A nearly unintelligible song played through the radio, shrouded in static and the echo of other stations. It wasn't nearly as hard as I'd imagined it to be, driving through the dark streets with a boat attached to my truck. Quickly, we were leaving the small town for the closest river. Me and Natalie had gone there before, but never with the looming possibility of a parent's wrath in the background. I glanced at her, face partially hidden by her bleached blonde hair. My eyes moved back to the road, and Natalie turned up the radio.
The boat splashed as we shoved it into the murky waters. Of course, at night, everything is murky. Natalie held my hand as we jumped inside, just as it started drifting. She laughed, "We should steal boats more often." I chuckled, shaking my head. Even as far away from the city as we were able to get, the stars were still dimmed, fading in and out of the dark clouds. It was peaceful, if too dark to really see anything. She sighed. "I was really hoping we'd get to see the stars for once." I nodded. Natalie was humming, as she always did. Some tune that sounded so familiar, and yet was completely unknown to me. She always refused to tell me what it was. She glanced at me, and I realized I had been staring. I turned my eyes back to the sky, face burning. "Why do you do that?" Her voice was soft, and I could feel her eyes on me just as she had probably felt mine. "Do what?"
"...You always look away." My face burned brighter, and it felt like my mouth was sealed shut. I didn't mean to stare at her as much as I did. It was just hard not to, when she sat so close. I felt the boat rock a bit as Natalie moved closer, eyes on me. I couldn't breathe, frozen in the moment, unable to look at her directly. The whole world seemed to still, only the water lapping against the boat and the sound of my own breath. Natalie was warm as she leaned into me. Her hot breath against my cheek, my eyes were locked on to the dark river, still moving by even as my whole world was frozen in anticipation and fear. Not of Natalie, never of her. But fear about what this would mean for us, how it would change not just us but the people we loved too. I felt her lips against my cheek. Even as she moved back to her original spot, the warmth of her lips stayed. Natalie sighed, and the world seemed to move again, just as it had before.
Rachelle Peiffer is a 20 year old wannabe writer from the PNW. She enjoys coffee, dogs, and thinking about writing.