look at you, all that goes through my head is: whoa.” My voice reverberated with an out of tune whine.

She arched back laughing. My fingers, spread along her lower back, supported her. She asked, “whoa?” and continued to arch back, rocking me towards her. Our legs mingled, but I kept my chest up. “Are you into blondes?” She asked.

I chuckled, thinking of Nicky. “Nah. I’m just really into you.”

 

* * *

I woke up the next morning, lying in Jacqueline’s bed still fully clothed.

“Your phone buzzed all night.” Jacqueline said, buttoning her shirt.

The clock read 9:15 and she was getting ready for work. I found my phone lying screen-down beside her bed. Nicky had texted me. Reading her texts, my stomach jerked, whisking anxiety that bobbed in my gut like buoys. “Sorry. I forgot to turn it off.”

She folded her collar down before tucking the shirt into her unzipped dress pants. I could see her blue panties. “Was it a booty call?” She laughed.

I joined her. “No. Just a friend.” The buoys sank to the pit of my stomach.

“The smoker?” She looked in the mirror and pulled her hair back. I had a clear view of her cartilage piercing.

“Is that her nick name now?” I lay on my back, head on her pillow.

“I guess. I mean,” she kneeled down beside the bed and folded her arms on my stomach, “you’ve never told me her name,” she stared at me with her lips pursed and right eyebrow up.

I nervously tapped the side of my phone with my middle finger: the one that took the invitation once Nicky had opened up. Staring back into Jacqueline’s eyes, I thought about my finger teasing her. I wanted to feel how wet I made her. I couldn’t imagine her knowing how wet Nicky made me. “What makes you think it was her?”

Jacqueline rolled her eyes. “Come on.”

In her car, we idled outside of my dorm. The engine rattled and there was a draft coming from the backseat. Our hands danced above the center console: coming together, separating, and coming together again.

“I’ll be off of work at one.” Jacqueline folded her fingers into my palm. “You wanna maybe do something?”

Through the windshield, I saw Nicky. Blowing in the wind, her braided hair looked like twisted cherry stems. Aviators on, cigarette in mouth, she was walking towards the car. A smile peeked through when a ghost escaped her lips. She walked by Jacqueline’s door, with her phone in hand. I feared she was calling me. My phone started to vibrate. I knew she was calling me.

Jacqueline rolled her eyes. “Disgusting.” She grabbed a piece of gum squished beside her stack of CDs. Chewing she said, “I can’t stand smokers.”

Eyes back on her, I felt my stomach sink. The anxiety buoys were being pulled down. “Me neither.”

“What about the smoker?” She blew a bubble. Gum residue popped onto her bottom lip.

“She’s just a friend.”

Jacqueline bit down, raking the gum off her lip. I could taste spearmint, thinking of her passing the gum into my mouth. Jacqueline blew another bubble; sucking it back in before it could pop. “Okay,” she unlocked my door; “I’ll see you later.” She grabbed a CD from her slanted stack and put it on. Her fingers fumbled with the buttons. I kept my eyes on her; she kept her eyes off me. I leaned over and kissed her cheek. Her jaw line tightened beneath my touch.

I got out of the car and stood by the door for a moment. Jacqueline remained idling next to me, still seeking a song. She kept her eyes forward. The buoys plummeted to the pit of my stomach. I knocked on the window. She glanced over and then at her radio. I knocked again. She glanced over for a little bit longer, before lowering the window.

“I gotta go to work, Kell.”

“No.”

The window slowly rolled back up. “I’ll be back soon.”

“Don’t be mad at me.” I raised my eyebrows. My heart ached. My whole body hurt. All happiness had been hollowed out. I was being dug into; my nectar was being spooned out, until nothing but the core remained.

She stopped the window halfway. She shifted the car into drive and said, “I’m not,” before driving off.

Keeping my eyes on Jacqueline’s license plate, which quickly shrunk out of my sight, I heard a familiar smack. Behind me was Nicky packing her cigarettes. Her sunglasses hung from her collar like a chest ornament. Sucking in smoke, she squinted her eyes at me. “You wore that yesterday,” she said before blowing smoke in my face. The scent was strong and tangy; I could almost taste it.

“I just woke up.” I nibbled on my bottom lip. Rocking on my feet, I could feel my core move like a pinball: roll up, slam into my ribs, roll down, and slam into my hipbones.

“How’s your friend?” She flicked her cigarette. “Were you with her all night?”

I nodded, still nibbling.

“You could have at least texted me, ya know.” She flicked again. “Kinda left me hanging there, Kell.” She rolled her eyes before blinking. Tears docked.

“Look, I’m really sorry.” I took her hand; her fingers were cold, palms were clammy. “I wanted to hang out with you.”

“Bullshit!” She let go. “If you wanted to, you would have!” She yelled, her voice cracked.

“Why are you freaking out?” I grabbed her by the waist. We stared into each other’s eyes. Chest to chest, I could feel her breath shake. “Everything is cool.”

She tossed her cigarette to the ground and threw her arms around my neck. We swayed. Looking over Nicky’s shoulder, I could make out a pair of headlights. Eyes squinted, with my blurred vision I drafted out a red hood that soon stretched out a windshield. A Chris Brown song played in my head, as I watched blonde hair bob within the windshield. When I closed my eyes, the tangy tobacco subsided; spearmint took its place. I squeezed Nicky, in hopes she was Jacqueline instead.

When I opened my eyes, the car reversed into my imagination.

The song stopped.

And all I could smell was caramel cigarettes.

 

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