He kept his eyes resolutely locked on the sign ahead, ignoring what was happening outside. “Aren’t you done yet?” he asked.
“Don’t look!” she cried out. In spite of himself, he looked out the passenger-side window, but all he could see was the top of her head. A few moments later, she stood up, pulling her pants up at the same time. He hastily turned his attention to the Deer X-ing sign ahead.
“Were you peeking?” She inquired as she zipped up her pants.
“I’m not into watching girls pee,” he laughed. “And watch out for the puddle.”
“What? Shit!” She cried out, looking at her shoes.
“Great,” he laughed again. “The car’s going to smell like pee the rest of the trip.”
“You distracted me,” she pouted as she slid back into the passenger seat.
“You could have told me sooner, that you needed to go. There was a rest stop about fifteen miles back.”
“I didn’t need to go then.”
“Really?” He shook his head as he stepped on the accelerator pulled back onto the road. “You didn’t need to go then, but ten minutes later you had me pull over so you could pee on the side of the road?”
“Whatever,” she groaned. He chortled quietly for a few seconds before restarting the audiobook they had been listening to. They rode together for several miles in quiet companionship, he focused on the road ahead while she looked out the window, enjoying the sight of the trees and the snowcapped mountains in the distance.
“I don’t want to be in a relationship,” she announced suddenly, keeping her gaze on the passing landscapes.
She hit pause and the car became silent, save for the sound of the tires on the asphalt road, and the roar of the engine. “I said, I don’t want to be in a relationship.
“I wasn’t aware you were considering it,” he deadpanned, smirking slightly as he said it.
“Smart ass,” she grumbled. He laughed again.
“Where is this coming from?” He inquired, curious as to why she decided to revisit the old conversation yet again.
“Because I know you,” she shrugged. “I know you want us to be a couple.”
“I suppose,” he replied, “but I’m okay with how things are.”
“Are you really?” She asked, skeptically.
“For reals, I am. I know you’re not ready for anything, and truth be told, I’m not very good at them, either. All my previous attempts ended badly for me. I suck at being a boyfriend.”
“I don’t think you suck at anything. I think you’re just a little too insecure.”
“Wouldn’t you be,” he grumbled, “if you were cheated on by every person you’ve been with?”
“I have, for the most part, been cheated on,” she added when she caught side of his quizzical look. “No one values honesty and fidelity anymore.”
“I do,” he muttered unhappily.
“I know you do,” she replied soothingly, patting his arm, “and so do I, but are we really a fit for each other, or are we misfits that found each other and we just settled?”
“I think we click because we get each other,” he said pensively. “We understand each other, and we’re a match for each other intellectually. Frankly, I think you’re just a shade smarter than I am.”
“Guys hate it that I’m smarter than they are. They don’t get me and it intimidates them.”
“But I’m not most guys, and I’m attracted to you because of your intellect.”
“Most guys just like my ass,” she guffawed.
“You do have a nice ass,” he admitted. “Hey, I might have looked at time or two!” He added defensively. “I might like your body, but I love your mind and your soul. I love our conversations. I’ve never had anyone quite like you. I enjoy your companionship.”
“But you want more, don’t you?”
“You know I do,” he confessed. “I think we’re good for each other, but I understand you hesitation. That’s why I don’t push it. You don’t want to be hurt again.”
“Yeah, but it’s more than that. I don’t want to hurt you. I love you too much for that.”
“I know you do,” he nodded. “That’s why I’m content to let things be the way they are. I love you too, and I’d rather keep the status quo rather than to force something that isn’t there. I’d rather keep you as a friend than to see you go as an ex-girlfriend. I can’t see myself without you. My life’s better with you in it.”
“Mine too,” she sighed. “But I do think about it. About us. I wonder if maybe there’s something there.”
“I think there might be, but I don’t want to rush it. I think if something’s going to happen, it will eventually. If not, then I have a great friend in my life.”
“But you want to sleep with me.”
“I wouldn’t mind if our friendship came with some benefits,” he admitted with a mischievous smile. “I’d be okay with the occasional cuddle in front of the television.”
“That doesn’t sound too bad,” she nodded. She looked out the window and noticed a few deer lingering along the tree line. “There’s a lot of them,” she said.
“Deer. It’s getting dark and I’m seeing more and more deer coming out.”
“My uncle likes to come out here and hunt deer.”
“Barbaric,” she huffed before smiling. “Mom makes a mean venison roast. Dad used to hunt.”
“You’re changing the subject, aren’t you?”
“Yeah. I’m just confused about us, I guess.”
“Don’t worry about it,” he took his eyes off the road for a moment to look at her. “Let’s keep it the way it is and see….”
“Look out!’ she screamed.
He looked back on the road as a couple of deer leaped onto the road. He jerked the steering wheel to the right, trying to avoid hitting the buck but hit him, causing him to lose control. The car skidded into the ditch and missed hitting a tree by less than a foot.
He looked over to see her leaning forward, her head bleeding and a the passenger window shattered but not broken.
“Lana!” He cried. “Lana!”
“Fuck,” she moaned.
“Are you okay?”
She moaned again but didn’t say anything else.
He pulled out his cellphone and dialed 911.
“Dean?” she moaned in a pained voice.
“I love you, man. Just remember that, okay. I love…you.”
“I love you, too. Are you okay?”
“Yeah. No,” she shook her head slightly. “My head hurts.”
“The ambulance is on its way.”
“How’s the car?”
“Screw the car. How are you?”
“Been better,” she smiled weakly, her eyes unfocused. “I think I’ll be okay.”
“You better be. I don’t want to lose you. Not like this. Not at all.”
“You won’t lose me. I promise. I’m yours.”
“Yeah. I don’t know what that means exactly, but I know it’s the truth.” Lana waited for him to respond, but after waiting for a few moments she turned to see if he was okay. “Dean? You okay?”
“I’m…not…sure,” he groaned. “I’m feeling…funny.”
“Ambulance is here,” she said, seeing the flashing red and blue lights. “It’s going to be okay. Don’t leave me, okay?”
“I promise,” he said weakly, his strength failing. I’m yours, too.”
Next story –
Previous story – Fortitude
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Powerful! Well done! One thing… DO THEY BOTH MAKE IT?
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