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Take my hand,” he said, and for the first time in her life a lack of better judgement served her well.

They slid away from the group into the surrounding shadows, trying their best to remain unheard until they were sure they were far enough away. Then they broke into a light jog until they reached a nearby road, where they walked for some time hand in hand.

Eventually they came to a little-used portion of the road, and decided to sit down. The cool night air forced them to huddle together to keep warm.

After a long period of silence, he whispered, “any regrets?”

“None,” she answered, and knew it was true.

A little while later they decided to lie down. She could feel the cool asphalt under her, and pulled herself closer to him to keep herself warm. She breathed deep of his smell and was filled with sadness at knowing they would soon have to go back.

She thought of the others back at the party. “What do you think they’ll say if they find out about us?” she asked.

“Not sure, really…but does it matter? I mean, in the bigger scheme of things does it really matter all that much?”

“No,” she said, “I guess not.”

“Then let’s not worry about it, okay?” He pulled her closer to him and kissed her forehead. She felt a pleasant shiver rush through her body as his lips touched her skin.

She lay there for a while, her head on his chest, looking up at the clear October sky. It was as if every star in the heavens were shining down on them, and she was filled with a sense of awe that made her pull herself even closer to him. He wrapped his arms tighter around her, and there they stayed on the road, looking up at the night sky.

They were eventually roused by the glow of headlights on the horizon. He helped her get up from where she lay, and they slowly began to walk back to the party they’d left behind.

After a time, she looked over at him. The curve of his jaw, the light in his eyes…a familiar feeling stirred inside her, and made her all the more glad they’d snuck away to be together again one last time.

“Do you remember the last time we did this? I didn’t think they were going to let me back into the house!”

“Yeah,” he chuckled, “and I was kind of hoping they wouldn’t.”

She laughed at that. “I know; you were trying to convince me the whole way back not to even bother trying the door, it was probably locked, yadda yadda…then you started trying to convince me to come back to your place for the rest of the night…” she trailed off, remembering the look he’d had in his eyes that night so long ago. “Do you think things would’ve turned out differently if I had? Gone back to your place, that is.”

“Probably, but probably not for the better.”

“How do you figure?”

“We would’ve rushed things…we never would’ve had all those great conversations, never would’ve done all those things. Things needed to happen in their own time, and I’m glad they did.”

“Me too,” she said, and smiled.

They walked on further, until she asked, “so what now?”

“What do you mean?”

“What happens after tonight? I have to go back home tomorrow, and you’re moving to your sister’s…with all that distance, do you think we’ll grow apart?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “I hope not, though.”

Eventually they came to the driveway of the house they’d escaped from. They could hear voices still coming from the backyard, so they assumed no one knew where they’d gone.

She stopped him then, the need to make the moment last a little longer suddenly becoming an overwhelming ache in her heart. She pulled him close to her and looked into his eyes. “Thank you,” she said, “from the bottom of my heart, for everything you’ve done for me. You’ll never know what an effect you’ve had on my life. When we were together we were amazing, and as your friend I still feel so glad to have you in my life. I loved you then, and I always will. I just want you to know that.”

Even in the dark she could tell he was blushing, and so she couldn’t help but smile. He pulled her to him and kissed her one last time before turning to go back to the party.

At the end of the night, when it was time for everybody to leave, she walked him to the driveway. The need to hold him tight and make him stay was stronger than ever, but all she could do was smile and give him one last hug before he left. She went back in and stood by the window, watching as he got onto his bike and faded into the night. Every ounce of her wanted to run after him, beg him for one last kiss, anything to stop him from leaving…but she didn’t know why. Instead she stood where she was, softly crying as he disappeared down the road.

That was the last she ever saw of him. They spoke on the phone, but their calls grew further and further apart as time went on. One day he called her and asked if he could see her again. She refused on account of having to pack for a trip the next day. When he went to hang up his end of the connection she was suddenly overcome with the same urge to stall him, to make him talk longer, anything to keep him from hanging up…but instead she sat there and listened to the final click on the line until the dial tone began to hum.

A week later she received another phone call, but this time not from him. This time she wanted more than anything in the world to be able to take back the call that made her cry until her eyes hurt and made her feel as though her heart would die in her chest, but she couldn’t. This time all the stalling in the world couldn’t take back the simple and horrible truth: he was gone, dead at just 17, the victim of a terrible accident.

A few months later she went back to the spot in the road where they had laid down, and stood there staring up at the night sky. She could remember him so clearly: his smile, the light in his eyes, the way he smelled, the way he laughed, feeling of the cold road underneath them as they held each other and watched the stars. She was overwhelmed with grief then, and sat down on the road and cried. Eventually she lay down on the cool asphalt, only this time there wasn’t somebody else there to help keep her warm.

She lay there, looking up at the stars and thinking of him, until the glow of headlights on the horizon made her get up from where she lay. She stood there a little longer and was almost certain she could see his faint silhouette in the approaching headlights…but then the car passed, and she turned and walked away.

------
amorum vicitur...I think...



Comments

The following comments are for "Take My Hand"
by Blackfeather

well written
I enjoyed this. The dialogue and interplay was well written and the characters came across as realistic and likable. Maybe at the end when she learns of the tragedy we don't get much idea of her reaction. That was maybe the only thing and then you skipped to the end which was a good way to finish I felt. cheers smithy

( Posted by: smithy [Member] On: October 15, 2004 )

A friend who knows
She did tell us about the emotion at the end. 'She was overwhelmed with grief then, and sat down on the road and cried.' she is so sad that she can't express it, she can't even think. It's all just unconscious actions and complete agony. I’ve been there.

( Posted by: Gami [Member] On: November 19, 2004 )





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