Author: Eskimo Jo
Pairing(s): Naomi/Michelle, Naomi/Emily, Cook/Katie, Tony/Michelle; appearances by other Gen1/2.
Warning: language, sexuality.
Fanmix: one and two; also score.
Summary: Set after Disintegration. Naomi's trying to make a new life in London with the Stonems but when a girl from Tony's past enters her world, old demons are drawn to the surface. A trip home to Bristol for Freddie's memorial further complicates the present situation as she is confronted with her past face to face. Post-S4, Naomi-centric.
Notes: Loads after the cut.
Thank You: directly to April Pearson for being my inspiring, wonderful, sexy dream wife/muse. Reality, schamality. If dreams were safe, they wouldn't really be dreams. They'd just be plans. ('Ed'). Also mega thanks to amazing Shan for giving me the boost I so desperately needed to summon the courage to post this. I mean, everyone's encouragement has been so lovely. I hope I don't disappoint anyone. :) x
Disclaimer: The names of all characters contained here-in are the property of Skins, Company Pictures, & Channel4. No infringements of these copyrights are intended, and are used here without permission.
DOWNLOAD PDF: normal format || book format - I recommend the PDF over the web-version. Tho there are likely typos and such in it (I'm not perfect).
I absolutely despise having to post this in so many pieces (I don't write in LJ-character-count-friendly chapters), but I assume it'll be about 7 "chapters" long, so as to not flood everyone's f-list, I'll do it day by day. The whole thing is finished, but spamming people isn't cool. (April Fool's! Apparently. Ugh. I'm sorry.)
Introductory Notes: As stated above, this is a sequel to Disintegration and I know I promised happier times for Emily and Naomi. This is how I do it. Don't hate me, Naomily shippers. This had to be done to appease my wild cracky fantasies. (Though perhaps more truthfully, it really only resulted in adding fuel to what had been embers and is now a forest fire.) There is Naomi/Emily in this, but it's primarily a Naomi story, and thus a Naomi/Michelle one too. I hope by the end, everyone is content tho. I know I am, heh, but that doesn't really count for much, does it?
Really, if you can't be bothered to read the first story, long story short: All you need to know is that Emily and Naomi tried to fix their relationship after S4, and that ultimately failed & broke both their hearts which resulted in Naomi ending it just as they were about to leave to Goa and running away to London to be with Effy. Oh, and Sid and Naomi are sort of mates. It makes sense if you read it, but heh, I think that's enough general background to this fic.
And yes, it's illustrated in the web-version. I made the tumblr graphics, so why not use em? ;)
A fair word of warning: To really get this story, you cannot hate Michelle. Can. Not. You will not enjoy this at all, and it'll make no sense. Really, you have to understand Michelle's character as she appeared on the programme as more than just a stuck-up, whiny, needy 'bitch'. That isn't all there is to Michelle. I'm not saying everyone should go around reading deconstructions of her character in order to understand this (It would help, ngl.) But the more important question to ask is why Michelle behaved in the ways she did. If you understand what's happening deep beneath Michelle's constructed persona, you'll have no problem with this. The reason I'm warning you of this is because this story is very much from Naomi's point of view. We only see Michelle as Naomi does, so many of her insecurities, issues and motivations may not be clear and in order to accept and grasp why certain things are happening or why she does what she does, it helps not to have a negative, preconceived bias against Michelle. I know, I know, a good writer wouldn't worry about this cos the characters will be dealt with in the story and everything would make sense. But there's a reason I write fanfic and am not a real writer. ;) I guess the good news is that if you've even clicked this link, you probably don't hate Michelle so maybe I'm just preaching to the choir. Who knows. But please, in short, just read it with an open mind for Michelle. She's not as one-dimensional as she appears. If you're not sold on my interpretation, or would like to know more about it, check out this mix which is pretty much her in a basic nutshell to me.
If you like it, please let me know cos I'm very, erm, terrified? Yeah, pretty much terrified of posting it. I worked quite hard on this and I'm a little bit proud so no nasty shit, k? (Like some of the crap that I get on tumblr, ugh.) If you hate it, fair enough, no worries but don't just flame me. But I'll never be upset about constructive criticism.
Title adapted from a song I don't really like, Francesqa - A Little Closer.
Finally, feel free to ignore the massively pretentious endnotes. LOL. It's sort of a bibliography as well since I've provided links to all the texts that I borrowed from. I have issues and have written far too many essays lately. It's a by-product of that and my own inflated sense of cleverness, lol. I'm sure most of you don't need them anyway.
ECHOES (sing me a love song & i'll sing it right back to you)
Both must give something, happiness, as precisely what is not exchangeable, not open to complaint, but such giving is inseparable from taking. All is over if what one finds for the other no longer reaches him. There is no love that is not an echo.
~ Theodor Adorno
The first time Naomi becomes aware of Michelle Richardson's actual existence, it's mid-afternoon on a lazy Saturday and some girl is talking rather loudly in Tony's bedroom. His flimsy wooden door doesn't work exceptionally well as a sound barrier and the female voice sounds alternately irritated and excited. Ever since breaking up with his last flavour of the month, Paige --a particularly insufferable twat of a girl-- he's had random ladies over almost every night. She normally doesn't really pay much mind if Anthea and Effy don't, but the tone of this conversation has a much more distinctive air of familiarity to it and that makes Naomi more curious than usual. She doesn't realise she's stood outside the bedroom until Effy floats by, pauses beside the blonde for a moment and rolls her eyes.
“Michelle,” she states and carries on towards the staircase, down to the sitting room. Naomi turns away and follows her friend, but keeps an ear on the conversation as long as she can. Effy slumps down on the settee and flicks through the television channels, turning up the volume when she settles on Channel4.
It's been this way for almost 2 years now. Maybe just over one and a half, really. After abandoning Emily at the airport in Bristol, Naomi had made her way straight to London and found Anthea Stonem to be far more accommodating than she had expected. With relief, she had explained about leaving Bristol behind with its memories, nosy neighbours, unscrupulous press and general gossip and how this hospital was specialized for their needs. Naomi found herself easily talking with the older woman. Within a week, she was offered a room in their new flat if she would pay room & board, and help take care of an ailing Effy whenever she was released from hospital. It was an offer Naomi couldn't refuse, especially since it was quite conveniently close to Goldsmiths where she was going to start her Honours BA in Politics and Sociology in a matter of weeks. It had turned out to be the perfect amount of time to settle into London life and her almost-adopted family. Needless to say, Gina hadn't been too fond of the situation at first but came around about two weeks into October, met Anthea and somewhat grudgingly accepted the detour that her daughter's life had taken.
A week before Effy had come home from hospital, Tony Stonem had bustled his way through the front door, dropped several heavy suitcases in the corridor and announced to Naomi that he was moving back in for his sister. The younger girl had just stared at him with a mixture of confusion and suspicion until real introductions had taken place. During the winter break of her first term, Tony and Anthea led a cautious and frail looking Effy through the doors of her new home. She had been shocked to see Naomi sprawled out on the sofa with lecture notes spread around her like massive confetti, as if she hadn't believed Naomi during her numerous visits to the institution. Naomi still remembers the smile that Effy gave her that day, and it made her certain that her choice had been the correct one.
They had spent hours together from that point onwards, most of it was Naomi speaking, drawling on about some fascinating subject or alternately, they'd sit in silence together. Tony especially had been instrumental in Effy's first stages of supposed recovery and she and him had shared the task of easing Effy through the darkest stages of her journey. It had been during that time that Naomi had wiped away more tears than she ever knew a human could produce. It broke her heart when Effy would cry like that. A hopeless, empty wail. But her heart would mend quickly as she went about comforting her friend, with a soft, grounding touch, a hug, a cup of tea. It was a skill she hadn't even realised she possessed. Even the Iron Queen Naomi Campbell, with her heart of stone, had something left to give, emerging to assist Anthea, Tony and Effy herself.
Now, in the last stages of the spring term of her second year, Naomi's comfortable. Finally. She looks over at Effy who is chewing a nail absently as she smiles at the TV, lost in its make-believe worlds. She's better now; not like the Effy she had met in college, not even close to be honest. But she's better. Doesn't speak much still. Anthea had explained one morning about Effy prior to Roundview, all these pieces of lost history that Naomi hadn't a clue about before. But she's almost Effy again and she spends her days doing a class at City and whatever else keeps her mind occupied. She's sober as well, which is an odd thing to see.
Anthea strolls into the room and glances at the television screen, turning away in disinterest. “Who's Tony with then?” she asks the girls. “She's quite loud.” Naomi looks to Effy who smirks for some reason but says nothing.
“Michelle,” Naomi says, but it comes out closer to a question. Anthea considers the name for a moment, before her face grows darker. There's something, some history there but the blonde daren't ask right now. She feels as if it's a sore subject. Tony apparently doesn't feel the same as a loud laugh of his bounces all the way over the sound of the TV.
“Oh. Well, that's a surprise,” she mutters and glances up at the ceiling. “Blast from the past, isn't it, sweetheart?”
The young brunette shrugs non-committally at her mother's remark. Anthea shakes her head. “I just don't understand that boy,” she sighs and wanders back into the kitchen to prepare some form of tea. As she does, there's the equivalent to a stampede as both Tony and Michelle come down the flight of stairs at a confusingly startling pace, her following him closely. Tony snatches the telly remote from his sister and flashes through channels until landing on something else that interests him more and plops himself in an armchair. The glare he receives is studiously ignored.
“Sit down, Nips. Tea'll be soon,” Tony suggests in that way of his that implies that there is actually no other option. Naomi looks mildly disgusted at the term of supposed endearment Tony seems to have for whoever this bird is. Michelle, who is actually quite a strikingly attractive brunette, even if she seems a tad up herself, slinks down next to Naomi on the sofa with an oddly sad and submissive look on her face. The blonde shifts over and away instinctively, closer towards the chair Effy is in. She feels the air is heavy with something, laced with some sort of tension that can only come from shared history. Effy appears to be ignoring Michelle and her focus is strictly on the images onscreen. Naomi knows better however. Effy's listening even if she's not watching. She's always aware of everything.
When it becomes clear that Tony is not going to be a gentleman, Michelle shifts and turns to Naomi, extending her hand. “I'm Michelle. I don't think we've met,” she says rather pleasantly, and with a recognisable Bristolian twang.
Naomi takes the offered greeting. “Naomi.” Her smile is tight but she still finds herself holding the older girl's hand slightly longer than necessary. She's a little taken aback by the green in Michelle's eyes.
“She's our lodger, and Effy's mate,” Tony supplies. “Moany.” Naomi pins him with an unhappy glare. She's always hated Tony's name for her. Michelle folds her arms and leans back in the cushions with a small smile on her face as her attention darts between the two people. Tony shrugs off Naomi's displeasure. “Cos, you see, Naomi backwards is I moan, yeah? And she certainly does, thus, she's Moan-i.” He grins to himself in an irritatingly self-satisfied way, as if his name for her is about the most brilliant idea in human history. Instead of laughing politely as most people do at Tony's lame putdowns, Michelle gives Naomi a blatant once-over, head to toe. There's something almost like pity there.
“You've got one of his horrible nicknames too, then?” she asks in a sort of concerned and friendly way, much to Naomi's surprise. She's part way through nodding in agreement when Tony sits up quickly.
“Yeah, Nips here, good one that too,” he starts and gestures to Michelle as if he's about to let Naomi in on some amazing secret.
This routine seems practised, too common. Tony ignores her protests. “Her tits, yeah. One is bigger than the other. And not in like pretend way but like legitimately so. Plus, she's got funny nipples, so she's Nips. It's a funny name.” He looks so fucking pleased with himself that Naomi is actually utterly confused, mostly at what is so amazing and clever about that stupid nickname. Plus, the subject of Michelle's seemingly (from her vantage point anyway) perfect tits is throwing her off her game. Having to not so subtlety consider a stranger's breasts feels a little forward. But when it's brought up, she has to look and as she does, Michelle's arms fold up and together. Naomi doesn't think it's really necessary to be self-conscious cos her tits don't look odd in her opinion. And not in that tight, red vest especially. Naomi's cheeks flush pink though when she catches Michelle watching her and turns away quickly. It's not quick enough however to ignore the grin on Tony's face as he studies them.
“Watch out though,” Tony continues, talking to Michelle this time. “She's a bit on the wild side. If you catch my drift.” He taps the side of his nose and nods towards the younger girl.
Michelle rolls her eyes. “Well, I don't... and I don't care to, probably.”
“Oh come on, she's a solitary gash grinder lost in the wild garden of Lesbos,” he states, and adds with mock disdain, “I thought you went to York.” Her face darkens for a split second at the mention of university but it passes quickly. “Pick up on the subtleties, Chelle. Lettuce licker, bean-flicker. A whole veg and vag salad really.”
Michelle, to her credit, looks aghast at the revelation. “Tony, what the fuck? That's not just something you blurt out to strangers about someone else.” She doesn't seem affected in any other way though. No subtle shift away and for that Naomi is thankful, especially since not a minute ago she'd been caught staring at her tits. In all honesty, Naomi is impressed with this girl's attitude towards him. She's not the usual type of girl he brings home these days.
“Oh don't worry. Loud and proud, right, Moany?” He has the audacity to wink at her after outing her to stranger. It's not that she's concerned or ashamed; she just doesn't see why it needs to be a subject of conversation. She can't understand why Tony bothered bringing it up. Naomi glowers at him but says nothing, focussing again on the telly.
Michelle crosses one bare leg over the other, as Naomi catches out of the corner of her eye. “Whatever. Doesn't bother me. The gay thing,” Michelle says airily. “I did date this boy once who really liked sucking our mate's cock whilst I was sleeping, in the same room.” Naomi's eyes widen at this new information and she turns to gauge the truth of the story from the older boy's facial expression. He's finally a little thrown off. Michelle leans in a little closer to her but doesn't take her eyes off Tony. “I wasn't really asleep,” she whispers loudly it like it's a hilarious secret and then sends Tony her own smug smile, one eyebrow cocked. “And he wasn't very good at it either.”
Naomi likes this girl. Definitely. She's fiery, even if she is a little stuck-up. It's a nice change from all the dozy mares that usually parade around the flat in their tacky Hello Kitty knickers like they're still in uni halls.
Tony regains his poise fairly quickly after Michelle's assault on his ego however. “Yes, well, Sid tells me you've become quite the cunning linguist at uni,” he says snidely to her, tossing another wink in Naomi's direction.
Again, a sharp bark from Michelle: “Tony! I'm not.”
He shrugs and laughs. “What? It was your programme, yeah? Linguistics and some other poncey liberal Arts bollocks. You have a gift for tongues.” It's slimy almost, the way he says it. Studying languages shouldn't be sleazy.
She shakes her head in disbelief but doesn't challenge him again. Naomi wonders, innocently of course, about the situation. She's curious, just as anyone else would be, she reasons. “So are you two...”
Both Michelle and Tony stare at her with similarly bemused expressions. Michelle shakes her head first.
“Christ no,” she says plainly. She glances over at Tony, with a new and wistful sort of expression. “Just wasn't meant to last.” He merely stares back at her. She shudders a little to shake herself out of something, some sort of memory. “Wanker.”
Effy finally makes herself known by snorting, almost under her breath. Naomi can't decide if it's in agreement or if there's some tension between the two girls as well. Michelle gazes at the young brunette momentarily with an unreadable expression. She looks over at Naomi instead. “We're mates now, you know?”
But Naomi doesn't know. She truthfully thinks the idea is more than a little bizarre. She remembers Emily and can't imagine being just friends with her, now or ever. Of course, she doesn't tell Michelle or Tony this. She'll let them live in their little bubble of unlikely companionship. When Anthea calls them all in for tea, Naomi makes sure to take a seat close to Michelle. She's not sure why. She ignores Effy's curious stare.
Michelle doesn't come round for another week after that evening. Naomi's almost forgotten about her completely, assumed it was merely a short catching-up sort of visit and now Michelle's back wherever she came from. The only odd thing is that Tony hasn't brought anyone home since. There have been none of his playthings: those dull if incredibly sexy girls who are so easy to manipulate and toy with. The two events could be related or merely a coincidence. If Naomi was to hazard a guess, she'd suspect Tony has rediscovered, in Michelle, a challenge enough to hold his attention longer than normal.
The afternoon is warm, above seasonal really, for this time of year and Naomi is in the front garden, lazily pulling on her cigarette and watching the occasional car pass by. It's a quiet day. She hears Michelle before she sees her as heels echo against the pavement a few houses down. As Michelle comes into the garden, Naomi glances up, blowing out a long cloud of smoke. Unperturbed, Michelle approaches her but instead of heading directly for the front door, she pauses beside Naomi, who nods in an awkward Hello since she's not sure why the other girl has stopped.
“Naomi, yeah?” she asks.
Naomi nods again, flicks her cigarette ash to the side, and takes another drag. “Yeah.”
Michelle looks around the area for a moment and comes back to the younger girl's face. “You shouldn't do that.”
The blonde's eyebrows raise in surprise from the impromptu chiding. It doesn't seem like her place to be reprimanding Naomi for anything. They barely know each other, and this isn't Michelle's garden. And who the fuck cares if she smokes anyway? “Sorry?” Her tone is well annoyed.
Gesturing to the half-open window, Michelle continues, “None of them smoke anymore. You're a lodger. You should respect that. For Effy's sake, you know?”
What the fuck? Naomi is completely taken aback at the situation. The audacity of some people. Maybe this bitch and Tony were perfect for each other. “I don't see you paying to stay here, so get stuffed,” Naomi mutters with a sneer and takes an even longer drag than before. No, she doesn't like this girl anymore. It's settled. She doesn't know a thing about them at all, yet decides it's appropriate to lecture her on respect out of bloody nowhere.
Michelle doesn't seem to be terribly bothered by the retort. “Just making a suggestion. It's bad for you.”
Naomi's eyes narrow. “Clearly,” she says flippantly and turns her body away from Michelle slightly, putting the fag to her lips again. Bitch. Michelle merely stares for a moment longer before making her way inside the flat. The door closes with a louder than usual slam. Naomi briefly considers the previous exchange and looks at the open window. Before inhaling again, she tosses the cigarette on the stone and squashes it with her toe. She doesn't go back indoors immediately however. She's not going to let Michelle think she's won. Cos she hasn't.
As she crosses the lounge, she sees Michelle and Tony sat on the sofa watching some stupid sounding programme. Effy is hovering between the kitchen and where they are. Naomi purposely huffs, rolls her eyes and ignores the two older people as she pushes past Effy a little rougher than she had intended. The brunette makes no complaint. She turns and watches Naomi carefully as she angrily scavenges around the cupboards for biscuits, tossing everything she doesn't want around the shelves. Effy takes a bite off a piece of licorice, and chews thoughtfully, unsure if Naomi recognises the presence studying her. Finally she speaks.
Naomi whirls around, a packet of Jaffa Cakes in her hand and a scowl on her face. “Pardon?” Her tone is snippy and Effy merely looks at her impassively in response. “I don't know what you're talking about.”
Effy shrugs, forces an incredibly fake smile –more like a grimace actually– and nods her head towards the direction of the sitting room where Tony's voice cuts through the rattle of the gun fight on-screen. She blinks slowly and waits for Naomi's understanding. It doesn't happen immediately, and Naomi's uncertain if she really does get the point, if she ever truly understood Effy's reasoning at any point during their friendship. She rolls her eyes again at Effy and pushes past her with an insolent, “Whatever, Eff.”
Naomi's heavy footfalls fade as she stomps up the stairs and Effy jumps only slightly when there's a loud crack of a bedroom door slamming shut. She sighs at Naomi's apparent stupidity and joins her brother in the front room.
“We're going out.”
Tony Stonem never seemed to need to ask anything ever. He just told people things, and on the rare occasion that he would ask a question, it always came out like he already knew the answer anyway. It was both irritating and somewhat admirable, in a sense. However, in this instance, it is the former. Naomi rolls over from where she'd been reading her Politics textbook and faces Tony standing in the doorway of her bedroom. In order to stall a little bit, she starts swiping cake crumbs off her duvet. She's still seething a little bit about her earlier run-in with Michelle, and seeing Tony's face just reminds her of it. There's not even a solid reason she can quite grasp about why the previous encounter caused her to become so angry. Normally she brushes off people when they're dicks like that. But not this time. It's wriggled uncomfortably under her skin, and that knowledge alone multiplies her irritation. She slaps her book closed heavily, and sighs in exasperation, cocking an eyebrow at him.
“Have fun.” She knows perfectly well that he'd meant that she was to come with.
He takes a step into her room, because to him privacy and personal space appear to be things only afforded to him when he wants, and other people have no right to them. She'd become accustomed to this sort of behaviour in the past year but it still managed to raise her heckles on occasion. He leans against her bureau suavely, crossing his arms and peering at her like some sort of school study project. “Nice one, Moany. You're coming too. No excuses.” He pauses for some sort of ridiculous dramatic effect (just like his sister used to). “Me, you, Nips, Eff and the local.”
Naomi rolls her eyes. “Sounds tempting but I pass. I've loads of coursework.”
It doesn't take long for the older boy to cross the room, snatch up her textbook and flip it into a corner. Grabbing her arm rather brutishly, he yanks her up from her bed and out into the corridor. “See, now you're out of your room. First step. Why not join us?”
There it is: that question that isn't really a question because he knows she can't say no now. Excuses are useless against a Stonem.
He gives her a toothy, Cheshire grin.
6 pints and 3 shots later, Naomi's feeling fuzzy. Effy's sipping her water, obviously completely bored whilst Michelle and Tony are chuckling about something only they care about and pounding back vodka shots. It's like the worst reunion ever. All they need is some sort of pervy old uncle to show up and the picture would be complete. Effy seems to be fidgeting more than usual, and Naomi's not sure if it's because they're at the pub with all its rank alcohol stench, or if it's the less than ideal company. She does truly admire Effy's resolve in situations like these, especially since she's so rarely allowed to come to the pub without Anthea chaperoning like an overprotective hawk, no doubt over-compensating for years of neglect. Tony's spouting off some rubbish about something irrelevant when Naomi sees Michelle turn quickly to glance at her, almost questioningly. Naomi has no bloody idea why so she sips her nearly empty lager and merely raises an eyebrow in response. Fuck off, you posh slag, she wants to say but ends up drinking more instead. Effy's squirming a little again but seems to straighten herself up just as Michelle looks over towards her. Tony is uncharacteristically oblivious during all this. The blonde looks over at Effy who is just smiling to herself and gazing off at the wall.
These fucking people. It's like living in a bloody German art film sometimes. She thinks she knows what's happening but everything is off-balance and shadowy; it's grainy and random shit just seems to occur for no reason at all. Just fucking great.
It doesn't become any easier to understand for the rest of night. By the time they leave the local, Michelle is one headfucking sideways gaze away from making Naomi explode with confusion and she's pretty fucking certain Tony is actually positively shit-faced. He stumbles in a way that an otherwise sober Tony Stonem would abhor. Effy's being used as a human walking stick, and Naomi giggles to herself a little with that idea; Effy's spindly body holding the weight of her brother. Naomi doesn't even realise how second nature it really is for them. It's a good thing that the younger girl doesn't seem to mind in the least. She's walking with a bemused sort of look on her face, occasionally stopping to yank her mashed brother along. Michelle, quite sauced herself, trips up a few times which only provokes an eyeroll from Naomi.
They all stumble into the flat creating as much noise as possible. The basement tenants will probably complain in the morning, but for now it's too hilarious to really be concerned with. They're laughing and bumping into things –well, Tony is– and whatever tension seemed to be hanging over the lot of them earlier has dissipated. Effy wrestles with her brother as he attempts to clumsily climb the stairs. They're making quite a racket, but it seems to be working. Naomi grins, leaves them to it and heads into the kitchen for a glass of water. She can hear the thumping above as Tony clambers into bed. When she walks through the lounge, Michelle is standing there, swaying possibly but Naomi can't really tell if that's her perception or reality. She attempts to ignore the other girl because tension or not, she's not very fond of her really. Not anymore. Not even when she's this drunk.
Not when she looks so deliciously shaggable.
Naomi averts her eyes and walks quickly, splashing some of her hard-earned water over the rim of her glass in the process. She's stopped in her tracks however by a voice.
The blonde stops and turns with a drunken sort of flourish, but there's no friendliness present. “That's me.”
“Think I could grab a pillow and blanket from you? For the sofa here.”
Right. The older girl had no place to kip. Oh well, the sofa would do her fine but Naomi's a little perturbed that taking care of Tony's guest has become her responsibility. She sighs, as if the offer is putting her out a great deal. “Come on, then,” she groans, and waits for Michelle to follow her up the stairs.
She throws open her bedroom door dramatically for no particular reason other than it seems like the thing to do. Welcome to my humble abode! she thinks and drunkenly chuckles to herself as Michelle steps in hesitantly after her. She takes a large gulp of water before placing it extra-carefully down on her nightstand. When she turns around, Michelle is still standing there, looking a little lost actually. Her vest top is hanging off her shoulder, as is her bra strap, Naomi notices. It's such a little thing, but for someone as impeccably put together as she appeared to be, it was kind of... enticing. Naomi shakes her head a little to clear away the foggy thoughts that are straying even further into dangerous territory. It's useless, she reckons cos suddenly she's thinking about “Nips” and Tony's assertion about one breast being bigger than the other. She stares for likely what is far more than polite.
She expects Michelle to cross her arms self-consciously again, like the last time. But when Naomi finally does meet her eyes, they're darker hazel than she remembers, almost green and a little curious, if slightly glazed from drink. More than a little curious actually. Michelle is watching her like a fucking hawk.
Shit, shit, fucking bollocky fuck shit. You don't like the stuck-up mingebag, remember?
She clears her throat quickly. “Need some pyjamas?” she inquires in the calmest, coolest voice she can muster under the circumstances. Just a little sozzled. Michelle merely nods in affirmation. Naomi gathers a blanket, pillow and and old pair of joggers, bundles them together and hands them over. She reaches out to put a hand on the door, to close it after Michelle leaves but it never happens. Instead she closes the door while Michelle is still standing in her room. Fuck, she wants her. She can't really explain exactly why she is making such a monumentally stupid decision; maybe it's the alcohol, or the fact she really just wants to get laid, or it's just unalterable mental dysfunction. Mad cow, maybe? Whatever it is, she doesn't have time to dwell because as soon as she comes close enough, Michelle has planted her lips on Naomi's. Yeah, she's just pulled her best mate's brother's girlfriend, or whatever the fuck Michelle is these days. Well done, Naomikins, you filthy twit.
It's strangely hesitant for a drunken snog. It barely lasts 5 seconds, not that anyone is counting of course. Naomi licks her lips without thinking as the liquor swirls in her bloodstream, fuzzying her senses and insisting that all her ideas are good ideas. She'll later find out that's not the case, but for now it seems as good a justification as any. She leans back in, but is met with the same hesitation once more, like Michelle is testing her, or herself. Either one. It's too much effort to develop theories about motivations so Naomi drops the pillow and blankets, grabs the older girl around the back of the head and pulls her in, stronger this time.
She'd forgotten what it's like to kiss a girl who isn't just some completely random stranger. She's almost a stranger, but a different kind. It's not the same when the other person isn't solely focussed on getting off, as quickly as possible as was the case in most club encounters, not that even those were a common occurrence. And Michelle is a surprisingly good kisser. She hadn't really expected that. If all follows this plan, it could be a very good night indeed. Slowly the kisses build, become more sure. Confident. And Naomi can feel soft hands on her waist, pulling a little bit desperately. A tongue jutting past her lips sends a warm sensation down her spine.
Tugging as she stumbles backwards to where she knows her bed is, there's another moment of hesitation, but this time not from the brunette. Almost like a reminder of something. It passes quickly and Naomi finds herself now easing Michelle back on her mattress as if it were a completely common occurrence for her to just shag strange girls in her bed. (It's not common, not at all. She doesn't like bringing them home. Not to wake up with them there, or having Effy boring holes into her the next morning over breakfast.) Michelle's breath is coming faster, shallower, their kisses a little more insistent. Demanding. Maybe Tony was right about what Sid said. Maybe Michelle is more than okay with the 'gay thing', as she had put it. Then Michelle looks at her, almost as if she's begging Naomi to like her. Pleading silently. But that could just be tricks of the liquor.
It seems like there's some blur in time because Naomi doesn't realise until after the fact that they're both down to their scuds and doing some serious, full-on snogging. It's become rather intense without her knowledge. And Michelle is quite the willing participant. Talented and enthusiastic: the best combination. Naomi senses slender fingers sliding through her hair as she sucks on a tender spot on Michelle's neck; she can feel the heave of her breathing under her own body. Michelle gasps as Naomi slips a hand up under her bra. In a second, she feels tentative fingers slip into her damp knickers and brush over her clit in response. She swears she hears Michelle whisper “Not my first time,” in between breathy moans and sighs, but it could just be her inebriated (and wishful) imagination. She sucks in a sharp breath through her teeth, her eyes scrunching shut momentarily, savouring even the simplest, clumsiest contact.
Fucking Christ. Why can't all of Tony's girlfriends be like this? With new vigour, she eagerly pulls off the black bra in her way, and feels the undulating writhe of the older girl beneath her. Yes, definitely a good night.
The next day brings a throbbing headache and massive confusion. Tentatively opening her eyes to the harsh sunlight of mid-morning, she only sees a tangle of brown curls. Shit, shit. Not a good night. Not at all. The events come rushing back a little too forcefully and she clenches her eyes shut to will them away. Maybe this part is a dream too. Her hand is warm, and she realises that they're not simply sharing a bed, she & Michelle are sleeping together. (An important distinction, in her opinion). She pulls her hand back from where it had been softly grasping the curve of the other girl's bare waist. Christ, they're practically spooning. It's soppy and stupid and Naomi chides herself for whatever mental breakdown caused all of this. This isn't bloody normal behaviour for her.
This is Michelle. Tony's Michelle. Fucking great. She'd managed to cop off with his ex, or current, girlfriend. It doesn't seem to matter which it actually is. The sentiment is all the same.
A stealthy escape is the best option, she reckons. Maybe it'll be like it never happened. Maybe she won't remember if Naomi isn't there too; they were drunk after all. The blonde slips slowly and carefully out of bed. Naked. She's not sure her morning could realistically get any worse. She manages to barely pull on her pants before there's stirring in the bundled duvet on her bed. Like a deer frozen in headlights, she just stares, a little terrified, a little wide-eyed at the girl in her bed. Michelle sits up, far more alert (and pretty) than Naomi had anticipated. It catches her off-guard, makes her question her aversion to this, for a moment more before she hardens.
“Where are you going?” The question is asked softly, but intensely, as if Naomi's early morning escape was not expected.
Seriously? Naomi's not sure whether it would be appropriate to scoff as loudly as she'd like to at the question. So much for what her first grade tutor had told her about there being no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid answers. “Toilet.” It's the opposite of romantic, or even alluring, that's for damn sure. Good. Michelle looks down, as if she's coming to understand the reality of the situation they're in. Naomi sighs, covers her arms over her chest. The blonde has to force herself to ignore how good this girl looks in her bed in the morning glow. It doesn't help issues in any fucking way. If it wasn't such a bloody shit-show, this may have been something worth pursuing. But it's a right mess and Naomi wants no part in the complications. “Look, it was stupid. We were cabbaged, yeah? Just a one-off, okay?” She turn away and reaches for her bra and pulls it on. “A stupid mistake,” she mutters quietly, but she's admonishing herself more than Michelle. “It's done.”
She waits. There's no response from Michelle and Naomi's not stupid. She can tell Michelle's been around the block a few times. Anyone who's put up with Tony Stonem needs to have a few tools in their belt. This can't possibly be a novel experience. Finally, she glances over and watches as Michelle pulls the duvet closer to her chest, as if holding onto a teddy bear. Those hazel eyes latch onto hers.
“Why – was it me?”
Oh, for fucks sake. Where did this insecure, timid little creature come from? She certainly hadn't been around yesterday when she was snipping about Naomi's nicotine habit or desperately shoving her tongue down her throat. Naomi Campbell doesn't much care for lying. She is rather talented at it, but she doesn't enjoy it. Not when she knows it's untrue, at least. When she can't pretend it's true. In all honesty, Michelle, though an excellent kisser had obviously been a novice, if not complete beginner, in bed with another girl. It shouldn't be a bad thing cos Naomi is well aware that she too had been there once. And, well, in the end, yes, she had got off with a little subtle nudging despite the brunette's inexperience. But it was just drunken fucking. Sloppy, clumsy and mediocre. Hardly a stand-out performance, regardless of how much Michelle had seemed to enjoy herself.
Naomi presses her lips together and stares, trying to formulate some answer that says none of that. It must come across in her face however, because she can hear the shuddery intake of breath. Michelle doesn't appear to be crushed exactly, but she's certainly affected. It makes Naomi feel like a total cad. If she had been a better person, she would have admitted it's not about the quality of the sex at all. It's about all that other shite that comes along with it. She wants simple now, and relationships –of any kind– are anything but. Instead, she coldly mumbles, “We both got off, yeah? It's fine.”
Nothing is fine though. The comment doesn't make any appreciable impact on the brunette. She's still sitting there, looking something between irritated and gutted. Without glancing in her direction again, the younger girl quickly pulls on a t-shirt and joggers and leaves the room. It feels all too familiar.
PART 2 >>