We rode our bikes out of town, until the roads became country lanes. Ben wouldn’t tell me where we were going, except to assure me it “wasn’t too far” and, alarmingly, “he wasn’t going to murder me in a remote location and bury my body in an old drain”, which sounded way too detailed and thought-out for my liking.
In any case, I was merrily peddling along after him anyway because I honestly think, when it comes to cute boys, any common sense I might possibly possess just goes right out of the window.
“Some books wrote themselves into people’s hearts as children and lived there, all but forgotten, until a bookseller recognized the spark and reunited them. Other books held their words close, waiting on the shelf to ignite a passion in someone who hadn’t even known they were wanting.”
“Do you realize we could’ve been doing this for years if you weren’t such a pain in the ass?”
“Nah—I didn’t like you until recently.”
“Enemies-to-lovers—it’s our trope, Buxbaum.”
“You poor, confused little love lover.” A giggle shimmied through me before I set my hands on his face and said as I pulled him back to me, “Just shut up and kiss me.”
“She reads the letter again, soaking in the ink, scouring the words and the space between for answers and finding none. Something wafts off the paper, like a draft. She brings the letter to her nose. It is summer, and yet, the parchment smells of autumn, brittle and dry, that narrow season when nature withers and dies, when the windows are shuttered and the furnaces belch smoke and winter waits like a promise, just out of sight.”
“He unlaced his arms and took a step forward. “You hurt?”
“Not badly.” She tried to smile, but her lips only curved on one side. “My main problem is that I’m stuck to a cactus.”
“How’d you manage to get tangled up with a cactus?” J.T. crouched beside her and started extricating her from the prickly plant.
“Well, believe it or not, I was on my way to apologize to you when a prairie-dog hole jumped up and grabbed my shoe heel.”