Saturday 1 June 2013

#SerialSunday - Rising Up - Saturday

Photo by: Courtney Carmody
I walked Beth home, dreading leaving her at the door. I held her hand, as I had through the show, luxuriating in the contact. Her laugh was as good as I remembered, and we had both laughed a lot. I wanted to talk to her, to ask her something, but the quiet was so nice. Sharing her company was something new to me, and I didn't want to spoil it.

"This is me," she said, stopping in front of the building.

"Right." I pulled her hand up, rubbing the back of it. "Um..."

"What are you doing tomorrow?" she asked.

I met her eyes, blinking in surprise. "N-nothing," I stuttered.

She looked at our joined hands and put her other hand around mine as well. "My parents have a cabin on the lake. I was thinking of going fishing. Do you fish?" she asked, looking up with those dark eyes, soulful and bottomless.

"I... I haven't," I admitted. "But I'd like to," I added quickly.

She smiled shyly and looked at our hands again. "I only have one pole, but I'm sure we can share."
I put my free hand to her cheek, my thumb rubbing the apple. She met my eyes again, this time seeming almost frightened.


She blinked and swallowed. "You were going to kiss me again," she said slowly.

I blushed a little. "Would you rather I didn't?" I asked.

Her eyes widened and she shook her head. "I..." She leaned forward on her toes and put her lips to mine. I smiled against her mouth as I bent down, allowing her to settle back on her heels.

We each pulled our hands free. Mine found her waist as I continued to caress her cheek. Hers clutched my shoulders, pulling me to her.

I wondered sometimes how I didn't just sweep her up every time I saw her, how I stayed in my office, how I got anything done. Some days I didn't. Gary knew; he'd bust my chops every time he caught me daydreaming in her direction, daydreaming of this.

Her lips were soft and warm and tasted faintly of cherry. Behind that, there was the sweetness of cilantro from dinner. My tongue, almost of its own accord, brushed her lip, wanting to taste more.
She gasped and opened her mouth against mine, my breath pulled into her. I went with it, letting her pull my soul into her. I didn't want it without her anyway.

How had I fallen so hard for this girl? I had girlfriends before, a couple since I had met Beth, but none of them made me feel like this. They made me feel light, tingly, good. Beth made me feel grounded. At the same time she threw away everything that wasn't me. All the walls and safeguards I put up around myself were suddenly gone and there was only her.

She broke the kiss, her eyes fluttering. I hadn't blinked, I was sure. Her eyes found mine and I felt myself smile.

"Peter," she whispered. "I think I should go upstairs now."

I brushed her face with my hand again. "Before you do something reckless?" I teased her.

She nodded, face serious.

"Tomorrow?" I asked.

"Pick me up at seven," she said, smiling now.

My jaw dropped. "In the morning?" I verified.

She giggled and nodded. "Fish are easier to catch early in the morning. I'd ask you to pick me up at six, but you probably wouldn't want to."

I thought about it a moment. "I'll pick you up at six."

Her smile broadened and she kissed me again, pressing her body into mine. This time my eyes closed, opening when she chuckled.

"What?" I asked.

"You look like you just went to a very happy place."

I closed my eyes again, smiling. "I did."

"Take me with you?" she asked, teasing.

Little did she know it was only happy because she was there. "Promise," I said instead.

I didn't sleep much that night. I couldn't get Beth out of my head. So I texted her at five.

Too early? -P

I'm up. Just braiding my hair. -B

How can you braid and text? -P

Shut up and come get me. -B

Yes'm -P

I grinned as I hit send. She didn't often get bossy with me, I kinda liked it. Slipping the phone in my jeans pocket and pulling on a flannel shirt and ball cap I headed out the door. The hat felt odd on my head. I almost never wore one. My hair was probably my best feature, inherited from my mother. Hers curled even more than mine. 'Goldilocks', Dad would call her.

I took a moment, holding the handle of my door, to remember losing them. Fucking Dad and the fucking car after the fucking booze. It wasn't Sarah's fault, but her memory might have been to blame. I was sure it was.

With another deep breath I closed the door behind me.

Beth was already downstairs when I arrived, one dark braid over each shoulder.

"This is how," she said, waggling one at me. "I'd just finished this one."

I grinned. "Ah. That makes sense. Did you want to drive?"

Her eyes went wide again. "Really?"

I smirked. "Why not? You know where the cabin is and I don't." I tossed her the keys, and she giggled a little running around me to hop into the driver's seat. I didn't often think about my car, but she was probably excited to get behind the wheel. Thanks to the insurance on my parents' van, which my drunken father had wrecked, and the sale of Mom's compact, I'd been able to purchase something completely impractical for myself. I loved my 'vette.

"You're sure?" she asked again, looking up at me from behind the wheel. She looked like she belonged there. She wasn't a short woman and had only moved the seat a notch toward the pedals.

"I'm positive." I leaned down to kiss her and she blushed as I did, grabbing the beak of my cap and tweaking it with a giggle.

"I don't think I've ever seen you wear one of those before."

I laughed too, backing up and circling the car. "You haven't, but like the shirt, it seemed fitting." I picked up her pole and tiny tackle box, putting them behind the seats.

She laughed again. "Yes, I have seen you wear flannel, but only on Red Green day."

I remembered with her. Another one of Gary's infamous ideas. Let's all pretend to be characters on The Red Green Show while the crew is in renovating the office. I shuddered remembering the number of 'handyman' jokes that had flown that day.

"It's not the same without the suspenders." I was in the seat now, and she ran a hand down one side of my chest where my suspender would have been had I been wearing them. My breath caught and I felt myself stiffening at her touch.

She must have realized because her jaw dropped and she pulled her hand away. She put it on the gear shift instead. I covered her hand lightly with my own, leaning over to kiss her cheek before belting in.

She bounced a little as my belt clicked. She turned the key and closed her eyes at the purr of the engine. "I can't believe this."

I laughed again. "Believe it because it's really happening."

She laughed again and backed out of the spot I'd parked in. "I'll be careful," she promised.

The lake was only twenty minutes away, fifteen with the utter lack of traffic this early in the morning. She pulled in beside one of ten or so cabins along the south edge of the lake. The wind chopped up light froth on the water. The smell of the trees as we opened the door replaced the stale, smoggy, city smell in my car.
Photo by: Christine J Warner

Beth pulled out the box and rod while I rounded the car again, offering my hand.

She took it and led me down to a wharf next to the boat launch. A number of small boats were tied to it. I felt the wind tug at my hat, but my hair kept it lodged in place. Beth stood for a moment watching the sun in the east. It was over the horizon, but just barely, still pink.

I moved slightly behind her, dropping her hand to put it around her waist, my other on her near hip. I put my cheek to hers to enjoy the view with her.

She suddenly shook her head a little. "We'll miss all the fish at this rate." She bent, setting the box down and opening it, pulling out a lure.

"I didn't come for fish," I whispered.

She must have heard me, because I saw her cheek twitch in a smile and turn a little pinker. It was true. I couldn't care less about whether or not anything nibbled on that string, as long as I spent the day with her.

But a few things did nibble the line: a really tiny trout that made her laugh, a slightly larger perch, and finally, something that she needed help pulling out of the water.

"What is this?" I asked, holding the squirming fish in my arms while she pulled out the hook. We weren't keeping it, so I only held it tight enough for her to work. As soon as her hands were free, I let it slip back into the water.

"It was a pike." She knelt to watch the shadow as the large fish swam away. She was so cute, hanging half off the dock.

She turned to look at me and laughed.

I frowned, not knowing what was funny.

"You're covered in scales!" she managed to squeak out while still giggling.

I looked down to see my flannel shirt covered in slime and fish. Vain as ever, I was quickly deflated by both my shabbier appearance and the laughter of the girl I loved. "Great," I muttered. I turned and headed toward the cabins, stalking. I started unbuttoning my shirt.

Beth didn't follow immediately, she called to me though. "Peter! Oh, no, Peter, I'm sorry! Please wait?"
I didn't, I was in a snit. I tossed my shirt on the ground and climbed a fence to land on her parents' cabin roof. It wasn't my roof, but it would do. I sat and wished I had my cigarettes.


She was quiet. I hadn't heard her climbing the fence, but her head was over the eave and she tossed the rod before pulling herself up beside me. I lunged and caught her arms, helping her along.

She flushed a little and pushed her hair out of her face. Concern covered her face. "What's wrong?"

I hadn't taken my arms off her. I wasn't about to let her fall off this roof. It couldn't happen.

"Peter, I'm all right." Her hand covered one of mine and I realized just how hard I was holding her. Relaxing my hold very slightly, I shifted over.
She smiled a little and laid back on the roof. I felt better when I knew she couldn't fall. I knelt beside her.

"Really," she asked again, "what's going on? Were you that mad that I laughed?"

"No." I snorted. "Just a little embarrassed."

"Then why...?"

"I sit out on my roof when I need to calm down," I tried to explain. "It's where I go to feel better."

"Your safe place," she said with a smile.


The roof was not safe. I came here because it wasn't safe, to stand on the edge between life and death and test myself, test fate. I came here to remember.

"Oh." Her face turned down. It was wrong. I leaned over her, wanting to make her feel better. Her eyes widened when she realized my intention. She smiled and closed her eyes just before my lips found hers.

I brushed her mouth with my own lightly, not wanting to scare her like the night before, or a week ago. She reached up and pulled off my cap, tossing it behind her. She put her hands in my hair and mussed it.

I quirked an eyebrow, not sure what she was doing. She pulled my hair a few more times, a few more different ways and finally nodded before pulling my face back down to hers.

She led the kiss this time, letting her tongue find my lips and part them. I bent closer to her, my arm sliding up her side, feeling her heat, her pulse.
I pulled away, breathless, once again wondering how I was ever going to let her go.


"Yes, Beth?"

"Can we do this every Saturday?"

"Fish?" I asked, confused.

"Kiss." She pulled me down again. "Oh, and let me drive your car," she added a few moments later when we stopped for breath again.

I laughed. "Yes."