Good Girls Don't

So it's in Devon, right? Devon. Cold place. Farms and British grit and all. Devon, and a romance. In secondary school. First between two girls. Then between a girl and a girl masquerading as a boy. Then, a boy and a girl masquerading as a boy. There's insanity. Oppressive religion. Sex. No drugs, but perhaps later. And tea. And walking. But first, a romance, in Devon, with four narrators. All girls. Yeah, something like that.

So to sum up: a romance, involving to some degree all of the four female narrators, in Devon.


[Addition for someone who got upset: The town mentioned is imaginary. I have never been to Devon. Also, I do think that one should actually go and read the story instead of getting upset about the blurb. ]

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2. Romance and a History of Chaos

Maia

   I'm clean. I'm a good girl. Not a heretic or a dyke. No, I'm a nice, normal girl. I don't masturbate for hours over my best friend. I don't whisper prayers for my dad to die. I don't think that everything in the Bible is complete crap. I'm a good daughter. I let Jesus into my heart. All this running through my mind, the slaps from last night still hot on my cheeks, and I'm still lying in the river, my skirt torn so now I look like a whore, wet, bleeding, and loving it. Kassie probably won't ever talk to me again . She'll leave me like everyone else. Drop me like a snow globe, and let my body, mind, heart shatter once more, just how my dad did with all of mine. One after another. It's not going to be okay, Maia. It never will be. The world ends here and now. Or at least, mine does. I got up and crawled out of the river bed, and dangled my feet in. Moss became a soft cape, crowning my shoulders and licking my back. Floating off my shoulders. I lay on the bank, naked, drying off. My clothes hung over a low tree branch. I sat hugging my knees, shivering and tired. Looking over all the blue-black bruises and scars along my arms, my neck. Counting each ravine and imperfection caused by my misdemeanours.

    Letting my ballerina hand twirl around and over them, dancing, jumping off them. And feeling that I was being watched, not by one, but by two people. Eyes from the trees open and blink at me and there's this disconcerting, tick-tock, hurry up, run away feeling. Something's building up

  "Maia?"

 

Kassie

 

   Together we are, again, and I'm standing in the clearing looking at her. She's sitting with her back to me, naked, with her feet in the river and cuts all along her back. Must be her dad again.

  "Maia?" I said and she flinched. Said nothing. I stayed back.

  "Maia," I repeated, "Are you okay?"

  Again, she said nothing. "I...I'm sorry for..."

  I was going to step forward. But, what if I... I can't. What if I'm sorry for something wrong. I cut myself off and started again, "Maia, listen to me. I really like you but-" "But what? But it won't work?" she said. "Look, I don't throw 'I love you' around. When I say it, Kassie, I mean it. Have you ever heard me say it to anyone?" "No. I don't think so, at least." "Even when I was dating James, did I say it once?" "No." "Exactly," she said and stood up. Her black hair licked around her shoulders. The outline of her back was two fish bones angling in on each other. As she turned around, her hair danced in the autumn air. Her smallish breasts. The scars curling like wings over her shoulders. A lump grew in my throat.

  "Kassie." Maia turned away, blushing.

  "Do you like me?"

  "Maia, I like you loads,”

  "You mean it?” she said, and slipped on the wet stones of the river. I grabbed her hand and helped her to her feet. “Yeah, course,” I said. She rested her forehead on my shoulder. I put an arm around her and felt her shudder as I touched one of her wounds. She looked up to me and kissed me on the lips.

 

Kassie

 

  Until recently, a close friend of mine was the manipulative boy-nightmare of the century. In our second year of high school Lara Amanite ruined Jenny Carling's life. Read life for sex life, 'cause Jenny was basically a slut, cocks by the handful. This pissed Lara off, because she hadn't been laid. Boys were afraid she'd break their dicks. That, or she hated everyone too much to fall in love. This exact hatred started when Jenny kissed the wrong boy, Oliver. He was Anderson Secondary's heartthrob. Not that I was counting, but around thirty eight girls asked him out. Again, not that I was noticing, but he always was so nice to everyone, especially girls he'd denied. It wasn't like Oliver was Lara's, it was more like Lara wanted Oliver with a passion so fervent that if she was denied him, bad stuff would happen; and in the worldwide schoolgirl championship for bad stuff happening, Jenny Carling hit the jackpot.

  We called Lara the Queen of Mistrust and in her we trusted. To join her ranks, there was a small screening process. Since Lara was a paranoid bitch, she took our phone numbers, our house numbers, our credit card details, she took everything, and we learnt, in time, that she could keep it safe. At first, we were sceptical, but when Lara knelt down and helped us to our feet in days of woe, it clicked: because Lara loved each and every one of us, she needed our information, just in case something bad happened. Or, if something bad needed to happen.

  Lara asked Oliver out once. It was behind the mossy school bike sheds, under a cherry tree. Oliver was tying his shoelaces and about to go when she showed up. I was getting my bike from inside. Lara had two buttons of her blouse undone, and asked Oliver through a triangle of hair over her eyes, if he wanted a date. Lara was hot. Not at all my type, but normally a boy would get hard from that. I know this because James told me that most boys like cleavage. Oliver wasn't even breathing fast.              "No thanks. I don't need a girlfriend at the moment."

  "Want or need?"

  "Neither. Leave me alone."

  A normal Anderson girl would look away, blush a little, cry a bit and live and let live. Without blinking, Lara replied,

  "So you want a boyfriend then?" Oliver said nothing, stood up, got on his bike, threw his satchel over his shoulder and rode off. Lara waited for him to go and stood, seething in rage, and blood dripped out of the corner of her mouth.

  "What was that about?" I said, wheeling my bike out.

  "Were you listening to that?"

  "No, God no. Why?”

  "Well, if you chat about this later on the phone to your bestest fwends forever when the subject arises, I will rip your tongue out and-"

  "But!"

  "But what?"

 "I am your friend."

  “Yeah, about that...” she said, and waited for the horror to creep onto my face.

  “Shit, I'm kidding. Don't look at me like that." Thus is the friendship of Lara and myself summed up in two words: I'm kidding.

 

  We'd been friends for a while now. Correction, Lara didn't have friends, she had pawns. I was an exception, apparently. We'd met in Year Four. Tom was going to beat the shit out of me because I had accidentally broke his Thermos of tea. Yep, Tom was a true Brit. Earl Grey and dubstep. Pieces lay on the floor, ear-to-ear smiles hewn off faces. Tom's hands were balled into ham hock fists. Looking at those hands, and all the damage that would come with them, tenderizing meat and car crashes came to mind. Beaten up on my first day? Well done Kassie! Lara tapped Tom on the shoulder. He spun around and she put a hand on his shoulder. Kissed him once, and ran off. Tom stood still, as if struck by lightning. I ran after Lara.

  "Hey, wait up!" She stopped and turned around.

  “What?” “I just want to say thanks.”

  "No problem. It's Lara by the way. Lara Amanite. "

  "Kassie."

  "Kassie what?" 

  "Kassie Henderson."

  "Well then, Kassie Henderson, do you know how to play It?"

  "Yes but-"

  "You're it!"

 

  All the same, Lara invited Oliver to her party. And all the same, he came. Lara's parties weren't pissy little gatherings. No, her guest list spanned the Common. There was enough vodka, well, to get five hundred teenagers drunk. They were legendary. People slow dancing. Others having drinking competitions. And I was bored, alone and nursing a vodka and coke. Oliver sat down next to me. This was the first time I had been anywhere near him, as he was usually surrounded by squeeing fangirls. So I was irritated that he was near me, because he should be hanging around people who actually were interested in him.

  “My drink here is enthralling. Go dance and have fun with someone. ” I said, taking a sip, the saccharine wooziness of it hitting my throat. I did not look up.

  “Someone's in a bad mood,” he replied.

  “I don't want to be cheered up. Piss off.”

   “What-”

  “Go.” I said throwing back the rest of my drink. “You're unwanted here.”

  “Can I just ask why you're being so hostile, when we haven't even met?”

  “You're Oliver Demieos, Lara's toy. You live on 23 Cromwell street with your parents. You have no siblings. You cycle to school every day and your interests include jazz, dancing and reading.”

   Lara's words flowing off my tongue. “Your subjects are Music, French, Art and Geography. You're near the top of the class in terms of marks, yet you don't brag about them. You've had no girlfriends nor boyfriends, and your favourite drink is Darjeeling tea. You frequent the Arcadia Paradise-”

  “Stop, for fuck's sake. How do you know all that?” Lara told me.

  “You make it very obvious,” is all I said. And so Oliver stood up for the dance. It is then where he kissed Jenny, and it was then when Jenny's life went downhill. As Oliver put his arm around Jenny's waist, as the opening bars of the song rung out, cutting through the noise of the drinkers, I felt a pang in my heart. I was a computer being unplugged. Maia flooded my mind and my eyes brimmed with tears. Her eyes, her voice, her touch. My heart was a leather wallet being bent in on itself. As Jenny stuck her tongue down his throat, I closed my eyes and waited for the screaming begin. But none came. Lara was beating Tom in a drinking game. Walking over to her, I put a hand on her shoulder, and nodded in the lovers' direction. Lara kicked the chair away and dropped her cup. Her face reddened, and she looked down. Her fingernails gouged half moons into her palms. She looked up and her teeth were gritted. She said, "All of you. Get the fuck out of my house." They did.

 

   Lara liked revenge. "Liked" is a bad word, "thrived on" would be more suitable. Noone knows how she got the sample from the lab. Since her mum works there, it wouldn't have been hard. Poor Jenny. Noone deserves having their sex life ruined. It's more like giving someone else a chance to play. To Lara and I, her fall was hilarious. Imagine years of sex, almost twice a week, with different partners each time. Now, imagine that gone for forever. Now, pin the situation on someone you hate. Funny, isn't it? The Germans call it schadenfreude and everyone else follows suit. And the absolutely number-one best part of all this? Jenny fell because of a dildo.

   A Gucci box showed up in Jenny's locker one day. It was wrapped with a black bow and a small card was attached, with:

- Because you can't have me -Oliver xx

  Written in black biro on it. Inside lay twenty inches of black ridged plastic on a bed of silk. Jenny was surrounded by her friends, all of them giggling and blushing. Lara sat, itching for a cigarette and trying not to smile, but failing. I waited outside the school to see what would happen to Oliver when he got in. Essentially, he was chased and held down and petted by around fifteen girls. Maia was passing by, looking pale and tired.

  "Some people get all the luck," she said, and walked on. Lara stood, not moving. She was smiling. A right Alexandra DeLarge grin. As written by Antonia Burgess. The sorta smile that pyschogirl has when she's given three whores to torture for her birthday. Then I noticed a tear of blood crinkle out of her mouth. The next day, Jenny came in face glowing and eyes alight. She found Oliver and said to him,

  "Thanks so much. I can't believe how great that was."

  "What was?"

  "The dildo, silly." He looked surprised, then muted his expression. He mumbled a “No problem” and went off. Oliver walked into my classroom and said that he wanted to talk to me. Everyone went all quiet and I followed him. We trudged in silence to the bike sheds. He stopped, and turned around.

  "Why did you send Jenny the dildo?”

  "What are you talking about? You mean you didn't give it to her?”

  "Don't bullshit me."

  "I'm telling the truth! I don't know who gave it to her."

  "Why would someone want Jenny to like me?”

  "Perhaps they're doing you a favour."

  "What's unclear about me not wanting to fuck? Is there something wrong with that?" he said.

  "Nothing's wrong with it, it's just a little weird that a boy like you has no libido," I said, half-petting his shoulder.

  "Why's that weird?” he said, rolling his shoulder so my hand fell limp to my side.

  "Don't you ever look around yourself?”

  "Yes, but-" "What do you see?” I said, flicking my arm in the direction of everything.

  "Couples."

  "Don't you want that?”

  "No, not really,” he said, and looked down to the floor. "Okay." Thus, a transformation occurred in Jenny. Behind her proud, flirty shell, she was vulnerable. Without boys around her, baying for her tits, the walls of her psyche came crashing down. Crying in sex ed, according to Allison. Collapsing in PE. Screaming at the teacher in English. She became empty, like an iron maiden. Like life support instead of autotune. She came in that week wearing a ring on the second finger of her right hand. It wasn't a really pretty ring, in fact, it was quite garish. Beneath it lay her downfall.

 

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