Meredith caught my attention as soon as she entered the room. She was wearing a shocking green, sequinned dress that was far too formal for the occasion and yet she had pulled a ragged cardigan over it and wore big, thick heeled boots that clashed entirely with the ensemble, in my opinion. Of course, Alexandra adored it and squealed in delight at how wonderful it was that she knew someone who could get away with wearing such outrageous outfits and still seem so comfortable and fashionable in them. Immediately she flitted from my side to accompany Meredith, who simply smiled demurely at me as they both glided passed; her pretty head raised proudly and her shoulders back. I caught a glimpse of her nipple through the loose neckline of the dress – no bra – and smiled back satisfyingly. I can’t be sure, but I think she may have winked at me then. It happened so quickly that I may have imagined it in retrospect, given the events that followed, but it pleases me to believe her intentions were clear from the start and that she had also felt that spark of attraction which ignited my passion for her.
We didn’t speak that night, or the time after that. It wasn’t until a month later when we both found ourselves perched precariously on Peter Vandeburgh’s wall laughing hysterically at Peter’s new comedic material that we locked eyes and Meredith finally decided to formally introduce herself. I took her delicate hand and squeezed it gently as she slipped her lithe body from the wall and onto the ground in front of me. It provided me with the height advantage but somehow she still appeared fully in control of the situation, her chin raised confidently and her sharp blue eyes unwavering in their inspection of me.
‘I’m friends with your sister, Alexandra,’ she explained, as though I might not know who my own sister was.
‘I know’ I replied.
I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She still seemed so unsuitably dressed for the occasion – a few friends congregating for a few drinks. She wore the shortest denim shorts I had ever seen and a loose fitting vest over her fluorescent pink bra. Her flaming red hair was swept, dishevelled, up on top of her head and she wore what appeared to be twenty gold necklaces of varying thickness around her long neck, gold bracelets on her arms and gold rings on her fingers. I even spied a delicate ring on her middle toe, barefoot as she was in Peter’s backyard. All in all however, despite the part of me that wondered if all that jewellery weighed heavily on her petite frame, the outfit made her very sexually attractive and I was drawn to her by the rousing in my groin, if nothing else.
‘Well?’ she asked expectantly and I realised that I had lost myself imagining the supple shape of her smooth legs wrapping themselves around me.
She smiled then, as though she had guessed at what I was thinking and was pleased by it. Her teeth were slightly crooked, but my gaze was immediately stolen by the dimples that appeared in her cheeks as she grinned. How had I not noticed them before?
‘Do you want another beer?’
I glanced down at my bottle; it was half full. I pushed myself off the wall, put the bottle to my lips and quickly gulped the contents down into my empty stomach.
‘Yes,’ I stated, when finished. ‘Let’s go get another.’ I smiled broadly and she beamed back at me. We began to walk up the yard to the kitchen, but the beer had not settled well within me and I couldn’t prevent the enormous belch that escaped. I felt mortified. Alexandra scolded me for such behaviour, arguing that no girl would ever fancy a guy who burped so crudely.
But here Meredith was in mock horror, trying vainly not to giggle as she pointed accusingly and spluttered: ‘Was that you?’
‘Aye’ I burped.
‘That’s disgusting. Do it again’
So I belched the alphabet for her and then, over two more bottles of beer, taught her to do the same. It was two in the morning before Peter discovered us, leaning against the single bed in the spare room giggling between belched conversations, and threw us out onto the streets protesting that everyone else had left half an hour ago. I walked her home, and for the life in me I can’t remember what we talked about; only that we didn’t stop until we reached her flat two miles away and that it was only as she pulled a key from the pocket of those incredibly short shorts that I realised she was still barefoot.
‘Where are your shoes?’ I gasped.
‘I didn’t wear any,’ she breathed, as though it were so natural not to.
‘But your feet…We just walked miles. Don’t they hurt?’
She smiled again, this time without the dimples I’d come to adore, but her eyes lit up all the same.
‘No, it’s fine. It’s better, I find, to be closer to the earth sometimes.’ And she gazed at me for a moment, softly blinking so that her eyelashes fluttered against her cheek, then she slipped in through the door of her flat without saying goodbye.
I remained on the doorstep for perhaps five minutes before I realised I should leave, but not before I understood that I had just fallen in love with my sister’s best friend.