His heartbeat thunders beneath flesh, muscle and bone. He’s sleeping now, I can tell by the steady rise and fall of his chest. He doesn’t snore, but I can hear a quiet whistle blow from one of his nostrils.
The windows of the car are fogged over, our body heat battling with the cold of autumn meeting winter. It hasn’t snowed yet, but it’s getting closer. I enjoy the first snow of the season. It’s a fresh start, a blank page.
The world around us is eating at the bubble of our warmth. We had taken shelter under a blanket he had brought just for tonight. Bits and pieces sticking out from under the knit wool feel the bite of the cooling interior. I shift, curling closer into the space between his body and mine. My skin sticks to where the leather seats aren’t slick with sweat. His body responds to the friction, but he remains sleeping.
I trace a rip in the leather that had scraped the back of my thighs when he pulled off my jeans. Our clothes mingle in a mess on the floor. Only his letterman jacket, his pride and joy, had been removed with care.
It hangs off the back of the driver’s seat staring at me. The dim light of the street lamp causes the lettering to glow. I picture myself in it, walking down the hallways at school. It’s an impossible dream. This time is a secret we share in the briefest of moments.
He shudders awake breaking my reverie. He stretches beneath me, and then draws me closer.
“Hey,” he says, running his hand across the back of my scalp.
My face grows hot, and an involuntary shiver runs down my spine. “Hi.”
“What time is it?” he asks.
“When do you have to get back?” He presses his face against the top of my head. His hands wander across my body.
“Soon. Lacey picked an annoyingly short movie this time.”
We both grip each other tighter causing the leather underneath us to squeak in protest. His mouth finds mine and we make the most of the time we have left.
When we finish, it’s later than it should be. We scramble to pull our clothes on, and when we pile out of the car we notice we had switched shirts in our rush.
As I move to take off his shirt he says, “No. I like seeing you in my stuff.”
He pushes me against his car and runs his hand up my side exposing skin. He presses against me, pinning me against the cold metal of the car. His lips hover close to mine, but when I move forward he teases me by pulling back. I groan; he smiles.
The cold affects me first and I start trembling. I try to hide it. I want to continue our little game more than I want to be warm, but then my teeth chatter giving me away.
He pulls me away from the car and takes off his letterman jacket. He wraps me in it, and tries to warm me up by roughly rubbing my arms. “Better?”
I nod. The jacket smells just like him: a mixture of sweat, cologne and a mild undertone of cigarettes.
“We should get back,” he says.
It’s hard to let go of him, but I do.
The radio mocks me on the drive back by filling the air with love songs. He sings most of them out loud, word for word, and slaps his hands against the steering wheel like a makeshift drum. I smile, but it’s hollow. Even clad in his jacket, I grow colder as we draw closer to our lives outside this car.
We park in front of my house. The windows are all dark except for one. I told my parents I would be home late, but they had a habit of waiting up for my return.
We take a few minutes more to say goodbye, and then I force myself to pull away.
I move to remove his jacket, and he stops me saying, “Keep it, I told you I like seeing you in my stuff.”
“This isn’t just some shirt, Kyle. It’s your letterman jacket.”
“You say that like you haven’t been eying it for weeks. Do you really want to try to talk me out of giving it to you?”
“No,” I say, looking away from him and pulling the jacket tighter.
“Good, then get out of my car and take it with you. Wear it when I see you at school tomorrow.”
My face stretches in shock. “Really?”
“Yeah, I’m getting tired of only getting to touch you when the sun goes down.”
I open my mouth to say something, but my mind goes blank.
“Goodnight, David,” he says.
“Goodnight,” I say, stammering as I exit his car.
I stand on the curb and watch him pull away. When he turns the corner the sky breaks and it begins to snow.
Header photograph: Sam Mugraby, Photos8.com [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons