A/N: I dunno where this idea came from. It's definitely not my best work, but I decided to share anyway.
This is completely AU apart from: Tony got hit by a bus, Effy's mum cheated, Tony's dating Michelle. Otherwise, you can basically forget canon.
Hope you enjoy it.
Not much surprises you. You can actually count the instances on one hand. Tony getting hit by a bus. Your dad's boss showing up at your door to declare his love for your mum. The way that doormat Emily stood up and slashed through your bullshit to become one of your closest friends. And her.
Her and her silky blonde hair and her piercing blue eyes. Her and her sharp wit and her caring while still pretending not to. Her and her keen intelligence and masked depths.
It's not even so much her that surprises you, so much as what she makes you feel.
There's not a lot that stirs true emotion within you. There aren't a lot of people you genuinely care about, that you're interested in beyond how their lives playing out might be vaguely entertaining for a while. There's Tony, of course. Michelle, too, by extension, as she's been like the older sister you never had for going on five years now. Your mum from time to time (probably more so than you'd ever admit, really). Emily, for the past year.
The feelings that she stirs in you are different than all of them, though. You're not stupid enough to not acknowledge what the feelings are, but you are stubborn enough (and scared enough) to pretend that they don't exist.
You don't do relationships, and you sure as hell don't do love.
Love is simultaneously overrated and undervalued. Everyone thinks they need it in their life, but nobody really seems to appreciate when they have it. One look at Tony and Michelle's relationship is proof of that.
People think they love you. Boys, mostly. They're wrong. You have to know someone to love them.
You don't need love. You don't want love. You want the physical, not the emotional.
(You don't want to think that she could give you both.)
You kiss Freddie with his soft lips and his scruffy brown hair and his constantly wrinkled clothes. You let him think he has a chance to fulfil the fantasy that he's been building of you since the first day of college.
He won't of course.
He doesn't know anything about you.
You open your eyes and look past him as his lips move against yours (you're bored already, but you need him to serve a purpose).
Emily rolls her eyes at you from where she stands at the bar. Beside her, she is looking at you with a quirked up eyebrow and a somewhat amused expression as if to say, "Really? Him?"
You wrap your hands in his shirt and pull him closer, closing your eyes again. The scent of sandalwood and sweat that greets your nose is nothing like the alluring hints of lavender, cigarettes and vodka that you know she smells like.
He's more than happy to take you in the alley and again, later, when you crash onto his bed, only half lucid from the spliff you shared and the pill you swallowed not an hour ago.
His thrusts are quick and hard. His hands on your body are forceful and needy. It's like he's been aching for this.
You haven't been aching for him at all.
(When you come your mind is lost in visions of blue and blonde despite the brown before you.)
"He's going to follow you around like a puppy dog forever now," Emily says, and you can tell that she disapproves somewhat, but you also know that sex for her is attached to emotions. It's one of the many ways in which you differ.
Sex keeps you from emotions. It's a crutch. A drug.
You shrug. "At least he got laid."
Emily rolls her eyes at you. She doesn't get it. She believes in things like romance. She believes in the power of love. She thinks it can overcome anything. It's such a shame that she's got a thing for your brother.
"I'm not right for him. He'll see that eventually," you shrug again.
"Or he's not right for you," she replies.
You give her a sharp look. You haven't told her and she's given no indication, until now, that she knows. She stares innocently back at you. Her innocence is her mask, you know. Still, at the moment, you can't see past it.
Cook's always a goer. Always. With any pretty girl.
He's got his usuals, though. You and Katie, mostly, not that Katie would admit that she fucks him regularly and secretly wants more, but both you and Emily see through Katie and know that that's true.
You should feel bad for fucking the guy your best friend's sister (and you guess your kind of friend by extension) fancies, but you can't. They're not really dating. Until they are, there's no reason she should feel bad. That's the way you see it, anyway.
He's a good fuck, even if he's got this thing about you grabbing his balls. He's good at making you not think.
He doesn't give a fuck if you close your eyes to gray-green eyes and short, brown hair and instead see blue eyes and long, blonde hair.
It's part of why you keep going back for more.
One of the things that you like about her is that you can just sit with her. You can just be. You don't feel like she expects you to be anyone besides who you are.
With her you can sit in comfortable silence in a way that you can't with anyone else (besides Tony, but that's different, too).
She passes the bottle of vodka back to you, her shoulder pressing against yours (and you can feel every atom in your arm that's touching her come alive). She shoots you a sly grin.
"Seen Cook recently?" She often sees just as much as you do. (Sometimes it's a little disconcerting.)
You shrug. You don't want to think about him when you're with her. (Not that you want to think about certain things with regards to her either, but the alcohol's numbing some of your thoughts and you're good at repressing things you don't want to deal with anyway.)
She doesn't push it. It's one of the things you like about her. She knows when to drop things.
The reason for it, you know, is because you're similar. Too similar, really. You have to be careful or she may just be the one to see through you because of that.
People say that opposites attract. That's complete shite.
People may be different in some ways, but without some fundamental similarities they'd just end up staring blandly at each other with nothing to talk about, no common interests to indulge in. You can't build a relationship on that.
You and she have similarities. Plenty of similarities.
You need one important one, though, which is an interest in each other.
You're just her friend.
You've caught they way that her eyes follow a pretty girl across a club, drifting down to catch a glimpse of bare thighs beneath a short skirt. (You wish you'd catch her doing it to you.)
She's catches you, too.
"Were you just ogling Katie Fitch's tits?" she asks, taking a seat next to you at the bar with a smirk.
"It's a little hard not to in that top," you reply. Katie may be obnoxious and bitchy at times, but she really has incredible tits. You can't fault her that.
"Fancy a bit of the ladies, then?"
You roll your eyes. It's not that you care what your sexuality is or what other people label you. It's just that you don't want her looking any closer into which ladies you might fancy. "Don't you?" you shoot back. It shuts her up, just like you knew it would.
You kiss Emily with her perfect little mouth, aware of the way that her button nose smashes briefly against yours until you tilt your head a bit more.
"What the-" Emily asks, pushing you away.
"Please," you say. You don't ask for much, which is probably why Emily doesn't say anything else and lets you move back in for another kiss.
Your eyes flick open after a few minutes of heavy snogging and meet hers across the dance floor.
You don't know quite what to do with what stirs inside you at the thought that she's watching and it seems like she might care.
"I don't like being used," Emily sighs, lying in bed next to you that night. "Plus, Katie's going to bitch me out next time she sees me."
"Don't worry. I'll handle Katie."
"How? You're not even handling yourself," she replies. It's not accusatory coming from her. She's genuinely concerned. You can hear it in her voice.
It annoys you nonetheless. "Don't worry. I'll tell Tony you're a good snog next time he's home."
She slaps you, and you let her, after which there are several long minutes of sulky silence. You can practically hear her pouting next to you without you having to look at her. Sometimes you can't help but wonder how such a genuinely nice person ended up as your best friend when you can be such a bitch. You know how, though, and you relent after a while.
She takes it as the peace offering you meant it as, inhaling deeply once you've lit up and passed it over.
"You should tell her," she says when she exhales.
"Tell her what?" you ask, even though you know full well what she means.
She gives you a withering look that you can't help but be a little proud of because you know she's picked it up from you.
You smile innocently and snatch the spliff back. "There's nothing to tell, Ems."
She feels distant. Closed off, somehow. You want to ask, but you don't at the same time.
Her smile rings false when you sit down beside her at lunch.
"Going out for a fag," she mumbles a few minutes later when Emily joins you, jamming the rest of her egg and cress sandwich in her mouth and pushing off the table to stand.
Emily shoots you a pointed look.
You ignore it.
"Fancy a willy-waggle?" Cook sidles up, smarmy as ever. You know he can be a nice guy when he's not being a prick, but he so rarely chooses to do so.
You should be up for it. You want to just say yes, to go let him take you in the alley behind the club, to let his thrusts push out the feelings that have been banging around your body. Your lips say, "No."
Cook frowns, brows furrowed in confusion. "No?"
"Not in the mood," you reply. Not in the mood to be with him. Not when she hasn't looked straight at you all night.
"Your loss," he mutters before walking away.
"Maybe you could try just sleeping with Katie," you impulsively call after him. "You know she wants that."
He turns, raising a surprised eyebrow at you as he continues to saunter backwards. "Since when do you care about that?"
It's a good question.
A thought hits you two weeks after you kissed Emily and it turns your stomach inside out and upside down.
You're an idiot for not seeing it before.
You ditch school and down a bottle of vodka by yourself, sitting on a bench overlooking Bristol.
Emily phones you five times and you hit ignore each time before turning off your phone.
It's not you that she fancies. It's Emily. Of course. It explains a lot.
You don't hold it against Emily. It's not her fault. You'd fuck her if she wasn't too important to you. She's cute and sweet and adorable and has those big doe eyes that make everyone just want to corrupt her.
Of course, you're aware that there's a little devil lurking beneath that she's more than happy to bring out on occasion, but you also know that that would probably make her a tiger in the sack.
And Naomi's got eyes. She's got those same keen powers of observation that you have. She's probably aware of all of that.
Correction, you think as you see her smile as she sits down beside Emily in class, she's obviously aware of all of that.
"Did I do something that I'm unaware of?" she asks, sidling up next to you outside of college and snatching a fag out of the pack you're just putting away.
"Sorry?" you say noncommittally.
She rolls her eyes in a way that only she can, and you know she's calling you on your innocent act. "Well, let's see: you've barely said two words to me in over a week. And, while that's fairly normal for you, we normally communicate a little better."
"Like we did right after I kissed Emily?" you ask staring steadily ahead at nothing in particular.
You hear a slight humph as she leans heavily against the wall beside you. You can practically feel the tension now radiating from her body.
"So you know then," she says.
She sounds nervous, but she shouldn't be. You don't judge. She's already guessed you fancy the ladies, so clearly you don't care that she does.
"Yeah," you confirm, still staring straight ahead.
"Look, I know...I'm not...I just want you to know...I'm not gay," she says.
You finally look at her with an unwavering smirk.
She looks at the ground and shuffles her feet. "It's not like I like lots of girls."
"Just one, right?" you suggest, turning away again, ignoring the way your stomach churns.
You hear her inhale deeply on her fag beside you then watch as she flicks it away, the end glowing red as it flies through the air in front of you, landing with a soft tap. "I know you...Can we just pretend I don't and that you don't know? Not that I'm admitting anything."
You shrug. You're good at pretending. "Whatever you want."
You watch her back as she walks away with a simple nod. You take in the graceful sway of her hips, the purpose to her step as if she can't wait to put a little distance between the two of you. You notice the way her golden locks glint in the sunlight.
You close your eyes inhaling the last drag of your cigarette, feeling the heat a little too close to your lips before you take it out and flick it away. You promptly pull another one out and light up.
Pretend, you tell yourself.
"You're being ridiculous. You know that, right?"
"This is more ridiculous than the time you didn't talk for over a year," Emily cuts you off. "She knows I'm straight. We're friends. That's it."
You don't reply. You simply take another swig of the vodka in your hand.
"I know you stopped shagging Cook. He told me. He wanted advice on how to properly ask Katie out, if you believe that," Emily adds.
"Good for them," you reply in monotone.
"There's only one reason you'd stop hooking up with other people, and if you feel the strongly then you need to fucking tell her," Emily snaps, grabbing the bottle from your hand and taking a large gulp, cringing at the burn and the taste of the cheap alcohol on her tongue.
"She wants you."
Emily slaps her hand to her forehead as she shakes her head. "I fucking give up. You know for someone who always seems to know everything, sometimes you miss what's fucking right in front of you."
She's sweet. She's a good friend. Sometimes, she's just a little naive with her romantic idealism.
Hard as you try to pretend, you can't forget that you know. There's avoidance, but it seems to be coming from both sides.
It finally strikes you, after another week, that you miss the gorgeous blue of her eyes. You haven't seen it in far too long.
You don't miss things. Not many things. You miss Tony and his stupid antics since he never comes to visit. You miss those fucked up family dinners during which your parents never understood the conversations that you and Tony were having right in front of them followed by the tortuous game nights (not that you'd admit that to anyone). You miss hear your dad shout first thing every morning. You miss her and she hasn't even really gone anywhere.
People think you're strong and beautiful and mysterious. They're wrong.
The people that know you well (all two of them) know you're scared of feeling and you're just as fucked up as everyone else (if not more so).
You push away rather than wait to get pushed.
You ignore her the next time she texts.
"No, Effy, we need to talk now," Emily insists, leading you through the house that's crawling with drunken idiots all moving to the music, but not all in time with it. She drags you up the stairs.
"A drink would've been nice," you comment dryly.
She ignores you, pulling you down the hallway before opening a door and pushing you inside.
To your surprise, she closes it after you without stepping in yourself.
"Well, she could work on her subtlety," Naomi says from the bed, and when you look up, she's smirking, though her nervousness is showing through.
"Shouldn't it be me shutting the two of you in a room?" you ask, trying the knob even though you know Emily's standing on the other side hanging on to it. For such a small girl, she's incredibly strong. She's a daddy's girl, after all, and her dad owns a gym.
Naomi's brows knit together in confusion. "What?"
"Nothing. It's what I'm supposed to pretend I've forgotten, right?"
Naomi's now looking at you like you've gone a bit mad, which has you doing something you rarely do: second guessing yourself.
"You and Emily," you supply, your eyes grazing unwillingly over the rather low-cut top that Naomi's wearing. Your stomach tightens in a way that nobody else has ever been able to produce in you.
Naomi's eyes widen in surprise. She raises an eyebrow at you and bites attractively at her lower lip.
(You want to bite that lower lip. You want to suck it into your mouth and feel it against your own lips. Now, after weeks of avoidance, being confronted with her, you're feeling everything: your desire, your lust...your love...more acutely.)
"Oh," she says. A small noise. Almost a gasp. "Is that-" She cuts herself off, setting her jaw hard for a minute, clearly thinking about something. "If I admitted I was gay, would I regret it?"
Your eyes stay on her. You're unable to tear them away, even as she stands (looking somewhat more confident now) and takes a step towards you. You shrug. "Probably," you reply. There's no point in lying about that. People will judge. It's in their nature. "But not because of me."
She nods, smiling a little, and takes another step closer. "And why is that, Eff?"
Your mouth's gone dry and for once your heart is pounding in your chest. (There are precisely two other times when this has happened to you before and neither is a good memory.) "Why would I judge?" you ask, trying to keep your voice monotone, willing it not to break as she takes yet another step closer.
She nods again. "I don't know why I thought...I really didn't notice...I guess sometimes people really don't see what's right in front of them," she says, clearly talking to herself as much as to you.
You remember Emily accusing you of just that. It's your last clear thought as Naomi reaches you. She's now standing right in front of you, blue eyes boring into yours, curious, and, somehow, more alive than you've ever seen them.
"There's no me and Emily. I don't want Emily. Emily's straight."
There's only one conclusion that you can logically draw, then, but that conclusion leads you to dangerous territory. It sends you hurtling off of a cliff of emotions and feelings and relationships and all sorts of things you simply don't do.
"Fuck it," you mutter to yourself as you press your lips to hers.
She smiles against your lips and you exhale sharply into her mouth as the rush of what's happening hits your system.
"Fuck," you murmur.
"I'm gay," she says against your lips.
"I love you," you gasp, fingers tangling in her hair.
You don't do love. You don't get surprised. You don't deal with emotions or feelings. You don't read people wrong.
Except sometimes you do. Except one person has made you break all of those rules.
Naomi Campbell is lying naked in your bed and you've never been so happy to have been proven wrong.
"I love you, too, stupid cunt," she sighs contentedly into your pillow.
You laugh and she smiles up at you.
You kiss her just because you can.