Something About Us
Standing beside the grill, Missy's stare edged over to the swing where Torrance sat in Cliff's lap, lovingly feeding him fries. They were all over each other while throngs of seemingly oblivious parentals and other adults chatted jovially about golf, vacations, and investments.
She rolled her eyes in disgust and turned her attention to loading over-cooked burgers onto sesame buns.
Barbecue duty usually belonged to Dad but he was too engrossed in an animated, beer-fuelled discussion of the collegiate football league. So here she was, playing chief skivvy for the afternoon whilst the neighbours got progressively more drunk. Courtney and Whitney were around someplace, hanging off the arms of some of Cliff's college friends.
The smoke from the grill was stinging her eyes and the smell of burnt meat was making her rapidly lose her appetite. That and the sight of Cliff slobbering all over Tor - his hands creeping under the hem of the blonde's shirt despite Tor's giggling and squirming.
Missy almost jumped when a warm hand took a burger from her. She squinted against the sunlight to look into the girl's elegant face. Isis, Torrance's roommate.
The tall black girl gave her a small smile. She was out of place here, not simply because of the colour of her skin. It was like her eyes held a secret.
"I heard you made captain."
Missy raised her hand, shielding her eyes from the glare of the sun. "Yeah. Guess I'll always be a frustrated gymnast though."
Somehow her gaze drifted back over to where her brother and Tor were, now goofing around and kissing like they were the only two people in the world. Isis followed her stare and arched an eyebrow.
There was something about the tone of her voice, the easy smile that spread over Isis's lips that made Missy's mouth go dry. Recovering her briefly shaken composure, Missy allowed her usual smirk to slide into place.
"Maybe you could show me some moves sometime?" Isis said, the burger quite forgotten as she placed it on a nearby plate. She tilted her head and looked Missy directly in the eyes. And Missy had to wonder if this was the same chick that could've kicked the unholy shit out of her and Torrance last year.
So Missy couldn't quite believe this was for real. She folded her arms, eyebrows knitted together. "Okay, no bullshit. Are you coming onto me?"
Isis glanced at her feet, over at Torrance, then back at Missy. She shoved her hands into the back pockets of her jeans, the green tank top she wore riding up and accentuating smoothly toned cocoa skin. "Look, I understand, you got a thing for blonde chicks, runs in the family - "
"Hey, did you hear the word 'no' leave my lips?" Missy shrugged, embarrassment as much as proximity to the grill making her cheeks burn. "I think you're really fucking hot." The final words were almost lost to the hiss of steam from the barbecue.
Isis moved closer, leaning forward to speak intimately into Missy's ear. "Can we go someplace? I wanna kiss you but I really don't want spectators."
Missy's gaze found Torrance again but now pale blue eyes were fixed on her, giving her a quizzical look as Cliff chatted to a friend. Torrance smiled, very faintly, and Missy felt the sudden need to get out of here.
She turned towards Isis, aware of the urgency in her expression and knowing full well that Isis understood it. "Sure, let's go."
Missy pretended not to feel Tor's stare on her back, or hear Cliff's shout, and she didn't think about Torrance when Isis kissed her in the darkness of her bedroom. Not at all.