Suburbia

So another free one, because of the length, and an absence of smut, and because it’s a bit different. And also just to keep saying thank you to everyone for reading.  Also at Smashwords or ARe, if you prefer an ebook.

 

Michelle moved to a house in the suburbs, in a street of eighty identical houses, in a town where she didn’t know a soul.

The second day there, she came home and forgot where she lived and spent five minutes outside the wrong garage door, swearing at the opener because it wouldn’t work. Then finally saw another door, a couple of hundred meters down the road, opening and closing.

They had moved for Harry’s job, for a promotion for him. They had picked the house from photos on the internet, because every new house in every new suburb seemed the same, so there wasn’t much point fussing about the details. It was a big house, bigger than they’d expected. Their apartment-sized collection of boxes didn’t take up much room at all. The floors were white tiles, the walls and carpets a browny beige. There were no light-shades, just bare bulbs. It was bland and sterile, and Michelle liked it. It felt permanent, like bones. If you stripped away everything that was a home, this empty space would be what remained.

They had enough cupboards that everything could be put away, everywhere in the whole house, all at the same time. They’d never been able to do that before. Michelle put everything away, and found the house suddenly bigger and barer. Empty, like they weren’t really here. Like it was a display show-home.

“We should get some pictures or something,” Harry said.

Michelle looked around and the bare walls and said, “Fuck it, I’ll paint something.”

Harry seemed surprised. “Yeah?”

Michelle turned in a circle, nodded. “Yeah. Something really big.” She stretched her arms as wide as they would go, to show him, then pointed. “There, and there. And facing it, over there too.”

He smiled and kissed her and said, “Okay.”

She got canvas and brushes and paint, and took a while to start, but eventually she tried painting. And then she tried again and got it right, and found she enjoyed doing it, that she liked the process of making colors on canvas that weren’t meant to be anything much. It was hotel-room art, but she was almost good at it, so she painted some more. Harry said he liked what she’d done, and Michelle was pleased.

They went shopping at the weekends. They bought a couch. They bought a hallway table. They bought a coffee machine and a juicer. Michelle found herself caring about the couch in a way she never had before. She didn’t know anyone here, so no-one ever visited, but if she had, she might have started worrying about spills and stains and people using coasters.

She didn’t know anyone though, so it didn’t really matter.

*

There was a café in the local block of shops which sold beer and wine as well as coffee. It turned into a bar at night. Michelle walked to the supermarket. She walked to help fill her day and to get some exercise. She stopped at the café on the way home.

She got a beer, and drank it, and sat there looking out the window, at the crowded street, and realized she didn’t mind being alone.

Someone put another beer down in front of her.

Michelle looked up, surprised, expecting the waitress.

Not the waitress. A woman Michelle had never seen before.

“Hey,” the woman said. “I’ve seen you around. I think you live down the road from me.”

Michelle looked at her.

“I’m Eva.”

“Michelle.”

“Hi.”

Eva was holding a beer, standing next to Michelle’s table. She didn’t sit down, just stood. She sipped, looked at Michelle. “You’re always on your own,” Eva said.

“Yeah,” Michelle said. “So?”

“No so. Just you are.”

“You’re noticing me?”

“You walk past my place quite often.”

Michelle nodded.

“Well,” Eva said. “I just noticed you, that was all. So I thought I’d say hi.”

“Hi.”

“Okay,” Eva said. “Well that was all.”

Michelle pushed a chair out from the table with her foot. Eva looked at it.

“I don’t know anyone,” Michelle said. “That’s all.”

“I wondered.”

“I don’t have much to do either.”

“You don’t work?”

Michelle shook her head.

“What do you do?” Eva said.

Michelle thought about that quite hard. “I actually don’t know.”

Eva grinned. Then she sat down.

*

Eva walked home with Michelle, and told Michelle to visit whenever she wanted. Michelle said she would. The next afternoon Michelle went and knocked on Eva’s door, and Eva was there, and seemed glad to see her, so Michelle visited most days after that. Sometimes they just had coffee. Other days they went out for beer. Eva worked at home, writing software, and Michelle thought she was a little bored and lonely too.

She seemed to be single. Michelle didn’t want to be rude and ask.

Eva liked Michelle’s paintings. She said she got them, and why Michelle kept making more.

“Why?” Michelle said, because she wasn’t sure.

“To get it right. And because you can.”

“Yeah,” Michelle said, surprised. That made Michelle like Eva more.

Michelle realized she had a friend. She told Harry, who seemed relieved. He came home one day when Eva was there, and looked like he was going to say thank you for being nice to Michelle. He looked so much like it Michelle dragged him out the room before he embarrassed her.

Two days later, Eva almost kissed Michelle.

Michelle thought she almost did. She was almost sure that was what had happened.

They were in Michelle’s kitchen, and Michelle was trying to work the coffee machine, trying to close it after filling it with water, and wanting just to thump it, to bash it closed. Michelle glanced up and Eva was right there, too close, staring at her. Staring like she might be about to do something.

“What?” Michelle said.

Eva shrugged.

Michelle waited, surprised. There was something on Eva’s face. Like the way a man looked at her before her kissed her. This had never happened before, but somehow Michelle just knew. She stood there, wondering if perhaps Eva wasn’t just a friend after all. Wondering, then deciding she probably didn’t mind if Eva wanted to make a pass at her. She didn’t mind, because it would fill in part of her day, and make her dull life a little more interesting.

“Go on,” Michelle said, wondering what she was doing.

Eva pointed to the coffee machine. “That’s stuck.”

Michelle looked. A catch near the bin the used grounds fell into. “Oh yeah.”

Michelle looked at Eva again, but the moment seemed to be gone. Eva was leaning back, against the bench, away from Michelle. She seemed completely uninterested.

Michelle made coffee, wondering if she’d been wrong, suddenly not sure what had just happened.

*

Two days later, when Eva turned up, Michelle said her shirt was dirty, and took it off in front of Eva.

She had no reason to think Eva would care, or look, or had been about to kiss her. She did it anyway because she wanted to know.

Eva looked at her tits.

“I thought so,” Michelle said.

“Thought so what?”

“You know what.”

Eva grinned.

“You were, right?” Michelle said. “Looking?”

Eva shrugged.

“I don’t mind,” Michelle said.

“Yeah,” Eva said. “I really don’t know what you mean.”

Michelle pulled up her shirt again, and Eva looked again, and Michelle said, “Of course you don’t.”

“Nope,” Eva said, and smiled a bit more.

Eva was a friend, Michelle thought, a friend she desperately needed. If Eva wanted something more, that could be fun, and it would make sure she kept her friend.

She stepped closer to Eva, and looked at her. Looked straight into her eyes. She didn’t need to look up. Eva was the same height she was.

She was close enough to feel Eva’s breath on her cheek, close enough either one could have kissed the other, if they wanted to.

Michelle stood there, in case Eva wanted to. And Eva just looked at her, like she was waiting for Michelle to decide.

“Hey,” Eva said softly. “What are you doing?”

Michelle stopped and thought. About what she was doing, and if this was fair to Harry. She wondered if Harry would care. She thought not. He wanted her not moping, so he was free to work a lot without being distracted. This was better than moping, so Harry probably wouldn’t care. If he noticed, he’d probably want to watch.

“I know what I’m doing,” Michelle said.

“You’re sure?”

Michelle almost kissed Eva, because she was almost certain Eva wanted to kiss her.

She almost kissed Eva and told herself Harry wouldn’t mind and everything would be okay.

Then she changed her mind, and knew it wouldn’t, and stepped back from Eva. Because it was wrong to do this without checking. Because she wasn’t sure he would not care, and because even if she was going to do this, she had to ask first.

“Okay,” Eva said.

“Sorry.”

It didn’t seem to change anything. Michelle kept visiting Eva, and Eva visited Michelle, and neither of them mentioned again.

After a week Michelle still hadn’t told Harry. She almost did, almost asked how he’d feel, then decided that was stupid and she shouldn’t ever. It was her secret. It was her secret with Eva, a secret between them. She wanted Eva as a friend, and didn’t want Harry to get angry and think she was having an affair. If he did, she’d have to stop seeing Eva, and she really didn’t want that.

And she wasn’t completely sure she hadn’t imagined the whole thing.

*

Michelle came home, and heard a noise from upstairs. A creak in the floor. She put down her bag and stood still and wondered about thieves and break-ins. It was unlikely. It was a safe neighborhood. All the same, she wondered just enough she didn’t call out.

She looked at the alarm panel beside the door.

It wasn’t set, but she didn’t always remember to set it. She couldn’t be sure whether she had or hadn’t

It was probably just Harry, home early, upstairs. She was almost certain it was Harry.

Just not quite certain enough to shout and have a burglar notice her.

She thought about setting off the alarm’s panic button, then decided that was silly, that she should look first.

She went to the stairs, and slowly crept upwards.

The landing was empty. She could see into the spare room from the turn in the stairs, and it was empty too. She went further, so she could see into the main bedroom. The door was open, and Harry was sitting on the bed. He was still in his work clothes, his shirt unbuttoned. Someone was wrong, his head was tipped back, his arms splayed behind him, and he was breathing oddly.

She was worried. She couldn’t see him properly from where she was standing, only his chest and face. There was something wrong. She thought about heart attacks, and other terrible medical emergencies.

She took another two steps, scared. Thinking he was in pain, was hurt, that something awful had happened.

She was so scared she didn’t say a word, just climbed the stairs until she could see into the bedroom properly and made sure there was nothing to worry about.

It took her a moment to realize what she was seeing.

Eva was kneeling in front of Harry, between his legs, naked. Her clothes were in a heap on the floor, and she had Harry’s cock was in her mouth. She was only using her mouth. Her hands were resting on Harry’s knees. As Michelle watched, Harry made the low groan he made when he came, and grabbed at Eva’s hair, and Eva made a little gurgle in the back of her throat.

Michelle stood there and watched and still couldn’t quite put together what she was seeing. Harry had his cock in Eva’s mouth. His cock, which Michelle would suck any time he asked her to. But it was in Eva’s mouth.

And Eva flirted with Michelle, not Harry.

That was the bit that didn’t make sense. Michelle had been so sure.

Eva looked up at Harry, smiling. She swallowed. Michelle saw it distinctly from where she was. Swallowed and wiped the side of her chin on the back of her hand. She was looking at Harry, not towards the door, and didn’t see Michelle. Not yet.

And Harry still had his eyes closed.

Michelle didn’t know what to do. She would be in plain sight as soon as either looked her way. For a moment she thought about turning around, tiptoeing downstairs, going back out the door and pretending to come home again, noisily.

She thought about it seriously, but couldn’t see the point. She knew now, so why pretend? And she didn’t want to be that person, who let them do this to her.

She was angry with Harry. Harry was the biggest asshole in the world, and Michelle wanted to tell him that. And Eva was her friend. Not the best friend in the world, but the only friend Michelle had, and Eva knew that. A friend who was supposed to be flirting with Michelle.

Eva stood up and kissed Harry with her mouth open. Michelle could see that too. Eva kissed Harry in a way that Harry never let Michelle do after his cock had been in her mouth, and that seemed completely awful.

There was a tube of lube on the bed beside Harry, too. Michelle’s lube, from when she infrequently did anal. Harry was fucking Eva with Michelle’s lube, and that seemed as terrible as anything else.

Michelle stood there, still trying to decide what to do.

Then Harry looked over. His face changed. He was confused for a moment, confused like Michelle had been. Then he said, “Oh shit,” quite calmly, and started to stand up.

Eva turned too, looked where Harry was looking, and saw Michelle.

Harry was getting up, and Eva was taking a step, and then Michelle was turning around, and running down the stairs.

She heard them both call out behind her, but ignored them.

She went out the front door. She didn’t remember picking up her bag, but must have done because she was holding it. She got out her car keys without thinking, went down the path, then suddenly couldn’t work the front gate. She rattled it, shook it, wanted to kick at it, but it wouldn’t open.

Harry ran out the front door, saw Michelle, and stopped. He was pulling at his pants, had them on enough to run, to his hips, not all the way. He pulled them up, did up his fly.

No shirt, no shoes, just suit pants and him fumbling with the zipper.

He’d have looked stupid if he hadn’t just ruined Michelle’s life.

“Michelle,” he said, “Please just hold on.”

Michelle shook her head. She was trapped. She couldn’t open the gate.

“Michelle,” he said.

She was trapped, so she took a step towards him. Took a step, and raised her hand, and made a fist. Even though she didn’t know how to make a proper fist, and Harry had teased her about that before.

“Get away from me,” she said.

He kept coming towards her, his arms out, like he was going to hug her. Like a hug would fix any of this.

Michelle thought about fists, and how to make them. She remembered suddenly, put her thumb outside her fingers. What Harry had told her to do.

She stood in front of him, and made a fist to warn him away.

He seemed to understand. He stopped, and held out his hands, and said, “I know you’re angry…”

Eva came downstairs. She stood in the hallway, back from the door. She was wearing a sheet. Michelle’s sheet. Eva stood in Michelle’s hallway, wearing Michelle’s sheet, and just seemed sad. Not smug, like Michelle would have thought.

Eva touched her face, wiped a smear of something off her cheek, and looked at it. Something sticky.

Michelle watched. It had to be Harry’s semen.

Michelle wanted to say she’d have slept with Eva, if Eva needed a fuck that badly. She wanted to say she’d have slept with either of them, any time they wanted, because she’d been willing to try with Eva, and it wasn’t like she was holding out on Harry. He got as much sex as she’d ever known he wanted. She’d probably have tried a threeway if they’d asked her to, but she didn’t know for sure because they’d never asked.

Neither of them had asked her to do anything. That was the awful bit. She’d have done what they wanted to avoid all this, and they never asked.

She’d just wanted a friend, but now they were all standing here, like this, and it wasn’t fair. It completely wasn’t fair.

She didn’t understand how this had happened.

She really didn’t understand why Eva was there with Harry. Eva had looked at Michelle like she wanted to kiss her, but suddenly she was sucking Harry’s cock.

Michelle didn’t understand that at all.

Unless she was wrong. Unless Eva had never wanted to kiss her.

Michelle started to feel angry. She was angry, and betrayed, and hurt, but now she started to feel all those things. And now Harry was trying to hug her again, too.

So she hit him.

Michelle hit Harry. She thumped him as hard as she could on the side of face with a tightly closed fist. Harry looked surprised, and fell over. As much because he hadn’t expected it as because she hit hard, Michelle thought, but she was pleased he fell.

It made her feel better.

Harry sat on the ground, and just seemed surprised. “Michelle…” he said.

Michelle ignored him. Her hand hurt, but not that much.

“You’re a bitch,” Michelle said to Eva. “You’re a fucking bitch. You were supposed to be my friend.”

“I’m sorry,” Eva said.

“I don’t fucking care.”

Michelle reached behind herself, found the latch of the gate, and pushed at it. This time it opened. She stepped backwards, out the gate, and closed it again.

As she did she saw her hand. Saw her knuckle was grazed. Oddly, it was only when she looked that it started hurting.

She walked backwards to her car, watching Eva and Harry.

She went around the car, to the driver’s door.

Harry got up, and came to the gate, and was about to open it. His nose was bleeding. He was wiping it, looking at Michelle, didn’t seem to know what to do.

Michelle beeped the car’s locking beeper, reached down, and opened the car door.

“Are you okay?” she heard Eva ask Harry.

“Fuck,” he said, “Of course fucking not. Could you help me?”

Michelle got in the car, and locked the doors, and then sat there, not sure what to do next. She didn’t really have anywhere to go.

Eva went back inside. Michelle assumed she was getting Harry something, a towel or whatever, or maybe going to get dressed first.

Michelle had lost them both. Now Eva was in her house, looking after Harry, like Michelle ought to be doing. In a few minutes Michelle’s world had completely changed, and now she was out here in her car with nowhere to go, and Harry had Eva instead.

She sat and watched Harry, watched to see what happened, because she had nothing else to do.

Harry didn’t seem to know what to do either. He just stood there, beside the gate, looking at Michelle in the car.

Eva came back outside. She was dressed. She walked up to Harry, reached past him and opened the gate and squeezed past Harry. Harry didn’t move. Eva came out onto the pavement, and walked over to Michelle’s car.

She stopped beside the closed passenger window, and bent a little, and said, “Could I get in?”

Michelle should drive away. She knew she should just go. Instead she unlocked the doors.

Eva got in.

Michelle sat where she was and looked straight ahead.

“I’m sorry,” Eva said. “Of course I’m sorry. I really fucking am.”

Michelle breathed in and decided she could smell sex. A faint hint of sweat, like Eva had been at the gym, but with a trace of something more. Eva was facing Michelle, looking at Michelle, breathing out towards her, and Michelle almost imagined she could smell come on Eva’s breath.

She almost thought she could.

She wondered what Harry and Eva had done together, and how often, and why. She wondered about the lube, sitting on the bed. She wondered if this was the first time they’d used it, and if it wasn’t, why she’d had never noticed the lube was going down, and what Harry had planned to do when it ran out.

“I never meant this to happen,” Eva said.

Just saying what people said, Michelle thought, but then couldn’t imagine what else you could say. Like when someone died. You said how sorry you were, how unfair it was, how people would get through it, and the things you said didn’t mean as much as that you were bothering to say them.

“This is so completely unfair to you,” Eva said.

“And I’ll get over it?”

Eva seemed surprised. “No, you won’t. Not for a long time.”

“Could you get out please?” Michelle said. “I don’t want to listen to you.”

“I don’t have to talk.”

Michelle sat there.

“I’ll get out if you want me to,” Eva said.

Michelle didn’t saying anything.

“Do you want me to?” Eva said, and Michelle shrugged.

Harry came out onto the street and walked towards the car. Eva reached up and pushed the locking button on her door. Michelle did the same, so the central locking closed all the doors.

Harry heard the locks click, and stopped. “Could you open the door?” he said.

“I thought you were my friend,” Michelle said to Eva.

“I am.”

“You were.”

Eva looked at her for a moment, then said, “Yeah, that’s fair.”

“How could you?” Michelle said. “I mean, I’d never…”

“I’m sorry.”

“But why?”

Eva shrugged, didn’t seem to know either.

Harry banged on the window. Eva gave him the finger.

“Let me talk to Michelle,” Harry said.

“Tell him to fuck off,” Michelle said.

Eva looked at Michelle for a moment, then grinned, looked at Harry, and shouted, “She says fuck off.”

“I want to talk to her.”

“Talk. She’s right there.”

Harry didn’t seem to know what to say.

“You fucking bitch,” he said to Eva.

That seemed a bit unfair to Michelle. It wasn’t really Eva’s fault. Not as much as it was Harry’s.

She felt a little better towards Eva.

“I think you two are over,” Michelle said.

Eva grinned, and looked relieved.

“Is it weird I’m far more fucked off at him then you?” Michelle said.

“I don’t know.”

“I kind of expect it from him,” Michelle said. “I’m the only person as hot as me he’s ever had chance with. Until you came along.”

Eva seemed to be trying not to laugh.

“Don’t,” Michelle said. “I’m fucking angry at you.”

“Sorry.”

“You’ve ruined my life,” Michelle said. “And you don’t even care.”

“I care.”

“Now you do. Not a few minutes ago, when you could have, you know, not.”

“I’m really fucking sorry,” Eva said.

Harry started banging on the window again.

“Fuck off,” Eva said to him.

Michelle decided it was easier just to go. She started the car, and drove away. Harry ran a few steps, then stood in the road watching them leave.

“Want to go for a drive?” Michelle said.

“Sure,” Eva said. “Unless you’re planning to kill me.”

“Maybe.”

“Or yourself.”

“Maybe.”

Eva looked over at Michelle for a moment. “If you are,” Eva said, and seemed quite serious. “Can we talk a bit first?”

Michelle was surprised. “Yeah,” she said. “Okay.”

She drove out onto the main road, and stopped at a red light, and wondered which way to go. Then she put the indicator on. Left and deeper into suburbia, not right towards the city.

*

 “I am sorry,” Eva said again, a little later.

“Why couldn’t you have fucked me instead of him?”

“I really don’t know. It just happened.”

“Was that the first time?”

Eva sat there, as if she was trying to decide whether to lie. “Does it make a difference?”

“Not really. But I want to know.”

“Not the first time,” Eva said. “Not the fifth time either. But does it really matter?”

Michelle drove for a while, thinking. “It was when you met him, wasn’t it? That night he came home and you were still there.”

“I saw him in town a few days after that. We said hi, and…”

“Hi and let’s fuck?”

“Not quite like that.”

“But basically?”

Eva shrugged.

“Fuck,” Michelle said, thinking. “If it had been the first time, that would have been better.”

“I really like you,” Eva said. “I wanted to get to know you. I don’t know why I did this.”

“You’re a bitch and a slut?”

Eva didn’t answer.

“You wanted me too, right?” Michelle said. “I didn’t make that up?”

“Yeah.”

“So why not me?”

Eva sat there for a while. “Harry happened first. That’s all.”

“You should have tried harder with me. I would have.”

“Does it matter now?”

Michelle was surprised. “Of course. Then I wouldn’t hurt this much right now.”

Eva nodded and said, “Yeah.”

Michelle started to cry. “I hurt so much,” she said. “I trusted you and now I’m just fucking empty.”

“Pull over,” Eva said.

“Why?”

“Just pull over.”

Crying still, Michelle did. She stopped on the side of the road with the engine running, while cars raced past. She’d thought Eva was just worried about her driving, so she sat and sobbed and didn’t look over at Eva.

Eva undid her seatbelt, and leaned over, and hugged Michelle.

Michelle jumped, then pushed her away.

“Yeah,” Eva said. “Sorry.” She sat and looked out the windscreen and bit at one of her thumbnails.

Michelle looked at her for a while, then hit her, hard, on her arm.

“Fuck,” Eva said. “Ow.”

Michelle sat there, glaring at her.

“What the fuck?” Eva said.

“Now hug me,” Michelle said.

Eva looked at her, then did, and Michelle sobbed into Eva’s shoulder. After a while Eva reached over and turned the engine off.

*

Later, when Michelle had stopped crying, as the traffic got busier and rush hour began, Michelle started driving again. Going nowhere particular, just driving to drive.

“You used condoms, right?” Michelle said. “I mean, just to fucking ask.”

Eva didn’t answer.

“You didn’t?” Michelle said.

Eva shrugged.

“Shit,” Michelle said. “Shouldn’t you have?”

“Probably.”

Michelle drove a little further. “What was the lube for?” she said.

“What?”

“The lube on the bed. What was it for?”

“What do you think?”

“You’re frigid?”

Eva didn’t answer.

“Yeah,” Michelle said. “Fuck. Didn’t think so. You let him do your ass?”

Eva shrugged again.

“You like that?”

“I don’t mind. Not as much as you, apparently.”

Michelle looked over, wondering whether to be upset or not.

“A bit too soon?” Eva said. “I shouldn’t joke yet?”

“A little.”

“Sorry.”

Michelle was thinking. “So you had him in your mouth. After you…”

Eva nodded.

Michelle wanted to smile. She wanted to tease her. That didn’t make sense when she ought to just be angry.

“Fuck,” Michelle said. “That’s pretty dirty.”

“I know.”

Eva looked like she was trying not to grin. Like she wanted to smile too.

“Fuck,” Michelle said. “Why?”

“I felt bad about what we were doing to you. So I let him do anything he wanted to me.”

Michelle thought. “That’s actually kind of sweet. Almost.”

Eva shrugged.

*

Michelle stopped outside Eva’s house and let her out, and said goodbye and thanks and obviously they’d never see each other again. Then she drove down to her house, to Harry’s house, and stopped outside.

She sat for a moment and wondered if he was home. And if he was drunk. He usually drank too much when he got upset.

She got out the car and went inside. He was on the stairs, sitting like he’d been waiting for her, a half-empty bottle of wine beside him.

He just sat there and looked at her.

“Hi,” she said.

“I’m sorry.”

“I know, but it’s too late.”

“You shouldn’t have hit me.”

“Yeah I should have,” Michelle said.

She realized she was more disgusted than angry, now. He was a bad person, and she’d never realized until now. She was glad she had. Talking to Eva had helped her think that through.

“And don’t be a fucking whiner,” she said.

“I’m not.”

“Yeah you are.”

He looked at her. “Fuck, you’re….”

“Yeah I fucking am. What?”

“I don’t know.”

“Me either.” She stepped past him, went upstairs. “I need to get some stuff.”

She got a suitcase down from the top of the spare room wardrobe. She dropped clothes in it from her drawers, just handfuls, not really looking. She went into the spare room and got a few things from the drying rack. She got her phone charger, and her computer, and a couple of movies she might want to watch.

She went back downstairs, banging the suitcase down on each step. She thumped it into Harry as she passed, almost accidentally since he wouldn’t move.

She went to the front door.

“Fuck,” he said. “You can’t just leave.”

She ignored him.

He followed her outside.

“You can’t just take the car,” he said, but she heaved the suitcase into the back seat, and got in the front.

“Fuck,” he said, sounding really annoyed. “I love you.”

“Don’t care any more,” she said, and started the engine.

He just stood there, and stared at her, like he didn’t understand.

She drove a block down the street while he watched her, then realized she had no idea where she was going. She didn’t know anyone, and she was too upset to drive far, and was probably about to cry again anyway.

She thought for a moment, then stopped at Eva’s house. She parked, and turned off the engine, and sat for a moment thinking.

Then she got her suitcase and went to the door and knocked.

Eva opened it. She was holding a sandwich. She looked like she’d been crying too.

“Fuck,” she said. “Hi.” There was food in her mouth.

“It’s me,” Michelle said.

Eva nodded. She seemed surprised. She swallowed, and reminded Michelle of the last time she’d seen Eva do that. She looked at Michelle, looked down at the suitcase.

“So I’ve got nowhere else to go,” Michelle said.

“Okay.”

“So I’m staying here.”

Eva thought. “You sure that’s a good idea?”

“No. But you owe me.”

“And Harry?”

“Fuck him.”

Eva looked at her, confused.

“Shit,” Michelle said. “Don’t you fuck him. He can get fucked. He can’t fuck either of us.”

“Right.”

“Okay?” Michelle said, suddenly wanting to make it an actual deal. “You’ll stop if I do?”

“Sure.”

“I’m not going to fuck you either, though,” Michelle said.

“Okay.”

“Not any more. Since you’re a slut and everything and probably have diseases.”

Eva looked at her for a while, then shrugged.

“But I really don’t have anywhere to go,” Michelle said.

“Yeah,” Eva said. “Fine.” She pulled the door open. “Come in. Although he can probably see where you stopped from your place.”

“So lock the door,” Michelle said, and went inside.

Eva shut the door. After a moment she locked it.

“Thank you,” Michelle said. “Really.”

“Nah. You are right. I owe you. And I am sorry.”

Michelle nodded, and suddenly wanted to cry again. This time, Eva noticed, and hugged her before it started, and steered her backwards and sat her down on the stairs.

On identical stairs, in an identical hallway, to Michelle’s old house. The same carpet and the same color paint as Michelle used to have. The same color carpet and paint as where Harry was probably sitting now.

Michelle sobbed, and missed her life with Harry, and Eva just held her.