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by Rebecca Field

At school we audition for the chorus, pray that we both get in. He gets one of the main parts, just like always. Everyone says he’s a natural on stage. Even the teachers seem besotted with him. Sometimes we turn up for rehearsals on the wrong day, accidentally on purpose, watch from the wings and chew gum in a manner we imagine to be seductive. We learn all his lines by heart, practice them together at break times, imagine him speaking them to us.

On Saturdays we get up late and avoid our families. We have our own plans carefully laid: places to go, people to see. Our hair is blow-dried upside down, legs shaved in the bath, shyness hidden beneath layers of concealer and lip-gloss. Body sprays and deodorants are liberally applied, outfits chosen for maximum flesh exposure, regardless of the weather or season.

We catch the same bus several stops apart, snigger at the bus-driver’s arse crack and scream as he swerves around corners. Our excitement is delicious, addictive as sugar. We do not notice the stares from our fellow passengers as we stumble off like drunkards by the supermarket, arms linked and minds focused. We talk about what to buy; there is nothing we need, but that isn’t the point.

Inside, we loiter in the aisles, reading the magazines and the nutritional information on the soft drinks, trying on products in “skincare”. Eventually, we join his queue at checkout number eight, pretending not to notice the shorter one for five items or less. When he smiles at us, we giggle behind curtains of hair. We pay separately in small change for our purchases, blushing when he asks about our weekend plans. We ignore the comments from the middle-aged woman behind us, willing her to drop dead from scurvy or cholera.

Later our tongues slide over the cool sides of the cans where he touched them, our eyes lock as we argue about which of us he likes best. We will dare each other to go back, find out when his shift finishes and wait for him, both of us knowing we never actually would. We will linger again at the park, far longer than we want to, goose-pimpled and hungry, both of us hoping for something to happen, each of us fearing it might. At night, eyes closed, doors shut, our true fantasies play out.

Rebecca Field lives and writes in Derbyshire. She has been published online by Riggwelter Press, Spelk, The Cabinet of Heed and Ellipsis Zine, among others. Rebecca has work in the 2018 and 2019 UK National Flash Fiction Day Anthologies and forthcoming in the 2020 edition. Tweets at @RebeccaFwrites.