Connor rolled on the living room floor laughing, empty soda cans at his side. I sat cross-legged next to him doubled over in hysterics. Our homework lay on the coffee table, set aside for more important things, like fun. “I’d totally forgotten about that,” he said.
“That’s because you weren’t the one waiting outside the school for two hours in the middle of the night, in the freezing cold with a backpack full of clothes and a teddy bear in your arms.”
His body shook with more laughter. “You came and got me though, and after wandering around town for an hour, we got too cold and had to go to the fire station and ask for a ride home.”
“And we told them to bring us here,” I said, my words tumbling on top of his, “because we figured we’d get in less trouble than at your house.”
“I remember now.” His laughter faded and turned into a kind of quiet happiness. “It was the first night I ever stayed here.”
“Was it?” I asked.
“Yeah, it was late so your mom called my parents and told them she’d bring me home in the morning.”
I smiled, reliving the feeling that night had given me. He had been willing to run away with me, knowing we wouldn’t actually go anywhere, and he would have to bear the wrath of his parents the next morning. Not everyone has a friend like that.
“There’s one thing I’d never forget about that night though,” he added thoughtfully.
“What do you … ooh.”
The memories clicked together and I knew exactly what he was talking about. Long after my mom had gone to sleep, Connor and I sat in the living room talking about nothing in particular. We were twelve and both fairly innocent, so I was surprised when he asked me, “Have you ever kissed anyone?”
“No,” I answered. “Have you?”
“No.” A moment of silence. “Do you want to try it? You know, for practice?”
“Okay. What do I do?”
“Just close your eyes.”
I did, and for about two or three seconds, I felt his lips pressing warm and soft against mine.
Then he pulled back and curled up on the couch under his blankets. I went upstairs, and we never talked about it again.
At the time, it hadn’t seemed like such a big deal. But the memory of it now, coupled with the sweet look in his eyes, sent confusion rippling through my mind.
I looked down at the floor, and he changed the subject. “I can’t believe we actually thought we could run away.”
I picked at an odd-colored section of carpet, wishing I could have that innocence back, just for a moment. “We thought we could do a lot of things.”
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