The truth was, I should have followed him the first time he left. But I had had a study session late that night and class early in the morning – following him was the farthest thing from my mind.
I almost followed him the second time. I felt the bed beside me shift and the familiar dip suddenly disappear. I remember shivering at the loss of body heat. I thought maybe he was getting a midnight snack. By the time I knew the difference, it was too late.
I didn’t go the third or the fourth or the fifth. By the time the sixth came around the thought of where he went was driving me insane. This time I leapt into action, slipping on a pair of flip flops at the bottom of the stairs and darting out the door. I didn’t have the time to second guess my purple lace tank top and matching satin shorts. I was on a mission.
As I make my way around the corner of my street, I can just make out a streak of his auburn hair, caught in a sliver of the street lamp’s light. Just the sight of him makes my heart flutter. I don’t even worry about the dark.
After two blocks and countless twists and turns I’m debating returning home. I have class again tomorrow and Jev is getting farther and farther away from me. His shadow has become undistinguishable from the rest. I stop and lean against an iron fence to catch my breath. I wince as a stray metal chip slices at my arm. I quickly wipe away the blood.
“Piper? You shouldn’t have followed me here.” Jev’s voice scares the living shit out of me. Still, I regain my composer. I can’t let on my worries. I wouldn’t be the girl he knew.
“Stop sneaking around and I wouldn’t have to. No one likes to wake up at 2 a.m. to an empty bed. God—it’s freezing out here.”
Even in the darkness, I know he is rolling his eyes at me. I watch as he pulls his hoodie over his head and tosses it in my direction. Luckily, I catch it.
“Take my jacket and head back to the apartment,” he says. “Give me a boost first –If you’re here, you may as well be useful.”
He’s holding onto the bars, no doubt tearing the skin of his hands up. Suddenly it clicks why he’s had his hands bandaged the past months. I push past him and grab the bars myself, ignoring the pain.
“You can’t even climb a fence by yourself Jev? You may be the most useless person I have ever met.”
Quickly, although very ungracefully, I climb to the top of the fence and straddle it. I peer down at Jev, sticking my tongue out for good measure.
“Get down before you break your neck!” It astounds me how serious he sounds sometimes. You’d think he was eighty five and yelling at a great-grand child.
“Not all of us are as clumsy as you,” I mock.
“I’m not driving you to the hospital when you fall.”
“Stop being such a baby and climb the damn fence.”
He groans, but climbs none the less. Some rustling of leaves, a dabble of blood, and two short falls later, he sits beside me on the fence. I giggle at a smudge of dirt on his face.
“Alright, alright. Now, will you head home?”
“Nope.” I purposely pop the ‘p’ sound to get under his skin.
“You’re a pain in my ass.”
Without another word he swings his legs over the fence and lands on the other side. I have no choice but to follow behind. My feet hit soft grass and I thank my lucky stars I didn’t break my ankle on the way down.
“Well, aren’t you lucky?” I stick my hands in the pockets of his hoodie and trudge behind him. “Now, will you show me where we are sneaking off to before my toes freeze off?”
“It’s not my fault you didn’t wear socks in the middle of December,” He scolds. Still, he takes my hands in his own and tries his best to warm them. I wonder how he isn’t cold when all he has is a t-shirt now that I have stolen his sweatshirt.
“You’re changing the subject.”
“Fine, let’s get on with it.”
He shoots me the look I often get sent and begins to walk, pulling me behind him. The thickets of bushes start to delve off and a clear pathway emerges. At this, he moves quicker.
“Slow down! I’m in sandals and –woe.” I freeze at the sight in front of me, pulling him sharply back. My strength surprises us both. Laid out in front of us are hundreds of identical head stones. Each one stands at attention, a grey soldier of the night.
“This place is spooky. Is this the part where someone jumps out and murders us?” Somehow joking makes everything less real.
“Could you just be serious for five seconds of your life?”
“You drag me to the cemetery in the middle of the night and ask me not to make jokes?”
“You followed me. I didn’t drag you.”
“Well then maybe—“
I’m cut off with his lips pressed against mine. It’s isn’t the kind of kiss I get when I’m running out the door or when we are having sex or when I talk too much and he does it just to shut me up. This kiss is a rare form. He only kisses me like this when he’s desperate, when he’s so lonely and lost that only I can somehow remedy him. He cups my cheeks in both his hands, kissing me with so much passion I become dizzy and sink into his embrace. When he pulls away, I feel as if I have ran a marathon.
“Oi! You can’t just distract me with a kiss like that. It isn’t fair.”
“Shut up. I want to show you something.”