Lizzy shimmies and shifts the weight of her body, wrapped inside a mess of blanket and pillows on her couch, her laptop dangerously balancing on where her knees are supposed to be.
The screen stares back at her as she bites on the side of her thumb with a huge smile still glued to her face, red artificial light washing over her cheeks as her eyes re-focus on the Youtube page and on the video she just finished watching.. for the second time. Jiggling her legs a bit under the piled up fabric, she hits the replay button, warmth spreading through her limbs right from around 1:30, heart pounding merely two minutes in.
One hour later, Lizzy’s lying on her living room floor, arms and legs spread out wide as she chews on her bottom lip, elbow-deep into a staring contest with her phone, resting silently on the carpet right next to her.
So, while there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to text your co-star, who’s become one of your best friend in the last three years and with whom you have a very close relationship, Lizzy feels like if the thing you really wanna do makes you blush and buzz all over, maybe you should give it a second thought. If not for the wrongness of it, then just to take a closer look at the feelings it’s awakening inside of you.
But no, wait: feelings? Maybe feelings is not the right word. It doesn’t feel like the right word, does it? She doesn’t have feelings for Michael, that’s ridiculous. Maybe it’s best to leave feelings out of this. She just watched a video, that happened to have Michael in it and that happened to make her laugh. A lot. Mostly when he was on. There’s nothing weird about that, is there? Everybody knows knows Michael’s funny, he made her laugh from day one of their friendship, you’d have to have a burnt raisin where your heart’s supposed to be not to find him lovely. Hell, she’s laughing just at the memory of his face. Yeah, he’s so funny she can’t help smiling whenever he pops into her mind. Of course there’s nothing weird about it, it’s Michael bloody Sheen.
She listens to the cars wheezing by and her heart pumping for a minute, every piece of furniture in the room shimmering vaguely with the soft lights on the far sides of her vision.
It’s been a strange period, Lizzy thinks to herself as she rolls on her stomach, one hand reaching out to drum lightly on the screen of her phone: they’ve all been done filming season three for a while, and it’s always kind of sad to go back to ordinary life and get used to not seeing everyone every day after spending so much time together. Also, now that the holidays are close, everyone is getting home to their families or flying out somewhere to spend them with loved ones and such, so she suddenly finds herself with a lot less people to hang out with, which leads her to spending a Friday night alone in her flat, bundled up on her couch with a glass of wine and a box of twinkies, watching The Great Comic Relief Bake Off.. with Michael in it. Of course there’s nothing weird about it, she’s just missing a dear friend, it’s only natural. She’d be feeling just the same if Caitlin or Annaleigh were in it. Duh.
That’s pretty much all the validation Lizzy needs before she pushes herself up on her elbows, phone in hand as she goes through the names on Whatsapp. It doesn’t take long for her to find Michael there, and she starts typing away without really thinking, feeling a little light headed. Which probably comes from the weird position. Again: duh.
A couple seconds later, she’s back at staring at her ceiling, phone resting on her belly. She feels like she’s coming down from a high, like you do when adrenaline starts to wear out, and she’s pretty confused by that: she really hadn’t realized she missed talking to Michael so much she was so excited to just.. casually text him. Because it’s casual, isn’t it..?
Just when a thin ray of realization is about to bear down on her, Lizzy’s phone buzzes quietly, her stomach vibrating along with it for a second.
She smiles to herself before holding it up with both hands and reading Michel's reply.
L: "you do realize NOBODY actually thinks you really baked that Pavlova, right?"
M: "I'm so sorry life hasn't blessed you with the gift of unearthly baking skills, my sad little girl."
Lizzy takes a moment to reread the answer and she hesitates on the last bit, imagining the way he might have said that, the expression on his face. She sits up and takes a mouthful of wine before texting back.
L: "yeah, your misery shaped shortbread really looked unearthly, if you ask me *laughing emoji*"
M: "oh shut up, I won and I deserved it!"
Lizzy's still smiling, but she's not sure she wants to answer back. Are two small lines of text from a friend, however close the friend might be, supposed to make you feel so.. giddy? Besides, Michael didn't really sound like he madly wanted the conversation to go on, did he?
A small pang of panic ripples down her guts as she stands up and walks to the kitchen, reaching for the dark green bottle on the counter and stopping mid-movement, frowning. Had she been inappropriate? Was it a bad time? What the hell was she trying to accomplish in the first place? She goes for the fridge and a beer instead, before heading back to the living room to sit cross-legged in front of the TV, switching it on to nothing in particular. Five minutes and one Tennent’s later, she’s lying back down, mind still annoyingly sharp, phone resting on her ribcage and palm pressed over her eyes, getting ready for a honest self-examination.. that immediately evaporates off her mind as her phone buzzes again and her whole body jolts.
M: "but anyway, I'm not going to just let you mock me, when you're the one spending her time watching a frustrated little man getting flour all over his face for charity."
M: "*laughing emoji* oh don't flatter yourself Michael I was there for jameela"
Lizzy looks at thewords "... is typing" with what feels like a tide rising inside her chest, shooting uninterested glances to the flat screen to hold her curiosity down as Michael seems to struggle with what he wants to say, typing something and starting over again a couple times. Did she make the conversation stale? Or is it a good sign that he doesn't know what to write? But then again, a good sign for what?
The main question surging to her mind, however, turns out to be a matter of age: has she unconsciously reverted to being 16 years old?
She looks down at her knees, blushing, reminding herself she has a bank account and knows how to talk to a stranger on the phone without stammering, but when she glances back up at the word "online" under Michael’s name she feels a rush of impatience and uncertainty that make her head spin, and her stomach drops when the screen suddenly changes to signal an incoming call.
Michael's calling her.
Somewhere inside of her mind, someone tells Lizzy to take a deep breath and sound as cool as possible, but even that voice sounds like it’s bursting at the seams. She slides the pad of her finger along the screen and holds her phone up, lungs tight and eyes squeezed shut.
She doesn’t say anything, and nothing comes from the other end of the line for about ten seconds. Finally Michael’s chuckle breaks through the silence and Lizzy melts along with it, laughing whole heartedly for a bit, before managing out a broken “Yes?” among Michael’s last giggles.
“I don’t feel really comfortable knowing you watch that sorta things behind my back, you know”
Lizzy can hear the smile in his voice, and it makes her want to walk to the window and look out to the city lights, fantasizing about the absurdity of spotting him down there on the sidewalk, looking up at her.
“Well I did text you right after didn’t I”
“Oh I’m not that naïve, I know you’ve probably already photoshopped my face on top of a dick-shaped Pavlova or something and emailed it to the whole crew and cast, haven’t you?”
Lizzy can’t help the sincere laugh tumbling out of her mouth at the mind picture, kind of cursing herself for not thinking about it first. There’s a pause, Michael listening quietly as her breathing slows back to normal. Her voice is still warm with amusement though.
“C’mon, you know you’re the one with a dirty mind, I didn’t even think of anything like that, I swear!”
“Well, it’s all your fault anyway, I’m like this just after we’re done shooting. I’ve got to wait for you to rub off of me”
One of Lizzy’s eyebrows rises on its own and she has to stifle a snort, heat rising to her cheeks as she hears Michael snickering softly on the other end.
“…And YOU have the courage to call ME out for being malicious.” A sigh, turning into a huff. “What are you, thirteen?”
“I must have turned you into a 13 year old as well, since you0re so sure what I was thinking about, Michael”
Lizzy silently listens to him chuckling, grinning to herself as she leans back on her kitchen table, eyes unfocused. He must be moving around his house, the tone his voice changing as he walks into a bigger or smaller room. A few moments later, he sounds close again, and the sudden change takes Lizzy by surprise, making her feel like he’s right there beside her, a small shiver running through her skin. She rolls her eyes at her own cliché-ness as Michael asks her, out of the blue:
“So how are you, Lizzy?”
It’s all it takes for it to feel normal and comfortable again, like.. well, exactly like it’s supposed to be, with Michael.
They talk about small everyday things and their projects, laughing and “Aw”-ing and “Ugh”-ing at each other, pacing around their flats, occasionally flopping down on the nearby chair or couch or whatever.
They talk and they talk, until they both finally go comfortably quiet, not sure they have something else to say, not sure they want to end the call just yet. Then Lizzy remembers.
“Hey, why did you call anyway? Are you really that old?”
“Oh shut up!”
She hears him fumble around with what sounds like fabric, and his voice comes back with a little grunt.
“You know I don’t like texting that much. You always use that laughing little face and I like to hear the actual sound of people laughing at me”
“Oh so you just wanted to make sure I was really laughing and not just typing with a totally deadpan blank face”
Another rumbling chuckle.
“That, and I know you love my stuck-up British accent, don’t you?”
That last bit, that question sounded different to Lizzy’s ear than the rest of their harmless back and forth, like a tiny shift in the conversation’s mood. She hesitates for a second, but no real logic thought comes to help her out, so she just says what naturally comes to her mind.
“You know I do, I’m always telling you that”
Hearing herself out loud reassures her a bit, since “provocative” is the last adjective she would use for her tone; but there’s something so honest and open about it that makes the short silence that follows feel sort of intense, full.
“So while we’re asking, how did you end up watching that video, again..? Not that I don’t enjoy the thought of you admiring my greatness of course”
Lizzy can hear the smugness in the second part of the sentence, and it’s so unusually low and kind of quiet it makes her guts feel tight and hollow at the same time.
“Uh, oh you know, you mentioned it once.. and I just remembered I’d never actually seen it.. I had some spare time and a box of twinkies, sssoo..”
Lizzy’s pretty sure anyone could hear the blatant lie in her words as she closes her eyes, hand rubbing at one of them: she just couldn’t admit she was reminded of it by a couple of gifs she saw on Tumblr. Michael would probably have no idea whatsoever what tumblr is, let alone a gif, but was she really willing to take that risk? Eh.
“Did I brag about it?”
“Oh yes, totally”
A little too quick, a little too eager.
“…Yeah, that definitely sounds like me, doesn’t it?”
Silence stretches again, and Lizzy could swear she hears him breathe a little deeper before he speaks again.
“So did you, uhm.. like it?”
She tries her best to hold it in, and she manages not to laugh at that for about one second before she bursts out, hearing him join her right away, the weird tension tearing and turning into an electric, sort of excited anticipation of what the other is going to say.
“Yes Michael, it was awesome seeing you splotching pink cream everywhere with flour all over your face.. you know men who can cook that well instantly get me going”
For just a moment she revels in the delusion Michael will think she was joking; her own body brings her back to reality with a warm shot of surprise mixed with something else, hotter, subtler, when Michael’s low groan hits her eardrum.
“Ohh yeah, I can totally see you fanning yourself as my fingers knead that butter and flour mix.. don’t bother denying it.”
“Well, say ‘butter’ like that one more time and I might mess up the sheets, I’m warning you”
“You mean.. butter?”
She’s got her eyes closed, and her free hand clutches the side of her bathroom sink. It’s a bit dramatic given that he can’t actually see her, but she feels like she needs an excuse for the warmth creeping up her neck as well as the adrenaline flooding her veins, and she’s incredibly determined to blame it on her extraordinary acting skills.
Lizzy hears Michael huff out a small laugh, but amusement is not the emotion she would ascribe it to, and it just adds to the pressure building up inside her chest.
He clears his thoat.
“Are you, uh, really under your sheets right now?”
“Uhm, nah, but it kinda sounded sexier than ‘bathroom rug’, right?”
“You should go to bed, Lizzy”
She frowns for a second, not really sure he’s being serious or still playing along. Wait: playing along.. to what?
“Man, are you that bored of hearing me moan? I need to step up my game”
She waits for a laugh, a joke, anything.
“I didn’t say I would hang up, though.”
His voice drops low again, sounding somewhat more intimate now, and her saliva feels thicker. She swallows down so loud she’s pretty sure he can hear it.
Without a word, she walks to her bedroom and slips out of her sweatpants, the absurdity of the situation making even her goose bumps feel unreal as she tucks herself under the covers, awkwardly passing her phone from one hand to the other. The sheets feel cold, and Lizzy rubs her legs together and shivers a bit, making a soft sound that goes straight to Michael’s ear through the speakers. A quick exhale comes from his side of the line, followed by what sounds like him adjusting under his own sheets.
Lizzy nervously wonders what’s gonna happen, if the situation is irreversibly compromised or if they can still make it all pass as a joke.
She’s interrupted by Michael clearing his throat again.
“Uh.. should I ask you what are you wearing then?”
It’s almost unbelievable how Michael’s words turn out to always be the right ones, even when they sound so terribly wrong. Once again, the embarrassment melts away and they laugh together, straight from their bellies.
“I can’t fucking believe you Michael”
“What?! You think I’m an expert at this?”
They settle down again, and the quiet feels much nicer this time, like they both know whatever is coming will be fine.. because it’s them, it’s still just them.
“You couldn’t be more wrong anyway”
“Wow, that’s new! What are you educating me on, today?”
Lizzy swallows again. Did she always have that much saliva inside her mouth?
She hears three rapid beeps, and her heart rate quickens a little.
“Did you just turn up the volume of the call?”
“I told you, you couldn’t be more wrong: I love the way you moan, even when it’s fake”
“…It wasn’t completely fake, you know. Before, I mean.”
“So if I said butter again..”
Lizzy takes the cue and lets her eyes flutter shut, breathing out the least self-conscious whine she can manage.
Not exactly the reaction she was hoping for, Lizzy’s eyes snap open again, and her tone sounds just a little offended.
“What do you mean ‘Oh’?”
“Well, if that’s the best you got”
“Oh please, Michael”
“What? I didn’t say it was crap! I just meant.. if that’s the best you can do..”
Lizzy rolls her eyes and smiles in spite of herself, the image of Michael yelling ‘I’m not competitive in any way!’ popping into her mind.
“Well, it’s not like you’re really helping me out, here”
A stern silence takes over the imaginary space between them, before Lizzy’s breath hitches as she hears him inhale and then quickly exhale again, the unmistakable sound of his phone rubbing against his hair, sign of him switching the hand that was holding it. He breathes deep and steady now, like he’s trying to keep control over himself.
“You know what I particularly miss about your moans? The way you sound like you’re pushing them out a little, right at the beginning of it, but then it turns-“
He stops to bite down on a groan, but he manages to catch only half of it.
“-into your voice. You know what I mean?”
Lizzy realizes her jaw is hanging open because she has to close it, re-moisturize the inside of it so she can actually say something, too caught in the thought that Michael might be already touching himself to focus on anything else. She’s about to answer him, but he cuts her off, voice rough and a little lower, like someone might hear him.
“Oh, I love the sound your lips make when they part”
This time Lizzy doesn’t have to fake anything at all: a deep sigh voices the pang of pleasure she feels running just under her skin in response to Michael’s small gasp, and she bends her legs at the knees, hoping he hears everything she’s doing. She licks her lips and parts them again, pushing air out of her throat like he just described.
“I wish I could be there to make you do that”
She huffs, opening her eyes again to look at her slightly quivering body under the sheets.
“Yeah? Well, seems to me you’re doing a pretty good job even from there”
She can’t see him, but Lizzy would bet her ass he’s grinning to himself like she just told him he’s won the Nobel prize or something.
“…Are you wet?”
Blood rushes to her cheeks at the question and, well, yes, she was kind of aware of the general direction the conversation was taking, but it’s the gruff in his voice that makes the hair on her nape stand on edge, making her feel like they’re violating some sort of taboo, something incredibly forbidden. Which, well, they might actually be doing.
She knows what the question implies, and after the shock of the first moment Lizzy lets her right hand slide down her front, slipping under the waistband of her underwear, breathing heavy and slow to let him know, whining softly when the pad of her finger spreads her own labia.
She swallows around the lump of pleasure in her throat.
“Yes I am”
Lizzy can already hear lust dripping from her voice, held back by the last tiny fraction of embarrassment left in her head.
“Remember the scene where you guided my hand between your thighs? Pushing my fingers where you wanted them?”
Her own fingers are now quickly circling her clit, pleasure surging up so violently her mouth starts shaking and she can’t think of a single thing that would be harder for her than speaking right now. Well maybe one thing does come to her mind. The thought sends a crackle of electricity running up her nerves and she moans loud and shameless in Michael’s ear, his own groan echoing hers right away.
“Wait, slow down Lizzy, let me hear you”
Her teeth bear down on her bottom lip and she struggles with her own arm to slow the pace down, teasing herself, squirming further into her mattress as she pictures Michael’s legs spread wide, his knuckles shining with the precome trickling down his shaft, mouth hanging open as he tries to hold out a little longer.
“Oh my god..”
She breathes the words out between the small pained moans escaping her lips, and she hears Michael laugh.
“Tell me, Lizzy.”
“I wish I could be there to wipe that grin off of your face, straddling you and guiding your cock up and down over me, sliding, pressing the tip just over my entrance and never really letting you in.”
Michael seems to literally be chocking on air and he can’t stop the high-pitched moan he lets out, his head thumping loudly against what must be the headboard of his bed. Lizzy hears him groaning and biting down on her name like he would with her neck, she imagines, his nose dragging up to her jaw, hot puffs of breath damping the shell of her ear as he would ground his hips down on her, wetness smearing all over their skin.
She finds control again through the gasps shaking her chest and slides one determined finger inside herself, closing her eyes.
“I’d give anything to be able to shut you up right now, making you whine and beg for me and then kissing you long, so deep you would moan against my tongue and come thrusting in my hands, helpless.”
When his groans start to sound like sobs, she knows he must be close, and she feels a small bite of pride picturing Michael’s muscles trembling, chest heaving and forehead shining as he pumps himself faster, desperation drawing his eyebrows together, his voice coming rough, aching.
It’s not longer until Lizzy can’t speak anymore either, whispering Michael’s name and clutching the phone between her ear and shoulder, both hands working restlessly between her thighs. She hears Michael come with a deep, rugged groan that ripples down Lizzy’s spine, her abs and all the muscles in her legs spasming as she approaches her climax. Orgasm hits her square in the diaphragm when she hears Michael moaning her name in the aftermath, and her mouth drops open as waves of heat crash down on her, all over her senses.
For something like five minutes there’s nothing but them lying on their backs, sucking air in their lungs and swallowing around their dry throats, occasionally huffing and laughing at nothing in particular.
“…Was this what you had in my mind when you called me?”
“Lizzy, this is what I always have in mind when I call you.”