The bar was a dump. The kind of place frequented only by miserable local men who had a beer in the evening in their work-wear before begrudgingly returning home to their families. Everyone turned to look as they walked in but no one seemed to recognise April.
Melinda felt very out of place. Faith however was smiling and fully embracing her second dominant mood, flirty, as she caught the eye of one of the guys in the corner.
“Faith, quit it.”
“Come on Mel, it’s not like we have a choice here. Besides that one with the man bun is pretty cute.”
April re-joined them with three glasses of lemonade. “Sorry, they won’t serve us anything more interesting without seeing my ID and I can’t really show it, can I?”
Faith was still throwing flirty glances over at man bun guy as Melinda sipped her drink. She made a face as it turned into ash in her mouth.
“Oh shit, he’s actually coming over!”
At Faith’s words, April and Melinda turned to see man bun guy heading their way.
“Hey ladies,” he said. “I’m Will, and that’s Dale and Paul.” He motioned towards his friends at the bar who clearly weren’t as bold and were pretending to watch the television. “Not seen you around these parts before. Mind if I join you?”
April patted the seat next to her. “Not at all,” she smiled. “I’m Amy and this is Maude and Fanny. We’re new in town.”
“Fanny huh?” Will said, looking at Faith who had shot April a look that promised later revenge. “I think I’ll like you.” He took a seat and looked at their glasses. “Hey Joe! Come on man, give these ladies some real drinks!” He turned back to Faith and winked. “You are old enough to party, right?”
Melinda had always been so bad at this stuff.
As Faith and April fluttered their eyelashes and seemed to instinctively know when to giggle or twirl their hair, she sat awkwardly with her guy, Paul.
“In a nutshell, that’s the difference between the five hammers that I own. Don’t get me started on the screwdrivers!” He laughed to himself. “So, Maude, what are you in to?”
“Um… well I like to draw,” Melinda replied.
“Cool.” He nodded and the conversation once again died.
Melinda was almost relieved when she heard April suggest they all go back to their place. Almost.
Conversation flowed much more smoothly between the whole group as they took the winding path through the forest, the guys stumbling in their alcohol-impaired states, eventually coming out in front of the house.
“Woah, you girls certainly don’t look like the kind who would live so remotely,” Dale said, looking up towards the sky which was obscured by trees.
“Yeah,” Will concurred. “Are you witches or something?”
Faith laughed and playfully hit him on the arm.
Once inside, having taken in the aged décor and cobwebs, Will let out the breath he was holding.
“This is some creepy horror movie house you’ve got right here. Windenburg Witches kinda stuff-“
He was abruptly cut off as Faith snaked her hands around his waist, silencing him with a kiss, her hands running down his body until they found the waistband of his jeans.
“You’re coming with me,” she purred, pulling him towards the stairs. He didn’t need telling twice.
Melinda turned to April. Help! She wanted to scream. I have no idea what I’m doing!
April was whispering something to Dale. He grinned and took her by the hand as they too disappeared upstairs.
Great. Now Melinda was alone with Paul.
“So, Maude,” he said and Melinda winced. “Shall we, y’know, go up to your room?”
There were only two bedrooms in the house, but Melinda wouldn’t have taken him upstairs even if there were twenty. She tried to sound casual.
“Why don’t we just stay here?”
He nodded, “I can deal with that.” He stretched his arm around her shoulders. She froze as his fingertips brushed the back of her neck. “Ooh, you’re cold. Come here.” He pulled her closer.
She closed her eyes, feeling the heat from his skin, the pulse in his wrist and the unfamiliar loss of control it was creating inside her.
“You’re really pretty,” he whispered as he walked his fingers across her collar bone.
“Oh my god!” a male voice shouted from upstairs. Melinda squeezed her eyes tighter and tried not to think about what was happening to those guys or about what she would have to do to poor Paul.
Clouded by beer and clearly misinterpreting the shout from his friend, Paul leaned in for a kiss.
Melinda felt the heavy weight of this strange man as he clumsily pressed his mouth on hers. She didn’t even know if she was kissing him properly. She could taste the beer on his breath, could smell his sweat, his lust and his blood. It all mixed into a heady cocktail that both intoxicated and revolted her. Where have his clothes suddenly gone? He was fumbling with her jeans. Oh my gosh. This was too fast.
She placed her palm on his chest and held him back.
“Oh come on, Maude,” his voice was breathless as he reached towards her. “We’ve started the chainsaw, might as well fell the tree.”
“Y’know,” he nodded towards his lap.
“Eek! No! Go away!” she screeched, pushing him.
She didn’t know who was more surprised when he fell back off the sofa, achieving a swift bang to the head on the coffee table and an awkward landing on the floor. He lay there for a while, catching his breath. Melinda watched his bare chest rise and fall.
“Get out,” she said.
Paul staggered to his feet and his senses. “Maude, I’m really sorry, OK? Look, I clearly misread something here. It’s OK, we can just talk or something.”
“No. You need to leave.”
“What? Leave as in leave? It’s the middle of the night!”
“You need to go,” Melinda whimpered. Please.
“I don’t even know the way back. I’ll be eaten by wolves. I promise, I won’t touch you again.”
The darkness was settling on her like a veil. His heartbeat pounded in her ears. She could still taste him.
“Get out or I’ll throw you out.”
Paul looked at her for a long moment then he snatched up his clothes and headed to the door.
Melinda listened as the door closed and she heard Paul’s footsteps fade into the night. She curled up on the sofa around the knot in her stomach. An eerie quiet descended on the house.