It felt incongruous sitting there on the bandstand steps in the sunny park, half a dozen of their friends messing about around them, oblivious. Drew was holding her hand the big faux gold chain on his wrist digging into her arm, replicating the pain. He was sucking on a roll-up and the smoke blew towards her making her cough.
‘For god’s sake Mel, stop makin’ a fuss. I ain’t gonna stop spliffin’ just fer you, so yer can give that up right now.’
He liked to think of himself as an alpha male, but she’d still been surprised by his eruption of anger when she first told him. She thought he’d be as delighted as she was. But no, he just told her to ‘get rid’ and that was that. Here she was two days later feeling bruised and distraught and all he could do was complain about her coughing.
He stood up and stretched his lanky 17 year old body to full height, his jeans slipping down revealing the top of his grubby pants as he did so.
‘I’m gonna ride for a bit.’ He said, and he joined the other lads doing wheelies on their bikes and frightening the old ladies.
She leaned against the upright of the bandstand, watching him whooping and laughing, the stub still hanging from the corner of his mouth. ‘Big kid’ she thought. He was just a boy. Though she was only a year younger she felt almost motherly towards him. His stupid, filthy falling down jeans, his ridiculous oversized trainers, the ripped t-shirt, all just armour against the world, that she had once or twice managed to pierce.
She tried to hold back the sobs, but once again, they forced their way to the surface, in big noisy gulps. One of the girls yelled at him to go to her and he threw his bike down onto the grass.
‘wha’s up now?’ He asked brutely as he approached. ‘Honestly Mel, yer no fun these days, yer need to get over yerself.’
He put his foot on the step next to where she sat and puffed on the last of the roll-up. Leaning down and whispering
‘yer embarrassing me Mel. Get yerself sorted.’
She could feel the warmth of his big face almost touching hers. She could inhale his breath he was so close. He moved in to kiss her. He liked to kiss her long and passionately in public, showing off to his friends his unfailing technique. But this time she pulled away. He was surprised and nearly fell forward onto her, though not as surprised as when he felt the flat of her hand stinging his cheek with all the force of three months pent up anger behind it.
He raised his hand to hit her back, but the others were there now and one of them grabbed his arm before it landed.
‘Leave it mate. She ‘ain’t worth it.’ Was all she heard as she ran off towards home.