“Do you like having sex?” Amanda asks Lily one day, like it’s the most normal question in the world. They’re sitting outside, laying on the concrete atop blankets that don’t do much to keep them comfortable, and the hot sun drowns their skin in what will result in either a decent tan or an excruciating sunburn. Neither of them put sunscreen on earlier, and when Amanda asked no less than ten minutes ago if they should get some, Lily didn’t respond. She’s been staring at the sun for awhile now, and the sound of the news on the television in the living room echoes outside onto the patio, distracting both of them. Amanda finds it easy to tune it out, but Lily has already adjusted the volume and the channel a few times when she went in for drinks. She’s restless, perhaps.
Lily turns her head slow after Amanda shares her question. It’s probably an awkward moment for her. Amanda is aware of this, she knows that this is a strange thing to ask someone, especially with no kind of initiation, but Lily doesn’t look too shocked and she didn’t expect her to. She’s seemed to understand and expect this kind of absurdity from Amanda, and in turn, she’s easily become more brazen with the topics she brings up. She dares Amanda, she pushes her and questions her and dives deep into her consciousness, and she doesn’t mind in the slightest.
Because of this, Amanda feels fake sometimes, like a doll or a computer program. Lily speaks to her in hopes of hearing whatever she has to say back, more than she wants to create a dialogue. It’s no issue, it’s basically mere reciprocation because that’s how Amanda speaks anyways, but it’s still an observation she’s made. She’s very good at observations.
“Sorry,” Amanda says then, correcting herself. “Do you have sex?”
Lily stares at her.
“I should have asked you that first,” Amanda continues. “I just assumed that you do, seeing as you’re a young, popular, pretty girl.”
Lily keeps watching her. Her gaze stay level and she examines her like she’s both the most fascinating person in the world and also the most boring. Maybe she is. Amanda can reflect enough on herself to perceive that she’s a bit of a conundrum as far as the emotional world can see; she’s a contradiction of a human being, a fucking mess, and hell, maybe even her parents would say she’s a mistake if they knew how deep and dark her mind went while feeling nothing at all in the process. She wouldn’t really be offended if they did.
“Yeah, sometimes,” Lily finally answers. It hasn’t been too long since the first question was raised, but Amanda is aware that she’s eager to hear Lily’s response. She must like her— after all, she values her input and wants her to share her thoughts and tell stories about her experiences. She’s interesting, so Amanda must like her. That would make sense, she supposes.
“But I’m really not popular, at all,” Lily goes on. “Not like I used to be.”
Amanda notes that she doesn’t seem too upset about this. The way that she shifts her gaze downwards and fidgets with her shoelaces seems calculated, almost staged, like she wants Amanda to think she’s still the person she used to be, worried about being prom queen and having all her friends sign her yearbook. She can see clearly that she isn’t, and that while she isn’t thrilled about growing up and changing, she doesn’t hate it either.
“Do you?” she asks. “Have sex, I mean.”
Amanda shrugs and sits up, folding her ankles underneath her knees when she crosses her legs. “Not often.”
Lily frowns, just a little. She looks thoughtful now. “Does it not feel like much to you?”
“It does if it’s good,” she replies. “Usually it’s not good, though. It’s usually the person’s fault though. Usually the guys’. Or the inexperienced girls.’”
Lily tilts her head at that, intrigued. “You hook up with girls?”
The pitch of her voice raises at this and Amanda notices.
“Of course,” she replies simply. “You don’t? You should.”
There’s another silence then, and Amanda keeps staring Lily down. Her gaze doesn’t waver as she inspects the girl, the woman before her. They’re practically adults now, and it shows. She’s pretty, Lily is. Amanda likes to look at her. She’s realized this about herself, as of late. She likes to look at people in general, but there’s something about Lily that’s special, something even she can recognize when she’s alone at night thinking as hard as she can about anything and everything and nothing at all.
(She feels like she never stops thinking. Maybe she’s making up for the lack of feeling.)
Lily is very symmetrical, for starters, so Amanda wasn’t lying when she told her she was pretty. She’s always put together, with pretty clothes and nice makeup and never a single hair out of place. She has nice eyes and a nice face and nice lips, and Lily thinks briefly about how easy it would be to lean over and press her own chapped lips against hers. It would be so easy. So easy.
She sits still.
“Are you hitting on me?” Lily sputters out finally. She trips over her words, barely, but Amanda’s lips curl up in recognition. It’s interesting to watch Lily react to her. Lily is surprised, clearly, but her face doesn’t show it as much as she expected it to; her eyebrows don’t raise, her lips don’t purse, her jaw doesn’t clench. She isn’t angry or put off, either, instead she’s just asking, maybe a bit incredulously so, if Amanda would ever happen to be attracted to her.
“Only if you want me to be,” Amanda replies effortlessly, because for her, a comment like that is effortless. Flirting, she supposes it’s called, this thing that she’s doing, and she’s executing it flawlessly. For someone who doesn’t feel things, she sure knows how to make other people feel things.
Lily pushes herself closer then, her fingertips trailing across the concrete next to Amanda’s thigh. Amanda watches her movements.
“I’ve never kissed a girl,” Lily admits, “but can I tell you a secret?”
“I think we’ve established the fact that you can.”
Lily almost rolls her eyes. Amanda can sense a comeback teetering on the edge of Lily’s tongue, probably at her deadpanning, and she can understand that her attitude maybe seems fresh or even obnoxious, but they both know she can’t help it. It’s just her brain, that’s how it works, and that’s the sentences it creates. Maybe it’s not the same as how everybody else talks, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
(It may not be such a good thing, either, but it doesn’t make much of a difference to her either way.)
“I’ve always wanted to,” Lily continues then. “Kiss a girl, that is. Plus, I’ve always wanted to…” she takes a deep breath in, like she’s nervous, and then shakes her head, as if reminding herself that there’s nothing to be even remotely anxious about, not with Amanda.
She sits before her, patiently waiting.
“I’ve always wanted to fuck a girl. To have sex with a girl. Maybe even two girls at once. Or three. I’ve had dreams about it a lot. I had one last week.”
The words come out quick, fragmented, but as soon as the first truth is revealed, spilling off her lips, the speed of her sentence slows and she relaxes. The tension built up in her shoulders decreases even more when Amanda replies, “cool, me too. I’ve never had a threesome. I’d like to try it.”
Lily bites her lip, stares across the lawn at a garden hedge somewhere behind Amanda, and then raises the question they’re both thinking of.
“Do you want to have sex with me right now?”
Her hand hovers over Amanda’s as she waits for a response. Her fingertips barely skim the back of her palm but the ghost of the touch is there, a palpable offer so easily obtainable; it’s enough for the hair on Amanda’s arms to stand up. A chill, a burst of adrenaline rushes through her, and she replies, “sure.”
She wonders if Lily is going to be the one to finally make her feel something. She sort of, kind of, maybe, just a little bit, hopes she is.