This is the tenth part of a fiction serial, in 1150 words.
Finn, Roland, and Roxanne.
“You have to be joking!” Finn seemed very angry, as he shook his head in disbelief. “You didn’t do anything? Mum didn’t do anything? Unbelievable! I could see she was totally up for it. What’s wrong with you? That was your big chance, Roly. I am disappointed in you, after everything I did to set you up. I really am. And you let Mum down too, I bet she was gagging for it”. Roland wished he would lower his voice. He was sure Roxanne would be able to hear everything, just adding to the feeling of humiliation that had left him completely exhausted. His friend kept on and on, and he felt that if he didn’t stop soon, he might just start hitting him until he shut up. Why did Finn care about it so much anyway? That question had never really occurred to him before, and now it began to sprout in his mind like a spring bulb. In an effort to silence him, Roland raised his own voice, and asked it.
“Why do you care so much anyway? What difference does it make to you if me and your mum have sex? Don’t you think it might just spoil everything? It’s no big deal, it just didn’t happen”. When Finn looked as if he might actually cry, Roland threw him some crumbs. “There will be other times. Maybe your house isn’t the right place. It might have seemed just too weird, on her own sofa, with you upstairs. I can try again another time, if you like”. Finn wanted to smile, but didn’t. He often felt he could play people like instruments, especially his mum, and his best friend. It never even occurred to him to wonder why he did that. It was just his nature.
“The thing is Roly, I really just wanted you and mum to be happy. I think you would be really happy if that happened, and I know she would. It might not seem like it, but she is a very unhappy woman, under the surface. I know how you feel about her, and I have seen how she changes when you come around. It didn’t take much to work out that you two have something there, believe me. So it does matter to me, but only because I want the best for the two most important people in my life. That’s all”. Roland had to concede that his friend made a convincing argument. He sounded unbelievably mature too, and that made him seem older and wiser. But everything had been arranged, laid on for both him and Roxanne exactly as Finn had promised. Then nothing had happened. So there was a chance that Finn was wrong, but Roland still hoped that what he said was true. Once he had calmed down, Finn started talking again.
“Perhaps you two need to be alone together somewhere else. Maybe in mum’s car, or a trip to somewhere when I am not around. I reckon I could ask her to take us somewhere quiet, like for a picnic, or a day at the seaside. Then at the last minute I could pretend to be ill, and not go. I would just tell her not to let you down, and take you on the trip anyway. Once you were out in the countryside, or found a place on a deserted beach, something must happen. But you have to have the guts to talk to her. Tell her how you feel, or even just tell her she looks pretty or something. Can you do that?” Roland looked at his friends eyes. What was that he saw in them? He got it. Desperation. He nodded. “I could try, I’m sure. I could say something nice about what she was wearing, or her hair, see how she reacts”.
But even as his friend smiled at him, he wasn’t in the least convinced he would be able to do that.
After almost two bottles, Roxanne gave up on the idea of getting drunk. It seemed that the alcohol was having no effect on her whatsoever, so she left the last third in the bottle, and screwed the cap back on. The tingling hadn’t stopped at all. If anything, it was worse, and had started to move around too. Her thighs ached, and her toes were sore. The agitation in her legs was something new, something she had never experienced before. The sound of voices from Finn’s room made her think about what was being said up there. She couldn’t make out any words, but the raised voice of Finn was distinctive. Poor Roland, she was sure he was being told off by her son. What had she been thinking? How would it have ended up, if she had made that move? Maybe slipped an arm around the boy, or squeezed his leg, pretending to be scared of something in the film. So much had run through her mind, during those ninety-six minutes.
She raised both hands to her face, and let out a suppressed growl. Whether that came from a sense of failure, or just sexual frustration, she couldn’t tell.
But she knew how it would have ended up. The way she had hoped it would.
Finn was on a roll. He liked nothing more than to get to work on a new plan.
“I tell you what, we are both fourteen soon, me first of course. I have told mum I don’t want any party, and I am too old to have everyone round playing games, or listening to music and eating sausage rolls. How about I ask her to take us away somewhere instead? I reckon she could afford a decent hotel, and get two rooms. Dad won’t want to come, I’m sure. But if he does mention it, I will just tell him he will be bored. He might even pay for it. He never knows what to get me for my birthday. Then when we got there, I would pretend to feel sick. I could ask mum if I could just stay quiet in our room for a bit, and suggest you could sit in her room with her to watch TV, until I feel better. How about that? A double bed, a strange place where nobody knows us, and you two alone for ages. Something would have to happen then, I’m certain. And if it worked out, you could even stay with her all night. Imagine that!”
He could imagine that. He imagined a repeat of what had happened earlier downstairs. Hours of tension, both too scared to say or do anything, followed by a night of overwhelming frustration, and more aching muscles. But still, you never knew. Finn’s plan sounded plausible, and very exciting too. He turned to his friend, trying to look serious and to sound grown up.
“That could work”.