After the Game
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Looking back there were so many turning points in our lives but for me sexuality, and sex in general and its effect on our friendship and the different ways love developed became important in the autumn of the year we turned eighteen. I’m not talking about the “kids fooling about” stuff but the powerful sort that attracts and repels, the sort that drives you and changes your life forever.
Janey and I were now regulars at the gym. We had student passes which made it just about affordable. We were keen on hockey and the second round of the girls’ county trials was coming up soon. I was already in the county team having been picked last season but Janey was still in the “possibles”. A lanky beanpole from a neighbouring school had been awarded the “probables” place in attack because she was fitter than Janey even though she couldn’t match Janey’s speed and strength.
Janey had a couple of other problems. She was small, only five feet four in her trainers, but like a lot of small people she was tough and aggressive, very upfront and outgoing – a real party animal.
That was the other problem.
At our age there were lots of parties. seventeenth birthdays, eighteenth birthdays, even the odd nineteenth birthday. Sometimes we went to the local nightclubs or discos for student specials – no alcohol – and if we had exchange students from Germany or France (those were our language options at school) we always took them out to the local pubs – plenty of alcohol there! There were passing exam parties, passing driving test parties, end of term parties, you name it. Most of our parents were amazingly tolerant and allowed parties with booze so long as we didn’t do go over the top. But any time anybody’s parents were away – then it got really wild.
And Janey was the wildest of all, even the boys were a bit wary of her. She drank way too much and often ended up legless. I only got as far as the giggling stage before I couldn’t take any more so I was usually sober enough to see us both back home. Usually I had to wait while she had a goodbye snog and a grope in someone’s hallway as we were leaving. I can still see her that way; up against a wall swallowing some guy’s tongue with her arms draped over his shoulder, cigarette in one hand – she smoked too, I really disapproved of that. Meanwhile he would have his hands under her top trying to get her bra over her tits, or one hand up her skirt and down her panties while she ground her hips into him.
Sometimes I would be similarly occupied – minus the cigarette – but my moments never seemed as wild and abandoned as Janey’s. I was usually pulling wandering palms and fingers away, or maybe just keeping a wrist grip on an exploring hand in case it went too far but she didn’t care what they did to her, though I never did see her go all the way – even upstairs in the bedrooms when we all went pretty far – but somehow I guessed she might have done it at least once.
So the gym was a must. Janey was determined to get into good shape for the trials and I was determined to help her. We had been best friends since our first day at primary school and we did most things together.
We attended an aerobics class on Monday nights, and either circuit training on Wednesdays or weight training on Fridays, homework came in somewhere in between – but we got it done. Despite all the parties and the sport we were conscientious scholars – both predicted Grade A’s. I wanted to be a barrister – all my teachers said I had the sort of unemotional unrelenting logic that would probably make me a good lawyer; Janey wasn’t sure what she wanted, either journalism or politics.
Tonight was aerobics and the gym was full of leotard clad bodies and sports bras as we all filed past the Reception desk to the main hall. There were a few men – nothing to write home about, mostly trying to get rid of middle-aged flab – and lots of middle-aged women too. Janey and I were always the youngest there. It was different for circuit and weight training – a mixture of young men and young women. All older than us but at least fanciable. Last season, two months before my sixteenth birthday – Janey’s two months younger than that – we got chatted up by a couple of blokes about twenty-four. Smart haircuts, expensive smelling aftershave or shower gel or something else equally heady, and new, smart sports gear – and smart suits when we saw them in the bar afterwards – no alcohol with our student passes. They asked us out for a drink and everything. Janey would have said yes of course but one of their friends on the periphery of the conversation, the flirting and chat up lines, said something about “jailbait” and they backed off pretty quickly. After that they were just polite, though the next week one of them was on the weights machine next to the one Janey and I were sharing. He asked a bit jokingly when were we eighteen. “Midnight tonight,” Janey said, quick as a flash as she took my place ready to do her set.
“Oh yeah?” he said with a smile and then he turned to me as he stood up. bahis firmaları “What about you then?”
At five feet ten I’m tall, and kind of rangy compared to Janey. She can pass for eighteen when she’s made up but I’ve walked into some 21 and over nights at the disco with no trouble. He was looking down into my eyes and I had to look up a good couple of inches. I caught my breath and my legs turned wobbly and I couldn’t help but stammer the truth.
“March 24th.” I said, and looked down in embarrassment. He had well muscled, dark hairy legs and new Reebok trainers. Back then March 24th was nine weeks away.
“Hmm,” he said as I looked up. “Might see you around after the summer.” He grinned and threw his towel across his shoulder as he strode away.
“Idiot!” Janey hissed as she heaved the bar upwards. “You should have said you were eighteen, you can easily pass for it, then we’d both have had a chance.”
I wished I had Janey’s confidence. Now that he’d gone I could see the missed opportunity, but I was really thrown. This was the first time I’d been seriously approached by a proper, grown up man, and he was serious, I could see that in his eyes. Suddenly I’d taken a step up from the world of the gangly, acne-ridden lads who hung around us at school. Even the upper sixth form boys weren’t in this league. My pulse, which had just about returned to normal after my set, was now racing and I’m sure that if I hadn’t already been sweating and red from exertion my colour would have been up too.
I looked towards where he was now standing with two or three of his friends. “They’re not going to be seriously interested in us.” I defended my lack of enthusiasm, no – more than that; my real anxiety about what we might get ourselves into. “They wouldn’t settle for a snog and a quick feel.” I leaned forward and almost whispered as she breathed in deeply and hoisted the bar for the last one of her set. “They’d expect us to go all the way.”
“So, it’s got to happen sometime,” she returned, lowering the bar carefully. “How would you like your first time to be? With someone like him, probably in a smart flat? Or up behind the bike sheds with Darren Clarke after the May Ball?”
“Oh God no! Not Darren Clarke,” I said with feeling and we both burst out laughing and my embarrassment and that peculiar sense of ashamed arousal disappeared with the break in tension.
But the gym was now a place of sexual tension in a way that it had never been before. That was good as it made motivating Janey easier. She was forever pointing out good-looking blokes in their twenties or even thirties. “What about him then?” she’d say with a nod in the strategic direction. We’d even started giving them points. Not uncommon I later found out, amongst both men and women in groups.
We had to give the women points too, just as a way of seeing if we stood a chance in a straight competition between us and some of them if we were ever after the same man. Over a Lucozade Sport in the bar we gave ourselves six out of ten and rated the other women above or below that. Mostly we won, well, in her own mind Janey always won, I wasn’t so sure. Some of the women in here were very attractive.
For instance, in our aerobics class they were mostly pretty old but there was one younger woman who we kind of envied really. We’d given her an eight on our scale, I’d argued for nine but Janey wouldn’t go that far. Her name was Deborah Sullivan and she had long blonde hair and was in her early twenties. She was already married with a ten month old baby boy so we couldn’t really count her in our “who would get off with who” chart but if she were available she’d have been way up there. I guess she was trying to get her body back into shape after the baby – and it was working. Her husband was a few years older and they seemed quite well-off. He brought her once or twice in a Mercedes but she mostly drove herself in a new BMW. She usually brought her baby in with her but he was always fast asleep in one of those carry-cot come buggy type things. She put him just inside the doors where she could see him if he woke up. He never did – that kid was so placid, even with all the music and calling. But then so was she, so cool and together, so focussed on her exercises. She hardly ever spoke, although the baby was always being cooed over by the other women. Even Janey and I had a peek and came over all gooey. She just smiled and said what a good boy he was.
On the day that she first really came to my attention she was in the front line like she always was so she could be near the door if her baby cried. We were in the row immediately behind. The aerobics instructor turned on the CD. “Pump Up the Volume”, we always started with that, and soon we were all pumping away like mad and breathing was hard and the sweat began to run off us. Janey was breathing real ragged – she’d had a smoke on the way here. “Yeah, I know, ” she’d said when I’d looked sideways at her. “Well, you’re not my mum.” But she’d thrown down the cigarette anyway.
In kaçak iddaa front of us Deborah Sullivan was also working hard. We were doing repeating knee lifts and her light blue sports crop top had an even darker blue line of sweat down the middle of her back. She was very slim with a good shape, even after the baby, and a bottom to die for. It’s perfection was accentuated by the rhythmic lift of her right leg swinging from down on the floor right up until her knee was under her chin. Her waist was bare where the crop top ended but the sweat continued running downwards into the cleft of her buttocks and made the tight lycra pants as dark down there as the crop top. I didn’t realise I was staring until Janey paused in her rhythm to lean across, “Great backside, now I know why you wanted to give her a nine – I reckon you fancy her more than the men!”
I knew better than to answer. Denial would be useless, it would be better to play along so I sort of winked and nodded. Janey grinned and picked up her rhythm.
We moved from knee lifts to body twists with our elbows up and hands tucked under our chins. Debbie swung to her left in my direction and I couldn’t help looking still as I swung away in the same direction and I peeked out of the corner of my eye. Her eyes were closed in concentration so she didn’t see me looking back at her. With her arms in that raised position and her torso twisting three-quarters on to me I could see the shape of one quite large and perfect breast, squashed by the crop top and with the nipple very prominent. Again the sweat had collected under her breast making the blue of her top even darker just there. God, I wished that I looked like that. She was perfect, she was tall and slim – though not as tall as me – with big boobs. Mine were a reasonable 34B but on my frame they looked too small. In that moment, with her rib cage heaving with effort and the dark patches of sweat in all the strategic places she was truly, sexually beautiful; with her long hair hanging straight down the sides of her face and that perfect figure. If those two guys had to choose between either of us and her we wouldn’t have stood a chance.
“No, it’s got to be a ten.” I breathed as the exercise came to an end. I said it out loud but didn’t realise until Janey looked across at me
“Whoa baby,” she said, “now I am getting worried!” She was grinning as she said it but there was a look of devilish mischief in her eye that meant I was in for some serious ragging when we got back to school. “Anyway,” she continued, “it’s only because she’s breast feeding.”
“What?” I didn’t get it.
“Her tits, you were staring at her tits,” she whispered. “They’re only that size because she’s still breast-feeding. They’ll be the same as mine when she’s back to normal.” Janey wiped her face then looped her towel over her shoulder and looked down at herself. She cupped a hand under each breast and hefted them through the lycra. They were quite big, I thought. I’d not really noticed before, but they did seem to be quite a bit bigger than I’d realised.
“You’re putting on weight.” I said maliciously. We both knew it wasn’t true.
We continued at the gym every week religiously. I was determined to get Janey through. The guys were regular too and our exchanges had developed into an easy sexual banter that was just teasing really. We were flattered – well I was, Janey was frustrated and took it much further. She even flashed her boobs at one of them one time when she’d caught him looking at her from the other side of the room. She was doing stretches and just slipped the edge of her tank top up with one hand while bending over sideways. You should have seen his face! He just kind of grinned and shook his head in amazement. Nobody else saw – least I don’t think so – nobody said anything anyway.
Debbie Sullivan was always there too. Her baby got bigger and he began to be awake sometimes but just lay there big eyes staring all around. He was really good. I did get some ragging about “fancying” her but Janey didn’t ever take it to the extremes that I though she might, even when she caught me staring again. I couldn’t help it though- her waist was getting slimmer but her boobs weren’t getting any smaller despite what Janey had said. She was still a goddess.
Our birthdays came and went and so did the county trials! Despite the cigarettes and the lack of real effort Janey got in, much to the disappointment of the beanpole. Janey was a natural. Her aggression on the field was phenomenal and sometimes got her into trouble. She never gave up on anything and often went head to head with the opposition threatening all kinds of violence until the ref. intervened. The only time I ever saw her beaten in anything – the moment that probably defined both our lives forever -came in the quarter-finals of the all England Schools Cup.
We’d done really well to get that far – mostly thanks to Janey who was our top goal scorer. We were up against a hot team from a fee-paying school in Oxfordshire, the kaçak bahis next county. We were the underdogs, this lot were fit and strong, and big too; and they had that confidence that seems to come from their kind of background or breeding, or whatever. But they were cool too, they didn’t let anything faze them, even when we went a goal up with twenty minutes to go.
We defended well but with ten minutes to go it happened – Janey being beaten I mean, and I swear that’s what cost us the game. Janey had broken with the ball and was streaking down the centre looking dangerous. Another goal would have sealed it but the opposition captain, a tall blonde with refined manners and a cut glass accent, calmly and quite deliberately thrust her stick between Janey’s legs and she went sprawling across the astroturf – ouch! Janey came up spitting blood and fury. We got to her quickly – just as well as the ref was still halfway down the pitch. The opposition captain didn’t back off though despite Janey’s obvious intentions, she just stood there coolly waiting as Janey shot forward shrugging off our clutching hands. Janey was on her instantly, her furious face thrusting upwards barely an inch from her opponent, screaming obscenities, her free arm – I had hold of one – reaching for the taller girl’s long blonde hair.
The blonde just leaned forward and kissed her!
Tongue and everything – straight into Janey’s open screaming mouth! Janey stopped dead, her hand on the blonde’s hair but no longer clutching for a root tearing pull, just poised there, almost a caress. It was a frozen moment that to me seemed to go on forever but in truth was so quick that it probably went unnoticed by most of the players and certainly by the spectators.
The ref came puffing up and the blonde backed off, grinning at Janey. Some of the opposition who had also been close enough to see were all giggling, hands over mouths – schoolgirl stuff. We were stunned into silence.
“Fuck you!” Janey spat, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.
The blonde, looked straight back at Janey and ran just the very the tip of her tongue round her lips. “Any time,” she almost whispered. The repeat was even quieter, “any time baby,” and she winked.
We got the penalty but after that Janey just didn’t seem to be in the game. I’ve never seen her so distracted. Anger was normally good for her game and she was angry alright, with a quiet seething fury but her mind was definitely elsewhere. As a consequence the opposition scored twice and we lost by the one goal.
Afterwards, in the showers, Janey was still quietly seething, not wanting to talk to anyone – not even me let alone the coach when she came round offering commiserations. Janey showered and towelled down quickly, thrusting her gear into her bag in furious silence. I guessed what might be coming so got changed quickly myself and followed her outside. As I suspected she went round to where the opposition would come out, it was round the corner away from the waiting buses and the crowds of supporters. “Janey,” I called. She ignored me and lit up a cigarette. The jubilant laughter of the winning team came through the half-open windows of their changing rooms, billowing out with the steam from the showers. I waited, knowing better than to interfere at this stage but ready to step in if it got out of hand.
They came out in twos and threes with the tall blonde captain towards the end. They were all in smart uniforms, typical public school. Her uniform blazer was different to the others, fancier, with piped edges and a couple of enamel badges on the lapels. Off the field with some make-up on she looked older than most of the others, upper sixth form, probably around eighteen. She wore dark stockings instead of white ankle socks. She saw Janey and stopped. Janey took a drag of her cigarette as she stepped forward. The blonde stepped towards her. The last of her team lingered, sensing trouble. “It’s alright,” their captain said to them in her crisp clear accent, slightly imperious. “Tell Miss Wilkes I’ll be along in a sec.” They hesitated, “No really,” she continued, “shoo, shoo,” and gestured them away with her hands.
Oh, oh, I thought. She was a half a head taller than Janey and maybe eighteen months older, she probably thought she could take Janey but she didn’t know her like I did. I unslung my bag and prepared to step in. “Janey,” there was a warning in my voice. I glanced at my watch, “it’s five, the coach leaves at ten past. Don’t start anything.” Then the blonde held out her hand.
“Sorry about that,” she said, “the penalty I mean.”
“What the fuck was all that about!?” Janey hissed.
There was a moment’s silence. “Oh, I see, not the penalty. Well… it was a bet… a dare really” the cut-glass accent enunciated every word clearly, the out thrust hand dropped to her side.
“What bet?” Janey said.
“Well, we always award points to the opposition players – you know, “which one is most butch of course – there’s always some real dogs in most hockey teams. It’s a kind of joke. I guess it comes from being at an all-girls school. We give the highest scores to the one that would be the most… well, ‘fanciable’ I suppose” she shrugged, “you know… sexy.”
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