Badger – a Short Story

“Twelve. Maybe thirteen.”

I lift my head from his chest and try to steal a glance at his face, watching for some kind of tell. I was always shocking at poker. Why was my throat so tight? Why did I even care what he thought? Why was I so afraid he would judge me?

“Ah—that’s not even bad!” He replied, laughter rumbling through his chest and into mine. I liked the way my body looked pressed against his, which was something given I hated the way my body looked. “For someone as young as you,” he added in a tone that creased my brow and pulled my lips into a tight frown. How did he know exactly how to rile me up? Was I that transparent?

“I am not young! I’m only a few years younger than you!” I protested, huffing slightly and pushing my face down into his chest. He smelt of sweat, fresh sweat, which was oddly comforting. I had to shake the image of our previously entangled bodies from my mind, so as to focus on his words.

“I’m just fishing, you shouldn’t be so quick to nibble, Badger.” Badger. I hated that word since he had first explained it, as was necessary for most of his British vernacular. It means you’re keen, love. Keen for a route. Given my particular tendency to over-analyse and take my dissection of his words to heart, all I could hear was you’re desperate.

“So,” I started, nose still pressed firmly to his chest, “What’s yours?” Even though the words had already left my lips, I’m not sure that I wanted the answer. What if it was in the fifties? Or over a hundred? Would he think me some silly, little notch in his ever increasing bedpost? Was I?

“Dunno love, it’s gotta be over seventy, at least.”

I couldn’t look up. I couldn’t even move. Seventy. Seventy? Suddenly my face was burning and my throat taut. Over seventy girls had been in the same exact position I was; naked, sweaty and pulled against his chest. I wanted to push away, tear my skin from his, even if it meant toppling over the side of the bed. But I didn’t.

“I’ll be off home soon,” he continued, as if his previous statement was merely the time asked by a stranger, “So when I come back I expect your number to be in the twenties, at least.”

I nodded and pulled myself from his grip, sitting up to take a swig from the glass of water from my bedside table. I convinced myself it was to wash the taste of a night of drinking from my mouth, but in all honesty, I wanted to wash the cheap and dirty feeling his words left on my skin. “Shouldn’t be too hard,” I replied with the best attempt at a laugh I could muster. It was easier given I wasn’t facing him, so my eyes couldn’t betray me.

I was suddenly the young girl he had previously described me to be. I wasn’t the beautiful goddess I thought I was when my legs were wrapped around his waist, oceans for eyes staring down at me, drunk with desire. I was just some girl he’d taken home on a night out and decided was good for a few more shags. Like a cheap cloth fished out of a bargain bin, sown to liking then worn till it was faded and ridden with holes.

I heard his slurred chuckle before I registered the impact of the back of his hand on my ass, “Course not! Not when you’re as keen as you are, Badger!” Another girl might have let out a high pitched giggle, fallen back into his arms and pawed at him playfully, giving in when he advanced for another round. But I couldn’t even face him. Because facing him now meant accepting that this was all I was worth. Meaningless sex and banter before he returned home, half way across the planet. Instead I rose to my feet, still a little unsteady from the last of the tequila, and pulled the nearest piece of clothing I could find over my head, holding it tight to my frame as I headed for the bathroom. I couldn’t stand the thought of another second of his eyes on my naked skin.

There was no way he would ever be returning to my bed.

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