Joyce by Deirdre Moran
Peter made a big fuss of her, he fussed with everyone but this was more. He gave her a hug that seemed to last a long time with an extra squeeze at the end. She smiled. Damo had never seen a smile like it before. He’d heard about these smiles, the ones that light up the room, but he’d thought it was bull shit.
Peter offered her a smoke. “I’ve given up,” and she smiled again. Damo felt like his heart was trying to crawl up his throat. He couldn’t breathe, speak, nothing. She took a drag and slowly blew the smoke in Peter’s face. He tickled her, she laughed. Damo’s chest pounded. “I’m gonna get a drink, I’ll deal with you later Pete.”
Damo couldn’t move, he was standing beside the drinks table. She stopped beside him and produced a naggin of vodka. He watched her pour a good house party measure and splash in a bit of coke. She looked at him and tasted it. Her face scrunched up, she sucked in, “The first one never goes down too easy. I’m Joyce.”
He watched her all night. He didn’t have a choice, his eyes kept picking her out, finding her in the haze. Peter put on some music and pulled her off the couch. She’d been whispering and chatting to one of the other girls. Her hand was resting on her conspirators thigh and the girl had her arm around her. They were drunk.
Now Peter was holding her two hands and walking backwards, dragging her into the centre of the room. He kicked a chair out of their way. She was pretending to resist. They looked good together. She began to move, very close to him. They moved together. She leaned in and whispered to him. The music changed, Peter left her dancing on her own.
She didn’t care. This music suited her better, her body pulsed with the music. Every move flowed out of her. Damo stood up and started to move, his body awkward. Before he could connect with her the girl from the couch joined her and within seconds everyone was up and dancing silently to one another.
It was getting late. She’d been dancing a long time, only stopping to refill her drink and scab a smoke. And just like that she stopped, checked her phone and left. Damo panicked and followed her out. He had to say something.
She looked back at him over her shoulder, “Yeah?”
“Can I have yer number?”
He turned, walked back into the party and punched Peter, hard.