[A/N: The final segment of this little fic. Had to make up the name of the hotel they went to, because I can't remember it and I don't have a copy of the DVD so I can rewatch that scene.]
Fear is eating at your stomach lining.
No, it's devouring your stomach and every other organ in your body. There are two stones where your lungs should be. You can't remember how to find oxygen in the air you are sucking down like you've just escaped drowning.
You try to calm yourself by pacing around your room. When that fails, you decide to put on makeup after all. It's nothing but a method of distraction. It would be nice if you could just stop thinking—shut off your brain to gain some coherency.
Once mascara has been applied, there's nothing else for you to do. You don't own any other cosmetics—it's a pointless waste of money when your hands shake so much. You're honestly surprised that you figured out how to make makeup work for you instead of against you.
Deciding not to push your luck any further, you check to make sure that the condom is still in your bag and begin the slow, laborious climb down the stairs.
Your mom's boyfriend tries to make small talk in the kitchen, but you answer his questions mechanically because you're looking out the window, straining your eyes in hopes of catching a glimpse of Beagle.
Your attachment to him is inexplicable. But if you had to explain it to someone, you'd start by describing the way his eyes seem to glitter when it's sunny, or the nervous habits he has—biting his lip, running his fingers through his hair, staring at the ground—or even the security he offers you.
You know that his security is the one thing you can always count on.
You're still thinking about all of his odd quirks and how much you've come to enjoy them when your mom walks in, making her way to the sink, but stops when she sees your hair.
You wince internally. For a minute, you'd actually forgotten that it was cut.
"Georgia," she stammers out, incredulous, and it's been so long since you've heard someone besides Beagle or your grandmother use your name that you can almost pretend she isn't talking to you, "holy shit, your hair."
"I cut it." Your face burns. Why is she trying to embarrass you like this? It's just hair. It grows back.
"That's the last time I ever let your grandmother take you anywhere," she sighs, reaching out to touch the unruly cowlick that hangs over your forehead. "You're dressed up." Oh, now she notices that you're wearing something besides jeans and a hoodie. You can only hope that Beagle won't be so blind.
"Yeah." You cough awkwardly. "I have a date tonight."
Bad timing. Beagle has just pulled up to the curb.
"He works at your school, doesn't he?" She points an accusatory finger toward the only person you really trust, almost breaking her nail against the glass of the kitchen windowpane.
"Yeah, he does."
As you expected, she launches into a rant. "You're not going on a date with him. Absolutely not. He's too old for you, he's a teacher—"
At this, you hold up a hand, edging toward the door and groping for the knob behind your back. "Actually, he just works in the lunchroom."
You can see some strange emotion reflected in your mother's eyes. She's conflicted, torn between letting you grow up and trying to hold onto your childhood forever. She hesitates, and that one moment of indecision is all you need.
"I'm going. Let me." The words fall out of your mouth before you can stop them. Fed up, you turn to the door and wrench it open.
No one tries to stop you from leaving.
You're free to walk across the yard and climb onto the back of…whatever Beagle used to get here. It looks like a weird cross between a motorcycle and a moped.
"What is this thing?" You ask, straddling it carefully. He laughs and climbs on in front of you, securing you to his body with some kind of bungee cord. With a wave and a roar of the engine, you're tearing down the road.
"It's a motorcycle," he says, sounding proud. "You like it?"
Your press your face into the gap between his shoulder blades and inhale. Breathing in his scent is like coming up for air after being underwater in a pool—there's a strong sense of relief. Beagle's smell can calm you down when you're having a horrible day. It's just one more thing that makes you love him.
"I do." You're not looking out at your surroundings, though you've been down this particular street enough times to know that it's pleasant to look at. Beagle's fast driving is hard to get used to. You just want to keep your eyes closed and stay in your own little world, where you're always safe.
"Where are we going?" Your second question isn't so easy to answer. It makes him pause for a moment, curse under his breath, and turn sharply to the right.
The sudden shift in your center of motion is something that your fragile body can't handle. You blink hard to clear the stars from your eyes and listen over the roaring in your ears for his response.
"The Dune Hotel," he replies, sounding far away. He's hunched over the handlebars, protecting you from the spring wind. You're about to tell him that you'll be fine, that you're always warm, when you see the weather-worn sign standing tall in the distance.
He fishtails to a stop in the parking lot and unties you before jumping down. The sky has grown dark, its color marking that halfway point between day and night.
You can't believe that you're actually here, so close to doing something you've only dreamed about.
Reality finally hits: you're going to lose your virginity tonight. It will happen—you believe this with all your heart.
"Come on." Beagle gently grips your arm, guiding you to the room he's rented for the night. You follow him obediently, shuffling your numb feet against the pavement.
The hotel itself is nothing spectacular. It's basically a room with a bed, a closet, and a t.v. You scan your surroundings and realize two things simultaneously: a) there's a bathroom and b) you're dying to use it.
"I'll be right back," you manage to say, and are quick to relieve yourself. When you walk back into the room, Beagle has taken off his shoes and sprawled out on the bed. His arms are tucked loosely behind his head.
He sees you out of the corner of his eye and pats the empty space next to him. Trying to swallow the nervous lump that has suddenly popped up in your throat, you lay down, letting your tired body sink into the comfortable mattress.
No matter how exhausted you are, you still have one goal in mind.
"I'm gonna take a shower," Beagle says suddenly, jumping up and hurrying into the bathroom.
You wait, feeling yourself drift off to sleep. It's impossible to stay awake right now, no matter how much you want to.
"Hey, wake up."
Your tired eyes open slowly, feeling like sandpaper. A huge yawn engulfs you. "Damn. How long was I asleep?"
Beagle checks the clock that's hanging crookedly on the wall. "Thirty minutes, tops. Don't worry about it."
"Okay." You can't help feeling guilty for dozing off. As you gain full awareness, you realize that Beagle hasn't gotten dressed yet.
He's only wrapped in a towel.
You're only wearing a shirt and underpants.
And you definitely can't breathe right now.
You tell yourself that the sudden and total loss of oxygen is the cause of some embarrassing thoughts.
He coughs awkwardly, but doesn't move from his spot by the door. He's still staring at you, his brown eyes boring into yours.
Before you can steady yourself, he comes to sit by you on the bed.
Instinct tells you to move closer to him. You don't think, or breathe, or blink, but you will your deadened limbs to move and they do.
You're in his lap. You're sitting in his lap with your head resting on his chest and your arms hooked loosely around his neck. He presses his lips softly to the top of your head and a spark shoots through your body, turning into a molten river of desire.
You feel overwhelmed by the moment—it's so close now—and you disconnect from your body, watching the girl who is not you as she tries to close the gap separating her from the one she loves.
You're brought back to full awareness when Beagle shakily speaks, breaking the trance-like silence in the room.
"Wait, wait, wait." He holds up his hands, looking like he wants to move away but is afraid to do so. "Don't you think this is moving a little fast? I mean, I like you and all, but…" He sighs, clearly uncomfortable.
"I don't care if you like me or not," you blurt, interrupting him. "I just want to get this over with."
And so it begins, with those blunt words. He must hear the honesty, the desperation, the longing in your voice; he doesn't try to stop you from grabbing the condom. Shaking, you push it into his hands and wait.
The seconds tick by, each tiny fragment of time stretching into eons. Frustrated, you crawl between the sheets, peeling your shirt off as you go.
As he slips under the blanket beside you, the anger dissipates, replaced by an emotion that is far more potent.
You can't name the feeling, but it's raging inside you, hot and wild. One tear leaks from your eye and finally, finally, Beagle is unwrapping the condom.
His body slowly presses against yours, gently moving with you as he takes the time to let you get your bearings. This is a first for both of you, uncharted territory that you're travelling together.
You know now that there is heaven on Earth, not a specific time or place, but a person.
To you, Beagle is heaven.