The front door banged, footsteps clumped down the hallway. Evinna put her elbows on the table and her chin on her hands. The new member was loud enough to scare off monsters. He came through the common room doorway with no door, ducked under to avoid hitting his head on the lintel. A gush of wind whistled up through the gaps in the timber floor.
Other people walked up, introduced themselves, spoke to him. Evinna couldn’t move.
The music of his voice was the first intrigue, the warm tone, such a depth of timbre as he laughed, as it vibrated through the floor, into the walls, rattled the glass in the windows. The way the light bent to highlight his cheekbones, his eyebrows. The laugh-lines in the brown skin that surrounded his molasses brown eyes.
One of the students. One of five students, and Evinna made six. A small group. She heard the convenor say ‘all here now’ as if it came through a long and hollow tube.
Her hand reached for his outstretched handshake invitation; big hands, visibly soft skin with little callous marks at the tips and thumb – must play Aussie rules, or guitar, or both. Her eyes lifted to his.
The hands continued on their trajectory.
Lightning zapped along her arm, fired every hair and nerve end into flame. His fingers clenched on her hand; she tried to fight it; too late, the mirror response. His pupils dilated wide, dark; the deep brown irises pushed into the colour of raw cacao.
Hot raw cacao. Her mouth fell open, eyelids drooped, hips swung in to front his. Kept her grip on his hand.
Noise ceased. Time stopped. The world disappeared. A cavernous sensation as the walls fish-eyed out and away, blurred into distance.
She couldn’t breathe, couldn’t look away. Her mouth watered, she snapped her mouth closed with an audible clack of teeth.
A whirlpool of emotions: desire, hunger for something she was ravenous for, a sizzle and burn over her whole body. A loud, deep growl – her throat vibrated with it – her eyes prowled over every inch of him, disregarded every other occurrence in the environment.
Her animal self, some part she’d never known, took control.
Time moved. Stuff happened. Voices intruded like a radio station just off the mark, static nonsense. Movement, actions, flow. Rituals. She moved with it, but it was irrelevant, insignificant. She felt only his words on her eyes, his scent in her nose, on her skin. Tasted him on her tongue when she breathed.
Someone sat her down. Put food in front of her. Cutlery clanked as it dropped onto the white tablecloth that covered the rickety fold-up trestle table.
The food was nothing. She didn’t know who put it on the table or what it was. Evinna shoved it in her mouth, chewed, gulped it down until the plate was empty. Didn’t know how much time was swallowed between one moment and the next.
Her eyes never left Billy, who sat on the other side of the low table. He smiled at her, a lazy movement of his bottom lip as his head lowered, as his eyelids drooped, as his breath sped up. She could see his heartbeat in the pulse on his neck – hers pounded the same rhythm. The pound met in the air between them and rebounded; each thump felt in her neck, in her lungs, in her groin. In the tingle of her toes.
He was so tall his knees knocked against the underside with every movement. She suppressed the laugh that bubbled up with each wobble of glasses and crockery. Giggles escaped whenever his foot touched her be-socked toes – when did she slip her shoes off? Springs of tension wound and unwound in her legs and stomach.
If she wasn’t careful, she’d throw up, or leap up onto the table – not a good idea for a table so wobbly – or jump on him. Her breath rattled and broke, but words were too hard to say. She needed to get him alone somehow, somewhere. Couldn’t wait for the formalities to be completed, to go to bed.
She groaned as the picture created something inappropriate.
In her van, away from prying eyes? Yes. Except . . .
Sleep was not on her mind.
How was she supposed to react? What would be a normal response? Would she cause a stir? Was she being inappropriate? Had she spoken to anyone other than Billy? The others didn’t make a dent on her senses – they were no more than ordinary – but Billy . . . he was different.
Her eyes devoured him, the chocolate colour of his skin – what would it taste like? – the slender ropiness of defined muscles in his arms and legs; she wanted to wrap them around her body – his eyes! She was drawn deep into his soul, held the echo of him in her centre. They connected, twinned in a way she would not have believed if someone else told her about it. Didn’t believe it was possible. Was it possible?
The hairs on her arm tickled her skin, usually a warning of . . . or was that her sense of Billy being close? His hands. Her breath caught as her eyes drifted to his chest as it moved, in, out, with each breath. In, out.
Focus. Get through the next period of time. Wait.
Cold flowed around the room like a ghost. The gaps in two of the corners were big enough to fit a hand through (even a big hand like Billy’s).
Warm, soft, big hands like Billy’s.
In the wall behind his legs a black grin split the base of the wall from the floor, and dried grass stuck through, hick-like. Nature was taking back territory.
Her eyes didn’t leave him, couldn’t look further than a bare peripheral glance to left or right before her eyes swung back. He was a magnet, a force of nature.
She would sleep in the van. What was it Gnangarai said? Something about dangerous things in the vicinity, stay inside at all times. Probably crap, but Evinna’s life taught her about instincts – and her instinct was to trust Gnangarai implicitly. But . . .
Did Gnangarai know something about her, or Billy?
Or did she just want to keep them from do something silly? Irresponsible? Or was there another reason? Her instincts weren’t on full charge; all systems overloaded by the buzz of his proximity.
Pfffffft! There was nothing dangerous in the area: no escaped prisoners, no dangerous animals, no current unsolved crimes, not even any permanent residents within . . . well, not within cooee. Evinna wasn’t silly. She’d checked all the local and regional news posts, all the local e-casts and e-links and pod-casts before she came out here. This wasn’t her first rodeo.
Gnangarai probably didn’t want them exhausted for the start of the course the next day. Well, too bad. Evinna’s plans for the night included Billy and excluded everyone and everything else. She would take advantage of this feeling. It was compulsion, uncontrollable. Like when the dreams forced her to do things, be places – but more, so much more.
No choice. It would happen.
She smiled. He smiled back, licked his lips, sucked a breath deep into his chest as her eyes devoured him.
pic from Pixabay
Some of you may recognise it – but the story is still a work in progress.