Jenn Monty’s Picture Choice: BOth
Title: Counting Stars
Volleyball on the beach looks really cool on TV. What they don’t show on TV are the sand fleas. Thousands of tiny, biting sand fleas. Gavin had finally talked me into a date; an afternoon on the beach with his friends followed by a campout complete with dinner for two.
Of course, I had eaten more sand than I cared to admit during the impromptu volleyball match. A side effect of being face down in sand most of the afternoon was a body full of small red whelps.
One of the girls had a home remedy for bug bites; a small brown bottle filled with a sticky liquid. Before I could stop him, Gavin had smeared the goo across my arms and hands.
“Really?? Now I’m going to have sand and bug bites all over my arms. This stuff is gross,” I said.
“I’m just trying to help,” Gavin sighed. “I’ve got extra water bottles in the car; let’s go wash it off if it’s so gross.”
We finished washing off my arms and hands in silence but I could feel his eyes occasionally roam away from the water bottles or my face. I pulled out some cotton crop pants and a t-shirt from my backpack, and then handed the bag over to him.
“Think you could put this in the car while I put on some clothes?”
“Of course; but do you really need the extra clothes? It’s so balmy out here.” His eyes sparkled as they strayed from my face again.
“Whatever.” I rolled my eyes and stepped into the pants. His laugh rang out in the clear night air as he finally walked away. The light from the car went out just as I pulled the t-shirt over my head. The resulting darkness was disorienting. I peered blindly into the night but I felt Gavin’s energy approaching before my eyes adjusted.
“How do you move around in this darkness?” I asked as he walked up.
“You really are a city girl, aren’t you?” he chuckled.
“Yes. And I don’t see how you can stand being blind at night. I really miss street lights.” He began to move in the direction of our campsite. I quickly followed his dark form. He suddenly stopped and I walked right into his back.
“I didn’t realize you were so close or I would have warned you I was stopping.” I could hear the grin in his tone. He placed his hands on my shoulders and pulled me close. I held my breath at the thrill of butterflies in my core. Was he coming in for a kiss?
“Look up,” he said gently. Confused, I followed his instruction and gasped. The clear night sky was laid out before me, stars flowing and twinkling like a river of light. I’d never seen the stars look so bright.
“That’s how I can stand being without street lights at night,” he said.
“They look alive,” I breathed.
“I know; it’s beautiful. The winter sky is my favorite. Do you see that line of stars – three in a row?”
“That’s Orion’s belt.” He continued pointing out stars and constellations; Betelgeuse, Taurus, the Pleiades, Castor and Pollex. As he pointed, he told stories of the hunter, the bull, and the battle for the seven sisters. As I listened I watched the stars wake up, saw Orion shoot his bow across the sky, and Taurus rear his head. It was amazing. We looked up until my neck hurt.
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Jenn Monty, also known as Brewed Bohemian, is a lover of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror and anything with "Punk" in the name. She is an avid reader and writes flash fiction at www.BrewedBohemian.blogspot.com