Where Sea Meets Sky(9)

By: Karina Halle

“What?” I ask, trying not to feel self-conscious.

“I don’t think we’re done with each other.”

I raise my brow. “Okay . . .”

“What time is your flight?”

“Three in the afternoon.”

“How about I get you a cab home?”

I frown. “I can get my own cab.”

He rubs at the braided goatee on his chin. “How about I take you home. I shave this thing off. We do that,” he gestures to the pool table, “again, in a bed. You stay the night. In the morning, we’ll take it from there.”

I admit, it’s tempting. But slightly irresponsible. “It sounds a bit too risky when I have a thirteen hour flight tomorrow.” I’m thinking it over though and he’s studying me, waiting for me to say yes.

And I do, because I want to. It feels right. He’s right. We aren’t done with each other.

“How about I stay for a while,” I tell him, “then cab home before the sun rises. I’ll feel better. I have a knack for missing planes, trains, and automobiles.”

He bites his lip and nods. “Excellent film, by the way.” He comes over to me and kisses me softly on the lips. “Let’s go.”

We leave the billiards room and step out into the party. There are people milling about in the hallway—a woman dressed as Luigi from Super Mario, a guy dressed as Ferris Bueller—and though we totally look like two people who just shagged themselves silly, everyone’s too drunk to even make a remark about it.

Hand in hand, we weave through the party and into the night.

It takes us a long time to catch a cab—no surprise since they’re in such high demand tonight. It seems that the province has just as strict drunk-driving rules as we do back home.

We walk for blocks through boisterous suburban streets with houses decorated with all things spooky, listening to firecrackers going off and the subdued beat of music pouring from random house parties. In the distance, police sirens wail. In a way, it’s almost romantic. It has to be at least one a.m. and though the world around us swirls with life, it feels like we’re the only two people left alive.

I was smart enough to bring a jacket with me—Halloween in the southern hemisphere happens in the spring, not autumn—but even though the air is damp and chilly, I’m still high from the orgasm and subdued by the beer; it keeps my nerves alive, my blood warm.

Walking beside Josh helps, too. Though he doesn’t have a coat or anything, he still radiates a kind of heat that draws me to him. I want to know more about him, soak him all up. I want to talk to him about his art but I’m afraid doing so will bring me down, and I can’t afford to be that way. Not now. Art used to be everything to me. Now it reminds me of too much loss.

So we talk about travel instead.

“Have you ever wanted to see your sister overseas?” I ask, remembering what he said about her being in Spain.

He nods. “Yeah, for sure.”

“Would you go traveling anywhere else?”

He seems to think about that for a moment. “Probably somewhere else in Europe. It depends what she has in mind.”

“But would you go alone somewhere?” I press. When he doesn’t answer I say, “I think you should. It will open your eyes.”

He looks at me curiously. “Has it opened your eyes?”

The truth is, I’m not sure that it has. Not in the way I wanted it to. So I smile at him and say, “You should come to New Zealand.”

He laughs. He doesn’t realize I’m not saying it to be polite. I’m half-serious. He should go there. Everyone should.

“I’d love to,” he says. “But you know . . .”

I can hear him finishing his sentence in his head. Work, possibly school. Lack of money. Life. There’s always something. There had always been something for me, some excuse not to go, until suddenly it was really my only choice.

“Well, I’d show you a good time.”

He squints at me. “Am I showing you a good time?”

I shrug. “Sure.”

He reads my bluff. He stops in the middle of the sidewalk and puts his hand behind my head, pulling me to him. “Bullshit,” he whispers before kissing me hard. I almost go dizzy, swirled in desire all over again, like melting soft-serve.

We only pull apart when we hear the sound of an approaching car and the air around us dances in the sharp glare of headlights. It’s a cab and he immediately raises his hand to flag it down. He grabs my arm and gives me a look. “I’m showing you a great time.”

Of course, he’s right.

We get in the cab and make out in the back like horny teenagers, all groping and hungry kisses. It’s not long before he tosses money at the annoyed driver and we stumble out of the cab and into the front yard of his house. It’s tall and narrow and even in the dim streetlights I can tell it’s immaculately kept.

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