I smiled while the wind rushed past me, trees gliding by as the cool water of the lake leapt up against the speedboat. I looked over to Lacy, I was afraid to do anything since her parents were sitting right behind me, watching.
“You know, you don’t have to sit so far away.” Lacy whispered, her head ducked low so her father wouldn’t see.
“Are you sure?” I asked, glancing to the steer, where her mother drove the boat, observing me like I was some disgusting insect.
“Well, no but I invited you on this trip so you could enjoy it, not fear it.” She looked at me with the same expression on the night we spent in the field. I blinked back, clearing my throat before moving over to the seat next to her.
“Better?” she questioned, her smile brightening.
“Very.” I laughed, turning to look at the waves ahead, the sunlight stretched out, turning them into a view of gold.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” She commented, eyeing the water.
“Yes it is, especially through the trees.” I added, pointing to where the sun met the tree line, leaving the pines black against the now red beams of light.
I suddenly felt hands grab my face, before I could say anything Lacy pressed her lips against mine, pushing away I saw her face fall.
“Your dad will see!” I exclaimed
“I don’t care.” She smiled pulling me back.
I couldn’t tell if it was the sun’s rays warming me or her lips on mine, but I knew that it was right. It felt like an eternal kiss, the voice in my mind screaming, turn back, pull back, he’s looking, he’ll hate you. But I couldn’t, not now.
The heat was interrupted as I stared up at the clear surface of the water, my body sinking lower from the unexpected toss into the pale, steady waves. Clawing my way back up I gasped for air as I looked over to the boat, Lacy stared at me in horror, her eyes widening as she glanced to her father. He stood on the rim of the boat, fists clenched.
“Never again.” He roared, his finger jabbing at me, “Not while I’m here.” He stormed to the back of the ship, muttering as Maggie veered the boat in my direction. Her eyes were soft, as if apologizing. Lacy huddled in tip of the bow, her head down. I wasn’t sure if she was crying or ashamed, but I knew she was upset. I climbed on board again, not even glancing in her father’s direction. The water had grown cold and I was freezing, but I didn’t dare lay a hand on Lacy, I was too scared anyway.
It was silent the rest of the way, even when we docked I didn’t look at any of them. I wanted to run away and hide where no one could see me ever again. I felt my cheeks turn red as I stepped off the boat. Hiding my face I quickly walked along the path with my phone in hand.
Hey, can you come pick me up? Please?
I waited for a while, my hands shoved in my pockets. I was far ahead of Lacy and her family now, but I could see as they approached Lacy was behind her parents.
Finally just before they reached me my mom replied.
I’m at the store. Try to get a ride.
I was disappointed, without a car I couldn’t really get anywhere, but there was no way I was riding home with them for two hours after what happened. I began to walk back to where Lacy stood. Looking her dad in the eyes I had a hard time keeping myself together.
“Mr. and Mrs. Baines I truly apologize for my behavior tonight…” I trailed off, trying to think of something more to say.
“It’s alright Nick; you have a ride home don’t you?”
“Uh, yeah my mom’s going to pick me up.” I lied.
“Good. Well I hope you had a nice time.” She smiled half-heartedly, glancing at her husband as if she was waiting for him to speak, but nothing was said.
I smiled back, looking one more time at Lacy before heading towards the lighthouse behind the lake. It was dark now, and the insects buzzed in the night, flitting amongst the grass, leading the way. I sat on the edge of the wooden curb, thinking of how I could get home. I paid little notice to the sticks and twigs snapping in the wind, figured some deer was grazing nearby. It was nice, out here on my own, looking up to the stars that reflected against the lake, the ones I could never see back home.
Pulling out my phone I scrolled through old messages between Lacy and I, smiling to myself I stood, letting the light extend out into the darkness. I began to walk back across the docks, passing boats old and new alike, each with a thin layer of moss clinging to the bottom. The sound of cars guided me to the highway, and from there I started my track home. After a few hours, I had made it to my neighborhood. Hopping the fence I ran across the yard just when the street lights turned out. Slipping through the screen door I crept about the house, tearing off my shoes and my jacket before flopping into bed. Turning out the light I listened to the crickets chirp outside, thinking of how I let myself be so stupid. Of course he was going to see! What was worse was that I knew it would happen too, I knew that he would be angry.
I stared into the darkness around me. It was closing in; I couldn’t tell if my eyes were open or closed. I began to fall in and out of sleep, tossing and turning before I finally settled against the wall of my bedroom. It was raining outside, the sky erupting with cracks of lightning, parting the clouds as they scattered rain about the town. I saw a light turn on in the hallway, followed by footsteps toward my bedroom. Oh great, now mom’s up. I think.
“Listen Mom I’m sorry I got home so late, I promise it won’t happen again.” I apologized, not wanting to look her in the eyes.
She said nothing.
“Just go ahead and punish me already, I’ve earned it.” I whispered, still staring out the window, bracing myself for her screams.
That’s when I felt his hands wrap around my neck.
And the only screams heard were my own.