DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fan fiction borrowing characters from the Pokémon universe, which is trademarked by The Pokémon Company. I do not claim ownership over any of the characters or settings and make no money from publishing this story.
WARNING: This work of fiction is Rated MA and only suitable for mature audiences. It may contain explicit language, adult themes and graphic descriptions of a violent and/or sexual nature.
The Run of Shame
CHAPTER 2 – THE GARDEN OF THIEVING
The awkward silence lasted forever as Drew lay on top of May waiting for the creepers’ voices to peter out into the distance. Once the coast sounded clear, the Coordinators scuttled away from each other.
May fled to the nearest bushes covering her breasts and private parts.
She couldn’t believe that just happened.
Naked. In front of Drew. Running it through her mind over and over again, the embarrassment didn’t get any easier to bare. He’d been naked in front of her too. And their bodies touched!
Her cheeks flared up just thinking about it.
How could he? Well, okay, he’d only been trying to help. But still! There couldn’t have possibly been more to it… could there?
Cynicism came natural when contemplating Drew. She didn’t know whether to be enraged or violated, both, or something else. Her gratefulness had its limits. It was still Drew after all, and his… junk had gotten all over her. Icky! If that wasn’t bad enough, he had the nerve to harden too. How could he just… ugh?!
It would never happen again. Ever. She’d make sure of it.
May raided her surroundings, ripping out tall grass, plucking down leaves and pulling on long vines. She amassed a decent heap of raw material, impressed. Why hadn’t she thought of this before? Sitting cross-legged, her tongue poking out in concentration, she weaved her bundle of foliage together.
Watching her mom do this kind of stuff with hand-me-downs used to bore her to tears, being a child who much preferred the outdoors. It was part of the reason she’d wanted to escape to a life of training pokémon. She never fancied playing the test subject for all the atrocious sweaters and socks from her mom’s knitting experiments. Even so, here she was, silently thanking mother dearest for a set of skills she had never imagined valuable.
After several minutes of crude handiwork, May lifted a skirt fashioned from green leaves and garden-like twine, eyes shimmering at her ensemble with pride. She’d even pinned a flower to the hip for a little flare.
The strung-together piece looked better than it fit however. May scrunched up her features battling to pull the skirt over her thighs. Should’ve made it bigger, she huffed.
As mildly entertaining as the process had been, she balked at the thought of starting over. Her current predicament didn’t exactly afford her the time either.
She squeezed into the grass skirt, careful not to unfetter the delicate piece. Vine gripped her waist like a tight belt, a tad uncomfortable but worth the assurance it wouldn’t be slipping off with ease.
It fit well, kinda, though a little on the short side. The curtain of leaves had looked longer when she was holding up the skirt but, after she’d pulled it on, its jagged hem hung only an inch below her bum. Big maple leaves covered her breasts with threads of vine acting like bra straps. The get-up showed more skin than she’d cared for Drew to see, but hey, at least the most important bits were covered.
“Are you done yet?” Speak of the devil.
Am I done yet? She wasn’t aware she was being waited on. “What’s it matter to you?”
“It doesn’t. But we might want to find our pokémon sometime before the end of this century.”
May ventured out of the bushes less mortified now that she wasn’t completely exposed. Apparently Drew had had the same idea, donning a shabby loincloth he’d hatched together in ten seconds by the looks of it…
He’d found one large leaf to cover his crotch area and another for the rear, twine holding them in place with a double knot. The little number even colour-coordinated with his hair. She would’ve sniggered if she didn’t look just as ridiculous, the pair of them a sad parody of Adam and Eve.
May needed to say anything to break the awkwardness. “Remind me never to make stupid bets with you again.”
He humphed. “They’re only stupid when you don’t win.”
“Yes,” said May. “I see no problems in that statement.”
“And you’re an ever-glowing ray of joy and sunshine!”
In 30 seconds flat they were back at each other’s throats. While bickering had always been their primary form of communication, May couldn’t ignore the awkward undertones permeating this random spat, the notion they were arguing for the sake of arguing. It was easier to squabble than address the embarrassing mishap that saw his naked body lying on top of hers. Maybe if they piled enough insults on top of one another’s they could bury the incident out of memory?
Well, it wasn’t working fast enough for May.
Nearby shrubbery rustled. They both shut their mouths.
May’s Skitty hopped out of the bushes again, this time with Gritty in tow. With their mouths, they held their Trainers’ clothes up for ransom and had yet to issue demands, other than wanting to be followed? The thieving pair dashed off together and the irksome chase continued.
As daylight waned, so did the Coordinators’ hope for a resolution. Doubt, fatigue and hunger afflicted them all at once. They couldn’t even muster the energy to bicker anymore. Their slog descended into a cold, silent, desolate affair.
May had been so distracted by her grumbling tummy, she only just realised their pokémon had stopped popping up at random. “Hey, when did they last poke fun at us?”
“What?” said Drew vaguely. He shrugged, his thoughts no more focused than hers. May suddenly stopped. He did the same a few steps later, looked back. “What are you doing?”
May spread her arms wide and looked to the skies. “Okay, you win!” she bellowed. “You’ve proved your point, Skitty! We get it! Now get back here already and gi-“
Drew smothered her mouth and dragged her behind the trees. “Are you crazy? You’re going to give the whole forest our location!”
May shoved his hand away. “I don’t care! I’m tired. I’m hungry.”
“And stupid!” He spat. “Did you forget about those two creeps out there?”
May ground her teeth, struggling to admit he had a point. The last thing either of them wanted was another date with Harley and Conway. She didn’t know what else to do though, but scream. Their pokémon had led them in circles for hours. She was over it. Just wanted to go home.
“Look, I get it,” said Drew. “I’m pretty beat too. Was actually considering heading back to town. We could get some refreshments and even some new clothes at the nearest Pokémon Centre. Then start over tomorrow if our Skitty are still AWOL.”
“Brilliant idea! Only problem is the nearest Pokémon Centre isn’t all that near anymore is it?” May pointed at the darkening skies. “We wasted way too much time on this wild goose chase. No way we’d make it back now before midnight, and that’s if we don’t drop dead from hunger!”
Drew’s stomach grumbled on cue, forcing him to concede. “Well, getting all dramatic about things isn’t going to help the situation any.”
“Look around, Drew. Do you even know where we are? ‘cause I sure as hell don’t! How are we even supposed to find our way back when we won’t be able to see anything in a couple of hours?”
“Okay, okay, sheesh. Forget I even mentioned that bright idea. Do you always get this cranky when you’re hungry?”
She couldn’t help it. He always brought out the worst in her. “What are we going to do?” she whined. “I’m tired of walking in circles.”
“This isn’t exactly my idea of fun either.” She kept her arms folded as if she didn’t quite believe him. He dropped his head and sighed. “I don’t know what else to do, May.” The words fell out of his mouth in a pained whisper.
Silence. A knowing breeze swept through them, ushering in a change of mood as it fluttered the leaves on their bodies.
The show of vulnerability disarmed May, caught her off guard, no snarky retort loaded in her clip this time. She didn’t see Drew in the boy slouching before her, but a lost soul in a big, scary forest, without a clue on which winding path to brave next.
He really did care about his pokémon. Stripped bare of the bravado usually covering up his heart, Drew revealed more of himself to May than he’d ever intended to, over and beyond his birthday suit.
May would’ve hugged him if he wasn’t three-quarters naked. And wasn’t Drew. “C’mon,” she said, punching him in the shoulder as she walked ahead. “We’ll figure it out.”
Drew lifted his head and humphed. “Who died and made you the leader?”
“Hush you. There’s gotta be some Oran Berries out here we can scavenge.”
Drew pretended to throw up, feigning the sound of hurling. “You know those are terrible for human consumption, right?”
“Pfft! I’ve got the stomach of a Rhyhorn!”
“And the brain of a Slakoth,” he mumbled out the side of his mouth.
“Hey, I heard that!” she shouted back. “Are you just gonna stand there and judge me or actually help?”
“Alright, alright.” He followed behind her.
. . .
Flames leapt at the campsite, abating the cold and dark of night, spit roasting two plump Magikarp seasoned to perfection, if Harley said so himself. He spun the fish round ensuring the embers smoked every last inch, heating raw grey into a scrumptious, golden-brown tenor.
The aroma warmed his face and galvanized his taste buds. Oh, how badly he yearned to sink his teeth into the Magikarp special! After trekking the woods all day like a couple of headless chickens, this would be the only reprieve for their wasted efforts.
“I swear you’ve been roasting that stuff for almost two hours now,” said Conway at his side.
Harley shushed him. “And it will be two hours more if need be.”
It had to be done right. Had to be perfect. He wouldn’t pull it off the flames a second too early. Granted, dinner looked to be ready closer to two minutes than two hours like he’d exaggerated. His partner in crime had a tendency of being impatient, which made Harley enjoy keeping him waiting all the more. “What are you so busy with anyway?” Certainly not with helping dinner preparations.
“Trying to get this damn thing working again.” Conway hit the side of his handheld camcorder.
Harley rolled his eyes. “If you’d concentrated more on helping me catch these Magikarp instead of recording me doing it, maybe your cam wouldn’t have slipped into the lake.”
“Slipped?” Conway shot him a wayward glance. “You mean after you accidentally bumped into me while reeling one in?”
“Yes. Accidentally,” said Harley, matter-of-factly, so much so he almost believed it himself. “I don’t know why you care about getting that thing to work so badly anyway. May is long gone by now. We lost our only chance at getting the ultimate blackmail material. Imagine the damage I could’ve done to her at the next Contest Hall?” He sighed.
“Yeah well it’s still my camera and I’d like to know it’s working. Plus, it’s got sweet night vision capabilities.”
“Night vision, huh?” yawned Harley.
“Yeah!” Conway exclaimed, completely missing Harley’s disinterest. “Imagine all the rare nocturnal pokémon we might be able to find.”
Conway hit the camcorder again, and this time it flicked on. “Whoa! Check it out!” He thrust it in Harley’s face, showing him a hazy greyscale view of the surrounding forest. The silhouettes of warm-bodied Sunkern and Wurmple glowed white amid the vegetation. Then, just as quickly as it had come on, the camera shut off again. “Damnit!” Conway resumed thwacking the buggy equipment some more.
It was a neat way of scoping out live bodies, Harley could admit, but not enough to steal his attention from what really mattered. Dinner –
Leaves shuffled behind them.
Harley whipped around. He caught nothing but the vague shape of trees swathed in darkness. “Did you hear that?”
Conway gave a slow nod, as if he feared any sudden sound or movement would cause whatever it was to stir again.
They both sat motionless, tuning in to the soundtrack of nightly wilderness, the creaks, the croaks, the brushing of leaves, the crackling of campfire, but nothing quite as dramatic as the rustle from before.
Until it happened again.
Harley jumped up, Poké Ball in hand. He approached the edge of the clearing as stealthily as he could, Conway a step behind him, fighting to get the camcorder to work. Perhaps they could identify whatever it was with technology.
Again, all they heard was silence, and more silence. But they stayed put and stared ahead, keen not to let the intruder catch them off guard again. With his back turned to the campsite, Harley sensed it – something behind him, a cold drift.
He whipped around, but only caught a glimpse of a shadow swooshing past their campfire, disappearing into the woods with a rustle.
“What the heck was that?” asked Conway, spooked.
“I don’t know…” Something felt wrong. Very wrong. Harley realised his fears when he moved closer to the campsite. He dropped his Poké Ball, aghast.
His Magikarp. His beautiful, delicious Magikarp…
. . .
Drew bit into the steaming fish and tore another chunk off its bones. An array of salts and spices exploded in his mouth, sultry, piling down his gullet like hot coal. Almost hot enough to burn his tongue, but he shovelled it down all the same, cautious of the rising steam and aroma giving away their location. “Damn. This is pretty good,” he said through a mouthful. “Can’t believe that actually worked.”
“Thanks to my distraction,” chimed May, sat cross-legged next to him. Her table manners proved just as barbaric as Drew’s, albeit with smaller nibbles.
“What are you talking about? I did all the running and snatching, the hard part –”
“Which was all my idea might I remind you –”
“And might I remind you that it was also your idea to eat those Oran Berries?” He contorted his features in disgust. “Seriously. You must’ve been a really hungry child.”
“It’s called being adventurous.”
“Sure,” said Drew. “If your idea of adventure is diarrhoea.”
“Hey!” She slapped him in the arm, reluctantly amused. “Not a Berry good, was it?”
Although he’d exaggerated the diarrhoea part, May had to admit Oran Berries went down a lot better when she was six. This Magikarp was amazing though. Who knew Harley was quite the chef? She wolfed down another bite. “You realise we literally took the dinner off someone’s else plate, right? Shouldn’t we feel guilty about that?”
They stopped chewing and regarded each other for a long moment.
“Naaaah!” they sang in union before delving back into the stolen grub.
While the steamy Magikarp went down exquisitely, a crazed chef and his sleazy partner-in-crime rampaged through the forest, howling threats at the thieves. Drew and May giggled like naughty school kids and made a break for it when their pursuers got close, leaving nothing but a scatter of Magikarp skeletons behind.
. . .
Drew slowed down after a hearty burst of sprinting. He nearly collapsed from fatigue, saved only by the support of a sturdy tree beside him. May caught up seconds later, hands on both knees as she struggled for breath.
“Think we lost them?” she puffed.
“Sshhh!” Drew stilled his panting and strained to listen. For several long seconds the silent woods gave no sign of their pursuers. “Guess so.”
May pushed out the air trapped in her lungs. “Now what?”
“Now, we keep going.”
“Wha…?” She looked at him aghast. “Can’t we, like, rest for one minute?”
“Suit yourself.” He walked past her.
Leaf-crunching footsteps followed hot on his heels. The familiar, whining tone of her voice stalked his every move. He appreciated the extra eyes and ears but could do without the extra lip.
Heated words ping-ponged back and forth in snappy murmurs as the pair brushed through wild shrubs and stepped over low branches. Rocks and sticks hid amongst dead leaves, setting nasty surprises for their bare feet – abrupt cries cut their comebacks short. It took a dozen painful missteps for them to realise they should’ve been directing their attention to the road instead of each other.
Night plunged the woods in a thick blackness, morphing tall trees into twisted, gangly shadows – they looked like overgrown appendages climbing out of the earth with long, crooked extremities hanging frozen and creepily. Streaks of moonlight between the trees only ushered them a few metres forward at a time before fading into the darkness.
A sliver of uneasiness festered in the pit of his stomach and, if May’s reciprocated silence was anything to go by, this place was giving her the creeps too.
Random ‘HOO’s from shadowy Hoot-Hoot reminded them they weren’t alone and the abrupt bustling of undergrowth kept them on shuddery alert. Some sounds spooked May so suddenly she clung to his arm, if only for a brief, uncomfortable moment before breaking away.
How badly had they veered off course to wind up here? Drew didn’t even know where ‘here’ was. All he could see in every direction was more misshapen trees, more dwindling moonlight, more ‘here’. In their desperation to lose those creeps, they’d lost themselves too.
They should’ve called the search off as soon as the sun went down. Their runaway pokémon couldn’t have gotten this far, regardless of whatever lesson they’d been trying to teach them.
Drew didn’t know if it was getting colder or if it was just panic crawling up his skin. Wintry air nibbled at his bare chest and legs and wafted through the sides of his makeshift loincloth, biting at the dangling bits underneath. Was it this uncomfortable for May too? Probably not. She didn’t have to worry about anything dangly freezing up in the cold.
May. Stupid May. This was all her fault.
No, thought Drew, it was his fault for allowing her to rile him into accepting that stupid bet, then turn his own pokémon against him. His Skitty had been well behaved until it met hers. Most frustrating of all he’d failed to get his pokémon onboard the mission to strip her naked.
Had that little green-furred rascal seen something in May he couldn’t? Why did his pokémon care that much about sparing her blushes?
Drew would never get the answers if they never made it out of these woods. After squeezing through a huddle of thick trees where branches drew scratch marks on their arms and sides, the Coordinators swam through tall bushes to reach a large clearing.
Without the canopy of treetops obscuring their view, countless stars winked down upon them, a silvery hue bathing the open plains with more luminosity than they’d experienced in the dense woods. They felt safer already.
“This looks as good a place to rest as any,” said May.
“Took the words right out of my mouth.” He plopped onto the grass with a sigh, spread his limbs out like a Staryu and gazed at the stars.
“I said rest,” she reminded him. “Not fall asleep.”
“And why not fall asleep?” His back writhed against the itchy grass, almost answering his own question for him. “I mean it’s not exactly five-star comfort but…”
“Seriously?” May crossed her arms. “Out here in the open?”
“You’re so right. We should wait for a Pokémon Centre to magically materialise right next to us.”
“You’re so annoying.”
“The price I pay for always being right.” He waved her off. “Weren’t you the one begging for a break in the first place? Look, there’s no way those losers have the wherewithal to track us all the way out here, and I doubt we’re going to be finding our Skitty under these conditions. There’s literally nothing else to do but get some shuteye.” He shrugged. “I mean, unless you got a better idea?”
Oh, she did alright; it involved one of her socks going into his mouth. Luckily for him Skitty had left her barefoot. She grumbled to avoid admitting he made some good points. “Whatever, Drew.”
May couldn’t lay on the grass for more than five seconds before she groaned and got up. She tried to sleep sitting up with her back against a tree. It was literally a pain in the neck. She got up again and tried different spots and positions, pacing all around Drew.
His eyes darted back and forth at her circling feet. “I swear to Arceus if you don’t –”
“I can’t.” She sighed. “I know exactly what we’re missing.”
“Oh, you mean everything?” Drew swatted an annoying insect crawling up his leg.
“A tent,” said May. “Duh!”
“Again, you expect a tent to pop up of thin air?”
“No, silly. But I know exactly where we can find one.”
Drew sat up, intrigued. “You do?”
“Mhm. Same place we found our dinner.”
Drew lay back down again, dismissing the idea. “You’ve officially lost your mind.”
“What? You didn’t see the tent right there at their campsite?”
“Of course I did, but we can’t go back there –”
“Why not? They both left in a hurry looking for us, probably still out in these woods somewhere. All we’ll have to do is head back in the general direction we came and we’ll spot a trail of smoke from their campfire. We sneak in, we sneak out. With their tent. We could even bring it back here if you want.”
“No, May. No. Too risky. What if we bump into them again?” The more he heard of the idea, the more he rejected it. “Nabbing their food was one thing, but this? We’d be biting more than we can chew.”
“Chicken. I’ll go by myself then.”
“And when I get back here with the tent you won’t be allowed to sleep in it!”
“Ha!” Like that was gonna happen.
May wasn’t bluffing. She began marching her way out of the clearing.
Drew thought she’d turn around when common sense came back to her. But it never did. Probably because May never had common sense to begin with. Still, he felt it was a bad idea for them to split up now. After waiting on the grass alone itching at his irritated skin, listening to the spooky Hoot-Hoot sounds, he got up with a grumble.
“Hey, wait up!” He ran after her. Not because she was right or he was scared to be alone in a dark forest or anything. “This idea of yours better work.”
May led the way without any hesitation. “How much you wanna bet?”
“Oh no,” said Drew. “Betting is what got us in this stupid mess in the first place.” His lesson had been learnt.
. . .
May and Drew lay side by side on the tent floor after executing her plan. It went perfectly well, if May said so herself. There’d been no sign of those creeps. Snuck in, snuck out, just like she’d strategized.
Lying on nylon beat lying on prickly grass, even Drew could admit, although he stopped short of praising her for the gutsy idea. The tent shielded them from wind and added an extra layer of comfort against the elements. Albeit, not quite the roominess offered by a Pokémon Centre; the Coordinators couldn’t stretch without bumping into each other, a calamity they’d navigated around by laying an uncrossable border of leaves between them. A Voltorb camping lantern hung at the roof of the entrance, filling their space with warm, orange light.
May stared up at the tent walls flapping in the subtle breeze, her mind in a faraway place. Drew brought her back to reality when he started moving the border of leaves into her half of the tent.
“Wh- what do you think you’re doing?!” May fretted. “Now you’re trying to climb into my half?”
“Oh, please. I’m bigger than you so it only makes sense my side should be a little bigger too.” He broadened his space by a dozen inches. “And get over yourself. We’re both adults here.”
“Uh, actually we’re teenagers.”
“Whatever, May. You get the point. Like I’d even want to touch you.”
May grumbled in defiance, pushing the leafy border past its original centre position. “If anyone should be getting more space here it’s me! We’d still be out there sleeping in the cold if it were up to you.”
“Yeah, well, you couldn’t have gotten the tent on your own either.” He pushed some leaves back.
Then she pushed them back.
As their war over territory raged on, May did come to accept Drew really wasn’t trying to invade her privacy, and she was relieved by it, more comforting than imagining he harboured some secret desire to fondle her like those creeps out there.
All the juvenile back-and-forth ended with the leafy border settled right down the middle, right back where it had started.
May couldn’t let him slide without a final dig though. “You just keep ‘little Drew’, and I do mean ‘little Drew’ to yourself…”
Drew turned on his side and huffed without retort. May would’ve liked to think, if she could see his face, that it would be coloured in blistering embarrassment. His silence satisfied her.
At least for a while. What a rollercoaster of a day. How had they wound up here? She wondered if her impromptu roomie was contemplating the errs of his ways too.
“Hey Drew, do you think –”
An obnoxious snore cut her off mid-question.
She glanced at the boy beside her, curled in foetal position, his back towards her, blissfully ignorant. Typical Drew. He even made sleeping look effortless. No doubt he’d add it to his list of ‘everything I’m better than May at’ in the morning.
She had half the mind to throw a clump of his leaves in his face. Luckily for him she wasn’t feeling particularly petty at the moment. Her ‘little Drew’ insult had been crushing enough.
May had bigger things to worry about. Like Skitty.
Where was she now? What was she up to? Did she find something to eat? If she and Drew could stand each other long enough to scavenge a bite, surely their lovey-dovey pokémon would’ve done the same?
In a roundabout way, the unruly Skitty had forced their bickering masters to overcome their differences, if even for a moment, to see the bigger picture sometimes. If that was the lesson their pokémon were trying to teach them, why hadn’t they ended this charade already?
May got the point loud and clear, and she was willing to bet Drew would say the same. What more could they do?
She sighed, pondered, worried, regretted.
If only she could only escape to dreamland as easily as Drew. Nothing they could do for their Skitty right now anyway. She tried to imagine their pokémon faring better than they were. Argh, why can’t I just sleep? Not so much as a yawn. Her mind inevitably veered back to her pokémon.
“Can you keep it down?” Drew grumbled.
She jumped. He was supposed to be asleep. Plus, his question made no sense – she hadn’t uttered a word. “Uh, keep what down?”
“That. You’re thinking way too loud! Stop worrying. Trying to get some sleep here.”
May’s instinct was to fire back a snarky retort, but she held her tongue. He was right. Even half-asleep with his back turned to her, funny how he knew what was going through her head. “Do you think they’re together right now?” she wondered aloud. “Skitty and Gritty?”
“His name’s not Gritty. And…” Drew sighed. “I dunno. We’ll find them tomorrow.” It sounded as though he was trying to reassure himself as much as he was trying to reassure her.
“Yeah…” She gazed blankly at the tent’s ceiling. “Yeah. You’re right.” She switched off the Voltorb lantern. “Good night, Drew.”
May thought sleep would find her easier with the light off. Her mind continued to toil. She heard Drew roll onto his back against the nylon flooring.
He sighed. “Great. Now I can’t sleep either.”
“Welcome to my world.”
Silence in the tent. Crickets on the inside. Not even the pokémon surrounding them wanted to sleep. What could creatures of the night get up to at this hour anyway? A silly, little, naughty thought tickled her drowsy brain. She snickered.
“What’s so funny?” asked Drew.
“You might as well say it. We’re both still up.”
“Um, okay. Do you think…” May trailed off attempting to reformulate the question in a less abrasive way. “Do you think Skitty and Gritty are… I mean, do you think they’ve… I mean, what if right now they’re –”
“Having sex?” A blunt Drew finished the question for her. “How old are you, ten?”
“Shut up.” She was glad the darkness hid her light blush.
“Probably,” said Drew.
May couldn’t believe how cavalier he sounded about the whole thing. “And you don’t find that… weird?”
“They’re wild pokémon at heart, May. Yes, we tame them to some degree, but instinct is instinct.”
“I know that but I mean the fact that they’re our pokémon?”
Drew shrugged. “Instinct is instinct.”
“I guess so…”
More silence. More crickets.
“Um…” Something about the darkness gave May more impetus to say things she usually wouldn’t; maybe it was because she didn’t have to look him in the eye when she said them. “Have you ever wondered what it’s like?”
“…to have sex?”
“No, to be a wild pokémon. Of course I’m talking about sex!”
“Pssh! You’ve never had sex before?” he asked mockingly.
“Of course I have!” The words jumped out of her mouth, more a reaction to his snide tone than anything else. “I’m not ten you know.”
“Sure act like it sometimes.”
“Whatever. I was just wondering if you’ve done it before.”
“And why would you be wondering that?”
“I was just…” Trying to make conversation? “Ugh, never mind, Drew.”
“Yes, May. I have.”
She was silently surprised. “…and?”
“What was it like?”
“It was… nice, I guess,” said Drew.
“Nice? Who was it with? How did it happen? Where did –”
“Jeez! You want a full play-by-play of my sex life now? All you need to know is I rocked her world, alright? Now get a grip,” he chastised her. “Better yet, get your own sex life. Shouldn’t be that hard with your –” He stopped himself. “Uh, you know what I mean.”
“No I don’t,” said May. “My what?”
He tried to tap-dance away but May annoyed him until he blurted out, “Your boobs!”
She fell silent. “My… boobs?”
“Don’t play dumb. You know most guys like them big and bouncy.”
It was true, at least in her experience. May might not have been ten but she’d noticed boys staring as far back as then. Her early development showed no signs of stopping. She needed look no further than the creeps hunting them down to confirm Drew’s assessment of ‘most guys’. That part didn’t surprise her; it was Drew’s admission to noticing her chest that did.
“Most guys,” May mused. “But not you, huh?”
“Yeah, May. Not me.”
“But you’ve looked too?”
“Oh, get over yourself. I’ve never looked! They’re just, like, there. Kinda hard to miss? I haven’t ‘looked’, I’ve ‘noticed’. Big difference!”
“Okay, okay, sheesh. No need to get all defensive.” Though she found it curious and slightly amusing that he did. “It was just a simple question.”
“Well, enough with your ‘simple questions’. I’ve got one for you, actually. Who did you do it with, huh?” He flipped her nosiness on her. “I bet it was Ash. Or Brock.”
“Er…” May stammered.
“Or maybe they took turns with you.”
“Gross!” Since he never gave her any names, she didn’t need to give him any either. “Er, all you need to know is I’ve rocked worlds too! Better than you ever have.”
“Oh yeah, whose?”
“A real lady doesn’t kiss and tell.”
“Funny, I don’t see any real ladies in here.”
“Funny,” countered May. “I see one lying right next to me.”
“Ha. Ha.” He couldn’t sound more unamused.
And just like that, their dabble into the taboo reached an awkward end, neither willing to divulge anymore than they already had.
Drew turned over and went back to sleep.
In the ensuing silence, May tried to remember all the girls she’d ever seen him with. No one obvious jumped out to her. Er, Solidad? Nah, they couldn’t have. Could they…? More importantly, why did she care whose world Drew had supposedly rocked?
It didn’t matter. And hey, she wasn’t the only one guilty of being overcurious. When he had thrown out Ash and Brock’s names, she’d heard a tinge of spite in his voice. Or maybe she’d heard what she wanted to hear. It didn’t matter. Drew had admitted to noticing her breasts. But it didn’t matter.
Come to think of it, Drew had downright ogled her when they’d first bumped into each other naked in the woods. She’d also looked – well, ‘noticed’ him – but that didn’t matter either. Instinct was instinct. Just like it had been ‘instinct’ when he got hard lying on top of her…
It didn’t matter. May forced that thought through her head. Go to sleep already. Drew wasn’t wasting any time thinking about her.
Now that they’d stopped talking, nothing was left to distract her from the cold. It seeped through the tent somewhere. They hadn’t checked if the ratty old rainfly had any tears or punctures, nor were they in a position to complain if it did. Her meagre grass skirt and leaf bra were her last defences against the sneaky chills.
Wait a minute!
What if Drew had never resisted the whole ‘run of shame’ bet because he’d wanted to see her topless all along? He had been so confident he’d win, and since he’d been ‘noticing’ her all this time…
Nah. It didn’t matter anyway. That was just silly. Her mind was working overtime. While his had long drifted from this world, from her.
She turned away from him and curled into a ball for warmth. At long last, her eyelids began to grow heavy. Her last thought before she slipped into slumber…
‘It doesn’t matter.’
. . .
Drew’s eyes flew open.
The pitch-black indicated it wasn’t morning yet.
An awkward weight lay on the left side of his chest, blanketing him with body heat.
Pinned down on his back, Drew craned his head as far up as his neck would allow. A tentative glance revealed his least favourite acquaintance had spread half her semi-naked body across his, one arm around his torso and one leg sprawled over his abdomen.
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