AN: Just a little Eustace/Jill that I wrote. Reviews are appreciated.
WARNING: This story contains sexual content.
He never should have come.
But Jill had insisted. A nice little gathering at my parents' house, she said. All my friends will be there, she said. It won't be the same without you, she said.
All complete nonsense, of course. Jill was absorbed with her boyfriend Robert all weekend so Eustace was left trying to make conversation with flighty Maureen Porter, painfully shy Alice Sharpe and that utter moron, Louis Spivvins. Why did Jill invite such idiots? Eustace knew that she had more interesting friends.
Eustace was standing on the veranda, attempting to educate Maureen on the state of Britain's meat packing industry when Jill's father, a loud and boisterous man, came out in a hurry. "Everyone inside," he said. "I think that Robert and Jill have an announcement to make." His smile couldn't have been wider.
Beside him, Maureen murmured something that sounded suspiciously like "thank the Lord" and began to move inside. Eustace had no choice but to go as well, but did so with a sinking feeling in his gut. They congregated in the parlor with Robert and Jill standing at the front of the room, his arm around her shoulders.
It always gave Eustace a shock to see them together. Robert just wasn't the type that he had ever pictured Jill going for. He was tall, handsome, charming -- on second thought, what girl wouldn't go for that type?
Robert was beaming and Jill was looking nervously around at her friends and family. Was it Eustace's imagination or did her eyes light upon him more often than the others? She had an almost embarrassed look about her. Eustace guessed that it had been Robert's idea to bring everyone in for a grand announcement.
"Well," Jill's father boomed once everyone was in the room, "I've brought them all in. What were you so eager to tell us?"
Robert smiled even wider than before. "Jilly and I are engaged!" he burst out.
Everyone reacted at once. Mr. Pole guffawed and clapped Robert on the back. Mrs. Pole smiled and hugged Jill. They approved of Robert. His family had money and of course he had that 'handsome, charming' advantage. Beside him, Maureen squealed in delight, ran to Jill and demanded to be shown the ring that was on her finger. Alice clapped her hands together in joy and Louis just stood with his mouth gaping open like a great fish. Eustace stood frozen, unable to conjure up even a smile.
He was still frozen when Jill got to him several minutes later. "So what do you think?" she asked, sounding reluctant.
Eustace looked down at her hand. The diamond was just as big as he had imagined. "That's some rock, Pole," he said.
"I meant about Robert and I."
"That's some fiancé, Pole," Eustace uttered in a level voice, but because Jill knew him so well, she was able to sense the sarcasm. She crossed her arms and walked away.
-- -- --
It was their place.
After Eustace and Jill had returned from Narnia, they would often meet near the door in the wall that had led them into the other world. Many times, Eustace had turned the handle hoping that it would open to Narnia, though he knew that the next time their coming would likely be completely different. As two people sitting alone at the top of a slope are likely to draw attention, they would often walk to the abandoned tool shed several feet away.
One side of the shed was falling in and it was filled with old junk. Jill always said that the roof was going to fall in on them one day, but still they came here often. They would talk about Narnia or school for an hour or so, stretched out on the only floor space in the shed.
It was the first time that they had come here since the beginning of term and Eustace realized, looking at Jill, that they were getting too old for this sort of thing. Secret hiding places were fine for kids, but not for young ladies with engagement rings on their fingers. Eustace hated to think of what it would be like once Jill married Robert. Married women never stayed friends with single men. They would never get to talk about Narnia again.
Jill also seemed uneasy and kept glancing through the crack in the door as if she were afraid of someone finding them here. But that was ridiculous. No one ever found them. Their conversation soon petered out and just as Eustace was about to suggest that they go inside and warm up, Jill turned and spoke to him.
"Listen Scrubb," she said, the sunlight streaming through the cracks casting sharp shadows on her slender face. "Tell me honestly. What do you think of my engagement?"
Eustace bit his lip and wiped the dust off his hands. "Well … you're rather young. And you've only known Robert for a little over a year. When were you planning on getting married?"
"Once I've finished school, of course," Jill said. "But there are only two terms left."
"Oh," was all Eustace could manage.
"What do you mean by 'oh'?" Jill asked.
Eustace sighed. "It's just that I never really pictured you as that type of girl."
"And what type is that?" Jill demanded.
Eustace shifted his posture, trying to find a comfortable position sitting on the hard ground. "The type that marries when she is in her teens and proceeds to have four or five squalling brats."
Eustace expected Jill to become angry at this comment, but she smiled. "What makes you think I'd have the brats?"
"The young ones always do."
Jill laughed. "Well, what did you expect me to do once we left here?"
Eustace shrugged his shoulders. "Go to university perhaps?"
Jill laughed again. "We can't all have top marks like you, Scrubb."
Eustace groaned in frustration. "Well maybe not university then, but I just never pictured you settling down so soon. I thought that you'd want to travel or get some really mad job or at least try a few more men before you settled on Robert."
Jill pulled on her braid, thinking. Eustace wondered if she secretly agreed with him.
Eustace spoke in a very low voice. "What about the next time I call you and tell you that the friends of Narnia are going to meet?"
"I'll come," she said, defensively.
"You'll just leave the squalling brats and Robert and come discuss an imaginary country for a few days? How do you think that Robert will feel about that? Everything will change."
"Everything has already changed," Jill said in a low voice. "Now that we are engaged, Robert thinks that it is time that we – that we sleep together."
Well, that was blunt. But Jill could be blunt. Eustace felt his eyes widen. "He's been pressuring you?" he practically yelled. "Why I ought to --"
"Scrubb, Scrubb," Jill interrupted him, laughing. "I'm sorry. That didn't come out right. It isn't just Robert. I think that it is time too."
Eustace scowled. "I don't know what you want me to say."
Jill sighed and traced shapes into the dusty floor with one finger. Eustace got the impression that she knew very well what he was supposed to say, but didn't know how to get him to say it. "Look here Scrubb," she said, after a long pause, "I'll try to put this into terms that you can understand. Let's say, purely hypothetically, that there was this girl who had decided that it was time she had sex with her fiancé. But she is nervous. He has been with other women before and she is afraid of looking like an idiot. What would you say she should do?"
"Wait for marriage," Eustace said immediately.
"No one waits anymore, Eustace!" Jill groaned. "All the girls do it when they get engaged, if not before."
"All the girls at the Experiment House anyway," Eustace muttered. "And when did you start caring about what other people did?"
"When did you become such a prude?" Jill snapped back. "A moment ago you seemed to be against housewifery, for goodness sakes. At any rate, we aren't talking about me. We're talking about the hypothetical girl and what she should do to make herself seem more worldly."
Eustace rolled his eyes. "Read a book on the subject?" he suggested. "I know that it is even harder for girls to get their hands on that type of thing than boys, but I'll wager that she has a friend who'll help her out if she really insists."
Jill tilted her head to the side, considering, reluctantly. "Maybe. But she's never been much good at learning things from books. Surely some real experience would do her ten times the good."
Eustace crossed his arms. He was liking this conversation less and less. "I still don't know what you want me to say."
"Well, it's obvious isn't it?" Jill asked. "Hypothetical Girl needs someone to practice on." Jill was looking at the ground and blushing. "But it would have to be someone that she trusts. Someone who she feels safe with. A friend. Preferably one with whom she has shared secrets. Because this would have to stay a secret forever."
Eustace was quite sure that his heart stopped beating for a moment or two. He stared at Jill opened mouthed.
"Say something," Jill burst out after a long silence. Her face was now bright red.
"I … you're serious?" Eustace asked. He was surprised that the pitch of his own voice seemed to have gone up a notch. Up until now, he had been speaking in monotone. "With me?"
"With you," Jill whispered. "What do you think?"
Eustace's breath was coming in short bursts. "I suppose that I would be willing to do it."
"Good," Jill gave an uneasy smile.
"It could be a good experiment for us both," Eustace said quickly. "I mean, sex is at least partly a learned activity just like anything else and it might be good to have someone to practice on. I certainly know that I don't want to make a fool of myself either, when the time comes." Eustace couldn't seem to stop talking. Jill was slowly undoing her braid. "Of course, I wouldn't want to spoil your reputation or anything so I would never tell anyone." Jill shook out her brown curls and Eustace realized how few times he had seen her with her hair around her face. "Though people should really stop being so uptight about that sort of thing. Alberta says that things aren't as bad as they were fifty years ago, but we still have a long way – oh!" For Jill had taken off her jumper.
Of course she was wearing undergarments, but the impact of the motion and the sight of her bare arms and shoulders silenced Eustace. He could feel his heart beating very fast. Jill rolled her eyes. "Thought you would never shut up."
Eustace was at a loss. Surely, you were supposed to say something nice about a girl's figure at a point like this? "Er … you're lovely," he managed.
Jill rolled her eyes again. "Just kiss me before I change my mind."
Eustace didn't want to mess this up, so he leaned in and kissed her. The kiss was brief, but it didn't feel like he was kissing a girl that only wanted to "practice" on him so that her first time with her real lover would be perfect. It felt like he was kissing a woman that he loved.
"Wow, Scrubb," Jill murmured when they pulled away and Eustace was satisfied that she had felt it too.
"Could you not call me 'Scrubb' when … you know?"
"You want me to call you Eustace?" she asked, grinning. "Oh, Eustace!" she moaned in a bad imitation of a lover's cry. "Oh, God, Eustace!"
"Funny," Eustace said, his eyes narrowing.
"EUSTACE!" Jill giggled.
"Stop it," Eustace whispered, furiously. This was one of the school's more secluded places, but someone could very well hear with the way that Jill was behaving.
"Very well," Jill said, calming down a bit. "We'll be serious." She kissed him again. "Eustace," she said, softly.
"Jill," he replied.
They kissed again.
Their voices were now soft.
-- -- --
Jill was unpacking her clothes and listening to her roommate Maureen chatter away. "And of course Horace took that superior tone that she takes with everyone," Maureen said, "so I told her that she didn't know I thing about how men think as she is still a virgin after all." Jill winced and Maureen immediately corrected herself. "Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course. I know that you and Robert are waiting for marriage and all that, but Horace did spread those rumors that I was loose last year and – oh my gracious." For Jill has winced again at the sound of Robert's name and perceptive Maureen had apparently caught that something was amiss. "Jill Pole, are you telling me that you slept with Robert, finally?"
Jill gave a half-hearted smile. "Yes. Over the holidays."
Maureen screeched in delight. "You have to tell me everything. Was it good?"
"It was nice," Jill said, trying get her sock drawer to close.
"Nice?" Maureen asked. "Just nice?"
"Just nice," Jill confirmed. It finally closed with a snap.
"What was wrong?" Maureen asked. "Because just nice."
Jill sighed. There had been nothing wrong per se, just something a bit off. "Nothing," she said. "It's just --" Jill paused. Everyone thought Maureen flighty, but Jill had confided secrets to the girl before and she knew that Maureen would never betray a confidence. "It's just that Robert isn't the only person who I slept with."
Maureen gasped. "You little tramp," she exclaimed, but the tone of her voice was good-natured. "Who?"
Jill sat down on her own bed so that she was facing Maureen. "Scrubb," she said, biting her lip.
Maureen looked thoroughly disappointed. "Scrubb? Are you serious?"
"Yes," Jill said, defensively. She didn't have to make it sound like Scrubb was some sort of disease. "What's wrong with Scrubb? He isn't ugly, is he?" Jill said this because she knew that handsomeness was Maureen's most important criteria regarding men.
"Now don't get offended, darling," Maureen said, tilting her head to the side. "No, he isn't ugly, I suppose. I mean, he's no Robert, but he might actually be a suitable boyfriend if he had any sort of personality. I know that Scrubb is your friend, dear, but he is so boring. Whenever I try to talk to him, it is all statistics about the meat packing industry or papers on insect mating habits or something equally awful. What made you do it?"
Jill twirled a stray lock of hair around her finger. "I told him that it was because I was nervous about the first time with Robert and needed someone to practice on, but that wasn't the real reason."
Maureen rolled her eyes. "Well, of course not. That is so completely idiotic that only a man would believe it. What was the real reason?"
Jill leaned back on her hands. "Eust – Scrubb and I have been friends for such a long time now and shared so much together. And then Robert came last year and swept me off my feet. I guess that I just wanted to make sure that there wasn't something deeper between Scrubb and I. To reassure myself that the marriage really was the best choice."
"And did it reassure you?"
"No," Jill said, shaking her head. "I am now less sure than ever."
Maureen put her hands on her hips. "You aren't honestly telling me that it was better with Scrubb than with Robert?"
Jill shrugged her shoulders. "Yes. I am."
Maureen giggled and placed a hand over her mouth. "Really? I never would have guessed."
Jill bit her lip, feeling awkward. "It's just that Scrubb knew how to do things. Things to make it feel good for me. Things that Robert didn't know how to do which is strange because Robert has experience with other girls and I am fairly certain that Scrubb does not. Of courses, being Scrubb, he almost spoiled it by telling me all about the book that he had read it in and the awful state of sexual education for soon to be married couples, blah, blah, blah. But still … better."
"You are a tramp," Maureen laughed.
"But it wasn't just that either," Jill put in hastily. "Maureen, you should have heard how he said my name. It was like a prayer. He was so sweet and tender and amazing."
"Aw," Maureen cooed, apparently forgetting the disgust that she had shown Scrubb mere moments earlier. "That's so sweet! But what are you going to do about Robert?"
"I don't know," Jill admitted.
-- -- --
It was something that Eustace would think of. The question of what would happen to the two of them if they died in Narnia along with the horrid image of the others finding their dead bodies or that they had disappeared altogether. It was something that Jill would rather not think of, but now that it had been brought up, she could get the image out of her mind.
She walked along, barely glancing at the forest around her. Instead, she looked at Eustace who always seemed a bit out of place in Narnian clothing. She thought about what it would be like if Eustace died and she lived and she shivered. "I almost wish --" she began, "no I don't though," she said, changing her mind.
"What were you going to say?" Eustace asked.
Jill increased her pace and Eustace sped up as well. "I was going to say that I wished we'd never come. But I don't, I don't, I don't. Even if we are killed. I'd rather be killed fighting for Narnia than grow old and stupid at home and perhaps go about in a bath-chair and then die in the end just the same." Besides, without Narnia, she would never have really known Eustace. They had nothing in common other than Narnia and almost certainly wouldn't have been friends otherwise. Even this trip was drawing them close together. Breaking the awkwardness of her engagement and what had happened between them.
"Or be smashed up by British Railways," was Scrubb's characteristic response.
"Why do you say that?" Jill asked, having no idea what he meant.
"Well, when that awful jerk came – the one that seemed to throw us into Narnia – I thought it was the beginning of a railway accident. So I was jolly glad to find ourselves here instead."
Jill looked at him in surprise. "I thought the same thing," she said. "It was quite the shock. I keep feeling that every moment here could be our last. I never got that feeling the other time. Even when it seemed that there was no way out, I always knew that there would be. Why do you think that is?"
"Maybe you were just stupid the last time," Eustace suggested helpfully and Jill punched him in the arm.
"I was not stupid," she said. "Well, maybe I was a little. Still, it makes one think," she grabbed his hand, impulsively. "If this is our last night alive, then I want it to count for something. Maybe we could sneak off together later and …"
Eustace dropped her hand in disgust. "Gosh, is that all you can think about right now?"
Jill tried not to show her hurt. "You could refuse politely, you know."
Eustace face went very red. "No, by Jove, I couldn't," he whispered, presumably so the others wouldn't overhear. "You can't keep just using me like this, you know."
"I --" Jill began, but Eustace went on quickly.
"I thought that it wouldn't matter. I thought that the chance to be with you meant so much that it wouldn't matter that you didn't care anything for me," he looked away from her. "But it does matter. And I won't do it again."
"But Eustace," she whispered. "I do care for you."
"I know, I know. As a friend," Eustace said, miserably.
"I'm sorry if I hurt you before," Jill added. "I broke off the engagement with Robert, you know."
"You did?" Eustace asked, skeptically.
"Haven't you noticed that I'm not wearing my ring? Anyway, let's go back to Hypothetical Girl."
Eustace rolled his eyes. "Oh, Lord, not Hypothetical Girl."
Jill ignored him. "See, Hypothetical Girl slept with her best friend to convince herself that she's not in love with him and --"
"You're really not very good with hypotheticals, you know," Eustace interrupted. "You could make it a little less blatantly obvious that you are talking about yourself."
"You know Scrubb, you really have a talent for focusing on the most irrelevant part of a statement."
Eustace seemed to think for a minute, then his face lit up. "Oh. So you were trying to convince yourself that you weren't in love with me? Did it work?"
Jill thought for a minute. "Hypothetically, if Hypothetical Girl was in love with her best friend who she maybe hadn't treated so well and if she were to tell said best friend … what do you think he would say? Keep in mind that she has to tell him. They might die tonight or tomorrow and she can't stand the thought of one of them dying without having it known."
Jill half expected Eustace to not understand what the heck she was talking about, but he stopped walking and turned to face her. "I think that he would answer that he loves her as well. That he always has," he said softly.
It was the most romantic moment of her life. And of course, Eustace had to spoil it a moment later. "Well, maybe not literally always, but for quite some time now. Since they were both children and --"
"I think that hypothetical girl wants her best friend to stop blabbering and just kiss her."
And they kissed.
AN: I hope that this was enjoyed. I was going back and forth on whether or not to post it so I would appreciate some reviews.
AN: I hope that this was enjoyed. I was going back and forth on whether or not to post it so I would appreciate some reviews.