Below is the last excerpt of my short story “Us.” I hope you enjoy!
Jackie sat in between my legs that hung off the edge of the bed. A box of tissues laid on its side on top of her crossed legs. She tilted her head back onto my chest. Her eyes were watering. I kissed the top of her head and wrapped my arms around her chest, pulling her in closer.
“You deserve all the happiness in the world, Jackie.”
She pulled one tissue out of the box and rubbed her eyes. Streaks of mascara and eyeliner marked the tissue. She inhaled, her breath shook. “I don’t deserve any of this.”
“You’re wrong.” I kissed her cheek and grabbed her hand. I caressed her forearm up and down with my pointer and middle finger. “I don’t deserve you.”
“You’re being ridiculous.” She tilted her head all the way back so that she could look at me.
“Jackie, you’re like perfect.” I cleared my throat. “You’re just so nice and cute. Everything you do or say makes me smile. Knowing that someone like him hurt you, kills me. You deserve so much better than that. I really love us, Jackie.”
She knocked the tissue box onto the floor. On her knees, she swiveled to the left, faced me, smiling, showing her teeth. I smiled, showing mine too. My eyes lowered, checking out her outfit: red hoodie and a pair of tight, black jeans that flared. I wanted to stick my hand up her pant leg and stroke her calf, even though I knew she probably didn’t shave. I looked back up at her. “Hey, beautiful.”
She straddled my lap and cupped her right hand on the side of my neck. “I need you.” Keeping her eyes closed, her lips met mine, our noses scrunched together. She tasted of mint-flavored Mentos. I closed my eyes and imagined having a mint in my mouth and passing it into hers as our tongues touched. Her left hand pressed down on my shoulder, lowering me onto my back. Blonde hair fell onto my face; I opened my eyes; Jackie went to tuck it behind her ear, but I grabbed for her hand and held it in mine. She leaned back, exhaled heavily, leaned down and kissed me on the cheek. I rested my hands on her thighs. “I really need someone like you.”
“You’ll always have me, Jackie.” I held her hand and brought it to my chest. “You’re my best friend.”
“But, I need you now. Now, Lexie.”
“Are you sure? I mean you and Mike just…”
“Please don’t talk about him. It’s about us now. And I feel good about this. About us.” She kissed the top of my hand.
“This is all up to you. I’m not gonna do anything you don’t want. You’re in control.” I winked at her. “The last thing I wanna do is hurt you, especially now.”
“You could never hurt me. You’re like naturally nice.”
“You’re the first person to ever say that.”
“Maybe I’ll be the last.” She leaned down and kissed me on the lips. I ran my fingers through her hair. She bit down on my lip and let go. I opened my eyes and stared into hers. I leaned in for another kiss but she pushed me away.
“Stop teasing me!”
“I’m not a tease anymore.” She slid my hand, like it was a chess piece, up her leg to her button fly.
I moved my hand back. “You really sure about this? Already?” I pictured having her lie on the bed. I’d unbutton her jeans and pull them down. Her pelvis would thrust upward, letting me know to keep going. She’d be wearing her laced, green thong. I’d lower the thong to her ankles and she’d kick it off. Knees on the floor, I’d grab her by her waist and pull her to me. She’d rest her feet on top of my shoulders. I’ll go slow. I’d kiss her inner thighs and close my eyes.
“You said I was in control, right?” She grabbed my wrist. “We’re older. There are no games left to play that I haven’t already lost.”
“This is a different kinda game.”
“You’re my best friend, though. This is what was meant to happen.”
“Mike was your best friend.”
“I wasn’t his.” She sighed. “I never needed him. I need you, Lex. I want you.”
I smiled. “Oh, Jackie, I’ve always wanted you.” I placed my hands on her thighs.
“Then show me.”
I stood in front of her bathroom’s vanity and stared into the mirror. My shirt’s collar smelled of her scent: vanilla bean. My palms started to sweat and my heart pounded, elevating to my throat. I tried to swallow it down but all I could taste was mint and smell vanilla. Her mint. Her vanilla. She needs me. She wants me. I need her. I want her. My phone, in my back pocket, started to vibrate. Must be Sarah. I took my phone out and checked the message: it was from Jake. “I was wrong. I’m sorry. Anyone would die to be with you. I wish you were here.”
I texted back, “Don’t play with me, baby,” and then put my phone on silent.
I walked down the hall to Jackie’s bedroom door. I was still fully-clothed, wearing my leather jacket, denim capris and red converse sneakers. Outside the door, I could hear the frame of her bed squeak. I wondered if she was getting off the bed or moving around on it. Maybe she was lying on her side, hand propping up her head, her hair over her breasts like a curtain.
I wanted to knock first, maybe even go back to the bathroom, but with my hand already on the knob I decided to turn it. Entering the room, I saw her pair of jeans on the floor, hoodie and my duffle bag on the couch. I closed the door behind me.
I looked at Jackie. She was lying on her side – legs on top of one another, feet crossed at the ankles – just wearing her dark blue bra and laced, green thong. Her toenails were painted pink and her hair curled upon her shoulders. I smiled, showing my teeth.
She smiled, with out teeth. “So…how do you wanna do this?”