My back was against the cold acrylic of Jasper’s front door and my hands were woven tightly into his messy dark hair, yanking his head down to my level. I knew I was short for a guy, but his stupidly long legs irritated me. Did he have to be so tall? But what irritated me more was that every drop of annoyance I felt towards him only showed itself as carnal arousal.
Jasper’s body was pressed hard against mine and our lips moved urgently, devouring every moment together that we could steal. I bit down on his lip and he grunted with pleasure, letting his hands drop to the button of my jeans. I felt my cheeks flush as he fumbled with my fly, but I was too intoxicated by him to resist.
Neither of us paid any attention to the first couple of knocks on the other side of the door, but after several minutes, we could ignore the impatient rapping no longer. We reluctantly broke apart and I subtly shifted off my tip-toes. Jasper gave me a nervous grin which I did not return. I slipped out from between him and the door and straightened up my clothes breathlessly.
“Are you going to get that?” I asked him brusquely, as though I’d been waiting for him to do so all along.
He slumped his shoulders and nodded. “Yeah, I guess so.”
He opened the door and there stood my best friend, Iris. She was even shorter than me, but what she lacked in size, she made up for in character. She was devastatingly pretty with her long technicoloured hair and a mischievous smile on her bubblegum pink lips.
“Sorry I’m a bit early for practise, you don’t mind, do you?” she asked, stepping inside regardless of whether we minded or not. I could tell she wasn’t even slightly sorry. On the contrary, she had probably been intentionally early to see if I’d be here alone with Jasper. She’d only recently prized the truth from me and now my love life was her favourite piece of gossip to catch up on.
“Hi, Cyan.” She gave me a sage wink as she brushed past me. I scowled at her as she led the two of us through to Jasper’s garage. I was the lead guitarist of a band called Indigo that met here every Friday night after school. Jasper was the drummer, Iris was on bass, and we were only missing our talented vocalist, Scarlett.
The three of us set up our instruments in silence. I wasn’t used to anybody knowing my secret and I found myself avoiding Jasper’s eyes more than usual, in fear of encouraging an embarrassing comment from Iris. We all looked up as we heard the front door open and the heavy booted footsteps of the person who had just let themselves in. There was only one person who waltzed around Jasper’s house as if they owned it and it wasn’t Scarlett.
My heart sank and my nose wrinkled in dislike as Noire, Jasper’s pain-in-my-arse ex girlfriend, thumped into the garage.
“I see you changed the day of band practise without telling me again.” She complained, twirling her lip ring with her tongue and flicking a lock of her straight, black hair out of her pale face.
“I didn’t think it would matter, seeing as you’re not actually in the band.” I spat at her and she glared at me through heavily made up eyes, before pointedly ignoring me and turning to Jasper.
“Hey Jasps.” The smile on her dark lips looked wrong amongst the array of black leather she wore on her tall, bony frame. I always thought that her cold grey eyes better suited a brooding frown.
Jasper nodded a greeting at her but then continued to fiddle with his drumsticks. Iris waved cheerfully and I felt my nose wrinkle again involuntarily. Iris’ friendship with the Psycho Hose Beast would never cease to grate on me.
“Iris, can I speak to you?” Noire asked, an uncharacteristic nervousness in her tone. She gestured that they step outside and I saw Iris’ eyes light up with curiosity. She relished being in on all the secrets and drama, but was sometimes poor at hiding her obvious excitement.
The two of them were gone for a long time and I began to worry about what was being said. Iris wasn’t a very good secret keeper, but I trusted her with mine. Stop worrying, she won’t tell anyone. They’ll just be talking about... girl stuff or something. I told myself firmly. Jasper and I sat in a tense silence, occasionally meeting each other’s eye, but then looking away. I wondered if his mind was trailing back to earlier too.
By the time Iris and Noire re-joined us, Scarlett had arrived and was singing quietly while I strummed a melody for her. Jasper said he was watching us but I could feel his gaze burning into me alone.
Noire entered first with a strange expression somewhere between anxious and smug, with Iris trailing behind looking positively heartbroken. Iris was always my cool cucumber who was never ruffled by the drama she got involved in... What had Noire said to her? Or what had she said to Noire? I sprang to my feet and moved next to her.
“You okay?” I whispered. She nodded instinctively, then considered it and shook her head.
“I'm really sorry.” She whispered back.
“What?” For a stomach churning moment, I thought she's spilled the beans on Jasper and I, but Noire interrupted my panic. She cleared her throat loudly and then addressed the room.
“So you were probably wondering what I needed to talk to Iris about.” She stated. Jasper's uninterested expression indicated that he hadn't. “Since we're all friends here,” she shot a pointed except you look in my direction, “I thought I might as well tell you. I just did a pregnancy test and it came out positive.”
There was a stunned silence for a minute and Noire let the big news sink in.
“You're pregnant?” Jasper finally broke the silence. He looked quite amused, like this was a sort of get-out-of-jail-free card for him. I had to admit, Noire being out of the picture would make life a lot easier.
“Yep, sorry Jasper, but you're going to be a dad.” She beamed as if this was the great news everybody had been waiting to hear. My heart stopped beating. I looked back up at Iris’ big, sad eyes and it all made sense. Jasper's look of shock and appal signalled for Scarlett to excuse herself politely. I nodded and followed her out of the house, walking calmly and holding my breath. I watched Scarlett begin walking away and then I ran.
I had no idea where I was headed, just away from here. The warmth of Jasper's touch still stung on my skin and I swallowed a painful lump in my throat.
It's a lie, it has to be. My internal voice argued through sobs. But reason reminded me of Iris’ forlorn expression. She wouldn't lie to me.
I came to a stop at the small grassy field at the end of Jasper's road, panting and blinking hot tears from my eyes. I was going to fall apart and I didn't want anybody to see me like that, so I tucked myself into a large holly bush next to the path. The leaves prickled and stabbed me, but I couldn't feel them. Under the cover of the bush, I hugged my knees and let my sobs escape at last.
What had I been expecting? Had I really thought that this would end well? I'd been a phase to him. An experiment. What was the word? Bi-curious? I was never going to compete with Noire’s devil-may-care, Kerrang magazine looks. Sure, he probably didn't mean to knock her up. But the sex would have been very deliberate.
The sex. I cried harder, feeling pathetic for not being able to stop myself. I couldn't force the image of them being together from my mind. Him peeling off her tight leather dress, touching her full breasts, his lips on her neck...
Once I had run out of tears to shed, I just sat there feeling numb. I'd left my coat in his house, but the cold wasn't bothering me. I heard approaching voices, so I stayed very still in my hiding place.
“It's yours, Jasper. I've always known that deep down, you love me. So now is our chance to be together. We can be a family.” Noire’s voice lit a molten hatred within me and I had to hold myself down.
“If I hadn't been brought up not to hit women, I swear to god Noire...” Jasper's voice was low and dangerous like I'd never heard it before. They were moving closer to me. I covered my mouth to muffle my shaky breaths.
“Jasper please, just-“
“NO!” I saw Jasper's shabby trainers come to an abrupt stop in front of me and turn around, his raised voice making me jump. “Cut the fucking shit, Noire! We both know this baby isn't mine, so grow up and tell me the fucking truth!”
Jasper was shouting now, and echoed around the whole field. Jasper was such a gentle, relaxed person. He had taken all of the fights I had ever picked with him with nothing more than a smirk and a tease. I'd never seen him lose his temper.
There was a long pause where I could only hear Jasper's jagged breaths. I could see Noire’s Doctor Martin boots shuffling nervously on the spot. I waited, my sore eyes big and hopeful. After all the hurt and anger that I'd just felt, I still prayed that everything could just go back to how it was.
“Fine. It's not yours.” Noire mumbled reluctantly. My heart leapt from my chest and relief washed over me in a cooling wave. It was all I could do not to jump out now and beg him to forgive me for all of the horrible things I'd thought about him... and then smack him in the face for making me cry.
“Oh? Really?! I'd never have fucking guessed! Seeing as I've never slept with any girl, especially not you!” Jasper barked angrily. I secretly appreciated his wording, implying that there was a possibility of him having slept with a guy.
“I know you want to... even if you haven't.” Noire argued in a quiet voice, her earlier stubbornness shrivelling in Jasper's wrath. “But no, it's not actually yours.”
“Tell everyone else that.” He commanded sharply. I wished I had a better view of what angry Jasper looked like.
“I- I can't!” she faltered.
“Why?” his voice was back to a quiet seethe.
“The, um, real father... well nobody can know. He'll lose his job. I need you to play along, just until we leave school?” I couldn't help but admire her bravery.
“And would you like to tell me why that's my problem?”
“Well... You like him? It's Mr Grayson.”
You could have toasted marshmallows on Jasper's reaction.
“You fucked a teacher and that's somehow my problem?!”
“Shhhhhh!” Noire shushed him urgently, but he ignored her. My mind wandered to Iris. She would have sold her grandmother for a front-row seat like this.
“You're a selfish cow! Did it never cross your mind that maybe I have a life?! Things that could be ruined by... this?” he trailed off and was quiet for a moment. I heard him take a few long, deep breaths. “Okay, I'll play your game. I'll keep your secret.”
Jasper had lowered his voice and seemed to have done some counting exercises in his head. I frowned in confusion. Why that change of heart?
“Really?! Thank you!” Noire sounded as disbelieving as I was.
“On one condition.”
“You tell Cyan the truth.”
My cheeks reddened at the mention of my name and I scolded myself for nearly welling up again.
“I can't do that! He'll tell Iris and you know what she's like... she'll tell everyone!” I didn't see the look Jasper gave her, but it must have been terrifying. “Okay, deal.” She sighed in defeat.
“Why Cyan though? Wait, Jasper!” The feet moved away and the voices faded. I emerged to see Jasper stalking out of the field and Noire lagging behind nervously.
I followed slowly, hoping that nobody would be left in the house when he returned. I wanted nothing more than to continue where we had left off when this had all started.
I took great pleasure in watching that door slammed in Noire’s face as she attempted to enter behind him. Once she had stormed off, I took her place and knocked.