I spot the gift as soon as Lissie and I walk in. A silver parcel tied up with a soft, frothy ribbon the colour of ice is perched in the middle of the wooden desk. Pale light filters through a window laced with frost, reflecting off the paper and sending sunshine dancing across the mahogany surface.
Lissie strips off her puffer jacket and scarf - both covered in flecks of melting snow. When she sees the present, her red nose scrunches up. She strides over and picks up the note attached to the silver wrapping. Her lips purse into a pout.
'Lover boy has bought you a present,' she says, thrusting the parcel towards me. There's a definite note of sulkiness in her warm voice. 'Four days together and you get a present? You sure you only made out during that storm?'
Locking the door, I hiss for her to keep her voice down. 'I don't want the whole damn town to know,' I say. 'Or my parents. Not like that.'
'Jesus, keep your knickers on, Mats. It's hardly like you given him the goods.' I bristle at that.
'I don't see why you didn't let him just have it all,' she says.
'Maybe I will. One day, It's not like I don't want to, I just want to know he loves me first.'
'Love is overrated.'
She shuffles on the spot for a moment, before untying her long hair and fanning it out over her slim shoulders. Before I can probe her further, she spots a framed picture of James.
'Jesus Christ, Mats! You worked wonders on him.' She shrieks with mirth at James's pale complexion and ponytail. 'I would never have kissed this boy. God, I love kissing,' she says, swooning at the thought.
She grabs my hand and pulls me over to the bed. 'Wait until Finch's hands stray under your clothes. That's when it gets fun.'
I shake my head, but I can't suppress the smile. Lissie has a way of doing that. Of changing my mood from angry to forgiving in a second.
She leans in close. 'And, if James is anything to go by, the Whittinghams know their way around the female body.'
I blanch. Lissie has kept quiet the day she disappeared with James. When I'd arrived home, half-soaked, lips swollen from kissing Finch, I'd followed her around the house, throwing a million questions her way. Partly, it was out of bitterness - demands that she explained why she'd left me - but mostly it was from a morbid curiosity. A need to know how stupid James had been.
'I didn't have sex with him,' was all she had said before climbing into my bed and turning away from me. That was it. Nothing more.
She sits on my bed, a coy smile on her lips. From the excitement in her eyes, it's clear that she wants to spill.
'I thought you said that nothing happened. I place the parcel down and fold my legs up underneath me.
YOU ARE READING
Under Tennessee SkiesTeen Fiction
When she moves from England to the small town of Hopton Hills, Tennessee, Martha Heysham finds both her dream of Oxford University and her heart at risk from her new neighbours, the Whittingham boys. **** Martha Heysham hates Tennessee. The sticky h...