This is the boys locker room, I can't go in there.
“So how about you? Are you as virginal as they make out?”
Liam asks in the most nonchalant way with small burger crumbs escaping from the corners of his mouth. My eyes widened in horror. I can’t believe he’s just asked me that. I gather myself and pick up my jaw from the table.
“Why? because I’m not a slut like everyone else you’ve been with?”
That sounded harsher than I intended but a narrowed eye glance towards Liam told me he’s amused by my reaction.
“Being promiscuous doesn’t mean you’re a slut... it just means you enjoy sex. Nothing wrong with that. Trust me, I know what a whore looks like. You shouldn’t be so judgmental Olive.”
I folded my arms like a stubborn child and shot him a filthy look because I don’t have anything to counter argue. Cindy’s boobs come walking over asking Liam if he wanted anything else as if I wasn’t even seated at the table myself. When he declined she slipped him her number and told him to call her. Uncontrollably I let out a huff of air and Liams eyebrows raised higher, cockiness and arrogance radiated from him.
“I’ll definitely be calling her.”
He eyed me up and down amused by my reaction to the ‘promiscuous female’ and I just sat looking like a cheesed off toddler who wasn’t getting her own way.
We headed back to school to sit his math class, I hadn’t spoken to Liam since the boobs on legs had passed him her number. An awkward silence surrounded us but thanks to our handcuffs there was no escape.
We entered Mr Whites math classroom and Liam guided me to the grouped tables. My heart started pounding in my chest when I realized I was about to sit on the table with the jocks.
“Guys, you know Olive, right? Olive, this is the guys.”
Liam introduced us complete with hand motions and exchanged sly smirks to the adolescent boys in front of me. I stayed mute, silenced by the fear that was swallowing me up from the inside out.
At the front of the class Mr White had started writing calculations across his white board, the jocks started making weekend plans.
“Party at Bens on Saturday night, he’s got the house to himself and we’re ringing B for the heavy stuff. Zak will get the keg, he’s got his fake ID. Finally might be able to get into Chloes panties, if I get her drunk enough.” Jordan said.
“uh... that’s rape!” I blurted out, not sure where from.
“Sorry... did you say something Olive?”
Jordans black eyes peeled into my skin, stripping it layer by layer and making me burn excruciatingly under his deathly glare. I knew he heard me by the tone of his voice, it wasn’t a question... it was a warning. I looked down, losing the confidence I had just gained seconds ago.
“Yeah... that’s what I thought. He shut me down instantly. “Besides she would be drunk enough to be willing but not too drunk were she’s passed out and doesn’t know what she’s doing. What would you know? The closest you’ve come to losing your virginity was with my boy Ben over here”
If I lowered my head anymore I would be wearing it inside my pants. My cheeks burned, my ears burned and I felt like I was in hell. I heard Ben snigger from across the table and then two hands slap together like a high five had just taken place at my expense.
Mr White kept talking about calculations and my table kept talking about the shenanigans they get up to when they are wasted or high. I remained mute overthinking Jordans nasty reminder. I was mad at Liam for not sticking up for me, but then again why would he?
“Remember Liam doing the nasty with that girl Chelsea and then took her clothes and left her naked in Zaks parents bed!” Ben struggled to form sentences through laughter “She walked down the stairs in Mrs Adams dressing gown.”
Everyone was silently laughing so hard tears roll down their faces, I snuck a glance at Liam who was also hurdled over laughing but beaming with boyish pride.
“You guys are dicks.”
The guys stop dead and gawked at me. Gobsmacked. I was gobsmacked myself. The laughter wasn’t silent anymore, it echoed through the walls of the classroom and I was the center of it all.
“Proud of you Olive, ’bout time you called these Jackasses out on their bullshit.”
Liam patted my hand in the most patronizing way. His face, full of light, amused, relaxed and happy. A rare Liam face. My cheeks turned pink and I was back to feeling like a child again, except this time I wasn’t moody and stubborn. I didn’t care that everyone was laughing at me. I had been praised for good behavior and my insides glowed.
Math ended and we moved onto lunch. Liam was leading me out onto the soccer field which isn’t usually where I ate lunch so I was already filled with discomfort.
“Where are we going Liam?” I asked, curiosity getting the better of me.
“We usually hang out on the bleachers at lunchtime, the views are great and it stops interruptions in the cafeteria.” He said matter of factually.
“Interruptions?” As soon as I said it I understood it.
“Yeah, you know? Desperate girls handing out their number or asking for a second go around. Trying to eat my tuna sandwich I don’t want to think about your tuna sandwich.”
“Gross” I coiled over with disgust. Sorry I asked.
We met up with the rest of the jocks, unfortunately. I parked myself on the bleachers next to Liam comforting myself discreetly with his scent.
“Look at Helen jump up and down, whew! That could do something to a man.” Zak drooled.
Suddenly I realized why the ‘view was great,’ The cheerleaders practiced at lunch time. I rolled my eyes, I’ve been doing that so much lately I feel like they are going to stick rolled backwards. The jocks pulled bits of food from brown paper bags and started tucking in. I wish I had known to bring something, my stomach growled loud enough for the circle of boys to hear. I shifted in my seat, trying to suppress my awkwardness.
Liam shot me a half-smile and handed me half of his tuna sandwich. He then looked to the group with expectant eyes. Ben handed me an apple. Zak handed me half of his chocolate brownie. All eyes turned then to Jordan, except for mine which looked down. Silence filled the group as anticipation built. I could sense Liam having a silent conversation with Jordan using their facial expressions. After the longest time I heard Jordan let out a sigh. He placed a packet of chips on my lap.
My face beamed like a Cheshire cat. It was such a simple gesture but to me it wasn’t just food, it was something more. It was... acceptance. The guys carried on talking like nothing had just happened but warmth filled my insides as I tucked into my borrowed food.
Liams phone beeped and his eyes shot up in surprise when he opened the message. Pointing his phone around showing each person the screen one by one. They each said a number as they saw the message. I squirmed in my seat as I waited for the screen to get to me, if Liam even included me that is. Then a picture of Ruby was pushed under my nose, she was topless and pouting into the camera. I quickly read the message:
Come find me in the janitors closet, big boy xx
I looked at the screen with a blank expression. Why is Liam showing everyone this? I’m sure that’s not what Ruby intended when she sent the message.
“Come on Liv, today you’re part of the group. You gotta rate her outta ten.”
I stared at the picture, then back at him. I was learning real fast how he treat girls like they’re objects. He pumps and dumps, literally. He shows his friends intimate pictures & worse he has them rate them. He plays pranks on girls after sex, just for a laugh. He’s the definition of douche-bag, so why am I so attracted to him?
“10.” I gave her a pity rating, I felt bad for her.
The bell rang signaling end of lunch, Liam carted me off school campus telling me he had to do a few hours in the arcade, whatever that meant. We entered a small arcade that wasn’t anything fancy. It had little slot machines dotted everywhere, a dance mat, car games, Pacman and some others. It all appeared a bit vintage and dusty. Why would Liam want to hang out here?
The place seemed dead except for a few middle aged men who were glued to the slot machines. Liam approached an information desk, a man with long dreadlocks and a rainbow beanie greeted him.
“Liam dudddee” he dragged his words out. “Boss wants you to stay ’till four when Cami takes overrr.
Does Liam work here?
“I have a game tonight, warm ups start at 4:30pm and I can’t be late.”
I guess he does.
The dude guy left leaving just Liam & I confine in a small information booth, wrist to wrist.
“You work here?” Feeling brave I test the waters.
“Yeah when I can. Need to earn extra cash so I pick up shifts here and there. The place is basically run by stoners so there is plenty of work available when I need it.”
He spoke like it was the most normal thing in the world for a seventeen year old to be cutting school to go to a job. What does he need the cash for anyway? Drugs?
“What do you need the cash for anyway?”
His expression turned dark. Blue diamonds lost their sparkle and guarded all emotions deep down inside. His smile flattened and he just looked... sad. Oh Liam.
His voice was merely a whisper. I wouldn’t of heard it if it hadn’t of bounced from the perspex surrounding us. I wasn’t entirely sure what he meant by that but I certainly wasn’t going to push the subject because I could clearly see he was affected by it. Instead I changed topic to soccer and he eased up instantly.
Time in the information booth passed quickly, we handed out tokens to more middle aged men coming for the slot machines and conversation flowed easier now I knew to stay away from deeper questions. A blonde lady came in at 4:15pm to take over from Liam.
“Stupid Cami was late, coach will have my balls if I’m not there for warm up. We gotta run Liv, you good with that?”
I wasn’t. I sucked at sports and wasn’t on any of the teams. Liam was the opposite. We ran through the streets dodging people on the way, some even shouted profanities to us which we ignored. I could sense that Liam was dragging me even though I was trying really hard to make my feet move faster.
He grabbed hold of my hand and my heart skipped a beat, butterflies woken from their slumber. We were holding hands. A glorious shiver tingled through my body, and warmth flooded through my insides. Liam Maines was holding my hand. My palms were sweating but that was okay because so was his thanks to our running. My smile was evident for the world to see and my brain was floating somewhere on cloud nine.
I completely zoned out of the journey and woke up at school when Liam let go of my hand. We walked through the corridors until we arrived at a brown door with the words ‘Boys Locker Room’ engraved on the plaque. I halted my steps causing Liam to fall backwards abruptly.
“Ow! What you doing? Come on! I don’t wanna do suicides!” Liam hissed at me breathlessly.
“Liam this is the BOYS LOCKER ROOM, I can’t go in there.”
He rolled his eyes, slightly amused by the innocence to what I’ve just pointed out, I think.
“Liv, we’re late everyone’s going to be on the pitch already. It’s just me and you. I’m already half dressed. I just need to change my shirt.”
I was still hesitant but he pulled me inside before I could really think about it. The stench of sweaty boys filled my nostrils instantly. The boys locker room was similar to the girls, except dirtier but Liam was right, nobody else was here. Shower cubicles filled the right side, lockers lined the walls all around and large wooden changing benches stood in the middle. We pulled up to a large silver Locker that had ‘Liam Maines’ written across the front in white tape. He opened it up and pulled out his red jersey.
“Hmmm... we didn’t really think this through did we?”
He stated, eyeing up the handcuffs.
I twisted my lips noticing the problem. He pulled on the bottom of his t.shirt and dragged it up over his head. He threaded the t.shirt through his arm and continued until it was resting on my arm. Next he pushed the head hole over my head, instinctively I pulled my arm through the other hole so I was now wearing the t.shirt inside out.
I feel like so many things were happening in this one moment in time. My senses got overloaded. Liam was standing next to me completely shirtless. I allowed a sneaky peek as he fussed with things in his locker. His skin was perfectly smooth, his back toned in all the right places. He had two dimples lower down on his back that I had to stop myself from touching.
I toyed with my bottom lip, desperately trying to hide my attraction before Liam turned round and figured out my deepest secret. As my eyes were level with his bare back he turned round so my eyes were level with his front.
I gasped in shock as I didn’t have a chance to admire the front of his chest before a big, purple bruise distracted me. It was sprawled right to the center of his ribs and it over took his chest. The colour was so vibrant and fresh. Blues and purples blended into each other making up a massive, heart wrenching blob. Involuntarily my fingers reached out to trace the bruise, but Liam immediately flinched out of my grasp pulling hard on my wrist as his back slammed into the cold, metal locker.
My eyes flew from his face to his bruise, probably full of horror, worry, sadness and curiosity. Sapphire rings were overtaken by darkness, it was his turn to look like the small, wombed child.
“What?” he shrugged, trying to play it down. “I got a soccer ball slammed into my chest the other day. It left a bruise”
His voice was low and small as he fumbled one handed with his soccer shirt. I wasn’t sure I believed him but I was willing to take it as his answer... for now.