As she stood at the college gates with her mates, Ed and Joseph, Alice was desperately typing her name into every search engine and website she could think of. The chances that Adam hadn’t posted the pictures of her somewhere were slim. She realised that. But at least if she saw them before anyone else, she would have the opportunity to them taken down.
“Ali?” Joseph poked.
“Sorry, what did you say?” Alice asked, still looking at her phone.
“That guy over there is checking you out,” Ed told her.
Alice looked up and around the yard briefly, spotting a guy from her Art class. “Oh, Josh? He just has a lazy eye.”
“You always do that,” Joseph complained. “You are so pretty but you never see it.”
“I have to admit, I got a twitch the first time I saw you,” Ed said.
“Eww,” Alice cried and pushed him lightly.
“What?” Ed cried. “It’s a compliment.”
“You make my dick hard isn’t a compliment, Ed,” Joseph sighed.
“Not fully hard,” Ed corrected. “It was a semi at most.”
Alice felt her head droop at this revelation. She hadn’t thought of Ed that way, specifically because he was constantly flirting with Joseph. To be honest she’d assumed they were a couple until Joseph had made it very clear he was out of Ed’s league. The dropping of this bombshell only made Ed try harder. It hadn’t occurred to her that Ed was bisexual—and it was bisexuality awareness week not long ago.
‘Oops,’ Alice scolded herself.
“What about Jerry?” Joseph asked. Once again, the conversation had turned to Alice’s love life, and her friends were desperately trying to find her a ‘non-douchebag’ for a partner. They didn’t trust her to pick for herself after the Dave fiasco.
“Oh jeez, he seems like a total simp,” Ed sneered.
“I wish someone would simp for me,” Joseph sighed longingly.
“I’d simp for you,” Ed offered, drastically changing his tune. “I’d simp for you so so hard.”
“Oh sweety,” Joseph tutted and flicked him on the forehead.
Alice couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for Ed. He was so totally infatuated with Joseph and had literally zero chance with him. It was the very definition of being placed in the friendzone. Usually, Alice hated that term—friendzone—but in this case, it fit the reality of the situation quite well.
Joseph looked over Alice’s shoulder at her phone. He had the advantage of being tall and a predisposition for nosiness.
“Why are you googling yourself?” he frowned.
“It’s funny to see what you find,” Alice said, coming up with the lie on the spot like a champion. “You should try it.”
Alice had zero intention of telling her friends what she’d done. Aside from the fact she was overwhelmingly embarrassed, there was the fact she would have to listen to their judgemental opinions and convince them not to try and beat up Adam. Although their hearts might be in the right place and they might assume they had the advantage of being older, the pair were not exactly adept fighters. A bee had landed on Ed last week and he’d run about the bench screaming for a full minute.
When Dave had torn out her heart the guys had turned super defensive and offered to beat him up. After seeing Dave and his group of rugby mates they’d re-evaluated, decided that sending him a strongly worded message over social media was the way to go.
Classes passed in a blur of worry and depression. The knot in her stomach and the cloud in her brain made it difficult to concentrate on anything other than dwelling on recent events. She was also worried about her little brother and was panicking that she made a mistake in not warning him about what she’d done. Would Adam really be nice to him? And how would Jamie even respond to that after years of bullying?
Alice’s eyes flitted to the clock for the umpteen time. In a few hours, she would find out if all the anxiety was worth it.
Alice was so tempted to message Adam to make sure he’d remembered to keep up his end of the bargain. Would he be annoyed at her? It wasn’t worth running the risk of pissing him off. Alice would just have to deal with the feelings of anxiousness for a while.
The horrible thought occurred that Adam could ignore his promise completely and just blackmail with the photographs. It made her feel sick to think about it. She couldn’t even touch her lunch.
“You need to eat, sweetie” Ed coerced her, watching her push a tomato around her plate in its seventh circuit of the lettuce track.
“Do you want half of my sandwich?” Joseph offered. It was his usual—a tomato and salad cream on wholemeal. Alice turned her face in disgust.
“I’m just feeling a bit… iffy,” Alice lied. “Time of the month.”
As the boys nodded and turned their heads away, Alice felt guilty for lying to them for the second time in one day. Saying ‘I feel ill because a guy might blackmail me with the naked pictures I sent to him last night,’ would just open her up to too many follow up questions and scrutiny.
‘I’m such a total idiot,’ Alice sighed to herself.
She stabbed at the cherry tomato, popping out its juicy, seedy mess before dropping the fork and slumping in her chair.
‘Only two more classes to go,’ Alice soothed herself. The lessons passed even quicker than the morning ones, but by the time she got home, Alice was bursting to ask Jamie how his day had been.
Pulling down the door handle, Alice was surprised to find the door was still locked. She frowned in annoyance as she searched under the plant pots for the key. Mum was always changing the location of the key for security, but all that did was make life difficult for the inhabitants.
Alice hugged herself and rubbed her arms as she turned on the lights and central heating. She curled up on the sofa with a throw, TV, Hot cup of coffee and her coursework as she waited for Jamie. The coffee didn’t help her nerves, yet she couldn’t seem to stop sipping at it, even pouring herself a second cup.
By the time she heard Jamie come through the front door, her hands were visibly shaking. She threw down her work and ran to greet her brother.
“What happened to you?” she cried, seeing his now shorter hair was also platinum blonde.
“Oh,” Jamie smiled, touching his hair gingerly. “Do you like it? Zoe Bentley did it for me after school.”
“What?” Alice cried.
Zoe Bentley was the most popular girl at Jamie’s school. Her sister, Christine Bentley, had been the queen bee of the school in Alice’s year. Zoe was dating Reece Holland who was also popular, and one of Adam’s little gang of nasties.
“Yeah,” Jamie shrugged. “It’s been a really, really weird day. Adam Hargreaves was—”
Jamie shook his head as though he didn’t know what to tell her.
“He was nice to me, and so everybody else started being nice to me.”
Alice felt her face stretching into a smile. She breathed the biggest sigh of relief.
Jamie smiled back at her. “I can’t believe I went to Zoe Bentley’s house.”
As Jamie filled her in on all the details, becoming more and more animated in his storytelling, Alice slipped out her phone and texted Adam, “Thank you.”
“No need to thank me.” He replied. “I’ll text you next week with further instructions.”
Alice had thought a lot about what Adam would ask for next. The logical conclusion was he would ask for fully naked pictures. In her head, Alice had already decided that was what he’d ask for. All that was left to do was wait for the inevitable text message.It wasn’t as if she hadn’t taken nudes before, but she had always been careful to keep any defining features and her face obscured. Maybe Adam would let her do the same. If she asked nicely. Why did he need to see her face anyway?When the text arrived and read simply, “Come to my house after school tomorrow,” Alice had to stare at it for a moment as the message sunk in.
“What!” Alice cried, looking at the recently finished art display in the main corridor.“That dirtbag didn’t use any of your pieces,” Joseph huffed.“He hates me,” Alice sighed.“He’s a major bitch,” Joseph sighed. “And that’s saying something coming from me.”Alek Jeffries, the TA in her Art class had taken an immediate dislike to Alice. He took every given opportunity to bring her down, insult her work or belittle her in fro
When Alice woke up, she felt a little better about her situation, weirdly, considering the position she was in. At least she now knew Adam was using the pictures for “personal use” and not for plastering over the internet like a bitch.While it was creepy to think about it, it was also a compliment. Her ex used to look at porn all the time and it made Alice feel like she wasn’t attractive enough. Now she was the porn. Even though she was being forced and putting herself completely at the mercy of another person, something about having him look at her that way felt almost empowering. She was almost excited about taking nude pictures. As weird as that was to admit.Looking over at her phone, Alic
Alice stared at the message from Adam for a full five minutes before sighing, “I’m going to need more than just one drink.”“Did you say something, Hun?” Joseph asked. He was dithering behind the bar, doing little cleaning jobs that never got done when the place was packed. When he wandered over, cleaning a glass with a yellow cloth, it made Alice feel like she was staring in a film. There literally hadn’t been a bartending scene in history, ever, where the bartender wasn’t polishing a glass with a dirty cloth.She considered asking for a dirty martini with two olives on a cocktail stick but ultimately went with something more familiar.
When Alice woke up her mouth felt as though she’d spent the prior evening eating mouthfuls of sand followed up with bleach chasers. As the haziness in her brain subsided the memories came flooding in, filling every corner of her mind and making her feel somewhat nauseous.‘I sucked his dick,’ she thought. The strangest thing about it was how guilty she felt. It wasn’t as if she had a boyfriend anymore, and even if she did… he was a cheating scumbag. Adam was only a year or so younger so she was fine on that front too… the age gap might seem odd now but when he was 30 and she was 31 it wouldn’t be significant enough to even class as a gap.It was the inherent seediness
Ste was just tidying away the brushes from his art lesson when they appeared. His old gang plus his replacement. Every time he saw Jamie it felt like a kick straight to his stomach.He’d offered to help clean up the classroom in a desperate attempt to avoid Adam and the others. Normally, they wouldn’t have thought to look for him here, being a bunch of underachieving delinquents, but Jamie was different. He was smart.“Aren’t you the good little boy, offering to help the teacher,” Reece commented. He picked up a piece of artwork that was drying on the side, gave it a look of contention then dropped it like it was a piece of trash. After giving his input Reece turned away from the gr
Alice was sitting in an English lesson when she received the dreaded message.“At 11am you will call me for phone sex.”‘Phone sex??!!’ Alice cried internally. ‘I can’t have phone sex! What even is phone sex?’11am was break time at Adam’s school. Alice knew this since she’d gone to the same place before deciding to give it up in favour of the local college. Her school offered the same choices, but something about going to college made her feel grown-up. Independent.
On the walk to the bus stop, Alice was still deep in thought about Alek. Was it possible the TA was attracted to her? Or was Joseph just being Joseph.She was concentrating so intensely that she failed to notice Josh trying to get her attention. Glancing up, she frowned as she found him waving his art folder at her, saying, “Hello, world to Alice.”“Sorry, Josh,” Alice said, wondering why Josh had dashed over and flagged her down. Aside from the odd hello or sporadic conversations about paintbrushes, they hadn’t really spoken before.“Hey Alice, I sent you a friend request,&rd