Chain (draft excerpt)

The car rocked once more after they stopped. She stared through the mess of her blonde hair at his still-squinting face. Her hand moved up between her breasts, searching her skin for the cross that was no longer there. The windows were dark with the forest that surrounded the lookout. She checked for the headlights of other cars coming up the road. He was soft quickly and came out of her easily. Crickets sounded in the night, beyond the thumping of their hearts.

She reached for her underwear and held them between her legs. He sat up and reached for his boxers, his skin pale and freckled. They avoided each other’s eyes as he pulled them on. She slumped back into the rear passenger-side seat and tucked her hair behind her ears.

“Are you ok?” he said.

She smiled and nodded.

“Was it ok?” he said.

She laughed and rolled her eyes. He leaned in and kissed her, touching her small breasts lightly.

Headlights shone through the trees, bouncing and weaving, coming fast. They fumbled and kicked the front seats finding their clothes. A rosary swayed from the rear-view mirror, its red beads shining in the light.

He was still crawling into the driver’s seat when the car pulled in and parked a few spots to the right. The headlights went out, but the stereo’s muffled metal music grew louder as the driver rolled down the window. She saw the interior, lit for a moment by a lighter. The driver’s young face and mop of hair burned orange before an arm flopped out straight, flicking the butt.

“I’ve never been with a girl like you before,” he whispered.

She turned away from the window and looked into his shadowed face. Her underwear were bunched under her jean shorts, itching and uncomfortable.

“Why are you whispering?” she whispered.

He looked over her shoulder out the window. Laughter erupted from the neighbouring car.

“What’s that supposed to mean, anyway?” she said.


“A girl like me.”

“Nothing. It just, uh, happened so quick.”

“It felt right, right?”


She could see his teeth in the darkness. His smile drooped in the corners of his mouth, always sitting on the backdrop of a frown. She adjusted her bra and looked again out the window.

“How many guys have you been with?”

“Why? How many girls have you been with?”

“Not many,” he said.

“That’s not a number.”

“A couple.”

“Two then?”



“What difference does it make?”

“You asked.”

“I wanted to know, not tell.”

“Probably means you don’t really want to know.”

He held the wheel with both hands. She turned away. The driver’s face lit again in the fire of the cigarette. Windless, the smoke rolled slowly up into the darkness.

“You want to know how you were? In comparison?” she said.

“So you’ve had a few?”

She brought his hand to her thigh and tilted her head. He drew his hand along her skin, soft and bare. With a few quick flicks of the wrist, she put her hair up into a spiked ponytail and smoothed out the strays along the top.

“Should I take you home?” he said.

“Maybe. Soon.”

He withdrew his hand and turned the key in the ignition once to check the time.

They both squinted in the dome light.

“It was good,” she said. “You were wonderful, Tim.”



He laughed and turned the key back again. The interior lights faded slowly. She exhaled deeply and played with the rings on her fingers.

“Not like my ex. He was Terrible,” she said.


“He had no idea what he was doing.”

He stared at her in the darkness. She could feel his eyes searching for hers.

“He was so rough, always rubbing me, even while we were doing it, and hard too.”

“Rubbing you?”

“Yeah, you know,” she said and moved her hand between her legs. “Sometimeshe slapped it.”

“Slapped it?”

“He didn’t pay attention at all.”

“I always try to…”

“And it always ended too soon.”

She smiled and finally met his eyes for a moment.

“You’re sweet,” she said, looking away.

“You’re beautiful.”

He touched her cheek. They kissed and he held her left breast in the palm of his hand. She opened her eyes to make sure his were closed.

The car beside them started and backed up quickly, sending gravel flying and clanging underneath. She pulled away and watched out the window. The passenger yelled something incoherent as the car fishtailed and disappeared down the road. The red of the brake lights shone through the trees then faded with the sound of the engine.

“Are you sure your grandmother won’t be mad you took the car? Should we head back?”

“Yeah, maybe we should,” he said. “I don’t want to, though.”

She put her seatbelt on. “Yeah.”



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