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One on One
Sixteenth Hello Helbig
Sneakers Scene Part II
Hannah wanted to run. She wanted to sprint away. She wasn’t good at running. She wasn’t good at a lot of things, running was one on the top of the list. But she couldn’t leave. She had tried, but nothing moved. Not when everything she’d ever wanted was wrapped around her. Protecting her. But this miracle made the embarrassment so much worse. Hadn’t Grace seen her? Hadn’t Grace heard her? Yet Grace held tightly around Hannah, her chin resting on top of Hannah’s head. It hurts.
Time began to matter to Grace only by the measure of Hannah’s damp brown tresses as they fray while they dry. She took a deep breath in to steel her nerve against moving a tingling foot. Finally Hannah asks her, the voice small and frail, “Why?” Near tears, Hannah asked Grace a question she had been expecting: “Why are you here?”
Grace tucked her lips to the fluff of Hannah’s drying locks and moved them against the tickling fibers, laughing. “I’m guessing you don’t want me to say I wanted a shower.”
Hannah huffs at the dodge. “Why are you still here?” her breath was hot, now, as it collected in Grace’s collar. Not really wanting to hear the answer, Hannah shakes her head back and forth, nuzzling deeper into Grace’s shoulder. Hannah did smell a sweaty Grace, but she didn’t mind the odor. Not after what she’d done. What Hannah wanted to do was run and never need to face or think about Grace ever again.
She feels Hannah twitching, but thinks her friend is still recovering temperature loss. Grace tells her, “I am here because you are my best friend.”
Bile builds up heavy and disgusting in the back of Hannah’s throat. How could I have imagined Grace like that? Sure, she was sexy, unbelievable sexy, but she isn’t an object to fantasize about. And not in a public shower, doing that in a public shower, what is wrong with me? With a voice more frustrated with herself than her answer, Hannah elaborates, “I think you can tell that I don’t see you as a friend, Grace. I think you’re smarter than that.”
“Hannah.” It wasn’t a question, but Hannah burrowed as deeply into the cavity at Grace’s shoulder as she could, not responding to her name. She had a very bright hope that the closer she could get to Grace, the easier it would be to avoid the subject. “Hannah, you know I love you.”
“I love you, too, Grace, but not in the same way.”
Smiling into Hannah’s hair, Grace manages to keep the taunt out of her voice, an actress sounding innocent when she asks, “What way is that?”
Scoffing, “Oh,” Hannah sniffs, “I dunno know, Grace,” she articulates her emphasis by dipping her head. “Maybe the kind of way that I don’t have for friends, a kind of way most girls feel about guys the way I feel about girls. Maybe the way you feel around guys a way of thinking in a disrespectful way,-” she’s interrupted by Grace snorting in laughter. She had been planning on running when Grace laughed, booking it. Driving off in her borrowed beetle and getting home and buring herself under covers for a good cry into pillows so that Pearl wouldn’t hear. Hearing Grace’s laugh always does, this though. She had forgotten. It grips her there, when she’d been readying herself to run. And she laughs with it, like she always does. “What? What’s funny?”
“You are,” says Grace, “‘a disrespectful way,’ I mean, to me, that’s a damn good bit of adoration if you’re… a-hem.” Grace goes quiet for a bit. She had forgotten how delicate this moment was.
“What?” Hannah is hanging on her every word, just like Hannah always has; Grace knew this for a while. Or at least she suspected it and hindsight was twenty-twenty. “You could make it up to me,” Grace said, so quietly that Hannah only heard a mumble. Grace knew it was a stretch, but she had been curious since college. She continues, “Let’s talk this through, okay? It’ll be awkward, but we’ll laugh about it later on. Sound good?” Hannah nods, still using Grace’s shoulder as her anchor. “Alright,” Grace continues and sighs, “You kind of used my body image to… uh… bring yourself pleasure,” Hannah twitches, and Grace holds back a laugh, “and in a public shower,” again making Hannah cringe and wrap her arms tighter around herself. “And while I’m sure you won’t be doing it again anytime soon -” “Of course not! Never again-” “I don’t think you’ll be able to live with yourself after this.”
Hannah thinks about it, her mind racing. Even if Grace hadn’t caught her, she definitely would have felt horribly guilty. She wouldn’t have looked her friend in the eye for weeks and their conversations would be hard to do, and she wouldn’t drink around her because she’d be too scared to let something slip or that she’d do it again in whatever dive they were getting drunk in.
“But I’m just saying that, as the insulted party of this, I think that if you could make it up to me in exchange, then you’d have a clear conscience and we’d never have this problem again.”
“Uh, wha-… ‘Exchange?’ What ah… what do you mean?” Hannah knew Grace would never be one to bribe her or even to ask her for favors, in general, really.
Grace holds tighter to Hannah and nuzzles her nose to part her hair around her ear, whispering, “I think you should know you looked beautiful under that shower.”
It was too much. Hannah first shivers at the tickle of breath before shooting up and away from Grace’s embrace. Stepping away, tearing herself away from her friend’s space, Hannah looks down at a still-seated, stone-faced woman. For the first time, Hannah was taller than Grace. “What are you doing?” she asks, rhetorically. She turns on her heel, about to run off, but Grace’s arm darts out and grabs Hannah’s wrist, to tug her back to her. Hannah falls in a heap back down into Grace’s lap.
“I’m trying to make it up to you that I found you masturbating in the shower and didn’t speak up beforehand.” Grace takes a deep breath. It’s easier to talk to Hannah when she’s only looking at the back of her head, so close to her face that all she sees is soft brown locks; still damp, and smelling fresh. She continues, “I really thought you looked amazing,” her hands traveled down to Hannah’s thighs, making her smaller friend gasp. “You were beautiful. You looked surprised at yourself,” Grace takes a deep breath in before adding, “That’s why I asked if you could help it. It looked like you had no idea what you were doing.”
Grace uses her nose to tilt Hannah’s entire head down, the pressure on Hannah’s neck slacked with the exhaustion she felt. From the soreness, to the exercise, to the emotional turmoil she’d been having, she gave up. She stopped trying to hold it all together. Because right now, she was in Grace’s arms; and Grace was controlling her, so she didn’t have to. She only listens for what Grace says next. And there’s that fucking hope, again. She lets herself have it, this time. Not because she’s completely out of her mind. It’s so that if Grace follows up with a real dream-crusher of an answer… she won’t have any hope left ever again.
But Grace whispers, “Only tonight. I’d like to try it with you for only tonight.”
I officially declare today Happy Hump Hiddles Day!
Y’know, instead of Happy Hump Day, we say Happy Hump Hiddles Day. :P Thanks to erihu for the suggestion of changing it around. hehe