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Authors: Radhika Sanghani

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BOOK: Not That Easy
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It was a Thursday night and instead of finally having my night of shit TV and junk food, I was wearing five-inch heels and lipstick.

“Um, I can't really walk in these,” I said, tottering around the room. Lara, Emma and Amelia ignored me. They were all gazing at their reflections in the different mirrors scattered around Emma's room, putting on layers of makeup.

“So, what's this night we're going to then?” asked Lara, as she finished touching up her mascara.

“It's called Drop and Pull,” said Amelia. She was one of Emma's closest friends and painfully cooler than the rest of us. Her hair was cut into a pixie crop with dark green highlights and she was wearing heeled, velvet Doc Martens. “My friend throws it every week in Storm, it's really fun.”

“What's Storm?” I asked.

She turned to look at me with a creased brow. “Ellie, it's like one of the biggest clubs in East London at the moment. I swear I have no idea how these things pass you by.”

Lara raised her eyebrows at me. “Even I've heard of it and I don't live in London.”

“Yes well, you spend enough time here, don't you,” I grumbled at her.

“Most of it helping you out with a crisis of some sort,” she snapped back.

“Okay, girls, can we focus on why we're all here, please, and ditch the bickering,” intervened Emma. She turned away from the mirror to face us and we stared back in response. She was wearing black leather leggings, a loose gray top and red lipstick. It was the most un-Emma outfit I'd ever seen but it was incredibly sexy.

“Um, you look fucking hot,” said Amelia.

I nodded fervently. “This new look is definitely a keeper.”

“Really?” asked Emma anxiously. “It's not as tight or sparkly as my normal stuff. I just don't feel that sparkly at the moment. I want to be a bit . . . I don't know, darker, I guess.”

“Don't go getting all goth on us now,” said Lara. “But I'm with Ellie. This
suits you.”

“Thanks.” Emma grinned. “And now, people, can we please refill my glass. I'm meant to be getting over Sergio tonight and, to do that, I need to be totally and utterly

“I've got you a little treat that will help with that,” said Amelia, with a wink. Emma grinned and they slid off to the bathroom.

Lara and I were left alone in the room. “I'm glad you don't do drugs too,” I said. “It's weird we both don't do them, isn't it? Maybe it's because we had the same school experience and didn't know that many people who did it.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Lara shrugged, as she carried on putting on her mascara. “Although I do sometimes take the odd pill, or molly.”

I stared at her. “What? Seriously? Why did you never tell me?”

“I dunno. I didn't really think it was a thing. It's just once in a while at uni, if I feel like it.”

“But how come you never mentioned it?” I cried.

“El, chill out. Why do you care so much?”

Why did I care? For a start it was another thing I'd just discovered about Lara that I never knew before. And if Lara took drugs then it meant I was the only one who didn't. I didn't even have a proper reason for not doing them; it's just I got so drunk so quickly and I was semi-gluten intolerant, so I figured I'd just be the kind of person to react really badly to them. Besides,
had pretty much put me off for life.

“It's fine, I don't really care,” I said, trying to ignore the panicked feeling in my tummy. “Obviously. I was just surprised. Are you, uh, going to do any tonight?”

“Could do,” she said. “You don't mind, do you?”

YES, I MINDED. Now I'd be the only one not taking drugs. What if they all got really high—do drugs make you high? Wasted? Off their faces?—and I was all sober on my own? I'd feel so left out. Maybe, maybe I should just join them? It wasn't like I was particularly anti-drugs; I was just a bit scared of them.

Emma and Amelia walked out of the bathroom giggling. “Ah, step one to getting fucked,” said Emma. “Do you want any, Lar? I couldn't remember if you like molly or not.”

“Meh, maybe later,” she said. How was she so casual?!

I fidgeted awkwardly, simultaneously embarrassed that no one had asked if I wanted any and relieved that I hadn't had to say no. Sometimes I felt like I wasn't just a bit behind with the whole sex thing—it was in every aspect of life. I just felt so bloody Pollyanna sometimes.

Well, fuck it, I could be dirty too, and I didn't need to take MDMA to do it. I'd just stick to my one-night-stand plan, and then I'd feel more like a normal graduate.

•   •   •

“So this place is pretty, um, hardcore,” I said, as we walked into the bar. It was split into several rooms and each had a separate “love” theme. There were people wearing fur, sequins, face paint and leather bikinis. My jeans and top combo suddenly felt very PG.

“Isn't it?” shrieked Amelia happily. She was already snogging her on-off girlfriend in the DJ booth. “You guys go on ahead. I'm gonna help Lou with her set.”

Emma rolled her eyes and dragged Lara and I off to the bar. “I love Meely, but she is the worst person to go out on a rebound night with.”

“Unlike Lara and I.” I grinned, wrapping my arms around both of their necks.

“Speak for yourself,” said Lara. “The second a hot DJ comes to find me, I'll be ditching both of you faster than you can say tequila.” She slammed three tequila shots down in front of us. “Come on, girls.”

We dutifully grabbed a lime, dabbed salt on our hands and grabbed a shot. “I am seriously going to regret this tomorrow,” I sighed.

“Ah, come on, we're only young once,” said Lara. “YOLO?”

I rolled my eyes at her. “You don't have to be at work with a psycho boss at nine a.m. tomorrow.”

“Excuse me. No more work talk,” said Emma. “Here's to being young, fun and impossibly hot.”

We clinked glasses, licked the salt and downed the tequila.

“Gahh,” I cried, as I sucked my lime dry. “That was awful. Next round is on me.”

“Let me,” said a male voice.

All three of us whirled around to look at him, praying he wouldn't be fat and old. He was young, normal-looking, and had two friends. All three of them were tall, good-looking and well
dressed. I exchanged glances with Emma and Lara and knew what they were all thinking:

“Hey, I'm Myles,” he said. “And this is Cosmo and Nick.”

Myles was staring intently at Emma. He was tall with dark hair and perfect teeth. Cosmo was dark-skinned with the most symmetrical face I had ever seen. He was grinning at Lara, who was fluttering her fake eyelashes so much I worried they would fall into her drink. Nick, the last one, was tall and skinny with curly blond hair. He was wearing an expensive-looking shirt with black jeans and suede loafers. He wasn't the type of guy I would normally go for but he was definitely attractive.

The only problem was that he wasn't looking at me. At all. He was staring at a blonde girl gyrating on the dance floor. Typical.

We each took one of the shots Myles bought and downed them. Emma and Lara separately turned around to chat to their prospective men and I was left with Nick, who still hadn't acknowledged me.

“Hey, I'm Ellie,” I said, smiling up at him.

“Hi, Nick.” He turned to look at me and then turned away again. I stared at him in surprise. That was unnecessarily rude. But, then again, he was wearing a tiny gold ring on his little finger. I couldn't really expect much more from a pretentious guy like that.

“Well, you're friendly, aren't you?” I remarked. “I didn't really want to get stuck talking to you either.”

“What?” he asked, looking up at me.

“You know, you can stay facing me,” I said. “She isn't going to disappear the second you stop staring at her. Besides it's kind of creepy how obviously you're watching her.”

The sides of his mouth turned up slightly. He was hot when he almost-smiled. It showed off his tan, hazel eyes and chiseled side-profile. I couldn't help but notice that he was seriously out of my league looks-wise. “Sorry. It's my ex. It's, uh, pretty recent.”

“Of course I get stuck with the guy looking for a rebound,” I muttered to myself.

“Did you just say what I think you did?” he asked, looking at me strangely.

Shit. I hadn't thought he'd hear me with the loud music. I shrugged my shoulders, pretending I'd meant for him to hear me. “Meh, you'll never see me again. I may as well be honest.”

He stared at me for a second, and then changed the conversation. “Hey, what if they become a thing?” he asked, gesturing behind me.

Emma was standing there snogging Myles. I couldn't see Lara because Cosmo was wrapped around her.

“Shit. That was fast,” I remarked.

“They're both pretty smooth workers,” he said.

“How do you know them?” I asked.

“Oh, we're all friends from back home. We were at uni together then decided to move over here.”

“Where's back home?”



“New Zealand,” he said, raising his eyebrows at me. “Auckland is—”

“The capital city. I know. I just didn't hear you earlier,” I retorted.

He laughed. “That would be Wellington. But Auckland is the biggest city if that's what you meant.”

I blushed. Thank God he couldn't see the red patches on my cheeks in the dark light. “It is. So, how long have you lived here? Long enough to have a long-term girlfriend I guess?”

“Well, a year, but she came over with me from NZ. We were together for a couple of years but split up about six months ago.”

“What?! Six months ago and you're not over it?” I cried.

“It's not that long,” he replied, looking miffed. “Besides, she cheated on me.”

“Well, she got cheated on yesterday and she's already pretty over it,” I said, gesturing to Emma.

“Shit,” he said. “I guess I'm a bit behind then, huh?”

“A bit? Hey, you should probably be on your next relationship by now.” I grinned.

“Is that an offer then?”

“Oh, I'm just offering you friendly advice. Why would I get involved with someone who loves his ex-girlfriend, stalks her and is rude to girls in bars?”

“Because you're very drunk?”

I clutched my drink towards me. “You do realize you sound like a bit of a pervert. Have you put anything in my beer?”

“Your Peroni is safe,” he said. “Sorry. I was trying to flirt. Didn't realize I was so out of practice.”

I grinned. He
trying to flirt with me. This was progress. Now I could snog the third least-interestingly named New Zealander while Emma and Lara got off with theirs. “So you haven't been with anyone since . . . Blondie?”

He raised his eyebrows. Crap, maybe continuing to discuss his ex wasn't the best flirting move. “Sara,” he said. “And nope . . . no one has been special enough to tempt me.”

“Until . . . ?”

“Until what?”

“Oh, nothing,” I said. “Anyway, um, what do you want to do?”

“We're in a club. I guess we should get some more drinks, or we could dance?”

Dance? Couldn't he just snog me already? “We could do, or . . . we could take a leaf out of our friends' books?”

He stared at me in surprise and then grinned. “Well, okay then.” He pulled me towards him and began kissing me. I snogged him back
happily. I couldn't believe I'd been so out of character and forward, but, honestly, I couldn't be bothered to wait around anymore. Besides, it was about time I ditched my Pollyanna complex. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Emma wink at me while Lara gestured at her mobile.

“Sorry, one sec,” I said to Nick, as I pulled out my phone. My WhatsApp was flashing.

•   •   •

Emma: I'm going home with him! Who knew my rebound would happen so quickly?!

Lara: Good for you! Tempted to go back with mine . . . but feel bit bad cz of Jez.

Emma: Fuck Jez!! Go home with your hot guy.

Lara: Maybe later!

I rolled my eyes. We'd been in the club for about half an hour and Emma was leaving. Lara was probably off any minute soon.

“You okay?” asked Nick.

“Fine,” I said. “Although it looks like my friends are bailing on me for your mates.”

“Oh yeah? Well, you know you could do the same.”

I wrinkled my eyes at him. “I don't really fancy a threesome, or a fivesome, if that's what you mean.”

“Uh, I meant you can come home with me if you want.”

Oh my God. A spontaneous one-night stand. With a hot foreign man wearing posh shoes. I stared back at him. Could I do this? Like, really go through with it? He smiled at me tentatively and a dimple appeared on his right cheek. I felt my vagina throb with lust and knew it was getting wet. My body wanted this and . . . so did I.

“Okay,” I said in a small voice. “Wait a sec.”

I tapped out a reply to the girls in our group thread. Within seconds it was vibrating with their responses.

•   •   •

Me: Maybe I'm going home with mine too.

Emma: Ahhh!!! Good for you!!!!

Lara: OMG.

Emma: How cool wd it be if they all lived together??

Me: They don't—already checked. God, can't believe having actual first ONS.

Emma: So excited for you.

Me: Stop being excited for me. This is YOUR “get over the wanker” night.

Lara: So true. Over him yet?

Emma: Not till I get under Myles . . .

Me: Ha ha. Have fun.

Lara: El, you're not leaving yet are you??

Me: Fuck no. I'm way too sober. See you at the bar, babe!

BOOK: Not That Easy
4.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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