Lucy puts on a little make-up. It’s Friday night and the regular gang are meeting up as usual for a night on the town. Exams are over so her parents thankfully allowed her to go out tonight and tomorrow night as well. She was basically on house arrest until a levels were over. And she supposed with good reason. After all, she was a little prone to partying just a little too hard. 

She wore a new-ish fancy top and jeans and went to tell her parents goodnight and negotiate curfew. It used to be midnight but now it was summer and the night buses ran on the hour and she knew that she could probably push it until 1am, especially if her older brother would ride the same bus. Even later if she got a lift with one of her brother’s friends. 

Her parents agreed. That’s the great thing about house arrest- parents seem to think it’s a cure for unruly teenagers but really and truly it just fuels the desire to lose control even more.

She grabbed her little backpack and walked out the door.

She walked around the corner behind her house. There was this abandoned hairdresser’s studio with a huge, overgrown vine tree covering the entire front area of this place. Lucy hid behind the tree and changed her jeans for a pair of shorts and her trainers for something sexier. She put her discarded clothes in the backpack and put everything in the garbage bag she always left behind the tree and made her way to the bus stop to meet the others.

And there he was. The object of Lucy’s desire. Michael. Leaning against the bus stop, torn jeans, sweet and beautiful. He was talking to Claire. She was fun and pretty, not incredibly smart but good at exams. Lucy and Claire were good friends. Not best friends because Lucy didn’t do best friends, but good enough. Not good enough however to tell her how much she liked him. That she kept pretty much a secret, even though she thought it was fairly obvious. They always hung out at school and they were constantly calling each other. Everyone seemed to think something was bound to happen, but for some reason it didn’t yet. The rest of the gang arrived and they jumped on the bus and headed off.

They would always buy cheap liquor from some grocery store before hitting the clubs because venue drinks were watered down and expensive. Lucy always got drunk first and got drunk the worst. But since everyone was inebriated and celebrating, nobody really cared. Suddenly emboldened by very low quality vodka, she linked arms with Michael and walked towards the venue of choice. And he smiled because they were friends. Great friends really.

They all did a few shots while there and soon enough everyone was dancing and the music was pumping and everyone was clowning around and Michael and Lucy were pretending that they were performing one of the songs and basically entertaining everybody. Lucy unsteadily climbed on top of one of the massive speakers and brought out her digital camera. It was a tiny thing, not very sophisticated but it did the job. She liked capturing moments…it made her a little popular because everyone always wanted to see if she captured them doing something funny or cool or risqué. From that height, she had a great view and started taking random snaps.

When all of a sudden, her camera rested on Michael. His lips locked on Claire’s. Lucy zoomed in and snapped the picture. Snap.

Pain. Pain captured on her little but effective device. And disbelief. And horror. And feelings. Too many feelings that alcohol couldn’t obliterate but simply make worse.

Lucy slowly climbed off the speaker and made her way to the exit for air. She threw up in a corner to jeers from people she did not know. She bummed a cigarette off someone she also did not know.

Claire came bouncing out of the club, jacked up on RedBull.

‘Ohhh Lucy! I totally got off with Michael! I always thought he was cute, but who knew he had such great skill with his tongue, yeah? You don’t mind right? I mean, I know you’re friends and all, but if something had to happen, it would have happened, yeah? You would’ve told me, for sure cuz we’re besties! Right?’

Lucy nodded without looking at her. Claire kissed her quickly on the cheek and said ‘That’s what I thought! Love ya!’ And she bounced right back in to be with Michael.

Lucy’s Michael.

Only he wasn’t.

And Lucy thought as she walked away to catch the early bus home, how awful this teenage life is. She hoped it gets better.

Written as part of Miriam Calleja’s creative writing work shops. The assignment was to write a short story inspired by the lyrics of a song. She is the author of Pomegranate Heart and Inside skin.