Dirty Bad Strangers(3)

By: Jade West

“It’s about time someone gave you a few home fucking truths, Gemma Taylor!”

No prizes for guessing who that was going to be.


I made to brush her aside, but Chelsea stood firm, pouty lips pursed venomously.

“I’m not joking,” she said. “It’s about time you sorted your shit out.”

She had my attention. “My shit? What shit?”

She rolled her eyes. “I, we, thought you’d have grown out of this by now. Six months we’ve been here, six whole pissing months!”

“Grown out of what?” I folded my arms, sobriety threatening an unwanted appearance.

“This... this... desperation. This fucking around. This overcompensation thing you’ve been doing ever since we moved here!”

I looked behind her, but Tess kept her gaze on the floor, unwilling to commit either way.

“I like drinking, and dancing, and I like sex. So?”

“So, there’s more to it than that!” Chelsea said. “Overcompensation.”

“Overcompensation for what?” I laughed. “Being sober and stuck at home every evening all week? I work late nights, I let my hair down when I get a Saturday off, big deal.”

Tessa took a step forward. “We’re worried, about you,” she said. “That’s all.”

“There’s nothing to worry about,” I smiled. “Seriously. I’m all good. Peachy.”

“You act like a slut,” Chelsea groaned. “You didn’t even know his name, did you? Humped him on the dance floor in front of the whole club, practically, not caring what kind of spectacle you were making of yourself.”

“I was dancing!”

She folded her arms, scowling at me. “You think it looks good, but people are laughing at you, you know that?”

My blood ran cold. “Laughing?! Who’d even give a shit what I was doing? The dance floor was rammed.”

“This isn’t like back home,” Chelsea said. “People here are different, the place is different, so much more pressure... we get it, ok? You feel insecure and you’re acting out. We’re just looking out for you.”

“I don’t feel insecure,” I laughed. “Why should I? I just like dancing, and sex, like plenty of other people.”

“You’re pretty,” she smiled, patronisingly. “Your weight doesn’t need to be a big deal.”

“My weight?!”

“We know it must be hard, being the big girl,” Chelsea said, “but that’s no reason to act up like this, it only draws attention to yourself. So what if you aren’t thin like us? It doesn’t make you a worse person, Gemma. You’ll get a boyfriend! You don’t need to prove anything to anyone.”

“I’m not trying…” I was suddenly stone cold sober. So sober that my teeth started to chatter in the night chill. I gawped in shock. “You think I dance and have sex because I’m trying to prove I’m not too fat to get a boyfriend?!”

“Don’t you?” Chelsea challenged. “I mean you’ve always danced... but since we’ve been here you’ve been making an all-out spectacle of yourself.”

“I’ve been having fun...” I said. “Feeling free. I love dancing.”

“Yeah, well, maybe dancing doesn’t love you!” she said. “Don’t you realise what it looks like for the rest of us? Our bubbly slutty friend burning up the dance floor?”

Tears pricked, but I choked them back, knocked sideways by Chelsea’s attack but not sideways enough to cry. “That’s what I am, is it? Your bubbly slutty friend?”

Finally Tess found conviction of voice. “No, of course not.” She elbowed Chelsea aside. “We were just worried, that’s all, worried that you’re under a lot of pressure.”

“Pressure of being too fat and ugly to get laid? Is that what you think?”

“No,” Tessa sighed. “That’s not what we think.”

“That’s not what you think,” I said. “Unlike Barbie over here. Dancing has nothing to do with my weight. Sex has nothing to do with my weight. I’m not overcompensating, I’m not insecure, and I’m not jealous, I’m just having fun. I thought you knew that... I thought you were my friends...”

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