This is the second part of a fiction serial, in 764 words.
When I first noticed her, I was sitting in the back of the Student Union bar, nursing a pint of cider. I had been sipping it for well over an hour, as I couldn’t afford to buy another one until my mum had paid in the money she promised. I spotted her hair first; cropped short, and very dark. Then she turned, and I saw her mouth. Wide, with thick lips, already in a half-smile as she looked across at me sitting alone at that table.
She broke into a stride, and I looked around, wondering who she was heading for. When it turned out to be me, I was surpised to say the least.
“Hi, you are History too, aren’t you? I’m Gabby”. I raised a hand for a lame handshake, then felt stupid when she leaned over and planted a soft kiss on my left cheek. Fighting back a stutter, I said my name. “Michaela, and yes, I’m studying History”. She sat next to me, barely perching on the edge of the chair. The smells coming off of her were wonderful. Clean clothes, fabric softener, and combined with just enough of a divine perfume that I didn’t know the name of and could never afford to buy.
“I shall call you Mikki, okay? Michaela is such a mouthful. Come over and sit with us. No need to be here on your own”.
The table she led me to had two others sitting at it already. A nice boy pulled another chair over for me. “Hi, I’m Ben. Good to meet you”. Taking the lead from my new friend, I leaned over and kissed his cheek. “Call me Mikki”.
I was catching on fast.
Across the table sat a skinny girl. Possibly half-Chinese, she had that so-slim body that makes you think she would look like a skeleton when she was naked. She was giving me the look, the one I had grown up seeing.
Her eyes moved around, checking out the fat thighs and curved calves under my too-long dress, with the black opaque tights I wore winter and summer, hoping to make my legs look smaller. They settled briefly on the over-sized breasts that always seemed to arrive anywhere two full seconds before the rest of me. Then they moved up to gaze at the thick single pigtail of straw-coloured hair that reached down to the middle of my bum. The only effort at hair management I had ever used.
There was no introduction, and she suddenly thought of a reason why she had to hurry across the room to talk to an Arabic-looking guy with a huge beard.
After that night, I was in Gabby’s gang, like it or not. Fortunately, I liked it, as she seemed to hang around with nice people who never asked me why I was fat, or why my tits were so big. Ben was really nice, one of those blokes who is good-looking, but doesn’t realise it. So he had no side to him, and acted like a nerd. That made him endearing to me.
Though it was Gabby I fell in love with. Head over heels, life-changing love.
Not being anywhere near as well-off as the others, and one of the few from a single-parent family, I had to get a job. Fortunately, the Campus Cafe was recruiting, and I was taken on for as many hours as I could squeeze in when I wasn’t studying. Gabby would come in often, order a latte, and then sit at the counter chatting to me when I wasn’t serving a customer. If I was on my own, I never charged her for the coffee, and I would slip her a free brownie too.
That first academic year flew by. When I could afford it, I went on the trips she organised, usually sitting next to Ben. I knew he liked me, but both of us were fixated on Gabby of course. It was that blind devotion to her that drew us closer together, I am sure of that.
Before we all went home at the end of that last term, Gabby was waiting for me outside the cafe.
“Hi, Mikki. I was thinking. We are going to be second years when we come back. You know they will be on at us to move out of halls. I am considering renting a house, and wondered if you wanted to share with me? I’m going to ask Ben too, as it will be cheaper split three ways”.
I said yes immediately. Of course I did.