Monday, April 16, 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary
Title: Losing Robbie
I stare at them both, the blade and the phone, trying to decide which to choose.
Two years ago, the choice would have been easy. Although two years ago, it wouldn't have been a choice I'd ever have thought I'd have to make.
Back then, I was a baby. I was in primary school, I had lots of friends, and I thought that my stepsister could solve any problem ever. I really want to give her one chance to solve this one.
I take a deep breath, and pick up the phone. I put my hand on the right key to speed-dial her... then change my mind. I put the phone down, pick up the blade carefully - wouldn't want to cut my fingers, too many awkward questions people could ask - and lift it to my shoulder.
Then I chicken out and put it down.
Back to the phone. Just as I'm about to call her, I think about what Joanna said and lose my nerve. I put that down as well, and pick up the blade once more.
I can't focus properly on either of them, so I keep this going for the next five minutes or so. Blade, phone, blade, phone. The repetition has a calming effect on me and I nearly walk away from them both. I know that's not the answer, though.
Taking a deep breath, I pick up the phone once more and finally press the button to call Rachel. She answers, and my words flood out.
"Rachel? It's Lauren. I really need to talk to someone. I think... I mean, I need... can you come home? Please?"
I gasp the words out, nearly in tears as I finally ask her. I want to confront her face to face. For her to tell me it's not true.
But at the other end there's silence. Nothing. And then she laughs. "Hey sweetie! Sorry, didn't hear a word of that. Robbie grabbed my phone!"
I hear the two of them messing about and it's clear she has much better things to do than come and talk to me about stuff that happened years ago. There's a bunch of giggles before she carries on speaking.
"Was it important, babes, or just phoning for a chat?" she questions me. For perhaps the first time in the eight years I've known her, I lie to her.
"Just a chat," I try to keep my voice light. "I'll let you get back to Robbie. Have fun!"
I think she thanks me, but I can barely hear her. bursting into tears, I slam my head into the pillow. After sobbing for a few minutes, I get up and pick up the razor blade.
This time, there's no hesitation. This time, I push it into my shoulder and draw it down, wincing as I form a thin red line to go with the three pink scars already there. I smile to myself through the pain. I don't know why it was such a difficult choice.
I wish she wouldn't phone me like that, especially when I'm in the pub. I love my stepsisters – I really do. And Lauren, the eldest, is my favourite. She's sweet, she's clever, and she looks at me as if I'm a goddess – she definitely has good taste in role models! She's just becoming so, so clingy.
Robbie reaches over and grabs my phone again as soon as I've hung up. He turns it off, smiling at me as he does so, and slides it into the pocket of his jeans.
“Let's forget everyone else, princess. Tonight's about you and me.”
It's a terrible line, but he knows it will make me laugh, and it does. I playfully lean over and ruffle his spiky hair, knowing it winds him up. As he glares at me, I distract him by pushing my mouth onto his, our tongues colliding. He responds by moving his left hand onto my breast, stroking it. Part of me is ready to push him away, but I fight off the urge. Yes, this is as far as we've gone in the eight months we've been together, but maybe it is time to give in slightly to him.
Then he moves his right hand to my leg, and it starts to wander up under my skirt. I pull away, and grab him by the right wrist, taking it off my thigh.
“It's too soon, Robbie.” I look at him calmly, determined that he'll get the message.
“Too soon?” he replies, seemingly incensed, although he surely must have expected this. “It's been nearly a year! I been following you around like a bloody puppy and all I ever get is a hand on your tit!”
It's an old argument, going back at least two months. I'm starting to feel I should know my lines by heart, like Lauren used to have to do for her plays.
“I'm not ready yet. I love you, Robbie. I just want to take things slowly.”
“Slowly? I've seen glaciers move faster, cariad!”
He sounds more Welsh when he's annoyed, or drunk, but he can call me 'sweetheart' in whatever language he wants, it's not helping.
“Don't 'cariad' me, boyo.” I respond, keeping my voice deliberately light. “I'll tell you when I'm ready. Maybe soon. Just not tonight.”
He sighs and his shoulders slump. He has about half a pint of Guinness left and he picks it up and downs it in one go. “Look, let me get a couple more drinks. Vodka and coke again?”
I nod, and smile at him. As a conversation, it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. The last time we had this row – which was something like five days ago – he'd stormed off in a huff.
Watching him at the bar, I smile to myself. There are at least four people waiting before he gets there, but the barmaid – a busty girl who's wearing a rather revealing top – somehow misses all of them, opting to serve my gorgeous boyfriend instead. She's clearly flirting with him, eyeing him up and practically drooling over his muscles and good looks.
Hands off, lady. Just because I'm not ready to let him jump into bed with me yet doesn't mean I'm going to give him up. He returns with the drinks and I laugh as I look at him.
“Got yourself an admirer there, I've never seen anyone get served so quickly in this place on a Friday night!”
“Lucky I only got eyes for you then, isn't it, sweetie?” I nod in response, and he leans over to give me another kiss. This time, his hands stay firmly on my shoulders, and I sigh in pleasure.
“Thanks for seeing it my way,” I pull out of the kiss to whisper into his ear. “I promise you, it won't be that long. And it will be amazing...”
He stiffens up – in more ways than one, looking at the sudden bulge in his jeans. God, are all boys this easy to control? A couple of vague promises and he's right back where I want him.
At least I think he is, until I take a long drink from my vodka and Coke and nearly spit it out in disgust at the strength of it.
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