Part Six

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The abandoned firetruck known as Make-out Point was half-buried in the sand. Hydrilla grew along the adjacent lakeshore, dancing in green water, tapering into aqua grass, skirting the red truck and its cozy, if not romantic, cab.

He crept out of the surrounding weeds, careful to avoid the clearing between the lake and the village road. He crawled up to the firetruck's cab and peeked inside.


"Boo!" she shouted.

He jumped. "Shhh!" he said.

"Don't 'shhh' me!" she laughed.

They climbed through the passenger-side window. An old blanket crammed between the seat and the floor. An aspirin bottle wedged between the dash and the windshield.

His nerves amplified his clumsiness, and he bumped his head against the ceiling. She resisted laughing, but could not stop from showing her teeth. She put her legs between him and the plastic seatback. She wriggled backwards, squirming against the driver-side door. He tried to position himself in the center of the cab, but since the truck angled toward its left, he slowly, steadily, slid on top of her.

She waited. Patient.

"C'mhere," she commanded, no longer patient.

She pulled his face down to hers. She aimed his trembling left hand down her right thigh. He nuzzled her neck and reached under her left hip and caressed her nub, hoping she would reach for his.

And she did.

They shuddered.

"Are you sure?" he whispered.

She answered, "It's why we're here. We can do anything-- we want."

They pressed their cheeks together.

The aspirin bottle started to shake.

He rubbed her nub faster.

"Slow," she said. "Slow."

She guided his other hand up her neck-- and spread his fingers wide. They were a strange contortion of interlocked limbs.

He looked out the plastic window behind her, at the twinkle of sand just outside. Had something walked by?

"Let's pretend," she said, biting his ear.

"Pretend what?"

"That we're already at some school, up in the treetops, away from this place. On our way to-- life."

"This is life," he said.

"No it isn't."

"Then where?" he asked. "Beyond the lake? Past the prairie? All those-- people?"

She answered. "What people? They don't exist. Not until I see them."

He stopped, cramping because of the twist in his shoulders. "You're beautiful," he said into her ear.

"Don't say such things," she replied. She held him closer. "Do you feel that?"


"My heart, fluttering-- like wings."

He lifted his head, tried to kiss her. She gently held him off. He saw two tears, one in each eye. Stars reflected there. He reached with a thumb to wipe them away.

"Leave them," she breathed. She pulled him closer still, wrapped her arms tighter, turned into him. "One's for her. One's for him. My sister. And my boy-- her boyfriend."

"What happened to him?" He regretted the question.

She looked at the roof and played with his hair. The stars in her eyes dimmed. "We were fighting-- at the big folk's house."

"No--" he gasped.

"I know we shouldn't have been there, but." Her eyes welled up. "I was so angry I-- So angry I hoped they would catch him and make him a pet or something!" She sobbed.

"Did they? Did they catch him?"

"Oh, do you hate me?"


"Do you hate me?"

"Of course not," he said.

"But I'm awful-- awful!"

"It's okay, it's okay," he stroked her hair. "I-- don't hate you. In fact--"

"Don't say it," he thought.

"I love you," he said.

She calmed down. Sniffled. Wiped her eyes. Locked her gaze to his. "What does this have to do with love? Love?" she asked. "Love," she stated. "Hah! That's for the big folk. Not us. You don't love me. How? How can you? You can't! You don't know me." She looked at the old scratches damaging the seat. "I don't even love me."

"You don't mean that," he offered.

"Don't tell me what I mean."

"But-- Surely it's okay-- to say-- if--" he dared. "There's all sorts of love."

"How would you know?" she asked.

"I read it. I read about it."

"Oh, you read about it." She nodded.

He sat up. She put her legs across his lap.

"Sure, there's a kind of love, between parents and children, they call that storge."


"Hmmm-mmm. And friendship love, they call philia."


"That's right. And there's agape, divine love for the created, and-- uhm-- there's another one called-- uh--" He took a deep breath.


"Well," he blushed.

"Yes!" she demanded, seeing his cheeks turn red. "Say it." She sat up beside him and pointed a finger in his face. "Say it!"

"Uh, eros."

"Which means!"

"Passion," he mumbled.

"Passion," she repeated. She added, "Desire."

"Desire," he repeated.

She cupped her hand at the base of his neck and wriggled her fingers like the legs of an insect.

He looked at her lips. She looked at his. He leaned in.

Rain pattered across the truck.

"Can I kiss you?" he asked.

"I think it's time to leave," she said, looking out the windshield.

"Oh no," he mumbled.

"Not so bad," she suggested. "But without these," she indicated their nubs, "We'll have to walk, huh?"

"Not sure I want mine to open, to be honest."

"Why's that?"

"It would mean I'm old."

"Pfft, think of the energy! The strength!" She clenched her fist and bent her arm, growling.

"Whywontyoukissme?" he blurted.

"Isn't that my right?"

"Of course, absolutely, I--"

She interrupted. "The last boy, after I kissed him, he--"

She angled away and watched the grass bend under the rain drops. She covered her eyes with both hands.

"Obey," she whispered. "Obey."

"What?" he asked.

"Because then. It's real. And we must never be real." She took her hands down. "Let's go."

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