I was glad to be away from the lonely living room and sipped at my herbal tea as Jake drove us too quickly through town.
“Where are we headed to?” I said.
“It is a surprise” he said, raising his eyebrows and flickering a side glance at me.
“OK, then, when will we get there?”
“In about 3 hours.”
“Three hours! How long are we planning on staying there…this mystery place?”
I looked at my fingernails. This was not what I had bargained for. If this was an overnight trip, there was probably going to be a point where I would be fending Jake off…or worse, not fending him off. He always pulled this kind of crap. He always seemed to figure out how to get what he wanted.
“I’m not too sure about this” I mumbled. “Just tell me what you have in mind.” I was suddenly feeling a bit depressed. I should have stayed safe at home in my quiet little house. Sigh.
“I want to take you camping. When I was at the beach, I realized when I was sitting on the waves at sunrise, that I didn’t want to be under the stars without you tonight, Odette, so I came back for you.”
I couldn’t help but smile. When did he get romantic? I felt my cheeks getting flushed. Maybe since Chris was gone, he wouldn’t even know or find out. As soon as I entertained that thought I just as instantly realized how stupid it was. How was I going to keep this from him? I decided to start by turning my phone off so he couldn’t track where I was. But now what if there was an emergency with Zoe? He wouldn’t be able to reach me. Ugh. This was making me tired.
“I’m exhausted,” I said.
Jake looked over at me, surprised. “You can’t be tired now, we are going to be staying up late. I even brought my guitar.”
Guitar? Not another musician.
“Here,” he said. “Why don’t you take a melatonin so you can sleep in the car then I will wake you up when we get there.”
This sounded like a pretty good idea.
“Why do you have melatonin in your truck?” I said, as he tossed me over a bottle.
He shrugged and I took one. Then I reached back behind the seats to grab and unravel his sleeping bag so I could lie down across the seat. The seeping bag smelled like scented body wash and Jake, and as I lay my head down next to his shorts with my seatbelt twisted oddly around me, he put his hand on my hair and stroked it. I finally relaxed and felt myself drifting off with the motion of the truck.
When I woke up, there were Jake’s knees and I remembered where I was. What the hell was I doing? Even though there was nothing I wanted more than to sleep under the stars with Jake, in this one and only sleeping bag he brought, I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. Now I had to tell him to turn around. Why did I wait until now?
I sat up and looked around me. My glasses were gone. It was completely dark out now except for a blazing golden cloud on the horizon. Trees lined the road and I could see deer eyes shining between them. Huh. I had been expecting the beach.
“Sleeping beauty awakes,” he said.
I tried to rearrange my hair that I knew was probably looking a bit crazy. Then I put my hand on his arm and said, “I need to go home.”
“Well, Odette, we are already here.”
“I just need to go home” I said.
“We can turn around right now if you want to, just say the word.”
I thought I already did but I decided to hear him out.
“Look up here on the right. This is the place I wanted you to see.” He steered off down a tiny road with so many bushes on either side they were scratching against his truck. There was something oddly familiar about this place too. After what seemed like a long time, he pulled up to a clearing and I saw we were next to a brook with large boulders and water pouring over them; tumbling over green moss and pebbles. When he turned the headlights off it was pitch black and all I could hear was the water, it was exhilarating to be in such darkness. “Look” he said and pointed at little pieces of light, flickering in front of us.
I gasped, “Oh! How beautiful! They are like fairies!” I laughed.
He shook his head, smiling. “I knew you’d like this.”
We sat watching the fireflies darting around the windshield and the trees. Jake folded his arms over the steering wheel and rested his chin on it.
Finally I said, “We should go now.”
“Ok” he said. We sat there in silence, both not wanting to go anywhere. My heart started to pound for some reason. I glanced over at him then he simply leaned over and clicked off my seatbelt, slid his arm behind my back and pulled me in close. I let him pull me up onto him as he kissed me, I could barely take a breath and I was sure he could hear or perhaps even feel my heart against him. I folded my fingers into the back of his dark hair. Then I slid my hand under his shirt and up his back. His skin was so soft. I could feel his muscles underneath and he took in a deep breath that made me smile to myself. He whispered my name as my shirt was whisked skillfully over my head and once again I had that uneasy feeling that he was very used to being in situations like this. But then another one of his kisses on my neck with his hands firmly on the skin of my lower back, tugging me in even closer, and I was his again. He opened his door, which made me jump a little, pulled the sleeping bag from the seat next to us and threw it out on to the ground. “Come on,” he said and took my hand. He practically dragged me out of the truck.
I thought that this was my cue. I could stop things here. I could say no. But instead I felt myself get completely wrapped up in him and we tumbled to the soft ground on the slippery sleeping bag. My hair was in leaves and I smiled at him as he pulled them out carefully, one by one. Then he slid down and kissed my belly. It tickled but then he moved down my belly and it didn’t tickle anymore. I looked up at he sky and the moon was glinting through the trees. All I could hear was the rush of the brook and rushing inside my head. This boy knew exactly what he was a doing and instead of worrying about that I let him work his expertise on me. I watched the moon until I coldn’t watch it anymore because I was blinded by the shattering inside me. I took in glorious gasps of night air and when I opened my eyes again, there in the sky above me were the stars Jake had wanted me to see. And now, even though I was utterly satisfied, he had somehow found his way inside of me. I closed my eyes so I didn’t have to look into his, and let him finish. I tried not to cry. I am such an idiot. I held on tight to his perfect, soft, warm back, while tiny fireflies lit up the terrible darkness like feeble pieces of hope.