Wave bye to the bus driver and head off along the front, where the illuminations have faltered and gone out from being battered by the gale. I’m the shiniest fucking thing down here in my jumpsuit.
I stop for a bit, and look out to sea. Little white flecks of gulls and froth against the night. The sea black and forever. It is cold. Nothing like the cold you get on the rig, with none of the edges taken off it by the proximity of land and houses and other people, cold that sets up shop in the fucking marrow of you. But still. Can feel my fingers numbing even in my gloves.
It’s ok though. I don’t mind the cold when you’ve got options, somewhere to go eventually to be out of it. To just sit down in the warm and not be wanted or needed by anyone for anything. Have a turkey and stuffing bap, a couple of cans of Stella – my first in a fortnight – and watch Happy Valley on catch-up. That’s my Christmas wish.
My phone buzzes. I unbend my freezing fingers and check it before heading up the back way to our flat, cos I don’t want to get home and finally sit down and find it’s from Riley and it says something like we’re out of tea. The messages are from Riley, but:
Am staying at Karen’s tonite
You home yet? ;)
Don’t hate me I only helped a bit
I’m easily led lol
Hmm. I take the stairs – the lift’s still fucked, it may be Christmas but some things are perennial – and let myself in. Lights off, no-one home. Except in the living room. Riley Xmassed it up in my absence. Fairy lights strung from corner to corner, and one of Poundland’s finest fake trees shimmering away. There’s a few cards, a few presents. All of them dwarfed by this box in the middle of the floor. Huge, it is. Red, my favourite colour. No address, no tag.
Possibilities. Feel like a shot of whisky. Feel like someone’s gripping my heart. I’m thinking take a minute, yeah, take a breath.
I run my hands over the top of the box, and discover indentations, small as a fingertip. Holes. There are holes in the lid.
“Ooh,” I say. “I wonder what it is.”
I give the box a wobble. There’s two thuds and a yelp. I lever the lid off.
Gemma looks up at me. The sweet face I haven’t properly seen, apart from the odd frustrating Skype session with what the wifi on the rig deigned to fart out, for over a month. She’d been on lates and looking after her Dad in the day, every day, waiting for her whiny weapon of a brother to step up and lend a hand which, as she’s here, I guess he finally has. I do want to ask after her Dad, but I don’t think now’s the time.
Gemma’s tied up – or wrapped up? – in pretty, shiny, silky ribbon. Deep red and glittery. It criss-crosses her like a lovely harness, over her breasts, back and forth across her belly then one strap of it looping between her legs. Her hands and ankles are tied behind her. Aside from the ribbon, and lipstick in a similar colour to the ribbon, and some naff Christmas earrings, she’s very naked.
“I have a lot of questions,” I manage.
“I’ll take questions at the end,” she says, cool as you like.
I grab the box at its far end and lift it onto the end nearest me, tipping Gemma up into a kneeling position. She yelps again. I can still surprise her.
“It ain’t officially Christmas yet,” I say. “I shouldn’t open you till after midnight.”
“Oh yes,” she says, ever so serious, calling my bluff. “It’s very important not to spoil the innocent wholesome joy of Christm–”
And we’re kissing like a fucking dogfight. All over each other. Restrained though she is, it’s like she’s groping me with her gropeable bits, thrusting her breasts against my own, which are starting to wake up under five layers of clothing. I slap and squeeze, feeling this delicious mix of warm flesh and sleek ribbon everywhere my hands go. I’m very bad. I’m a spoilt brat. I want her all, now.
I grab her arse, two big fat greedy handfuls, and pull her out of the box. Lay her down on her back. She writhes. She must be uncomfortable like that, straining with her weight on her arms and shins, her thighs just a few inches open. I go gentle. I kiss her lipstick off of my lips and onto hers. Blood-bright down there on the hairless skin. It usually weirds me out a bit, birds with no pubes at all, I don’t know why, I used to work in the HMV warehouse so I probably saw that Marilyn Manson CD too much at a formative age. But on her, it’s perfect.
The ribbon is broad and taut. It covers her slit. It’s a few shades darker there. I press with my thumb to make the darkness spread, feeling the warmth, the promise of slickness behind the material. God, I can see my own fingerprints with the naked eye, every ridge. I’m so rough. And she’s so smooth. Her breath quickens. The ribbon slips, just slightly, just so, and I see where the smooth respectable outside of her parts to hot pink flesh. Swollen and ready.
She does a hungry, angry whine and thrusts herself at me. I nudge the ribbon aside with two fingers and jam right into her.
It would be fun if she was clothed, to just, like, defile her without undressing her, no romance, no ceremony. Her gusset digging into my wrist, her tits popped out of her bra, the neck of her top pulled rudely down, stretching it, spoiling it. But she’s wrapped. I want to unwrap her.
Easier said than done with one hand. I pick blindly at the knots at her wrists till one of them starts to give. I unravel it, slow. She makes a catlike relieved noise, and flexes her arms. Then I unwind from her ankles, then from between her legs. It cleaves to her, the ribbon. I lift it higher and reveal the whole of her cunt, still smeared with lipstick. She tenses around my fingers.
Finally, I take the ribbon off of the rise of her belly, and then from her right breast, then her left, her nipples still velvety and soft in the warmth of the room. Leaving her naked, revealed. I pull out – resisting the urge to suck my fingers, for now – crumple the ribbon in my other hand and hold it to my nose. I go dizzy on the smell of her. Let it slither down my wrist and fall to a mad flower tangle on the carpet.
“Here.” I pull one of the big cushions off the sofa, for my head and her knees. I lie flat and beckon her. She realises what I have in mind, stops peeling me out of my jumpsuit and scoots up my body with her knees either side of me, awkward and giggling, till she gets to my face.
Her thighs touch my cheeks, infinitely soft. Fucking hell, I have missed soft. I put a hand on each buttock and I lift her up to me, right onto my face. Nose, mouth all full of her. Ears muffled by her thighs. I can hardly hear the first noise she makes. Oh, but I hear all the ones after that.
I’m glad my wish didn’t come true. It was the wrong one. I only thought I wanted simplicity, solitude, nothing and nobody, but I didn’t. What is Christmas for, if not beauty and brightness, if not lovely surprises and good company? And eating yourself stupid.