It is a short ride back to campus for the girls, the two boys that they know only because Hanna knows them, so actually don’t know them at all. Lindsey is talking with the taller of the two, figuring out where it is exactly she needs to drop them off, these boys.
Angelina says, “Are you sure you’re okay to drive? Because I can call Kyle.” Kyle, her boyfriend in Providence, over an hour away, so the girls know that this is an unrealistic offer, one that if they were to take, would result it nothing except Angelina’s frustration, some tears, maybe, when he told her no.
Lindsey says, “I smoked half a joint two hours ago. Get in the car.”
And everyone does. Lindsey behind the wheel, Angelina her co-pilot, and the two boys and Marianne in the back of the old Volvo, shivering on the frozen leather seats.
Marianne presses a cheek to the cold glass of the window, says, “Don’t turn the heat up for just a little while.”
Angelina lets out an audible shiver, rubbing her hands and letting her teeth click together, like the wind-up teeth you can buy at joke stores. “You’re fucking kidding,” she says.
“For just a little bit,” and Marianne closes her eyes, feeling her face start to numb, the right side, her cheek and temple.
With her eyes closed, she can focus on the taste of Julia that’s left in her mouth, the taste and feel of Julia’s tongue working with and against hes. Julia’s saliva mixed well and thoroughly with her own, the taste deep in her mouth, and Marianne wishes for this taste to be permanent. She can feel Julia’s hands on her breasts, and at the thought of this her nipples again harden in response. She reaches inside her jacket, pressing one between her thumb and forefinger like Julia had, but does not receive the thrill, the same jolt that Julia gave, one that started at the nipple and ran straight down to her cunt.
Marianne opens her eyes when she feels the car brake hard. There are blue lights up ahead to the right, a police car behind a red minivan, signaling for it to pull over.
Angelina says, “Okay, you’re overcompensating.”
Lindsey, “I’m not. Just let me drive.”
Marianne leans forward to rest her chin on the shoulder of Angelina’s seat, taking in the rich smell of her roommate, her shampoo and perfume that comes in a bottle shaped like a trapezoid. She says, “You’re doing 65. No need for brakes.”
Lindsey: “Just let me do this.”
Angelina turns to Marianne, moves to press her nose, her head against Marianne’s. She says, “You got blue-balled. Like, big time.”
And Lindsey laughs, scratches the back of her head, checks the rearview, and then her side.
“I want to punch a wall,” Marianne says. “A thick, concrete one. Just let it shatter my knuckles, all the bones in my hand.”
“Come on,” Angelina says. “I’ll sleep with my back turned tonight. Do whatever you need to do to yourself, I won’t look.”
“It’s past that, I think. I need a different type of release. Something with greater impact.”
Angelina says, “I’ll listen, though.”
“You had a nice handful of her. What’d she say to you?” This from Lindsey who, Marianne thinks, is paying more attention to the mirrors around her than at what’s actually in front.
Angelina says, “Between the lines. Color between the lines.”
Lindsey: “I know.”
“She didn’t say anything,” and then she looks at the boys, who are quiet. The shorter one is sleeping against the taller, his head nestled against his neck. The taller boy is watching the traffic pass on the other side of the highway, but turns to Marianne when he feels her gaze. He smiles, and Marianne faces front. “She didn’t need to.”
“She’s hot,” Angelina says, crosses her legs. “Hot.”
“She is. How old is she? Oona’s age?” Lindsey says.
“Thirty-something. I forget. Early thirties.”
“Sexual peak,” Angelina again.
“That’s right,” Lindsey says and puts on her directional to take the next exit into Boston. “Oh, but stop. Julia and sexual peak, those two things together, are making me insanely distracted.”
Marianne says, “I wanted to beat the shit out of her when she left me there. To make her face bleed, her mouth and nose. Like from her accident.”
Lindsey says, “Nice,” but doesn’t mean it.
“Seriously, chill,” Angelina says, “You’re just so fucking weird sometimes.”
* * *
On Saturday morning I receive an email from Marianne. It reads, “I should have left my mark on your neck and chest, ugly pink ones that I’d touch gently with my tongue the next time I see you, just to warn your skin of what’s still to come.”
* * *
I call Oona about this email. I call Oona and I ask, “Does Hanna write this shit to you?”
Oona, who is hungover and groggy from not enough sleep, it being 9:00 a.m., says, “No.”
“I don’t know what to write back.”
“Don’t write back. She’ll think you’re blowing her off, and then imagine what you’ll get if she thinks that.”
Oona is silent, and I focus again on the words in Marianne’s email.
Oona says, “Or you can write, ‘The next time you see me, your body will be wrapped around my fist, and then we’ll see who’s warning who.’”
“Hm,” I say. “Too scary.”
“Oh, please,” she scoffs. But then she starts to laugh, quietly at first, as if she were trying to conceal it, and I envisioned Hanna on her hands and knees licking the tangy spots between Oona’s toes, licking and sucking at the nails of her tiny ones.
In my ear, her laughter grows louder, and then Oona says, “Oh, you should have seen you two, though.” She says, “You should have seen you.”