Parties did not particularly interest me, and this one was of no exception.
The Johnson’s were one particularly well-to-do family. They had holidays to Istanbul, went skating in the Netherlands and had even climbed Mt Fuji. All of this I could gather from one simple stroll away from the casual frivolities, and instead partaking in a few choice examinations of their prized photo albums and cupboards, in their quieter and decidedly more pleasant rooms.
One of them, I will assume Mrs Johnson, was a connoisseur of fine novella’s. Modernism, in particular, intrigued her. Along the crusty columns of weathered hardbacks I saw Pound, Woolf, the odd tale by Mansfield. I had touched upon such writers in my university days, but they held little relish for me.
I continued to poke around with all the grace and stealth of a panther, before growing remarkably tired of seeing their exploits on their fifteenth time to Paris and 45.2nd time to the Baltics. These rich people do exhaust me so.
As such, I settled down in the rigid, unforgiving bronze armchair and set to work with an emerald emblazoned copy of The Great Gatsby. I enjoyed a bit of Fitzgerald, even his name was perfectly exquisite. Fitzgerald.
Nick was on his way to meet with a certain fiendish lady named Jordan, when a creak escaped from the study door, and an amber light filtered through. The room turned from an alluring gold to a starkly bright white, and all its charms were lost instantly. Why were people were so incessantly having to ruin my peace of mind?
Nevertheless, I continued in my reading, with a vain hope I might be left to my independent studies.
A light foot approached, the scent of coconut wafting up my nostrils, and a sleek, pale hand lowered my book in favour for a face.
‘Why, whatever are you doing in here all by your lonesome?’
There it is, my peace inevitably destroyed.
I shrugged off her grip, and raised my book in intense examination.
‘I put my arm around Jordan’s golden shoulder and drew her towards me.’
It was forcibly lowered once more.
‘Come and join the party’, she said, ‘it is such great fun.’
I ensured to close the book with an emphatic thump. This is why I never usually engage in human contact.
‘I would rather not, if it’s all the same with you’ I began, fingering the crumbling leather of the armchair, ‘I much prefer the company of these books. People exhaust me.’
I expected the usual look of disdain smeared across her face; the sort of face the Johnson’s would certainly pull. Instead, a smile, even a small giggle leaked from her person.
‘Fair enough then, but I shall still keep you company,’ and with that she plucked a book from the shelf and plopped down beside me.
Yes, I say plopped, as she engaged with her surroundings with about as much grace as a bozz-eyed salmon. Her feet rested precariously on the coffee table, knocking about the oriental chinaware the Johnson’s had gotten on their sixty-first trip to, where else? China.
T’was hard luck for her though, after discovering she had just so happened to pick up Joyce’s Ulysses. It took mere seconds before the valuable first-edition fell to the floor with a deafening thud, and she was upon my person once more.
A few seconds of examination, then she lay bare her deductions.
‘You like books, don’t you?’
A brief nod in response.
‘Do you like anything else, apart from books?’
A brief shake of the head.
‘Do you like… women?’
I looked at her, furrowing my brows. She looked about twenty eight, a few years my senior. Her mousy hair was left to run rampant down her back, whilst freckles dotted her arms and face. A lopsided smile gave me a brief feeling of warmth and comfort, till I remembered where I was and went back to my book.
‘I have no interest for those sorts of childish things.’ I replied.
She kneeled down in front of me, playing with the string of the reading lamp.
‘You’re not a very nice person, are you?’
‘I don’t like people who ask excessive amounts of questions.’
I was trying my hardest to be most enrapt in the novel, my concentration was so very final that I barely felt the lips touching my own. They were soft and sweet, but so very faint. Her coconut perfume stained my cheeks and made my eyes water.
‘I had no girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs,’
She was cruel.
And then it was over. She leant back and smiled, a crooked smile. Her freckles even formed a sadistic grin.
‘I bet you liked that’ she cooed, ‘And it wasn’t childish at all.’
And then the door creaked open once more, that same harsh light filtered through. A deep voice calling through the incessant hum of the music.
‘Urja, come on. We’re leaving now.’
Then she was gone. Without so much as a passing glance she flitted through the room, tripping over Ulysses and crushing its pristine cover. Her pixie shadow danced over the bookshelves, then the door closed and I was returned to the oppressive silence.
I took a minute to recover myself. Opened up my book.
Where was I again? Page sixty three.
‘I drew up the girl beside me, tightening my arms. Her wan, scornful mouth smiled, and so I drew her up again closer, this time to my face.’
And I continued to read my book.
Hi, I’m Rebecca.
I’m currently a English Literature student, in the midst of progressing onto a Masters degree in ‘Gothic Lit and the Imagination’.
As such, most of my writing is very macabre and traditionally Romantic.
I often blend creative writing with my own unique manga illustrations.
You can read more of Rebecca’s stories, check out her poems, and admire her artwork on her blog: https://rebeccasherratt.wordpress.com – each page on her blog has a great cover image, as do some of her great pieces of writing!