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Around the Clock

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Prompt – Beginning
Rating – G
Word Count - 100

00:00

She retires to bed as the day is officially beginning, alone and somewhat resentful but she has no other choice. She needs her rest and Abi, well Abi needs to make noise for a little bit longer to ensure that Simona is sufficiently irritated. She didn’t always find such juvenile behaviour endearing but Abi’s managed to change the way she feels about a lot of things. A lopsided grin and abundance of wit rolled up in a tiny irrepressible package changed her world, changed her, and she doesn’t ever want to go back to being the girl she was before.

 

Prompt - Prehistoric
Rating – G

01:00

A bang and an expletive herald Abi’s entry into the room. For someone so small Abi is not the daintiest creature on the planet and yet with a well timed comment and a raise of her eyebrow Abi had managed to make Aoife’s boyfriend seem like a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal. She didn’t release what it meant at the time, she made no connection between the fluttering of her heart and Abi’s presence. Everyone knew before she did, even her Cro-Magnon boyfriend, which makes her worry that she is lower down the evolutionary scale than him and completely unworthy of Abi’s love.

 

Prompt - Anniversary
Rating – PG13

02:00

It’s strange how quickly patterns develop, without planning to they’ve forged a weekly ritual that she both craves and despises. Abi moves to the floor and sits by Aoife’s bed clutching her hand tightly. The ritual used to include an argument about the likelihood of their privacy being invaded but the film crew burst in the other morning and effectively settled that debate. They try to pretend this situation isn’t terrifying and she waits for the kiss that Abi gives her even though it breaks her heart because she knows that it will be a week before it happens again.

 

Prompt - Generational
Rating - G

03:00

She is the youngest child in a close-knit Irish Catholic family and all her life she has had the joys of marriage and motherhood impressed upon her. When she was younger she used to say that she would never love a man as much as she loved her family and her mother and grandmother would laugh indulgently and pat her on the head. It’s funny now to think about how right she was, she will never love a man like that but she loves the girl on the other side of the room more than she could have ever imagined.

 

Prompt - Insomnia
Rating – G

04:00

“You awake?”

“No.”

“Bugger, I wanted to talk to you.”

“You’ll have to wait until morning.”

“It’s already morning.”

“It’s dark.”

“And you’re sleeping, I know.”

“If it were morning what would we be talking about?”

“I think I want to quit.”

“Really?”

“Don’t sound so surprised.”

“It’s just that I don’t normally think of you as a quitter Abi”

“I don’t normally think of myself as someone who’s crucified on national television on a weekly basis.”

“If you quit Graham’ll make fun of you.”

“True but we could go back to having sex.”

“Let’s both quit.”

“Maybe next week.”

 

Prompt - Contemporary
Rating – PG13

05:00

Andrew’s ‘vision’ for Maria seems off to her; his so-called modern Maria all but makes the Captain a paedophile. If she won the role the ick-factor would be slightly less but she’s worried that, even though she apparently has the voice of a nine-year-old, her age will automatically mean people think she lacks flibbertigibbet, will-o’-the-wisp or clown traits. What she does have are skills in area of whirling dervishes, she didn’t throw Abi out of whorl but she did calm her, a fact that she’d point out if she didn’t think it would excite Andrew just a little too much.

Prompt - Dawn
Rating – G

06:00

There are advantages to being in the competition, she’s sure of that, but it’s hard to recall what they are right now. The rampant butterflies that have moved from her stomach to her throat, have stolen her rational thought. The only tangible benefit she can recognise is that the shafts of light talking foothold in the room allow for a rare glimpse of a peaceful, still Abi. She wishes she could stop time to protect them from what they’ll face today but that’s not an option so she does the only thing she can and lets Abi continue to sleep.

Prompt - Awakened
Rating – PG13

07:00

Sleep hasn’t been entirely elusive as indicated by the distinctive something crawled into her mouth to die sensation that she could really live without. The dead creature is also serving as a way of pinching herself, without it she wouldn’t believe she’s awake given that Abi’s currently hovering over her and brunette locks dance against the skin on her arms and face.

“Abi?”

“Shhhhh,” Abi casts a cautious glance towards the door, “Good luck for tonight.” Soft lips press against her own and whatever happens tonight, today is officially the best day she’s had since she moved into the house.

Prompt - Heyday
Rating – G

08:00

Breakfast is a maelstrom of activity. Everyone’s doing their best to be exuberant and though it’s not a complete farce she doubts that anyone will reflect on these mornings as halcyon days. She’ll probably remember little other than abject terror but tries to catalogue events and not let fear intrude too far into her life. It probably doesn’t matter if she can’t recall Connie’s constant singing or Simona’s sanctimonious condemnation of the fat content in other’s food choices but she’s determined to remember how nervous energy and excess sugar has Abi zinging one-liners like some modern-day, more attractive Mae West.

Prompt - Planned
Rating – PG13

09:00

She had this plan for the day, it wasn’t an impressive plan but she was sure it was going to work. It only consisted of a few simple points –

Don’t faint
Don’t vomit
Don’t strain your voice
Don’t forget your words
Don’t let the judges crush you soul

she really believed that it would be all that she would need to get through the day and yet they had only arrived at rehearsals when her plan fell to bits. How is she meant to focus on herself now that she knows what Abi will be wearing, or rather not wearing?

Prompt - Wristwatch
Rating – PG13

10:00

“Stop checking, you’re making me nervous.”

“I’m not making time go any quicker you know?”

“So why do it?”

“It decreases my stress.”

“Surely there are others things you could do to decrease stress.”

“Of course but you won’t let me do any of those.”

“Well not right now.”

“So I’ll just have to count the time until one of us is elimated.”

“I’m not having you tank your performance; there’ll be no stress relieving until we are both out of this thing.” Thus Aoife goes back to staring at her watch and to wishing she really could control time.

Prompt - Punctual
Rating – G

11:00

For a performance day this one hadn’t been too bad in fact as far as these things go it is in the vicinity of pleasant. She doesn’t hate her dress, she doesn’t hate her song and while she has issues with Abi’s wardrobe those issues pale in comparison to the fact that there has been a small amount of close to quality time with Abi. All things considered, the success of the day is a little disconcerting which is why she’s almost grateful when Zoe shows up on schedule to effortlessly shatter her ego and brutally trample on her dreams.

Prompt - Lunchtime
Rating – G

12:00

The girls here can be divided into two camps; those who obsess about food and those who are still young enough to believe eating their body weight in carbohydrates will have no lasting effects. The divide tends to narrow on Saturdays and as the day progresses they all struggle to consume anything more than water and air. Abi seems immune and clearly isn’t satisfied by the meal she’s devoured. Aoife pushes her plate over but Abi declines it, “You should eat,” she whispers, briefly placing her hand over Aoife’s and suddenly eating some lettuce doesn’t seem like an impossible task.

Prompt - Instantaneous
Rating – G

13:00

She knows she’s not the most experienced and she doesn’t consider herself the most knowledgeable of the finalists. She thought she knew who she was but she had no idea just how much her emotions were swayed by external factors. The constant criticism weathers away her self-esteem and although she abides by Abi’s rules the loss of intimacy, both physical and emotional, leaves her feeling empty. It would seem that all of that can be reversed by having one good dress rehearsal and while she wonders if she should be alarmed by that fact, she feels too good to care.

Prompt - Season
Rating – G

14:00

Dwelling in interesting times isn’t something she ever saw as a burden but she has to admit that she’s really not much of a fan of interesting anymore. That’s not to say she wants everything to be bland. There’s room for sizzle and excitement in her life and Abi is more than capable of adding an element of spice to most activities but Aoife wants things to return to normal, to live her life without the lights and cameras and the constant observation, she’s just not sure how this fits in with her dream of a career on the stage.

Prompt - Unpredictable
Rating – R

15:00

Over the last few weeks she’s grown accustomed to keeping some distance between Abi and herself which is why it comes as a complete surprise that she goes from conversing with Helena to groping Abi in a darkened corridor.

They move frantically, teeth clacking painfully as they attempt to kiss. Abi deviates from Aoife’s mouth to nip at her shoulder, drawing blood. Aoife raises a hand to halt proceedings, “What’s wrong?”

“I needed to touch you.”

“You think I’d object?”

“I just didn’t want you to forget.”

“About you?”

“Yeah.”

“Impossible,” she strokes Abi’s cheek, “you, my Abi, are unforgettable.”

Prompt - Evolution
Rating – G

16:00

She knew this competition would be life changing and that even if she doesn’t win, the exposure could jump start her career, or at least it might if she can somehow garner a modicum of praise. What she didn’t think about were potential changes in Abi. It’s hard to recognise the girl she knows in the woman wearing high boots and a barely there dress. To date it’s just window dressing, as evidenced by the fact that Abi just shot her with rubber band to get her attention, but she worries what happens if it becomes something deeper, more permanent.

Prompt - Finite
Rating – G

17:00

The 6:45 deadline hurtles towards her making it impossible not to think about how soon this could all end. The pressure is intense, everything’s heightened - sight, sound, taste, and thoughts all magnified and accelerated. She probably shouldn’t be making major life decisions under such artificial circumstances but she keeps having these epiphanies. For a quarter of a century she only wanted one thing and now that it’s within her grasp she’s not sure it’s enough. It’s not that she doesn’t want it, she definitely does but being here has made her realise that it doesn’t means anything without Abi.

Prompt - Afterlife
Rating – PG13

18:00

Abi’s chewing intently on her thumb nail when she finds her. “Don’t do that,” she chides as she pulls the hand from Abi’s mouth.

“Didn’t realise I was.”

“What were you thinking about?”

“What’ll happen when this is over.”

“You’re not going anywhere tonight.”

Abi pointedly looks at the skin Aoife’s dress is not covering, “Neither are you.”

“It could happen.”

“It will happen, we can’t both win.”

“I’d be ok if you won.”

“Likewise but that’s not the problem, I don’t want to be without you.”

“Whatever happens, we’ll be together in the end.”

“Promise?”

“With all my heart.”

Prompt - Outdated
Rating – Rish

19:00

This isn’t like the other nights, she doesn’t brace herself for the judges’ comments because she’s giddy and invincible and they can not touch her. This is not amateur dramatics, it wasn’t clichéd or old-fashioned and John Barrowman can eat his heart out because she feels sexy and powerful and alive. The performance itself coupled with Zoe’s comments has her believing she can walk on water, it has also left her feeling incredibly horny so she can only hope that Big Spender has left Abi feeling similarly inclined because she is determined to peel that blue lace off Abi’s body.

Prompt - Twilight
Rating – G

20:00

The time between the performance and results shows is a null period, a limbo that up until now has been her purgatory. The current barely contained excitement might be more dangerous than the usual ubiquitous despair. She can feel uncontrollable energy arching off Abi, rays of joy and hope infecting her and encoring her to ignore the voice of reason telling her that positive comments don’t necessarily translate to votes. She has watched Belinda be eliminated and knows no-one is safe. She could go home tonight so maybe it’s better if she succumbs to this moment while she still can.

Prompt - Mourned
Rating – G

21:00

She does her best to remind herself that each week might be her last, saying her mental goodbyes as she leaves for the studio to face an outcome that she can neither predict nor control. The first elimination was neglected by most, subsumed in the unbridled joy of survival. The second had more impact with many of the girls responding as though they had lost a life long friend. She does find the loss of Meliz harder to deal with than the first two eliminations were but it’s still infinitely better than being eliminated herself or, even worse, losing Abi.

Prompt - Heartbeat
Rating – PG13

22:00

For the first time the after show party is something that she can wholeheartedly enjoy. Those who remain exist on a diet of adrenaline, alcohol and hugs. She has to assume that most of the hugs being exchanged weren’t quite like the one she’s currently receiving. Fingers caress her sides and she can feel Abi’s heartbeat against her chest as it transforms from a hummingbird into a battering ram.

“Let’s get out of here,” Abi’s voice is husky but at least she’s capable of speech, all that Aoife can do is nod and let Abi lead her out the door.

Prompt - Endless
Rating – NC17 (just)

23:00

Her day ends far better than it began. She may be shoehorned into a wardrobe and she’s probably doing some permanent damage to her neck and back but she can’t seem to see anything of these things as bad. She just continues to clutch at Abi’s hair and when Abi replaces her fingers with an equally insistent tongue she can’t see anything but stars. As she tries to stifle her moans she is busy thinking of ways to bribe the judges because if this is the outcome of good comments there is nothing she won’t pay to have it continue.