Going to Christina's house for a girls night in because her parents were in Lanzarote was in retrospect, a bad idea. Not because Lockwood has passed out in the bath, or that Linda had left halfway through to have a kickabout with some lads in the street, or that she was pretty sure Aisha had spent most of the night being Karen's increasingly annoyed cushion before giving up and walking home, but because of one very simple reason.
Michelle Dakin had been drinking, and now wanted to steal a car.
"Michelle, I swear to Christ-"
" There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. "
"Please don't apply the logic of Prince Hamlet of Denmark to this situation."
"Scrippsy, darling, it's kind of a necessity."
"Stealing Christina's car because you don't want to walk in the rain is not a necessity , Dakin."
Dakin glared at Scripps from across Crowther's exceptionally uncomfortable couch as the rain thrashed against the window. "Donna, it's practically pissing it down out there."
Scripps sighed into her tea. "I'm not enabling you to commit auto theft."
"You're not enabling me. You're justifying me."
Feeling a Dakin-induced headache coming on, Scripps squeezed her eyes closed. "Explain."
Dakin smirked and sipped from her coffee mug. "I am going to steal Crowther's car from the garage whether you like it or not."
"However- if I have you with me, I can also drop you and Jodie off at home- and Tina can't sulk at all three of us at the same time."
Scripps considered. Crowther being in another month-long feud with Dakin would be an absolute pain in the arse. And making sure that neither she nor Lockwood caught hypothermia from walking home four miles in the rain was technically a good deed.
She leaned back into the sofa, resigned. "I hate you, Michelle Dakin."
"Love you too, Donna. Now come help me drag poor Jodie out of Tina's bath."
"On one condition."
Dakin was already halfway out of the door with Crowther's car keys in her hand but turned back to bat her eyelashes in a failed attempt at gaining leniency. "And what would that be, Scrippsy?"
"We take Esther home too."
Dakin groaned and sunk to her knees in a parody of dramatism, clinging to the doorframe of the living room. "Don't do this to me, Donna."
Scripps rolled her eyes. She tended to do that a lot when Dakin was around. "Me and Esther live on the same street, Dakin. The three of us get the same bloody bus five times a week."
Dakin pouted on the floor. "Only if she doesn't sit in the front with me."
"Dakin, you're drunk and you can't drive when you're sober."
"Very true. I'm driving."
Michelle flung her hair off her shoulders. "Fine. But I have my condition."
"You're the one who wants to steal a car in the first place- you're not exactly in a negotiating position if I change my mind."
Dakin drunkenly crawled across the floor on her hands and knees, in what she probably thought was sexy but more resembled a limping caterpillar until she was right in front of Scripps' legs. Steadily she began to run her hands up Scripps's thighs, playing with the hem of her skirt. Donna felt her legs tighten together automatically at the contact, and looked down at Dakin, panicked, and Michelle giggled and put her head in Scripps's lap, looking up coquettishly with a smirk.
"Say something after you drop me off when you're driving home, Scrippsy."
Scripps felt herself go into a minor cardiac arrest. "I don't have anything to say."
Dakin giggled, burying her head in Scripps's knees, who's only terrified response was to clench them even tighter together. "Are you joking, Donna?" She snorted, and began the slow process of sliding herself up into Scripps's lap, pressing them together, and sharing sultry whispers.
"I've seen the way you look at girls. Not just me. Jodie. Aisha, a bit. Linda, when we're getting changed. But Posner the most. Posner especially. You two are much more alike-" Scripps felt Dakin's cool hand reach back down to her leg as she continued- "in ways you don't let on."
Suddenly Dakin's hand began to move up Scripps's leg again, but this time it went further, not stopping at the edge of the skirt but a cold smooth hand dipping underneath and moving tenderly to the sensitive skin of Scripps's inner thigh. Scripps was frozen, not even in fear, but in a multitude of conflicted feelings, all screaming, especially the not-insignificant portion of her that was howling at Dakin to just keep going. But instead, Dakin kept her hand still, but slowly left teasing caresses on Scripps's leg with her thumb as she leaned in closer, right next to her ear.
"I don't let on either, Scrippsy. Your secret's safe with me."
Then she withdrew her hand and sauntered off, hips swishing behind her as is the whole thing had never happened. Scripps stayed paralyzed, rooted into Crowther's armchair, trying to process a metric fuck-tonne of information at once.
Point one: Had Dakin just admitted that she was gay? Probably? That one would take a while- Dakin didn't exactly fit the bill. Posner fit the bill. Maybe Dakin was just drunk-talking but in vino veritas and all that.
Point two: Dakin had somehow come to the conclusion that Scripps was gay, which was ridiculous. Just because Scripps didn't have boyfriends and tried to fill that hole in her life with God and celibacy and scrawled down Virginia Woolf, And sometimes caught herself staring at other girls. And wondering what it would be like to kiss them and touch them. And what it would feel like if they did the same back until she couldn't take it. And just because she hadn't actually minded Dakin being sat on her and would have been happy to let Dakin carry on and even reciprocate a little if they were somewhere more private-
Okay, Donna was pretty fucking gay. How Dakin had come to this conclusion after Donna only realising and accepting it a month ago Scripps had no idea but was already pretty convinced Dakin was a she-demon already.
Point three: Shit. Dakin knew.
Scripps wasn't particularly bothered about Dakin knowing she was gay. Michelle knew Posner was gay as a daisy, and now Michelle was too, apparently. Donna could deal with that; what was going to be an actual pain in the arse was that Dakin was going to be absolutely relentless about getting Scripps to sleep with Esther.
One of the fundamental problems with Michelle Dakin, underneath the narcissism, massive insecurity and the hypersexuality was that she generally meant well. Sure, she was always a manipulative bitch about it, but she did. And quite frankly, she was far too utilitarian. Scripps could see that, in Dakin's strange mind, there were two problems- Posner, just in general, being a Byronic Romantic and a pining ingenue for Dakin's affection, and Scripps, who had wrapped herself in God to put off her own inevitable revelation of her innate queerness.
And as far as Scripps could tell, Dakin was just trying to kill two proverbial birds with one proverbial gigantic boulder launched by the proverbial catapult piloted by the unfortunately not proverbial Michelle Dakin.
It wasn't like Scripps was actually concerned or anything, it's just if Esther potentially did maybe take her hair out of her plaits and sit really close to her and lean in a bit and maybe put her head on Scripps's shoulder-
Well, Donna's resolve was weaker than a jelly girder. And Dakin knew it. Especially when it came to Posner. Whom Scripps may have been describing to Dakin in lieu of hy[otheticalperfect boyfriends for the last year.
Scripps just sat there, stuck in Tina's armchair with a fundamental brain-processing error. There was a metallic jangle from the hall- Dakin must have picked up Crowther's car keys. Donna shot up like a rocket after Michelle, making a painstaking effort to delete the last few minutes from her memory for plausible deniability, running after Dakin while shouting for Posner.