Devil on Sea

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A First Kiss

Chapter 10
A First Kiss

'I hate it when she's in her Quite Contrary state!' The head orderly grumbled loudly, grabbing one of Mary's wrists too tightly and pinching her skin against the arm of the chair. The staff at the home were doing their best to hold her down as Mary muttered to herself, occasionally twisting one way or another. One of the nurses who was holding her down, waiting for someone with a sedative to arrive, turned off the TV with an outstretched toe; the cause for Mary’s current condition. It was an advert for perfume that had set Mary off, or at least instigated the conflict still raging inside her mind. It wasn’t the perfume itself, more the content of the advert that had caused the internal argument between Mary’s voices. The advert had involved two people kissing and this had flared up a long buried memory, by her anxious mind, of her first own kiss. Her anxious side had waded deep into the mire of Mary’s sub-consciousness in the search of this memory and once her rational mind realised what it was trying to do, Quite Contrary had come out to play. Quite Contrary was merely the name given to Mary's outward manifestation of the internal argument going on in her mind - her rational voice and anxious voice arguing and fighting for dominance over the other - not that the staff knew what was going on inside. As Mary’s rational voice told her anxious voice to,

Put that memory down; we’ve no need to open that now, Mary outwardly shouted at one of the other residents,

'Put down the TV remote! You don’t need to use that now!'

Her anxious counterpart responded with internal laughter,

No! This is the proof that I’m right, this caused Mary to giggle to herself and say,

‘No, I want this!’ and grab the TV remote from the other patient, holding it to her chest tightly.

When Mary Quite Contrary came out many of the other patients in the home got overly agitated, and it was this which had caused the staff of the home to quickly sedate Mary whenever she began arguing with herself; as they were currently doing now that the orderly with the sedative had arrived.

When Mary first arrived at the institute they had tried to talk to her different voices, and her rational mind had jumped at the opportunity. To do this they subjected Mary to hypnosis and whilst under it had given complete control over Mary’s body to the voices in her head; instead of the limited control they had when Mary gave up fighting them. Whichever voice spoke when under hypnosis, the other was given free control over Mary’s unconscious body. So whilst her rational mind conversed with the hypnotherapist, she would often be lashing out violently with her anxious mind in control of the flailing limbs. Mary's sessions trying to engage her perceived personalities soon ended after the therapist on hand had had enough of the violence sent their way. Her rational mind had learnt from this experience and no longer engaged the staff when its anxious counterpart, Nervy, was trying to resume control, thus meaning Mary was rarely ever violent, certainly not in the presence of orderlies: a fact the staff had never bothered to notice. Instead, all they ever did was sedate her and take her to her room. Had they ever given her an EEG whilst she slept through the sedation, not that there would ever be any cause to, they’d be alarmed by the activity going on inside her brain; as her two minds wrestled over memories.

Mary’s rational mind was currently attempting to do to her anxious counterpart what the sedative was now doing to Mary’s body; make her still. Finally, her anxious mind found the memory and her rational mind gave up the fight in defeat, knowing there was nothing more it could do until Nervy had finished tormenting itself, and Mary, with the memory. Had Mary not currently been sedated the staff would have seen what they called Miss Muffet take control, but thanks to Mary’s new “treatment” of sedation they didn’t. In fact, they hadn’t seen Miss Muffet in a long time and this was mainly due to her appearance happening only after a bout of Quite Contrary, if her anxious mind won. The doctors had been congratulating themselves over the year for the breakthrough they had achieved with Mary when in actuality Mary was worse than ever. Licking its wounds Mary’s rational mind went back to regulating a now fully sedated Mary, leaving her anxious mind to delight in the memory it had uncovered.

The memory Nervy was revelling in was the day of Mary’s first high school Christmas disco. Each year-group of the school had their own one and the first years, or “sprogs” as the older kids called them, had theirs first. Mary had been looking forward to the disco ever since she’d first heard about it in October. They’d been working on decorations in art classes for most of November and Mary’s work had been selected as the star for the tree. She was awfully proud but more than that, Jamie had smiled at her when the announcement had been made.

Jamie, Mary thought at some point every day, with her hands clasped behind her back and swaying on her tip-toes. Mary had a crush on Jamie; “big style” as Michelle put it. He lived a few houses down from her on the estate and they often caught the bus together. Whilst they didn’t really talk much at school, or even outside of school, he always waited for her at the bus stop; or so Mary thought. It never crossed Mary’s mind that he was merely catching the same bus as her. Mary had been discussing Jamie with her girl-friends for the last month, and a young Mary now thought back to when last they had all spoken about him, whilst she continued to get ready for the Christmas party.

‘So have you asked Jamie to the dance?’ Michelle teased as the four girls walked down the street together in pairs. The sunshine was a brilliant white in the sky as they matched each other's steps in the freshly fallen light snow. Mary was in the front pair as the four of them walked the short route to Michelle's home.

‘No, not yet. I don’t need to. The plan is all worked out.’ Mary replied with her head held high. The other three girls all drew in a sharp intake of breath, as if Mary had just told them she was actually royalty and they were all coming to live with her in Disneyland.

I really am enjoying being centre of attention, for a change. She thought, trying to hide a grin.

It’ll end badly. Came the now ever present anxious voice inside her mind.

Quiet, Nervy. Not now. Mary thought back in annoyance, her face wrinkling as she did so. No-one had yet noticed how often Mary wrinkled her face in annoyance, often for no tell-tale reason.

‘So, come on,’ Rachel said, tugging at Mary’s arm which was linked with her own, ‘spill the beans.’ Mary blushed and walked on in silence for a few moments more, smile radiating from her face and listening to the crunching of the snow beneath her feet. Finally she burst and let out a childish noise of glee; a sound not too dissimilar to one a mouse would make as it climaxed.

‘We’re to be married!’ Mary shouted, turning around to face all her friends at once and continuing to walk backwards. All three of the other girls chimed in with their own versions of small mammalian orgasm noises.

‘Can I be maid of honour?’ Fran asked, a dour looking girl who was linked in arms with Michelle, and someone not fully aware of the difference between a bridesmaid and maid of honour; but understanding the word honour was an important one, if not what a maid was. Mary shot her a look that suggested she’d be lucky to get an invite to the evening event.

‘When is the big day?’ Michelle asked, looking back to Mary from giving Fran a look of annoyance. Mary turned back to facing the way they were all walking, after nearly falling into the road when she had just stepped off a kerb and into a pool of slush.

‘Well nothing is finalised just yet.’ Mary continued, proud of the way she was holding court amongst her most trusted friends, even with a gait now hampered by a cold wet foot. ‘Jamie’s not asked for my hand in marriage yet but I’m thinking January? Did I tell you he invited me over to his house to meet his parents a few days ago?’

Mary shook her head clear of the memory and looked at herself in the mirror, fixing the bow in her hair more to one side and allowing a huge grin to spread across her face. It was true that only a week before the disco Jamie had invited her over to his house to do some homework together, and that Mary had thought it was so she could meet his parents, which she was more than happy to do. Jamie, however, knew it was really because he was terrible at maths and Mary wasn’t. So they did their homework together, or at least Mary did hers and Jamie copied. Mary was in such bliss she didn’t even notice the fact she never got to meet either of Jamie’s parents. She also never commented on the fact that she was smuggled in and out through the back door. Even now, as she remembered her conversation with her friends, she was still oblivious to these facts.

Still, today is the big day! Mary thought to herself with childish glee, before looking serious and messing with the bow in her hair once more. After checking herself for the hundredth time in the mirror she finally approved of her looks and got her mum to give her a lift to the school. She had arrived early, barely an hour after school had finished, and helped with the final touches around the hall; despite being in her best dress. The dress code was casual but Mary was convinced everyone would be making an effort, so she was dressed to impress.

It is a party after all. She thought; trying to convince herself as she helped a teacher move tables to the edges of the hall. Mary was wearing a frilly red dress, red sandal-shoes, and her styled hair was topped off with a little red bow. Mary looked like she’d just walked out of a fairy-tale; at least that is what her mum had told her when she finally walked down the stairs. Mary had been so nervous she’d been unable to eat much that evening but as she now helped set up the decorations she happily munched on a bag of crisps. Slowly, the rest of her year began to arrive. Arrive dressed in jeans, t-shirts, baggy jumpers, and other casual wear. Mary hardly noticed, at first. But one by one, as more of her fellow classmates arrived, that small part of her mind that was always anxious began to speak up.

Something’s not right here, Mary.

Be quiet Nervy, this is just the riff raff of the school anyway. They probably can’t afford nice clothes. Mary thought, mistrusting of her own argument. Especially as the head teacher’s daughter had just arrived in a t-shirt that showed Ozzy Osborne biting the head off a bat. Before Mary had time to contemplate the t-shirt further she saw him, Jamie, and her knees went weak. He was wearing a tracksuit and was pushing casual to a level that even the school counsellor would be uncomfortable with, but to Mary he was dashing. His hair was cropped short and whilst Mary thought it was because he was macho, suave, and debonair - a word she’d only recently discovered thanks to one of mommy’s books - it was actually because he was already starting to go bald. There were also a couple of other words Mary had gleaned from her mother’s books currently whizzing through her mind as she continued to stare at Jamie, but she didn’t know what most of them meant and they made her feel funny in her stomach, and a little lower down. Mary didn’t notice anybody else in the hall in that moment. Not the DJ setting up the music, not her giggling friends beside her, not the crowd of boys around Jamie, and most certainly not the object in his hand that group was staring at; an object which quickly made its way into his pocket when one of the supervising teachers walked by. Mary wanted to run over to him straight away, titter as he stared open mouthed at her in her dress, and then kiss him quickly just as he began to talk to her, but her quickly developing rational mind held her back.

Play it cool, Mary. A voice thought; a voice more authoritative than the one Mary normally heard. With resolve wavering like a priest at a lap dancing bar, Mary finally managed to turn away from him and join in the conversation with her friends, doing her best to ignore Jamie’s presence at the other end of the hall.

Many songs later, and with a good number of soft drinks guzzled, Mary, on an impulse brought about from a caffeine laden sugar rush, suddenly decided she was going to ask Jamie to dance.

It’s now or never. She thought to herself as she stared at him from across the spacious hall room floor. Everyone in the room had managed to separate themselves into smaller groups around the edges of the hall but there was one distinct division running straight down the centre. The boys were on the right; the girls were on the left. Only a few daredevils from either gender traversed the barren wastelands between the two sexes, and Mary was trying to work up the nerve to be one of those few. Then, almost as if her prayers were answered, Jamie broke away from his group and walked slowly across the empty centre of the hall. Mary stared at him slack-jawed and in awe.

He’s coming to see me! She thought, eyes watering slightly: eyes unable to see that whilst Jamie was crossing over to her side of the room, his trajectory was taking him nowhere near her. As Mary continued to watch him she played with the bow in her hair and was not the least bit phased when he stopped in front of a snack-laden table a hundred yards away from her. Then a smile sneakily snuck its way onto her face. Smooth. He wants me to go and talk to him without him looking desperate. Mary went to join him, doing her best to hide her smile but failing.

‘Hey Jamie.’ Mary said as she sidled up to him, smoothing out her dress and re-fixing her bow for the hundredth time. Jamie, concentrating on whether to go for sherbet UFOs or sugar coated worms, didn’t hear her. ‘Hi?’ Mary ventured again, undeterred. This time Jamie did hear her and he looked up, yellow worm hanging from between his teeth. He slurped the worm noisily through his lips before replying,

‘Hey erm?’ Disinterest danced in his eyes as did the lights from the DJ’s booth.

‘Mary.’

‘Yeah, Mary. Wanna see something cool?’

I’m already looking at the coolest thing on the planet. Mary thought to herself, concerned that anything else would just sully the moment. She shook her head slightly and even though disappointment settled on Jamie’s face Mary didn’t see it. She smiled sweetly and cleared her throat, hoping it would somehow give her courage.

‘Want to have a dance?’ She asked before hearing laughter behind her. Instantly her anxious voice shouting up in response,

Why would he want to dance with you? But as always, in the presence of Jamie, Mary was able to quash it quite easily. Jamie looked over her shoulder, sheepishly, before turning back and grabbing a fistful of MnM’s.

‘Maybe later, okay?’ He said as he ran past her to join the giggling crowd. Mary stood there by the snacks alone, for the first time in her life allowing her anxious voice to speak to her unchecked.

Now you’ve scared him off. He’s probably laughing about us with his friends. Mary wasn’t really listening as her own thoughts were beating loudly inside her head.

Why has Jamie rejected me, it doesn’t make sense? We were to be wed next month! Confusion gave way to rage but as she balled up her fists the new rational voice spoke gently to her, for the second time.

He said later. Mary stood there, confusion wrinkled across her unblemished face: a face yet to be visited by the horrors of puberty's acne.

Of course! Mary finally thought in reply, fists uncurling and clapping together in front of her, no doubt Jamie is telling his friends now that he is saving the last dance for me! With her heart all a flutter Mary grabbed another can of coke and topped up her already high caffeine and sugar levels. She then went to rejoin her friends, taking them each a Curly Wurly, and tried to pass the time until last dance.

The classics rang out for the era and Mary did her best to keep her mind away from Jamie. Her anxious voice had mumbled itself back quiet again and at last she was beginning to enjoy herself. She chatted idly to her friends - when she could hear them over the music - she danced, and she kept sneaking secret glances at Jamie. The food that the school had put on, even if the parents had funded most of it, was fantastic; to Mary’s mind. Sandwiches with no crusts, party rings - which were a sweet Mary had never seen before but that she'd be pestering her mum to buy from now on - chocolate fingers - a personal favourite of Mary’s if only because they were Jamie’s favourite - and an assortment of other sugar coated sweets. There was also an array of flavoured crisps, including some brown sticks known as Twiglets. Mary had tried them at the start of the night, after seeing Jamie eat a fistful, but she had nearly gagged, spitting the resulting mush from her mouth into the nearest bin and hoping no-one had seen her. The music continued to roll through the assorted collection of classics, each song passing making Mary painfully aware that they were one more closer to the last dance.

Our dance. Wham, George Michael, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, they kept on rolling through. Finally, the last song was announced and Mary’s heart fluttered. From the speakers the DJ mumbled, almost incoherently,

‘And for the last dance we have another by George Michael, Careless Whisper.’ On hearing those words Mary’s breath was taken away and she glanced across the dance floor to Jamie. Jamie was looking her way with resigned eyes, head slightly cowed, but all Mary saw was love. As she glided on air across the empty dance floor, Jamie trudged towards her with his head held down; ignoring the laughter from the mates he was leaving in his wake. They met in the middle and Jamie offered a slimy hand.

One too many sticky sweets, that will change soon, Mary thought as she took it in her own. As the song began she leaned in close, for him to hold her as they swayed out of step to the music. To Mary it was four minutes of pure bliss; to Jamie it felt like four hours of Hell.

The lights, perfect. The song, perfect. Jamie, as always, perfect. Mary thought as her emotions were carried high on a wave of euphoria; underpinned by caffeine and sugar. As the music slowly quietened, the lights slowly brightened, and with her head on Jamie’s shoulder, he whispered to her the same question he asked her before.

‘Wanna see something cool?’ Mary nodded and mumbled something inbetween a sigh and an okay; not wanting to let him go. She finally did, realising the music had finally ended and they were fast becoming the only two left on the dance floor; unaware that there had only ever been two other couples on the dance floor to begin with.

And now comes the kiss, letting out a contented sigh Mary closed her eyes and leant forward with lips puckered, expectantly. In the meantime Jamie had gone to his pocket and pulled out the object Mary had not noticed previously. An object which her lips were now firmly pressed against. An object that was both slimy and cold.

Are boy's lips always this gross? And was that a ribbit? Mary thought as she opened her eyes to laughter and the sight of green; green that blinked. As the frog swam into focus before Mary's eyes she realised her lips were still pressing firmly against the slimy skin, and she stepped back, horrified.

What the Hell? Mary and Nervy thought with unified disgust. Mary's mouth hung agape in shock and with expletives about to erupt from within. Expletives halted only by the frog which, seeing a chance to escape from its tormentor for the past three hours, jumped straight into Mary’s open mouth. By now everyone was stood staring at Mary. Staring and laughing. Even Jamie, Mary now saw with tears in her eyes and a catch in her throat.

What’s going on? This is a dream. A nightmare. It’s not REAL! She gagged loudly creating a sound that was not too dissimilar to a “ribbit” and the laughter swelled. With a combination somewhere between spitting, and vomiting, Mary deposited the frog on the floor and stamped, hard. Slipping on the now disembowelled frog Mary fell forwards towards Jamie who, unbelievably to Mary, made no attempt to grab her; although he did grab his sides with laughter she noted as her face passed level with his waist. Mary landed heavily on her side and still the laughter grew. Her world shrunk and she felt the first tear begin the long journey across her lightly powdered cheek. Her anxious mind began to chirp, loudly.

This is revenge for embarrassing him. Embarrassing him by making him dance. Are we going to stand for this? Go on, get him back. Drawing on mental strength she didn’t know she had, Mary slowly rose to her feet, looked Jamie straight in the eye, sniffed back a sob, and declared loud enough for everyone to hear an expletive her anxious mind had been encouraging her to say since she'd fallen to the floor.

‘I hope your next shit is a pineapple!’ The room, which had gone quiet as she rose, burst into fresh laughter and Jamie stood there in shock. Mary was nearly thrown into shock herself but seized the opportunity to regain some dignity. Adjusting her bow and holding her head high Mary stormed out of the hall with an air of smugness; the smugness of someone who has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. An air that was ever so slightly dented by her wobble halfway to the door as her foot slipped on entrails still stuck to the bottom of her shoe. Once outside the hall, and away from the staring eyes, Mary finally burst into the tears she’d been holding back. When one of the teachers came out to check on her, and she saw he had the ghost of a smile still playing on his lips, Mary ran. She didn’t stop running, or crying, until she got home. And her anxious mind didn’t stop berating her until she finally fell asleep on her tear stained pillow many hours later.

Unfortunately for Mary she was now to be nicknamed “Frogger”, for the rest of her school life. A nickname she would try to change numerous times but in which she would have had better luck in trying to staple running water to a slab of ice. As she continued to lay there sedated in her bedroom in the institute, a tear slowly crept down her right cheek.

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