Everyone else seems to be posting short stories, and truth be told, I'm not up to writing a full journal entry right now. So, here's a little fluffy something I wrote this summer. Concrit is fantastic, people!
Fuck Everything Up
“You always have to fuck everything up, don’t you?”
In a fury, Kara Hudson turned on her heel and slammed the bedroom door behind her. It took her a moment or two to remember to breathe, and she gratefully took in several gulps of the cool, fresh air streaming through her open window. Still breathing hard, she collapsed onto her bed, facedown, reflexively inhaling the familiar scent of her sheets. “What the fuck is her problem?” she murmured bitterly into the mattress, feeling her eyes filling with hot, angry tears.
Maybe it was irrational of her to be this angry with her mother, but Kara still couldn’t help feeling justified. Her mother had the uncanny ability to say the exact wrong thing at the exact wrong time, to react the exact wrong way. And then there were her attempts to reason with her daughter, her patronizing “logic” that she somehow thought infallible. Her approach to everything was so ridiculously, close-mindedly, idiotically rational that it made Kara want to scream.
“My first real inspiration in… fuck, I don’t know, months,” said Kara, still mumbling to herself and her bed, fists clenched, “and she fucking comes in here and starts talking about this motherfucking play that she thinks I want to go to, and then she says that it’s a matinee, and when I told her I was gonna spend the day with Jem, she said ‘well, I told you it was a matinee…’” Kara mimicked her mother’s voice, high and nasal. “Fucker. No, you didn’t tell me, you’re not always right, and just because I wanted an afternoon to myself, it doesn’t mean I’m staging a fucking revolution.”
The thing that really enraged Kara about the whole thing was that, as if her mother hadn’t done enough to shatter her inspiration and the flow of her writing, that she had then embarked on a tirade about Jem, and how she’d never liked the girl and really didn’t approve of how much time Kara was spending with her. “Fucker,” Kara murmured again, the sting of tears beginning to subside now. Still angry at her mother, and irritated at herself for being reduced to tears, Kara sat up and wiped her face with a corner of her shirt. She gave a single longing glance to the laptop sitting on her desk, its screen swirling with colorful patterns as it waited for her to resume her work, before getting to her feet and shutting the computer’s top. She knew her own mind well enough to know that there was no way she’d be able to write that night.
Will she even let me see Jem? Kara wondered, looking absently around her room, her mind very much elsewhere. Her eyes passed over shelves upon shelves of books and old notebooks, an old but serviceable upright piano, an exquisitely made mahogany cello and its bow propped against a bookshelf, walls papered with playbills and posters and many signed group pictures from past shows.
Simply for something to do with her hands, Kara plucked the cloth from her nightstand and went over to her cello, beginning to dust it and feeling her anger slowly leave her. Instruments and music always had this effect on her, especially this cello. She’d fallen in love with the instrument at age six, and had started lessons that same year. Then had come the period her parents had made her sacrifice cello in favor of piano. Even during those months when she hadn’t been taking lessons, she had practiced doggedly on her half-sized cello, and when her parents had seen the product of all of this practicing, they had relented and allowed Kara to resume cello, even going so far as, when they realized their daughter’s talent, to buy her a full-sized instrument.
Kara’s head jerked up with a start as she heard someone rap on the door. But that was strange, because usually, after she and her parents got into a fight, everyone would keep their doors closed and cool off on their own time, and the next morning, either pretend the fight had never occurred, or continue where they had left off.
The knocking came again, and now Kara realized that it wasn’t coming from her door, but from her window. Confused and slightly apprehensive, she turned.
Barely visible against the dark sky, outside her window, she could see the silhouette of an oval-shaped head crowned with a mass of hair spiking in all directions.
“Jem!” Kara exclaimed in a whisper, hurrying to the window and pulling it open, almost forgetting to unlatch it in her haste. “What’re you doing here?”
The spiky-haired girl who had been standing on Kara’s fire escape hopped nimbly through the window into the room. “Surprised?”
“Uhm… completely. Oh, here...” Remembering herself, Kara turned on the light, which she had left off in her earlier rage.
Now that the room was lit, Kara found herself again taking in Jem’s appearance. Jem was shorter than Kara’s 5’6” by two or three inches, but she moved with a confidence that made her seem much taller. Her jet-black hair was cut short and worn in spikes going in every possible direction, the ends tipped violent. She’d gotten a slight tan in the spring and first bit of summer, turning her skin a light gold color. Her eyes were large and dark, her lashes long and every bit as black as her hair, and her mouth was somehow mischievous in its very nature. Kara’s eyes moved down Jem’s long, elegant neck—sporting a simple, also somehow-elegant black choker—and her body as subtly as she could manage, taking in the tight black leather jacket and pants, down to punk-looking knee-high black boots.
“Holy shit, Jem,” said Kara, her eyebrows vanishing into the several inches of wavy chestnut hair that hung over her forehead. “Sure you don’t want a black ski cap with eyeholes to go with that outfit? What are you doing here?”
“That should be obvious, shouldn’t it?” replied Jem easily. “I came to see you.” Kara gave her a look of incredulity. Jem sighed. “Okay, well, I… woah!” Lightening-fast, Jem dropped to a crouch to catch the neck of the cello that had finally fallen from its precarious perch against Kara’s desk, where she had hurriedly set it down to open the window.
“Thanks,” murmured Kara as Jem returned the cello to an upright, more secure position.
“Don’t mention it,” said Jem with a shrug. “Anyway… Okay, I came over because you didn’t call.”
Kara’s eyebrows went up even further as she glanced at the digital clock by her bed. “It’s only, like, twenty minutes after I was supposed to call.”
“Kara, have you met yourself lately? You’re so anal about these things that you usually call early.” Kara had to laugh at that. It was something of a joke between her and Jem, but true nonetheless. “But seriously…” Jem’s tone was concerned now. “Is everything alright? Did something happen?”
“I… It’s nothing,” said Kara, after a moment. “I was writing and my mom interrupted me. We got into a fight. She started ranting about how she doesn’t like you. My god, she has such fucking inappropriate timing I just want to strangle her sometimes…”
“Parents are bitches,” agreed Jem sympathetically, grimacing at the ceiling. “You had one of your ‘inspiration moments?’”
Kara nodded. Jem winced. “Wow, your mom really does have bad timing… If she interrupted you from one of those, I feel sorry for her.”
Kara had to give a small smile at that.
“But, anyway, on the subject of tomorrow…”
“I’m sorry,” groaned Kara. “I can’t make it. My mom’s dragging me to some stupid-ass play.”
Jem swore. “Damn it. Okay, whatever, we’ll find another time to—”
The sound of a door slamming cut her off. Kara held up a finger in a ‘one second’ gesture and stuck her head out her bedroom door, peering down the hallway. A moment later she pulled her head back in, an expression of elation of her face. “Hah, yes!” She punched the air jubilantly. “I almost forgot, Mom and Dad are staying over at Hannah’s tonight. Family friend,” she added, in response to Jem’s questioning look. “She just had a baby, and they’re going to take care of it, or something… Christ, I would never wish my mother on another child…”
“Wait,” said Jem slowly. “You mean they’ll be gone all night?”
“That’s right,” said Kara, grinning. “I finally get the house to myself! I don’t think they’re gonna be back until, like, noon tomorrow. Hah, this is awesome!”
“You… have the house to yourself?”
Something about Jem’s voice made Kara freeze. “Yeah,” she said after taking a moment to regain her composure.
“Well then, can I…” Jem moved a step closer. “Can I show you something?”
Kara looked at her curiously. “Of course.”
“Then come on.”
Kara followed Jem, dumbfounded. Jem was climbing out the still-open window onto the fire escape. “Where are we going?” Kara asked.
Jem paused halfway out the window, with her torso in the room and her feet planted on the fire escape, and met Kara’s clear blue eyes with her own, dark but, Kara thought, intelligent, lively, full of mirth… and completely sincere. “Kara, do you trust me?”
Kara held Jem’s gaze for a moment longer. “Yes,” she said finally.
“Then come on.” Pulling herself the rest of the way through the window, Jem extended a hand. Kara only hesitated for a moment before grabbing it firmly and allowing Jem to help her through the window.
“You know, I’ve never actually been up here.” The two were standing on the cold iron fire escape three stories up, and Kara was staring into her own room, a sensation she found rather disconcerting.
“Aww, Kara’s so boooo-ring,” teased Jem, earning herself a punch in the shoulder. “But seriously, come on.”
Kara paused for a moment, processing. “We’re climbing up the fire escapes?”
“Yeah,” said Jem, grinning. “Come on.”
“Jem, I dunno… I’ve never been up there before.”
“You’ve never been on your own roof?” demanded Jem, incredulous.
Kara shook her head.
“I can’t believe you!” said Jem, still grinning. “Come on, please? I promise it’ll be worth it. Please, Kare?”
A lot of her close friends called her Kare every now and then, but this was the first time Jem had ever used it. The sound of her nickname, in Jem’s voice, had a peculiar effect on Kara, sending a strange tingling from her chest down through her arms. “O-okay,” she said.
Jem’s face broke into a broad smile that Kara could see even in the blackness of the night. “Awesome. Come on. Or,” she paused, “did you want to go first?”
Kara shrugged. “I’ll follow you.”
“Okay then,” said Jem, clapping her hands together in a businesslike manner. She vaulted acrobatically and rather unnecessarily onto the next set of stairs and picked her way up them with remarkable speed.
“Slow down,” Kara groaned. Jem just laughed.
It wasn’t until she reached the fire escape of the ninth floor did Kara realize that she hadn’t looked down once in the entire climb, too distracted by keeping up with Jem. But, shrugging the thought away, she hoisted herself up the last few steps and onto the roof.
“Wow,” Kara murmured softly. She found herself staring at a gigantic full moon, burning fierce silver in the indigo sky, dotted with a multitude of stars, diminished versions of that same silver light. The stillness was astounding and exhilarating, even better than an empty house. Even the air was fresher up here, cooler, freer.
“Great, isn’t it?” came Jem’s voice from somewhere unseen. Kara moved forward to find Jem sitting on the ground with her back against a wall protruding from the middle of the roof, one side of the door back into the building. Jem was facing the moon, staring up at it with a peaceful expressing on her face.
“Yeah, it is,” said Kara softly, coming to sit beside her.
Neither of them spoke for a long minute.
“Toldja it’d be worth it,” said Jem finally, grinning.
Both resumed staring at the heavens. After a moment, Kara felt something warm on her hand, and looked down. Jem’s fingertips were nudging hers. She felt the strange tingling again, in reverse this time, a fizzing warmth spreading from her fingertips to the rest of her body. She opened her hand, and Jem slid hers into it. The two stayed like that for another long moment.
There it was again, that strange, anticipatory tingle that ran down her spine at the sound her of her nickname spoken in Jem’s voice. Kara turned to face the other girl, still clasping her hand.
“Look, Kara, I…” Jem paused, fumbling for words. She looked to the side, at the moon, and drew a deep breath, before turning back to face Kara. “Kara,” she began again, staring unreservedly into Kara’s eyes, “We haven’t known each other for that long, but I still really, really like you. I was immediately drawn to you, and I think you’re a great person. And I want you to stop me if I’m moving too fast, okay?”
Kara nodded mutely, not sure what she wanted Jem to say next and not trusting herself to speak.
“And I,” Jem continued, faltering again, “I know that you…” She broke off and looked down. Kara squeezed her hand encouragingly, not quite sure why she still held it, but with a sneaking suspicion that didn’t do anything at all to allay the periodic shivers running down her spine.
Jem met her eyes again, emboldened. “I know that you like boys, and I don’t want to push you or make you do anything you don’t want to do, but…” She paused for a moment more, and her eyes flicked up to the sky, then back down to Kara’s, meeting them steadily. “I like you, Kara. I really like you. And, stop me if you don’t want to, but…”
Jem released Kara’s hand and slid herself closer. Slowly, she brought her head towards Kara’s, and when their faces were an inch apart and each could feel the other’s breathing, Jem met Kara’s eyes again.
Kara couldn’t think straight, was confused and scared out of her wits. Yet, she also knew what she wanted to happen. And she knew that Jem could see that.
And Jem did, because the next second, she had closed the gap between them, and her lips were on Kara’s.
Heat flooded Kara’s body, and the tingling sensation, except magnified a thousand times. It felt as if her chest was being compressed and she couldn’t breathe, but it was the most wonderful suffocation she had ever experienced. Jem’s lips were so wonderfully soft and warm…
Jem pulled away slowly and met Kara’s eyes again, searching them, waiting for approval or rejection. The moonlight cast a pale silver glow on Jem’s face, and Kara looked at it, really looked at it. She traced every curve and line with her eyes, the small rounded nose, the average-size ears, the long eyelashes that framed two deep-set eyes, the graceful curve of her lips and cheeks and chin… And then she leaned in and kissed her again.
The kiss was deeper this time, more intense. Kara’s eyes fluttered closed and sparks were practically bursting behind them as she gave herself over to the kiss entirely. Her lips parted slightly and she felt Jem’s tongue, deliciously trailing along the inside of her mouth and moving in circles around her own tongue. Her hands moved of their own accord as they found the small of Jem’s back and pressed her forward, even as Jem grasped the back of Kara’s head, her fingers entwining themselves in the silky red-brown hair, and pulling Kara in to deepen the kiss.
Kara felt her lip being drawn into Jem’s mouth for the briefest of seconds, and then Jem’s tongue was running along her lips again. Kara’s breath caught in her throat, and she again surrendered herself to the ecstasy that was the other girl’s lips on hers.
She and Jem slowly withdrew, breathing slightly faster than normal. “Jem, that was… Wow.”
Jem said nothing, but a slow smile formed on her lips. She reached out and tenderly ran a thumb across Kara’s cheek, causing more tingling. “You’re amazing, do you know that?” she finally said, very softly. And she leaned forward in the silvery moonlight and gave Kara one more kiss.