He was staring at her across the table with something like wonder.
If his peripheral vision had actualy been registering, he would be beginning to see the first few streams of rain running
down the kitchen window where they would pool in the unused flower box. The coming rain would surely wash the dust from his
69 Mustang that had collected on their journey through the back roads of nowhere. He was glad... It always gave him a sick
feeling to look at the car covered in what was essentially a plethora of very small rocks.
The clock above their new stove was clicking almost silently in a counter-rhythm to his watch. Almost seven minutes had passed
since either of them had uttered a word, but somehow it wasn't an issue. He had forgotten all about time, as he commonly did
when in her presence. If he had been able to focus on that thought alone at this moment, he would have smiled at the concept
that he now would be able to enjoy much more of her presence...a thing that she could so rarely grant him until this day.
Now none of that would matter.
She was gazing down into a catalog full of home furnishings...love
seats and lamps and curtains to decorate one's abode. If he would have asked her why she had taken such interest in this particular
catalog, she would have closed it self-consciously and insisted that she was just browsing to pass the time. There was still
a strangely awkward feeling for her associated with the step they had taken- the step into responsible adult-dom. Regardless
of any of that, he couldn't stop staring at her. Her long, straight brown hair was woven into a messy braid that became almost
nonexistent near the bottom, where it was tied with a broken shoelace. His eyes traced the curve of her jaw line and the length
of her neck beneath the braid, memorizing it.
Just as he was losing himself again, she glanced
up, catching his eyes in what seemed like an eternal moment of reality.
"What are you looking
at, Cowboy?" A small, crooked smile lit her face from somewhere deep inside like a lantern. Her long eyelashes seemed to reach
all the way to her eyebrows as she widened her eyes in interrogation.
"You," he responded simply,
hoping that his brief answer would stimulate further questions.
She laughed dryly, chewing
her lower lip ever so slightly. "Better look while you still can. When everyone finds out what I did they are going to send
an angry mob after me."
He returned a dry laugh as the rain started coming down harder. Yes,
he supposed that what they had done had been a highly unpopular idea in the minds of her strict and, in his opinion, quite
abrasive parents. The angry mob thing, however, was unlikely. What was likely was something inherently worse...they would
disown and eventually come to entirely ignore her. She would become something of their past, and they would develop a habit
of politely changing the subject when her name came up. He wondered how anyone could ever let go of something so precious
and vital to existence. Apparently, the natural requirements he associated with love were his associations alone.
"I'm really glad we did this."
Her voice cut through his thoughts and pulled his eyes back
up to meet hers. She had been fairly reluctant to voice her opinion on the matter, and he had been forced to judge her feelings
through her actions. She closed the catalog and took his hand in both of hers. He could feel every smooth centimeter of her
pale palms and the slight calluses on her fingertips as she moved them on his hand.