Hannah’s insufferably girly script stared at me from the slip of paper in my hand. There was only one word on it.
Followed by a heart with a toothy smiley-face in it which I couldn’t easily look away from. It was the eyes. They were following me when I moved the paper around in my hand, like those of a haunted painting.
Ugh. I gave the back of Hannah’s head another glare and, for the hundredth time, mentally repeated the argument we’ve had over and over this last month. Only this time I won and ended up happily going to IKEA to buy some scented candles like I had originally planned instead of caving and going… well, caving with Hannah and her entourage on the occasion of her 23rd birthday in a “Party Cave” (which, Hannah reassured me repeatedly, was not a euphemism for a certain body orifice but a trendy party location some fifty miles north in the hills which she had booked for that night).
My aunt Mel, Hannah’s mom, had pleaded with me. She was worried for her wild child of a daughter — who was not a child child any more (at least legally speaking) — and I was so responsible and mature and could I please just go to the party to keep an eye or two on Hannah for her and I was literally the only person on this whole planet who could help her out and so on and so forth.
Mel was the kind of person you couldn’t say ‘no’ to without feeling guilty about having made her sad. It was a quality she had passed on to Hannah, except that Hannah had weaponized that shit. Hannah already somehow managed to make you feel guilty if you didn’t enthusiastically say ‘yes!’ to all of her suggestions right away.
Still, being so mature with full 29 years under my belt and having been subjected to my cousin’s (and aunt’s) psychological warfare for decades already, I had stood my ground for quite some time. Five weeks, to be exact.
“But it’s going to be so much fun, Peepee!” Hannah had repeated over and over until the most offensive word in the sentence wasn’t the nickname-atrocity she had made of my real name (Piper), but the word ‘fun’.
We were spending a day and a night in a goddamn cave. Under a mountain. Like the dwarves in Moria, and we all know how that ended, didn’t we?
We cannot get out. We cannot get out. We hear drums, drums in the deep. They are coming…. through the main entrance because there’s no emergency exit in this cave.
Fun. So. Much. Fun.
I mean, yes, the Party Cave was furnished and stocked, equipped with all the necessary amenities because it served as a location for social events such as this one quite frequently, so while there was still plenty of natural cave-ness to it, it wasn’t exactly a dirty hole in the ground and the likelihood of encountering Balrogs was, frankly, very small. There were natural pools full of crystal clear mountain water that painted shivering bands of reflected and refracted light onto the cave walls, stalactites and stalagmites around them, which was indeed very pretty to look at. There were steaming hot springs and vast domed halls with amazing acoustics and everything, and not a single bar of reception on your cell phone — an unforgettable location for one’s birthday for sure.
It almost made me forget how I was ever so slight (read: very) claustrophobic and generally didn’t do too well thinking about how there were millions of metric tons of porous soil, stone and earth with several more millions of tons of timber perched precariously above us, and definitely not as many millions of cubic tons of breathable air down here with us. I was also not a fan of bats (or, more specifically, of rabies and/or histoplasmosis — yes, I googled that), spiders, pill bugs and all the other millions of creepy crawly critters, both seen and unseen, whose domestic peace Hannah’s party was disrupting.
Most certainly, the creepiest, crawliest critters were the guys Hannah had invited to her party, though. And – lucky me! – I’d get to bunk up with them in one of the “sleeping nooks”, because pairing random strangers up to spend the night uncomfortably closely together was Hannah’s idea of “fun”.
My critter of choice was Logan, apparently.
Was it just me or did the smiley in the heart look a lot like Pennywise?
I mean — speaking of Pennywise — I should probably be glad I hadn’t drawn Mitch from the hat. Or Brent, for that matter (shudder). But Logan was also a complete stranger in whose uncomfortably close proximity I didn’t really want to spend the night. If I were a lucky person, I would’ve ended up with Kayleigh, or Soo-Lin, or any of the handful of other girls.
But no. Logan.
He caught my eye over the hubbub of Mackenzie revealing that she’d pulled Jackson out of the hat — the girls were location-appropriately making noises that came close to bat frequency, and I winced — and grinned into his bottle of beer.
That grin made him look five years younger than he was — therefore he landed on roughly 16. Good Escort Sefaköy grief. I wondered if he had finished kindergarten yet, and exactly when I had become an adult-y sort of adult who wanted people off her damn lawn.
For reasons unknown to me, Hannah had thought it necessary to invite a dozen kids. Maybe that was just the veritable Methusela in me talking but even Hannah seemed positively pubertal to me — and then she surrounded herself (and, by virtue of invitation/coercion, me) with boys and girls who were two, three years younger than even her…? Made me wonder whether she was trying to compensate for something.
In any case, I felt like the only grown-up at summer camp, if summer camp had a mini-bar.
Granted, all the boys of said summer camp, including my designated sleeping nook partner, were taller than me by six to twelve inches, wide enough in the shoulders to be forced to enter this cave sideways, and weighed about fifty to a hundred pounds more than me. Which begged the question how I could possibly honor Aunt Mel’s request and do something in the (likely) event that any of them did something really stupid.
I had a brief idea of stripping naked in front of them, thereby bringing the brawl to a comical screeching halt. Yeah, right. I sipped on my own beverage and smiled to myself.
As the evening progressed (at a crawl, accompanied by music that was too loud in these acoustics and forced you to yell and repeat your words all the damn time, and alcoholic beverages that were either too thin or too sweet for my taste), the host and guests started to become shouty for no reason other than their being drunk, and the cringey party games began.
That was when I finally reached my limit.
Between twister and beer pong to the beat of some current R’n’B-Pop-star whose name I didn’t know, I extricated myself from Sarah (a newly minted political science student who was totally into ‘edgy things’ (Ayn Rand, disestablishmentarianism) and the music of ‘my’ generation (Dishwalla, Eels)), went to get my overnight bag from where we had stashed all our stuff and headed into the showers. They were functional if a bit drafty, and too small for comfort. I may have left the door unlocked and a little ajar as I quickly cleaned up, changed into my nightclothes, brushed and flossed my teeth, and then found myself the sleeping nook that was farthest away from the party and closest to the nearest exit.
Let them figure out where I went.
The nooks were basically additional little caves carved into the main cave structure and equipped with a large, heavy curtain in place of a door — and bunks that could’ve passed as bookshelves.
Seriously, this party cave had a goddamned high-end Bluetooth stereo system. Why were the beds little 175x40cm chipboards, screwed to a hollow in the cave wall, with barely one-inch-thick mattresses on them? Did they get them from an Alcatraz yard sale or something?
The lower bunk was installed at knee height, the upper at shoulder height. The space between them — i.e. the breathing room for the person in the lower bunk — seemed ridiculously small to me (or maybe that was just my claustrophobia talking). Meanwhile, there was no obvious way to get onto the top bunk, except by stepping onto the lower one and hoisting yourself up on like you’d jump on a horse’s back without a saddle. Conversely, there was also no obvious way to get down again, except for jumping down onto the pitch-dark cave floor and hoping for the best, I supposed.
I regarded both bunks by the dim light of my cellphone’s glow — because there were also no lamps — and chewed my lip. I didn’t want to be boxed in, and I really didn’t want Logan’s 170 pounds balanced on a flimsy piece of driftwood above me, but I also didn’t want to be stuck on the top bunk. If I fell off, it’d be a good sight more awful if it was from the top.
It was choosing between cholera and the plague and I wished I could turn back time and bring my sleeping back and yoga mat – or, you know, just call aunt Mel and Hannah last minute and pretend I had caught some awful stomach bug and couldn’t come caving with the kids due to projectile vomiting and bloody diarrhea.
I sighed wistfully and chose the bottom bunk, curled up and tried to ignore the slightly musty smell of the sheet and the way the blanket always left one foot cold. I closed my eyes and let my mind drift.
Or I tried to.
I caught myself listening to the music that vibrated eerily through the cave system, and to the steady creak of the mattress below me caused by the rise and fall of my own ribcage. I sighed and huffed, tossed and turned, boxed the too-limp pillow and ended up glaring at the underside of the bunk above me with an annoyance-induced headache pulsing between my eyebrows. My shoulders and neck felt like there was a too-taunt piano wire running through them.
Luckily, it occurred to me, there was a cure Yenibosna escort bayan for headaches, tension and sleeplessness.
So I turned onto my back and got as comfortable as possible, then let my legs fall open just a little, nudging my mind into a certain direction.
Years of doing this practically every night before bed like a ritual had primed my brain. I barely had to recall a feeling, a touch, a look, an idea I had in the past few days, and the gentle heat began to stir and rise. I slid a hand into my panties and touched myself right there, just once. My pussy clenched once in response, waking up quickly. I focused on my breath.
Alright. I was in a cave. I could work with that.
Caves had… cavemen.
Cavemen fighting for the last female they had caught — me.
I smiled into the darkness. Silly, but also… kinda hot.
I could imagine myself having been dragged into this cave by the ankle by a hulking, hairy guy with flinty eyes — oh, the eyes were so important — only to be surrounded by a handful of other men. They communicated with aggressive grunts and menacing body language. Loincloths came off as they apparently compared cock sizes.
I bit my lip and stifled another smile, huffing a laugh through my nose.
I would get up from where my first captor had deposited me and walk right into their midst, quickly shedding my own clothing as I went.
No need to fight, boys. There’s enough of me for everyone.
The tallest of them would step forward first, touching my hair. I would turn to him, only to whirl around when another touched my lower back, and then my shoulder, and my ass, and my flank, and my tits…
I sighed silently. Many hands touching me, many bodies pressing into mine — eventually, many mouths nipping and kissing my skin, hot breaths tickling the fine hairs on my neck — was a recurring motif. Usually, those hands were not gentle but rough and big and sure. They grabbed firm hold and squeezed and slapped and pulled and pushed me.
I slid a hand underneath my sleepshirt and grabbed my left boob, hard, then pinched and twisted the nipple between my thumb and index, just a little painfully. My cavemen would bite me there, I was sure, and they would suck so vigorously my skin would be mottled with red marks… My mouth fell open on a soundless moan.
And the curtain of the sleeping nook slid to the side and the dim glow of a cellphone display illuminated the bolt hole. Logan shuffled in and pulled the curtain shut behind him.
I quickly turned my head on my pillow so my face was toward the cave wall and lay absolutely still — except that my heart was hammering loudly enough to drown out the beat from the music still thumping through the cave, and that I was breathing way too hard. Shit. Shit shit shit. Was the blanket thick enough to conceal the fact that my knees were splayed wide, one hand was on my tit and the other in my panties? God. Embarrassing. Despite the cool air, sweat was breaking out on my upper lip.
Mouth dry as a desert, I tried to listen for Logan through the panicked beat of my pulse. He lurched around in the half-dark just as I had a couple of hours before — except that he was probably a bit more drunk than I was — and deposited his overnight bag somewhere near the wall with a dull thump. Through my eyelashes and behind my closed eyelids I registered the way his phone light swung around this way and that, skimming over my body and then away. Eventually, he stood right by our bunks — a cloud of shower smell wafted over me — rummaged around on top with the pillow, blanket and sheets, and then hopped and pulled himself up with a low grunt of effort.
The bunk creaked under his shifting weight and I swallowed nervously, momentarily doubting the wisdom of picking the bottom bunk after all. Then again, if someone had died a horrible bunk-squashing death in this cave before, the yelp reviews wouldn’t have been that good, surely? And bigger people must’ve spent the night here already, too. Logan wasn’t fat or anything, just— tall, wide and heavy because all those muscles had a certain weight.
My sleeping nook partner audibly arranged his body on the narrow cot above me for quite some time. I didn’t envy him. The bed was almost too small for me, and I was basically a standard-sized human being. Then again, young whippersnapper that he was, he could probably sleep on a spiral staircase and wake up well-rested and fresh as a flower.
Finally, after a couple of minutes, he stilled and silence fell in our little nook. Only the party sounds that went on and on and on could be heard.
I dared to turn onto my side and take my hand off my boob even though I kept cupping my pussy with the other for sensitivity reasons. I closed my eyes and tried to find a way to relax in spite of the presence of my newly acquired upstairs neighbor-with-the-shittiest-timing Halkalı escort and the way I thought I could hear him breathing.
“So,” his voice suddenly rang out from above, so loud and rich and seemingly close in the echoing cavern that I flinched violently. “You gonna finish? Or, like, should I wait for you…? We can finish together if you want. Y’know, I can hold back for quite a long time.”
I stupidly held my breath for several long seconds — as if he’d think I was sleeping if I didn’t make a sound. Gosh, this night was bringing out the very best and brightest in me, wasn’t it?
Eventually, I exhaled explosively. Actually, fuck this night. Fuck this day, and this night, and this guy. Starting tomorrow, I vowed to myself, I would avoid Hannah and aunt Mel for the rest of my life, and any of these crazy party kids by default.
“What’re you talking about?” I all but growled. My voice was already deep and rough with sleep even though I hadn’t slept a wink yet, and my words slurred a little, contributing nicely to the general attitude I was trying to convey. I actually sounded like his noisy ass had just woken me up.
Logan huffed a laugh. “You know ‘what’, Peepee.”
I rolled my eyes at the nickname and his lame attempt to goad me with it — like he could hold a candle to Hannah in that department. Amateur.
“Go the fuck to sleep, Logan.”
“I can’t,” he drawled and audibly shuffled around, stretching his body out on the too-small cot. “I got a boner.”
“Fascinating,” I replied drily. “I’m sure it’s happened to you before. It’ll go away soon.”
“So long as I can smell your pussy from up here, it won’t.”
My eyes and mouth flew open as a heated flush shot through me and into my cheeks.
Wow. What a douche!
“Breathe through your mouth, then?” I suggested testily. “Like you do every day.”
That made him laugh, which intensified the warmth in my cheeks for no apparent reason. Using his noisy guffawing as a cover, I pulled my fingers out from between my legs and surreptitiously brought them to my nose.
Well. Uhm. There was definitely a smell. The usual, really. It wasn’t exactly perfume, but it wasn’t rank and fishy, either. And it certainly wasn’t poignant and intense enough to carry through several feet of earth-and-stone-and-salt-scented mountain cave air. Logan, I decided, was just egging me on.
Logan stirred above me and suddenly his voice rang out even louder. “You’re smelling your fingers right now, aren’t you?” he chuckled as he poked his head over the edge of the bunk.
His voice in the almost pitch-dark, right behind and above me, so loud- I whirled and pressed myself against the cavern wall and suddenly couldn’t breathe from claustrophobia.
“Get the hell away from me!” I hollered and was shocked how loud and high-pitched my voice was.
To his credit, he immediately retreated again as if I had slapped him. “Alright! Alright. No worries. I’m staying right up here. Not going anywhere. No look, no touch. That’s fair enough.”
All was quiet after that for a bit, except for the muffled noises of the continuing party somewhere down-cave, and the sound of my own blood rushing through my head at elevated speed after that short lapse in judgment and general sense-making. God, Piper, you chicken. Hannah was right, you’re a paranoid worrywart. I grimaced in distaste at that realization.
“Seriously, though,” Logan started again just as I was starting to relax again, voice much softer and sounding just a little cautious, like he absolutely knew how much he had rattled me. “D’you mind if I take care of this?”
This being, apparently, his non-flagging erection.
I heaved a long-suffering sigh, quietly grateful for his consideration, awkward as it may have been. Maybe there was something salvageable underneath all that douchey-ness.
“I mean, you could just go to the bathroom like a normal person…?” I suggested
“I could,” he said and nothing more. I rolled my eyes again, and rolled them hard. I remembered being 13 and thinking that interpreting the semantics but ignoring the pragmatics of a question was somehow cool, too.
“Look, I’ll give you some privacy-” I began and made to get up off my bunk. Might as well take an early toilet break, maybe change my panty liner, wash my hands and generally freshen up while I was there and he could, uh, finish what he’d started, and then I could come back and act like none of this had happened and we could (pretend to) sleep for five miserable hours and finally go home.
“I’d rather you wouldn’t,” he interrupted me.
Again my mouth dropped open. The nerve of kids these days!
“You mean,” I drawled, “you want an audience, and you don’t really care that your audience is really not into-“
“Oh, I do care very much about my audience and what they’re into,” he said.
I heard something rustle, punctuated by the creak of the mattress. That better not be the sound of your underwear sliding down, boyo.
Then again, what did I care? I was reasonably certain that he would stay put exactly were he was after my earlier freak-out, plus I was basically already on my way to the toilet. I just needed to de-tangle my legs and the blanket and-