The Girl With Pink Hair

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Elena looked away from the laptop and sighed. The piece she was working on just wasn’t coming together. Next door, Adonye was banging Michelle again. Elena now fully comprehended the meaning of the word because that was the sound of their headboard as it tried to force its way into her room. In a minute or two there would be an unearthly shriek as Michelle climaxed, then it would go quiet for a bit, and about half an hour after that they’d be at it again.

Elena rubbed the bridge of her nose with thumb and forefinger. This was the life of a graduate student, not enough money to afford decent digs, house sharing with a couple of bonkasaurus’s, or should that be bonkasaurii? She sighed again, Adonye was nice enough but seemed unaware of other people’s need for peace and quiet, bizarre as that might be for the big Nigerian to comprehend. When his friends came round it was bedlam, the music up loud, the smell of dope making its way into every corner of the house. At those times Elena fled for the comfort of the library.

Not the library today, the weather was fine, maybe go for a walk in the park, take a complete break from the work. Allow her subconscious to do a bit of the heavy lifting. She grabbed a muslin blouse to keep the sun off her shoulders. Her skin was pale and burned quite easily but if given half a chance could go a rich honey colour. Her hair got some nice highlights too.

The little white headphones lay on the desk, next to her phone. This was her other technique for blocking out distractions, but she wasn’t in the mood for music. The headphones stayed on the desk, and she headed out into the bright afternoon.

As she made her way down the busy main thoroughfare in the centre of town, she noticed a young woman maybe ten yards ahead of her. Elena caught glimpses of her from time to time. She had a slim but nicely curvy figure and her rear swayed most enticingly. She had a floppy sunhat on, and it was easy to pick out in the crowd.

They were walking at the same pace and she neither came nearer nor pulled ahead. After ten minutes or so the people started to thin out as they approached the river. Without warning the woman looked over her shoulder at Elena. In the shadow of the brim her eyes were big and dark and intense. Elena came to an abrupt standstill and blushed as if she’d been caught at something illicit.

The other held her stare for a fraction of a second and then the ghost of a smile curved her lips and she walked away down a side street.

Suddenly released, Elena almost staggered but collected herself just in time for a cyclist to swear at her as he brushed past, too close and too fast. In this heavily pedestrianised city, such things were an occupational hazard.

“You can fuck off and all!” Elena shouted at his retreating form.

She scowled and turned to walk down the river path. Nabbing an ice cream from the seller beside the boat hire kiosk, she meandered on to the green. By some rare chance there was a free park bench in the shade of the tall elm trees that lined the park: survivors of the Dutch Elm Disease that had torn through the country half a century ago.

The tourists made fools of themselves on boats while ducks and geese prowled the riverbank on the lookout for scraps. They’d already assessed Elena’s potential with beady eyes and found her wanting.

Her gaze drifted left and there, walking towards her on the footpath, was Floppy Hat Girl. Her head was down so that broad brim covered her face, but there was no mistaking either the hat or the entrancing sway of her hips.

‘Look up’ Elena silently urged, and then as she drew close, the brim lifted.

Afterwards, Elena could not say what she looked like as she had been transfixed by the woman’s eyes. They locked on to her for, at most half a second, as she did not pause, or slow down in any way, and then she was gone again.

Elena sat in a daze.

“Do you mind if I sit here?”

She looked up to find a man smiling at her. He was good looking too, shaggy blonde hair, blue eyes and a mouthful of even white teeth. He too sported a hat, a ridiculous pork pie affair that perched unsteadily on top of his head. Elena smiled back and waved her hand at the other end of the seat.

“Be my guest.”

Her lips pursed as he chattered about how he was taking the summer off to bum around England before maybe heading to Italy. He spoke fluent Italian, naturalmente. He was also called Joe, or Joey to his mates, had studied fine arts – yada, yada, yada.

Elena allowed it to wash over her without really taking it in or even bothering to reply. Young men were wearyingly fond of talking about themselves.

She interrupted yet another anecdote. “Do you want to get a drink?”

He was startled, first at being interrupted, and second because he was still working up to the drink question.

“Uh, yeah! Where do you want to go?” he said brightly, after he recovered.

“There’s a good kaynarca escort riverside pub about five minutes’ walk downstream.”

Joey peered at the water to see which way it was going.

During the short walk she discovered that his family lived in Chelmsford, his father ran an estate agent firm and drove a high end Jag. His sister was studying chemistry at Manchester and his mates, oh, his mates! Crazy, crazy guys!

She wondered if he shut up during sex and whether she wanted to find out.

The pub was overflowing so she sat on the riverbank and waited for Joey to fetch the drinks.

“What’s your name?” he asked, handing her a glass of white wine.

“Elena,” she answered shortly.

“What do you do?”

“I’m a post grad.”

“Awesome! What are you studying?”

He was all bright interest and Elena found herself warming to him.


“Whoa!” His eyebrows rose. “Smart girl!”

He was puppyish in his enthusiasm and would be easily wounded with a harsh word. She decided to be gentle.

“There aren’t many women in the field, that’s true,” she smiled, and he relaxed visibly.


Back at her room, he was a different animal. She was expecting ‘wam-bam, thank you ma’am’ — and that would have been okay — but instead, he took his time, kissing down the line of her neck to her shoulder as her blouse slipped off.

Joey, wait, Joe, he would be, if this carried on, caressed her sides with his hands as he gently bit the back of her neck. He didn’t know it, but he’d pressed one of Elena’s major buttons, and she arched into him, pushing her arse into his groin. His hands slipped to her hips, and he took hold of them and steered them from side to side. She could feel his erection rubbing against the curve of her buttocks.

She unclipped her bra and shook it off. Twining his fingers in her own, she brought them up to cradle her breasts. He fondled her nipples and brought them to stiff points. Turning her round, he bent and took one in his mouth, nibbling and delicately nipping, and then swirling his tongue round her areolae.

Elena pushed a hand through his thick hair, feeling the rising tide of need, and urged him lower. He got the message and sank to his knees, running his hands up her bare legs to her thighs. She took a step back and sat on the edge of the bed. He scuttled after her on his knees, and she giggled.

“Come to mama!”

He grinned at her and reached to remove her knickers.

Elena leaned back on her elbows and opened her legs wide in invitation.

“Oh yes!” murmured Joe, and with a pleasing lack of subtlety, set to work, licking her sensitive flesh.

He looked up at her with his blue eyes as he sucked and nibbled her clit. She groaned and put a hand on the back of his head. She could feel her climax starting to gather and then he slid a finger inside her and stroked that sensitive spot.

Elena came hard, jerking and shuddering, and he continued to work at her. Another climax followed swiftly on the heels of the first and she shrieked, her feet drumming on his back as she crushed his head between her thighs and arched off the bed.

After she relaxed, he sat back on his heels, his face sticky and smug.

“Not bad, Joe,” she murmured, her arm over her face, “I hope you’re as good with your cock as you are with your tongue.”

He was not hugely endowed but he had good staying power, holding out until she brought herself off once again with her fingers, her climax precipitating his own.

Joe collapsed on to the bed beside her and was asleep within moments. She smiled and lay back, staring at the ceiling and full of delicious post-coital emptiness.


Later, she went to the communal kitchen to get a drink and found Adonye stirring something in a pan on the cooker.

“Got yourself some action!” he crowed as he saw her. “Mebbe you now not be such an uptight bitch!”

Elena stared at him disbelief as he sauntered over, chuckling, and cuffed her on the shoulder.

“Get your fucking hands off me!” she hissed, and he recoiled, hands raised, from the naked fury in her face.

“Easy! Easy!”

Elena carried on staring at him as he retreated to the cooker and turned away. She grabbed a cold can from the fridge and slammed the door. On the point of leaving, she changed her mind and went to stand behind him, biting the words out.

“Mind. Your. Own. Fucking. Business. Adonye.”

His shoulders hunched a little, but he didn’t respond, except to mutter, “Uptight bitch,” as she left the room.

Trotting up the stairs, she felt off balance. She hadn’t ramped up to her anger, it had been like a switch inside her, unleashing instant white-hot rage. The violence of the moment made her wonder, if she’d had a knife, might she have stuck it in him?

When she got back to her room, Joe was gone. There was a note on the bedside table.

‘That was fun. Maybe we’ll run into each other again sometime.’ It was signed simply ‘J’

She orhanlı escort sat on the bed feeling vaguely used. Adonye, Joe, two sides of the same coin. No depth.




She and Adonye avoided each other, and Michelle gave her poisonous looks. She found more excuses either to stay in her room or to go out. She ought to look for new accommodation, but rooms were like hen’s teeth in this university town, and that was all she could afford. On top of that they were either nice but expensive or cheap and shabby.

The Joe episode made her depressed. Not that she didn’t enjoy casual sex, nothing wrong with the odd tumble but she was aware she wanted something deeper – and not with someone with an agenda.

André was the last one to match that need but he was now gone to Canada to follow his career. She couldn’t blame him, she’d probably have to move several times, maybe abroad and back, in the next ten years to find a position, and she couldn’t see any potential partner putting up with that.

And then there were the Adonyes of this world. Part of it came from being an only child she noted gloomily. Not used to keeping her feet in the hurly burly of her peers. Now she felt oddly guilty about the kitchen episode. There should have been a better way to manage that.

Sighing she turned back to her paper and tried to bring some thought to bear on “The Spatial Distribution of Galaxies with z>5.”

Curiously, thoughts of Floppy Hat Girl floated to the surface from time to time. Chiefly those eyes. She didn’t even know what colour they were.


Shopping for groceries in the supermarket a couple of weeks later, she ran into the only other woman in her field. Meredith Mitchell was the epitome of a female physical sciences student, not much concerned with her appearance other than to be clean. Elena liked her.

“Hi Elena, how’s it going?”

Elena grimaced.

“That good, huh? Want to grab a coffee?”

There was a small cafeteria in the back of the supermarket. Surprisingly the coffee was very good, and Elena gave the girl serving them an appreciative little nod. She flushed and smiled back; compliments are thin on the ground in the service sector.

Meredith selected a cup of drinking chocolate and a pain au chocolat. Elena eyed them warily.

“Chocolate is my one weakness,” Meredith explained. “Now, what’s the problem?”

“I don’t think my supervisor is terribly interested. He thinks my project is a waste of time and that girls don’t belong in the physical sciences.”

“You’ve got Professor Edwards, haven’t you? He’s a terrible fossil, why they haven’t retired him I don’t know.”

“They’re hoping he might get a Nobel for a piece of work he did thirty years ago.”

“Wow! Really?”

Elena sighed, “It’s a long shot for them. Current developments make his work less likely to be proved. Still, he is – or was – pretty important. I’d hoped a little of that lustre might rub off on me. At this rate I’ll be lucky to finish my thesis.”

Meredith changed the subject. “How’s your love life?”

“What’s one of those?” Elena said, wearily.

The other woman blushed deeply, and Elena’s eyes widened. “Meredith Mitchell, are you getting laid?”

“I can report high levels of satisfaction in the research area labelled ‘bedroom’. And the library.” She looked over the rim of her cup, daring Elena to be shocked. Which she was!

“You animal! Who is he?”

“What makes you think it’s a ‘he’?”

Then she added, coyly, “Or that it’s just a ‘he’?”

Elena’s mouth hung open. Meredith giggled. “I’ve been wanting to tell someone for days.”

She took hold of Meredith’s forearm where it lay on the table.

“Tell. Me. Everything!”

And so she learned of Meredith’s meeting with Sanjay Kumar and his girlfriend Alison Waite at a drinks party in one of the colleges. And how, after a glass of wine or three, or four, they’d gone back to Alison’s room and fallen into bed.

Elena stared at her. “How come you get all the good stuff? I’ve only had the one shag since André buggered off to Montreal.”

“No! Elena, you’re gorgeous, why are you not fighting them off with a stick?”

She shrugged and looked out into the store. “I dunno, Merry. I think it’s because I want a connection; I think I want someone to love.”

“We all want that, Elena, but while I’m waiting, I’ll take all the sex I can get!”


The seasons turned, summer relaxed into autumn, and winter followed right along. Adonye and Michelle moved out although, technically he hadn’t been living there in the first place. Michelle made way for Elizabeta, a quiet Serbian that kept herself very much to herself.

Elena’s dissertation ground on until she was terminally sick of the sight of it. Professor Edwards gave every impression that he expected her to crash and burn.

Her love life did not improve either. Somehow, trying to fit dates into the marathon tepeören escort slog of her final year was an impossibility too far. She occasionally caught sight of someone that might have been Floppy Hat Girl, and each time her breath quickened, and her heart fluttered. But it wasn’t the season for floppy hats, and she’d never seen her face clearly so there was no way to be sure.

One evening she picked her way gingerly through the snow, already becoming grey slush, and slick enough underfoot to dump her on her arse if she was unwary. Her route home led past The Owl, an old-fashioned pub, and she paused outside. The interior looked warm and welcoming. She dithered for a moment and then gave in.

Inside, it was the quiet hum of early evening. A tantalising smell drifted through from the kitchens and Elena decided she needed a treat. Rich aromas of caramelising onions, garlic, lamb and herbs, turned out to be Shepherd’s Pie. She found herself salivating.

The bar had a bottle of Californian Zinfandel sitting unopened amongst the red wines. Elena was amazed to see it. Zinfandel’s reputation had only lately emerged from a very bad spell as a cheap ‘blush’ to sell to young women intent on getting hammered. However, a full-bodied red was just the thing to go with the pie. Unfortunately, they didn’t sell it by the glass so, telling herself that she could take the rest home to enjoy over the next couple of days, she asked for the bottle.

The wine was welcome anaesthetic, jammy warmth reaching her belly and soothing her synapses.

A young waitress arrived with the pie. A generous portion steamed gently in the candle-lit semi darkness of her alcove seat. The first mouthful was hotter than the centre of the sun and Elena spent several mortifying moments sucking and blowing to try and cool the food in her mouth. After that though, the combination of the opulent flavours of the food and the fruitiness of the wine were a sensory overload.

When, all too soon, Elena finished, she gazed unhappily at the dish. She could have eaten half as much again, which probably said more about how she was neglecting herself than the excellence of the food.

She poured herself another glass of wine and mellowed a little in the warm fuzziness.

She looked up as more people came in and was rewarded by the sight of the Unholy Trinity of Meredith, Sanjay & Alison, giggling and holding on to one another.

Elena drew back into the darkness of the alcove, abruptly both jealous and envious of their happiness. They made their way to the bar, still touching each other with an intimacy that made her ache.

While Sanjay ordered drinks, the girls turned to look for places to sit. Elena begged for the darkness of the alcove to disguise her but her pale skin and blonde hair were not helping.

Alison spotted her first and nudged Meredith.

“Elena!” she said in delighted surprise and Elena groaned inwardly.

She bounded over. “I haven’t seen you in ages! Come and join us.”

Elena tried to resist but Meredith was having none of it and shortly they were sitting round one of the larger tables.

Meredith had bloomed in her relationship. Her hair was more disciplined, her clothes a little sharper and her posture more upright and confident. But beyond that, Elena realised that happiness could make the plainest of features shine and Meredith shone.

“So, when was the last time you had a shag, Elena?” she asked.

Sanjay blushed. His girlfriends were so free his conservative upbringing was routinely outraged, but he adored them.

However, he was slightly in awe of being in the presence of the cleverest and most beautiful of the post-grads in the physical sciences. Not that there was much competition but that made it all the more remarkable that this woman had fought her way upstream against the tide of negativity that surely flowed against her. Even her looks would have been a debit in the ledger.

Elena rolled her eyes. “I haven’t got time for a relationship, Merry.”

“Months, then.”

Alison and Sanjay looked at each other. Elena could tell that they were baffled. Beautiful people didn’t have those kinds of problems.

“I’ve just been so busy. The old fossil is on my case the whole time. I’ve been backwards and forwards over it so many times I hardly know what to think any more.”

“Then it’s time you had some fun,” said Merry, crisply. “No buts.”


Later that evening they were in one of the noisier bars at the quayside. Sanjay had ordered cocktails and Elena was starting to feel very woozy. Excusing herself for a moment, she stepped outside into the cold night air. There were several little knots of people transacting various things. Elena was moderately sure that half of them involved drugs of one sort or another.

Her jacket was inside, and the chill was a shock. She wrapped her arms round herself and stomped her feet.

Someone walking past path by the river caught her eye. She was clad in an enormous puffer jacket that came well below her knees. And it was a ‘she’, Elena was sure of that. A knitted bobble hat with a pom-pom waggled as she strode towards the main road. It made Elena smile and the woman’s stride paused momentarily before carrying on.

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