Liv, that was awesome!
Maddy embraced her girlfriend, swinging her round in an excited circle before putting her down again. She, Liv and Felix were just coming out of school, emerging from the shady confines of Sanford's corridors into the soft light of the diminishing autumn sun. It was a beautiful end to what, in Maddy's opinion, had been a beautiful day. The rehearsal had gone brilliantly. It seemed that for every moment Maddy had worried, Liv had made up for it by stunning her fellow students with the sound of her voice. Mr Gibson had smiled; even Felicity had looked awestruck, though that had quickly changed to her usual disdain. Their suggestion appeared to have gone down very well. Of course, no one could be sure until the next practice, when the players would take a vote on their two favourite ideas, but the enthusiastic applause that had broken out on Liv's last note suggested they were in very good favour. I'm proud of you, Maddy smiled, squeezing Liv's hand affectionately. Liv, however, simply rolled her eyes.
It was only one performance Maddy, she muttered. I've got a long way to go before I'll be able to perform on a stage in front of people.
I'll help you with your nerves, I promise, said Maddy, softly. It'll just take a bit of coaching, that's all.
All right, Liv sighed, her face breaking into a weak smile. Then, a tiny bush creeping across her cheeks, she added, Was it really any good?
Brilliant, Felix grinned, giving her an encouraging hug. I thought Mr G was going split his head open from smiling. Felicity couldn't believe her ears- you should have seen the look on her face! It was classic.
Liv smiled. The three friends were fast approaching the school gates. It was only half past five, so Maddy decided a sojourn back hers would be a good way to round off their day.
You two going to come back to mine then? she suggested, linking arms with them both.
Sounds great, Liv replied, giving the arm around hers a playful squeeze. Felix, however, shook his head.
Sorry, no can do, he informed them both. I've made other plans. I'm going to play football with some guys from my politics class.
Maddy stopped in her tracks and turned to stare at Felix, unsure if she had heard him correctly.
I'm sorry, what? she exclaimed, incredulously. Did you just say you're going to play football?
It's not a serious game, Felix shrugged. Just a friendly kick-about with the guys.
Have you heard yourself? Maddy went on, rooted to the spot in disbelief. Since when have you played football, or done anything with the guys' for that matter?
Chill out, Mads, Felix muttered, his tone growing irritable. I'm allowed to have friends other than you two, you know. I'll see you tomorrow.
He adjusted his backpack and set off up the road, the opposite direction to Maddy's house. Maddy stared, open-mouthed, after him, wondering what on earth had just happened. After a moment, she found her voice and she turned to Liv, her eyes wide.
Did you see that? she gaped. What the hell was that?
Leave it be, Maddy, said Liv, soothingly.
Leave it be, she reiterated, slowly. I was expecting something like this to happen sooner or later.
What do you mean? Maddy murmured, turning to stare down the street after Felix's retreating form, which was fast becoming nothing more than a shapeless green blob.
He can't hang out with a couple of girls all the time, Liv shrugged. I mean, he's bound to want male company at some point. He's said it himself.
Yeah, but I didn't think he meant it! exclaimed Maddy. She didn't know why it was bothering her so much. Perhaps it was that he had sprung it on them so suddenly, though she could not be sure. She turned her back on the green speck in the distance, trying to shake off her outrage.
Talk to him about it tomorrow, if it bothers you, said Liv, gently. Just let him do his own thing for tonight. It's not like we can't have fun without him.
Liv's words twigged something in Maddy's mind.
That's true, she responded, her face giving was to a sly smile. And with him gone, it means I get you to myself for a whole evening.
You do, Liv giggled, her eyes sparkling. Whatever can we do for a whole evening?
I'm sure I'll think of something, grinned Maddy. Now, how about a piggy back ride home?
Is your mum not coming to get you? asked Liv.
No, Maddy muttered, darkly. She's working late' again, whatever the hell that means.
Oh, Maddy, Liv murmured, petting her girlfriend's arm. Don't let what Felicity said get to you.
Oh, I'm not, Maddy insisted. Sod her. Sod my mum. They can do whatever they like. I'm not letting it ruin my fun. Now, you going to hop up or what?
Maddy hunched down a little, and Liv, laughing, jumped up onto her back, wrapping her arms around Maddy's neck. Maddy supported Liv's thighs, but not before she had taken advantage of the opportunity to slip her hands up and under Liv's skirt.
Maddy! Liv scolded, but she was laughing nonetheless.
Pity I can't carry you home like that, Maddy smirked. She adjusted her hands so that they were supporting Liv's legs. Then she began to set off down the street.
Not too fast, Liv warned her. Maddy simply grinned.
What, you mean like this? she asked and she sped up to a run, causing Liv to bob up and down on her back wildly. Liv screamed and tightened her hold on Maddy's neck.
Stop it, Maddy! she wailed, as Maddy continued to run full pelt down the street, ignoring the sparse collection of passers by who were staring at them. Slow down!
Maddy would have happily run all the way home: Liv's shrieks were just far too funny. However, slender as she was, Liv was still fairly heavy, and Maddy had to stop to put her down. Once her feet were on the floor, Liv began to stalk away, be it somewhat unsteadily.
That was really mean! she sniffed, huffily.
I was only playing, silly, laughed Maddy, running after her. Liv continued to walk on, her arms folded defiantly across her chest and her nose in the air. Maddy paid no attention to her feigned strop. She took Liv roughly by the arm and pulled her into the shady confines of a nearby alley.
Hey! Liv cried out. What are you doing- But her protests fell mute on her lips as Maddy caught them in a plundered kiss, pressing Liv against a mossy piece of fencing. She half expected her timid girlfriend to struggle at such an open display of affection, but Liv did no such thing: in fact, she kissed back fiercely. Maddy remained against her until she thought she was going to pass out from not breathing and then pulled away with an almost violent gasp for air. Liv simply smiled.
I'm sorry, she murmured, silkily. Did I get a bit carried away?
I don't know what's gotten into you lately, Maddy panted, still reeling, But I like it.
Come on, Liv suggested, slipping an arm around Maddy's waist. Let's try and get back before your dad gets home.
She gave a mischievous smile and began to drag Maddy back onto the main street. Maddy willingly obeyed.
What Maddy loved most about autumn were the evenings. They were not as unbearably balmy as summer nights, yet no way near as bitter as those of winter. She also found they came at just the right time. Summer days dragged on for too long, whilst winter nights encroached on the daylight hours like an unwanted visitor. September nights, however, were perfect, which was why Maddy had led Liv to the bottom of the garden, with a blanket and a flask of hot cocoa. In their rumpled school uniforms, they sat together beneath the arbour at the end of the garden path. The blanket they had wrapped around them for warmth and cups of steaming hot chocolate were heating their hands. Liv was leaning into Maddy, whilst Maddy was simply enjoying the sensation of being able to hold her girlfriend close to her.
Are your parents not going to think it a bit weird you sneaking me off to the bottom of your garden? asked Liv, as she snuggled up to Maddy's chest.
No, Maddy responded, her voice laced with amusement. They think we come down here to talk about boys.
Liv laughed but the sound stopped very abruptly. There was a thoughtful silence, before she asked:
Are you glad you have a girlfriend and not a boyfriend?
Maddy sighed. Liv had asked her this question many times before now and each time her answer had been the same. However, it seemed her girlfriend thought her opinion was liable to change, so she had patience and answered as she always had done.
Of course I am you know that, she said. I've had boyfriends before and it just never seemed right. Then I met you and suddenly it all made sense.
Do you ever think other boys are hot? Liv asked.
No, said Maddy truthfully. Though I couldn't tell you whether or not that's because I'm gay, pure and simple, or because I only have eyes for you. Either way, other boys are nothing you need to concern yourself with.
Maddy kissed Liv softly on the forehead, curling her fingers into the girl's dark hair. In truth, she had often wondered the same thing about Liv. After all, Liv had had a boyfriend when they'd first met. It was only after discovering that he'd been cheating on her that she'd sought comfort in Maddy's arms. For the first month of their relationship, Maddy had been worried that she was nothing more than a rebound mistake, despite Liv's assurances to the contrary. Yet, after almost a year of seeing each other, Maddy's insecurities were proved to be unfounded. However, it did not stop her wondering if Liv still found men attractive. It didn't really matter either way, but Maddy's curiosities often got the better of her.
I saw Blake the other day, Liv admitted, and Maddy stared down at the top of her head: Blake had been the cheating boyfriend Liv had been seeing when she'd started at Sanford. Not like that, Liv assured her. I just bumped into him. I'd gone back to Guildham with my mum for the market and we walked past him on the high street.
Did you talk to him? Maddy asked, feeling inexplicably nervous.
No, said Liv. He didn't even acknowledge me. Besides, why would I waste my breath?
Maddy didn't respond, though she couldn't help but feel relieved. Her worst idea of a nightmare would be Liv forgiving him for what he'd done and him worming his way back into her life. However, it seemed unlikely.
They sat together in a comfortable silence for a few moments, Liv still leaning against Maddy's chest and Maddy still playing Liv's luscious dark hair with her unoccupied hand. The pensive mood brought a memory to the front of Maddy's mind and she laughed aloud at the thought of it.
What? Liv inquired.
I was just thinking about your first PE lesson, Maddy smiled, and Liv gave an exasperated moan.
That was so embarrassing, she muttered. I should have noticed but they really should have put a sign on the door or something.
Liv's first PE lesson at Sanford had been the moment Maddy had first realised her attraction. After the end of a vigorous hockey match, Liv had come inside, stripped off her kit and headed to the showers, as anyone might expect. However, what she didn't know was that no one used the communal showers anymore - they used the cubicles in the brand new shower room next door. Poor Liv, though, was completely unaware and had had to endure the taunting for weeks. She'd been so upset that, the moment she'd redressed, she had run off in tears to the toilets next door and locked herself in. Yet, this was not before Maddy had had her first taste of physical attraction. She'd been watching Liv strip off with almost bated breath, and every bit of flesh that had been uncovered had filled her with an excitement that she could not explain, but could not get enough of. Of course, this had stopped the moment she saw her new friend in tears. However, as she was sitting in a cramped cubicle, Liv sobbing on her shoulders, she couldn't help but feel enticed by the intimacy of the situation.
Well, I for one am thankful for that day, Maddy smiled. As embarrassing as it was for you, I got my first look at you in the buff, and, my God, did I like what I saw.
Pervert, sighed Liv, though Maddy could tell she was smiling.
Speaking of which, Maddy murmured. How about a dip in the hot tub before you go home?"
But I didn't bring my bikini, Liv objected. Maddy, however, simply smirked.
Oh, I know, she smiled. And all the better.