We are so close to finally getting the hell on with this generation. Don’t worry guys. I’m never having five parallel story lines ever again…
Summer laughed. She had read the email telling her that her application was successful, and she had got the internship, and texted Uma immediately. It had only taken the girl three minutes to find her.
“Well, I couldn’t have done it without you telling me about it.”
Summer was quiet for a moment. She was tempted to load up the document and show Uma, but common sense prevailed. “I wrote about how Shanna sees her love.” Summer had always been careful about saying Shanna was gay, because even that could have cast unwelcome attention on her at school. You could never be too careful.
Summer’s eyes hovered over the document that had won her the mentorship. She’d spent so long refining it that she could probably recite most of the piece from memory.
The light that shines from her is hypnotising, drawing me in like I am a moth with no ability – or will – to resist. Her cheeks rosy, her smile forever kind, her laughter pure. Her perfume is always floral, and she is my favourite flower…
“One day,” Summer agreed. “But won’t you be off on a grand adventure at some point?” she asked, switching the computer off and standing when the bell interrupted them.
“I’m staying here, silly! I might even go to the local Uni, I’ve been looking at some of their courses.”
“Really?” Summer gasped, and then quickly tried to hide her enthusiasm. “That sounds cool.” She hugged Uma back, enjoying the comfort of having the other girl in her arms. The hug went on for a second too long and Summer hurriedly stepped back – or tried to, but the chair was cutting into her legs already. Uma laughed again and gave her some space.
“Sorry. I just got so excited! I can keep my job at the bookstore, stay at home, save money for later.”
“And we can still be friends,” Summer added, hopefully.
“Well, of course we’d be friends anyway!” Uma scoffed, “but this way we can still hang out.”
Skye spent a lot of her time at Felix’s. It was peaceful here, and even though Felix loved to chatter away and say whatever came into his mind, he also knew how to leave them both to their thoughts. Unlike Faye, who always had to fill the silence, and Summer, who was always typing away loudly on the laptop. Felix’s room was tinier than hers, but there was nothing better than spending time with him, even if they were both doing their own thing.
Skye scrolled through simbook on her phone, legs propped up against the wall. Felix had, at some point, manoeuvred himself so that his head rested on her stomach, and the only reason Skye hadn’t moved him was because it was actually quite comfortable.
“I do,” she argued. “But some people that left school last year are travelling and stuff. It’s cool to see their posts. Pass it back.”
“Nuh-uh. A good friend wouldn’t let you be inane,” he grinned.
She tried to snatch it from him and he held it out her way, and somehow their wrestling ended with Skye’s head resting on top of his chest, his arm around loosely around her. Skye desperately tried not to blush but, of course, she had no control over that particular reaction.
“Where do you want to go first?” Felix asked.
“Are you coming with me?” Skye tilted her head back so that she could look at his face, but he was staring up at the ceiling with a thoughtful expression and didn’t notice.
“Where do you want to go?” Skye asked.
“Wherever you’re going.” He laughed when she huffed in irritation at his vague answer.
“Well, right now I need to go home,” Skye sighed, holding her hand out for the phone which he obediently set back in her palm. She shoved it in her pocket and stood, already sad to be leaving.
“Skye,” Felix said, as her hand was on the door knob. Curiously, she twisted around to see him hovering behind her. The way he had said her name was strange. Skye couldn’t decide how it was strange; it was curious, nervous, gentle and just downright strange. He never said her name like that –
“What?” Skye’s hand dropped away from the handle when she noticed Felix’s indecisive expression. He always did wear his emotions out in the open, but she had never seen this particular look.
“You can’t just start off a conversation like that and then drop it,” Skye complained.
What were you going to say?”
Felix mumbled something under his breath.
Instead of answering, Felix leaned forward and pressed his lips against hers, just a peck, and drew back so that he could look at her. When she couldn’t figure out what to say, Felix slowly brought a hand to her cheek, smoothing his thumb over the blushing skin, and bit his lip.
“Do you really not know?”
“That I’ve wanted to do that for – forever, really.”
Skye shook her head slowly. She hadn’t really thought about it. In fact, she had routinely cast such thoughts from her mind, knowing that she was scared to go down that route. After what happened with Joshua, the idea of being in another relationship seemed exhausting to Skye, and she didn’t want to ruin her friendship with Felix in such a way.
The harsh swearword shocked Skye back into the present, her thoughts peeling back from Joshua and instead trying to unlock the confusing ball of emotions currently knotting her stomach. The idea of Felix had never seriously been considered. Everything with Josh had felt like effort, had felt so unnatural, but it hadn’t hit her how much her relationship with Felix was the opposite of that until now.
The kisses with Joshua had been – for the most part – dull, repeating the motions, feeling none of that spark that Summer insisted there would be according to the books she’d read. And with Felix – Skye’s train of thought came to a stop when he pulled his hands from hers and began to turn away, his shoulders slumped and his face red with embarrassment.
“Kiss me again?” Skye asked.
He followed her instructions so quickly that Skye had little time to process what was happening, but she quickly recovered from the shock and kissed him back, her heart racing, her toes curling, lips tingling. Felix relaxed and let Skye guide him, one of her hands tangling in his hair, the other at his waist, pulling him closer. This was nothing like Joshua. This was Felix, and Felix was kissing her, and Skye realised that this was how it should have been.
He pulled away, breathless and flushed, but grinning infectiously. “We should do that again. Right?”
Skye couldn’t help but laugh at his enthusiasm. It was one of the things about Felix that was so enthralling. “Yeah, I think we should.”
“Oh, shut up,” Skye rolled her eyes, giving him the finger when he cackled. Summer patted the floor next to her. It had been a couple of weeks since their first kiss, and Summer was happily living vicariously through Skye. Lox, meanwhile, was only surprised it hadn’t happened earlier.
“What is it that mum specialises in, exactly?” Summer asked, continuing whatever conversation they were on before Skye had appeared.
“What are we talking about?” Skye asked, pulling her fingers through her hair.
“I’m trying to find my calling in life,” Loxley said, voice dry.
“Always good to be prepared,” he shrugged.
The sounds of Loxley typing and scrolling through web pages filled the silence in the room. Summer leaned her head on her sister’s shoulder, waiting for Lox to announce what he’d found next. Lox’s eyebrows were stooped into a frown as he hunched over his laptop, making indecisive sounds every now and then.
“Have you started figuring out your travel plans with Felix yet?” Summer asked.
“Just that we’re going around Europe at first. I want to learn and get a motorbike first though. Then we don’t need to worry about transport.”
“Be careful,” Summer pouted.
“I will be,” Skye laughed.
Loxley turned the laptop towards them and lay on his stomach, indicating the masters he was looking at. “If anyone can come up with a cure for cancer…” Loxley gave them a smug grin. Summer snorted and Skye rolled her eyes at his arrogance, even if it was somewhat validated.
“Sure,” Loxley said. “I like lab work, and I like challenges. This ticks both of those boxes.”
“And it has the opportunity to let him boast about his progress,” Skye added, exchanging a grin with her sister.
“If you’ve got it, flaunt it,” Loxley snorted.
“That’s not what that means,” Summer informed him.
“Never. Absolutely not.”
“It’s Felix, right?” James grinned, already knowing her answer before Skye nodded fearfully. “Called it. Your mother owes me a dinner out.”
“Best,” James corrected. “I’m the best, obviously. Also I’m not blind, and neither is your mother. We both thought you’d get together, your mother just thought it would happen sooner.”
“Oh my God,” Skye muttered.
“Please, dad, don’t. I would rather die.”
“Ah, I remember being your age,” James chuckled.
“How did you know that you were going to be with mum forever?” Skye fiddled with her phone and tried to imagine such a future with Felix. She couldn’t, not really, and it made her wonder if they were going to stay together. She certainly wanted to…
“Oh,” Skye muttered, frowning over at her father. “I kind of imagined you knew as soon as you saw her.”
James laughed. “I knew I wanted to know her. I knew that I wanted to be with her. But no one knows the future, and dwelling on it only ruins the present. That’s what your mum was doing too much, and it’s why it took her so long to commit.”
“Don’t you want to be?”
“Yeah! I really like him. I – I…”
“Do you loo-oove him?” James asked, singing the word, causing Skye to hide her head in her hands. He cackled with delight. “Oh, I love teasing you kids.”
“You’re so embarrassing!” she wailed.
“That’s my job. Listen, Ms Blue Skye, don’t worry about the future. If you want to be with him now, be with him now. If you want to be with him in five years time, be with him. Don’t overthink things, just take them as they come.”
“It all sounds so simple when you say it like that…”
“Ugh, that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to get your mother to realise for years!”
Faye, Michelle, Courtney and Uma were the last out of the classroom. It was the last day before study leave began, and Faye was very conscious of the fact that she probably wouldn’t see these girls again. They were all making their own plans with no thought to her, and this realisation was cutting her deeply.
This, she reasoned later, was why she said what she did.
“We should all get together before the RE exam,” Faye said, smiling at her friends.
“Right,” Faye snapped, with a roll of her eyes, “you two are so damn inseparable, despite Summer being one of the most boring people on the planet.”
“Don’t be such a bitch, Faye,” Uma retorted, almost immediately, her hands curling at her sides. “Don’t put her down just because you can’t get your way.”
“She actually has intelligent views and opinions on things. You just don’t bother to ask her about them, because all you care about is superficial crap like reality TV and gossip.”
“Ooooh,” Courtney laughed. “Calm down, girls, it’s the last day. Who cares?”
“I care!” Faye yelled in return. “You like talking about that shit too, so why are you attacking me about it?”
“Ugh, you’re right, I should have known you’d have come to her defence. You have as much of a lady boner for her as she does for you, right?”
“Holy shit,” Michelle laughed. “Wait, really? Sum and Uma?”
Faye felt as if a bucket of cold water had been poured over her. “We-well. I don’t know, I just, said some stupid thing –“
“Uma, are you gay?” Courtney asked. “With Summer? Oh my God, this is too cute, you have a girl crush!”
“I was just joking, obviously,” Faye huffed. “Anyway, who cares, right?”
“I care!” Michelle gasped. “I’ve been naked in front of you, Uma. Gross!”
With that Uma turned around and thrust the door open, the sounds of her sandals slapping on the flagstone floor echoing down the hall. Faye stared after her. Well, she couldn’t have known that Uma was gay too! And anyway, it had just been a joke, and now Uma and Summer could be together! She had done them a favour, really…
“Well I think that’s adorable,” Courtney said, after the silence had gone on for far too long.
“We have to tell Chloe,” Michelle chortled. “Weren’t they going to have a sleepover at the weekend? Oh my God, this is priceless. Better not change in front of Uma again.”
“Wait, did you know all this time?” Michelle gasped. “Damn, Faye, I didn’t think you had it in you to keep a secret.”
Faye saw this rapidly spinning out of her control and tried to snatch Michelle’s phone out of her hand, but she saw that it was too late, and she had already sent a message and a bunch of stupid GIFs to their group chat on simbook.
The next update was that Uma had left the chat.