SELF DECEPTION - MULTI PERSPECTIVE by Daniel Paton

 What Happened


Nathan

I admit that I did hesitate before I left them. I did question whether it was the right thing to do. But they seemed alright. Kim looked like she knew what she doing. Yeah, she was in control. Joe was more drunk than her. Quite a lot more drunk actually. I’d seen him get through a 4-pack before we’d even left pres. She wasn’t exactly sober though either. Drinking straight from that little bottle of vodka she brought out. I couldn’t drink like that. Straight spirit makes me sick. Yeah, they were probably the drunkest people in our group. And some people do weird things after a few drinks don’t they?
It started at ours. We hosted pre-drinks. Just us lads. Then met up with the girls later. Joe was the first to get to ours actually. He seemed alright though. Only met him a few times - friend of my housemate. But he always seems chatty and sociable enough, good laugh really. One of those people that can just talk to anyone. So it didn’t seem unreasonable that she would be into him. He’d boasted about his luck with girls. And it’s true, whenever I saw him out he seemed to be dancing with a different one. Didn’t think he was much of a looker, not that I am either, but he’s got that typical scrawny beard thing going on and he’s not exactly thin. Must be his personality. 
But yeah, so we met up with everyone at Spoons. It’s a classy spoons though to be fair, converted from an old cinema. It’s massive, with red carpets and a really high ceiling; gives cheap drinking an unexpected grandeur. Seemed to be about half the uni there, it was packed. I said hi to Kim - she’s on my course, one of those people that everyone wants to be friends with. Well, probably more than friends to be honest. I think it’s the hair. It’s long and looks like shiny chocolate; I actually want eat it. And her skin is perfect, or her make-up skills are just amazing, who knows? But who cares? She’s always nice enough, asks me how I’m doing and whatever, but I wouldn’t say we’re close. Always see her out though, with her housemates, with other coursemates, or just randomers. Proper party girl, which is cool. I can’t hack it much myself. One hangover a week is enough for me.
So yeah, we were all getting on well and stuff, getting nice and tipsy, then some of us headed to Instinct. Grim little club but it’s cheap so you can’t complain. Anyway it was me, my house, then of course Joe and one of his mates I think. Then Kim and a couple of her mates. By that point they were talking a lot. The two of them led the way, chatting and getting close and stuff. Everyone was whispering about them.
Instinct was typical. Tacky-lighted, half-empty dancefloor, naff DJ chatting shit between old school tunes. Part of the appeal though, you know what you’re gonna get, so if you just embrace it, it’s all a good laugh. In there, couldn’t help but notice Kim grinding on Joe. He had his hands on her waist, pulling her closer. He was obviously loving it. I was a bit jealous, not because it was her, but just because it was someone. Yeah, it’s been a while if you know what I mean. She didn’t seem as into it as him though, that’s true enough, thinking about it. And she kept going off to the toilet with one of her girls. Whenever she did that, he would lurch towards us, ecstatic, jumping around to the music like an excited kid. 
People left one by one, or maybe in twos. Can’t remember saying goodbye to anyone. I remember having a piss and coming back out to find none of my house there, just Kim and Joe, stood at the bar. They were necking shots, I told them I was leaving, so she said she would leave too. Then it was a bit awkward because they seemed to be walking back with me, even though I was sure neither of them lived near me. 
She was quiet and he was just chatting shit. We came to my road and they were still with me, as if they expected me to invite them in, but I just wanted to sleep. She did look at me expectedly when I said goodnight, and that’s what made me hesitate before I closed my door. I could hear them talking, well, it was mainly him talking. I didn’t know if it was my place to do anything. I’d have to invite them both in wouldn’t I? Couldn’t just isolate her to talk, not with him like this. He could get rowdy too. Saw him start on a guy earlier for spilling some drink on him. So I just waited, thinking about what was best. But then I swear I heard her inviting him back to hers, so I thought that settled it. 

Joe

I had a banging headache when I woke up. The glass of water that I keep on the floor next to my bed was on it’s side; I must have kicked it over when I came back. It was a stressful couples of minutes where I didn’t want to move and make my head worse, but my mouth was painfully dry and I needed water from the bathroom. Eventually I got myself up, staggered out my room, only to get to the bathroom to find that I didn’t have my glass. I swore and trudged back to get it, my brain pounding against my skull with each step.
The water cleansed my mouth of the stale fag taste, and I was very grateful for it. But I couldn’t get back to sleep, my heart was going a bit mad, like it was trying to remind me of something. My memory is always foggy when thinking about a drunken night, but if I really thought about it I could normally remember everything. The same was true for the night just gone; I managed to piece everything together.
The night started at Jake’s house, but really got going at spoons. His housemates are a bit boring, hard work to get anything out of them, so I had to drink a lot just to cope. One of them - Nathan - is a bit suspect. Always looking, felt like he was staring at me the whole time. Feel like he either hates me or fancies me.
Sparks flew as soon as me and Kim started talking though.
Some twat threw his drink in the air and some of it went over me. When I told him to be careful, he pushed me, so I shoved him back. Luckily for him, his mates stopped him retaliating again, else I would have knocked him out.
She had been playing that whole hard-to-get game all night, a game that only people as attractive as her can afford to play. It can be difficult to play against someone doing that. You have to read between the lines; it’s as much about what they don’t say as it is about what they do. And I could tell there was a lot she wanted and a lot she wasn’t saying. So later on, when she looked in my eyes and told me she was going back to hers, I knew that she wanted me to come. 
So we walked back the way we came, down the high street, so we had basically wasted about half an hour. She was impatient, pacing ahead, keen for bed. I was stumbling about a bit, hoping that the alcohol wouldn’t affect my performance like it sometimes does.
Can’t remember much of her house. Just her going “shhhh”.
She was quite shy; I assumed that she doesn’t do this very often, which was alright, because neither do I to be honest.
When we got into her bedroom she started taking her clothes off, as if I wasn’t even there. I was excited but sort of wished she would have slowed things down a bit, let some intensity build up through foreplay.
We kissed, and moved onto the bed.
And then... Well, we shagged, of course. I won’t go into the dirty details, but it was pretty good. She was the quiet type, moaning under her breath, which is alright for me. Can’t stand over-the-top screams or dirty talk.
I couldn’t be asked to stay over, and she was being awkward anyway, so I gathered my energy again and got out of there, went back home, mission accomplished. 


Kim

If I hadn’t been drinking, if I was completely sober, there would be no doubt about what happened. But because I wasn’t sober, even I’m questioning it all. The truth is that all I really know is how it felt. Everything else: the amount we drank, how I acted, how he acted, what signals I gave off, what signals he gave off, where we were, what we said to each other; is all hazy and muddled. It’s all been filtered through that one feeling, which has tarnished it all with an edge that wouldn’t exist if I didn’t know how the night ended. If I had gone home, alone, then I wouldn’t have thought twice about the things I’m now constantly trying to examine. 
Lying in bed, I long for the alcohol-induced sickness I’m so used to, instead of this sickness which now sits inside me.
There’s no need to cross-examine the early evening - getting ready at Jodie’s, playing ‘never have I ever’ with her housemates, walking in the cold drizzle to spoons in painful new shoes - that’s all undisputable. After that, I don’t know. He turned up with Nathan and his house - didn’t expect them all to come sit with us, but I think Jodie invited them over. I didn’t mind, they’re alright, even Nathan with his judging stare. Joe started talking to me, I think he started it anyway, not me. And he seemed really nice, if a bit over-confident, but that’s better than being quiet and awkward. From his first compliment, which was something lame like “how could a girl like you be single?”, I knew he wanted me. But I didn’t mind, it’s always a bit of an ego-boost. I think I returned a little bit of flirting, maybe more than I intended. 
Maybe I led him on. That’s how it escalated, I think. I didn’t shoot him down straight away, and the more time and more drinks that passed, the more awkward it would have been to do. If I was more assertive, if I had made my mindset clearer, then there wouldn’t have been any confusion, and the whole situation could have been avoided. How was he supposed to know what I wanted if I wasn’t clear in showing it?
In Instinct, he started doing that typical ‘guy on the pull’ thing of putting a hand on my hip whilst I danced. I wished I had just slapped him then and the whole thing would have been done with. From there, the next typical move is for the guy to slowly edge around so you’re directly in front of him. If by then you haven’t physically shoved him away, then he places his other hand on your waist and pulls you into him, thus securing himself a sleezy dance. Part drunkenness, part stupid unawareness, I let this happened and carried on dancing, even when he made me cringe by thrusting into me. Several times I escaped this by going to the toilet with Jodie, who I’m sure I expressed my feelings of awkwardness too, but she was drunk as well, having a good time, and probably couldn’t be bothered to take on my negativity.
Before I knew it, everyone had left apart from Nathan. Joe was trying to kill me with shots, and it seemed like a good idea to accept all the alcohol I could get my hands on at that point. 
I don’t know why Nathan had stayed out, but I’m glad he did, even though I could tell he felt awkward. I wanted to tell him that he didn’t have to feel like a third wheel because nothing was happening with Joe, but I don’t think he would have listened. He said he wanted to go, so I grabbed hold of him and said I was leaving too. Of course, Joe followed. 
We started heading down the high street in the opposite direction of my house because I didn’t want to leave Nathan, didn’t want to be left alone with Joe, knowing that he was expecting something from me. 
But when we got to his street, Nathan went to his. I wanted him to take Joe with him, but he just didn’t get it. He just said goodnight and left us. Maybe I should have made the situation clearer to him, hugged him and whispered something in his ear.
Stood in that street, what felt like miles from home, I said “I’m going back to mine now”, I’m sure I said those exact words. I didn’t invite him to join me. I looked right at him afterwards, tried to use my eyes to say the words that my mouth couldn’t. But in his state I guess it’s not surprising that he didn’t take the hint. That was a key moment where I needed to be assertive but wasn’t. I should have just said “Sorry, but I’ve got an early start tomorrow, and I just want to get to sleep, so goodnight.” Then walked off. He would have been a bit let down, but that’s it.
But no, he came with me. And when we got to mine, I had to let him in.
I had to tell him to be quiet, I didn’t want to wake up anyone.
Then I think I hinted at him to sleep downstairs. But he followed me up the stairs, pretty sure he made a racket too.
I started getting undressed. I’m pretty sure I was telling him to sleep on the floor when he kissed me. I was shocked. He held my head and kissed me, like they do in romantic films, except this wasn’t a two-way kiss. But I accepted it, I didn’t push him away. I didn’t enjoy his eager tongue in my mouth, so why didn’t I push him away?
He pushed me back onto the bed, not exactly violently, but in a sexually controlling sort of way. I was so surprised that I didn’t say anything, I couldn’t find the words. I had seized up. I didn’t say anything when he pushed my legs apart, or when he took his jeans off, or when he got on top of me. 
But when I felt him harden between my thighs, when he then sucked his fingers to enter me, I’m sure I whispered “No.” He actively ignored, or pretended not to hear me, or maybe I didn’t really whisper that, maybe I only thought it.
From then on, I’m certain of how things went, because that’s when the feeling started, the dull sickness. My body was too tense and unready, and when his two fingers pushed inside me, it hurt. Maybe he mistook my gasps of pain for pleasure, but he worked them faster, his rough nails biting. 
I closed my eyes. Desperately trying to focus on something that might make this feel better, but it just didn’t work.
Then pulled his fingers out. I was stupid, of course, for thinking that would be the end of it. I let myself look. He was trying to get his dick inside me. “Joe.” I managed, but he wasn’t listening, he pushed back my legs and leaned over me more. I clenched my eyes and tried to prepare myself for the rough push into me, hoping at least that it would be over fairly soon. 
But nothing. He was limp. I felt it.
“Fuck” he breathed, and again, and again. He was getting angry. “Fuck sake.”
My heart jumped, my body was still tensed up, but I allowed a wave of relief. 
After jerking himself off for a bit, he gave up. He slumped off me, muttering angrily, acting embarrassed, apologising even that we didn’t have sex. He didn’t wait for responses. Didn’t even look at me. I stared up at the ceiling, head spinning from drink, stomach heavy from violation. 
He lay on the floor, I don’t know for how long. Then, eventually, got up, and left without a word, maybe assuming I had fallen asleep. 
I don’t know how long it was before I passed out. But as soon as I woke up, I was right back there, with his fingers in me, and I think I will be, until I figure out why.
The thought of going out and facing anyone at the moment makes me feel worse, but I can’t lie in this spot, where it happened, for much longer. What am I going to say? What is he going to say? 
It’s not like I can deny that he came back, I’m pretty sure the whole house would have been woken up by him blundering up the stairs.
I’ll just have to grin and bare it, act like I would if it had been a normal night, and normal getting with a guy.
What can I actually do? If there’s anything that actually needs to be done. 
This feeling will go, won’t it?
Anyway, I was drunk. Really drunk. Maybe I’ve got it all wrong, all muddled. Maybe I asked him to do what he did. Maybe the things I did and said led him to think it was what I wanted. So maybe I can’t blame him, maybe I’ve got to blame myself. After all, everyone says he’s a decent guy.
 

 

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