Never have I posted from so many different locations. Get your act together, wifi providers of Australia!
Disclaimer: "And I saw my reflection in a lake and I waited for it to freeze a little bit so I could break it with my foot." Sam Pink.
The pack hasn't been opened for a couple of days. It's been hugging Effy's left ankle inside the warm and worn leather of her biker boots. From inside the cavernous hiding place, we've overheard dozens of muffled conversations, the dull drone of teacher after teacher wishing they were someplace else, the pounding and liquefying beat of club speakers and the shrill, harsh sounds of parents fighting into the early morning to 'stay together for good of the kids.'
"You vicious cunt..."
The first actual words I hear as she slides me out of the crumpled blue soft pack. Effy has just scaled up the drainpipe to her bedroom window like a cat in the night. No need for a distraction, her parents are both too busy self-destructing in the family lounge to notice her early morning arrival. She has thrown both her boots against the door of her room and sits on the window ledge. I am twirled idly through her fingers as her toes stretch free against the coarse stone face.
To our right is the quiet of the street, to our left the chaos of her room. The bed, covers still strewn dramatically halfway off the mattress from her last argument with Freddie. She hasn't slept in the bed since that night. The floor, scattered with Tony's collared shirts.
The room used to be Tony's before he moved out. The day after he received his early acceptance letter from the maths faculty of Cambridge he had bolted in the opposite direction, leaving his room and belongings essentially untouched. The last letter Effy received from him was postmarked from Tirana, Albania. She was the only Stonem he still contacted.
So the prodigal daughter had taken the place of her brother. She had moved into his room. She sometimes wore his clothes, they were comforting. She had also taken over as the main bearer of the family hopes for the Stonem name. That last one was less of a conscious choice. Tony's flight had left a void in the Stonem household and it was sucking the life out of the remaining three.
The flint wheel catches a few times before igniting the wick but once the flame is burning it's steady in the wind. Effy cups her hand protectively around me until I'm properly lit.
It's a cold night up here. She pulls the collar of the tailored jacket around her shoulders and sinks further down against the window frame. It's only now that she realises she's still wearing the damn thing.
Katie Fucking Fitch! What business was it of hers anyway? It's like she has a goddamn complex, that girl. As if now that Emily doesn't need protecting anymore she has to go and find herself another helpless cause. Well not Effy! No sir!
She blows a plume of smoke past me.
It had been Effy's plan to shut off that pesky self-preservation part of her brain tonight. She was aiming for little mess and mayhem. A bit of harmless chaos. And she would have gotten it too. When Freddie had set his sights on that obvious substitute-Effy with the ridiculous name… Whatever the fuck it was… it was clear as the light of day what he was looking for under those strobe lights.
She's not sure what stirred her into action though. She knew that wasn't healthy for Freds. He deserved better than her; recreating her was not moving on. But there was also a part of her that just wanted to play. Just wanted to know what she felt like, wanted to let something out.
So she'd sashayed up to the two of them, pressed the palm of her hand on the girl's naked breastbone and pushed her away from him. When she reached for a fistful of her hair, the girl's eyes registered shock. She wasn't being possessive of Freddie, she was taking his toy away from him.
Effy grabbed her and pulled hard, exposing her neck. She placed her lips there and felt the scorching burn on her back of every eye in the place turned on her. Kissing her way up her jaw, the other girl must have felt those eyes too because she began to play along. As she started kissing back, Effy bit down on her lip. Hard.
She had just begun to taste the metallic tang of blood when she felt her own hair being yanked backwards. At first she'd thought "Good, she's playing rough too" but then she flew back into a cluster of bodies.
When her eyes found focus, they landed on the intense eyes of Katie Furious Fitch. The rest was a blur.
Effy takes another drag at me through her teeth while her hands huddle under the warm lining of the jacket.
A blur underscored by the sound of Katie's sibilant scolding. She was wrapped up in the jacket and taken outside where Katie found Cook and gave him strict instructions.
Somehow Effy must have been taken home by which time she had sobered up enough from the pills and booze and shock to make it up to her room.
She looks down at the street, a bit more lucid now. That's when she sees him. He knows she's back to herself now. The glowing butt starts to singe at her fingers. She throws it into the street, a safe distance from him. Cook steps over and puts me out with his foot. He gives her a one handed salute and skulks off into the night.
I now leave you to ponder while I go join the marriage equality debate which has just begun at the dinner table.