Below is the beginning excerpt of a story I wrote a couple months ago. The short story is titled “Us” and it’s about a friendship between two girls, and one of them has different intentions for the relationship than the other. Please leave comments below! I’ll be sure to add the rest of the story eventually. I submitted this excerpt to a literary journal at my school; I hope to hear feedback from them soon!
When I closed the door behind me, my jeans and tank top in hand, I could hear his voice on the other line: “I don’t know; I never said that.”
Jackie sat at the foot of her bed; head down, forehead in left palm, hair – parted down the middle – curtaining her face, cellphone balanced on her right knee. She sighed.
“Whatever, Mike.” She pressed on her phone’s screen and tossed it over her shoulder. The phone landed on its back, in the center of her mattress. She inhaled, then cleared her throat before exhaling.
I left my hand on the door knob.“Want me to go?”
Jackie lifted her head up and looked over at me. She ran her fingers through her hair, pulling the curtain back, revealing lines of mascara that ran down her cheeks.
“You’re cute,” she said.
I smiled, let go of the door knob. “Yeah, you are.” She titled her head back and laughed. I put my jeans and tank top on her couch and then sat down next to her. I kept my knees up to my chest and wrapped my arms around my shins.
Jackie’s laugh died down into a chuckle as she titled her head forward; her hair fell in front of her eyes. I wanted to tuck a side behind her ear.
“I gotta change.” She stood up and pulled at the denim fabric that had bunched beneath her knees.
“Sounds good.” I bit down on my bottom lip and raised my eyebrows.
She looked back at me. “Stop that!”
I let out a laugh. “What? You need to change.” I smiled. “That sounds good to me, dude!” I stood up and pulled down on my t-shirt. “I already changed.” I placed my hands on hips and lifted my chin up. “Check that out! I’m all ready for this sleep over, man!”
Jackie opened the top drawer of her dresser and pulled out her Blink 182 shirt and a pair of red boxers.
“Boxers,” she interrupted, closing the drawer.
“Mmm, okay.” I sat on the edge of her bed.
She pointed at me. “You’re wearing them.”
“Yeah.” I looked down at my lap. “That, that I am.”
I walked over to the jeans I had left on her couch’s armrest. Hand in front pocket, I felt my phone vibrate. Must be Jake. I heard something unzip and a small ring that sounded like the light tapping of two metallic rods. Looking over my shoulder, I saw Jackie undoing her belt and lowering her jeans to her ankles. She had the pair of boxers hanging out of her mouth and the t-shirt folded over her shoulder. I looked back at my jeans. My phone was still vibrating. Must have a voicemail. I pulled my phone out and sat back down on the edge of the bed. Jackie’s back was to me. Jeans down to her ankles, she started to take off her shirt. Her bra was dark blue and a pink tag was sticking out – she must have gotten it at Victoria’s Secret. She had on a laced, green thong. I licked my bottom lip; my tongue traced my snake bites. They matched her panties.
My phone’s screen lit up. I had a missed call from Jake and two text messages from Sarah. I looked up.
Jackie tossed her boxers on top of her dresser. “Someone call you?” She unhooked her bra and let it fall to her feet.
“Uh…um. Yeah. Yeah. Jake did.” I looked back down at my phone, and then back up at Jackie.
“Oh.” She put the t-shirt over her head. “You can call him back, Lexie. I have to go to the bathroom anyway.” She turned around, pulling her shirt down over her panties.
I shook my head. “Nah. I’m with you.”
She grabbed her boxers and sighed. “At least your guy calls you.” She slipped her legs into the boxers one by one.
“Yeah, but I haven’t seen Jake since graduation.” I raised one eyebrow. “You look cute.”
“Thanks, Lex.” She picked up her laundry from the floor. “Ya know, I was gonna wear my green boxers so that they’d match.”
“Well, you coulda just changed your underwear to -”
“But isn’t your favorite color green?”
I lowered my head and shook it. “You’re such a tease.” The screen lit up. Jake had texted me.
I grabbed my phone as soon as Jackie left the room. I had three unread text messages. In both messages Sarah wrote, “I miss you:” one ending with a winking face, the other with a frowning face. Jake wrote, “You home?”
I answered, “Not tonight,” and put my phone on silent.
A few minutes later, Jackie returned with two bottles of raspberry iced tea.
“Had a feeling you were thirsty.” She handed me a bottle and sat down next to me with her legs crossed. Letting out a yawn, she leaned back – onto her elbows. Her shirt lifted up, showing her midriff and bellybutton ring, with a dangling silver chain. My right hand started to shake.
“So…does Jake know about Sarah?”
I cleared my throat. My hand was still shaking. I put the bottle in between my legs and twisted off the cap. I brought the bottle up to my lips. The raspberry smelled so sweet. So, so sweet. Sweet like the way I imagined Jackie smelling before she put on her vanilla-scented lotion or brown sugar body spray.
“Does he know you love her?” Jackie opened her iced tea.
“I, I don’t love her.” I took a sip. “I don’t love Jake either.”
“Then what is it?”
“What’s what?” I looked over at her – her midriff was still exposed. Goosebumps were outlining her waistline. I leaned back and placed my palm on the mattress, behind her. She titled her head back, resting it on my shoulder.
“I don’t know. It’s just, I don’t understand how you could not love the person you’re with.”
“I’m not with either of them.” I put the bottle back in between my legs and twisted the cap back on.
“You know what I mean.” She leaned into me, her nose nestled between my left ear and jawline.
“I got you, Jackie, but like, yeah, we have a good time or whatever, but honestly, I could do the same stuff with a stranger.” I chuckled. “Wow, that sounded awful. My God.” I pinched in between my closed eyes and sighed.
She giggled and pushed her nose harder against my jaw. Inhale. Exhale. “You’re just such a player, Lexie. I know!”
“Gonna have to tie my down, then!”
She wrapped her arms around my waist. “Oh yes, please!” She nuzzled her nose into my neck.
“Don’t play with me now.” I looked down at her.
She kept her right arm around my waist and looked up at me. She giggled with her eyes closed and then rested her head back on my shoulder.
“I wanna have a certain connection with this chick. With this guy. Almost like a friendship.” I heard her exhale. The kind of exhale she does before she’d smile, with out teeth. “Kinda like a best friend. Someone I have a lot in common with. I gotta trust them. If I trust you, I’ll always love ya.” I smiled.
“Aww, Lex! You’ll always love me?” She hooked her right hand onto my waist and pulled me closer to her. Our thighs now touching, my ankle cross-hovering hers.
“How could I not? I love every…”
“You’re the best friend a girl could ever ask for.” She placed her hand over mine.
I wanted to cup it in mine and bring it to my lips.
“Your hand’s so cold.” She brought my left hand up to her cheek. “You want gloves?” Dropping my hand, she went to step off the bed.
I grabbed for her elbow and pulled her back. “Wow.”
She sat back next to me. “Yes?” She smiled.
“I love you.”
“And I love you, Lexie.”
I pulled her closer to me. Our thighs touching once again, my foot on top of hers, her hair in my eyes. I leaned in and whispered, “It’s just too bad that you’re straight.”
Jackie leaned away and looked forward. “Oh?” I looked over at her; she twisted the cap off of her bottle of raspberry iced tea, took a couple sips and then stood up. “Hungry?”
I shook my head. She walked over to the door and put her hand on the knob. “Jackie.”
She looked back at me. “Lexie.”
“Sure, Lex, whatever.” She opened the door and left.
Fuck. Keeping my boxers on, I squeezed into my jeans, leaving them unbuttoned. I tucked my tank top into my duffle bag and slung it over my shoulder. Inhaled. Exhaled. I saw a notepad on her nightstand. What could I write that I wouldn’t say? Pulling a pen out of my duffle bag, I picked up the notepad. Jackie, sleep well. The page remained blank. I left the pad on the table and put the pen behind my ear. As I walked to the door, I turned around and stared at the half-empty bottle of iced tea that I had left at the foot of her bed. Stared at it, wanting one last sip.