Sunday, January 6, 2013

Never Let Go

He waited until her fingers were just in the right spot, then slammed the door shut as hard as he could. Inside the car he could see her screaming and he did his best to try to look surprised. And not to smirk as he gingerly opened the door to apologize.

"Kendra! I'm so sorry!" He gasped and reached for her bruised fingers she was clutching to her chest. 

She was adamant that she wouldn't cry. She held her fingers up for inspection, not because she believed his sympathy for a second, but because she wanted him to see. No broken bones. No bleeding. And it wouldn't bruise until he was gone. No sick satisfaction for him today. 

"It's fine. Let's just go." She hissed as she sat back. 

He shared a small smile with the sky as he moved around the vehicle and slid inside. He looked over at her arm crossed figure looking out the window as he set his seatbelt in with a satisfying click. Then he cleared his throat. He didn't start the car. For a second a thought walked through his mind, that maybe he should say sorry. And actually mean it this time. 

"So are we going or what?" She asked meeting his look and for a moment there was a quiet trading of mutual venom, only broken by the ignition turning and the car humming gently to life. 

The road snaked out from the small shack and they would leave it back there. They were fine now. They would not speak of it again. This they had mutually decided, during the exchange of venom. They would go on and things would be fine. Even if they weren't fine now they might get better. And who really wanted to start over after all the work they'd put into it. 

He could still taste the coppery taste of blood in his mouth from where she had bitten him as his hand left the clutch and found her unbruised hand. His rough fingers interlaced between her cold ones. She gripped his hand with all her force, her knuckles were turning white. He gave a throaty chuckle and increased his pressure too. Squeezing tighter. She caught her breath and she remembered when that same grip had been in her hair. 

"So." She gasped as his pressure increased. 

"So." He smiled at her as she began to dig her nails into the skin on the back of his hand. 

They drove on and the countryside fell away to trees that hung over them with long mossy fingers. The road began to curve more, rise more, as they rose into the foothills and he kept his foot down on the gas pedal. Her eyes found the speedometer. His eyes followed her line of sight. 

She turned her face to the face passing blur of greenery and darkness as if she didn't care. And kept digging her nails in deeper. He smiled again, his eyes flicking between her uncaring profile, the road ahead. And the speedometer. And he gripped harder. 

The curves were coming in sharper now and deeper. The car was now sliding on the green, mossy road around each sharp turn. And still the road kept rising until they had a rocky wall rising on his side and a sheer drop on her side. And still he kept the accelerator down. And still she pretended not to care. And neither refused to give up. To give in. 

The scenery zipped by and suddenly the tree canopy over them was broken and instead brilliant blue sky exploded overhead. They had reached the top of the foothills. And the view of the sloping golden grassy hills and the thick, green carpet of treetops below them tumbled down in a churning mass of nature that spilled towards the distant, foggy sea at the edge of the horizon. 

And she caught her breath. And he was panting too. As the car cleared the very top for a moment the wheels were off the ground. They were flying. They had done it. They had left all of that behind and they were soaring. They had made it. And reality's jolt came with the tires hitting the road hard, the exhaust shooting sparks as it smacked against the roadway, their bodies whiplashed with fury. But still he kept driving and she stayed aloof and neither let go. 

The road was snaking downhill now. The car was picking up speed and momentum and the scenery was now a solid wall of indestinguishible, dappled green plastered on the windows. The car was swerving into oncoming lanes each time it cleared a corner and still they held on. Her fingertips were wet and she could see the blood pooling as she sunk her nails in deeper. His knuckles were turning white and he was sure he'd sprained a few of her fingers by now at the very least. But they were not going to give up or let go.

And the road fell away into a deep incline. The speedometer read 150 mph and he knew even if they let go he couldn't stop the car even if he wanted to at this point. She felt her stomach coil as she saw the sharp, 90 degree turn at the base of the hill. And the sign politely recommending that the turn be taken at 15 mph. And then something happened. She looked at him and he looked at her and it was as things had been so long ago. He started to loosen his grip and she caught his hand with her other. He let go of the wheel and placed his hand on hers. The car veered right and left over the road. But there was still no tenderness and the venom was still in their voices as they spoke. 

"I'm sorry. I still love you."

"Yeah, I know. I'm sorry too."

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