Pine (part 4)

(Continued from yesterday. Click here to go back to the beginning.)

Jace tensed and his heart beat faster.

Jennifer swallowed. “This is really good.”

“Thanks.”

The page after that was a collage of Jennifer. She was cute, sophisticated, sexy, humble, studious, and numerous other qualities for which there are no words.

Jace panicked. “Sorry.” He fumbled with words. “I didn’t, uh, mean to, um, stalk you– or anything.”

Jennifer didn’t look angry or scared as she looked him in the eye. She took a breath. “Will you kiss me?”

Jace froze, like a deer mesmerized by a pair of headlights.

As if in a dream he touched his lips to hers, soft and full. She smelled good. He put his arm around her, and his hand passed over the strap of her bra. Her body was warm and there. She put her hand on his leg.

A moment later, he counted her eyelashes. He touched his thumb to her eyebrow and traced it around, and Jennifer snuggled her cheek into Jace’s palm. Her skin was soft. It was smooth. And she looked happy.

“I like you, Jace,” she managed. Then, with a lost smile, “I wish I wasn’t moving.”

“You’re moving?”

“Yes, to Seattle.”

“That’s pretty far,” he said.

“Yes, it is.”

“It sure is.”

“Can you sit with me for a little while?”

The next day, Jace had to walk on the grass as he passed by the house, because the green and white moving van was taking up the whole sidewalk. He hoped to catch a glimpse of Jennifer, but she was nowhere to be seen.

Now when Jace walks by the house, he sometimes sees two young children playing in the yard. Jace has Jennifer’s new address, and they’ve exchanged one or two letters. But he doesn’t know whether he’ll ever see her again. He figures, even if you’re an artist, sometimes you draw dead. Still he imagines he sees Jennifer sitting under the pines, reading or humming softly a tune Jace doesn’t know.

(The end.)

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