The day we caught the train.
Never saw it as the start.
Its more a change of heart.
A warm wave breeze ruffles over our shoulders. Twisting loose strands of hair into the air. A wave breeze- one that flows in from the south west. Smooths over the waves and pushes them against the breakers- curls them up and over themselves. Sends them rolling and cresting and dark blue over the sand. Brings that tangible smell of salt and ocean and sky.
I can hear them in the distance, crashing and rocking in their steady determination to wipe clean every mark. Muffled though, like a soft swish in the back of my mind. I'm rocking like them, only soft and slow and without any determination- no plans or purpose. Stretched out on a chipped white swing. Hung inches above the ground by red rusty chains and creaking with every move. Swaying slowly on this blue-grey porch, wrapped around this peeling white building.
More relaxed than I've ever been- more satisfied than I've ever felt. Warm, and soft, and loved. Completely drained. So completely, pleasantly drained in a way that only the sun can make me. A way that only long mornings and short afternoons on the sandy shore, with sunscreen and towels and salty water, can leave me lazy. Can pull every bit of energy out of me. Leaving me sun-soaked, eyes closing, and stretched out on worn blue and white striped pillows. Leftover breezes tangling with my hair. Creaking and barely moving while the late afternoon sun slides streaks of light through gaps in the wood. Painting my toes light orange and glancing off the dull chipped black nail polish.
So, so fulfilled.
Because she's wrapped around me. Her toes, peach colored courtesy of the fading sun, are lying beside mine, her lazy body wrapped and tangled with my own. Her dark brown locks brushing against my neck in curls and her soft breath teasing my cheek. Spilling warmth and residue sun over my body. Pressing salt stained skin into mine.
Smelling like the ocean.
Smelling like fucking heaven.
She stirs slightly, shifting long legs and trailing slender fingers across my abdomen. Leaning up on an elbow, she peeks open her big brown eyes. Brown eyes that I swear steal that warm glimmer from the ocean sun itself. She smiles slow and warm, teeth beared in such a free, simple grin that I have to smile back. That I curl my mouth up to match her's without even thinking about it. Taste the salt on my lips. Her fingers press small pleasure burns into my hip, her arm resting across my stomach. I slide my hand from the small of her back to push down an unruly curl poking up from the top of her head.
"Tired?" She husks, licking her lips. I can still feel the sun smile on my lips.
"Yeah." I mumble back. Her brown eyes totally drawing me in. Not that they ever let me go. She leans forward. Presses a kiss onto my chin.
"Me too." She sighs, slow and happy. My eyes flutter shut for a second. Her breath against my neck. Another kiss on my jaw. "Wanna go inside?" She mutters against my half-burnt skin. One hand roaming my stomach, sending goose bumps in its wake. My fingers tighten in her hair. My other hand slides across her back. Eyes sliding down the length of our tanned bodies. Stretched and twined. Impossibly close.
"Yeah." I answer into dark salty hair. I feel her smile against my neck.
Bu-bump, thud thud, thunk.
"Ow." The word's muffled. Dangling somewhere above us.
"Dumb ass." Another voice drifts down. Long hair swishes down over the porch roof. Jenna grins. "Waddup Spashley?" She asks. Hanging upside down over the edge of the roof. The brand new stud in her nose half-blinding me. She's smirking- familiar, expected, saracastic. Rebellious even with no reason to be. She's totally ruining this moment.
Ashley burrows her head into my bare neck. Nose pressed across my collarbone. Annoyed but not surprised by Jenna's horrible timing. She has a knack for it. I tighten my arms around Ashley and shake my head. Half-smiling, half a second from giving Jenna "the look". The one that tells her I was about to get some. Only, less crude and more subtle and kind of scary coming from me.
I raise an eyebrow. Jenna opens her mouth. Apologizing with wide eyes and a sudden relization. Apologizing for something I"m not sure needs a sorry. Maybe its a best friend rite of tradition? Chloe's head slides over the shingled edge. She grins stupidly. Great. She's high. But I can't help smiling back, just as stupidly, just as sun drenched. I can't help rolling my eyes. I can smell the pot now, wafting through the sea breeze. And though I haven't smoked any in a really long time, I recognize it. But it smells stale, and empty. Old compared to my living, breathing Ashley-drug. Wrapped around me and just as tangible.
Ashley over pot.
See how things change?
"I'm coming down!" Chloe announces. Jenna puts a firm hand on her shoulder. Sending her an amused look.
"I don't think you can." She says. Subtext-ish. Her sparkling eyes turn back to me. "We're gonna go get stoned." She says, flashing a devilish smirk. Beside her, Chloe chuckles.
"Already am." She says. Then laughs like its the funniest thing she's ever heard. Rolling over onto her back. Its utterly contagious. Ashley's laughter shakes her body along mine and I grin. I laugh too.
"Wow." Ashley mutters into my shoulder, smirking. Jenna clings to the edge of the roof and laughs that catching chuckle of her's. Maybe it is the funniest thing I've ever heard. Maybe this is the best thing I've ever had.
Maybe, or positively, this porch, this shore, this life, isn't going to be the same after these memories.
And maybe for the first time, I'm completely caught up in them.
Two dark heads disappear back over the roof. Jenna and Chloe retreat back to their window, the one opening out onto the roof. Maybe we shouldn't have given them that room. Ashley's face is still in my neck. Still breathing soft on my skin.
"So." She says. Words drifting into the dimming evening. She shifts her cheek on my collarbone. Turning her eyes to the midnight water. Everything's shading light blue and grey, final rays streaking down the sand. I tighten my arms around her, because I can. Because she is here, in my arms, on this porch. And I am falling so fast.
"So." I breathe out. But there's no pressure behind the words. Just a soft syllable to remind me that I'm really here.
"Do you want to go upstairs?" She asks softly. Turning her eyes up to me. Just barely turning her lips up. I smile with my eyes.
You and I should ride the coast and wind up in our favorite coats just miles away.
Roll a number, write another song.
The sheets are soft and warm and twisted around us. Looped through my legs and around her waist and tangled beneath me. She tightens her arm around my waist and presses a kiss into my neck. I'm on my side, back to her. Facing the wide window, facing the sunny beach. The brightest light flooding the room the way it does every morning we've been here. Waking me up at ten with glaring, gorgeous sun on my warm sheets. With her wrapped up around me. I blink sleep out of my eyes.
"Morning." She husks into my shoulder. I half-roll onto my back, careful not to land on her. She grins at me. I grin back. I blush back.
"Morning." I answer. She kisses my cheek and I shut my eyes. I smile and blush and tighten my hands in the sheet. Young, not totally naive, but falling in love. She stretches, rolling onto her back. I shift to my side to watch her. She grins and flushes under my gaze. I chuckle a litte, because I can't help it. It happened.
She slides a hand over my waist and I tangle with my own. Move in a little to touch her. Still smiling, she rolls into me, pressing our bodies together. All tangled with sheets and limbs and under sunlight.
All tangled and unbeliavably so. Tangled tight and hard and only coming closer.
She looks at me, with dark dark brown eyes, eyes that know me so well now. Eyes that have so much more to learn and ones that want to. Eyes that pulled me all the way here, through hoops and hard. Eyes that still catch me up. Still mute the world.
Those brown eyes.
They turn subtly deeper, bore a little harder. A little more serious.
"I love you." She says. Speaks into the inches of space between us, pushes into my heart. Said so blissfully, and her eyes twinkle the second the words leave her lips. They sparkle and laugh and warm. "I love you, Spencer." She says it again, like maybe she didn't believe it the first time. Like maybe the words are just as thrilling and expected as they are to me. I put my hands on her face. Softly, softly kiss her bottom lip.
"I love you." I tell her, in the sunny morning, in that white bed, under that grey ceiling. To those brown, sparkling eyes and that tan cheek. Into that soft mouth. I kiss her again. She wraps her arms around me. She loves me in that morning beach light, with the waves crashing against the sand. With the laughter from the shore drifting into the window. With an easy, slow forever feel.
When my eyes can finally open, and the sweat has dried on my skin, while her toes are touching mine and my nose in on her shoulder, I finally feel like I'm breathing. I can finally see the reality of this. Her and me, and the huge impact of us, together, on my life. The way that everything has changed. How I can feel her inside. The pure happiness laced through this room.
"I love you." I whisper. To her closed eyes. She smiles with them still shut and turns her head to me. There's this almost unbearable, completely amazing estatic feeling right in my chest. It makes me want to dance or run. Makes me want to wrap her up. Makes me want to lay here and stare at her.
"I love you too." She's not afraid to say the words again. They taste so sweet. But they feel even sweeter. I want to hold them back, save them. Save them for days when I need them. Because right now I can feel it. I can feel it as tangible as the sheets. As warm as the sun. Its more than words. These tiny, perfect syllables. Little drops of sunshine on my skin.
A little bit of everything.
He sipped another rum and coke and told a dirty joke.
Walking like Groucho sucking on a number 10.
Rolling on the floor with the cigarette burns, walked in.
The porch floor is sandy and rough. Rounded holes, thrusting nails, slick splinters under toes. My bare feet touch it brazenly. Pad across the weathered wood, two sweating plastic cups in my hands. The sticky taste of lukewarm beer in my mouth. The smell of cigarettes in my nose. Salt all over my skin. Pouding music in my ears- something like 311 or Pepper. Something beachy. Spring break-y. Which makes sense.
I find my way back to our claimed beach chairs. Plastic and metal, ripped in places. Postioned perfectly on the porch, right in front of a gap in the rail. Pushed close together so our hands can entwine without reaching. They don't stare as much anymore. It doesn't mean they don't care. Just means they're getting over it.
I hand her the red cup and take my seat. She slides her finger over a drop of water rolling down the side. Rubs it onto my bare leg. Then smirks. I roll my eyes and laugh. She takes a long sip. Eyes on the beach. Rolling waves, mute due to the music. Barely visible sand in the dark night.
"Wanna go swimming?" She asks, turning her head to me. With a devilish smirk on her face. I crease my eyebrows. Judging her seriousness. She raises hers. I smile.
"Yeah." I place the cup on the porch. Reach my hand out for her's. She grabs it, lets me pull her up. Lets me tug her down the stairs, then slides her hand across the small of my back. Pushes sand with her toes onto my sticky legs. Brushes hips and shoulder and spreads warmth. The guys at the bonfire are watching with barely covered stares. Eyes sneaking back to follow our path, hands paused on footballs, beers halfway to mouth. I blush a little. Ashley rolls her eyes and flips them off.
"Hey Jason, you might want to watch that!" She calls out to them. The guy glances down to where she gestures. The rest of their eyes follows. Below him, his towel is burning bright orange in the sand.
"Shit!" He hops off it, kicks sand in the direction. Shoots Ashley an embarrassed glance. She just rolls her eyes. So cool and contained, arm steady around me. Stepping up in grand style, with every bit of quiet, charming courage she has. Our feet slide across the sand. Continue into the dark privacy the night affords. When our feet brush the cool water, she lets go of me.
She steps back and crosses her arms over her tank. Slides her fingers under the cloth. My eyes shoot back to guys. She takes off her shirt and I grin and shake my head. Placing my hands on my shirt, sliding it off myself.
"Are you sure..?" I look back at the guys, a little doubt in my eyes. She chuckles.
"What? Are they gonna steal our clothes and hide 'em?" She reaches out for my hand. I just laugh and hit it away. Unbutton my skirt before I let that slip of nervousness freak me out. I slide it down and step into calf deep water. Tossing her skirt onto the sand, she follows. She presses her body against mine. There's a shoot of nervous deep in my stomach. A slight need to look back at the shore, to watch for some sort of danger. But she's here, touching me. Taking my hand and with it my hesitation. Maybe I should be hesitant. Maybe she's had more to drink than me. Maybe I should pull us both out of the water and just go home. Return to utter privacy. Forsake this quiet thrill.
She kisses me. Pushes her mouth against mine in half-drunken clumsiness, but she's still amazing at it. Still tracing just the right spots. Sliding her hands down perfectly. Waves splashing cool drops onto our thighs.
I kind of forget to leave.
I missed the crush and I'm home again.
Stepping through the door with an whiling just an hour away.
Stepping to the sky and the star bright feeling its a brighter day.
Mom's at the head of the table. Back straight just to show us how, napkin in her lap, eyes on the whole table. Quick, sharp eyes and an even sharper smile. An even quicker mouth.
She doesn't really scare me.
Dad's eyes are on his food. Studying the lasagna for a flaw, I'm sure. He won't find one. His is the best. He glances up, maybe feeling my eyes on him. Maybe tapping into that weird father thing that he has a handle on. He grins, wide and friendly. I smile back.
Glen's head is bent over the food. Concentrating more on getting it in his mouth than tasting it. He seriously has half the lasagna on his plate. He seriously must be stupid. He is so dumbly lovable, so accepting. So quick, just under the surface. He has that edge my mom does. He doesn't carry the same mean streak.
Clay's barely picking at his food. Nervous about meeting Chelsea and his baby tomorrow. I am just as nervous. Bringing up old memories and a past that barely holds that title has him sketchy. Fork limp in his hand. He'll be fine. He has us. And maybe he doesn't know it, but he has Chelsea. And he definitely doesn't know it, but he has the world at his fingertips.
Ashley's beside me. The newest and definitely most out of place addition to the family. Biting into a hunk of lasagna and flicking her eyes through the awkward silence. The girl who blows off curious guys, but hesitates around my family. Her second family dinner and she's already a victim of the Carlin death silence. My mom's eyes are trained on her.
Glen already did, Clay always has, and my dad admitted that he found out last year. My mom flipped. But this is me now and who I have been and Ashley hasn't backed down yet. That helped. Mom cried and yelled and did a little physcho bitch on me. I survived. In fact, it was easier than I expected.
Ashley's foot bumps mine under the table. She glances over when I touch my bare foot against her's.
"Spencer!" She mouths quickly, sending me a hard look. I grin. She's nervous. I run my toes under her jeans. She yanks her foot away, banging it loudly on her chair. Four heads come up, eyes on us. She blushes.
She actually blushes.
"Oops." She apologizes. I bury my smile and look into my plate.
"So, Ashley." My mom takes this as a cue to lay into Ashley. Ashley meets her eyes nervously. She admitted to me that Paula scares the bejeezus out of her. I rest a hand on her leg. "Why Spencer?"
"Ok, I think we're done." I smile brightly, sliding out of my seat. I want to know- I want to ask myself. I do not want my mom to hear the answer. Ashley follows me, scooping up her plate. Sending Mom a relieved smile.
We clang our plates into the sink. I shake my head and smile. Turn to Ashley who looks out of place in this pristine white and yellow room. She lives in dark the way I live in warmth.
"Sorry." I apologize for my mom. She shakes her head and breathes out. Rolling her eyes heavenward.
"Your mom. Is crazy." She says quietly. Like Mom can hear us two rooms away. I chuckle. She follows me up the stairs.
When you find that things are getting wilder, dont you want days like these?
Its finally warmer outside. The sun is finally peering out in the morning and not retreating until late afternoon. Finally burning bright and hot down on us. Unfourtunately, its five in the morning and the sun hasn't made an appearance yet. Morning practice sucks. The moon's still hanging high. The sky's grey and cool. The car is warm and safe and so familiar after months of riding in it.
Ashley's behind the wheel, gazing out onto the mostly empty street. I find myself staring. She is so gorgeous. Hair pulled back and curly, in a t-shirt and shorts. So completely mine and comfortable. Morning like these I feel on top of the world. I feel untouchable. I feel like I'm her's.
I am so in love with her.
With the way she taps her fingers on the wheel in time with the music, and doesn't even realize she's doing it. The way she wears her beat up brown flips flops everywhere when its warm. Her long basketball shorts and the tournament shirt hanging loose on her. The hair band around her neck. The silver ring on her finger and the matching one on mine.
How I know all of this- how I've seen it all so many times. How each ones hold a memory. So that even when I've run out of new things on her, I just love the old ones even more. The way I've come to realize that I can never run out of new things. We change and shift and laugh every day and annoy the hell out of our friends with our bliss. The tiny fights that we bitch at each other about, only to make up the next morning. Or that night, with Ashley coercing Mom into lettting her inside the house.
Hell, I sound lovesick.
Her body and the way I know every inch of it. Every freckle and muscle and scar. Her arm stretched to the wheel, lean and tan, has been around me so many times. Has melted to my form and belongs somewhere on me. Feels natural.
Spencer and Ashley.
Everyone knows us, who we are, what we are to each other. Even our basketball coach, who tells us to cool the PDA. Even the principal, who just kind of sighs when she sees us. We've broken every rule and I don't see why we should stop now.
Not everything's perfect. I don't think its supposed to be.
She turns to me and smiles, white teeth against brown skin. I grin back, caught staring, and reach for the radio station. She catches my hand.
"I like this song."
"You like every song." I tease and pull her fingers from the knob. She grabs on and starts singing. Turning it up. I grin.
"And I guess that's why they call it the blues! Time on my hands-" I press my hand over her mouth and she swerves left, laughing. I just turn it down.
"No, my name's Ashley. You'd think you would know that by now."
"Sorry, you look a little like one of my other girlfriends."
"You look a little like a monkey." I laugh.
"What?" She chuckles, laughing and trying to drive.
"I- I had nothing. Your tank top is distracting."
"Your face is distracting."
"Was that supposed to be insulting, because-" I lean over and kiss her cheek.
"Let's go to McDonalds."
"McDonalds sucks. The color scheme is disgusting."
"You know I love you, right?"
She sighs. She's smiling.
She turns left and pulls in McDonalds.
When you find that things are getting wilder, don't you need days like these?