So, my first day there. No, not at school. Not even at college. Like I should be right now. I was at community service. At the start of my two hundred meaningless hours, anyway. I stood in front of the door, debating on whether to go in or turn around and leg it. Turned out I didn’t really have a choice. A hand came down on my shoulder, turning me around to face him.
I’d never seen him before but somehow, he looked familiar. Dark curly hair, light green eyes and a grin that made me want to slap him.
“What?” I demanded, brushing his hand off me, “What do you want?”
He was Irish, of course. They always are, “In a good mood this morning, I see. Who are you?”
“I’m on community service. That’s all you need to know.”
“I can’t imagine what someone like you did to end up here.”
I eyed him up and down, taking a step back towards the door, “Looks can be deceiving.”
Opening the door, I walked inside, not bothering to look behind me. I could still hear him calling after me as I turned the corner into the locker rooms. I pushed the door open and was greeted with four pairs of unknowing eyes staring at me. There were two guys and two girls. The only thing they all had in common was the fluorescent orange jump-suits they had on. The two girls were different, to say the least. One had her dark hair scraped right back into a tight ponytail, with grey eyes that wanted answers. The other was applying lipstick and had a mirror positioned in the palm of her hand. She glanced at me briefly, her light brown irises drifting back to her reflection once she was done. I recognised one of the guys instantly from when he came to our sixth-form a few years ago. I remembered him telling us he was an Olympic hopeful, which also went to show for his athletic build. I just couldn’t place his name. The other guy, I was certain I’d never met before. He was quite short, with piercing blue eyes and dark hair.
“Meet our newest recruit.” It was his voice from before, at the entrance.
All of them looked up briefly, before returning to their daily lives of being on community service. It would be my daily life now too. Not that anyone knew. Not my parents. Not any of my friends. They all think I started at college a few weeks ago. Yeah, I wish.
“So, what is your name?”
“Nice try. What’s yours?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Nathan. This is the rest of the gang, Kelly-” He gestured to the girl by her locker, doing up the zip on her jumpsuit, “That’s Curtis-” This was the Olympic hopeful he was introducing to me now, “This is Alisha-” Cue the girl with the mirror looking at me with a faint smile, “And this is Weird Kid. Weird is his first name and Kid- I don’t know- maybe that’s some kind of middle name...”
“Who are you?” I cut in, “Your name can’t really be ‘Weird Kid’. No one’s parents are that cruel.”
I nodded in response, “So, where do I get one of them orange jumpsuits?”
“There were some left in the office,” Simon informed, “I can take you there if you-”
“Hang on right there, virgin,” Nathan interrupted, “This is not the time to want to get one in with her. Get in line.”
“You know, it’s so weird that you think I can’t hear you.”
“Shit. Well then, let’s go.”
“Alright,” I muttered, unsure of what I was getting myself into, “But I swear to Christ, if you make any stupid comments about fucking me...”
“Who said anything like that?” He raised his hands in a term of surrender, “Maybe I don’t even want to go there. Maybe I just want us to be friends. Did you think about that?”
A smirk played on his lips, “’Course I didn’t.”
“Pervert,” I breathed, knocking on the door to the office.
The door opened a minute later with a man appearing in the doorway. He had greasy dark hair combed back from his hairline, narrowed brown eyes and a look that could easily kill.
“And who the hell are you?” he spat.
“I’m here for my community service,” I explained, “Two hundred hours of it, actually.”
“Oh right, the new kid.” He threw an orange jumpsuit at me, “Get changed and be out painting the benches in ten minutes.”
We walked back to the locker rooms, trying to delay the inevitable.
“So, what did you do? You know, to get community service.”
He licked his lips, smiling, “I was just done for eating some pick ‘n’ mix.”
“Bullshit,” I rolled my eyes, “There has to be more to it than that.”
“There might be,” he shrugged, “I could tell you sometime.”
“Why not now?”
“We’re on community service. And me and you? We’re total strangers. You could turn out to be this lunatic I told my entire life story to.”
“I’m not asking for your life story. I just wanted to know why someone would get community service for eating a packet of sweets.”
He gave me an all-knowing look, “Life can be a cruel mistress.”
“Especially when it comes to you,” I smiled, pushing the door open to the locker room.
I took off my t-shirt and threw it into the locker, pulling on the jumpsuit over my legs. It clung to me immediately, not wanting to reach up to my shoulders. After several minutes of tugging on the fabric, I was beginning to give up hope.
Nathan had been leaning against the doorframe and now, he pushed himself to his feet and walked over. He took the jumpsuit from me and started to fiddle about with it near my feet.
“Look, it’s fine,” I insisted, “I can manage.”
“Not sure you can,” he pulled a face, “It was caught under your shoe.”
He pulled the orange piece of clothing over my legs and over my shoulders. His fingers lightly brushed against my stomach as he did the zip up, which sent shivers through me. He pulled my black hair out, letting it fall around my shoulders in loose curls, and gave a tug on the zip of the jumpsuit.
I was pulled closer to him and couldn’t find it in myself to push him away.
“Just so you know,” he grinned, “I’d definitely fuck you.”
“Keep dreaming, lover boy,” I whispered, going past him to start on community service.
The benches the probation officer was on about, I realised, were outside the community centre. There were four of them overlooking the river and the houses on the far side of it. The four of them were out there already- Simon, Alisha, Kelly and Curtis. Curtis and Alisha took on a bench each while Simon and Kelly shared the work of painting one between them. I picked up the vat of white paint and carried it over to the desolate bench. I started to paint the first layer on the bench when Nathan appeared a few feet away from me. He took a brush and started coating the surface with a layer of paint.
“So, are you going to tell me why you want to fuck me?” I looked up at him, squinting in the direct sunlight.
“I thought it was obvious.”
“Not sure about that,” I shook my head, “You might need to actually give me a reason.”
“Maybe. I could tell you sometime.”
“Shit, not this again. Just tell me, Nathan.”
He reached out an arm and streaked the paint across my cheek, “Say yes.”
“To what?” I asked, slapping his hand away.
“A drink with me.”
I thought about it for a second, putting the brush down. My thumb had a smear of white paint on it. I moved closer to him and ran the paint across his bottom lip.
“I’ll think about it. But it will be as mates, yeah?”
“Yeah, yeah. I’m into the whole ‘friends with benefits’ thing. No need to go anywhere beyond that.”
“I’m sure there isn’t,” I started to paint again, glancing at him briefly, “But it’s not what I meant. I’ll have a drink with you but don’t think that means I want to shag you.”
“Really?” he checked, “You sure? I won’t always be this young and good-looking, you know.”
“I’ll have to find you when you’re old and wrinkly then. Probably on your death bed, so it can be kind of a pity fuck. Will that do it for you?”
“Yeah, that’s fine. Just make sure you find me, yeah?”
I chuckled to myself, “I will. But what if your wife’s already there? With your kids all grown-up and standing by, while your grandkids run around you?”
“I can give myself a bit of leeway.” He looked at me, his light irises holding miles of depth, “What if you’re married, though? Still going to want to fuck me when I’m on my death bed?”
“You’re different, Nathan,” I shrugged, “I’ll just have to make an exception for you.”
“You know this is a legally-binding fuck pact, right? I’m going to hold you to it.”
Looking around at the others, I noticed Curtis and Kelly had almost finished painting their bench and were now mock sword-fighting, using the brushes for weapons. Simon and Alisha kept on with it- well, at least Simon did. Alisha was lying back on the bench, which had barely even been painted in the past few minutes. She had her sunglasses on and her eyes closed, with earphones trailing inside her orange jumpsuit.
“You seriously think when you’re going to die, that you’ll remember a pact we made years ago? It won’t mean anything to you then. You’ll have a family- wife and kids.”
“I could die tomorrow,” he pointed out, cocking his head to one side, “And then, you’d be living with the regret of not shagging me when you had the chance to.”
“Yeah, that along with the guilt of breaking our pact.” My voice was laced with sarcasm, but he didn’t pick up on it.
He let out a chuckle, “I just realised that me and you- we- made a fuck pact already and I don’t even know your name.”