Authors: Stella Wilkinson
he looked really embarrassed. Rose quickly shut her mouth, which was still
for me?” She tried for a flirty tone.
“Uh, no. I
forgot my book.” He gestured to the one she was holding.
and get it.” She tried to bat her eyelashes. Wasn’t flirting supposed to be
easier than this?
accepted that they were attracted to each other. It was nothing more. So maybe
that could be fun. Except he didn’t seem to be playing along now.
her courage in both hands and decided to step it up a notch.
So she went
towards him instead, using his own technique to back him against the wall, she
leant into him. But he just groaned in a frustrated way, clenching his fists as
he fought not to touch her back.
pressed closer and he could smell the dusky rose perfume he knew she wore on
special occasions. Her breath feathered his ear as she whispered “Don’t you
want to kiss me?”
much.” He said, giving in and to hell with his conscience.
passionately against the wall, and then for another 15 minutes with her on his
lap in the armchair. She got to run her hands all over his upper body, though
he managed to restrain himself from doing the same to her.
speak, they barely breathed, just kissed, shifting positions to get as close to
each other as they could.
he nibbled her ear, he said “If we are going to do this are we going to be able
to keep it a secret?”
Rose nodded. She had no desire for her family to hear about this. Not just how
embarrassing that she was kissing a boy, but the reaction if they knew it was
up to his room after the family games session on Christmas day and switched on
his phone. He looked again at the reply he had received from Sophie a couple of
again at her boldness. He was pretty sure she knew perfectly well that the text
message complimenting her on her new haircut had been from him. She had
suggested he text her sometime and ten minutes later, he had. He still didn’t
know why he did it. But now she was just punishing him for taking months to
text her by pretending she didn’t know it was from him. But she was trying to
play a master. He could see straight through it.
That is, he
sure she knew. Or maybe he wasn’t sure at all. Perhaps she
had a lot of boys sending her messages? There was no doubt she was a pretty
girl. And it was true he had never given her his number so maybe she genuinely
didn’t know who it was from?
case she did know and was trying to play it cool he had waited a couple of
days, reviewing her reply. His instinct had been to text her straight back,
with an outraged:
but he held himself in check. That was
surely exactly what she had hoped would happen. Girls could be manipulative and
if she were trying for a reaction she wouldn’t get it. At least not straight
away; she had waited two days before replying. Two could play those games.
the time. It was after midnight, so strictly speaking he had let three days go
was time to respond. If she then waited another two days to answer then he
would know for sure she was just trying to appear aloof and it was all an act.
Somehow he hoped she wouldn’t. He’d had a few glasses of red wine with dinner.
It had been laid on for the adults and as he was nineteen in a few weeks he
counted as an adult now. The wine was still in his system, making him feel like
he wanted to keep going, but everyone else had been ready for bed. If he’d
still been at University he and his mates would have gone looking for a party,
but at Compass Court he heard only deathly silence.
briefly considered knocking on Anne-Marie’s door and seeing if she wanted to
take up their kiss where it had left off on Christmas Eve under the mistletoe,
but he didn’t know which was her room and was bound to wake up the wrong person
if he went blundering around the girls dormitories. In truth, Anne-Marie wasn’t
his type anyway. She had just been the only girl there worth kissing.
to text Sophie back. Sophie was certainly his type to look at;
she’d be anyone’s type
, he thought. But
he had been put off by her keenness. He liked her when she was fun and flirty,
he hated needy and easy.
give her credit she had never once called him after their night together. She
could easily have gotten his number from Rose. But she hadn’t, she wasn’t
needy. She didn’t even seem to have mentioned it to Rose. Also she definitely
wasn’t easy, maybe she had been with him, but he knew for a fact that it had
only been him. While that was very flattering it was also concerning.
his phone, he didn’t want to hurt her, he wasn’t looking to get involved and he
didn’t want to lead her on.
couldn’t be that keen on him after all, if it had taken her two days to reply.
He scrolled through his contacts until he came to her name.
he put? Nothing flirty. Just a nice message to let her know for definite that
the last text had been from him.
and deleted a few times then settled on:
and bland. He hit send and chucked his phone on the bedside table. Turned out
the light and prepared to go to sleep.
He sat up
and grabbed his phone in the darkness. He hadn’t expected to hear back that
night. He hadn’t expected to be so happy about it either. He blamed the wine
and the boredom of school.
My parents are driving me crazy already. I wish I were there.
his brow trying to work out if her quick reply this time meant she had known
who it was last time or not. Maybe she hadn’t after all. That nettled him. He
acknowledged ruefully that he was contradicting himself. He wanted her to want
him but not too much. He decided to stop thinking about it. He was putting way
too much thought into all this. It wasn’t his responsibility whether she liked
him or not. He fancied a bit of Sophie and she could handle it.
I wish you
were here too. Right here in this bed
darkness around him created an intimacy and he felt full of anticipation. There
was a long pause before she replied:
laughed, so she wasn’t going to be easily seduced into flirty texting.
Can I call
He typed. He
felt confident he could talk her round.
walls here are paper-thin and I’m going to sleep now, maybe some other time.
reply again. He smiled as he put the phone back. She was definitely punishing
him for not calling her sooner. Fair enough. But her tactics were working. He
wished now that he had called her before. He would definitely try again at some
on her bed with her knees pulled up to her chest. She’d totally ballsed it up.
He’d wanted to talk and she’d blown her chance. But she had thrown herself at
him once before and he hadn’t respected her for it. He’d behaved like a total
pig. She liked him so much, but she had some pride. Yet her stupid pride might
have cost her the only opportunity she was going to have to get close to him
once more. She’d be lucky to ever speak to him again.
awake early the next morning. She wanted to go down to the Common Room and
write to her parents. But instead she lay in bed. She had dreamed of Leo. He
might be in the Common Room and then what? She desperately wanted to see him
but she was also so unsure how to act. Had they agreed to secretly ‘date’?
Where they just going to fool around together for a while when no one was
looking? She already ached for him to kiss her again.
all his fault. She had hardly thought about him at all before he had kissed her
and given her the winged horse necklace. How could one kiss change her feelings
so much? Had her feelings changed or was it just a physical thing?
dream they had been flying side by side across the ocean. It hadn’t been
physical at all. It had been the pleasure of being together far away from
Ok, so she
liked him a bit more than she maybe admitted to herself before.
quietly she decided not to go down early, she would try to act normal in every
way. She and Leo could not be friends in public, but every now and then they
could slip off secretly together until they got the attraction out of their
opportunities to be together came up over the rest of the holidays. With the
school almost empty they found lots of places to be alone without causing
suspicion. Rose began to dread everyone else coming back to school. She would
never find time alone with him. She usually spent all her day times at classes
with either Alex or with Sophie and Grace. When would she be able to see Leo?
him was becoming the highlight of every day. Not just the kissing, though she
couldn’t get enough, but he was also funny and clever, she loved just talking
really started to resent Diana, who seemed to come looking for Leo whenever
they disappeared together. What was her problem?
tackling Leo on the subject again. But he refused to talk about it.
discussing Diana with you, it’s not my place to tell you anything about her.
She wouldn’t want me to. But there is nothing romantic between her and me,
there never has been, so you really don’t need to worry.” That was the most she
ever got out of him. She tried very hard not to rubbish Diana to him as he just
got cold and his eyes took on a shuttered look. She had to be content with
that, they were otherwise getting on too well for her to want to ruin it with
favorite time with him was always last thing at night. When everyone else had
gone to bed they would both sneak back down to the West Tower Common Room and
snuggle up on a sofa together. This was a luxury that would end when the rest
of their schoolhouse returned as there was nearly always someone staying up
late studying in the Common Room.
she tackled him about the necklace. She hadn’t taken it off, except to sleep,
since he’d given it to her. She had started to close her hand around it
whenever she felt the need for comfort or reassurance.
with her head in Leo’s lap and lifted the necklace up to look at it again. She
let the silver horse spin in the dim light. “I’ve been meaning to ask about
when you bought this?”
I was hoping you’d not ask.” He tried to distract her with a tickle, but she
playfully slapped his hand away.
didn’t want you to know how long I’ve liked you.”
up, very interested. “How long?”
He rolled his eyes at his own perceived weakness.
said, disappointed. “That’s not so very long.”
“It was still
three months of asking myself what in sweet heaven I was thinking.”
you buy it?” She was intrigued to hear more.
it was Nate Naverly. You were in the pub in the village with your friends and
he was all over you. For some reason it really got my back up. I just thought
you were too good for him. It never bothered me when you were with Ben, but the
idea of Nate getting his hooks into you made me madder than a box of frogs. I
don’t trust him.”
I.” She laughed, “But he does seem to be making Ellie very happy. They’ve been
together two months now and still seem totally into each other. So you hardly
have to worry about him going after me.”
didn’t look wholly convinced. “Well, he definitely was after you, and it got me
thinking. Thoughts I didn’t want to have, about wanting you for myself. Then,
one Saturday visiting day, I was out having lunch with my mother in Bristol and
she dragged me into an antiques shop and I saw the necklace. As soon as I saw
it I thought of you, you have winged horses drawn all over your art folder and
Diana’s mentioned your poster.” He shrugged as if that was all there was to say
but she poked him to encourage him to continue.
fine.” He grumbled but carried on. “I’d bought it before I’d really thought
about it. I suppose that somewhere in my mind I hoped that one day I might be
able to give it to you and that you might like me back.”
“I do like
you back. A lot.” She kissed him with passion.
holidays ended all too soon. In some ways it was great when classes started
again. She and Leo had all the same classes and spent a lot of time exchanging
secret looks and smiles. The occasional squeeze in the corridor and knees
touching under the table in the science lab where they had to share a bench.
But the real highlight turned out to be the art studio. They both loved art and
although their friends were around them during lesson time, no one questioned
either Rose or Leo if they said they were off to the art studio for some extra
time on their coursework.