You're poking me
I shuffled under the duvet in a sleepy haze, my mom was back, poking me to wake up.
“Quit poking me.” I said groggily, keeping my eyes closed tight.
“What?” a voice whispered back, equally as slumberous.
“You’re poking me.” I said again, more irritated this time.
A sudden alacritous movement backwards on the bed made my eyes dart open and my senses came to life. A blast of oud wood and fresh vanilla suffocated my insides bringing me back to the now and I remembered he had stayed the night. With heavy eyes I turned around to face Liam who frantically patted the duvet down between us in an attempt to build a barrier. Messy chestnut hair stuck up in random places all over his head and his cheeks were tinged a beautiful shade of pink, clearly ashamed about something. I’ve never seen him truly embarrassed before and I found it to be quite endearing.
“I.. uh..” he struggled to get out his words, I watched fascinated as he squirmed with awkwardness. “it’s not you... well it could be you... but it’s just” blush crept over him even more so as he rubbed the back of his neck. “it happens every morning, to every guy.”
My eyes widened as I realize what he was talking about, my face now mirroring his embarrassment, as bright as it could possibly get. I threw my hands over my face in an attempt to hide from the situation.
“I’m going to go sort myself out.”
“ew!” I screeched in horror.
“With a cold shower Liv.” He replied in a straight tone and I can almost hear his eye roll behind my hands. I listened as he shuffled out of my room and closed the bathroom door.
I sat at the breakfast counter tucking into my cereal as Liam pulled up a seat next to me. I didn’t look at him for the longest time and the atmosphere between us was so tense. Finally I plucked up the courage to strike a conversation.
“I’m surprised you stayed the whole night.”
“Wish I didn’t now” he mumbled under his breath and I knew I wasn’t meant to hear that.
I needed to lighten the tone. “I thought my mom was poking me to wake up.” I was brave enough to look at him and shoot him a playful smile.
“Oh Liv, don’t.” he lifted his hand to hide his eyes but he wore a smile on his face like he was amused. “You mistook my dick for your mom?” I nodded my head and we both burst out laughing, relieved the awkwardness between us had melted away.
“I have to call home first to change my clothes, you wait out here. Don’t come in okay?”
“yeah, just go.”
He looked at me unsure, hesitating to leave but then eventually turned to walk up his path. From the outside his house looked similar to mine, it should since it was only down the street. It appeared older with dull paint work that peeled away in certain areas, missing roof slates and an unkempt garden. I could see yellow tinged curtains hanging in the windows and I figured they were really old and had been exposed to cigarette smoke. Beer cans lay astray over the lawn and there was a broken chest fridge sitting to the right of the path. I got chills just looking at it, this wasn’t a happy home.
Liam came into my field of view as he exited his house slamming the door behind him in an aggressive manner. His whole posterior had changed, he now looked at me through dark eyes which guarded his emotions tightly.
“You good?” I tested the waters.
“Yeah, my balls are smelling fresh now I’ve changed my underwear.” he hopped on his bike and geared up the engine as I gripped onto a cold, hard embrace.
As I walked into school with Liam by my side I sensed all eyes on me, I could hear whispers as I passed crowds of people, some more discrete than others. I glanced up at Liam who seemed completely oblivious but my my heart was thumping so fast it made me feel nauseous and I knew I wasn’t imagining things.
“Catch you later Liv.” he said as we parted ways, he headed down the corridor to meet his friends and I hid my face inside of my locker to get away from all of the watching eyes.
“What the hell? I tried calling and texting you like a million times yesterday. You have some explaining to do young lady” Tia practically pounced on me.
“I haven’t checked my phone. What’s up?” I asked completely perplexed.
“What do you mean what’s up?” She spoke with a tone and searched through her phone before pushing the picture of Liam & I under my nose.
Oh. He had chosen one we hadn’t posed for. He looked into the camera, smiling wide showing all of his immaculate, straight teeth and I looked at him with a smile across my face. It was a cute candid shot, the kind of photo that someone would caption ‘grab a girl that looks at you the way Olivia looks at Liam.’ My hand rested under my chin but you could barely see it through the hints of leather. He put a simple fire emoji as the caption and the photo had 3,746 likes which climbed higher right before my eyes.
Comments flooded in, too many to read but scanning through I noticed loads mentioning me wearing his jacket, some arguing that he picked me when he could of had them, some just posting peaches and eggplants, others shipping our ‘relationship.’ I bit my bottom lip to suppress my smile.
“I invited him round to hang out yesterday, as friends. Didn’t I tell you that?” I tried to sound as casual as I possibly could, I didn’t want Tia to read too much into it but I think that ship had sailed.
“No you didn’t. What happened? Why were you wearing his jacket? He never posts pictures of girls on his Instagram? Did you have sex?” I held my hand up to stop her fast firing questions, I felt like I was in the hot seat.
“Look, it’s no big deal. We didn’t have sex, we didn’t do anything, we’re just friends. He came round. We watched movies. I tried on his jacket for like one second. We took pictures. That’s it.”
Her expression changed and she looked at me a little too long. “What?” I asked her, getting fed up with the interrogation now.
“I’m worried about you Liv. After what happened with Ben, I just have a bad feeling about this. I think he’s trying to get close to you so he can take advantage of you, he’s not the type to go round to a girls house to ‘hang out’ post cute pictures online and let you try on his jacket. Why would you even want to be friends with him anyway after what he did to H?”
Her words dampened my spirits but I knew she didn’t understand. She only sees what Liam wants her to see. This friendship... it felt real and I had to trust my instincts.
“It’s complicated” I shut my locker and walked towards my first lesson, cutting off the conversation right then and there.
“Heard you got lucky last night?” Harris teased as I flopped down in my seat next to him. I stared at him with a straight face that silently asked him if he was serious. He held his hands up in defense chuckling to himself.
“He’s not always like that you know?” I nodded towards his eye feeling a twang of guilt because I was friends with someone who hurt my other friend for no particular reason.
“We all have our bad days Liv, forget about it.” Harris replied sincerely. He is such a decent guy. “You looking forward to the lock in?”
Ugh, the lock in. Every year our dumb school does a ‘lock in’ event where the student body takes part in a sponsored sleepover in the gymnasium to raise funds for the sports clubs. It’s mandatory attendance and it’s basically one huge breeding ground. Not pleasant at all.
“No way, I hate them.”
Harris laughed “me too.”