CHAPTER NINE - JOINTS, TATTOOS & GUILTY PLEASURES
It's coming up on what would be my 18th birthday. In one week I would have been with Bryan and Judy for 3 years. It's hard to imagine that if I had have stayed in the community, I'd probably be a mother by now, married, possibly to more than one person.
Turning 18 didn't mean much in the community. It was the start of puberty that made you an adult. Outside the community it was the day you were officially an adult. You could legally drink alcohol, in Australia anyway, vote (if I actually existed in this world), drive in some states and other freedoms you weren't allowed the day before your 18th. It seems like such an arbitrary number. Why 18? Why not 20? Either way, Brandon is beyond excited for it. The only set back, I don't have any form of identification to prove my age. But that won't matter so much here.
We are in the outback town of Bourke. When I say town, there is nothing more than a pub and service station surrounding by desert. It's hot despite being late autumn, but the temperatures at night dip below freezing, apparently a normal occurrence in the desert.
Brandon and I are laying out under the stars, the hard red dirt under us covered by a picnic blanket. As has become ritual, we pass a joint between us, talking and laughing about the world we live in, the things we've seen and the places we've been. We talk about our hopes for the future, something I had never even thought about. My life in the community was laid out for me, outside the community it has been purely about survival. So when Brandon asked me what I wanted to do, I honestly had no idea how to answer.
“I think you should be a counsellor or a nurse.” He says. I look over at Brandon, curiously.
“Why?” I ask and he shrugs before he looks up at the stars.
“You're easy to talk to, caring, compassionate. All good qualities for that field of work.” He says. I look up at the stars and think about what he said.
“I wouldn't mind helping people... What about you? What do you want to be?” I ask.
“I always wanted to be a coppa... doubt that would happen.” He says, disdain in his voice.
“Coppa?” I ask and he nods his head.
“Policeman.” He clarifies.
“Oh... why wouldn't it happen?” I look at him curiously. I can imagine him in the uniform.
“You know the rumours.” He shrugs.
“But they are just rumours right? You've never actually been caught doing anything?” I ask and he shakes his head. I smile and take his hand in mine, squeezing lightly. “Then there's still a chance.” I say. He squeezes my hand back.
“Yeah... I guess there is.” He says. We are silent for a long time, both lost in our own thoughts, when Brandon rolls to his side and props his head up on his hand to look at me. “Can I ask you something?” he asks. I shrug and look at him, waiting for him to continue. He looks down at the rug beneath us nervously and then back to me.
“Growing up the way you did.... well... have you ever been kissed?” he asks nervously. Images of the last time I saw Tommy flash through my mind and a small smile creeps across my face.
“Once.” I reply. Brandon looks at me expectantly and I continue. “Tommy kissed me just before I ran....” I say. He looks down at the rug again then back to me. Brandon doesn't say anything, just moves closer to me and reaches out with his free hand to cup my face. He gently placed his lips against mine, holding them there for just a moment before moving them slightly to capture my bottom lip in his. I gasp at the sudden contact, parting my lips. Brandon takes full advantage of this, pushing his tongue into my mouth and sweeping it across my own. I respond instantly as my heart starts to race, grabbing onto his jumper and pulling him closer to me.
I won't lie, I have thought about kissing Brandon, I'm definitely attracted to him. This kiss awakens something in me, a need I've never experienced that starts in my belly and moves swiftly to my loins. I moan into the kiss and Brandon moves his hand from my cheek and wraps it around my waist, pulling me closer to him. Our bodies are plush together and I can tell that Brandon is as affected by this kiss as I am. His hands travel down my back and over my ass, the gentle squeeze eliciting another moan from me.
He runs his hand down the back of my thigh, pulling my leg over his hip and pressing his groan against me. The feel of his hardened member against the ache between my legs temporarily relieves it, and I move my hips against him, enjoying the friction. Brandon moans into my mouth and pulls me harder against him.
My body is aching and desperate as Brandon's hands travel up my jumper and make contact with my bare skin. He moves them around my waist and up my stomach to cup my breast. I moan as he runs his thumb over my hardened nipple, the feel of the thin fabric of my bra brushing against my breast enticing another moan.
Brandon slowly breaks the kiss and rests his forehead against mine. He studies me intensely as his hand moves from my breast, down to the button of my jeans. He doesn't break eye contact as he undoes the button and slowly unzips my pants. He moves his hand down into my underwear, one finger moving between my folds and placing a light pressure on my bundle of nerves. I cry out softly at the feel of his finger on me.
Brandon increases the pressure, moving his hand down further and flicking my clit with his thumb, not once breaking eye contact with me. He slowly slides one finger inside me and I can't help but grind against his hand. Never have I ever felt such pleasure. Felt such need. He moves his finger in and out of me before adding a second one and moving faster. I cry out loud as his fingers curl up, hitting a spot that shoots pleasure through my body. A small smile forms on his face as he hits that spot again and again. I lose control. My body convulses as wave after wave of pleasure course through me. I'm crying out, grinding hard against Brandon's fingers.
As the last wave starts to subside, Brandon's lips crash on mine. He removes his hand and softens the kiss, slowly breaking away with small feather light kisses to my lips. I'm breathless as I start to get my bearings and look to Brandon.
“Wow.” I say as the first of coherent thought comes back to me. Brandon chuckles softly. “That was... wow.” He laughs again and pulls me into him as he rolls on his back. I place my head on his chest and enjoy the comfort of his arms around me. One things for sure. We are definitely doing THAT again.
The week leading up to my birthday goes by quickly. We travel throughout the day and at night Brandon and I sneak off together. The only difference is there isn't much talking between us now. He's pleasured my body with his hand and mouth and I've returned the favour, learning how to give him that same pleasure he gives me.
On my birthday morning, Brandon takes me into the town of Alice Springs for my birthday surprise. I was most definitely surprised when he dragged me into a tattoo parlour. I looked around the dark walls covered in art in a nervous awe.
“You're getting me a tattoo?” I say with a mix of excitement and fear.
“If you want one.” He says, looking down at me. A smile creeps across my lips and I nod my head.
“Yeah... will it hurt?” I ask. He chuckles and shakes his head.
“It depends where you get it but it's not too bad.” He says. I nod and release the breath I didn't know I was holding.
“Ok.... what should I get?” I ask. Brandon smiles shyly and reaches into his pocket.
“I drew you something... you don't have to use it or you can get them to redraw it or pick something else entirely...” he says. I take the folded up piece of paper out of his hands and unfold it quickly. Looking at the picture he drew, I bite my bottom lip as tears form in my eyes.
“It's perfect...” I say as I look at the drawing. Its of a Queen Bee, leaning back on her thrown, looking sated as she smokes a joint. The perfect mix of my old life as Genevieve and my new life as Katie. “It's a perfect representation of both my life before and my life now... I love it... thankyou Brandon.” I step towards him and place a soft kiss on his lips.
“Happy birthday Katie.” He smiles. We hand the picture to the tattoo artist and decide on where to put it, settling for the back of my hip, before getting to work. Its a few hours later when they show me the tattoo in a little hand held mirror. I giggle at the slutty little bee on my hip.
“It looks good.” Brandon says. I grin at him, loving the art now permanently sketched onto my body.
“Thank you. I absolutely love it.” I say. We walk out of the tattoo parlour and head back to the camp.
The night of my 18th birthday, everyone at camp gathers together for a BBQ and drinks around the fire. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun as everyone shares funny stories of their time on the road.
My mind wanders to my conversation with Brandon. I'd never really thought ahead, of what my life could be. Since leaving the community I have just lived each day as it comes. I've enjoyed every second of traveling with Judy and Bryan, but in the back of my mind it's always been temporary. I've always been wondering when my father will find me, when I'd have to go back to the community, or run again. Will I ever just have a normal life?
As most of the campers make their way to bed, it's just Brandon and I left at the Fire.
“What's on your mind?” Brandon asks as he sits down next to me on the old log used as a makeshift chair. I lean my head on his shoulder and sigh.
“Just thinking about my life... about what happens when father finds me.” I say, biting on my lower lip with worry.
“Are you sure he will?” Brandon asks and I nod my head. His belief in his crazy mind is so strong, there's no doubt in my mind he would never let me get away. He will be looking for me, hoping to save me from the demons that possess me. I believe the only reason he hasn't found me is because we never stay in one place for more than a week or two.
“Yeah.... eventually he will catch up to me.” I say. Brandon wraps his arm around my shoulder and pulls me closer to him. “I don't want to go back there.” I whisper. Brandon places a soft kiss on my head.
“Then if he does find you... you run... as far away as you can.... you deserve a full life Katie.” Brandon says and I smile and snuggle into his chest.
“Let’s hope that doesn't happen anytime soon.” I say.