The Manchester Review
Rachel Seiffert
Extract From A Novel-in-Progress
print view

        Graham shouted out when he pushed himself inside her. He didn't mean to, but it didn't matter. She didn't laugh or anything, he didn't think so. But then after, when it was over, when she stood up and pulled her skirt down, she looked at him, and then he saw it hadn't been that way, not for her. He was still on his knees, and busied himself then with trousers, tucking in his shirt, to cover his shame, gutted again. Too much drunk, he regretted the pints he'd already sunk; but it was done now, all done and over. Lindsey stood a moment, watching, and then she crouched down next to him reaching for her knickers. They'd slipped off her ankles, over her trainers, and she picked them up from where they'd landed.
        'Where you from then?'
        She was looking at him, eyes level with his, and close, knickers bunched in her fist.
        What was wrong with him? Lindsey rolled her eyes, but friendly, Graham thought, like she'd been on the burger van that afternoon. He said:
        'Fae Glasgow.'
        She nodded.
        'You in a juvenile lodge then, Graham? Or a man's?'
        Her eyes were narrowed, and her lips. She'd found out his name from someone. And now she was guessing how old he was, Graham thought. But she was teasing as well, and that nerve was still too raw for him to take courage. He shook his head:
        'I'm no.'
        Lindsey looked at him a second or two before she said.
        'Me either. My Da's Orange enough for the both of us.'
        She pulled at her T-shirt, tugging the lodge number up onto her shoulder to show him, and then shoving it back again. The knot at her waist had gone slack. She undid it, and then re-tied it, tighter, higher up, under her ribs, and she said:
        'I've never been to Glasgow. Is it good there?'
        Graham shrugged, trying not to look at her skin, that strip of it on show again, above her skirt.
        He'd never thought if Glasgow was good or not, he couldn't say, not really. Lindsey had her eyes on him. She said:
        'Better than here.'
        She wasn't asking, but he shrugged again, by way of reply, not wanting to put the place down, because he'd had a fine time, and then she just smiled. Graham looked away, and his eyes landed on the pale scrunch of cloth between her fingers. Lindsey laughed:
        'Bet it is.'
        And then:
        'I've never been anywhere.'
        She stood up and pocketed her knickers. Graham thought she was making to go and that would be it, but then she said:
        'You coming?'
        She put two fingers through his belt loops when they got to the road. She was walking next to him, put it felt like she was pulling, like she was more than willing, and Graham got hard again, and hopeful, so hard that it was painful, and even when she led him up the front path to a house and got her keys out, even though he felt sure this must be her parents' place, and they might be home and demand to know who he was, Graham couldn't think of anything but pushing himself inside her again.