skins. effy stonem, tony/effy, katie/effy, (effy/cook). 1,142 words. r. title from sylvia plath's "burning the letters"
she stole a car from the university parking lot. she is thinking of naming it cook.
this scar is a fleck on my porcelain skin
you tried to reach deep but you never got in
and now you're outside me, you see all the beauty
repent all your sins
your ex lover is dead. (stars)
She goes up to Cardiff after the funerals.
"You don't look too pleased to see me," she smirks, coolly. She stole a car from the university parking lot. It's a yellow Ford.
She is thinking of naming it Cook.
"Well, I heard you've gotten even more deadly than you used to be."
His mouth makes a half serious shape as he says it, he's not always as amusing as he thinks he is, her brother.
They don't look all that much alike right now, with her hair tangled up under a cap and his smooth, crisp collars. His eyes dance.
She spends two weeks in his dorm room, they don't eat much or do much and Effy retreats into the comfort of silence which his girlfriend (a psychology major) likes to call anti social behavior. Tony rolls his eyes over the top of her head, like some kind of half-hearted apology but Effy actually doesn't mind.
Most of the time, she sits in the middle of the bed with her legs crossed, head thrumming against the wall and she smiles, smokes out of the window.
Tony's friends file in and out, sometimes. They don't talk to her usually, just sort of eye her with a certain nervousness and leave it be.
"You're very pretty," says a girl, and she is not one of Tony's friends, she is a friend of his girlfriend whose name is not Michelle and whose name is unimportant because she is unimportant.
Effy's lashes rise up and then down.
"Thank you," she says.
The girl's name is Celia, she's got very long thin hair that sticks against the wall when Effy goes down on her, fingers holding on to the wool of her sweater.
"Shit," she moans when she comes, eyes rolling up. Her breath is very heavy, "Look, Eff - "
"Yeah. Yeah, look, don't tell Tony?"
"No?" She is amused.
"I mean, we're not together or anything - " (eye roll here) "But he can be kind of shit about - "
"He must like you, then."
"I don't know about that."
Effy licks her fingers clean.
"You fucked her."
She turns, surprised. "I didn't think you'd mind."
He does a small shrug. "I don't mind."
She has one of his notebooks open in her lap, doodling idly across the margins with a pencil. She tears it out and crumples the page.
He watches her fingers move out of the corner of his eye.
They have perfected the art of goodbye.
She leaves in the early morning, wearing one of his shirts under her jacket, the sleeves rolled up to her elbows and she steals a pack of cigarettes from his drawer and some money too.
The stolen car purrs like an old, grouchy cat. Her foot presses down on the gas.
"I am going to have an adventure," she tells the mirror, her tone dull and static and quiet, "I'm going to have a bloody ball."
The car screeches.
"I'm going to dance on their graves," she whispers.
Her fingers unfurl, leaving the wheel.
Cook brings itself to a stop.
When she ends up back in Bristol, it's empty, for the most part. As far as she's concerned, anyway.
Because well, Cook's dead, Freddie's dead, Panda's at Harvard, she doesn't know where Emily and Naomi are and she doubts it would make so much of a difference if they were, since everyone seems to blame her for everything these days. (They aren't entirely wrong to.)
Her first day back is spend smoking in the bathtub and listening to her mother watch the telly downstairs. It's a cooking program; she seems to find those soothing. Effy's not sure why but she doesn't question it, just sticks her head under the tap.
The water's too hot.
She runs into Katie at the drug store. She's nicked a pack of Lucky Strikes.
"You look terrible," Katie announces flatly, which is actually true and less graphic than Katie fucking Fitch usually is, something of a comfort. She used to be microwaved shit, she remembers.
"Yeah, I guess I do."
She puts a hand up to her hair, it's all stringy now. She hasn't bothered with eyeliner. Her mouth does a slight twist. It's almost contrite.
"How are you?" she asks.
"What? Oh, yeah, all right, I guess. Ems and Naomi - they're doing good. Actually kind of in the process of getting a place together," she says, rolls her eyes a little, "All loved up at the moment."
"That's good. That's really good. I'm glad for them."
Katie knits her fingers together.
Effy tries to think of the last time she saw her, or really any of them. It was her farewell party. There was booze and dancing. And Cook. They were in Freddie's shed and they thought they were saying goodbye to her.
She wonders if she's actually succeeded in expelling herself from their ranks.
She looks up.
"You all right?"
"Yeah. Yeah, I am."
Katie waves, leaves.
The next time, is at a club.
"Bitch, that's my fucking foot."
She turns to see Katie holding a heel over someone's head. She smiles.
It's that weird hour between night and day when she sees Katie coming out of the club.
"Want a fag?"
She jumps, presses a hand over her chest. "Fucking hell, Stonem. You can't sneak up on a girl like that."
Effy laughs, holds out the cigarette and Katie sticks out her chin as she takes it with a kind of familiar defiance. It's already little and she holds it very gently when she brings up to her lips, but she doesn't cough, not this time and there is this sensation of being displaced of the ground slowly sliding out from under her.
"You've gotten better at this," she murmurs and Katie doesn't say anything, doesn't move, not even when Effy throws the cigarette away and kisses her, presses her knee up between her thighs, fingers disappearing through the waistband of her skirt and she doesn't say anything but her breath is broken, the slow trade of smoke between their mouths and it rises higher and higher till she comes.
"Not going to return the favor, Fitch?" she says, lips curving into that small dirty smile.
Katie rolls her eye.
"Not in the fucking street."
Tony sends her a postcard.
It doesn't really sound like him so she throws it away.
"This doesn't mean you're forgiven," Katie warns, handing her a bottle of beer and their fingers meet against the wet cold glass, her knee sinking down into the mattress between Effy's and they are a tangle of limbs and sheets.
She doesn't ask for her sins.
She leans back against the bed. Her eyes drop shut.