Self-portrait.

She liked the feel of his hand on the spongy flesh of her hips, kisses dropped on her cheeks and the words – flirty compliments and teasing suggestions. A hand on the base of her back. Lips, teeth, tongues. An arm; possessive around her waist. Body heat.

"Can I get you a drink?" He catches her wrist, pulling her closer to him under the pretence of making himself heard over the sound of the music.

She pulls her wrist away but smiles, "Sure."

His fingers linger on her waist, guiding her towards the bar.

"So what's your name?"

"Dominique," she smiles, leaning on the bar with one of her pretty, pretty smiles, "but you can call me Dom."

It wasn't the capture; she could live without the sex, but the chase was central. The affirmation that she wasn't repulsive. Just a metaphorical pat on the back and the assurance that she was okay really – people still wanted to be close to her, to touch her.

She didn't want somebody to know her and love her; all she needed was the simple knowledge that someone could see her and want her. She liked being the centre of someone's world, if only for a few selfish minutes at her place, his place, somewhere in the middle – maybe it was crude, but when she had someone repeating her name and digging their nails into her skin she felt powerful and she felt important. More so, an hour or so before that point, when he'd press kisses into her neck and whisper things in her ear.

Lost in a sea of cousins they all had their individual ways of gaining attention – personal rebellion or on the straight and narrow to the point of absurdity, they all had something. Dom, bit of a slut (but with the class to pull it off, she thought) but there was nothing really wrong with her. Not in comparison to Lucy who was always hopelessly in love, or Rose who was cynical and frigid just to make a point, to her sister who loved the drama of relationships more than she loved the people who she had relationships with; just one of those things, really, a tendency to not go home alone.

His hands sat on her hips, forcing her to sway from side to side to the sound of the music. She let him.

"You're a good dancer."

She laughs at that, and glances at the floor for a second. She's always been a terrible dancer.

"No, I'm not," She smiles, yelling over the sound of the music, "I hate dancing, I'm crap. I hate it."

"Even dancing with me?" He asks.

"Yes," Dom says, tilting her lips up into a grin, "even with you."

There was an art to her sluttery: nothing vulgar or crude (she saved that for later, in the back of a cab with someone's hand bunching up the material of her top maybe, or fingers scrabbling at zips and buttons), but sophisticated and suggestive. She wanted them to work for it. She wanted them to see her as a challenge, a prize, something to aspire to.

She did not want to appear cheap.

It didn't always end in sex. Sometimes she'd act the tease (more Roxanne's forte, really) and follow the usual patterns before giving nothing more than a pretty little smile and a false number scrawled on the back of a drinks receipt. But, surely that was worse? It went against the way of things, and anyway – she didn't like disappointing people when it was so easy to give them exactly what they wanted.

"Why don't we find somewhere quieter to talk?" he suggests his hand still around her waist as if it is natural.

"Okay," she returns, with a smile, "outside, maybe?"

He leads her out into the smoking courtyard, nearly dragging her along with the hand around her waist. It amuses her, the routine of it all.

"That's better," he says when the cool sobering night air hits her face, "I can hear your pretty voice now."

All these words – so generic, so simple. It's horrifically easy.

Rose tried to berate her with her talk of feminism, but Dom rather thought that she was more independent than Rose. Rose's half-arsed talk of not believing in love and men-are-chauvinistic-pigs was all very well and good, but at the end of the day Dom was the one who exploited men for all that they could give her – free drinks and sex. Maybe that was feminism, or maybe that was feminism inverted but, either way, she was quite happy with the ways things were – far away from the fading traditions of monogamy or, in Rose's case, unintentional abstinence.

All this talk about the objectification of women (Victoire and Lucy would join in then, too), they missed the whole point of the thing. The glory of the one-night stand was the selfish knowledge that you'd share things for a couple of hours (words, secrets sometimes, kisses, a few hours of your life) and then you'd both walk away and leave. They were objects as much as she was. She wasn't swept off her feet by charming strangers night after night, but merely temporarily won over as a means to entertain herself for a few hours. She didn't feel like an object, she felt like a body.

It was the for the same reason she liked Quidditch (she'd tried to explain that to Molly once, but the assimilation of sex to Quidditch had taken her cousin quite by surprise and the resulting giggles that ensued from both parties had resulted in the conclusion getting lost somewhere) – she liked feeling like she was physically being sometimes, rather than being a complex thing with a soul and a mind.

Going for a run, whacking bludgers with bats and casual sex – it was all the same, really, just a reminder that she was an organism with muscles and nerves and a body. Easier. She felt solid when someone's soft lips pressed against the base of her neck and both more and less like a person with her hip bones pressed against an identical hip bone. Friction, heat and simplicity.

Anyway she looked at it (on top, on the bottom, standing up; whatever), she could ignore the truth of the world and exist for awhile. Someone wanting her, needing her, for once.

So maybe that wasn't feminism and maybe she was desperate. She supposed that she does need it, but it hardly matters who, and maybe that makes it better. Or maybe it made it worse.

She reaches forward and kisses his cheek. Another moment, whilst they are dancing with their noses touching each other, he kisses her lips and she lets him. And now, they kiss against the bar with their bodies pressing against each other.

They break apart, laugh a little, do not step away.

His hands move round from her hips to her back. One of hers remains on her hip and the other splays out across the bar stool.

"Hey Dom, do you want to get out of here?"

She remembered that her mother had tried to talk it out with her once. Age was irrelevant when it came to the relationship between siblings and she'd hardly been surprised to find out that Victoire had passed on anecdotes about her behaviour onto their mother, most likely using a sparse scattering of phrases like 'low standards' 'can't keep her legs together' and 'what a total slag' (the old ones were always the best, and she meant that in every sense of the word).

She'd told her that the sex revolution had happened a very long time ago, and now it was a very simple and commonly known fact that about half the time people you slept with were as disposable as used tissues (she hadn't added that, actually, sometimes you might use a tissue twice). People were recyclable, reused and more certainly not reduce. That's the way things were. They were no longer in the dark ages.

And then her mother had said "zat does not mean I want my daughter to act like a whore," and Dom had laughed in her face. Later, she crawled into bed when she got home and cried for a little while, taking back everything she'd ever thought about having self respect.

It wasn't fair, because she was entirely sure that Louis had slept with more people than she had (although since he'd discovered the joys of having an actual relationship their numbers might be levelling out) and yet she was the one who had their mother's dulcet French tones denouncing her a 'whore' (she wasn't, Dom was classy).

"Yes," Her mother had said, "but the fact is, Dominique, that you're the one who is going to end up pregnant and responsible."

It wasn't her fault that society was sexist and she wasn't pregnant or responsible.

People expected so much from her and they used up everything she had and then tossed her aside to move on to someone else. People made your head spin and your heart break. She liked the simplicity of the one night stand. She liked how it was just sex.

They hold hands and touch a lot on the way back to his. She leans against the side of the door as he fumbles with the keys, and when he turns back to her jangling the keys in triumphant she grins and says "my hero."

"So," he says, stepping into his flat and smiling at her, "do you want a coffee? Another drink?"

"Not particularly," she says.

"Anything I can get you at all?"

"No, thanks," Dom says and then she steps forwards and kisses him again – this time an indecent kiss during which he loses his shirt and her skirt is pushed up her thighs.

She liked the alcohol-fuelled kisses and a hand casually grazing up the side of her leg. Kisses catching the corner of her lips and kisses catching her whole mouth and refusing to relent until she could no longer breathe. She liked the desperation of it all, the mundane urgency in trying to undress another person as quickly as possible –peeling back the layers to reveal the naked truth beneath. And most of the time, the truth was ugly. Imperfect and strange.

But, with the haze of alcohol and the way cigarettes made you woozy (especially she liked smoking post-sex in other people's beds, scattering ash over the covers or violently stubbing it on the bed side table) and the need, who cared about a couple of scars, unseemly bulges and the unexpected afflictions? Then all she cared about was the way the mattress felt against her back, moulding to the curvature of her spine and remembering exactly how to breathe.

Already, she is down to her underwear and he is kissing her lipstick-stained lips like he will die if she disappears. She twists one hand up into his hair and feels the headboard pressing against the back of her neck. He hitches up one of her legs and the bare flesh of his torso feels strange beneath the palm of her hands.

"Wait," Dom mutters, blinking, "wait."

And then, a moment suspended.

"Sorry," Dom says, "but I... I don't think I can do this, I... I've got go."

She liked the feel of his hand on the spongy flesh of her hips, kisses dropped on her cheeks and the words – flirty compliments and teasing suggestions. A hand on the base of her back. Lips, teeth, tongues. An arm; possessive around her waist. Body heat.