TITLE: HALFWAY TO ANYWHERE
GENRE: Literary fiction
Stephanie (college freshman) and Mark (graduate student) are in the loft of his cottage.
Mark leaned past her to put the banjo in the corner, and then he placed his hand lightly behind her neck and kissed her, so tenderly that she stopped caring about embarrassment or calculus or whether she'd need to pee or the fact that she didn't know what kind of doctor she wanted to be - or really, whether she wanted to be a doctor at all.
The kiss went on and on. Mark stroked her cheek, and she could smell Red Zinger and woodsmoke on his hands. Finally, he leaned past her again and raised the window a few inches. "We don't want to burn up." He grinned.
Stephanie laughed. This time when they kissed, she looped her arms around his neck, and that was when she felt him tremble. It was just for a second, and it was slight - but it changed everything. Stephanie's sense of vulnerability evaporated, and she felt suddenly, completely sure of herself. Time slowed. She could feel the crisp evening breeze coming in through the unscreened window, could practically see it wafting through the loft. The coolness mingled with the dry heat of the woodstove, creating simultaneous chill and warmth. It reminded Stephanie of her family's trip to the Colorado hot springs, when she'd swum back and forth between the frigid water and the hot pockets. Kissing Mark, Stephanie felt both dense and light.