Chapter 1

Waiting half naked for Matthew to come out of the bathroom, I couldn't help but think back to my boyfriend saying the words "open relationship."

"Open relationship?"

"It means we can see other people."

"Screw other people?"

"See other people."

My jeans are too tight, my back is itching, and Matthew is taking so long I want to go in there, and get him myself. I thought girls were the ones that took forever.

"What's wrong with me?"

"Nothing's wrong with you."

"Oh, so you regularly have multiple sexual partners."

"No, I-"

"Great, that's great."

"No, I do not. Jem- I thought you'd understand."

"How you-"

"I thought you'd understand"

"Aren't I enough for you, big boy?"


"Aren't I enough?"

"No…. You're not."

This evening had started playing spin the bottle at Larry's house with a goon bag and half a packet of liquorish shoelaces. Liz was out, making it five boys, three girls. Good odds. For us, that is. Matthew had horrible luck, like he always did. Spun Simon first, they shared a red one, opposite ends like that scene in Lady and the tramp. But then Larry spun him, and then, what a dick, just went and kissed him on the mouth. It was pretty hot actually. I must have gawked because Matt saw me looking, and gave me the eyebrow, and then one hours later there I was in his beat up ford flicking radio stations.

"You want something to eat?" No, I do not. I don't eat, dickhead.


"We could Donut King it." Yuck, Matt, you spaz.


I find something ministry of sound on the radio, it's pumping, and I start dancing in my seat.

"Or like, Tacos."

They've jacked the bass, and my heart is beating to the drum thud. Matt pulls over on the side of the two-laner, watches me, laughs. I turn it right up, wake-the-neighbour-screaming-elderly-loud, and I open the doors, dragging him out of the car. He does his John Travolta imitation, and I do my Madonna one, and then we're both doing Elvis, and grinning like six year olds at a hi-5 concert. We're laughing, and joking, and romping around, and I'm on the boot doing my black eyed peas impression, when he stops. He just stops and looks at me. And I stop and look back. Stop, even though the song's almost finished and we won't find anything good again for ages.


He's got that look, that guy look, when they're thinking about falling down stairs, or the floor opening up, or something.

"I know you've got a boyfriend…"

"Going to ask me out were you?" I can tell straight away it's the wrong thing to say, and that he thinks I'm a tart, and is heading back for the driver's seat.

"I'll drive you home." His face has gone all medieval and monkish, and you tell he's imaging Joel Madden singing "keep your hands off my girl, keep your hands off my girl."

I grab his white T-shirt, watch his muscles ripple under the seams. He's a lot hotter than my boyfriend. IQ of a paratrooper though.

"Matt! Matt, Mattie." He looks at me.

"Open relationship." A pause. He laughs. I don't.

"Actually." Then he goes red.

"Oh. Oh. Oh." I get back in his car, and he pulls out, death-gripping the steering wheel, eyes on the road like he was suddenly a safe driver. Ten minutes later, we're inside his house. He's put Apple Bottom Jeans on the CD stack, chucked dirty clothes out of sight, and has disappeared into the bathroom like some odd species of hermit crab.

And I'm banging on the door, cause I'm worried his dead in there.


"Open relationship."


"It works both ways."


"You can see other people too, if you want."


"You can screw whoever you like."

The door isn't locked, so I push it open, expecting to see him comatose on the white tile, or at least concussed.

Instead, he's completely naked, and trying to pick between raspberry and strawberry flavoured condoms.




"It was unlocked."

A terrifying silence. I can hear the hair on the back of my neck straining to get the hell out, to find a less awkward universe where I was more patient, or my boyfriend not an arsehole, or Matt less naked.

And then suddenly he looks at me and says, "Well, you're tasting it. You pick."

And I lose it. I just lose it. I'm like a born again hyena, cracking windows with my laugh, breathless and crisp, echoing on the limestone. I turn around, and, still laughing, walk back into the bedroom, put on my shirt, grab my heels, and laugh my way right out of his house.

"Open relationship."

That bastard. He knew I couldn't do it.