Dirty Promise

By: Penny Wylder

I remember the bridge we jumped off two weeks ago. It was a small bridge, only ten feet high, over the deepest part of the lake. But Josh had to coax me off it. He jumped first, then talked me through climbing over the side and letting go. “All it takes it one step,” he told me. “Then you let gravity do the rest. Once you’re falling, you can’t take it back. It’s nice, letting go.”

He was right about that. I hope the same principle holds true now. Because I know, once I do this, I can’t take it back.

But if I don’t, I’ll regret it. I’ll regret never trying, never knowing.

So I lean forward, slowly, and ever so lightly, brush my lips against his. I’ve never kissed anybody before. It’s feather-light. The kind of kiss you could explain away as a mistake if you really wanted to.

But then Josh cups my chin, pulls me forward, his lips colliding with mine, and I lose my breath. We both sink into it, and it does feel just like jumping off that bridge. My stomach does the same thing, leaps into my throat, and my ears ring, and I feel dizzy, out of breath, but alive and on fire with joy at the same time.

Who knew kissing would feel like this? Almost like flying.

He parts his lips, and I mirror him, our tongues brushing as he slides his hand along my jaw, around my neck, then buries his fingers in my hair. I forget about everything else. The lake, the night around us, the wet grass below. All I can think about are his hands, his body pressed against mine, the way his muscles feel tight and strong while I’m soft and curved. He melds against me, pulls me to him, claims me, and I’m right where I want to be, losing myself in this kiss, in us.

Then lights flick on up at the cabin and flood the yard. We jump apart, breathless, laughing, sharing guilty smiles, our eyes sparkling, dewy like the grass, as if we’re both dazed from shock. Maybe we are.

We reach for each other’s hands. Squeeze once, tight, our fingers hot as molten metal.

Then our parents are calling, Susan looking for Josh, Dad looking for me. We both spring to our feet. Trade one last long glance before we retreat inside those cabins for the last time. Close the doors between us and go to bed to dream about what just happened, what it meant.

Is this the end, or only the beginning?

I fall asleep with that question dancing in my head.

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