I don’t know if I do it well, but I love writing from the male viewpoint. It’s kind of liberating. I hope this isn’t too cliched. It’s part of a book I’m writing at the moment, the first part of which is here. Wee warning, there’s a couple of f-bombs in here, so if you don’t like that kind of thing, please don’t read on…
Ryan squinted at the screen of his phone. The girl looked vaguely familiar. School? A neighbour? The daughter of one of his mum’s friends…?
The parkour group he’d joined last year, that was it. She’d been a member of that. Though she’d been…wearing a lot more clothes then.
“What’s that ye’re lookin’ at?” Snatching the phone out of his hands, Matt stared at it, a slow grin spreading across his features. Ryan rolled his eyes and stood up, trying and failing to grab the handset back.
“Smokin’ Ryan. Who’s this wee honey?” Matt smirked, enjoying watching the blush spread across Ryan’s face. Blushing was something he did a lot of, and Matt prided himself on making Ryan blush as much as he could.
“Fuck off Matt,” he said, managing at last to snatch the phone back and shoving it in his pocket so Matt couldn’t take it off him again.
“Ooh, sorry princess! So c’mon. Who is she? Friend of yours?”
“Who’s a friend of his?” Jamie had come into the room, accompanied as always by his Staffordshire bull terrier Cocoa, a gentle, affectionate dog despite her rather fearsome appearance. He’d just taken her out for a walk.
Let off the lead as Jamie entered the room, Cocoa bounded up to Ryan, jumping up so she could put her front legs on him and wag her tail furiously. She loved Ryan almost as much as Jamie.
Matt exchanged a loaded glance with him. Shall I tell him or not? He really was an annoying prick.
Ryan beat him to it. “A girl I know from parkour. She’s on Instagram.”
Matt raised his eyebrows in comedic fashion. “Aye, Jamie. This lassie he knows on Instagram. Modest wee soul. Me and Ryan here were just admirin’ her… fashion choices. Gottae say though, if that’s all she’s wearin’ in Glasgow at this time of year, she’s gonnae be awfy cold.”
Ryan glared at Matt once more, but refrained this time from telling him to fuck off. Matt was his uncle Jamie’s best friend after all, and he didn’t want to offend Jamie.
Having shrugged off his coat, Jamie looked questioningly at the two of them. “She’ll be a bit young for you is she no’?” he asked, directing the inquiry at Matt. Matt shrugged. “Doesnae look it.”
Ryan pounced. “Actually, I think she’s younger than me. Fifteen, might even be only 14.”
Matt looked only momentarily taken aback. Ryan suspected that he hadn’t been overly bothered over the years about the age of consent. Just before Christmas, Jamie had told him, Matt enjoyed a dalliance with a 17-year-old. He was more than twice her age.
“You baby-snatching pervert,” Jamie said, picking up the remote and pointing it in the direction of the television. “I don’t s’pose either of youse sorted out some food while I was oot?”
In a show-off feat of athleticism, Matt vaulted over the back of the sofa and into its comfortable depths. Maybe he’d been inspired by Ryan’s talk of parkour. He laid out full length on the sofa, his head on one arm and his feet propped up on the other and, inserting a hand between his tee shirt and his tracksuit bottoms, idly scratched his balls. As usual, he had managed to nab the best seat in the room, leaving Jamie and Ryan to battle it out over the armchair and the pouf.
“You don’t s’pose right, Jamie boy. But I got the beers in.” Matt pointed a thumb in the direction of the kitchen. “And I stuck some in the freezer to get them extra cold. Ryan here will bring them in, along wi’ a bit of food while we watch the pre-match build-up.”
“Why do I have to…” Ryan trailed off. It didn’t look as if Jamie was on his side.
“Because a) you’re the youngest, and b) you wanted to come here tae watch the fitba,” his uncle told him firmly. “So ye have to wait on your olders and betters, there’s a good lad.”
With a muttered “youse are NOT my betters”, Ryan took himself through to the kitchen of Jamie’s flat. His uncle lived in Partick in one of the old tenement flats, huge-roomed apartments that were very much sought after these days. Jamie had bought his flat a number of years ago and he’d put a lot of effort into it. He’d stripped out all the carpets and sanded the floorboards, plastered over the ceilings and walls, and decorated the whole place in a way that said tastefully masculine – white walls, posters of bands and lots of dark wood furniture. There were a few discreetly-positioned photos of Cocoa that Matt ripped the piss out of him about.
It was only one-bedroom so when Ryan stayed with him, he had to sleep in the living room, but he loved going to the flat and always had. Having grown up without a father – that worthless shit had scarpered not long after he was born – he supposed Jamie was his substitute dad. But a lot more laid back probably. Apart from making him run around after him and Matt, Jamie was generous and kind. That he came with the added appendage of Matt was a small price to pay.
In the kitchen, Ryan took three beers out of the freezer. That was another good thing about Jamie. He let him drink. Just to be on the safe side though – sometimes he got a bit antsy about it – Ryan poured himself a vodka from the bottle on the counter, mixed it with some coke and drank it down quickly.
Suitably fortified, he checked the fridge for football-type snacks. Noticing some carrots, he sniggered, and took the bag out. He cut them into neat strips and placed them in a bowl.
Taking them through to the living room where the pre-match build up was in full flow, he dumped the bowl on Matt’s chest.
“Here ye go Matt. I didnae know if ye were still on that bodybuilder diet or not so I thought I’d better play it safe.”
“Aye, very funny. Thinks he’s a comedian doesn’t he?” The latter remark was addressed at Jamie. “Leave the jokes to the professionals Junior.” He sat up slightly and pressed the bowl back in Ryan’s hands. “Now go and get us the real food.”
Still sniggering to himself, Ryan headed back to the kitchen. There was a packet of chicken wings in the fridge that only needed heating up in the oven. He tipped the load out onto a roasting tin, and then decided one was not enough. He added the second packet to the tin and shoved them in the oven. He’d once been at the flat when Matt and Jamie had embarked on a drunken discussion about the amazingness of chicken wings, and whether the ones you got from the supermarket could ever match those from KFC or Wetherspoon’s. Conclusion? No. The discussion had lasted roughly 15 minutes.
While he waited for them to heat up, taking out packets of crisps and tidily putting them into bowls as he did so, he took out his phone and returned to Instagram. He kind of liked that girl though he couldn’t remember her name at all. It was a weird name – not a usual girl’s name anyway. No point taking a fancy to her now, though. She’d have hunners of guys after her, once they’d seen those pictures. He didn’t stand a chance.
He hit the ‘like’ button anyway. No harm in her knowing he liked her pictures, even if she didn’t remember him.
Pingback: Party Prep, by Russell Conover | Friday Flash Fiction