At the Risk of Forgetting(5)

By: A.M. Wilson

I dipped and reached for my handlebars that had twisted around during my fall. Before I could pick my bike up off the ground, though, Law’s fingers wrapped around my bicep, and he turned me into his arms.

“You’re lying.” His grin was fake. I scored another hit with my lie. He cared that I kissed someone else before him.

I shrugged. “Guess you’ll never know. Let me go. I need to get home.”

Law’s face turned indecisive. His eyes traced their way from my forehead to my chin and back again, and I froze under his stare. He pulled me closer and lowered his head an inch so our lips were closer.

“I do like you, okay? And I guess I’ll have to settle for second.”

That’s all he said before he tentatively pressed his mouth to mine.

Every good feeling I’d ever felt in my life compiled into a spinning vortex that I felt all the way to my toes. Without thinking, I gripped his biceps and Law wrapped his arms around my back. My eyes drifted closed while I reveled in the feeling of his soft lips pressed lightly against mine.

The rest of it came naturally. I’m not sure who opened their mouth first, but our tongues met somewhere in the middle. The tips gently stroked and prodded until he pushed them both into my mouth. He tasted good—warm and sweet—and I wanted him to never stop. My hands drifted upwards, clutching his shoulders and holding on while we explored.

The earth halted that day and started spinning on a new axis. I stood on that grassy hill, while busy cars carrying our neighbors flew passed us under a cloudy sky, and all I could think about was how I didn’t want to kiss anyone else for the rest of my life.

Call it puberty or teenage hormones, but that was the day I fell in love with Law.

He pulled away softly, a quiet wow slipping from his deep pink lips. “You lied. If that wasn’t your first kiss, your face wouldn’t look like that.”

I choked on my breath. “What? Look like what?”

“All dreamy. Like you love me.”

“I don’t love you.”

“I think you do.” He smiled. “That’s okay, because I love you, too.”

Words failed me. Law had rendered me speechless. So, I did the only thing I could do; I pulled away. “I have to go home.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow, then.”

I tried not to run. I tried to look calm as I moved back to my bike, but inside I was a tornado of feelings. “Yeah, see ya,” I muttered back and mounted my bike. I started pedaling away when he called to me.

“Hey Cami!”

I put my feet to the grass to steady the bike, but I didn’t turn around. I couldn’t. If I did, I might’ve tried kissing him again.

“You might want to lie about it, but I’m really glad you were my first.”

My stomach flipped, and my heart beat wildly in my chest. “Me, too,” I whispered, too quietly for him to hear.

I dropped my bike in our small front yard and ran up the gravel driveway to the ramp leading to our house. Rocks skittered beneath my shoes, and I almost slipped twice. When I hit the ramp, I slowed to a walk. It was weathered from the rain and snow, a little crooked, and wobbled if there was too much weight on the left, but Ritchie built it by himself. I was proud of him for doing something that dad would have done.

I bypassed the kitchen, moving into the hall so I could change out of my damp and dirty clothes, when she yelled at me. “Stop!”

I sighed. A million excuses raced through my mind, reasons why I shouldn’t—couldn’t—listen. Reaching out a finger, I traced the peeling yellow wallpaper in front of my face. The daisies depicted there were beginning to look like black-eyed susans. Wanting to ignore her but knowing I couldn’t, I stuck my head into the living room. “Yeah?”

“Where you been?” She asked the television more than me, since she didn’t even look my way. She might’ve been a paraplegic, but her neck still worked just fine.

“I was riding my bike.”

“It’s raining.”

“It wasn’t when I left. Only caught me on the way back.”

She maneuvered her chair to face me. Her wrinkled, blue eyes narrowed and her forehead lined. “What’s with the stupid grin? Are you on drugs?”

At her words, I realized I’d been smiling like I had the whole ride home. My face burned with embarrassment and more than a little dislike for my mother. It wasn’t her, exactly, more her ability to point out anybody’s happiness as if it was a bad thing.

“No, I’m not on drugs. I was out with...a boy.”

Her eyes narrowed further. “I don’t like you going out with boys and coming home looking like that.”