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15 September 2011 @ 11:50 pm
FIC: i can't get out of love ;; part 4  
i can't get out of love (a love i had a grip on; now it's gripping me)

Author: Eskimo Jo
Rating: 18
Warning: language, sexuality, substance use.

“I've heard that it's possible to grow up -- I've just never met anyone who's actually done it. We throw tantrums when things don't go our way, we whisper secrets with our best friends in the dark, we look for comfort where we can find it, and we hope - against all logic, against all experience. Like children, we never give up hope.”

– Meredith Grey, “Grey's Anatomy”

Effy doesn't even ring her the next day. It's not until late Saturday afternoon that her mobile finally vibrates with a call. There's some apparently amazing drum and bass night at Blue Mountain which was being promoted by an old college mate of Tony's. It's going to be the rave of the year of course. Effy's already got comp tickets, queue jump, pocket full of powder, etc. All the usual hype, Naomi notes with disdain. A night of pilled-up debauchery in Stokes Croft is hardly out of the ordinary or very likely to indeed be the “rave of the year”. Sounds painfully normal actually. And thus, dreadfully dull. But of course, Naomi doesn't say no to Effy. There's no point. If she had even attempted it, she would have been faced with multiple irritating texts and calls, and if she's particularly unlucky, a spontaneous visit from her friend accompanied by virtual acquaintances she could barely place. Those were the worst. For some peculiar reason, if Naomi made it far enough in the refusal dance to warrant a house call, Gina would always answer first, and despite how wrecked Naomi normally ended up by the time she stumbled home in the early hours of dawn, her mother seemed to consider it a good idea to go out. Sometimes she really wished she could have a normal mother, just for once. Just once she'd like Gina to forget the whole “you'll never be younger or able to enjoy it as muc as you do now” bollocks and tell Effy “No, my daughter's staying in with her mother for once.”

So, of course, by the time midnight rolls around the blonde has done herself up appropriately for the venue and the company and is standing in a corner of the rooftop terrace, sipping her Red Stripe and staring disinterestedly at the graffiti all around. She feels as if she's seen it a million times before and the million and first time is not going to suddenly make it anymore exciting. Effy's disappeared again. Dissolved into the darkness. She's been off for sometime now, probably either selling or buying more drugs or shagging some manky bloke in the loos. Usually the later didn't take quite so long.

As it happens, during this boring as fuck wait, she catches a glimpse of familiar hair. It's really quite sad how she recognises it especially since it's just normal hair; not like Emily's unnaturally vivid red. It doesn't hurt however, that in truth, Michelle is accompanied by quite the ginger... stunner? Naomi's not sure what to make of the girl with Michelle with her Betty Page red hair and clothes that appear to have shrunk about 7 sizes in the wash, yet she's still managed to squeeze into them. Also, what a mouth. The girl seems to be going on at about the speed of light, mostly to Michelle but also to any lad that breezes by. There's something about Michelle's demeanour, and something about her wobble that are leading Naomi to believe her friend is already quite sauced. Wouldn't be the first time, by any means, but it's certainly not expected. She'd thought Michelle and Tony had been doing fine and the only time Michelle appears to get wrecked is if something is up with her and her wanker boyfriend. It's not like she'd know since they hadn't spoken since the park.

She's not sure how long she spends staring at the other girl across the crowd of munted young people, but it's long enough for her companion to wander off with some bloke and not long after Michelle throws her arms around a very, very fit blond boy. Buff indeed. They seem to know each other well, she reckons as Michelle seems relaxed and not playing up that irritating sexpot thing she constantly seems to try on most boys. Old friends, most likely. It's sometime during this creepy lurking that some absolutely monged out black girl slams into Naomi, accompanied by a strangely troll-like boy with beady little eyes. Even in this light, Naomi can see how huge the girl's pupils are and she apologises like mad for a minute, constantly brushing strands of purple hair from her face. Her nose ring glints under the patio lights as she grabs onto the fence for support. Naomi thinks that perhaps these two twats are speaking to her but it's all nonsense. The boy is constantly saying, “Live, live, live!” to get the girl's attention. It's probably some intoxicated hippie message inspired by whatever Class-As they've obviously replaced their blood with. They look vaguely familiar from some party or another, and she guesses it was that Roundview one a few weeks back. Upper sixths? Probably. Either way, they eventually push off when Naomi doesn't grace them with any sort of response beyond a sharply arched eyebrow. Not two metres later, she watches the pair knock into Karen Mclair and that gangster's daughter. For fuck sake, it never ends. Naomi turns away from the familiar faces, pulling her blonde hair into a curtain to shield her from recognition. It works and she breathes a sigh of relief. Ever since Freddie died, she can't bear to look at Karen. They had all tried to be friends following the tragedy but it was awkward and staring too long in Freddie's sister's eyes was uncomfortable. It was like she was a little bit dead as well. Even as Karen goes about her usual partying, there's still that lingering sadness.

She fucking hates Bristol. In a city this size, there shouldn't be such a propensity to run into familiar people so often. Taking a rather large gulp of her lager and deep drag of her cigarette from her other hand, she returns her attention to Michelle and her friend on the other side of the patio. (In honesty, she can't fucking keep her eyes off Michelle right now.) They're chatting animatedly, and Sid and Anwar seem to have joined them at some point. It's only when she chances a general scope of the rest of the area that she becomes acutely aware of a shorter girl standing a tad too close to her, leaning against the railing. The redhead is staring at Michelle and the blond boy as well. She looks painfully out of place at this club in her buttoned up polo shirt and juvenile red barrettes in her hair. They clash with the orange, Naomi thinks. She'd be quite pretty otherwise perhaps.

The girl must somehow sense Naomi watching her and she turns to the blonde with a smirk. “Don't waste your time,” she says bluntly in a thick Welsh accent and nods towards Michelle. “He's a flaming homosexual.”

“I'm not--,” Naomi starts but the redhead chuckles. It's dismissive and creepy.

“Ho-mo-sex-u-al,” she says again, drawing out every syllable slowly, as if the blonde didn't understand her the first time. She cocks her head to the side, taking in the group of friends. “Besides, they're all tossers, you know.” Her voice drifts out again, laced with hurt as she fiddles with the wrist strap of her pocket camera.

Naomi is now curious. “You know Michelle and Anwar then?”

The other girl glowers at her in the dim light, her brown eyes intense and focused. “Yes.” But before Naomi has a chance to ask anymore probing questions of the stranger, she's moved away and merged back into the darkness of the club indoors. Naomi shakes her head with a laugh and tries to shake the tingling feeling of being watched.

As she turns back to her previous subject of observation, her breath catches as she sees Michelle watching her as well. There's a panic there momentarily, for them both. Naomi can feel it inside her chest, in the pit of her stomach and the back of her throat. Familiar and terribly strong. And she can see it clearly on Michelle's face but it seems to pass quickly like a sudden summer storm because she whirls back, grabs the blond boy's hand and yanks him towards Naomi, pushing through the milling crowd with neither grace nor apology until they come face to face. Naomi quickly drops her fag and crushes it with a toe, breathing out deeply. The brunette drops her friend's hand and envelops Naomi in a slightly crushing embrace that lasts a bit too long as well. Naomi does her best not to breathe in the other girl's perfume too deeply. As she pulls back, she notes that on top of her perfume, indeed Michelle does smell like a distillery in Russia and when she moves away, she stumbles a bit and Naomi has to lay a hand on her arm to steady her. Instead of backing away completely, Michelle loops an arm around Naomi's neck, almost like a head lock and grins drunkenly at both the blondes.

“Maxxie, this is Naomi I was telling you about,” she slurs slightly, tightening her hold just a bit more. It's almost uncomfortable. Maxxie nods a hello but before he can say anything, the brunette speaks again.

“Maxxie is one of my best mates,” Michelle continues. “And now he's all famous in the West End doing shows and generally being the most successful of all of us, yeah?” There's something to the tone Michelle is using that is unfamiliar. It's not unfriendly exactly, in fact she seems quite sincere, but there's just a little hint of something else lurking under the surface. “But he's, like, gay gay so I can't marry him.”

Naomi's brow furrows in confusion as she watches their interaction. Whilst it's obvious that they're friends, she can't quite put her finger on what's a little off about them, or just Michelle today. Something shit must have happened with Tony recently or else Michelle's attitude doesn't make much sense. She's positively clingy right now and refusing to let Naomi wriggle away.

“So, Max...” It's a question. Or a half of one at least. Naomi's not quite sure what it means or what she's asking but there's a prickly feeling along the back of her neck that it's something to do with her. Maxxie nods pleasantly at Naomi, a toothy smile stretching across his lips.

“Well done, yeah, Chelle,” he states, giving Naomi a once-over. “It's nice to meet you.”

Michelle leans in exceptionally close to Naomi's ear and her hot, alcohol-laced breath slips over the younger girl's neck. “Max and I have been telling secrets,” she whispers conspiratorially and suddenly Naomi flushes, hopefully not too noticeably under the dull patio lanterns. Secrets about? Them? Her? The park? Whatever it is, it can't possibly be good cos Maxxie is studying her both thoughtfully and affectionately. It's fucking weird. Naomi shifts and fidgets with the attention. There's very little time to dwell however because almost as soon as he's arrived, Maxxie is whisked away by an over-excited Anwar into the throbbing mass of people inside as an MC starts shouting badman-like into the mic.

The two girls are left alone and despite the ruckus all around them as the crowd moves seemingly en masse towards the dancefloor as the headlining DJs start spinning hard jungle, it's too quiet. Michelle has yet to loosen her hold around Naomi's neck and is blearily staring off into space, literally. It's a cloudless night again –quite a record for Bristol actually with its incessantly rainy weather-- and the stars are beginning to poke out of the navy backdrop. It's only the most powerful of them, the brightest ones, as all the ambient light pollution from the city drowns out any lesser stars. Naomi glances up too, hoping to catch a glimpse of Orion's belt but it's too early in the year. Plus, it only reminds her of JJ now, and thus Emily's text. In a bid to distract herself from that spectacular fuck-up, she peers over at Michelle.

“You all right?”

Apparently, Naomi's voice startles the other girl slightly as if she'd forgotten where she was or who she was with. Her arms drop away quickly and she takes a step back, putting space between them. A cold draft sneaks in her place. It only takes a minute or so for the break to occur. It starts with Michelle nodding agreeably, ensuring that everything is fine because well, everything is always just fine, isn't it? The nods start to slow with each passing second and like cracks spidering out of a poorly constructed dike, Michelle's smile begins to crumple in pieces. First the leftside corner turns down, her eyes start to crinkle, her forehead creases. It's like a slow motion trainwreck because as much as the older girl seems to be attempting to hold it in, hold back the damage, it's leaking out as her armour weakens and splinters. What was once a nod of affirmation has turned into a defiant headshake and accompanying it are the first spots of tears.

There's a blur of movement and once again, Naomi finds herself wrapped up in an altogether suffocating embrace, but this one is accompanied by saltwater tears soaking through to her shoulder. Michelle's fucking drunk and this is precisely the very thing Naomi loathes and goes to great lengths to avoid under normal circumstances, like when they first met incidentally. But this time, with it being a friend, the rules change and her arms hold onto a quivering, pathetic sort of girl and instead of contempt, she feels a little something approaching sympathy instead. Michelle's mumbling unrecognisable words into her neck that Naomi can't make out above the rapid-fire drum and bass and the general chatter surrounding them. She squeezes harder as compensation. And it's only after what seems like a drawn-out hour, Michelle calms down enough for Naomi to understand the words.

“Tony's sleeping with someone else. I just know...”

The information isn't surprising in the least, if she's honest. Tony is always playing around, dancing through life like a particularly care-free schoolyard bully, content that his god-given cleverness will get him out of whatever mess he finds himself in (and there is a lot of mess). The part that is surprising is that it's taken Michelle this long to actually admit to the knowledge. She'd heard enough about their past, about what made Michelle & Tony work – and also what broke them apart so many times. Maybe it was foolish, but Naomi can somewhat understand why Michelle thought that finally things would be different. When people grow up, they're supposed to generally become smarter, wiser, better people. They don't normally revert back to the fucking assholes they were at 16. That would indeed be a horrible world. A bunch of 50-year-olds with 16-year-old brains and personalities; all the adults in the world reduced to their unbearable teenage counterparts. Horrid. Then again, she had learnt in GCSE Psychology that personality is generally static. Who you are as a 14-year-old is pretty much who you'll stay for the rest of your life, barring any sort of brain injury or traumatic experience. And even then, most of the time, those things are exactly that: injuries and experiences and eventually you heal again, thus transform back into the person you were beforehand. She hadn't been convinced that had actually been the truth, at least not until now. It seems like people really don't change all that much, fundamentally speaking. They learn things, adapt, manage to suppress the nasty bits better, but never truly change.

More than anything though, Naomi wanted to believe that given enough chances, even the most dysfunctional couples could make it work. Maybe that was just getting a little too personal.

Michelle's carrying on about how she suspects it again, but doesn't know who or why. The image of Katie lounging in Tony's t-shirt pops into Naomi's head and she wills it away, blaming it on an over-active imagination and no actual proof. She can't imagine Effy would stand for that anyway.

In the midst of the crying, the brunette pulls in a hard sob, catching it in her throat and swallowing hard. “That's why I like you, Naomi. I know you'd never fuck my boyfriend.” There's something more about never worrying, never suspecting, finally having a mate who isn't after Tony Stonem's cock. In honesty, the blonde is a little offended that she's been reduced to a token lesbian friend and kept around it appears simply because she presents no competition. Again, she bites down hard on her tongue and resists the urge to tell Michelle about all those offers from Effy's stupid brother.

“That's why I really like you,” she tries again, making an attempt at being serious. Naomi grimaces. Her sigh must be felt by the other girl in spite of the hiccups there because Michelle pulls back, runs a hand sloppily through blonde hair and cracks a tiny, lop-sided smile. “Really.”

“That's nice, Chelle,” Naomi says as if talking to a toddler, distancing herself now that she has the opportunity but for every step away, the older girl mirrors it with a step closer of her own. The runner and the chaser. The fox and the hound.

“Naomi.” Her name isn't a question. It's merely breathed out as if summoned from deep within her chest.

And it's going to happen again. Naomi knows; she can feel it without a doubt. Moreover, she's feeling incapable of stopping it. Her heart begins to jitter, beat that little bit faster as Michelle draws closer. And then, just as Naomi expects the touch of the more and more familiar lips against her own, there's another hiccup. It breaks the tension.

“Christ, I'm drunk,” comes the teary slurred speech. Just like that, whatever that moment had been leading to dissolves into the air around them. Michelle rights herself a little more properly (though by no means soberly) and runs a finger under both eyes, wiping away escaped mascara and taking deep breaths. They're back to normal.

The respite lasts all too briefly because just as Michelle's managed to pull herself together into something vaguely resembling a functional human being, a recognisable figure comes into view, flanked by a smirking Effy on one side and skanky Katie on the other.


He glances in the direction of his name, a flash of surprise on his face but it's replaced almost immediately with that smarmy little grin. And then Michelle sees Katie, glances at Naomi as if it's somehow her fault and glowers. “That's the slut!” she cries and attempts to charge towards the twin and Tony. It comes as a shock to more than just Michelle when Naomi reaches out and grapples the older girl, holding her back from her rageful mission. Katie stops dead in her tracks, glancing in pure confusion at the scene and this random chick trying to rip her throat out. For a moment, she just stares, then she pieces it together, raises an eyebrow in disbelief and snorts. Effy too is just watching as Michelle struggles helplessly against Naomi's bondage, intent only on causing serious bodily harm to Katie Fitch. Her eyes are positively burning with hatred.

The twin waves dismissively at Tony's girlfriend (which really only works to rile her up further) and floats away into the crowd with Effy. Tony, however, approaches them confidently.

“Hey, babe. Figured you'd be out here getting some air. Really looks like you could use it, yeah?”

“You wanker, Tony!”

Tony plays dumb. He's quite adept at that game. “Something the matter, Nips?”

And then the tears come again. Angry, helpless, drunken tears. Naomi loosens her hold knowing Tony will step in this time. He reaches out to brush a finger over his girlfriend's cheek but a hard slap keeps him at bay. “You know what's the matter, you asshole.” She sucks in a stuttering breath. “I thought you'd changed. I thought we really had a chance this time.”

Tony shrugs and Naomi notices that this time, he honestly does look genuinely confused about all the fuss. “I have.”

Brown hair flicks against Naomi's face as Michelle shakes her head rapidly, whipping her hair around. “You haven't. You fucking... fucking...” She trails off, clenching her eyes shut, searching desperately for the words she wants. “You promised, Tone.” Her voice, once so full of fire, is weak and tired. Exhausted. “Promised me.”

He glances to Naomi for explanation but she's no better an idea than he does likely. He seems to be tossing ideas around in his head, trying to figure out what to say, what to ask but is interrupted by Maxxie who has rushed back over, alerted by a little birdie by the name of Effy Stonem most likely. The blond boy slides an supportive arm around Michelle's waist and leads her away from Tony and Naomi. “Let's get you home, Chelle.” She continues to cry as they fade away.

Tony stuffs his hands in his pockets and purses his lips for a moment as he watches his friends go back inside, and presumably to hail a taxi downstairs. “What's that all about?” He asks Naomi straight up as if she'd really tell him the answer. She just rolls her eyes at him instead.

“Maybe if you try thinking with your brain instead of your cock, you'd figure it out yourself.” She shakes her head as well and proceeds back inside to the deafening chaos of the club.

Chaos is actually a relatively tame word for the state of the crowd indoors. For once, it may actually be the rave of the year cos the entire place is going off, literally bouncing with unbridled energy in the main room downstairs. Teenagers and 20-somethings are all packed tightly together, throwing themselves into each other to the music and the drum and bass is amping everything up to another level. Naomi can't say honestly that she's seen a night like this for a while now. She spots Anwar, Sid, Effy and Katie up near the DJ booth chatting (or shouting more like) with who Naomi can only assume is Kenneth, the MC and the one responsible for the whole lot of them even being here tonight. She sneaks around to an empty place against the wall. Next to her, there's that skinny ginger boy from before plastered against it. She can't quite tell if he's trying to climb the wall or hump it.

Squinting at her, he leans over and screams, “Can you feel it? It's fucking brilliant!”

Unfortunately, Naomi can't feel it, whatever it is and the boy only works to remind her of Pandora. Too many drugs, not enough sense sometimes. As his metalhead friend comes by, he moves off to another section of the wall leaving Naomi with her own mind and thrumming bass.

It's not that odd that she wouldn't have seen the other girl coming. After all, it's rather dark inside and the flashing strobes and lasers don't paint a complete picture of her surroundings at all. There is so much movement that even a flash of familiar red hair could have been easily missed. But then, before Naomi has a chance to prepare herself, Emily materialises smack dab in front of her face. Jumping back, she only manages to thud against the wall. Oh, the bass. She can feel it. Like the strong pulse of blood rushing through strangled veins.

“Emily?” It's all she manages to stutter above the music.

Moving closer, likely in order to keep their voices to a mere shout, Emily nods. “Hi, Naomi.”

Naomi swallows hard, biting down on her lip, and shifting about like a cornered animal. She has no idea what is about to happen and her lack of preparedness only works to increase her anxiety. Emily tilts her head to the side and locks on with her deep brown eyes, black in this light. “I just wanted to say thanks.”

Is she taking the piss? What's going on? Naomi's confusion must glide over her face because Emily continues, her expression unbelievingly gentle. “About before. Thanks for not letting your girlfriend beat the shit out of my sister. She looked well angry. Katie would probably thank you herself if she could but pride and all that.”

What?! “She's not my–.”

“I mean, Katie's not shagging Effy's brother. She would have said, bragged more like. I think. ”

“Michelle's not my girlfriend.” It's the only thing Naomi feels they need to talk about. She honestly couldn't give a toss about Katie's sexual partners. The statement causes Emily to pause and her face takes on a mixture of relief and confusion herself. “She's Tony's girlfriend.”

Emily chuckles then. It's a sound Naomi hasn't heard for a fucking age and it makes warmth seep up through her toes and it tingles down her spine like a soft kiss behind the ear. God, she's almost like that Emily Naomi'd finally succumbed to at the lake. “I suppose that makes better sense then.” The twin leans away slightly as if she's preparing to leave but Naomi knows Emily's clever, too clever sometimes and there's no way she wouldn't have sussed out that Michelle was Tony's girlfriend. This whole conversation seems to be an excuse to talk. And Naomi likes excuses. A lot.

The redhead shrugs again, a small smile on her lips. “Well, I should get–”

“Can I buy you a drink, Ems?”

Okay, so Effy is right this time. It is the party of the year.

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