I am so pre-occupied that I don’t see Dylan in the parking lot at school until he’s right on top of me. By the time I see him, it’s too late to run away. He strides towards me with purpose in his step and although I am relieved to see him, I am also anxious for where this will go. He comes up aside me, his face a mixture of annoyance and trepidation. He has a cut on his cheek and what appears to be a small bruise forming underneath it.
The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them. “What happened to you?”
He nods his head but doesn’t saying anything as he keeps walking, his stride matching mine as we reach the side of my beat up Grand Am. He takes my bag from me and gets into the passenger side of the car. I stand at the driver’s door unsure what to do, but decide to get in. It only takes five minutes to get back to his house. We are just as silent as we get out of the car as we were in it. I have a million questions to ask him, but I know it has to wait until we reach the safety of the garage.
Dylan storms in through the door and before I can register what he’s doing, he drops my bag on the floor and reaches out for me. In a move that takes me aback, he kisses me with an urgency that makes me feel like I’m on fire. I don’t hesitate. I kiss him back. And one more time to make sure that there is no mistake about where we are heading. He groans into my mouth and hugs me tightly.
“I thought I had blown it,” he whispers into my ear. He’s wearing his favourite AC/DC t-shirt and smells of cigarettes and fabric softener, a confusing combination, but it hardly registers. I feel light-headed as I lay my head on his chest.
“Me too.” I’m still nervous, but becoming less so in his arms. “I thought you blew me off. I didn’t know what to do.”
He shakes his head. “I still don’t understand what happened. Why did you run off like that?”
I don’t know how to tell him. I know it’s selfish to want him to stay, but it’s all I can think about now. “If you go live with your brother,” I say before breaking off, the lump in my throat making it hard for me to talk.
I don’t need the say the rest, he knows. It’s etched in the frown lines on his face and in the rigid posture of his spine. Dylan squeezes me tighter, but I can tell he’s torn. He sighs before letting me go. I don’t want to hear the words, nor see the uncertainty that I know must be in his eyes, not after finally getting to this point. So I do the thing that I’m good at, I try to distract him.
“Did you hit a door or something?” I ask as I run my finger over the cut on his face.
He shakes his head and grimaces. “Rick.”
“That God damn fucker,” I fume. “I hope someone cuts his dick off. What happened?”
“Same old shit. He hates my guts, but he only got one good one in before I knocked him on his ass. Debbie’s gonna give me shit about it later, but fuck her, too.” Dylan never called her mom. He clenched his hands into fists by his side.
I rubbed his arm. “I’m sorry.”
“Yeah the sooner I get away from that douchebag, the better,” he says, but Dylan sees the look in my eyes and stops. “Hey, it’s gonna be okay. We’ll figure it out.” He pulls me in under his arm and I promise myself that I won’t think about it anymore. I just want to be like this, close to him.
“So,” he places another kiss on my mouth, “Does this make you my girlfriend?”
* * *