He checks his watch by the abundant moonlight.
Too much moonlight, in his opinion, for their purposes.
“Just about time,” he informs with the tone of a man in control.
He puts his driver’s side window down and listens.
She pulls her sweater up around her neck.
He catches his reflection in the mirror. The pressure is getting to him. Lines on his face look deeper.
A branch scrapes on her window and she almost jumps out of her skin.
He turns and puts his finger to his lips.
They wait in silence.
Finally he opens his door and steps out. He looks around nervously. He nods to her.
She slowly gets out of the car.
He flips his coat collar up.
“You can never be too careful,” he begins, staring out over the ocean. “One wrong move. One mistimed step… I don’t know what drives me to take these chances. The thrill? Maybe. Refusing to put up with the status quo? Perhaps. I really shouldn’t have involved you though. You weren’t ready. I mean… how could you be? What if an employee showed up and you panicked?”
“Does this place actually have employees?”
“Naw. Not really. It’s just a park with nature trails and trees.”
“So what were we waiting for?”
“Uhm. For closing time to hit and for someone to put the chain across the entrance… locking us inside.”
“The entrance that’s a good mile away from here?”
“You’re a dork.”
“There is the slight chance of that…”
She closes her door. He does the same and joins her
He leads the way down the wide path towards the beach.
“Wanna skip some rocks?” he asks.
“Sure. I’m not very good…”
“I’ll teach you. I went to school on a rock-skipping scholarship.”
“Is that so?”
“You should have seen me in my rock-skipping uniform. My raven hair blowing in the wind.”
“Raven… Is that Canadian for gray-flicked?” she asks.
“Now that’s just hurtful.”
“There are gray flecks!”
“Clearly you’ve never competed at the highest levels of international rock skipping.”
“I haven’t,” she admits
“It changes a man…”
He selects a good rock. He licks his finger and holds it up to test for wind.
She rolls her gorgeous brown eyes.
He loosens up.
He skips the rock. Seven splishes and a sploop.
He selects another rock and passes it to her.
She tries and the rock skips six times.
She jumps with excitement.
That fades quickly.
“I want to beat your score,” she cutesneers.
“Uhm… there’s something else I want to show you.”
He takes her hand and leads her up a nearby path.
After a short walk, it opens up onto a wooden walking bridge over a river, far below.
“Is this safe? Seems a little sway-y.”
“It was in perfect shape last time I was here.”
“When was the last time you were here?”
“If it’s November now… (mumbling)… Fifteen years ago.”
“Maybe you should drive me home. I think I left my stove on.”
“It’ll be fiiiiine,” he assures.
He drags her by the hand to the middle of the bridge. He points south. She looks. She gets it.
Lights from the other side of the water sparkledance.
He takes his coat off, places it on the bridge and motions for her to sit.
He joins her.
“My butt thanks you,” she says.
“Your butt thanks me every time you walk away, baby.”
“Did you really just say that?”
“Maybe. Oh! A shooting star.”
They watch it.
“It’s gorgeous,” she whispers.
“Make a wish!” she commands, grabbing his arm.
“I made my wish… But, really, it’s already come true.”
“Awww. Spending time with me?” she asks.
“No. Satellite TV. Spending time with you…”
“You think you’re pretty cute, don’t you?” she asks.
“I really do.”
They watch the stars and the water.
For a while.
“Hypothetically speaking, if you let a girl drink too much iced coffee, is there some place she might use the bathroom.”
“There are wooden bathroom dealies,” he recalls.
“Well you’ll forever have a taint on you after using it.”
“It was A LOT of coffee.”
“And the doors stick sometimes. You could be in there a while… No shower is getting that off of you. I’ll have to move on. Replace you. Granted, she won’t be adorable as you.”
“Few are,” she replies
“But she also probably won’t call me a dork as often.”
“I wouldn’t bet on that,” she mumbles.
He takes her hand again. He holds it up to his face and kisses the inside of her wrist.
He lowers their hands gently. Slowly.
“I like you,” he says matter-of-factly.
“I like you too.”