From the look, and feel, of things, the sweet dalliance was just about drawing to a conclusion. Ema tried not to think about what that meant, instead focusing her energy on bringing that inevitable finale on, and wondering - with what little space she had left in her mind for other thoughts - what would happen immediately next. Falling asleep in Hayley's arms seemed like a nice, logical next step. And a perfect finish to the rather nostalgic return to the beach, too.
In what seemed like no time at all, especially after how drawn out the previous few minutes had seemed, Hayley's head was lolled back in the sand, emitting an almost endless stream of sounds that only made Ema want to speed up. And she did, ignoring the dull ache that had started to become apparent in her overworked joints, finally bringing an end to the so very enjoyable distraction. No, don't think of it like that.
If she had to pick a verb to describe what happened, Ema would've gone with "flopped". Yes, that sounded about right. After squeezing her midriff tighter than was really comfortable I was probably the same, no complaining,
and slowing her breath to a progression of slow, deep gasps, Hayley flopped down on the sand, clearly exhausted and most likely satisfied. Ema didn't know what to say. What's good pillow talk when you're on Survival of the Fittest... and you don't even have a pillow?
A soft noise, barely audible, could've been mistaken for waves retreating back down the shore. The lap of waves was an awfully nice sound, too...
No, not waves, talking. Hayley, saying wow. Ema decided to take that as a compliment, when someone that gets a lot of sex "wow"s your technique, on your first time, you take it as a compliment. Now what do I say back to that?
There was of course the sitcom favourite, "You weren't so bad yourself.", but Ema wasn't that kind of person, and she'd probably ruin it by laughing or blushing, or both. There was repeating it verbatim, unimaginative, but it could work. Or there was finishing the "I..." thing the way it was supposed to be, but that was out of the question; Hayley hadn't said it, so she probably didn't feel it, she didn't seem the type to be inhibited about that sort of thing, especially when drunk. No, the L word could only make things awkward at best, ruin the entire evening at worst.
That was what? Nice? Too tame. Awesome? Too childish. Amazing? Maybe. Incredible? A bit too hyperbolic. Settle for Amazing.
It was around that point that Ema realised she was still essentially straddling the other girl, and her fingers were still inside her. Looking sheepish, she removed herself, and rolled over to lay beside Hayley. A reasonable voice in her head told her to get the towel/blanket combo that had come to replace bedding on the island, but an irrational one countered "Fuck that. Effort."
Eventually, reason won, pointing out that no good could come of falling asleep naked and unsheltered. Be it lethal exposure to the elements, or indecent exposure to other students, it wasn't a great idea. Grudgingly, she left Hayley's side, gathering both of their towels and the one big blanket. Several seconds of tired shuffling later, the duo were comfortably above the sand, under the makeshift covers, and in the warms. Ema felt she should say something, but nothing came to mind. Nothing except the L word again, that is. Saying it still seemed ill-advised. So she settled for "Goodnight." Nothing could stop her thinking it, though.
I love you, Hayley Kelly.
Against all odds, or logic, or whatever, Ema awoke before Danya started to speak. She soon realised why. There was a heavy, throbbing pain in her head. A headache? No, too egregious. It wasn't just an annoying ache, it was definitely outright pain, and for the life of her, she couldn't figure out why she'd be feeling it. We got up in the woods... Kyle got shot... Hayley shot that boy... got a gun... didn't go to the mansion..."
The memory seemed to dry up there, fading into vague blotches. There was silver, some engraved words, swimming, not much else. Urgh... why am I so warm, anyway?
Ema couldn't bring herself to open her eyes just yet, so judging by touch, she was laying on something soft-ish, and under something much softer. And next to something soft-yet-rigid, and giving off a lot of heat. More than would be reasonably trapped under what Ema had deduced was her blanket. A radiator? No, wait, didn't even go to the mansion. Would be on a bed if I did anyway.
The next thing she noticed was that her arm was numb, and seemed to be trapped underneath the mystery heat source. She couldn't take not knowing any more. Ema swatted the blanket away from her face, and opened her eyes.
That was the first thing Ema saw, morning sunlight blazing in her eyes. Not literally blazing, the light was dull, probably before seven. But to her eyes, kept safely in the dark for so many hours, it was almost painful. Ema squinted, looking downwards.
That was the next sight, eyelids notwithstanding. Her own skin, completely bare. Since when did I sleep naked? I only even took my coat off to sleep, like, once...
Hazy inklings of the reasons behind it started to appear, but Ema couldn't quite piece them together yet. Stinging taste in the throat, spluttering, her panties being flung carelessly into the sand.
Flesh was also the third thing Ema saw, but judging by the few centimetres gap between the end of her torso and the start of this other body, it wasn't her own. It wasn't nearly pale enough to be hers either. Black hair, or dark-brown. Really familiar, for a reason Ema couldn't discern. That wasn't important, though, what was important was why the brown-haired person was also naked. She pulled her arm free, and clambered free of the blanket, up to her feet. Modesty can go hang for now,
she told herself, she had to figure out just what had happened last night.
Leaning over to see the other side of the sleeping body, the face Ema saw filled in the blanks fairly quickly.
...I got drunk and fucked my ex. I don't even know if that's good or bad.
She decided not to think about it in those terms. Instead, assuming her reconstructed memory was accurate, she settled on how it felt. That is, very, very good. Unfortunately, it was all moot. It had all been a diversion from the "game" at hand. A game Ema had no intention of losing. She wasn't ready to die. She was afraid to die. So she knelt down, laying a kiss on Hayley's cheek, and then set about brushing the sand from her body before getting dressed.
"Hey kids, it's Uncle Danya! You'll be very happy indeed to hear that in a few short hours, you'll have officially have survived until the halfway mark of the game. That's provided, of course, that you aren't one of the three unlucky souls that have to die for you all to reach that point. Keep it up folks, I can't tell you how proud I am of your spirit."
Ema was sitting on the edge of the sand, staring at the sky. She hadn't checked if Hayley had woken up yet, but with all the noise of the announcement, if she hadn't, she would do soon. In spite of herself, Ema smiled at the news that she'd survived to halfway, or near enough. On day one, she'd never have dared to dream she'd last a week, to outlast 50% of her peers, many of them smarter, better motivated, fitter or better connected than she. Suck it, jocks.
The ensuing announcement didn't mean much to her. Kyle's name stood out, but otherwise, nobody else she knew had snuffed it. Not that that was even comforting any more. It just made her wonder what "Team Campbell" were up to, not killing anyone and not dying as they were. Maybe they'd hooked up with Liz. She sort of hoped so, as it left just the tiniest sliver of hope for escape.
So, the Mansion, some Cliffs, and the other Beach were danger zones now. Good thing they hadn't slept in the former after all. Thank you Liz Polanksi.
After a few moments of silence, Ema spoke up, addressing the presumably conscious Hayley, in a near-perfect mirror of what had been said the morning before.
"I'm going for a walk."
She had her gun in her inside pocket. She had her sword in her daypack, and her daypack on her shoulder. She put her hood up against the sun. She wasn't going to make the same mistake as Hayley.
[Ema Ryan --> The Youngest Was The Most Loved]