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Day 27

Sunday

I couldn’t decide what was worse, the physical pain or the mental.
The blood in my mouth was my own. The blood on my hands was
Bethany’s. The blood on my ripped singlet was, I assumed, a mixture
of us both, like the fluid that was dripping down her perfect legs at
that very moment. I threw the shirt into the open fireplace, along
with her backpack, and panties soaked with her blood. I’d been too
rough with her, but that hardly mattered now.

Bethany lay on the bearskin rug, her lips unnaturally red, her face
pale, and those gorgeous blue eyes closed. Her head and limbs hung
unnaturally and I could no longer see the rise and fall of her chest.
She was completely naked, from her pert, pre-pubescent breasts to her
pubic mound, covered with sparse hair. Her legs were opened slightly
and I remembered the frantic fucking that had occurred less than a
quarter of an hour ago, Bethany on top of me, riding me rough, my cock
slipping into her used, juicy, but still tight pussy, my hands
touching that chest that was now so motionless.

I touched the deep scratches on my face—something else I would have
to cover up or explain away. How did I get here? What have I done?
Was there anything else I could have done, or was I a victim of my own
actions and hers? I fell to the floor, lifting her, bringing her
limp, naked body to mine, inhaling that childish vanilla scent one
final time. “Who am I?” I said it out loud. Just 27 days ago, I was
nobody. An upstanding member of the community. A normal guy. How
the hell did this happen?

Day 1

Tuesday

The novel was going poorly, the search for a professorship worse. My
job was barely paying the bills and Ariana was cruising the internet
for wedding cakes and dresses even though I hadn’t proposed. I
figured I would have to do it eventually. That is, if I wanted to
carry on in the complacency of the relationship.

A new girl started today. She looked lost, a child among wolves.
She was beautiful, but clearly naive and oblivious to what was going
on around her. I might have pitied her or watched with passing
interest as the older-looking pre-teens cannibalized her. She sat
through class with her head tilted to one side, eyes looking out the
window, physically present but ethereal and unfocused.

She was the only girl in the classroom who hadn’t altered her school
uniform to make it look slutty. Maybe because it was her first day.
Or maybe that’s how she wanted to look, like her mother had done her
up for her first day of school. She even wore red hair ribbons,
something I hadn’t seen since childhood. I guess that’s what she
reminded me of at first glance—my childhood. I felt a pang of
nostalgia and carried on with the lesson. I didn’t see her leave the
room. The only evidence that she had been there at all was the note
sitting on my desk that listed her name. Kexel, Bethany. Bethany
Kexel.

At home, Ariana ordered pizza and complained about her weight. If I
stated the obvious, I’d be locked out of the bedroom. So, I told her
she was beautiful. It was true. She was beautiful in a familiar way,
a way that legitimized me as an adult, as a man. Unfortunately,
though we hadn’t gotten married, she’d already started eating like we
had, and was getting a bit chubby. It only bothered me a bit. That
night, as I lay against her warmth and I pressed my erection against
her thigh, as she turned toward me and wrapped her long fingers around
my hard-on, I thought only of Ariana. I whispered her name as I
rolled on top of her and pushed into her.

She kissed my lips gently and looked into my eyes. I touched her
breasts tenderly. I kissed down her neck to her breasts, sucking the
nipples into my mouth. I built up a rhythm, holding her hips, kissing
her lips, looking into her eyes. I knew how to please her. I felt
her pubic bone grind against mine; she was getting into it now.
“Ariana,” I said. “Oh, Ariana.” I felt my cock stroking the hardened
nub of her clitoris. Her body shook. “Come for me, baby,” I said.

My orgasm came expectedly, moments after hers. She could never say I
was a bad lover. I could never say she was a bad girlfriend. I
kissed her quickly and drew her body against mine, spooning her,
smelling the clinically girly fragrance of her perfume. Her bleached
blond hair was in my face; I inhaled more deeply. I thought of the
annoyance of the impending and inevitable wedding, my life being sewn
up so neatly, teaching here forever. And then I thought of Ariana and
I was happy enough.


Day 2

Wednesday

I think I could have handled things if not for what I’ve come to call
“the glance.” The glance was my downfall. The glance happened on a
Wednesday, the day after she began my class.

I was Bethany’s English teacher. Was supposed to be, at least. I’m
not sure I taught her anything that would have helped her
academically. She was a college preparatory student, which meant she
was in my Advanced English class, the class that started out with
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and ended up with Dickens’ Great
Expectations, rather than the one that read trendy, issue-based books
for most of the year, and hoisted Shakespeare on the students in the
last semester. Despite her spacey demeanor, she seemed very bright.
We were reading Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and she raised her hand
frequently, answering everything with a half-smile.

The bell rang. She walked to the door. Consciously, I didn’t know
that my eyes were following her, but they must have been. She had a
jerky way of moving, like she was skipping instead of walking. She
had that faraway look in her eyes; perhaps that’s why I felt safe
watching her. I knew she was too innocent to notice me. After all,
I’d noticed the boys checking her out in class that day and she’d been
just as oblivious. She was walking with two other girls, Madison and
Nevaeh, who was every bit as annoying as her name.

Bethany hung back, separating herself from the others just for a
moment. She flipped her head toward me, dirty blond hair parting over
her shoulder. Then, she widened her eyes, which were bright and
greenish blue, and looked right at me. She smiled, blinked her eyes
once, and then turned to leave the room.

Everything that was once “me” slipped away. I felt warm. My
thoughts drifted. All I could think of was what she would smell like
if she let me get close to her, what the skin on her neck would feel
like if I could touch it with my lips, what her hand would feel like,
wrapped tightly around my cock. The fantasies hit me, first like
raindrops, then like a deluge of water. I closed my eyes and saw her
standing before me. I imagined her body, sleek, glistening, as she
looked over her shoulder at me, hair covering her buds of breasts. I
pictured lifting the hair and pressing my face against her chest,
inhaling her little girl scent as my tongue touched her nipples.

I didn’t mean to think these things. I just did. When I opened my
eyes, she was gone. I stepped forward and smelled faint traces of
vanilla.

I barely looked at Ariana tonight; all my thoughts were of Bethany.


Day 3

Thursday

Bethany was more brazen today. She spent a 40 minute class with her
eyes locked on me, following my every move. The transformation was
funny. She looked the same—that is to say, innocent and na?, much
younger than her thirteen years of age,--but I couldn’t take my eyes
off her. It was as though I hadn’t noticed how beautiful she was, or
how much I wanted her.

After class, I watched as she stood, walking that bouncy walk. I
imagined her naked, walking across the room naked toward my bed. I
thought she’d give me another glance, or maybe stop and talk to me,
but she didn’t. I was left, smelling that ghost of a scent she left.
I was also left with a raging hard-on that I hoped none of the other
students noticed.

That evening, I was in the English office, stacking dog-eared books
on a shelf, sporting a huge hard-on again, when I smelled that scent
of vanilla. I knew she was behind me before I dropped the stack of
books and turned around. She stood about five feet tall with her head
cocked to one side. Her eyes were wide and inquisitive. She didn’t
speak, had never spoken a word directly to me before this moment, but
she closed the space between us, stepping forward in one fluid motion.
Our bodies pressed together. Her arms reached up and hooked around
my neck. She lifted herself up, wrapping her legs around me as well.
I glanced at the door. She’d closed it behind her. And I drew her
into me, inhaling her girlish scent.

Holding her to me, I knew she could feel my erection. Whether she
would recognize what it was, I was unsure. I didn’t care. I rubbed
her against it, feeling her small pubic bone through the plaid skirt
of her school uniform. She kissed my face, moving in to my lips,
childish pecks at first, then one deeper kiss that blew me away.
“Bethany,” I said, finally. “What the hell is this?” I lowered her
gently to the ground.

“I don’t know,” she said, “But I can’t stop thinking about it.”

“About what?”

“About you.” She reached toward me again, this time placing her
hands on my hips. “I like you,” she said. “Please don’t say no to
me.”

What could I do? I couldn’t reject her. I drew her into my arms
again, this time copping a feel of those flat ass cheeks, rubbing the
front of her against my boner again. “This what you want?” I asked.

She looked up with those wide eyes. “I think so,” she said. Then,
finally, “Yes.”

She left after that, casting me a backwards glance. “Shh, don’t
tell,” she said, drawing her fingers to her lips. “I don’t want to
get in trouble.”

Yeah, like she was the one who would get in trouble. I sunk
backwards into my desk chair and sat with my head in my hands,
thinking about what had happened. I knew I couldn’t let it happen
again. I had a life to think about. I had to think about Ariana, my
teaching job, that elusive professorship. At the same time, I knew I
was too far gone to stop, and that all I wanted was more.


Day 4

Friday

The note was in my hand because she slipped it to me after class. It
was written on pink stationary that I’d only just had the courage to
open. It was printed in childish cursive, with stars and butterflies
surrounding the words, “From the desk of Bethany Kexel.”

I read the note once and, because I didn’t believe what I said, read
it again. “Told Mom and Dad I was going to Madison’s. Want 2 go out
with me? It’s ok 2 say no.”

I didn’t say no.

Instead, as I was watching her walk out of class, this time with her
thin right arm linked with Madison’s left, I called her. “Bethany.”
I’ve read, in at least two contemporary novels, that when you say the
name of a person you care about, you say it differently. “Like it’s
safe in your mouth,” the books always say. This statement and its
verbatim repetition had felt so generic and sentimental until now.

Until “Bethany.” Bethany, safe in my mouth. I could only wish.

She turned, but not before stomping her foot convincingly in the
direction of Madison and Nevaeh. “This’ll be about that homework I
didn’t do,” she hissed. “Back in a sec.”

When the room was clear, I asked, “What did you mean by that note?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “We could, like, go somewhere after
school. Together.” She smiled, those gorgeous, blue eyes, flecked
with green, locked on me. “Only if you want.” She sounded so
hopeful, but afraid she was about to be rejected.

“Of course I want.” I struggled not to sound like a dirty old man.
“Wait for me at the bus stop on Brandt? I’ll drive by until you’re
alone. It usually takes me half an hour to get things wrapped up
here, but for you, I’ll make it fifteen minutes.” I surprised myself
with how calculating I could be, on such short notice.

The rest of my school day was filled with a maze of questions and
doubts. I’d never done anything like this before, so there was a lot
of apprehension. I’d had a brief stint of technical statutory rape
when I’d turned 18 before my first girlfriend in high school, but
nothing like this. At the same time, I felt giddy. I didn’t know
what would happen with Bethany, or how far I would be willing to go,
but the plans I’d made so far, and the ease with which I’d made them
were on my mind until the final bell rang.

I’d said fifteen minutes, but I was more like ten. I couldn’t get
the scent of her out of my mind. I didn’t think as I took the
steering wheel and drove to meet her at the bus stop, like in that
ridiculous “Don’t Stand so Close to Me.” My hands were shaking. I’d
chosen the Brand Street stop because the road wasn’t well trafficked.
I was the only car driving down the road, which was lucky, because
Bethany, wearing a light, pastel green hoodie over her uniform, ran up
to my Jeep Grand Cherokee before I even slowed down.

She opened the door, popped in, and crouched in the seat-well without
having to be told. “Good girl,” I said. I’d already decided where to
take her.

There is a state park near the school, and there’s a back entrance
that the rangers use which isn’t blocked off. It’s not signposted,
but I knew it was there because one of the rangers was an occasional
fishing buddy of mine. It led to a hill by the riverside with a
beautiful view. I parked and motioned for Bethany to sit up.

She sat beside me in the passenger seat, only her tiptoes reaching
the floor of the SUV. “What is it you’d like to do?” I asked.

“Don’t know,” she said, but her body said otherwise as she closed the
gap between us and kissed me passionately on the lips. I kissed back,
wrapping my hands through her straight, dirty blond hair. I tasted
strawberry lip gloss. I kissed all over her face roughly, moving down
to her neck, her tender shoulders. I unzipped her hoodie and brushed
it off into the seat behind her. My hands moved from her back to her
front, and undid the blouse of her school uniform.

She was wearing a pink cotton bra with a little white heart between
her breasts. Around her neck was a long, silver chain holding a
silver ring. I pushed the ring aside and kissed her sweet skin,
inhaling the scent of vanilla. I felt her breathing quicken as I
pulled her onto my lap, grinding my raging hard-on against her,
feeling her move against it purposefully, simulating the sexual act.

My hands moved lower. They found their way under her skirt. I found
her narrow, childish hips and the warm juncture between her legs. I
brushed it with my fingers through the fabric of her panties, feeling
heat and moisture.

I wanted to see her naked, so I reached up behind her and unhooked
her bra. Her skin was pale and creamy, but she blushed pink as I
looked at her with greedy eyes. The nipples I’d imagined sucking were
just as pink as they were in my fantasy. I lowered my lips to them,
sucking the erect buds into my mouth. She giggled and ran her hands
through my hair, kissing the top of my head.

I figured that having sex with her or trying to get her to suck my
cock would be a little much for someone so innocent, so I had her
climb into the back seat, lay down, and close her eyes. I reclined
the seat of the Cherokee, turning the entire back of the truck into a
bed. I looked down at her. Her eyelashes were long and dark, her
complexion perfect though I doubted she wore more than the strawberry
lipgloss I’d tasted when I was kissing her.

Her eyes stayed closed as I unfastened the skirt of her school
uniform and slid it over the slight curve of her hips and down her
legs. I could see her soaked pink panties, bearing the same white
heart as the bra. I removed them, as well, revealing a hairless pubic
mound, more childish than I’d imagined, with tightly closed lips.
“Keep your eyes closed,” I said. She nodded nervously. I lowered
myself, spread her thin legs, and brought my mouth to her mound,
sucking her outer lips between mine. I had a five o clock shadow; it
tickled her and she giggled again, but her eyes stayed closed.

“Stop,” she said, “That’s dirty.”

I drew back for a moment to say, “do you really want me to stop?”

“It’s dirty.”

“I don’t think you’re dirty.” I sucked one lip into my mouth, then
the other, parting her labia for the first time with my tongue. I
delved in deeper, finding the small nub of her clitoris, probing it
with my tongue. I worked around it in gentle circles, watching her
twitch. I raised my head for a moment. “Do you want me to stop now?”
I repeated.

“No,” she said. And now her eyes were open, watching me with
interest, like she’d never heard of a guy going down on a girl before.
I rubbed my hands up and down her thighs, concentrating on her pussy,
licking her from her clit down to the opening of her vagina. I
prodded it with my tongue, but it was so tight I didn’t dare enter. I
just wanted to give this preteen girl her first orgasm.

The taste of her was indescribable. Tangy and clean, fresh, pure,
everything I’d imagined. I licked her from her clit to the little bud
of her asshole, making her blush again, then focused entirely on
pleasing her, repeating the circles I’d drawn around her now-hardened
clitoris.

Then I felt her buck upward, pressing her pubic bone against my face
in the throes of her orgasm. She didn’t say anything, just made a
series of little gasps that I couldn’t identify as pleasure or pain.
I’d started out wanting her to be happy, but now I didn’t care. I so
wanted to unzip, bring out my cock, and push it into her. I was so
hard I thought the zipper of my jeans was going to burst.

And then release came as I came—all over the inside of my
undershorts, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Once I got
started, I jizzed what felt like a gallon with her staring up at me in
the throes of it. She clearly didn’t understand what she’d just seen.
“What was that?” she asked.

“Me cumming in my pants?”

“What we just did.”

“You had an orgasm.”

She knew what an orgasm was, clearly. “Oh,” she said, and smiled.
“I really liked that. Your turn next time? You’ll teach me how?”
She was already gathering her clothing, straightening the socks she’d
kept on, searching for the bra I’d discarded.

“When’s next time?”

“I have a church thing tomorrow. Wanna come? I’ll meet you after.”

“Church? On a Saturday?” I was not a churchgoer.

She looked embarrassed. “I’m singing during the youth service.
That's why it's on a Saturday. It’s Grace Church on Hollow. It’s at
5 p.m. Lots of teachers and coaches and stuff show up. It’s ok if
you don’t want to hear me sing, I just thought you might like to. And
my parents think I’m hanging with Nevaeh afterwards, but I’m going to
blow her off.”

“I’ll see what I can do.”

“Good, cos I really want you to teach me more after.” She smiled
that smile again, and I knew that I would move heaven and earth to get
to that church tomorrow.

Oh, how I wanted to teach her that night, but she needed to go home
and so did I. I dropped her a block from her house. I arrived home
before Ariana and did a load of laundry. Nobody noticed a thing; in
fact, Ariana was happy that I’d taken up a bit of housework. She also
didn’t notice when I turned down sex on the couch to work on my lesson
plans. I needed to plan out just what I was going to teach Bethany
and when. Not to mention how I was going to keep up the charade of
teaching her and the others in the classroom.

In the end, sex and death were all I taught Bethany, but perhaps those
are two of the most important things one can learn.

Default
Day 5
Saturday
The church was set in a grove of willow trees. I was slightly
worried that I might jizz another pair of boxers just watching her,
this time in a public setting around people who would actually notice
what I’d done, but I decided to go in anyway. I don’t think any risk
could have stopped me.

I was welcomed by an usher who handed me a prayer book. I promptly
took a seat in one of the back pews, near a side exit for a quick
escape if necessary. I didn’t see Bethany anywhere, so I settled in
for the wait. It didn’t take long, however, for that annoying Nevaeh
to walk up to me and welcome me to church. “Are you here to watch Boo
sing? She’s not very good.”

“Bethany invited me,” I replied.

“Yeah, Bethany. We call her Boo. They should have chosen me for the
solo,” Nevaeh said, flipping her hair side to side, Brady Bunch style.
“And soon, you will see why.”

“Thanks for the warning, Nevaeh,” I said, and deliberately began to
peruse the stained glass windows. I grew up Catholic, with the Virgin
Mary and stations of the cross around me. Whoever designed this
church took a more positive approach. There was Jesus feeding the
masses with the fishes and loaves. There was the wedding at Cana,
Jesus turning water into wine. There was Jesus calling Lazarus to
come forth. Jesus restoring a man’s sight and hearing by rubbing spit
and mud in his face. Jesus healing a woman who couldn’t stop bleeding
by virtue of her faith as she touched his robe.

Jesus raising a young girl from the dead.

I knew these miracles, but I didn’t have time to reminisce. Nevaeh
had taken a seat across the church, safely away from me, and the
service was starting. A rotund woman in a mumu led with a prayer
while the minister, who looked like a used car salesman, stood to the
side and watched. “The Lord has blessed us with a special treat
today. Miss Bethany Kexel, who is thirteen years old, is going to
open for us by sharing her god-given talent. She will be singing a
song called ‘If We Hold on Together.’” The minister and the woman,
presumably his wife, moved away and Bethany appeared, standing in
front of an altar containing a bible, and a childish-looking banner.
GOD CREATE IN ME A CLEAN HEART, written around a heart overshadowed by
a cross, with a dove floating over it.

Bethany was wearing a plaid dress covered by a hideous white cape
which completely obscured the small breasts I was already picturing.
Her eyes scanned the congregation nervously until they focused on me,
and then she mustered a weak smile and folded her hands in front of
her. I smiled back and gave a shallow wave with my right hand,
nothing anyone else would notice. She smiled again, took a childish
breath and began to sing.
I noticed a man and woman sitting together in their Sunday best, the
woman holding a video camera—Mr. And Mrs. Kexel, I presumed. I
ignored them and continued to undress their daughter with my eyes. I
pictured her body under the cape and the dress, imagined my head
between her thighs again, inhaling the scent of her.

Nabokov had it all wrong. When Humbert described Lolita, there were
moments where he realized she was not beautiful before his brain
adjusted the situation and she turned angelic. Bethany was always
beautiful. That being said, Nevaeh was right. Her singing was
mediocre. Nothing ear-splitting, but nothing amazing, either. She
couldn’t hit the high notes or the low notes, and whenever she looked
at me, she appeared to struggle to find the next word in the song. It
didn’t help that she’d put her hands directly over her pubic mound and
was twiddling her fingers as she sung.

This turned me on. I pictured her without the dress, masturbating in
front of me. “If we hold on together, I know our dreams will never
die.” She looked right at me. I couldn’t transform her singing into
anything beautiful, but she certainly was, a diamond surrounded by
trashy religious banners, Bibles and candles.

“When we are out there in the dark, we’ll dream about the sun,” she
sang, and stumbled, looking at me and smiling nervously. I thought
she’d forgotten the words, so I grinned confidently, and she carried
on. “In the dark, we’ll see the light warm our hearts...” and she
carried on. I was hard as all hell, holding my prayer book against my
pants to avoid detection. I had to get to a bathroom fast. Bethany
finished, bowed, still looking at me, and as soon as she took her
seat, I stood and escaped out the exit beside me, which led into a
hallway. “One of these has to be a bathroom,” I muttered to myself,
and started opening doors. A Sunday school classroom here. A cry
room there. As I opened a third door, a small hand touched my back.

“Heya, mister. Did you like it? I know I messed it up a bit.”

“You’re brilliant,” I said. The first time I lied to her.

“Did you wanna teach me how to get you off?”

“Here?”

“No, the basement. There’s a door in the cry room. We go down there
on dares when we have lock-ins. It’s not scary or anything, don’t
worry.”

I reached down and scooped her into my arms, feeling her firm body
through the cape and dress. “I’m not afraid,” I said. “I’m not
afraid of anything.” That was essentially the truth; I wasn’t afraid
of getting caught anymore. “Let’s find this basement,” I said. I
slung her over my shoulder, feet behind me, head in front, and carried
her into the cry room. Holding her with one arm, I took her hand in
my free hand, and brought it to the bulge in my jeans. “Can you feel
that? That’s for you. Been this hard the entire time I was watching
you sing that song. Did you choose it for me?”

“No, my mom chose it.” We were beside the door to the basement now.
“She says it’s both secular and religious, and that’s a good way to
bring people to the faith.” She jiggled the lock to the basement door
with one hand, and an old copper knob twisted and opened. There was a
warning about asbestos hanging beside the stairwell. I doubted
Bethany even knew what asbestos was, but I thought of mesothelioma,
oxygen tanks, early death.

She put her hand on my cock again and those thoughts slipped away.
“Can I really have it in my mouth?”

“Of course, Boo,” I said, trying Nevaeh’s nickname.

I looked for a light switch but couldn’t find one. Bethany was in
front of me, leading the way. “Hah!” she said. “That’s what Nevaeh
calls me. Everyone at the Christian school did, too. But I want it
to be just for my close friends at the new school. Follow me.” I
did.

When she stopped, we were standing in a bathroom with crumbling
concrete walls. An ancient sink, one of those circular deals with a
foot pedal, three toilets in stalls without doors, and full-length
mirror were the only furnishings. She climbed up onto the edge of the
sink and sat there, legs dangling. “Tell me something I don’t know,”
she said.

“I’m going to tell you how to suck my cock.” I was amazed at my
bluntness, but everything about this relationship, or whatever this
thing was, had been that way.

“No, tell me something else first. What music do you like?”

It had been so long since I’d bought a CD, I barely knew anymore.
“Rock music,” I said.

“Do you like My Chemical Romance?”

I knew who she meant and they were god-awful. “I said rock, not
children’s pop.” This made her giggle and fall backwards, her little
butt landing in the basin of the sink. “I’ll tell you whatever you
want if you suck it for me.” I unzipped my pants slowly, then pulled
my shorts down with them, keeping them around my ankles in case I
needed to leave in a hurry. “Just put your mouth on it and suck.”

For a moment, she stood, wide-eyed, not even able to draw herself out
of the sink basin. “I’ve never seen one before,” she said. I helped
her out of the sink, groping her tight ass as I did. I leaned against
the sink, stroking my cock with my hand, just looking at her. She
took her cape off and unbuttoned the front of her dress. She was
wearing a white cotton bra today. I couldn’t resist putting my hand
in there, rubbing her soft, smooth breasts gently. My skin felt so
rough against hers. Slowly, she extended both her hands to touch my
cock and started rubbing along with me. I put a hand over one of hers
and showed her how to stroke it, working up a rhythm. “Just like
that, Bethany. Just like that.”

“You can call me Boo if you want to.”

“Okay,” I said, already straining to keep from cumming. This
beautiful girl was standing in front of me, stroking my cock in a
church basement and I was in heaven. I let go of her hand and she
kept at it, rubbing me like an expert, all the awkwardness she’d shown
on stage completely gone. “Keep going, boo. Put your mouth on it.”
She lowered her lips to the tip. Their touch was amazing, velvety,
perfectly hesitant and innocent. She took the head of my cock into
her mouth and sucked, her cheeks caving in. “Now, move your head up
and down, get me as far in as you can.” She moved, slowly at first,
keeping up the suction, then started taking me further in.

The inside of her mouth was just as velvety as the outside. Her face
looked angelic, hair falling on either side of it, little hands braced
against my thighs. She closed her eyes, took me deeper. I could feel
the back of her throat, but she didn’t gag. She was a natural at
this. “You’re built for this, boo,” I said, twisting my hand into her
hair, showing her just how fast I liked it. She didn’t protest,
didn’t even moan. I’d never had a blow job like this. This girl was
a blank slate. This girl would do anything. She couldn’t get all of
me into her mouth, but that didn’t matter in the end. She got most of
me, and she worked me like I’d never been worked before, swirling her
little tongue around, poking the hole on the head of my cock. It
wasn’t long before I could no longer hold back. I felt my balls begin
to boil

“I’m gonna come in your mouth,” I said, twisting her hair harder.
Something brutal in me had awakened. I wanted my come inside her
mouth, right down her throat. I wanted to shoot it into her. I
needed her to swallow every last drop. She tried to inhale at that
moment, maybe to say something, but I pressed her back down. At that
moment, I unleashed a torrent of jizz that far surpassed the load I’d
shot in my pants the day before. I held her head down until I was
done, watching her pale face go pink and her blue eyes widen. Under
my grip, I felt her head jerk as she swallowed. “Keep drinking, baby.
Take it all,” I said. After shooting the last drops into her, I
said, “Suck it clean for me,” and released her head. She finished me
with a lick of her little, pink tongue, and stood, looking dazed but
happy.

“Did you like it?” she asked, my cum coating her lips, a stray strand
of it dripping down her chin.

“Best ever. Now, let’s get you cleaned up before anyone notices you
gone.” She was way ahead of me, wiping her mouth with the inside of
that hideous cape before buttoning up and slipping it back on. I
embraced her, my hand slipping under her dress. Slowly, I lifted the
seam of her panties and stroked between the lips of her childish
pussy. “You’re wet for me. I’d love to finish you off, baby, but
you’ve got to get back.” I pulled up my pants and zipped up.

“First, I get to ask my questions,” she said.

So I took her in my arms, sliding back against the sink with her in my
lap. I pulled her panties down and stroked her slit and clit with my
rough hands before pulling them back up, patting the moist outside of
the white cotton. “What do you want to know?”

“What’s your first name?”

I told her.

“I don’t like it,” she said. “I’m going to call you Mister. Or Kitty.”

“Kitty?!”

“Yes. Boo and Kitty. From Monsters INC. Haven’t you seen it?” I
hadn’t, but I pretended I had.

“What else?”

“Do you have a girlfriend?”

“Yes. It’s not serious, though.” My second lie.

“Am I allowed to say her name?”

“Why wouldn’t you be?”

“Haven’t you read The Great Gatsby? Remember how Tom broke Myrtle’s
nose when she said his wife’s name? She wasn’t allowed to say it,
soooo...” she trailed off.

“Well, I’m not married, and you’re certainly not Myrtle.” I was
surprised she’d read The Great Gatsby at thirteen. “Her name is
Ariana and you can say it whenever you like. I promise I’ll never
break your nose.” Three lies in one day. “Now, let’s get you back.”

“Don’t you want to know anything about me?”

“Yes, but it’s been at least ten minutes. Your parents will be
looking. You go first and I’ll find the back way out.”

She looked stricken, like I’d slapped her in the face and broken her
nose after all. Her eyes were watery, the mouth that had just sucked
me off so expertly drooping. I had a business card in my pocket for
potential employers. “Listen, don’t you show anyone this card or I’ll
get in trouble. But if you want to, you can email me. Think of ten
questions I’d ask and give me your answers.”

She folded the card. “I don’t have anywhere to put it.”

I took it back and tucked it into her bra, tracing around a nipple as
I did. She straightened her cape and was up the basement stairs
before I could think about the enormity of what I’d just done. But it
was done now, and she had gone, as though she had never been there at
all.

Day 6

Sunday

My eyes were locked on the screen, my mouse pointer over the minimize button.

Hi Kitty! (Yes I’m going to call u that. Get over it.) Here are
twenty answers about me. Can u guess what u asked?
1. I am an only child.
2. My favorite color is powder green.
3. My middle name is Ryann because my dad wanted a boy.
4. Green apple.
5. I have never had a boyfriend.
6. English because I like the teacher.
7. I don’t know if I believe in God, but I like being with my friends.
8. A singer.
9. I will give u mine, if you want it.
10. Swimming.
I also have a question for u. Will u go out with me? I know u have a
gf but I don’t care.

I desperately wanted to ask what the hell she meant with number nine,
but I thought better, and replied without copying her email in my
response. Two sentences, very simple. Yes. See you tomorrow. I
cleared my history and closed the browser.
I can’t remember anything else that happened that Sunday. I’m sure
Ariana and I did something, but it’s so difficult to remember.
Bethany encompassed everything. Bethany, who wanted to be a singer,
Bethany, who liked swimming and her English teacher. Bethany, who is
bleeding out on the rug as I sit here writing it all down, trying to
figure out how we got from there to here.


Day 7

Monday

I began questioning myself and what I was doing. I had a good thing
with Ariana, enough education to achieve a professorship as soon as
some university gave me a chance, even a chance of having a novel
published with a University press if things went very well. This was
a risk. Perhaps nothing would come of it, or perhaps I would lose my
entire life and end up working a minimum wage job. I had a female
colleague in college who told me teachers who slept with their
students ended up as baggage handlers at O’Hare or LAX.

As fun as Bethany was, as hard as I was even thinking about the curve
of her lips around my dick, was she worth it? I thought about this as
I robotically kissed Ariana goodbye, as I drove to work. My car still
smelled like Bethany. I wondered how much of her DNA was in the
backseat.

I decided to end it. This mindset lasted for the first two periods of
the day, and then I saw her. She gave me what she probably thought
was a seductive glance, but really looked nervous and excited at the
same time. My cock hardened instantly. I watched her as long as I
could between the door and her desk, knowing I would still do whatever
she asked, even if it meant hearing that the terror alert level was
orange for the rest of my life.

Bethany wasn’t able to stay after class. Nevaeh and Madison whisked
her away, chattering like the teenage girls they were. She glanced
backwards at me, this time much more sexily, and I could suddenly
smell her again. I watched the three friends until they were out of
sight.

As I was packing up at the end of the day, I heard the door open. I
smelled her vanilla scent before I whipped around, I saw her. She’d
changed out of her school uniform and into skinny jeans and a sparkly,
pink spaghetti string tank top. I could see her neck, exposed,
curving into perfect shoulders, her collar bone, the outline of her
immature breasts. She whipped her head around the office to make sure
nobody was watching, then screamed, “Kitty!” and ran to me, arms
outstretched.

“Boo,” I said, softly, holding her tightly to my chest. “What are you
doing here?”

“I missed my bus. Do you want to drive me home?”

My hands were on her ass, touching it through her tight jeans. She
kissed the side of my neck. “This is so dangerous,” I muttered,
partially to her, but mostly to myself.

“No, just give me a ride home,” she insisted. “Here,” she said,
gesturing toward a stack of books I’d been planning on bringing home.
“You want me to carry these?”

“Sure,” I said. “Make yourself useful.”

We talked as we walked to my car. “What are you doing over spring
break?” I asked.

“I dunno. Nothing I want to be doing. Hanging out with Nevaeh and
Maddie. We’re supposed to be practicing for the assembly thing on
Friday, which is going to s-u-c-k suck. I wanted to sing, but Nevaeh
and Maddie wrote this skit like a month before I even transferred
here, so that’s what we’re doing. You?”

“Um.” I was going away with Ariana. I didn’t want to say.

Her face fell. “Vacation. With her.”

“Yes. Just don’t think about it, okay? I don’t even want to go
anymore, but it’s not like I could see you every day. It would look
too suspicious. It’s only two weeks, anyway, and my vacation is a
week and a half. We’ll find some time when I get back.” There I went
again, confirming to this girl that we had a future. It was what I
wanted, but I didn’t feel it was right to keep her hopes up.

We wove through cars and SUVs before reaching mine at the end of the
parking lot. “Put the books in the back and then get in the front and
don’t crouch down. This is on the up-and-up. I’m taking you home
because you missed your bus.” I watched her climb casually into the
cabin of the Cherokee before swinging into my seat. I rested my hand
on her knee as we drove, wishing she’d stayed in her shirt so I could
get a feel of her pussy through her panties. Instead, I ran my hand
up her leg and it came to rest on the seam of her jeans. I rubbed the
thick part of the seam, imagining that it was stroking her hardening
clitoris. Her wide, blue eyes narrowed and her breathing quickened,
telling me that my imagination was correct.

Bethany’s house was in an affluent neighborhood, one step below a
gated community. She told me her mother was an attorney, her father a
podiatrist, and neither made an appearance before eight in the
evening. It was barely four and my mind swelled with possibility, but
I dropped her off and parked in the street behind hers just in case,
sneaking through a yard Bethany told me would be empty. “Nevaeh,
Madison and I cut through there when we’re sneaking out to buy
unauthorized candy. That’s what my mom calls junk food.”

“I’ll give you some unauthorized candy,” I replied.

Bethany let me in the back. The house was tastefully done with black
and red leather furniture, immaculate white walls and white carpeting.
There were no pets here; I found it difficult to believe that there
was even a child. I wiped my feet before stepping inside. “They
don’t have cameras or anything, do they?”

“No, just a standard alarm. And I disarmed it. Come on, my room’s upstairs.”

Bethany’s room was more like a suite, with its own private bathroom.
Her parents clearly gave her free reign, as the carpeting was light
green and worn, and the walls were adorned with cut-out pictures from
magazines, photographs of Bethany with her friends, and construction
paper with handwritten song lyrics. I recognized words from the song
she’d sung on Sunday. “Souls in the wind must learn how to bend.
Seek out a star, hold on to the end.”

She lay back on the bed, which bore a crisp-looking powder green
comforter, sliding her jeans down over her hips as she did. She
wasn’t wearing panties and probably didn’t realize just how sexy I
found this. My cock sprang immediately to action. “Take the shirt
off, sweetie,” I said. She stood; she was wearing her pink bra
underneath. I stepped forward and unhooked it, running my hands along
both her breasts as I did.

In front of me, she stood there, naked. For a moment, I simply took
her in. The sight of her body, smaller than it seemed up close, both
terrified and amazed me. The flare of her hips. The beginnings of
breasts, with the silver ring hanging in the slight cleavage. The
erect nipples. The cleft of her pussy, glistening with her own
fluids. “You next?” she asked. Hesitantly, I undressed, watching her
watching me. Her eyes always widened when she was truly focused on
me. I could see her starstruck gaze and wondered how long it would
last, how long she would care for “Kitty” before I became “That Guy
Who Molested Me When I Was Thirteen.” My underwear dropped to the
floor and my cock sprung free in all its glory. A drip of pre-come
was already at the tip.

She moved forward before me, taking my cock in her hands and rubbing
it as she had before. I lifted her, kissing her in midair, my cock
pressed against her stomach. Just one simple movement would have
brought me inside of her, but I didn’t dare. All the hesitation from
the morning had returned. I lay her down on the bed, hands on her ass
cheeks moving to her front, touching her firm stomach and working my
way to her pussy. I spread it open, seeing it in proper light for the
first time. Her inner lips were barely developed, but her clitoris
was swollen and the tiny vaginal opening, hymen visible and intact,
was dripping clear, fragrant fluid. I licked it up.

I sucked her clitoris, using my tongue, getting her hot. I had my
hand on my cock, wanking it, and I brought it to her cleft, moving my
mouth upward, kissing her. Her facial expression showed me that she
wasn’t entirely comfortable tasting herself. I drew back and
reassured her. “It’s okay, boo.” At the same time, I brought my cock
to her pussy for the first time. Her lips closed, I rubbed my shiny
head against her, releasing more pre-cum as I did. Our juices mixed
as I parted my outer lips with my dick, knowing it was the first to
touch the bright pink, baby-new skin of her inner labia. I swirled my
cock around her clitoris, feeling it stiffen even more. “Is this
okay?” I asked, less certain of myself now.

Bethany nodded. “Is there anything I can do for you?”

“Put your hand on my cock,” I said. “Rub it against your clit. Make
yourself cum.” Her hand barely fit around my girth. She began
controlling my cock; I was glad, because it was taking me incredible
restraint not to force my way into her, to feel her on the inside, to
fill that tight pussy with cum and be her first in every imaginable
way. At first, she just rubbed my cock against her clit, masturbating
in ways I always imagined young girls would do with objects. “Have
you done this before, boo? With anything?”

“Just...” she hesitated. “Just my hands.”

“Keep going, Bethany. Make yourself cum.”

She wasn’t helping me with my restraint anymore. She brought my cock
down between her inner lips and raised her hips slightly. Instinct, I
guessed, was a powerful thing. I felt her pussy juice on the head of
my cock, felt the inner ring beginning to stretch and contract
automatically around the tip of my cock. I nearly shot off right
there. This time, I knew I had to stop it. I couldn’t fuck her right
here in her own bed, even though I wanted nothing more. There was the
blood to think about, and the aftermath of not being just a child
molester but a child rapist. “We’ve got to stop, boo,” I said, my
body defying my words, my cock twitching involuntarily, bringing the
head of my dick right against her hymen. I could feel it. Just one
thrust and it would be broken. I would be inside of her, her warmth
around me.

Going against everything in my body, I said it again. “We’ve got to
stop.” This time, my body obeyed. I pulled my cock away from her
pussy. Her lips clasped closed, tight and unspoiled.

“Is something wrong with me?” she asked.

“Nothing’s wrong with you, baby. There’s just so much to think about.”

“I told you that you could have it if you want to.” Question four.

“Have what?”

“My purity ring. The one that symbolizes my virginity. You can have
it. I want you to have it.” She looked like she was going to say
something else, perhaps “I love you,” and I was glad she didn’t.

“Oh, boo, let me think about it. My hand was on her stomach, which
was covered with her sweat. “Touch yourself for me today, honey.
Show me how you do it.” She brought her left hand to her clit,
keeping her right on my cock. She must have been close, because it
took her only moments before her body was bucking violently. As she
came, I opened her pussy lips again with my fingers watching the
involuntary contractions of her tiny vaginal opening, imagining how it
would feel with my cock in there, with her squeezing it that tightly.

I couldn’t help it. I shot my load even though she wasn’t moving the
hand that was wrapped around my dick. Thick ropes of cum jetted out,
spattering her stomach and breasts. I couldn’t stop; the jizz
continued to pour out, pooling on her bellybutton. When her orgasm
subsided, she dipped her index finger into it and brought it to her
mouth, licking it. “Wow, that’s a lot,” she said. She did her bouncy
walk into the bathroom, turned on the shower, and washed the rest of
the milky cum down her body and through the drain. I watched her
underneath the stream of pressurized water, as turned on by her body
as I had ever been.

I was hard again already, damn it all, and would have had her in the
shower, but had washed my cock in the sink and wasn’t about to cum
again. That and all the reasons I hadn’t taken her virginity on the
bed.

Her shower was one of those deals with the glass door. She kept
pressing her lips up against the door, making puffer-fish faces and
writing “Dat was amazzzzing” with her free hand. She washed her
stomach, her hair, and opened those beautiful lips again to wash her
juices and hopefully my pre-cum from between them.

She stepped out and towel dried. I was still naked before her,
feeling vulnerable even though I was clearly in the position of power.
“You don’t want to have sex with me?” she asked.

“I told you I want to. I just don’t think it’s a good idea. Maybe
you should save that experience for someone your own age, and maybe
wait for a few years. Your body is so small. Isn’t that what the
whole virginity ring thing is about, anyway, waiting? What we’re
doing is great, I don’t want to stop, I just don’t want to be
responsible for...”

“I’m responsible for myself,” Bethany said. “And I don’t have to wait for
some other guy. I waited for you. But you can think about it as long
as you need to, because you’re the only one I want.”

Such a clich?conversation. Sitting here now, I can’t even believe
we had it, can’t believe I didn’t fuck that little pussy raw right
then, in the bed she’d slept in as a little girl. I could picture the
pastel green blanket with a crimson stain where blood had dripped down
her pert little ass cheeks, mixed with the gallons of cum I’d just
shot in her. I thought of the mixture running down her legs as she
stood, her fingers moving down to touch it, a surprised expression
when they came up wet and red. Her blood and her childhood could have
swirled down the drain with my cum. Instead, we waited.

We sat innocently on her unspoiled bed; I opened a set of frothy green
curtains and cracked the window to let out the smell of sex. And the
questions began.

Where did you go to college? Cornell.

Why did you come back here? Lack of professorships. And because this
was my home.

How many girls have you had sex with? Two. A bit of a lie. Two in
high school, two in college, the last of whom was Ariana. Still under
the national average, I was sure.

How old are you? Thirty-five. The truth.

The last was, “Do you believe in God? You already know my answer.”

“I did when I was a child. Now I’m like you.”

“If there’s a God, do you think what we’re doing is wrong?”

“I think we’re fine, so long as we don’t hurt anyone. Am I hurting
you, Bethany?”

“No. Am I hurting you?”

“Of course not.” I don’t know if that was a lie.

I left through the back door, glancing backwards to watch Bethany in
the doorway as the sunlight faded. It was all so easy. She’d said I
wasn’t hurting her. She had what seemed like infinite unsupervised
time. For the moment, my doubts had faded away. I wanted to carry on
with her, but I still didn’t plan on fucking her.

Day 8

Tuesday

It happened Tuesday afternoon an hour after school had gotten out. I
work at a public school and our department meetings are on Wednesdays,
so everyone jets out of work really fast every other day of the week.
Lucky that. I’d just looked out of my office window and seen the
parking lot, empty but for a scattering of cars, mine included. Even
the principal was gone. My hand was on the keychain in my pocket as I
left the office. I wasn’t keen on hanging around school when I didn’t
have to. I turned to lock the door and then heard the sound of light,
quick footsteps. When I whipped my head to the side, Bethany was
running down the hall.

She was wearing her mint green hoodie again, this time over a grey
skirt and green and white leggings. As she ran, she held her arms out
like she was flying. There was a huge grin on her face. “Kitty!” she
shrieked as she neared me.

“Shh,” I said, my hand still on the doorknob. “You want everyone in
the school to hear you?”

“You waited for me,” she said, just as loud, then took a running leap
into my arms, knocking me off balance. I turned the doorknob,
allowing us to fall into my office. I broke our fall by grabbing a
desk chair, but still landed uncomfortably on the office floor with
Bethany straddling me, kissing my face. The pain I felt was only
momentary; looking up at this young girl, her eyes widened with love
or lust or whatever this was, kissing me and beginning to unzip her
hoodie, had me rock-hard before I knew what was happening.

I looked up at the door, wishing it was locked, but focused instead on
Bethany. Her hair fell down, straight and light, tangling in her
mouth and mine. When she drew back, loose strands of it remained,
obscuring one of her eyes. She raised one hand to push her hair
behind her ears. Her hoodie was on the ground now; she hadn’t been
wearing anything underneath it except the white bra. I reached behind
her and pulled it off, then sat up straight, pulling her into my lap,
grinding my hard-on against her through my khakis and her panties.

She flexed her hips against me, grinding her pubic bone against my
cock. Something inside me snapped and a part of me I didn’t know
existed came forth. My hands, rough and large against her body,
grabbed her around the waist, stood her up, and ripped her skirt
straight down, breaking the zipper, leaving it on the floor. I saw
her hesitate; maybe there was a fleck of fear in those blue eyes, but
this new me, this lost person, couldn’t stop. I got my hand down her
panties and started fingering between her pussy lips. She was wet,
like she always was for me. I touched her roughly, starting with her
unbroken little cherry and moving back to her asshole. I was so close
to her, my face buried in her hair, inhaling the sweet scent of her
scalp, that I couldn’t see her reaction when I pushed the tip of my
finger into it, just for a moment, then withdrew it. I was harder
than ever.

I did away with her panties next, not ripping them, but pulling them
down to her knees. I lifted her onto my desk, one arm sweeping the
papers off behind her before lowering her gently down, the other
holding her. Whatever fear had been in her eyes had gone. Her legs
were spread out and she was completely naked except for her shoes and
the leggings. I held the lips of her pussy open and rubbed my cock
between them, feeling her moist inner lips and the impossibly tight
hole of her vagina. I moved my cock up and down, hardened clit to
dripping hole, savoring her as a virgin for the last time.

Already feeling my balls boiling, I pushed into her; not easily, not
softly or gently, the way I knew she deserved to have it happen, but
roughly, hungrily, the way I wanted it. I felt her hymen break; it
offered only the slightest resistance before it gave way, pushing back
into her and allowing me in. My cock in her and her legs spread far
as they could go, I took hold of her shoulders, thrusting hard to get
myself all the way into her. Her face had gone blank, like she knew
she’d been begging for it, but wasn’t sure what to think now that I’d
stuck it into her. The feel of her hips against mine was amazing.
Her legs had these tiny bones that pressed against my thighs. They
felt delicate, like I could break them if I went too hard, and this
aroused me, having her life in my hands.

I began to push in to the hilt, then pull out, and the feeling was
almost indescribable. She was wet and sticky on the inside and
terribly tight, tighter than I’d imagined. I was bottoming out with
every thrust, bumping her cervix with the head of my cock. I stopped
for a moment with my cock in as far as it would go to explore it; if
she was uncomfortable, she didn’t show it. In fact, her hands had
risen to touch my face. They were soft against my stubble. I reached
down to touch her clit and her pussy tightened even more around my
dick. I began to thrust again, grinding against her pubic bone with
mine, pressing her clitoris with each thrust, knowing I wouldn’t last
much longer.

I wished I could have her all night, but I’d chosen the wrong place
for that. I wished I could make her cum, but I had to settle for the
slight smile on her face and the slickening walls of her stretched
little hole. I grunted, losing whatever control I had left, and
thrust until shooting off deep inside of her, directly against her
cervix. I felt my orgasm throughout my body, felt myself collapsing
forward onto her as my jizz shot out in jets. It had been a mere five
minutes since I pushed her back on the desk. I was surprised I’d even
lasted that long.

I pulled out of her quickly, my still-hard cock making an audible pop
as the head. It softened when I saw the blood, mixed with cum,
running out of her pussy and puddling on my desk. Her hole was
stretched out, but pulsating, perhaps returning to its original size.
I wasn’t sure how these things worked with little girls; perhaps I’d
damaged her irrevocably, torn her open so she’d never been the same.
I’d not been with a virgin since high school and didn’t remember there
being this much blood. When Bethany closed her legs, the blood
stained her thighs, but it was clear she had yet to notice.

She sat up, looking at me with the same starstruck gaze she’d had when
she was kissing me. She blinked her eyes once, then looked down at
her legs. She blinked again, then looked up at me. I guess the look
in my eyes, which was probably a mix between utter satisfaction and
pure terror, affected her, because she said, “Don’t worry, Kitty.”

“I’m not.” My voice was shaking. If she’d been afraid when I threw
her down on the desk, I was afraid now. I’d done it. I’d fucked her.
There was physical injury, DNA evidence on my blood-stained dick,
running down her thighs, pooling on my desk as we spoke. I pulled up
my pants, drying blood on my dick be damned, and opened the office
door a crack. The coast was clear.

I don’t remember the run to the janitor’s cupboard for a huge wad of
paper towels and a bottle of cleaning fluid, but I’m sure it was
panicked. Bethany was sitting in the same place, staring down between
her legs. In contrast to my fantasy, I don’t think she’d had the
courage to touch herself yet, to see how badly she’d been broken. Oh,
god, broken. I was so afraid she was broken. None of the biology I’d
taken in college, the sex-ed I’d had in high school, had addressed
this. Somehow, I managed to dab between her legs with the paper
towel, wiping away the worst of the blood. But when she stood, more
blood gushed down her legs; at least, I noticed, now there was more
cum than blood.

She had a tampon in her bag, and I watched her insert it
uncomfortably, looking at me as though I should have turned away
because sex was all right, but this was too personal. I thought of
all that semen soaking into the tampon—more evidence to be used
against me in a court of law, I was sure—and shuddered. I realized
neither of us had said a word since she’d come in, so I broke the
silence with the only thing I could think of. “Um,” I said. “It does
get better. I’ll make you cum next time.”

Her face broke into the most beautiful, wide smile I’d ever seen.
“You mean you liked me?” She was pulling her skirt back on over her
legs, but when she realized it was broken, she retrieved her uniform
from her school bag and put it on instead. “I was worried,” she said,
“that I sucked at this.”

“No,” I said, putting my hand on her still-naked shoulder. “You could
never suck at it. You’re built for this, boo.” Another grin. I
grinned back and felt warm inside. “We just need to wait a few days.
Wait for you to heal up.”

She nodded.

“Don’t tell anyone about this.” As soon as the words left my mouth, I
felt guilty; this statement solidified my position in life as a
pervert, the guy who was going to end up as a baggage handler at
O’Hare. Or announcing the Blue Light Special at K-Mart. Or as
someone’s girlfriend in the state penitentiary. Fuck. I hadn’t
thought of that one, but my conscience was reminding me

“You don’t tell, either,” Bethany said. “I don’t want people to think
that I’m a slut.”

“You’re not, baby,” I said. She was pulling her panties on. “Wash
those out? Don’t just put them in the hamper?” The voice in my head
was chanting that I was becoming quite the criminal.

“I’m not a child,” she replied, almost offended.

I hugged her to me. “I know. I’m just afraid.” I sniffed her hair
again, smelling vanilla through the scent of frenzied sex. “This sort
of thing doesn’t end well, boo. This is the sort of thing that ends
with the Channel 3 News van pulling up to my house. This isn’t some
happily ever after fairytale.”

Bethany tilted her head for a moment, her eyes locking with mine.
“That depends,” she said, then removed the chain that was always
around her neck, the chain with the purity ring. “You can have this,
though. It’s yours now.” She was still living in her fantasy and who
could blame her? We raise our young girls on Disney princess movies.
When they become teenagers, we indoctrinate them with Romeo and
Juliet. Every second pop song, from my childhood to hers, is about
forbidden love, and often about a girl who’s too young. I don’t blame
the media for what I did, but I think it can explain some of the
feelings she had for me.

Stranger Danger, abstinence only sex ed, and cheesy after-school
specials are nothing in the face of every image, every song, every
movie, every book we have made about forbidden love. Somewhere inside
of me, I knew she had this fantasy of our happy ending.

And I didn’t take her fantasy away. At least not that afternoon.
Probably because I still had it, too. I put the long, silver chain
around my neck; the symbol of Bethany’s virginity hung close to my
heart.

I wiped my desk and gathering all of the evidence, from the paper
towel to the bloody tampon, into my briefcase. Then, I walked with
Bethany to my car and drove her off a block from her house. I hovered
on the corner and watched her walk home, her gait slower now than it
had been when she’d run down the hallway to me. The thought of the
freshly fucked little girl whose stretched-out little cunt was now
full of my cum turned me on so much that I got hard just looking at
her. As I drove off, I thought of her and hoped she wasn’t in too
much pain. I wasn’t completely cold-hearted. Whatever happens to me,
I hope people know two things: One, that I’m not an evil person, and
two, that I loved Bethany.

Day 9

Wednesday

I watched Bethany closely during class, searching for signs of
damage—changes in her normally spacey demeanor, rifts with her
friends. These were the tiny cracks that I felt could form and turn
into gaping holes, and we’d fall through, like children through ice
not yet solidified. As a child, I saw such an accident in the park
where I first tasted Bethany. Two boys, years younger than me, were
skating on tennis shoes over a pond. There had been a crack, and a
sound like a groan, and the ice had shattered around them. One boy
lived, one boy died, and I’d stood on the shore, staring until they
were both fished out.

It was the only time in my life that I’d seen a dead body outside a
funeral home. I hadn’t understood death at that stage, but that had
been my first lesson, flashing lights and sandy hair over a blue
forehead, a yellow coat darkened with cold water and dripping a path
into the snow.
I’m not one to dwell on my past or blame it for my present. Everyone
has seen something like this, if not worse. And, to be perfectly
honest, until Bethany Kexel looked at me, my life was probably one
that many would envy. I had a stable income, I had a lovely
girlfriend who wanted to become my wife, I was healthy. There was
nothing else I desired until her.

Bethany seemed normal in class. Either she was unaffected by all this
or she was a better actress than she was a singer. Nothing had
changed in her; she seemed no more mature than she had the night
before as she giggled with Madison and Nevaeh after class. She did,
however, smile knowingly and warmly at me on her way out of the room.
I didn’t expect to see her after school on account of the practice for
her skit, but she stopped by briefly. One of my colleagues was in the
English office, so we went into the classroom. She sat on a desk with
her legs spread slightly. I locked the door behind me. “You feeling
better, boo?” I asked.

“I’m not bleeding, but I am sore. Owch.” She closed her eyes.

I put my hand on her shoulder, rubbing gently, trying to give her some
of the affection I should have given her during her first time having
sex. If I had a regret, that was it. She’d deserved rose petals on a
bed in a five star hotel, dinner at a restaurant that with silverware
and cloth napkins, at least a first date. I said the only remotely
romantic thing I could think of. “I’m still wearing your ring.”

“You better,” she said, her face breaking into a smile. I pictured
her grown-up, grown into her pretty lips, her large, doe eyes. I
pictured her looking regal, calling me to come to the dining room or,
better yet, into the bedroom.

“Are you all right, Bethany?”

“Yes,” she said. “I totally wanted to, you know, with you, Mister
Kitty. Don’t worry.” She pinched my cheek. “Don’t worry, don’t
worry.” She was kneeling on the desk now, looking so sexy that I
could have pushed her back and done her again, right there, parted
those tight pussy lips and seen how she felt with them all throbbing
and swollen from yesterday’s fucking. “I’m just scared of one thing.”

“Yes?”

“I don’t want to be pregnant.” Shit. I hadn’t thought of that. And
with that damned abstinence-only sex ed, she probably thought she
already was.

“Uh,” I said, unprepared for this discussion, “You’re probably not
pregnant from one time, despite what you learn at church and here.
I’ll get some condoms, though, for next time.” She smiled, teeth
outside her mouth, eyes closed, as if to show me how happy she was
that there would be a next time.

I put my hand in her hair, running my rough fingers through the soft,
blond locks.

“I’m glad I found you,” she said. “Are you glad you found me?”

Always with the questions. “I didn’t find you. I wasn’t looking.”

“You must have been looking for something.”

“Maybe,” I said, half a lie to add to the list of lies I’d already
told. “There is something about you that appeals. I can’t get my
mind off you. I miss you when you’re not around. I can’t concentrate
when I’m meant to be doing something because I’m always thinking about
you.”

“Here’s something else to think about,” she said, touching my cock
gently through my jeans, getting me hard, and bringing her lips to
mine for a gentle kiss. They were swollen from the day before and I
could only imagine how swollen her other lips were. She drew back;
the look in her eyes told me that she loved me. Whatever this was, I
was not in it alone.

“I love you, Boo,” I said, hugging her. With her kneeling on the
desk, she was taller than me and able to rest her head on my shoulder.

“I love you, Kitty,” she said. Then, “I’m glad you said it first,
because now I know you mean it.” Funny, until I noticed how she
looked at me, I was wondering the same way about her. But Bethany’s
eyes told her story, made me feel like I was being worshipped. I
hadn’t expected to be the object of that intense kind of teenage first
love ever again, but I liked it.

“You better get to your practice.”

She did, skipping out the door, but not without looking back at me and
giving me an affectionate smile.

I bought condoms on my way home and hid them in my underwear drawer—an
obvious place, I knew, but I was taking them to school the next day,
and Ariana didn’t get around to doing the laundry that night, so I was
fine.

While falling asleep, I thought of the two children pulled from the
shattered glass of the half frozen lake. I think they were brothers,
or maybe cousins. One was gasping for air, groaning like the ice.
Purple veins were visible on his face beneath matted brown hair. His
eyes were shot red like they were bleeding. The sandy-haired boy was
quiet and limp. His eyes were open, but blank. I’d known he was
dead.

I didn’t dream of the boys, I dreamt of the lake on warmer days like
the ones that were upon us now. It was a hot spring, or an early
summer. I dreamt of taking Bethany to the lake and the things we
would do there. I awoke at night to Ariana turning toward me,
offering herself. I feigned slumber and turned away.

Day 10

Thursday

Halfway to school, I realized I’d forgotten the condoms. Ariana had
left for work at the same time I did, so I knew I was in the clear,
and I wasn’t planning on having any sort of sex with Bethany, even
though I was aching for it. I knew I would have her again soon;
Ariana was going on an outing with her college girlfriends on Saturday
and I planned on taking Bethany to the park.

The day went by normally, though Nevaeh was more annoying than usual,
darting in front of Bethany when she tried to say hello after class.
Actually, this was par for the course with Nevaeh, and she did me one
unintentional favour when she invited me to see the skit practice that
evening. “We’ll give you a sneak preview,” she said. Bethany and
Madison, standing behind her, nodded their heads vigorously. I
probably wouldn’t have blown off the other two girls, even before
Bethany, but her presence had me thinking all day about seeing her on
stage.

I hoped for her sake that her acting was better than her singing, but
in reality I would have loved her if she was completely without
talent. She was a bright little thing; she’d read most of the books
in my curriculum independently. I haven’t given her much credit for
her intelligence; getting involved with me was clearly a mistake, but
she hadn’t made many others.

I walked into the auditorium. Bethany, Madison, Nevaeh and two girls
who must have had a different English teacher were sitting on the edge
of the stage in jeans and hoodies with their legs dangling down. It
was a beautiful sight and Bethany looked happy, which made me smile.
“Hey, Mister!” Bethany called, climbing onto the stage.

“Hey!” said Nevaeh, jumping up beside her.

I walked closer. That was when I saw the boys—five of them—sitting in
the front row of the auditorium. Two, Branton and Jayden, were from
my Advanced English class, and there wasn’t a brain cell between them.
Three I didn’t know at all. I felt a sudden flash of jealousy,
something I never thought I’d feel toward a bunch of pimply little
eighth grade boys. Noisy Nevaeh didn’t give me the chance to think
too much about it. She unzipped her hoodie to reveal a t-shirt tucked
into a bra. “I’m glad you came to see us practice. You know Maddie
and, of course, Bethany.” I wondered what she meant by the “of
course.” She gestured toward the remaining two girls. “These are
Reagan and Kennedy.”

“Dead presidents,” I said, under my breath.

“Huh?” asked Reagan or Kennedy, who looked either stupid or stoned.

“Doesn’t anyone give their kids real names these days?”

This comment apparently went way over Nevaeh’s head because she
carried on with her prattle. “Maddie and Bethany play the nice girls.
Me, Reagan and Kennedy play the sluts. But we’re not really sluts.
Okay, maybe Reagan’s a slut, but not me.”

“And what kind of skit are you doing in front of the whole school that
is about sluts?”

“It’s about abstinence,” Nevaeh offered. “We can’t mention God, but
we’re going to talk about the dangers of having sex at a young age.
Which is why we need boys. Each of us have a boyfriend. Maddie’s
with Jayden, I’m with Branton, Kennedy and Reagan are with Colby and
Brie.”

Great, now they were naming kids after cheeses.

“And Bethany’s with Kyler.”

“Hey,” Kyler said. He was tall and gangly, with dyed black hair, a
face full of zits and the most disgusting name of all. What was wrong
with Kyle? Or Tyler? I wondered if I’d been this cynical when I
started teaching, or even at the beginning of the week.

“I’m not really with Kyler,” Bethany said quickly. “And I play one of
the good girls, so we aren’t having sex in the play. Or real life.”

Shut up, Bethany. I tried to make eye contact, to tell her it was
okay, that even if my brain was telling me to kill the slimy little
shit, I knew she wasn’t interested in him. Luckily, Nevaeh
interrupted her and started the play.

Bethany didn’t get many lines in the play, thanks to Nevaeh’s big
mouth and the fact that she was the primary playwright, but I enjoyed
watching her. Her acting was decent, considering the terrible script
and the questionable message of the entire skit. I was thankful for
this, in case we ever came to a point where Bethany had to lie for me.

I left after they rehearsed the skit once, walking out the door. I
knew she’d follow me, but really didn’t want her to. I was halfway
down the hallway when she caught up with me. “Kitteeeee,” she whined.
“You could have stayed.”

“No, that was enough.”

“I don’t like Kyler.”

“Of course you don’t. Please don’t be silly. Try to be an adult
about this. You know I know that...”

“That you only like me and I only like you?”

Close enough. “Yes. Now, get back in there before you blow our
cover. But try to get Saturday free if you can, because I have
something planned for us. Somewhere I would like to take you.”

“Where?” She looked so excited that I nearly told her, but decided
against it.

“It’s a surprise. Now, get back in there.” She was still standing in
front of me. What I wanted was to take her back up to my office and
fuck her on the desk again. I could remember the feeling of her tight
pussy, her lips against mine, my hand in her hair. I could smell her
from where I was standing, though faintly.

“Okay, we can go out Saturday,” she said. “Same bus stop at noon?” I
agreed and she finally skipped away, back through the auditorium
doors. I walked off, more nervous than I had been before this meeting
and seeing the stupid skit. I wondered if Neveah or the other girls
had any suspicions. If they did, I hoped spring break would erase
them.

Day 11

Friday

Friday came slowly; I was awake and having breakfast in the kitchen
before Ariana woke up. I heard her footsteps from the bedroom as I
was finishing my bowl of Corn Flakes. “I know you’ll be lonely
Saturday, with me going out with the girls, so let’s do something on
Sunday. We can go to Olive Garden for dinner, and I won’t give you
any grief about getting spaghetti marinara this time.”

“Okay,” I mumbled. Just weeks ago, I would have been excited.

“And then, how about we see that horror movie remake, the one that got
a star and a half?”

Normally, I’d have been thrilled. Instead, I couldn’t see past
Saturday and my plans with Bethany. I wanted to see her naked in the
sunlight, long, blond hair flowing down over her shoulders and
rippling in the light, spring breeze. I wondered if she would need
sunscreen; the thought of rubbing it into her ivory skin gave me
chills. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d shuddered, just from
thinking about a woman. I thought I’d gotten over that after my first
high school girlfriend.

When Ariana came out of the bedroom, I pretended to be excited about
Sunday. I hoped she didn’t notice how distracted I was.

On the drive to school, I thought about Bethany. I wondered whether
she got chills thinking about me, too. I also thought,
half-distractedly, that I hadn’t moved the condoms yet. Ariana was
unlikely to discover them, seeing that she hadn’t yet, and they would
be moving tomorrow for sure.

I got to school five minutes early. I had my regular-ed class and my
creative writing, and then my third period, Bethany’s class, arrived;
I was to take attendance and then take them to the assembly. My class
was down by more than a few; Bethany, Nevaeh, Madison, Branton and
Jayden were already in the auditorium, getting prepared for their
portion of the assembly. I walked my depleted class down the hall and
we took our seats in one of the back rows. The administration liked
to put the advanced classes in the back and the lower level in the
front, for easier behavioral management.

We’d barely sat down when Bethany tapped me on the shoulder. Her
fingers were light and gentle on my shoulder, and she smelled like she
was wearing a dusting of sweet, girlish perfume. “Mister, we need a
teacher to help with the introduction to our section. Can you come
backstage, please?”

“I’ve got my class to watch, Bethany.”

“It’ll only take a minute. The grammar is all messed up in this one
section and Nevaeh and the dead presidents won’t listen to me.” Dead
Presidents. She’d gotten my joke, the clever little thing. And then
I understood—there was no narration. She just wanted to see me.

We snuck out the back, Bethany leading me by the sleeve. “Come on,
there’s only half an hour til my section and I need to be back by
then. Whole school’s empty. We could do anything we want.”

My cock was instantly hard. “And what do we want?”

“I’m not sore anymore,” she said, letting go of my sleeve. “Classroom
this time?”

“Sure,” I said, walking down the hall behind her. Sunlight shone in
the window at the end of the hallway, turning her into a silhouette.
She was dressed up for the play, wearing a wholesome-looking blue
gingham dress, the kind girls used to wear on Easter Sunday. Her hair
was pigtailed with blue hair ribbons and brushed smooth. Even in
silhouette, she looked happy and bouncy, holding her dress out like a
character out of a storybook. I thought of Humbert watching Lolita
before he’d had her. I couldn’t remember if his desire had waned
afterwards, but mine had not.

In the classroom, Bethany pulled down all of the shades on all of the
windows, darkening the room. She looked shadowy again, almost
mysterious. I stood there watching her, marvelling at her quickness
and ingenuity. The chills came again as she walked toward me. My
hands shook as I reached out to take her into my arms, one hand on her
hip, one hand resting against her face, her jawbone pressed against my
palm. “I missed you,” she said. I put both my hands on her hips and
lifted her upward, rubbing my cock against her pubic bone through my
jeans and the filmy fabric of her dress.

“We can’t mess you up, so let’s try this,” I said, sitting her on the
desk and unzipping my pants. “Touch me, Boo,” I said.

Her hands were on me shortly thereafter, jerking me like an expert.
“I want to have sex again,” she said. “Please?”

“Okay, then. But we’ll save the best of it for tomorrow. Just take
off your panties; I don’t want anyone to notice that you’ve rumpled
your clothes.” I lay down on the floor between the rows of desks; I’d
take the rumpling myself if I had to. My dick was still out, erect
and ready.

Bethany, still on the table, raised herself on her hands and wriggled
out of a pair of lime green panties with little hearts on them. She
kicked them off over a pair of patent leather shoes and bobby socks
and they fell to the floor. “Lower yourself down onto me, Bethy,” I
said. “Just go gentle, don’t take it so deep it hurts.”

Then she was on me, legs spread. I ran my hands up her perfect legs,
which were velvety smooth, never been shaved. Perhaps she didn’t even
need to shave. Her thighs were thin and narrow, those thin little
bones between her legs visible and feeling as fragile as ever. Her
dress was high-cut, but I could still see her collarbone. I couldn’t
resist touching it. “You’re so beautiful,” I said, realizing how
clich?I sounded. This girl put me in my place every day of my life.
I was a dirty old man who made too many pretentious literary
references. The teacher who slept with his students and was destined
to find a low-income job loading airplanes. I hadn’t even thought of
the loading airplanes thing myself; it had been that college friend.

Her outer lips were on me now. I bucked up slightly, parting her
lips. She was dripping for me; her tiny, inner lips were sopping. As
I took her hips, my hands reaching under the skirt to feel her smooth
skin again, the tip of my dick delved into her little hole. She was
tight, but other than the yielding tightness, there was no resistance
this time. I still had to push to get my head into her. It went in
with an audible pop. She gasped, reaching forward to lean her hands
on my chest. As I pushed my dick deeper into her, she balled her
right hand into a fist, wrinkling my shirt and making me want to go
further in. “You control it now, baby. You ride me.”

She began, hesitantly at first, moving up until the head was straining
against the opening of her vagina, then back down, letting almost all
of me into her warmth. She was fabulously tight, her muscles
contracting around me already. I looked up at her as her shoulders
shuddered—chills, I thought. She really did get chills. I reached up
to touch her face again, this time stroking her hair, as well. “Keep
going, Bethy. Go faster. Don’t stop.”

She moved her hips, flexing at the waist, going harder but not deeper,
keeping me aching to fuck into her balls-deep. But what I was getting
was marvellous. She twisted on me, moving one hip forward, then the
other, and it was my turn to shudder. Our combined juices were
running down my cock, pooling around its base. “You liking this?” I
asked. “Do you want me to touch you?”

She didn’t speak, but she nodded yes, showing me her beautiful smile.
I pressed two fingers against her clit, masturbating her as she moved
up and down on me, pressing her little bud down against my cock to
give her some friction. Her entire body shook this time; she whipped
her head back. My hand fell on her neck, feeling her light, girlish
sweat as she carried on riding me.

I felt my orgasm coming. I didn’t try to hold back this time; I knew
she would need to be back onstage shortly. “Come on, Bethy,” I said,
moving my index finger in circles around her engorged, tender
clitoris. “Cum for me.”

She kept moving, supporting herself with her hands, both of which were
now fisted and grabbing my shirt. Her hips were really going now and
her breath was coming quickly. She was loving this. “I’m going to
cum,” she said in a small voice, like the words didn’t quite fit. She
came soon after, moving her head forward and locking eyes with me.
She was wearing a bit of make-up for the stage—some mascara, some red
lipstick. I bucked my cock upward as she came, stretching her little
passage against my flared head.

I had planned on pulling out and coming all over her stomach, but I
couldn’t help myself. I clasped my hands on her hips and pulled her
down, her pubic bone against mine. I felt the continuing contractions
of her pussy as she rode me out, shaking that perfect little ass under
my greedy hands and I felt my own involuntary contractions as my cock
jerked inside of her, spurting my come deep into her pussy, right
against her cervix. She yelped—I couldn’t tell if it was in pleasure
or pain. My hands on her smooth cheeks, my dick buried deep inside
her, her smooth pussy mound pressing against me through my pubic hair,
I was in ecstasy.

She collapsed against me, sighing. I looked up at the clock.

“Bethany, you’ve got to get back!” I exclaimed. “Let’s get you cleaned up.”

She stood, looking at the clock, too. My jizz was flowing out of her
lips, pure and white, not tinged by blood this time. “Oh, no! We’re
on in two minutes!” She pulled her green panties on, stumbling on one
foot. It was so cute and sexy that I had to hug her again.

“You need to wipe yourself off,” I said.

“No time! I have to go!”

I held her against me, inhaling the scent of our sex mixed with her
light, vanilla perfume. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” I said, pressing my
hand against her face again. It wasn’t purely physical, couldn’t have
been purely physical. The emotions I felt around Bethany were soft
and tender like her porcelain skin, and so pure. I hoped she felt as
strongly.
She looked at me lovingly, but with giddiness in her smile. “Two
times in two days!” she said, clapping her hands. She adjusted her
panties underneath her skirt one last time before running off down the
hallway. I followed in a slow stride, watching her little skirt
flaring as she ran. My body still felt warm from the orgasm.
She was already on stage by the time I slipped into my seat, and
seeing her renewed the tenderness I’d felt earlier. My cock grew hard
again; luckily for me, the auditorium was dark and nobody else could
see.

Most of the play was as poorly written as I remembered. Nevaeh,
Kennedy and Reagan strutted out in swimming suit tops, scrunch socks,
and frayed jean shorts, some sort of eighties bad girl look that I’d
hoped would never make a comeback. Madison and Bethany, in their
girlish dresses urged them not to have sex with their boyfriends.
Bethany described her relationship with Kyler. “Me and Kyler find
lots of other things to do. Movies, dancing, bowling, mini golf. You
don’t have to have sex!” she admonished.
“I’ll do what I want,” said Nevaeh. “And what I want is sex.” She
hissed this at the audience, who, in return, said, “Ooooo,” in the way
that schoolchildren do.
In the end, only Kennedy could be convinced to remain a virgin.
Reagan had sex with Colby—or was it Brie? Nevaeh had sex with
Branton. This was symbolized by the two happy couples dirty dancing
their ways off of the stage, leaving everyone else standing there,
shaking their heads.

Bethany stepped forward. “This will end badly,” she said, a line that
wasn’t in the play. It sounded like something I’d said to her and I
wondered if she’d added it for that reason.

Here’s another pretentious literary reference for you. Judy Blume
wrote a book called Forever, which was only recently un-banned from
our school library. Its banning had something to do with sex scenes
in which a boy referred to his penis as “Ralph.” I heard an interview
about it; Blume said she wrote it because she wanted a book to exist
about teens having sex where nobody ended up pregnant, diseased or
dead.

Nevaeh’s script was the opposite.

In the final scene, the girls met up for their ten year reunion. The
boys, who had just been props, after all, were not on stage. “Heyyy,”
cried Nevaeh, pushing a baby carriage full of dolls of every color. I
thought the black and Hispanic dolls were a nice touch. “I couldn’t
afford a sitter, so I brought all eight of my kids. Stupid welfare
check hasn’t come yet.”

Kennedy, Madison and Bethany, now wearing smart little business skirts
and blazers, carried books. “Wow,” said Kennedy. “I can’t imagine
having kids. “We’re still in college, trying to make ourselves a
better life.”

“Yeah,” said Madison. “Hey, where’s Reagan.

“Didn’t you hear?” Nevaeh asked. “She got AIDS and died last year. I
guess we shouldn’t have had sex so young. I wish I would have made a
different choice.”
“Well,” said Bethany, stepping forward, “I’m glad I decided not to
have sex. I’m on my way to a better life now, and staying abstinent
and pure is the best way to be.” I smiled.

Judy Blume can publish her prosaic, generic smut and have it stocked
in libraries coast to coast, as long as she said “Ralph” instead of
“cock,” as long as the boy and girl were the same age and broke up at
the end so children wouldn’t get the wrong idea about sex being the
same as love. But our story, the sweet moments, the tender moments,
will be told only in this journal. The glance. Our frantic and
rushed sex.

The beautifully ironic moment where little Bethany Kexel, with my cum
dripping out of her pussy lips into her panties, stood on stage
talking about her purity.

Day 12

Saturday

After midnight, I sat in the kitchen having a late night sandwich,
thinking of the ironies of the play. Nevaeh with her plastic brood.
Bethany proclaiming her virtue. I thought of what happened
afterwards, when the girls came to sit beside me for the rest of the
assembly, which included presentations on the same subject, less
ironic and slightly more asinine. I had my hand in the chair beside
me, which was empty, saved for our little production crew.

Bethany sat down before I could move it and I took advantage, pushing
her soaked underwear to one side and sliding a finger up her tight and
dripping channel. She was warm and smooth and carried on chattering
to her friends as I fingered her, first with the one finger and then
with two, side by side. When the assembly was dismissed, after she’d
given me a smile and I’d whispered “swim suits” into her ear, I
smelled my finger and inhaled a perfect mixture of the two of us.

After sorting through my thoughts, I returned to bed, only to be
greeted by Ariana with her legs spread, waiting for me. “I’m tired,”
I said before she could get a word out.

“Is something wrong between us?” she asked.

Shit. She noticed something wrong. “No,” I said. “I’m just tired. I can...”

“You don’t have to.”

“I want to.” I lied. I lay down beside her, turned her rump toward
me, and entered her from behind. My fingers fumbled around her clit.
She had a nice pussy, a nice ass, but compared to Bethany, she now
seemed large and foreign, a land familiar, but at the same time
cumbersome. I rode her dutifully, working my hands, remembering how
she liked it and giving it to her. I grasped her breasts. Once
again, they were too large, more than Bethany’s handfuls. She moaned
and I was glad she couldn’t see my face, in case she could read my
thoughts.

I managed to orgasm as she did, spurting into her, moaning
convincingly. When we collapsed beside each other, I pulled up my
pajama bottoms and said, “You were so amazing. I’m glad you convinced
me.” She didn’t look at me, but her satisfied sigh told me she was
smiling. Falling asleep, I felt dirty and disgusted, like I’d cheated
on Bethany, like I’d be unworthy when we met.

I showered the smell of Ariana and the feelings of disgust away in
the morning.

The exchange at the bus stop went easily, Bethany bouncing into the
car with a smile and not a soul in sight. I realized I forgot the
condoms about halfway to the park. When I told Bethany, she asked if
we could just stop by my place and get them. “You wouldn’t feel weird
about that?”

“No, I’m kinda curious about where you live,” she replied. “And after
all, you’ve seen my room.” Her smile won me over; my house was on the
way to the park anyway. We walked up the front walkway, Bethany
skipping brazenly along the cobblestones I’d laid the summer before
when Ariana had moved in. She was wearing a yellow sundress—I didn’t
know children still wore sundresses—and the mint green tie string of a
two-piece bathing suit was visible between her shoulderblades.

After I opened the door, I put my hand there, rubbing the jutting
shoulder bones and the indentation between them. “Did you bring your
sunscreen?”

“No, do you have any?”

“I’ll find some somewhere.” She followed me into the bedroom; I
smelled the stale sex from the night before and hoped she didn’t
recognize the scent. I grabbed the condoms out of my underwear
drawer; I noticed that Ariana had replenished my underwear, but hadn’t
overturned any of what was in there already. I breathed a sigh of
relief. I went into the master bathroom to look for the sunscreen.
It wasn’t there. Bethany was bouncing on the bed, holding a pillow to
her chest. I smiled. “Still looking, boo,” I said. I finally found
it in the living room, already nestled in a suitcase Ariana had begun
packing for our trip. My bathers were in there, too, so I grabbed
them as an afterthought.

“Come on, Bethy. Let’s get going.” She didn’t answer. I walked into
the bedroom to find her looking into Ariana’s vanity mirror, her hands
on the table. One was on top of a picture of us two, smiling. “Come
on, boo.” But when she looked at me, there were tears streaming down
her face.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

“It’s okay. No need to be sorry. Come here.” I opened my arms and
she ran into them; in hindsight, she ran into them a bit too quickly.
I got a hand under her ass and lifted her, cradling her against my
body. “It’s okay.” She rubbed her cheek against mine, smearing her
wet, warm tears into my freshly shaven face. “You don’t know how it
is with relationships. It’s good at first, and then it’s just there.
You get complacent.”

“And it’s not like that with me,” she decided, a smile breaking out
over her face. “Now, let’s go swimming.” Had the smile come too
quickly? I don’t remember now, and it is too late to ask Bethany
about her acting skills or lack thereof. What I do remember is that I
carried her back in front of the mirror and held her with one arm as I
fingered her with the index finger on the other, letting her watch her
own reflection in the mirror, hoping she would see how beautiful and
pure and precious she was.

We drove to the lake. It was beautiful and blue, with windswept waves
and a rocky shore, surrounded on its other sides by craggy cliffs and
towering pine trees. I set out swimming towels as Bethany kicked off
her shoes and threw her sundress against the hood of the Jeep. The
bathing suit was her beloved powder green with a dusting of white
dots. It was one of those tankinis all the girls were wearing, with
little tie-strings at the top, and showed off her narrow waist and the
girlish curve of her hips. I followed her into the water; there was
nobody around, so I left my own bathing suit in the car, letting my
cock flop free as I walked. All I was wearing was her purity ring.

“Catch me!” she said, wading quickly into the water and beginning a
strong crawl stroke toward the middle of the lake.

I waded in more hesitantly, the cold water and her beauty sending
shivers through my body. “Come back here, boo,” I said, finally
immersing myself up to the shoulders. She paddled toward me, staying
more than an arm’s length away, and splashed me in the face.

“Got you wet!” I wiped the water from my eyes and dove toward her,
missing her narrowly. “Catch me! Catch me, kitty!” She did a
somersault in the water; I marvelled at the little ankles pressed
together, mermaid-like. I could have grabbed her right then, but I
was too busy staring. She surfaced further away; I could see her
entire body through the ripples of the clear water, could see her
untie the top part of her bathing suit and let it droop below the
little peaks of her breasts. “Catch me now.”

This time, there was no hesitation. I sprung up, arms extended, and
took her against my naked body. The water immediately felt warm
around me. I pulled the tank top over her head, brushing her wet hair
as I did. She leaned back in the water, her head cradled in my hand,
her eyes closed. Her hair flowed around my arm, alive on its own,
mermaid hair. I lowered my lips to hers and kissed her gently.

My hands were on the move, from her shoulders down to her perfect
belly. I stroked her, harder than I probably should have, memorizing
her, and she came to life and returned the favor, her hands pressing
against my face, grasping my hair, pinching those slight love handles
that a man gets around his waist after thirty-five years, running up
and down my chest and arms, which I’ve kept toned. I felt her tiny
hands on me, but mostly I felt her, under my large ones, her body
flexing against me. I brushed off her bathing suit bottoms, watched
them kicked off of a limber, smooth little leg. I could stand in the
water; she couldn’t. I lowered her down against my cock, feeling the
gentle, easy penetration afforded by her lack of gravity.

She clutched me closer, wincing as I entered her. Still sore from the
day before, no doubt. “You gotta work me, boo,” I said, putting some
of it in her hands. I kept one hand on her shoulderblade, one hand on
that smooth, perfect ass of hers, and helped her move on me. She
brought one hand down, feeling the place where we were joined.

“I just want to feel it go in me, is that okay?”

Of course it was okay. I thrust deeper, letting her feel my balls
slap her hand. This made her grin, and it didn’t take her long to
work up a rhythm against me. I helped her out with the thrusts of my
hips, but mostly I just stood there with my feet planted firmly in the
rocky bottom of the lake, my legs spread, and my cock feeling the most
exquisite movements of this girl I loved. Now and then, I ducked,
bringing her most of the way underwater and running a hand through her
flyaway hair.

And when I felt her orgasm coming, I pushed her back, holding her to
me with one hand and thrusting rapidly, my hand drawing circles around
her clit. Her back arched; her face, which had floated just above the
water, went under and the surface closed over her. I could see her,
eyes closed, mouth open, through the pristine surface of the pond, but
I kept fucking her, feeling her muscles contracting hard against my
cock. I came hard, grinding her, taking my time and letting each
spurt go deep inside. I pulled her off me, and watched a stream of
white and red flow out of her lips and disperse into the water. Then,
I drew her up, held her as she coughed and gasped for breath, asked
her if she was all right.

“That was good,” she said. “Like with the pillow.” She coughed up
clear water. She was still smiling.

We swam back to the shore and lay out on the towels. “Can I ask something?”

“Yes.”

“If you do it up the ass, are you still a virgin?”

“Why do you ask?”

“Nevaeh. She let Branton and some high school boy both do it up the
ass and she says she’s still a virgin.”

I had to laugh. Little Heaven-Spelled-Backwards was a little slut. I
reached over and rubbed Bethany’s stomach, hand wandering down to her
freshly fucked pussy. “I wouldn’t worry about it, though I don’t
think she should be wearing a purity ring anymore.”

“That’s what I think, too.” Now, her hand was on my cock. “Did you
want to do it up the ass? I’d let you.”

“Nah, let’s not do that,” I said. “I’ll show you something better.”
I grabbed her, lifting her onto my chest, her little pubis in my face.
I licked her from behind, tasting a mixture of us, tinged with the
metallic taste of her blood. “Now, you lick me.” She could barely
reach my cock, let alone get it into her mouth, tiny thing that she
was, but she did her best. My dick-head popped in and out of one set
of perfect lips and my tongue popped in and out of another. I licked
the taste of us away, until all I could taste was Bethany.

My orgasm came first. My cock was out of her mouth at the time, and
she held it, watching it squirt all over her face, the bathtowel, and
her hair.

I kept licking until her orgasm came as well, and got to see the
beautiful contractions of her pussy lips up close.

After that, we just swam and talked, Bethany washing the cum from her
hair in the lake, me floating leisurely beside her, just watching her
little body paddling in the water. She had so much energy, even while
swimming; her arms and legs were always moving, paddling in the water,
and her perfect young figure was beautiful, even through the water’s
distorting current.

“Did you come here when you were my age?”

“Yes. I loved to swim.”

“Did you bring girls here?”

“Yes, but I was too shy to swim naked. We had picnics. We kissed on
blankets or stayed in the car.”

“Did you ever jump off one of those cliffs?” She gestured toward the
rocky ledges above.

“They’re better lookout points than diving boards, boo. If the
water’s not high enough, the way it is after a rainstorm, you dive at
the wrong angle and you’ll break your neck.” Oh, the things we say
without thinking.

“But did you ever dive?”

“Yes.” I remembered the cold water, swirling high on a rainy day.
There had been dares and challenges, boy things, testosterone fuelled
jumps with rain beaded on my shoulders. “I jumped many times.” There
had been frantic paddling against water that seemed to be infinitely
deep and imbued with gravity, followed by gasps for merciful breath
with stinging lungs. In hindsight, we boys, we boys who lived to
leave for college and return in shame, were lucky to have made it past
this lake.

“Can we jump one day, after it rains?”

“Maybe,” I said, not intending on diving with her. “I didn’t know you
were an adrenaline junkie.” Maybe she was; she never seemed to mind
near-strangulation during orgasm.
“I’m not. But I do like the high dive at the pool. We should do
that, too.” Of course, we both knew why that wouldn’t happen. Even
so, she was all smiles, and when it was time for us to go, she rose
out of the water before me and turned, her hair dripping down her
body. There were beads of water on her breasts and water running over
her pussy and down her legs. The sun caught her and she appeared to
sparkle as she turned and I watched her stoop to pick up her fallen
bathing suit, squirm her way into it, and cover it with the sundress,
heated by the hood of the car.

She left me with a passionate kiss and her taste on my lips. There
were two things we had forgotten to use that day—the condoms and the
sunscreen. Her sweet skin was showing the beginnings of a sunburn; it
was a shame that I wouldn’t be able to rub soothing lotion onto her
because I was leaving the next day.
How she must have wanted to say something about my impending trip. I
promised to drop an email when I returned in a week. She didn’t look
concerned, just enamoured. “Just whenever you want to see me,” she
said.

When she walked toward her house, I could see the outline of her body
through her soaked sundress, dripping a path down the sidewalk. Her
hair was wet and matted against her head, flowing down her back in
tangled vines. I watched her bouncy walk and when she glanced back,
giving me that look I loved so much, I smiled. If she was enamoured,
I was obsessed.

I’ve spoken about hindsight. In hindsight, that was the last day I
had everything. In hindsight, that was the last day that I was
completely happy.

Day 13

Sunday

Ariana left me.

She wasn’t home Saturday night. On Sunday, she arrived to collect the
suitcase she’d packed for our vacation. My underwear and the Hawaiian
shirt she’d bought me as a joke ended up discarded on the floor beside
my brown armchair, which had been a Christmas present.

Fourteen years.

Fourteen years!

The first three or four had been on again, off again, but fourteen
years together. That’s how long our relationship had been. It was
like two seven year itches. It was longer than Bethany’s life had
been. Fourteen. Fucking. Years. I was getting ready to marry her,
for Christ’s sake.

I didn’t even know why she left. I’d called her at her mother’s
house, twice. The first time, her mother had hung up on me. The
second time, Ariana had picked up. “Why did you leave?” I asked.

“You already know,” she said. “And if you don’t...” She didn’t
finish her sentence.

The condoms. She must have seen the condoms before I’d moved them,
and waited until the worst possible moment to inform me of this fact.

“We have plane tickets, Ariana. The flight is at eight. Whatever
this is, we can work it out on the way. I spent four thousand dollars
on this vacation and I’m not going to let it go to waste. Please,
Ariana?” That’s when I heard the dial tone.

The next time I called, I was directed straight to voicemail. I
didn’t leave a message. If Ariana wanted to fuck up our vacation,
she’d accomplished our goal. By five, I knew she wasn’t coming back
through the door, that we weren’t going to make it through security
and run to the plane together.

I sat and stared at the wall. What if it hadn’t been the condoms?
What if someone had seen Bethany and me? What if Bethany’s parents or
the school administration had found out, and had called the house
while I was out? Had Bethany left fingerprints? Hair in the bed? I
didn’t think about the pillow she’d mentioned during sex; I’d assumed
it was some sort of masturbation ritual young girls had these days.
The pillow was mostly a red herring anyway, correlated, but not
responsible.

My thoughts turned to Bethany. There was an upside to this; I could
have her now, as often as I wanted. I could have her in my bed, watch
her naked in my shower and on my couch. We could fuck on the kitchen
table, something I’d suggested to Ariana but we’d never done. I was
free.

Just before midnight, my eyes feeling burned out from staring at the
wall so long, I sent Bethany an email. All it said was, “Hey, boo.”
My cock hardened against my pants, but I still felt terrible.

Day 14

Monday

No reply.

Nothing from either of them.

Ariana’s phone was off and her mom had clearly begun screening out my calls.

Bethany wasn’t responding to my emails. I’d now sent four.

“You ok, boo?”

“Boo?”

“Did I say/do something wrong?”

“You don’t have to say Ariana’s name ever again. She left me.”
Worry was welling up in the pit of my stomach, a feeling of paranoia.
Were they shutting me out because they were together, plotting against
me? Child enticement, statutory rape, corruption of a minor. I was
guilty of all of those, and my emails only incriminated me further.

I got my brain under control. “If I haven’t heard from her by
tomorrow, I’ll drive by her house,” I said to my empty bedroom. “Just
to be sure I’m okay.”

The only way I got to sleep was thinking of Bethany in the water,
naked, floating, tight little pussy lips spread around my cock. I
masturbated to the thought of her pressure on me, and the look on her
face as she breathed water during her orgasm.

Day 15

Tuesday

Still nothing, though I must admit I didn’t make much, if any, effort
with Ariana after I discovered her phone was off. If actions speak
louder than words, I guess I didn’t want her back. Maybe I never
wanted her in the first place, just the idea of her. I couldn’t
remember the last time we’d had a conversation that wasn’t about work,
the weather, sex, or some shit about a wedding I blocked out because I
knew for sure I didn’t want it. This was better. This was better. I
repeated it in my head, punctuated by a voice telling me I was going
crazy.

“You’re going crazy, you’re going crazy.” I could handle losing
Ariana, but losing Bethany I didn’t know if I could handle. After
checking my email for the hundredth time that morning, I lay back in
my chair, my arms trembling. I truly felt I was losing my grip on
sanity, just the way I’d lost my grip on normal life. Grip. Ha. I
couldn’t grip anything the way my hands were shaking. I recalled that
happening to Nabokov’s Humbert. Or the guy in the Sting song. I
couldn’t even get my own pretentious literary references straight, so
I decided I’d read something. The Wall Street Journal sat, untouched,
on my table, but it failed to hold my interest.
Hands continuing to shake, I picked up Blake’s Innocence and
Experience, which I’d never gotten around to reading. Flipped open to
a random page, read a poem.

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

I slammed the book shut. Everything reminded me of what I’d done.
Had I destroyed her? If she wasn’t working with Ariana to get me
thrown into jail, was she regretting things, weeping alone in her
bedroom, or, worse, weeping in the arms of her mother, the lawyer? I
picked the book up again and slammed it against the wall, then brought
my fists down hard on the table, sending other books falling to the
floor like wounded doves.

I counted the ones with memorable female characters—usually
side-characters, but characters nonetheless. Salinger’s Phoebe.
Harper Lee’s Scout. Nabokov’s Lolita. Scarlet O’Hara. Juliet, of
Romeo and.

I regained my composure. I’d promised myself I would drive by her
house, and I was going to do it. Wearing dark sunglasses and the only
hat in the house, a discarded baseball cap of Ariana’s, I got into my
car and drove to Bethany’s neighborhood. The spacious houses towered
over me, the perfect green yards with their sprinkler systems
stretched out, unblemished, as though they went on forever. There
were professionally tended gardens and white picket fences. Children
jumped through the sprinklers as they pool-hopped between lush,
backyard paradises.

Then, there was Bethany’s house. The windows were dark, the front
porch stacked with three newspapers. I thought of my vacation and
wondered if mommy-the-lawyer and daddy-the-podiatrist had spirited
Bethany off somewhere for a few days or weeks. I finally allowed
myself to exhale, then drove out of that neighborhood and back home.

Exhausted from worry, I collapsed on my own bed, catching Ariana’s
scent on the sheets.

And then I saw it.

A single, smudged ring of strawberry lip gloss on one of our pillows.
Had Ariana seen this Was this why she’d left me? Why had Bethany
mentioned it, anyway? The pillow. Had she known she’d left lip gloss
on it? I pictured her masturbating briefly as I searched for the
sunscreen, the pillow clutched against her mouth to heighten her
orgasm, or hide it. Her thin legs were spread and her fingers
disappeared into the shallow slit where her clitoris was hidden. I
began to masturbate myself, remembering how tight she was inside and
how she’d felt in the water. On my desk.

I clutched the pillow to my face, the way she must have done. Oh,
god, I could smell her. I could almost see her above me, riding my
dick and looking at me so innocently, asking if she was doing it
right. Then, I shot my load all over my stomach and onto the pillow
with the ring of lip gloss.

With my orgasm subsiding, I wondered again, “Did she know about the
lipstick? Did she?”

Of course she hadn’t. She really hadn’t. The pillow, as I said, was
something of a decoy. But more about that later

Day 16

Wednesday

Finally.

Kitteee! OMG I’m so sorry about Ariana. It’s funny I feel better
saying her name now that she broke up. But I’m still soooo sorry.
Ok, not that sorry, cos now we can be together 4real.

I was on vacation with the parental units. Have u ever been to The
Breakers in Palm Beach? It’s the bestestest. I had my laptop but I
was so busy in the pools and hot tubs and spa that I didn’t even check
my mail. Or I would have written u for sure.

I even got a massage! You’re supposed to be 16 but they let me have
one anyway. Plus I got to drive a jet ski! Also I went boogie
boarding and lost the top part of my swim suit, I bet you’d have liked
to see that lol naughty kitty.

My mom says I’ve been spending too much time with “Nevaeh” so she is
making me go out with my church friends tomorrow. We usually swim and
dive at the quarry so if u want to see me dive just come swim. Nobody
will even know who u are even if u say hi, it’s just ppl from my old
school and church.

Ok gotta go. Hopefully cu tomorrow. I missed u soooooo much, I was
touching myself every time I was alone in the hot tub thinking bout u.
Loveyou.

Xoxo Bethany Boo Kexel

So, there was enough incriminating evidence in that single email to
put me in jail for life. I was still ecstatic. She was all right,
she wanted to see me, and she was even planning ways for me to see her
without getting caught—she was becoming a truly devious little soul.
I began to plan out what to wear to the quarry to hide the raging
hard-on I would no doubt have.

Day 17

Thursday

I called Ariana for the last time before packing my towels and the
baggiest pair of swim shorts I owned to head to the quarry. Bethany
hadn’t given me a time, so I watched the sunrise alone from the diving
cliff, if you could call a slightly elevated rock platform overlooking
a twenty foot plunge pool of stagnant water a cliff. At least it
removed the danger of a neck injury, and I guessed it would be quite a
rush, running to the edge of the rock, flexing your body and pushing
off, plunging briefly through the air before breaking the surface of
the murky pond and plunging down, down, down through springfed water
that stayed cold even when summer started early.

So I did it.

I took a running leap, arms in the air, curved in a way I’d been
taught as a boy—no drowning for me, no brown hair over a blue
forehead. No black-blue fingernail beds, no brother to grow up
without me. I hadn’t had any brothers at all. Just a mom, a dad,
grandparents who lived in some red-dirt state and drew water from a
well until they died. I remembered the funerals. I kept thinking of
death. Diving down, deep through the water, I forgot to curve upward
and swim to the surface. I lost my momentum and felt myself so deep
in the water that the sun had faded, refracted off of the dirt
suspended in the water. I felt grimy plants brushing my face; I must
have been near the pool’s bottom.

There was no panic. I could have drawn water into my lungs, stayed
down, died there and left Bethany to come to my funeral. I could see,
“WE LOVE U MISTER” on a banner, so grammatically incorrect, flawed
like her emails and worse because it was missing a comma. The one
redeeming quality of her emails was that she put the commas in the
right place, proving she wasn’t brain-dead, just shortening words for
emphasis, or to avoid getting caught. I started to float upward,
reverse gravity, my fat cells at work. Lungs flaming, I kicked my
legs, flexed my arms. Two hard paddles was enough momentum to get to
the top.

Covered with a light, invisible layer of whatever muck was in the
water, I climbed out onto the nearest craggy rock. I sat there with
my head between my knees for a long, long time.

A girl with ginger dreadlocks and a bodyboard asked me if I was all
right. I said I was and she moved on. I looked down at the surface
of the diving well. It was too murky for reflections, but I knew what
I looked like. Aging, a scattering of gray hairs among brown. Blue
death row eyes that always looked stricken. I pulled myself to my
feet, climbed up to the diving cliff to gather my towel and my copy of
A Thousand Splendid Suns, decided upon only because of its
dissimilarity with my situation. (His dark secret love / doth thy
life destroy.)

From the top of the little cliff, I saw an Escolade in the parking
lot. The door opened and there she was, bouncing out with a group of
girls her age, three brunettes, another blond, and an Asian girl.
Bethany was easy to pick out. Her footsteps were light and happy.
She twirled as she walked, the life of the other girls’ party, and was
the first one to get her sundress off, the first into the water, first
one with her head under, first one to swim out until her feet didn’t
touch the ground anymore and call back, “What are you waiting for?”

The other girls followed, slower and more adult about things, as
though coming to the pool was already a challenge. Sunscreen was
applied, pocket mirrors came out and were used to examine, hair was
styled. I lost interest and watched Bethany, swimming back and forth
like an excited child. The second girl in the water brought a beach
ball, and they began popping it back and forth, Bethany pushing
herself out of the water each time it was her turn. She was showing
off, wiggling in her green bathing suit and turning, dirty water
glistening off of her skinny arms, as she hit the ball.

I was hard already.

I wanted her to see me, but didn’t want her to react, so I decided to
hold off. Last thing I wanted was to have to introduce myself with my
dick sticking out like a tent in my trunks. I backtracked down the
path to the diving board and found a little nook in the woods and a
large, graffiti-covered rock to sit on. From the rock, I could see
Bethany playing. Five girls were in a circle, Bethany the monkey in
the middle, pushing up and trying to get the ball as they tossed it
over her. I focused in on that glittering body. I could see her
sunburn from where I sat, hot pink and looking slightly painful.

She caught the ball in no time and was transferred back into the
circle; her back was facing me now, so I got an excellent view of her
hair parted over her shoulders, the straight line of her backbone
connecting the two pieces of the bathing suit, and the bottom piece of
the suit riding up over her tight little ass. The exposed flesh of
her one cheek was such a turn-on that I started touching myself, hand
in my pants, red on my face and ears joining my patches of sunburn.
She jumped. I touched. She turned, smile on her face, hair flipping
up, then down, to bop the ball backwards, and I watched the water
dripping down her body, off of the little buds of breasts, and smiled,
too. I kept touching.

It was an awful thing to do, but I couldn’t stop myself. My hand
moved faster; I worked past those tremors I’d been having for days now
and jerked it. The ball popped over Bethany’s head and she did a
messy backflip through the water, smooth and trim legs popping up with
water dripping down them, little half-exposed ass coming down. It was
just an instant, but I felt pre-cum gushing from my cock. I wanted
her so badly I would have taken her right there, in the woods with her
friends so close by.

She surfaced, caught the ball, and before she turned, she saw me. I
guess she knew not to react, though I doubt she knew what I was doing
below the waist. Instead, she danced back and forth with her arms up,
turned and danced some more, treading water as she moved her shoulders
back and forth. She tossed the ball halfhearedly, then turned to her
friends, said something, and swam toward the shore. I watched her
exit the water, shake, and head straight for me.

Shit.

I tucked in my dick and sat on the rock cross-legged, towel over my
lap to hide my raging erection. She parted the trees and walked back
to the rock.

“That’s the peeing rock,” she said.

“Good to see you, too.”

“I’m serious. I have to pee. Don’t watch.”

I watched. She squatted on the other side of the rock, turned away
from me. Her little suit around her ankles, she peed in a smooth
little stream, tinkle-tinkle hitting the leaves. I felt like my cock
was going to burst through my shorts and shuddered to think what would
happen if anyone saw me sitting on a rock, peeping at little girls.
She finished, shook, stood. “Kitty, you watched!”

“It’s not like I haven’t seen.”

“You owe me. I get to watch you next time we go to your lake. How
about tomorrow. I’ll bike there. At like two, okay?”

I nodded. “Get back to your friends.” She touched me, ran a hand
from my shoulder to my wrist and then patted my knee. I thought I was
going to blow my load right then, but I held onto it.

“Come say hi later. Don’t stay on the peeing rock, it’s sick.”

I watched her walk away, not toward her friends but toward the cliff,
still beaded with water from the quarry. Clothed, she was just as
attractive as she was naked, and almost seductively. I’d seen
everything, but now it was hidden from me; there were only hints—a hip
exposed by a bunched bathing suit, a strap slipping down her girlish
shoulders, the ghost shape of her pubic mound—she was too young for
the crudely-named camel toe. She was gorgeous. Immediately, I
started wanking again, coming to my orgasm in a matter of seconds,
just as Bethany took a running leap and plunged expertly into the deep
water below. Hand and shorts covered in jizz, I felt like a teenager,
hiding away, storing images for long sessions in the family bathroom.
I was full of adrenaline, and it appeared Bethany was an adrenaline
junkie after all.

I waited until she’d made her way back to her friends, until her
attention was on them and theirs was on her, and made my way up the
cliff as well. Despite my stoicism, I didn’t want to sit on the
Peeing Rock, and the thought of what was currently seeping through my
bathers and the hard soles of my feet disgusted me more than my sticky
hand.

From the top of the diving cliff, I got an even better view of her.
She was in the center again, monkey in the middle, flipping and
turning and just plain showing off, knowing I was watching her. All
of the unhappiness of the previous few days disappeared. My cock
twitched in my shorts, stewing in its own juices but still beginning
to harden again. I started to run and jump, but my eyes were on
Bethany and I lost my footing. I fell downward in a huge bellyflop,
wind knocked out of me by suddenly hard water, and came up panting.
The shock of the cold and the jolt of my fall had taken care of my
erection. At least I could be thankful for that.

I walked down the path toward the main beach. The girls had swum in
for some reason. I scanned the group for Bethany, but she was hidden
somewhere in it. I realized I hadn’t looked at any of the other
girls—not really—just her. I’d come to admit I was something of a
closet pedophile based on my uncontrollable attraction to Bethany, but
if I was, then wouldn’t the other girls—racier bathing suits, I now
noticed, with more exposed pre-teen flesh—be attractive to me?
Wouldn’t I watch them, too? Their bodies, plucked and starved into
shape, just looked unnatural, their expressions too stiff and
calculated. And to make things worse, some sort of cattiness was
going on.

When I got closer, I realized what had happened and wished that I’d
stayed on the peeing rock. Nevaeh and Madison had arrived on the
scene. Nevaeh, wearing a wrap-around skirt and a string bikini that
didn’t suit a girl her age, had her hands on her hips. “Oh, yeah?”
she said. “So, Queen Bethany is too good to spend time with her
public school friends now? Your mom said we’d spent enough time
together. What the hell does that mean? You barely talk to me and
Maddie anymore.”

“Yeah,” said Madison, but it seemed she’d just been dragged along as
a prop, the poor girl. She wasn’t even wearing her bathing suit.

“Nevaeh,” Bethany said, a harshness I’d never heard in her voice
before. Not cattiness, just calculated little-girl leadership. It
was a side of Bethany I hadn’t seen before. “We’re going to the mall
together, like, the day I get my allowance. Don’t act so desperate.”

“I’m not,” she said, taking a step forward.

Bethany reached out and shoved her back, sunburned, beautiful limbs
flexing so hard that Nevaeh ended up landing butt-down on the sand
they’d brought in by the truckload when they decided to turn an old,
flooded rock quarry into a makeshift beach. She brushed herself off.
“You’ll be sorry,” she said, tossing her cover-up and trotting out
into the water for a swim. “I’ll get you for this.”

Madison had noticed me staring. “Hi,” she said sheepishly. “Boo,
look who it is!”

“Oh, hi, mister!” Her smile. Her white teeth. Her eyes radiant and
full of love, lust, whatever. “Guys, this is my English teacher.
These are Charlotte, Amber, Jill, Misty and Phuong. They go to my
church and were in my old school. And you know Maddie”

“Good to meet everyone,” I said. And these polite girls shook my
hand, one by one.

I laid out my towel and lay on the beach, watching Bethany re-enter
the water out of the corner of my eye, sun beating down on her. But I
wasn’t to keep watching her. Madison sat down beside me. “Hey,
mister,” she said. “God, it sucks to be shut out. Have you ever been
shut out by your friends?”

Ariana. Yes. “No,” I said.

“It sucks.”

“You said that.”

“Boo’s really nice, but she can be mean when she wants to. Like, she
didn’t have to push Nevaeh around. Nevaeh’s just jealous because
Bethany, like, has a boyfriend or something, and never spends time
with us anymore.”

“A boyfriend?” Shit. “Someone from school?”

“Must be from her old school. Nevaeh’s going to find out who he is
and totally steal him. And I’ll be stuck in the middle. Again.”

“I see,” I said. I was still watching Bethany, had not even looked
at the sullen, repulsive girl beside me, much less the even more
repulsive Nevaeh, who was still swimming.

“Oh, you’re no help,” she said, and stomped off.

At least she’d been of some use to me. Nevaeh was going to try and
steal Bethany’s “boyfriend.” No chance in hell of that; I couldn’t
think of anyone more disgusting, and, besides that, I couldn’t let her
find out who I was. I waited until enough time had passed, then took
one last, longing glance at Bethany and left, already planning our
tomorrow.

Day 18

Friday

“Surprise!” Bethany stood by the lake, in front of a large, pink pup
tent that slept four. Her bike leaned against a tree. Rocks lined a
pile of kindling. There was a rather large hunting knife in her hand.
“You got me a knife?”

“No, silly, the knife is for cutting firewood. And marshmallow
sticks.” She grinned; she was absolutely gorgeous, blond hair hanging
down and parted over her shoulders, standing in rays of sunlight that
parted angry-looking white clouds. She was wearing a loose, white,
lacy dress I hadn’t seen before.

“So, what’s my surprise?”

“I told my parents I’m sleeping over at Nevaeh’s, I packed a bag, and
I we can stay overnight at our favorite place.”

“Sounds like fun,” I said. “Except I don’t plan on eating
marshmallows. I plan on eating... Boo!” I ran forward and scooped
her up. She was slight, definitely less than a hundred pounds,
probably only eighty-five. I easily lifted her onto the seat of the
Cherokee, took the knife from her hands, stabbed it into the ground.
I folded her skirt neatly upward, and pulled her bathing suit down to
her feet. I started in with my fingers, circling her clit and that
small vaginal opening, then, suddenly thrust a finger up into her,
watching her gasp. Her wetness was building.

I could smell her, wanted to taste her, so I did. I brought my tongue
to her clit, lapping at it as I continued finger-fucking her. She was
still so tight that two fingers would barely fit comfortably. Still
lapping up her juices, I worked my fingers in, up to the first
knuckle, then the second, giving her a good, rough fuck. I felt her
pussy contracting around my fingers, giving them a good squeeze. The
taste of her was amazing, musky in a little girl way. I kept looking
up, watching her face, her sweet, pink lips curved into a circle of
pleasure, her eyes completely at ease. She shuffled her fingers
through my hair, mussing it.

Without stopping, I somehow squeezed in a third finger; the combined
fingers were about the girth of my cock. She moaned loudly, making me
glad we were in a little-known section of woods, not my house or
worse. Her legs tightened, squeezing my ears to my head, and her
little puss tightened with them, narrowing around my fingers. I kept
going, seeing that she was close to orgasm.

“Spread those legs, Bethy,” I said through a mouthful of smooth,
hairless skin. I tasted her on my lips, in my breath. She spread her
legs, leaned back, and let loose. Her back arched as she came, loudly
like the moan, screaming “yes” into the approaching storm clouds. I
kept my fingers going inside her, my tongue licking the little pearl
of her clit at one moment and her tasty lower lips the next. When I
pulled out my fingers, she was still contracting. I licked her juices
from my hand, breathed in deeply, and drew her to me in a hug. “Looks
like I had a surprise for you, too. What do you want to do next?”

She looked up at the clouds. “What if it rains?”

“The forecast was for scattered showers, so we’ll probably be
spending some time in the tent. Anything you want to do before it
starts up?”

“Marshmallows,” she said, so I watched as she doused her pile of
kindling with lighter fluid—overkill, if you ask me, but this was her
little excursion. She struck a waterproof match and put the bottle of
lighter fluid and the rest of the matches back into her backpack. As
the fire burned, she revealed a pack of marshmallows and two perfectly
cut sticks that leaned up against my bike.

I ate mine flame-kissed. She set hers on fire, watched them burn,
and blew them out with forceful, calculated breaths. I hoped she had
some hot dogs in that knapsack, because I was going to need more than
white fluff and pussy to sustain me through the night. The rainclouds
were gathering around us in a semicircle. “Anything else before we
cuddle in the tent?” I asked.


“Yes,” she said. “One thing.” She pointed up to one of the diving
cliffs, one I’d jumped off of before; it required a certain trajectory
to get you into the deep part of the pool. If you fell straight down
or bellyflopped like I had at the quarry, you risked summer spent in a
body cast, perhaps life spent in a wheelchair.

I pictured Bethany making a slight mistake. I would look off the
edge of the cliff and see that she’d fallen wrong, lay unconscious and
broken below. I would dive in after her and come up with her lifeless
body, shattered from the inside, in my arms. “No, let’s not jump off
there,” I said.

“I don’t want to jump off of it, I want to do it up there. Me on top
of you, so I can see the whole world.”

That was more like it.

We climbed the cliff together and I lay down. Her pussy was still so
wet that she slid right down onto me. She kept her white dress on; I
pulled my jeans around my ankles. We needed to think about getaways,
always needed to think about getaways. I barely had to do any work;
she rode me hard and fast, looking out over the cliff, eyes faraway
and head tilted to the side. This was clearly for her, not for me;
she didn’t pace herself with my slight upward thrusts, but slowed down
when she neared her own orgasm. I knew because I felt her beginning
to stiffen and contract around me; her hands began to grasp for a
place to hold on to me. When the feeling had passed, she would speed
up again, drawing it out until I felt raindrops on my face. She
leaned forward, almost protectively, hair encircling my face, her
attention on me now.

Her little hips were still going. I gripped her ass through the
fabric of the white dress; she was just as seductive clothed as she
was naked, and the white color gave her an innocent look, her first
time all over again. I smiled up at her, watching the rain bead in
her hair. I gripped her hips and shot my load in her; she was no
longer in control of things and she began to come instantly, shaking
under my grip. I held her down against me, our pubic bones touching
and grinding as our orgasms subsided. She lay on my chest for a
while. My hands were around her, feeling the sprinkle of rain. I
didn’t want her to get too wet, so I finally sat up. My back was
muddy. “Did you bring anything to eat?” I asked.

“Yeah, I have campfire beans and tofu dogs. My mom thinks Oscar
Meyer ones are full of hormones.”

At least the beans sounded appetizing.

She straightened her dress. “I’m cold,” she said. She was directly
behind me, still on the cliff, little skipping figure, when it
happened. Out of nowhere, out of the woods somewhere, out of a
carefully chosen hiding place from which she’d seen everything, sprung
another little girl in jeans and a trashy-looking blue tank top that
said “Angel.” She pointed an accusing finger at me.

“Oh, my god, I should have known it was you! Yeah, just a
coincidence that you get a promise ring the week Boo loses hers.
Yeah, right.” Nevaeh grinned as she walked past me toward Boo. “And
you, you’re nothing but a dirty slut.”

Bethany looked shocked and gasped for breath, taking a step backwards
on the cliff.

“Fucking your teacher. You are in so much trouble.”

Bethany, recovering, stepped forward. “Says the girl who’s had two
dicks in her butt!” It sounded silly in her childish voice, but it
was apparently true; I remembered Bethany telling me before. Still,
it didn’t change the fact that we were caught. My career was gone,
jail awaited me, and I couldn’t even picture what would become of
Bethany when everyone found out she’d been a willing participant.
Rain was coming down harder now.

Bethany charged forward at Neaveh, who did not back down. Bethany
grabbed her by the shoulders; I should have intervened, should have
stopped things, but I was not as quick to get over this turn of events
as she was and felt paralyzed, jelly-legged.

I could only watch in slow motion. It was Nevaeh whose back was
turned toward the cliff now. She reached out and slapped Bethany
across the face. Remembering Maddie’s words at the quarry yesterday,
I watched as the world started moving even more slowly. Boo can be
mean when she wants to. And she could. Bethany wouldn’t stand for
being slapped. She recoiled, then darted forward again, arms out to
push Nevaeh backwards. Nevaeh’s eyes got wide as her feet failed to
find footing behind her, and she fell, head over heels, right over the
edge of it, tumbling down like a pile of bricks, I was sure. I didn’t
know whether to be alarmed or relieved.

Didn’t know until I saw that Bethany’s momentum had been too great.
She’d easily pushed Nevaeh off of the cilff. Through the rain, I
watched in absolute horror as she tried to right herself, but had no
choice but to dive off after Nevaeh.

I couldn’t look over the cliff. I didn’t want to picture Bethany,
bruised and broken, limbs askew, didn’t want to see it until I had to.
The rain was really coming down now; it slowed my descent. I tried
my best to keep up my pace, winding down the hill, horrible pictures
in my head. Bones jutting through skin that had been perfectly
smooth, blood in the water, gaps where teeth had once been.

I rounded the bend. The two girls were in the water, face down,
Nevaeh closer to the shore than Bethany. I didn’t bother stripping
off my clothes, I just swam toward the white-clothed figure who was
floating in the deeper water. Disregarding possible back injuries, I
lifted her, held her close, patted her back. Bethany was coughing up
water, but at least she was coughing. I could feel her trembling
heartbeat against my body, but she wasn’t conscious.

I carried her over my shoulders in a dead-weight piggyback, and laid
her out on her own beach towel, rain roaring down onto her. Her
breathing was strained; I raised her head, keeping an airway open.
Her arms and legs were limp. “I’m just going to go check on Nevaeh,”
I said, and reluctantly swam back out, nearly losing myself in the
heavy rain, looking over my shoulder at Bethany’s prone, pale figure
every few moments.

Nevaeh lay in the shallow water, exactly how I’d expected to find her.
Her lower body was limp and there was a pronounced gash in her head
where she’d hit the bottom of the shallow water. It went through to
her skull and bled crimson red into the water. Her arms hung askew,
one bent backwards. Her legs were limp. I flipped her over. Her
eyes were open, pupils dilated and lips losing their color. I left
her there. I had my girl, my living, breathing girl, to worry about.

I swam back to the shore, rain getting too thick for me to see. When
I drew myself to my feet, I saw Bethany standing, in shock, looking at
me with blank and crazy eyes. She held out her arms to hug me, and I
took her into my embrace. I had to be the adult here. If one of us
was going down for this tragic accident, it would have to be me. “Get
in the car, Bethany. I’m going to call 911 and get someone out here
for us. For Nevaeh. When they ask, I’ll say I pushed her.”

“No,” Bethany said, weakly.

“No? I don’t think we have any other options, Bethy.” I stroked her
wet hair. “If you still want me in a few years, things will work
out.” I knew she wouldn’t, would have hoards of psychiatrists telling
her that she couldn’t possibly love someone like me, but I had to say
it, had to reassure her. But then she had another idea.

“No, let’s run,” she said, simply.

It had to beat prison. I nodded, scooped her into the car, throwing
her backpack, a hastily disassembled tent, and her knife, in with me.
I tossed her bike a few feet into the water, left the campfire dead in
the rain, and we drove off, rain pooling in the tire tracks behind us.
Bethany hadn’t asked if her friend was dead, but her eyes told me she
knew. I took her small and trembling hand in mine as we began to
drive, trying to escape death.

Day 19

Saturday

Past midnight, we were still driving. Her bathtowel draped over her
like a blanket, Bethany lay, trembling, her legs curled in the
passenger seat, her head in my lap. She looked up at me with blank
and open eyes, a ghost of a girl, as though she'd drowned in the lake.

At nine, I'd coaxed her into giving her mother a reassuring phone
call, which had taken every bit of her acting skill. That was the
last she'd spoken, the last I'd seen of the happy, bouncy Bethany. I
drove with one hand, stroking her face with the other. She shivered;
we hadn't stopped to change out of our wet clothes. I was trembling,
too, the way I had been when I thought I'd lost her.

What I'd done now was the opposite of loss. I'd stolen her.

And I didn't want her to die of hypothermia. It was late enough now
that we could probably find a rest area that wasn't crowded and clean
up. We'd been on the interstate, heading south, for more than six
hours. My eyes were locked in a fixed stare down the highway. It was
straight and I could see for miles. Traffic was sparse; semi-trucks
owned the road at night and they were few. Cars were even fewer.

There are novels about road trips, novels about journeys. I could go
on and on with my pretentious references, from Humbert's flight with
Lolita to Eminem's '97 Bonnie and Clyde, which the kids were all
listening to a few years ago. It became a guilty pleasure of mine, a
secret chuckle because I found it more than a little bit oedipal. But
this is my story, not Nabokov’s novel or Mathers’s song, as though the
two deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence. As though Bethany
and I deserve to be together. This is my story. I realized that as I
pulled off the freeway that this would, in fact, be the story of my
life, the journey I would remember the most, and probably what I would
be remembered for. Bethany's blue eyes, staring up at me, blinked, as
though in agreement.

"You bring anything else to wear in that knapsack, boo?" I asked.

She nodded. Her lips moved, struggilng for the words. "Pajamas," she rasped.

"That'll do." I, of course, just had the clothes I'd worn to the
lake. I could exchange my wet swim trunks for the underwear I'd
folded in the back, at least, and wring out my shirt and jeans in a
towel. The rest stop was empty, with not even a sleeping trucker
occupying it. "Let's make this quick, Bethy," I said, pulling into a
parking spot. I exited the jeep quickly. She sat up in the passenger
seat, looking lost. I went around to her door, opened it, guided her
onto the pavement. She wobbled on her legs, a lamb taking its first
steps, a pale girl, light hair, white skin with only a hint of sunburn
remaining. She walked toward the rest stop as I rustled through her
backpack for the pajamas. They were red and white, striped leggings
with a cute t-shirt top with embroidered cherries. It had been
stuffed into the bag in a the way of young children, not folded. I
draped it neatly over my forearm, smoothing the wrinkles. I looked in
the bottom of the bag--she'd even brought matching red slippers. For
a camping trip. I laughed. She'd also packed a toothbrush,
toothpaste, hair soap, lip gloss, an mp3 player and a 200-page "From
the desk of Bethany Kexel" notepad.

White form walking down the sidewalk before me, in the moon shadows of
gumdrop pine trees, I felt like I was following a ghost.

I handed her the pajamas in the foyer of the rest area, beside shiny
brochures welcoming us to the state and advising us of hotel deals. I
touched her hands gently and said the words she needed to hear, words
that I didn't believe myself. "This is all going to work out, Bethy.
You'll see." She nodded and smiled slightly. We split off for the
men's and women's rooms.

The mirrors were cheap and dark, but I could tell that I didn't look
much better than she did. My pale skin and haunted eyes would have
raised alarm had we walked into a convenience store or truck stop. My
shirt was nearly dry, but I changed the promise ring from the inside
to the outside of it. I squeezed out my wet jeans in the sink, put on
my boxers, and carried the towel and bathing suit into the foyer. I
grabbed a state map and a brochure and, glancing at the silver-domed
security camera above me, decided it was time to get off the main
roads.

Bethany hadn't come out yet and, with the rest stop still empty, I
went into the women's room to find her. She stood in front of the dim
mirror, still in the white dress, staring at her own face. "Come on,
Bethany, we've got to get going."

She smiled, or grimaced, maybe. I'm not sure if it was at me or at
her reflection in the mirror. Her entire body was shaking and tears
were running down her terrified little face.

"Arms up." I pulled the dress off her, took off the bathing suit top.
I slid off the tankini shorts, wrapped her in the towel, picked her
up and held her against me. "It's all right," I said. I set her on
the rest stop counter, cushioned by the towel so she wouldn't touch
the dirty surface. "This can be our adventure, okay?" It didn't feel
like an adventure to me, just the beginning of a long journey that
would have no good end. Of course, I'd realized that in the very
beginning. This is the type of relationship that ends with news
cameras and ruined lives, not just broken hearts. I'd jumped into it
head-on anyway. I ran the automatic tap until it got hot. With a
brown paper towel, I wiped her long, blond hair off of her forehead,
out of her lips, back into line behind her ears.

I wiped down her neck. Her skin was cool to the touch. I dried her
face, her neck, her shoulders. She was still so beautiful that I
could barely believe she was with me. I found myself aroused by the
thought of it. Bethany, mine now, mine forever if I played this
right. It was 2 a.m. and nobody even knew she was gone.

I unwrapped her little coccoon and slipped the pajama top over her
head. After wiping what was left of my cum, and a bit of dried
blood—how hard had she ridden me—from her soft lower lips, I lifted
her and slipped her into her pants. "What's the worst thing you've
ever done?" she asked, suddenly.

"Stealing you," I said. The answer was automatic. I knew it was
wrong, everything I’d been thinking, feeling, but there was no way I
could have helped it. No way it could have happened any other way, no
way I could have not ended up here in a rest stop dressing her.
Stealing you.

"Given freely," she replied, reaching up to grip my promise ring. She
smiled now, a true smile. "You know the worst thing I've ever done
already," she said, the smile fading.

"It wasn't on purpose," I said, lifting her. As I carried her to the
car, I thought I heard her say ‘yes, it was,’ but if she had, it was
no more than a whisper.

I didn’t sleep that night. Our first night together was spent in my
car with her covered in beach towels, head in my lap. I knew we had
to get farther away than this. I pulled onto the next state highway,
still heading south, using the dashboard GPS Ariana had gotten me for
my birthday and the rest stop map for guidance.

I listened to the radio until the signal got lost amid airwaves of
gospel preachers’ fire and brimstone and I turned it off.
By sunrise, I was exhausted, but still determined. Bethany’s parents
would be awake soon and she would need to call again. Try to buy us a
bit more time to run. Her lips smacked as she woke up. “Morning,
Kitty,” she said. “Did you sleep?”

“What does it look like?” I asked, good-naturedly.

“It looks like you drove all night. Where are we?”

“South,” I said. “Far, far away. And we have to keep going.” Deep
in the woods, surrounded by pine trees, giant, unkempt versions of the
little gumdrops at the rest stop, we continued at top speed down a
two-lane highway. Deciding to teach Bethany what decent music sounded
like, I put on a mix I’d made for drives to and from work. We rocked
out to AC/DC, Billy Idol, Live. I stopped to get coffee for me, hot
chocolate for her, and came back to find her rocking out to White
Wedding.
With the caffeine buzz and lack of sleep, I was actually impressed
with her singing. “Hey, little sister, what have you done,” she sang.
“Hey, little sister, shotgun! It’s a nice day to start again.” I
sang along. How appropriate.

She flopped into the back and got the MP3 player out of her backpack.
“Okay, my turn.”

“I think it’s illegal to wear headphones while driving in this state,”
I said. Unfortunately for me, she managed to hook up the mp3 player
to the stereo, something I had no idea was even possible, and had some
real crap on in a moment’s time. Leaning against the car window, her
singing became robotic. She sang about a black parade. She sang
about warm coffee and a forlorn messenger bird. She sang about Heaven
and Hell with no vacancy signs out front, about vampires. And then
about running.

“This one is for us,” she said. Oh, I knew I was in for a treat now.
“Hands in mine, into your icy blues, and then I’d say to you we could
take to the highway,” she sang. I was pleasantly surprised at it. As
Bethany sang about “driving to the end with you,” I watched her eyes.
She was less robotic now, looking at me.

The end was repetitive enough for me to sing along, to sing about
falling down, touching hands, pools of blood, looking at each other’s
eyes. Damn. If these kids weren’t listening to songs about forbidden
love, they were listening to songs about death. I watched her as she
sang the rest of her songs methodically, almost emotionlessly, not
missing a lyric. Forbidden love. Violent death. I guess she was
already well-educated before I came along.

She made a quick call to her parents’ answering machine, saying she
and Nevaeh were still playing, she’d be home that night.

At another convenience store, I picked up sandwiches for later. I
gulped two more coffees and tried to stay awake, to put more distance
between us and her parents’ inevitable realization that she was gone.

It was nine when her phone rang. We were singing Lightning Crashes
together, both so bad we were good, voices wrought with fake emotion.

“Should I pick up?” she asked. “I’ll tell them I’m staying over again.”

“Sure.”

I listened as it all crashed down.

“Yeah, we camped out, we weren’t at her house.”

“In the woods, durrrr.”

“No.”

“No.”

“No! She’s right here.”

“She doesn’t want to talk to you.”

“Shut up. I’m not coming home now. Bite my butt.”

She hung up the phone and brought her knees to her chin.

“Did you just tell your mom to bite your butt?”

“My dad, actually. Nevaeh’s mom called them. Stupid bitch.”

“Turn off your phone.” GPS couldn’t operate with the phone off, or so
I’d read. She turned it off and looked at me.

“Stupid Nevaeh, messing things up for me.” Stupid, dead Nevaeh. How
long did we have now? “I wish she could have understood, I wish they
all could have understood, all I ever wanted was you. I didn’t even
know what happy was until I saw you, and they just wanted me to act
like nothing had happened.”

“You didn’t tell them, did you?”

“Nevaeh guessed I had a boyfriend. And I told Maddie that he had a
girlfriend already. But I didn’t tell anyone who it was. They all
thought it was someone from my old school, and maybe my parents had
moved me to keep me away from him, and that’s why I was sneaking
around. I guess they’ll talk to Maddie and that’ll keep them busy for
a few days.”

“Do you want to go back? You know you can tell me if you want to go back.”

“I won’t let anyone take you away,” she said, and that was that. It
was what I wanted to hear, after all. And, after all, I hadn’t said
that I would take her back, just that she could tell me if that’s what
she wanted. I was amazed at her resilience. For a girl who was
realizing that her last words to her parents would probably be, “Bite
my butt,” she was surprisingly composed.

There was a television at the next rest area, which was nestled in the
woods with picnic tables. I didn’t see any cameras. We had vending
machine snacks and the sandwiches I’d picked up earlier. I felt
myself fading, sleep pulling me like gravity. As Bethany changed back
into her white dress, dirty but dry, I watched the TV.
“Concern grows for two Watertown girls, believed to be missing since
yesterday. While one of the girls has been in contact with her
parents, the other has not. The girls, Nevaeh Cross and Bethany
Kexel, are believed to be runaways, and are probably still in the
Watertown area. They were said to be--” I reached up and turned off
the television. I didn’t want Bethany to see this.

My phone rang. “Hello.”

The principal of my school wanted to know how my vacation was going.
Not really, but he pretended he wanted to know, and I realized that
nobody else knew I wasn’t with Ariana. Evasive, I told him things
were going fine. What he really wanted to know was if Nevaeh and
Bethany had seemed strange that day at school, if I’d spoken to either
of them. They’d run away, he explained.

Oh, god. Our quick fuck before the play. Did he know? Did he?
Should I tell him? “Um, they seemed fine,” I said. “They were in the
play, so they weren’t there for roll call. When their segment was
done, they sat with me. They didn’t seem upset.”

“Okay. Well, if you remember anything that was—out of order—that last
day, give me a call back so I can pass the information along to the
police.”

“Okay.” He knew nothing. I smiled. Now, to drive for another day.

But the pull of sleep was just too great, and ten miles after the next
small town, I pulled down an unmarked gravel road and found us a place
to set up the tent. I discovered that there had been a sleeping bag
inside it when I folded it hastily into the backseat, and we slept
together naked, my first real night beside her, inhaling the
surprisingly sweet scent of her unwashed hair, her soft and nervous
sweat.

Day 20

Sunday


She turned to me in the early morning, just as I’d decided it was
nearly time to pack up and get moving. She kissed my neck; her small
hand clutched my morning-hard cock. I responded to her, arms around
her, stroking from her neck to her butt, caressing the backs of her
thighs as I opened her legs. I didn’t say a word as I hovered over
her, supported on my hands to keep the weight balanced on her at a
minimum. My chest was pressed to hers. I felt the sweat between her
slight breasts mixing with my own sweat. I kissed her forehead as I
rubbed my cock up and down between her lips.

“Do you want to do it up the butt?” she asked, perhaps because my
hands were there.

“No, Bethy, I don’t want to hurt you,” I said, but I poked the little
bud of her ass with my cock for good measure, stretching it just
slightly. “One day,” I teased. “But only if you really want. I
can’t imagine you getting much out of it.” I ached to penetrate her
virgin asshole, but I was feeling tender and protective that morning,
and so I wiped my cock on the sleeping bag beside me and pushed slowly
into her pussy instead. She moaned as I entered; I watched her face
as I stretched her out, fit into my comfortable place inside her, and
began moving in and out in a slow, steady rhythm. I felt her clit
against my dick as she moved against me. She rubbed her head against
one of my arms, arched her back, extended her own arms to the place
where I’d penetrated her.

I felt her hand on my dick, working what I couldn’t fit inside of her
comfortably, and it turned me on that she would think of my pleasure.
She’d gotten deliciously wet and now her hand, coated with both our
juices, was working me; my balls bumped it as I bore down harder.
Gently, I kissed her face, her scalp, inhaling the scent of her hair.
She was mine now, all mine, even if I’d lost everything else. I
pushed inside her deeper, my whole cock going in now. Her hands found
my nipples and I got a guilty pleasure from her tweaking them.
Holding myself up with one hand, I tweaked hers, and she squeaked with
delight, arching her back more, and I penetrated at a different angle.

I must have found her g-spot, if such a thing exists, because she came
instantly, shaking under my grip, entire body convulsing. Her pussy
squeezed my cock like nothing else. I was stuck inside; I couldn’t
have pulled out if I wanted to. I ground my hips against her, giving
her what she so clearly wanted, and rode her orgasm out, finally able
to move freely again. She was limp now, lying beneath me with a goofy
grin on her face. I put more weight on her, rutting her harder.
Mine, mine, mine, I thought, feeling my cockhead crash against her
underdeveloped cervix. I knew she wasn’t meant to be stretched out
like this, but I didn’t care. I pushed an arm under her, bringing her
hips up, our lovemaking having turned into fucking. She was still
fluid underneath me. Her orgasm had turned her muscles weak; I was
free to possess her as I saw fit.

My orgasm came abruptly, roughly. I pushed as deeply into her as I
could and shot off right against her cervix. “You feel that?” I
whispered in her ear, but she didn’t respond.

We collapsed together, both of us limp now, and I pulled out of her.
She was bleeding, but not much; my cum ran out of her and pooled on
the rubber floor of the tent. I saw one of my pubic hairs caught
between her pussy lips, stuck in the deluge of our shared fluids, and
I flicked it aside.

“Was that making love?” she asked, smiling up at me. The question
made me sad. Had we never made love before?

“The beginning of it was, at least,” I said. “The end of it was me,
getting my rocks off.” She was still smiling. “You know I love you,
right?” I touched her nose.

“So we always make love,” she decided. Like so many other things, it
wasn’t completely accurate, but I let it slide.

We packed up; I watched her dress, pulling white panties carelessly
over her still-dripping snatch. I watched a stain, mostly simple
dampness, our fluids, spread on the surface. I stopped folding the
sleeping bag. Watched her pull her dress over her head, covering the
sleek, beautiful body that I knew so well. The body I considered my
own. She didn’t have a bra, having worn her bathing suit to the lake.
Her hard nipples, pink from my fiddling, were visible through the
thin fabric of the dress.

I folded the sleeping bag, then began to dress myself. I watched her
watching me, wondering if she was thinking the same thing, that I
belonged to her now, that she’d left some irrevocable, invisible mark
on me, making me hers. My jeans were finally dry, if a bit shrunken.
I zipped them over my deflated package. I pulled my own shirt over my
head. I hugged her. She smelled like me. My sweat, my cum. Maybe I
smelled like her. If she was mine, I was hers.

I know how crazy this sounds. I know how crazy I am, sitting here,
filling this notebook with my crimes. But I need to remember how I
got here before I lose my grip on reality even more.

We drove all day, drove until the trees turned scraggly and the dirt
ran red like blood. The highway widened and we came to a bridge, with
a river rushing, fast and white, below. “Let’s get rid of your
phone,” I said, thinking of the GPS, about whether they would trace
that final call. I would keep mine; they weren’t onto me yet, or so I
hoped.

We pulled over; traffic rushed past us. The little girl in the white
dress gripped the side of the bridge, leaning forward dangerously, and
let her cellular phone drop.

There would be no more calls.

I stood beside her, hand on her shoulder, and watched it grow smaller
and smaller until I couldn’t make it out at all. I didn’t see it
splash or crash, but Bethany must have, because she clapped her hands
and turned a circle with her face in the air and her arms out.

“Mister, is that a camera?” she asked, gesturing to something perched
on the large metal beams over the bridge.
“I don’t know,” I said.

“Let’s go,” she replied. She walked bowlegged to the SUV, like I’d
hurt her in the morning, but she sat beside me, singing along with the
songs I’d taught her, songs she’d taught me.

I still didn’t think little girls should be singing about cancer or
playing in blood, but when you were red and raw and bleeding from the
inside, maybe it seemed normal.

Day 21

Monday


We chanced a motel. It was that or a truck stop, and some little
motel on a State Highway had fewer truckers and tourists than a truck
stop by the interstate. I needed a shower, and badly. Even the
sweetest pussy stank when it was day-old, mixed with cum, and still
marinating my cock. The motel didn’t ask for ID. I give the name
Marshall Haze. Half pop culture, half Lolita. I’d have given Clyde
but... well.

Under the rushing, pressured water of a dying showerhead, I lathered
shampoo through my hair and into my scalp. I rubbed bar soap down my
body, around my cock. I heard rustling in the bathroom and peaked out
of the shower only to see a naked little leg slip into the tub on the
other end. “Wash me?” Bethany asked.

I’d left enough shampoo for her. With her back to me, I rubbed it
into her hair, fingers moving lightly against her, temples to the back
of her head, hairline to her neck. I’d have touched her for hours in
the warm water, washing down the length of her body, all the way to
the tips of her toes. But she turned to me, dropped to her knees,
took my newly cleaned cock into her mouth and sucked as I carried on
with her hair, lathering it upward into spikes, then down again,
enjoying her tight lips around the length of me as I rubbed her. The
water was hot against my body. It ran over her and swirled around my
feet and down the drain. I saw stray pubic hairs—mine—and old
blood—hers—swirl down with it. At the same time, Bethany’s tongue was
swirling around me.

I turned my attention again to her; she looked up at me with
inquisitive, blue eyes and I said, “Yes, I’m enjoying this, boo.” I
rubbed facial soap along her forehead, cheeks and abrupt, childish
jaw-line. I washed behind her ears. When I got to her neck and
shoulders, the pressure in my balls became unbearable. My cock
trembled. She kept sucking; I felt her soft, velvet mouth around me
as I spurted off inside of her. My legs trembled. My right arm
grasped the shower rail to hold me up.

I’d come too much; my jizz overflowed around her lips, dripping down
her chin, swirling down the drain with those other pieces of us.
Swallowing the rest of me, she wiped her mouth, turned, and beckoned
for me to continue washing her. Using the bar soap now, I soaped,
rubbed and rinsed her. Parts of her I hadn’t touched before, or even
considered. Arm pits. Slight creases beneath developing breasts.
Her belly button, a perfect circle. The creases between her thighs
and her pubic mound. I cleaned her pussy, inside and out, blood,
caked and dried now dislodging and disappearing down the drain. I
cleaned her asshole, the soap allowing my finger to sleep in to the
second knuckle.

“Did you still want to try it?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she said.

Truth was, I’d never had anal sex before. While those women I’d
fucked in high school and college had been up for a drunken lay or
regular sex in the context of a relationship, complete with Olive
Garden dinners and movie nights, if I’d been with a truly kinky girl,
I hadn’t known it. These are the thoughts we hide, thoughts like
thoughts of fucking someone too young. They’re thoughts we all have;
perhaps we’re more willing to share now, when the internet can make us
anonymous. The fact that Bethany Kexel, thirteen and naive in so many
ways, had heard about it, had a now-dead friend who had tried it,
wanted to try it now, was proof of that. Those things we kept secret
and forbidden take less than a generation to become normal and come
into the light.

A forty-minute drive later, to some widened part of the nearest
interstate, I found myself with a bottle of K-Y jelly, two new outfits
for each of us, and some carryout Olive Garden, which I’d been craving
since considering my college relationships. I bought ravioli for her,
seafood pasta with lobster and oysters for me. Before the food
critics pass judgment, I understand that it’s not gourmet and could,
of course, see the two of us eating raw oysters on the gulf coast one
day, or making our own gourmet pasta in some imaginary kitchen,
rolling the dough ourselves, flour in her hair. She would be older,
taller, but in my mind, her smile and the way she looked at me would
always be the same.

I found her curled in bed, naked under a thin, white sheet, knees to
nose, sleeping with her dried hair splayed, flyaway, over the pillow
beside her. I stripped off my clothes and climbed under the sheet
beside her. Curling into her, I drew her to me, breathing her in and
holding the body that had become so familiar. Sleep came quickly,
easily. I drifted into darkness, though light still filtered through
a cheap, brown curtain and overgrown trees outside the window. With a
cheap deadbolt and a Do Not Disturb sign protecting us in this cavern
of a motel room, I felt protected. I allowed myself to forget
everything but her.

When I awoke, she was sleepy and floppy, with childish yawns and
cloudy eyes. This poor, doomed girl, my girl, who did not know yet
that she was doomed. I didn’t know, either, but I can’t say I was
thinking rationally then, let alone now. And, at that moment, I
wanted to try what she’d offered, what I wanted to try. I drew the
sheet back, revealing her naked body, wrapped up tightly around
itself. My cock already hard, I opened the KY jelly. She slept as I
smeared it down the narrow crack of her ass, pushed it into her
rosebud opening.

In the moments between spreading the lubricant, wiping my hand on the
comforter, and rubbing my cock up and down her crack to wake her, my
doubts nearly got to me. What the hell was I doing, standing there
with my rock hard dick bulging through my pants? What was I doing in
this hotel room with her in the first place? It dawned on me,
suddenly, that I could have gone to the girls’ homes, called the
parents on cell phones. I was swimming at the lake. The girls were
there. There was an accident. I saved Bethany, but Nevaeh was
already gone.

Mister rescuer. Mister hero. Not Mister kidnapper. Mister
pedophile. Mister with his cock out and his pants around his ankles.
Even if I’d told the parents what had happened, there are no gold
medals to be had for coincidentally ending up at the same swimming
hole as a couple of wayward thirteen year olds, particularly when half
a dozen more thirteen year olds could testify that I’d coincidentally
ended up at Quarry Lake with the same thirteen year olds the day
before. Mister stalker. Mister girl-watcher. There was no good
ending for me. There had never been.

The moment Bethany Kexel turned to look at me, it was all decided. I
had to be here in this room, looking down at her curled-up body.

In the bed beside her, I spread her cheeks with my hands and ran my
cock from her tailbone to her pussy lips, dipping into her butt-hole
as I did. The lube made it easy to do this in one simple movement,
made her hole open around me, give way to my gentle thrust. I felt
her jerk awake; I pressed my arm against hers to keep her from moving.
“Do you still want this?” I asked. But I was already forcing my way
into her. Everything that was forbidden about this—the feeling of her
gentle tissues stretching, of my cock going into her the wrong
way—only turned me on. After all, our whole relationship was
forbidden.

“Kitty,” she said, almost a whine. I didn’t want to hear it. She’d
asked for this. I clasped one hand over her mouth, the other over her
vagina. I rubbed her tiny clit up and down with two fingers as I
pushed my way deeper into her, meeting resistance, but only for a
moment. I moved slowly; I didn’t want to damage her. She felt
delicate in my arms, her clit stiff and pulsating, her breaths coming
unevenly through my hand.

I regretted muffling her; I took my hand away. “No,” she said.

Inching my cock forward, wanting to get all I could while I could, I
groaned. “You want me to stop?”

“No, I want you to put your hand back. I don’t want anyone to hear
me.” I obliged her. I pushed in deeper, even as she started to
struggle, even when I was almost certain that her wriggling had turned
from pleasure to pain. My hand still stimulating her clit, I opened
her pussy with two fingers, the lubricant helping me move quickly. I
felt the tissue between her vagina and her rectum stretched tightly.
Through the tight, fragile membrane, I felt my own dick, the ridge
behind the head rutting against my fingers. Stretching her, entering
her in two holes at once, I built up a slow rhythm, fucking her
asshole with my dick, her pussy with my hand.

Now, she’d stopped struggling. She was pliable in my arms, allowing
me to enter her so deeply that my balls were wedged between her tight
little butt cheeks. The feeling was amazing, but it was a guilty
pleasure. I didn’t dare move any more quickly because I didn’t want
to tear her. And I didn’t dare take my hand off her mouth, because I
didn’t want her to tell me to stop. So I kept on, feeling the warmth
of her body against me, around me, coursing through my veins like she
was part of me.

Her mouth was wet against my hand. Her breaths were ragged and she’d
wrapped her hands around my arm, digging her fingernails in. I knew I
needed to finish. I slammed her once, twice, rougher than I intended,
and shot off inside of her. I thrust my fingers in at the same time
and felt my own orgasm through her gentle tissues. She must have felt
me coming, because she arched her back as though she was having her
own orgasm, though I could tell she’d gotten little, if any, pleasure
out of this.

The aftermath was not pretty. My cock trailed lube, blood and traces
of feces across one of the bedspreads. I ended up holding Bethany in
the shower, looking into her shocked eyes. Before I could apologize,
she beat me to it. “I’m sorry I hurt your arm.”

I had little, red, crescent moons where her fingernails had penetrated
my forearm. “It’s all right,” I said. “I’m sorry I hurt you, too.
We shouldn’t have tried that.”

She rubbed her head against me as I rubbed my hand through her lower
cleft, washing away lube and semen. “I wanted to see what it was
like,” she said, blankly. “I wanted to do everything with you. But I
still can’t see why Nevaeh likes it so much. Liked it so much.” Now,
she closed her eyes. A wound had been ripped open. I turned in the
shower, getting her head wet.

“Do you still love me?”

She looked up. “Yes,” she said. And, as far as I could tell, it was
true. She had the same look in her eyes as she had when we first met,
and the same mischievous smile as she kissed my face, stuck fingers in
the corners of my mouth to raise the edges. “Cheer up, kitty. This
is our adventure.”

I was worried, so worried that I’d damaged her, inside and out, but if
anything, I was the damaged one. I washed for longer than she did,
eyes down, looking at the cracks in the tile beside the ancient,
stained bathtub. My half-moon cuts were bleeding; the water diluted
it, but when I got out of the shower, my blood pooled in the tiny
crescents, the shapes of where she’d scarred me.

Bethany was jumping naked on the bed, her dinner balanced in a plastic
container in one hand, ravioli perched on a fork in the other. Now
and then, she took a bite of it. There was a smile on her face.
“Hey, little sister, shotgun!” she sang. It was a beautiful sight to
see, her clean, sparkling little body, feet padding on the rumpled
blankets. It made me feel better about everything.

My pasta tasted surprisingly good cold, and even better when eaten
while bouncing on my knees on a cheap motel bed. I laughed like a
little boy when she tried to feed me some ravioli, still bouncing,
still smiling, and the pasta went up my nose rather than into my
mouth. We fell back on the bed when we were done eating. She wrapped
herself around my arm, squeezing me tightly before climbing onto my
chest.

We made love slowly, Bethany on top of me, controlling the depth of my
penetration, her legs splayed out around me. “Are you feeling better
yet?” she asked, and before I could answer, she began to rattle out a
little orgasm. She came twice before I did, and then we lay together,
her head on my chest.

“Do you ever think about heaven?” she asked.

“Nope.”

“Don’t you ever think about what you want it to be like when you get
there? Like, what would you want to hear God say when you get there?”

“Isn’t that from a skit on SNL? What do you want God to say to you
when you get to Heaven?”

“Huh?”

Of course, she was thirteen years old. This was all new to her. So,
I asked her. “What do you want God to say when you get to Heaven?”

“Well,” she said, “in the unlikely event that I get there after
everything I’ve done, and if Heaven exists, which I kind of doubt, but
kind of hope it does, I want God to say, ‘Stop worrying, Bethany.
Kitty is waiting in the next room. Would you like to see him now?’
Now, what do YOU want heaven to be like?”

Once again, I gave her the answer she wanted to hear. “Like this,” I
said, even though when I’d glanced at my silenced phone on my way back
from the mall, I had one missed call. “I want it to be just like
this.”

We slept like lovers, limbs tangled, breathing in sequence. I exhaled
and she inhaled my breath, as though I was breathing for her. If I
could have done it, I’d have kept breathing for her until I was in my
own grave.

Day 22

Tuesday

I woke up to the sound of running water. Bethany was in the bathroom
washing up. The call on my phone was from my principal again. He
hadn’t left a voicemail; I wasn’t sure whether that meant the message
had been unimportant or too important for me to hear via recording.
Then, I did the other thing I’d been avoiding. I flipped on the
television set. When two rich, white girls are missing, they become
celebrities. I couldn’t have missed the coverage if I tried. The
first thing I saw was little Maddie, the plainest of Bethany’s group
of three. There were tears running down her face. “I can’t believe
they’re gone,” she said, before disappearing into the arms of a woman
beside her, probably her mother.

The scene cut to a reporter standing beside my lake. “A tragic
development in the case of two young runaways. The body of one of the
girls, thirteen year old Nevaeh Nadine Cross, was found in the shallow
waters of this secluded lake. Two bicycles were found nearby, one in
the water and another hidden in the trees.” Nevaeh’s picture appeared
in the upper right hand corner of the screen. “Authorities searched
the area after parents of the other girl, Bethany Kexel, received a
phone call from their daughter stating that she was camping. Her
whereabouts are unknown at this time, but crews continue to dredge
this remote lake in search of her body. Once again, a tragic ending
to a heartbreaking story. Both Nevaeh Cross and Bethany Kexel are
believed to have drowned in this lake. Foul play is not suspected at
this time.”

Good.

The corners of my mouth twitched upward. I laughed, but the laugh
wasn’t mine. It came from someone unrecognizable. I was getting away
with this. My only mistake had been the bicycle—there was no reason
for it to have been in the water, but the lake was large enough that
they could dredge until the end of time, fruitlessly, and think
nothing of it.

“Bethy,” I called, flipping the television off before she could come
out. “Bethy, this is great. They think you’re dead.” I walked into
the bathroom. “Honey?”

She stood, knife in hands, neatly cutting a segment of her hair into a
straight line of bangs over her forehead. “I’ve always wanted bangs,”
she said. “My mom never let me have them. She said they were
trashy.”

For a novice, she’d done a pretty good job cutting her own hair. I
set the knife aside, picked her up and twirled her around the
cracked-tile bathroom. Her feet brushed the mirror, leaving little
toe-prints. “I love your bangs,” I said, setting her on the counter.
For once, she was looking down on me, instead of me on her. “And I
love you. And—they think you’re dead, Bethy. Drowned in the lake.
Nobody’s looking for us.”

“Good,” she said, kicking her fallen hair off of the counter. It
fluttered to the floor, caking around the base of the bathtub and
toilet. I picked her up, naked body in my arms, and dressed her in
the outfit I’d bought her—a filmy pink skirt and a black shirt. “It’s
a bit dressy,” she decided, “but I like it. I feel like a princess or
something.”

I packed everything into the backpack, knife sticking out the back,
and threw it into the trunk of the Cherokee. Even though they weren’t
looking for us, I turned up the radio and we drove all day on the back
roads, stopping only for food and bathroom breaks. We didn’t stop
driving until long past midnight, when we came upon a run-down
campground with showers and a swimming pool.

None of the little things we’d done wrong that day, rest stops where
we’d walked too closely together, blood on the sheets, chopped blond
hair lining the caulking around a cheap motel tub. I was thinking we
could get more brazen about things now that Bethany was essentially
dead and buried. I was thinking that this campground could be the
place to start.

I was wrong, so wrong. I wonder which little fatal mistake will be
the one that brings this to an end.

Day 23

Wednesday

Bethany peered out at me from beneath her neatly chopped bangs. She
was smiling. I remember that smile, warm and inviting, as I walked
from the camp office to the furthest camping space in the lot, where
I’d already parked. Her eyes darkened by the shadow of the newly cut
hair, she stared at me, watching me walk, her eyes never leaving me.

Between the office and the campsite, there was a girl, fourteen or
fifteen years old, more of a young woman than a girl, moving a
haphazard pile of dry firewood in a wheelbarrow. She had red hair,
curled and unkempt, that framed a narrow, battered face, a face
sunburned and spattered with freckles and scarred across the cheek.
For a second, I looked at her, not because she was ugly or different,
but because she was looking at me. Her eyes, a steely-blue, met mine
for just that second, and it was as though she had read my soul. As
though she had said it, “I know what you really are,” though there was
no way she could have known.

In my mind, I can still see her figure, moonlight-blurred in a
too-small plaid dress worn over jeans. I can feel her disdain and
wonder which of her scars allowed her to see into me. And behind her,
I can see Bethany, bright-eyed, milky-skinned, waiting, not seeing the
redheaded girl, maybe because scarred girls weren’t a part of her
worldview, maybe because I was all she could see. I was no
mind-reader, so I stuck to what I knew, and helped Bethany set up the
tent.

We lay out the sleeping bag and lay on top of it, me on my back,
Bethany on her stomach. She had her little book out, the book of
“From the Desk of Bethany Kexel” notes, and was scribbling something
inside it. “What are you writing, baby?” I asked.

“Song quotes. Some My Chemical Romance, some of White Wedding. Just
things for us, like I have on my wall at home, because songs can say
the things I can’t say out loud. Do you want to write one?”

I wrote her a book quote, one from Lolita. She read it out loud.
“You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style. Ladies
and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the
misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this
tangle of thorns.”

“That’s always been my favorite quote,” I said. “Most people like the
beginning of the book. ‘Light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin,
my soul.”

“I like the tangle of thorns,” she said. “And my sin, my soul. I
like that you get me.” Eyes closed, she flipped over, looking up at
the tent canvas above us. The night had gone quiet; no crickets or
wheelbarrow wheels going at this hour. I picked up the notebook and
paged through it. Amid the quotes and little hearts with my name—in
some cases, my real name—there was one page where the lower bit had
been torn off and only the “From the Desk of Bethany Kexel” remained.

“What was this for?” I asked. “Being naughty? Blackmailing someone?”

“Yes,” Bethany said. “Want to know a secret?”

Oh, what she could have told me then, and didn’t.

“What’s your secret?”

She turned onto her side, eyelids droopy, curt bangs falling in choppy
layers over her forehead. “I liked it when you held me down. I don’t
know why. I wanted to fight you, like I’m supposed to.”

“Like you’re supposed to?”

“Yeah, like all the girls in all the books. Like they teach us in
sex-ed, if someone kidnaps you.” Okay, so the school’s
abstinence-only program was giving young teenage girls rape fetishes.
Brilliantly executed.

I put my hand over her mouth. “You’ll enjoy this, then.” I’d talked
dirty to Ariana before, but couldn’t bring myself to do that to
Bethany—she was about as far from a whore or a slut as I could
imagine. But, even without the verbal abuse, I made quite a show of
holding her down. One hand on her mouth, I pushed her shirt up
roughly, groped her breasts, sucked them into my mouth. The arch of
her back told me this was working for her.

I pushed up her dress in one rough movement. Pulled white panties
down her legs and threw them aside. Her arms shot down, barely
missing the fabric, and she kicked her legs, which I forced open with
my own.

I unzipped before trying to control her hands, but could only manage
to grasp one tiny wrist while keeping my other hand over her mouth.
Her free hand raked across my face, nails scratching lines of blood,
like papercuts, across my right cheek. The pain brought adrenaline,
aggression I didn’t know I had. I widened my legs, pushing hers
farther apart, and fell onto her, letting go of her wrists so I could
position my cock to enter her. I’d eased into her most times we’d
fucked, made sure she was ready for it, stimulated that hard little
clitoris. None of that this time. With my free hand underneath her
to support her ass, I penetrated as deeply as I could in a single
stab, like with a knife. Her mouth opened underneath my hand, trying
to bite. Her arms had nowhere to go but onto my back, beating down
uselessly against me, scratching and scraping.

This only urged me onward. The resisting flesh of her little vagina
squeezed me hard, her body trying to push me out as roughly as I’d
pushed in. I kept things moving, kept my cock sliding in and out of
her, got our pubic bones grinding. She squirmed underneath me,
keeping up the resistance, but clearly enjoying the weight of me
against her clit. She was getting wet now, her juices coating my
rapidly thrusting cock. I eased up, one arm on the floor of the tent,
the other held tight to her mouth. I pinched her nose shut with two
fingers. Wrapped my supporting hand through her hair.

I looked down at my dick pummelling in and out of her, her hips tilted
upwards to take me. I felt her legs stretch out more with each
thrust, my weight and the girth of me too much for her little body.
Her hips clicked. I kept going, pushing into her reddened flesh.
There was a streak of blood on my cock, mixed with the glistening
combination of my pre-cum and her vaginal juices. Her body was tense,
trembling now. I sped things up, watched her wince as I drove in each
time.

The asphyxiation and some fucked-up sense of pleasure and pain came to
a head. Bethany’s arms shook, her shoulders shook; her neck arched
back, sending a ripple through her entire body. The pressure on my
member was nearly unbearable, but I kept fucking her, an extended
version of those final few moments of that night together, the time
she’d called making love. My hips were grinding hard against the
reddened skin between her legs as her orgasm trembled to its end. Her
eyes had shut gently; her hands hung uselessly at her sides. I let
her go, let her start breathing, and took her hips in my hands—how
symmetrical they were, how fragile, narrow. My thumbs on her
hipbones, my fingers nearly met behind her butt. She was mine and I
could do anything to her. Fuck her into a coma, fuck her until she
was a bleeding, damaged mess.

But I finished off soon after I realized she was passed out, just
thrust deep into her and came. Collapsed beside her with my cock
deflating and aching from all the pressure. Heard her breathing
raspily beside me, unconscious but alive.

Ten minutes passed. I timed them on my cell phone—five missed calls,
which I dismissed quickly. Probably Ariana wanting to reconcile, but
why would I want the demands of a woman when I could have this girl?
I wasn’t worried then. I was stupid. After seven minutes, Bethany
stirred. “Wow,” she said. Or maybe it was “Ow.”

“Are you all right?” I asked, raising myself to look at her. Her skin
had gone pink where I’d crushed her, red between her legs and on her
inner thighs where I’d pressed the hardest. Her pussy lips were
rubbed raw, chafed and hairless, and a trickle of blood and cum had
drizzled out of her freshly-fucked pussy, held open by her limp,
spread legs.

“Yeah,” she said, smiling, touching between her legs with her hand,
dipping narrow fingers into blood and cum. “Yeah, that’s what I mean.
Is it bad that I wanted you to make me bleed?”

“No,” I lied. I wasn’t even sure how I felt about doing it, and I was
leaning toward feeling incredibly guilty.

“Do you want to know the worst thing I’ve ever done?” she asked,
pulling her panties on, and fluffing the pink skirt over them.

“I already know,” I said, thinking first of Nevaeh, blank and
waterlogged, and then of the red-haired campground girl with the
piercing eyes.

“You don’t,” Bethany said.

Could everyone see through me, when I couldn’t even see through this
girl lying beside me, this girl I loved?

“Tell me, then.” In hindsight, it’s easy to say I already knew this
thing she was about to tell me, this unwritten error, unknown to me at
that moment. I hadn’t known, unless I’d known subconsciously.

“That page in my notebook, the one you found. I wrote a note on the
rest of it. A note to Ariana. I left it in the corner of the mirror.
I was laughing. While I did it. Or crying. I couldn’t tell the
difference. It was kind of a rush. I got all wet and huffy and
almost had an orgasm. I had to put one of your pillows on my mouth so
you wouldn’t hear me. I tried to tell you about it.”

“A note?”

I looked at her, frozen as she spoke, frozen as realization crashed
down on me. “It just said ‘I’ve been bouncing in your bed.’ I didn’t
know it would. No. I did know it would break you up. But I had to
do it. I couldn’t do anything different. Like, the moment I saw you,
I had to be with you, and this was just the way things had to be.”

“You fucked up my life with a note? It was you?”

Her lower lip was trembling, her chin wrinkled up. “You can’t hate me
for it,” she said. “This is our adventure.”

“I don’t hate you,” I said, and I backhanded her across the face. I
heard something pop and when she pulled away from me, blood was
trickling out of her nose and into her mouth. I turned away, walked
outside, remembering to zip my pants just after I zipped the tent,
leaving her to sniffle behind me. A broken nose and a broken promise,
I realized, as I walked toward the lodge.

The outside air was crisp and cool and there was pink on the horizon.
There wasn’t anyone else awake. For the first time since I’d met her,
I felt completely alone. I didn’t hate her, not even then, but I was
furious at the situation. I felt betrayed. But I wanted to forgive
her, and, perhaps, knew that I needed to forgive her, because I
couldn’t leave her here and couldn’t bring her back. “I had to be
with you,” she’d said, “And this was just the way things had to be.”
Wasn’t that how I felt about this entire situation—like I’d been
helpless to change it. Like I was meant to be here.

Even now, I believe that. From the moment I met Bethany, my fate was
completely out of my control. There was no way I could escape being
there, feet planted in the red dirt at a rundown campground. There
was no way I could escape being here, writing my damn confession in
her notebook as she grows cold on the rug in the next room. From the
Desk of Bethany Kexel, indeed.

I was going to turn around and walk back to the tent, but I decided to
get some toilet paper to wipe her nose. There was a bathroom in the
lodge. I rolled toilet paper around my hand, winding it like a
cocoon. Someone had turned on the television in the lodge and I
stopped when I heard something on the morning news.

“We start our morning with a new development in the tragic case of two
missing Watertown girls, one of whom was found dead yesterday. The
coroner’s report on the deceased girl, Nevaeh Nadine Cross, revealed
that she died due to head and neck trauma, resulting from a fall, not
from drowning as we originally reported. Police have re-opened the
investigation into the whereabouts of the remaining girl, Bethany
Kexel, and have identified a person of interest in the case. Clyde
Orwell Delaney, a teacher at the girls’ school, was seen with Bethany
and Nevaeh at Quarry Lake Park the day before their disappearance, and
footage from a school security camera reveals that Delaney and Bethany
Kexel met privately the day before the girls began their spring break.
Once again, Clyde Orwell Delaney, not a suspect at this time, but a
person of interest in the case. If you see Delaney...” The reporter
droned on, but I was already out the door.

Clyde Orwell Delaney. As good a name for a child-murderer as any.
Clyde Orwell Delaney, whose grandmother called him “Care of the Devil”
growing up. I hadn’t given the name Clyde for a reason. It was mine.

Wasting precious time, I walked, didn’t run, didn’t want to draw
attention. “Boo?” I said, opening the tent slowly. She was crumpled
in the corner, hands bloody and clutched over her face. “Boo?” I
zipped the tent behind me, crawled across to her, moved her hands and
held the toilet paper to her nose. I couldn’t tell her immediately;
had to make things right first. She tried to turn her head away, but
I held her still. “It’s all right,” I said. “I’m sorry I hit you.”

“It’s okay. I probably deserve it,” she managed through the tears.

“You didn’t deserve it, okay? It needed to be over, Ariana and me.
Because I needed to be here with you. Okay? Just forgive me? Do you
still want to be here with me?”

“Yes,” she said, brightening. “Can we go to the pool?”

“No,” I said. “We have to leave now.”

“Why? Did I make too much noise? I’m sorry.”

“Bethy, honey, please don’t be sorry.” I held her to me, feeling her
warmth, feeling how badly I’d fucked her up, emotionally, physically,
with tears and blood soaking the toilet paper I was holding over her
nose, blood and cum dripping down one of her legs. Between the rape
and the broken nose, she’d been sufficiently punished for what she’d
done.

“Why?” she asked, eyes widening, afraid now.

And I told her. Told her that Mister Clyde Orwell Delaney was a
wanted man. We packed up quickly, before anyone else was awake,
Bethany holding the makeshift bandage to her own nose, both of us
reeling from too many secrets revealed in one day.

Day 24

Thursday

The dirt alongside the highway became darker red. We pulled over to
pee in the trees and tracked blood red mud into the front seats.
Bethany alternated between staring at me and out the window. The
break hadn’t been particularly bad, but the bridge of her nose was red
and swollen; blood, real blood, was caked under one nostril. I looked
worse. My facial papercuts were infected, swollen, pulsating,
whispering a heartbeat of a prayer. Forgive me. Forgive me. Forgive
me.

My own forgiveness came easily, has always come easily. Had Bethany
left her name, phone number and a brief message on Ariana’s cellular
phone voicemail, I would have forgiven her. Had she gone to the
police herself, turned me in as a rapist, I would have been shocked,
but would not have held it against her. But I worried that her
forgiveness would not be as easily attained.

I bought her ice cream, a dangerous endeavour if ever there was one.
I stroked her hair as she lay with her head beside my leg, her bare
feet pressing against the window leaving footprints. I held ice
against her broken nose. “Forgive me.”

“I think we’re even, Kitty.” I hadn’t realized I’d asked for forgivness out loud.
She walked her feet further up the passenger window. “I don’t care
about my nose, okay? I just want to be somewhere safe.”

The problem was, safety was one thing I didn’t have to offer right
now. I’d tried one last fruitless time to call my principal, set
things right. See how serious it was to be a “person of interest.”
My phone had been on this long and they had yet to track me down, so I
figured one more phone call would reveal nothing they hadn’t already
learned. We’d crossed under an interstate and I pulled off underneath
the bridge and called. The click at the other end of the line set me
on edge—we were being recorded.

“Clyde.”

“Greg. What’s all this commotion about?” My voice was wavering. I
couldn’t pull this off; I knew that already.

“Is Bethany with you? Is she safe?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m on vacation.”

“Clyde.” My name. So long without hearing my name and now he
wielded it like a weapon or a butterfly net. “We’ve talked to Ariana.
You’re not on vacation. She says you two haven’t been together for a
while now.”

“Did she tell you why she left?”

“Yes, in fact, she did. And we then talked to Madison Kelley, who
had a few pieces of stationery from little Bethany...” Someone had
cut him off. Didn’t want him to reveal too much information.

“This is all a misunderstanding,” I said. Bethany was motioning for
me to hang up the phone, drawing lines across her neck with a shaky
finger.

“Listen, Clyde. Turn yourself in. If this is some sort of a
misunderstanding, it’s even more important for you to turn yourself
in. Can you at least tell us if Bethany is dead or alive.”

“Goodbye,” I said. Goodbye, Greg. Goodbye life.

That had been twelve hours ago. I’d turned off my phone, removed the
battery, and set it in the glove box. I had to try. What if he’d
just wanted to know if Bethany and Nevaeh had said anything at the
lake.

Bethany saw my faraway look. “I lose my temper, too, you know.” All
was silent for a moment; Bethany looked at the GPS monitor on the
dashboard. We were in the middle of nowhere, pure and simple—a
two-lane road surrounded by thick brush, pine trees, vines of kudzu.
“Turn up ahead,” she said.

“That’s a dirt road.”

“They won’t look there.”

So I turned. The road wound down a hill and into a valley. The power
lines tapered off and disappeared. We followed the road on into the
night until the GPS lost the house numbers, until the map of the
terrain went blank. There was a fork in the road and when I chose a
path, the GPS read “Billy White.” Not Billy White Road. Not Billy
White Trail. Just Billy White.

Ten miles down Billy White, there was a sign to the right,
handwritten. CABINS. “There,” she said with such certainty that it
made me wonder.

“Have you been here before?”

“I’ve never even been to this state,” she said. “But I feel safe
here. Like we’re lost enough that nobody will find us. Don’t you?”

I had been feeling exactly the same way.

The man renting out the cabins was eighty years old, arthritic, using
a shotgun as a crutch. I didn’t see a television in the office. I
paid in cash for the cabin and some meagre provisions from the
miniscule market in the office; he didn’t ask a name. Bethany had
been right. It was safe here.

Our cabin was near a river. Even in the darkness, I heard its rushing water.
In the Cherokee, Bethany smiled and clapped her hands. "Look!" I'd left the car running. The GPS screen was lit, but its image had disappeared entirely. Small print at the center of the screen read 'Signal not found.' It made me feel like smiling, too.

I carried Bethany into the cabin. It was rustic but quaintly
beautiful, with a huge, brass bed, brown leather furniture, and a
towering brick fireplace in the living room. In front of it,
decorating the hardwood floor, was a bearskin rug.
Bethany threw her backpack to the side, glistening knife blade jutting out of it. She dropped to her knees and grabbed the inanimate bear by its ears. "Roar!" she screamed. "I'm going to eat you!"

"Not before dinner, honey," I said, finally cracking a smile myself. There was firewood in a caddy beside the fireplace, so I decided to warm us up, continue the campfire we'd had that day, before we were interrupted.
She watched me build the fire, even though the
heat of the day was still upon us. With the fire blazing, I sat down
and stared at her, at the flicker of the flames reflected in her eyes.
She stared back.

“What you thinking?” I asked.

“I feel like I’ve been here before,” she said. “Like total d? vu.
A glitch in the matrix.” She giggled. “Maybe that means we’re
supposed to be here and we’ll be safe.”

I hoped she was right, but I know she was wrong. Maybe the cabin
looked familiar because it’s where this ends. Now that I’ve come full
circle, come back to the cabin, the broken nose, her fragile body on
the bearskin rug, I know for sure. This is the place where it ends.

Her fingers weaving into bear hair, her eyes and smile drawing me in,
making me weak and hard at the same time, she had no idea that we had
only three days left.

Day 25

Friday

Even here, in our off-the-grid Eden, our days continued to start
around midnight. The cabin stocked standard-sized bar soap, not those
slivers normally found in hotels, and full bottles of K-Mart’s version
of the shampoo which gives people orgasms in its commercials. Hair
fully lathered, bangs spiked up like crazy, Bethany leaned back in our
bubble bath and imitated the ad. “Ohhh!” she sang. It didn’t hurt
that my hand was between her legs.

“I guess the shampoo really works,” I said, laughing. I’d cooked us
some hot dogs, courtesy of the food market at the lodge, and a few
more marshmallows from the original camping trip. I drew the bath
with the fire still going. The entire cabin smelled inviting, like
some strange version of home.

It must have seemed like home to her, too. Through the warm water, I
felt her little hand wrap around my already-hard cock. She rubbed
expertly up and down my shaft, building up friction and speed. She
was not the same little girl who had gotten wide-eyed and shaky at the
sight of my penis, maybe thinking of singing at church or the true
meaning of the purity ring, and I wasn’t the same man who had looked
away from her, forced his thoughts back to Ariana or some
professorship he’d never have. The end of innocence had come for both
of us. We would never have the lives we’d intended to have. Maybe
we’d never have lived those lives anyway, but now we only had each
other.

Naked except for that silly ring, I pressed my fingers into Bethany,
washing her from the inside out. She leaned into me, inviting my
fingers deeper inside; she must have healed up since the last time.
Still finger-fucking her, her hand moving rapidly on my cock, I leaned
forward and kissed her. She reached up with her other hand and rubbed
soap into my hair, spiking it the way she’d spiked her bangs.

“Do you think you’ll get grey?” she asked. “When you get old, I mean.”

“I think you’re giving me grey hairs as we speak,” I said. I kissed
her again, tightening my lips against hers and exploring her mouth
with its straight rows of teeth with my tongue. Her little tongue
darted against mine, soft, pink and gentle. Had I ever taken the time
to kiss her like this before? I took the opportunity to feel her
whole body, head to the toes that were now curling behind my back as I
entered her underwater. Her hand slipped away from my dick. Now, she
had one hand on my neck, one in my hair, still playing and styling,
because, even if she was no longer innocent, she was still a little
girl.

I drove into her gently, not wanting to injure her. Her little
channel, moistened by the bathwater, stretched easily to accommodate
my width. I fit snugly, felt the smooth, soft inside of her
pulsating, squeezing me. She was warmer than the water; when my cock
withdrew, even slightly, I felt the difference in temperatures, even
though I stayed wet. Although I’d fucked her many times now,
stretched her far as she could go, I still bottomed out at the end,
hit that underdeveloped cervix. It sent trembles of pleasure down my
dick, knowing I’d filled her completely, knowing she was mine.

Kissing her face now, I continued to make love to her. Her legs
locked around my torso, heels on my butt cheeks. She was so smooth,
not a hair on her legs, not a hair on the slight pussy mound I was
grinding against. My hands rubbed from her shoulders to her ass,
parting her ass cheeks but not moving in between them. Her backbone
was a string of pearls under my doting fingers. Her ribs were
palpable beneath her skin. She was so thin I could count all her
bones. Had I not fed her enough? Or had she been this thin and
willowy since we’d met.

I remembered her fragility, her narrow and jutting hipbones. She’d
always been this way, and so had her friends. Everyone wanted to be
this thin. I worried, momentarily, that she wasn’t eating properly,
but assuaged my own fears. We were here now together. Anything that
was wrong could be mended. If she had troubles, they would drift
away.

The bathtub water made waves, splashing up around her face. Her mouth
made a tiny O-shape as she gasped for breath. She’d stopped playing
with my hair now; both her hands were locked around my neck, gripping
tightly. Her hips moved against mine, accepting me, making me hers as
much as she was mine. I pushed in all the way, made her cum beneath
me, made the bathtub waves come in quick ripples with the motion of
her body. Holding myself up, I finished off, keeping up a gentle
rhythm against her, riding out the waves of her body and the ripples
inside of her pussy, which squeezed the cum out of me, the life out of
my movements.

When we were done, I slid out of her, cloud of cum spreading in the
water. My body sank, face-down beneath its calming surface. I took
her with me, pulled her down for fun, chest pressed against her buds
of breasts, promise ring digging in between us. She struggled,
surfaced, looked me in the eye. Oh, those sexy glances of hers. Even
her glares were beautiful. Her smiles were better, and she broke into
one of them. “Now we’ve made love twice,” she said. And so we had.

My uncle had been a hunter, inhabiting places like this during deer
season, duck season, bear season—does such a thing still exist, or are
bears endangered now? If I knew anything about hunters, I knew they
went to bed early, no later than eight or nine, and rose at the crack
of dawn. That’s how I knew we were safe to walk around in the middle
of the night. Bethany wore her white dress and nothing underneath it.
I watched the cling of the fabric against a body she’d forgotten to
dry.

It stayed warm and damp in this place throughout the night. We walked
together along a riverbank, in the moonlit shadow of reeds and willow
trees. She poked holes in a hollow reed and played a little song as
we waded into a calm part of the river and got our feet dirt-red. She
chased bullfrogs. Toes wiggling in the mud, I watched her behave like
a child and told myself that I’d stolen nothing from her. Here she
was, happy and playing.

“Kitty,” she said, later, setting the flute aside. It took both her
hands to hold one of mine. She drew a heart in my palm. “Did you
ever play a musical instrument?”

“I played the guitar at home. The drums in school.” At least she
hadn’t asked if I’d been on the football team.

“When all this blows over, we should start a band.”

“Really,” I said, leaning my head against her shoulder. The scent of
her body was still so sweet, faintly vanilla flavoured. But we
smelled alike now; the cheap bar soap, the generic shampoo, all of it
made us smell fresh, clean, and plain. Her jutting shoulderblade dug
into my ear. “And what will we play? Covers of Bright Eyes and My
Chemical Romance, I suppose.”

“Nahhh,” she said, tracing over the heart in my hand. “Let’s bring
back the classics. Like, all the classic rock, with a girl singer,
and you and your crazy guitar.”

“I was hardly crazy,” I said; her long, wet blond hair caught in my
mouth. It tasted earthy, delicious. I closed my lips around it.

“You’re crazy now,” she said.

She was right. I had gone crazy, sitting here talking about starting
a band with the girl I’d kidnapped. “Bethany Kexel and the dirty old
man?” I said.

“Nah. You’re kind of hot, you know. Not old. Not dirty. That’s why
I don’t like your name. Makes you sound like both.” Care of the
devil. Cash-on-delivery. Or just Codfish in grade school. It did
make me sound dirty, and didn’t I know it. “You should change your
name officially.” She raised the reed flute above my head. “With the
power invested in me, I dub thee Kitty.”

“Thanks,” I said. “I guess.” Her hair was still caught in my mouth.
She pushed me down; I allowed it, let her trace little hearts up and
down my arms with tiny fingertips still damp from the river or her
bath. I lay, passive, as she unzipped my pants, closed her lips
around my cock, gazed at me with wide and dreamy blue eyes as her head
bobbed up and down. First, she took just a little of me in, licking
round the head of me like candy. Then, she got the length of me into
her mouth, sucked me deep inside of her, pausing only occasionally to
gasp for breath.

I watched her in the moonlight, reached out and touched her damp skin
through the thin fabric of the white dress. Her little mouth kept
working; the perfect curves of her lips glistened with my pre-cum and
her saliva, which also coated the length of my cock. Moonlight is
just a reflection of sunlight, and most of the light we saw that night
was reflected off of the rippling river, a reflection of a reflection,
distorted like the world around us. It was a world where we could
talk about bringing classic rock to the preteens of the world.

A world where Bethany could suck me to orgasm outside in the open, on
a grassy riverbank, shielded only by the sparse, hanging branches of
willow trees. Her tongue worked my cock, gaining speed. I moaned and
she kept going, relentless the way I was when I lost control while
fucking her. She showed no mercy, no desire to draw things out. With
the willows weeping around me, I spurted into her waiting mouth, and
she swallowed every drop of me.

We weren’t free from outside influence, even here. With the first
hints of dawn rising, we tiptoed back to the cabin and washed the red
off our feet. Bethany sat on the bearskin rug, split-legged. “Look,
I’m a cowgirl!” She grabbed the creature by its ears, rocked back and
forth, and eventually lay down for a nap. I kissed the back of her
head, inhaling the sweet scent of her scalp, then settled down on the
couch to flip through infomercial after infomercial until a familiar
face appeared on the screen in front of me.

“I didn’t know it was him,” Madison said, her snub-nosed face red and
wet with tears. “I would have said something earlier if I had. I
just knew Bethany had a boyfriend who had a girlfriend and she was
going to break them up with a note. I had no idea Mr. Delaney was
going to kill Nevaeh. He seemed, like, really nice.” Nancy Grace, a
bad actress if ever there was one, hugged Nevaeh and murmured some
platitudes on the air, for the benefit of the ratings, it seemed,
rather than the benefit of this little girl.

“Once again,” Nancy Grace said, “Little Maddie Kelley is here, talking
about the death of one friend and the kidnapping of another. We found
out earlier today that our so-called ‘person of interest,’ Clyde
Orwell Delaney, is actually a filthy child molester. Police
apparently wanted to talk to him on the phone before letting the media
know.” Blah, blah, blah, on and on, violence against girls and women,
children growing up too fast, Madison and her mother nodding heads in
the background.

“It’s funny,” Bethany said. I hadn’t realized she was awake.
“Everyone expects us to be sooo mature. I make straight A’s in
school, have dinner with people from my parents’ work, I go to youth
group, I sing in front of a hundred people. Everyone treats us like
adults until we fall in love, and then we’re expected to be kids
again. It sucks so much.” It was the most I’d ever heard her say
about the life she was supposed to have.

“Yes, it does,” I agreed, drawing her into my lap. Maybe I had more
to say, but Nancy Grace interrupted me. “Our next guest tonight says
she saw child-killer Clyde Orwell Delaney on the run with little
Bethany Kexel.” When the camera turned, the red-headed teenager with
the scar on her face was on the screen.

“What can you tell us about Delaney?” Nancy Grace asked.

“When I first saw him, he looked nervous, but fine. But we have a
security camera in the lodge, and the next morning, he had scratches
right across his face and what looks like a broken arm.” Cut to a
grainy image of me, toilet paper wrapped around my hand.

“So, wherever little Bethany is, she’s putting up a good fight. Keep
it up, sweetheart. We’re trying our best to rescue...”

I flipped the TV off. “You shouldn’t be watching this.”

“Nobody should,” Bethany replied. “Stupid, fat bitch.” Such
language. “I wish everyone would just listen to what I want my life
to be. You know, you’re the first person who has ever let me...” she
struggled for a word. “Speak,” she said. “And Maddie knew that
because I told her. Too bad for her, because I’m not going back,” she
said. “I’m staying here with you forever.”

She got to stay the night, at least, and one more night after that.
We lay in the big, brass bed as the sun came up, drawing lines along
the wood floor through the blackout curtains. I held Bethany to me,
feeling her hot little body pump against mine, drawing breath evenly.
I let her speak. I guess that was a pretty big compliment. Nothing
like Lolita, whose older lover stifled her until she cheated and
eventually ran away. Not Clyde the kidnapper, but Clyde the savior.
I liked it.

Day 26

Saturday

But all things end, even things good and perfect and pure. Our story
was drawing to a close, whether she knew it or not. I knew it,
somewhere inside of me, knew that we could not fend off the watchful
eyes of the world forever. Perhaps, years ago, before Amber Alerts
and Nancy Grace, we could have slipped into the shadowy recesses of
some trailer park or anonymous apartment complex and hidden. All of
the technology meant to improve our lives, however, would make it even
more difficult now, especially without plans, a home, or any allies.

There was some part of me that knew all this. But I wasn’t in my
right mind. I had gone crazy, believed that we could lay low a few
days in our cabin by the side of a river, and when the media attention
died down, we could find a place where people didn’t ask questions,
and enjoy each other forever.

“What do you think I’ll be like when I grow up?” Bethany asked me. I
was waist-deep in rushing river water. She dogpaddled beside me in
the bathing suit she’d been wearing when I took her.

What a question. I had seen her in my mind many times. She was still
slender, hips and breasts fuller, flyaway hair sun-streaked and tucked
behind her ears. She was always smiling that little-girl smile, and
her eyes never aged or changed, just her body. She grew into her
features, looked regal and dignified. Above all, she still loved me.
That’s what I told her. “I think you’ll be like you are now. Just
taller. Fuller breasts, not that there’s anything wrong with them
now.” I reached my hand underneath her to tickle them through her
bathing suit. “And you’ll still love me. Of course.”

She flipped over, paddling against the current on her back now. The
water parted her hair over her shoulders, half going in front, half
behind her. “Do you want to know what you’ll be like?”

“Sure.”

“I think you’re going to get old and gray and fat, but I’m not going
to mind. You’ll get hairs on your chest and out of your ears, and you
won’t be able to hear anymore. And you’ll have glasses.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence, Bethy,” I said. “I’m hoping none
of that happens for a very, very long time.”

She gripped me, climbed up my body and sat on my shoulders, dripping
wet hands caressing my face, well-fucked crotch against the back of my
head. “It doesn’t matter,” she said. “What I mean is that I’ll still
love you when it happens.” I felt the weight of her on my shoulders;
she was light, but the weight of our mutual future was more
substantial. I had no idea what we were going to do next. I didn’t
even know how much time we’d have left, if we’d get to see each other
grow up or old at all. It was warm and dark outside; there was a hint
of rain in the air, which was as heavy as the thoughts in my mind. It
was difficult to breathe.

I ducked underwater, tossing Bethany off my shoulders. In the rushing
current, I grabbed her by her legs, pulled off her swimming suit,
tucking it into the pocket of mine, parted her by gripping her knees,
and kissed her from her upper lips to her lower. She struggled to
stay above the water, but that was the way she liked it, after all.
She loved being overpowered; I knew this by now. I never let her stay
under long enough to harm her, let her gasp, red-faced, for breath
every now and then. My tongue snaked between her legs, up and down
the crack of her hairless little pussy, easily in and out of her
well-used little hole. She was still tight after everything, amazing
as that was; I guess the elasticity of youth isn’t a myth after all.
When my tongue entered her, she still squeezed me almost as tightly as
she had as a virgin. I worked my fingers on her clit, pausing to let
both of us breathe, then went back to work on my tongue.

Despite having fucked her up the ass, that hole was tight, as well.
She squirmed uncomfortably when I pressed my tongue against it and
entered her just slightly, the way I had the first time I tried it.
No more complaints about it being dirty, but she wiggled so much that
I whipped my tongue forward, back into her little honey pot, sweet and
little-girl musky, which I could taste through the rushing river
water.

Her clit was hard against my fingers. I drank her in with my entire
mouth, forming a seal against her lips and probing her with my tongue.
The taste of her was amazing, the movements of her body entrancing.
I didn’t need to breathe anymore, just to taste her, to taste Bethany,
wiggling against my mouth, to know nobody else had tasted her but me.

Nobody ever would.

I carried on touching her, watching the water rush over her body. A
rain shower was beginning and the first errant drops hit the surface
of the river, distorting the image of the naked girl even more. It
was amazing what you could see in the moonlight if you stayed outside
long enough. Reflections of reflections. An unnatural image of a
little girl underneath the water, a rippling smile on her face.

She’d been under for too long, but I couldn’t stop. Only my eyes were
above the surface now; everything else was beneath. I devoured her,
sucking her lips roughly, bursting blood vessels beneath the surface
of her most tender skin, feeling her flesh distort inside my mouth.
My tongue was inside her and her lips were inside me. Bethany, safe
in my mouth, just as I’d wanted her to be.

I felt her orgasm come, more ripples beneath the surface. The rain
washed over my head. Her back arched, her stomach breaching the
surface of the water. Rain beaded on the exposed curve of flesh for a
moment, before she dropped back under. I lapped up her juices, not
releasing her, not wanting to. Her secretions were thick in my mouth
as I swallowed slowly, memorizing the taste of her. Had I known I was
tasting her for the last time, I might have lingered longer.

But I came up for air, gasped for breath, still holding her hips and
her body underneath the water. The rain was hot against my face.
There was nothing cool here, not in our warm little Eden. I suppose
it’s Hell that’s hot, not paradise, so maybe we were already there and
didn’t know it. Finally, I pulled her up, but she wasn’t struggling,
squirming, or cumming anymore. Bethany Kexel, limp in my arms,
slumped forward over my shoulder. Lifelessly, helplessly, already
gone.

I shook her. Angry. “Wake up, damn it, wake up.” Her eyes were shut
when I looked into her face. Her lips were pursed, rain water beading
against pink membranes. “Bethany, god, please, wake up.”

Then, she spat river water in my face. “Fooled ya,” she said.

“Not funny.” I pushed her back. “You don’t know what I’d do if I lost you.”

She swam up to me, paddling in front of me, devilish smile on her
face. I couldn’t stay mad. I loved her too much.

“What would you do?” she asked.

I hugged her against my chest, naked, helpless little girl in my arms,
hot and breathing in the rain. “I don’t know what I’d do,” I said. I
didn’t know what I’d do, either. Not until it happened. “Let’s just
get back to the cabin, okay?”

We had hot chocolate by the fireside. I even tweaked the dead bear’s
ears as I sat beside her. We were both naked and the firelight danced
against our bear skin. Bare skin. I think writing this has driven me
crazy all over again; it’s one thing old Humbert and I have in common;
possession, madness, obsession. Obsession is the best way to describe
it, I suppose. Vampire obsession, like Ann Rice’s vampires, or even
one of those Twilight books all of the kids are reading. “I never
thought the taste of you would be the only thing to make me bleed.”
Wasn’t that one of Bethany’s crazy pop songs? I’m driven mad,
remembering our last night together, the taste of her juices. Even
the taste of her lips against mine when I kissed her in the firelight.

“I know what I’d do if you died,” Bethany said. “I’d want to die,
too, to be with you. If there’s a heaven.”

“Some cultures believe that the same souls are reincarnated together,
over and over,” I told her. “People who were meant to be lovers, but
didn’t get to, or maybe whose love was secret or forbidden, they end
up together in the next life, and in that next life, they get a second
chance.”

“I guess that would be nice,” she said. “I’d rather just have you
there with me. I don’t want to change a thing.” She grinned, the
milk-white skin of her face stretching out around her mouth. “Okay,
I’d change one thing.”

“What?”

“You wouldn’t have those scratches on your face.”

We showered and drew pictures in the mirror. She drew a house in the
country, two stick figures, one carrying the other on his shoulders.
A river, a field of sheep, a dog on a leash. She drew smoke coming
from the house’s chimney. Tall grass and willow trees. A heart with
her initials and mine. B.K. loves C.D. The closest she’d ever come
to using my real name.

I drew the bear who’d been made into our rug, alive again, maybe
reincarnated, maybe in the afterlife. Bethany sat astride his back,
stroking his ears and smiling.

She pulled her pajamas out of her backpack, leaving it to hold her
exposed knife and the rest of her clothes. She cooked me marshmallow
pancakes, courtesy of the mix I’d picked up at the store and what was
left of her campout stash. She served me at the kitchen table,
playing housewife. The role was too big for her; she looked silly,
playacting. I loved it. I kissed her sugary mouth and ate every bite
of what I was served. The rain pounded on the roof of the cabin as we
ate.

We turned on the TV; the talking heads were discussing the President’s
rigorous schedule of taxpayer-funded vacations. A welcome break from
hearing someone tell our story who had never met us, would never met
us, would never so much as want to understand.

We fought an epic pillow-fight on the big, brass bed. She made a
fortress of pillows around the headboard. Shielded, she was able to
bash me until the sun began to draw lines across us. We both yawned,
in sequence with each other. After she fell asleep, I lay awake
beside her, listening to the pounding rain and watching her steady
breaths, her slight, beautiful smile, which she kept, even while
dreaming. The air was heavy, even in the air-conditioned confines of
the cabin. It carried the weight of possibility and responsibility.

I pressed my forehead to hers, kissed her goodnight and inhaled as she
exhaled, her breath in my lungs.

Stealing breath from a stolen girl.

That, I suppose, is my memoir, my confession, my life in six words.

Day 27

Sunday

Sunday, the Lord’s Day, and the air was a bit lighter. Not as light
as Bethany felt as we woke, climbing astride me. I smelled her before
I felt her, that hint of vanilla, that fresh, clean scent of soap.
For the last few hours, I’d drifted in and out of sleep, woken to the
shadow of her, sketching in her notebook. Hearts and flowers, our
initials, Boo and Kitty 4eva! I said the day at the lake was my last
day of happiness. Having written it all down amid her little
drawings, pressing the notebook against my face for her soft scent,
perhaps that isn’t true. The days we spent in the cabin on Billy
White were as close to perfect as any I’d ever had.

I suppose the only thing that tempered it was knowing we were in
danger. It was like the Blake poem; I’d read it earlier. I couldn’t
unread it, though I wanted desperately to forget it.

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

The seeds of our destruction had been planted the moment she looked
at me; it was a question of when they would sprout. Not now, surely,
with Bethany’s thin leg slipping over me, her parted legs moving down
my body, her pussy leaving a trail of wetness down my chest. My cock
pushed her open; she was wet for me, ready. She teased me first, only
letting my head in. Her legs locked against my torso, her skin
against mine. I opened my eyes and found myself staring into hers,
icy blue, full of love and longing. The look on her face was one of
concentration. Her hips flexed, allowing my dick to fill her.

She lowered her head to kiss my chest; I felt her inhaling softly
against me, and wondered if she was memorizing my scent the way I had
hers. Her hips kept working against mine. Making love to her was so
different than being with an older woman. There was so little weight
to heft around. She was so light that she was barely there, little
ghost of a girl in my bed. I kissed her lips softly, deeply, my
cockhead bumping up against her cervix as I thrust up from underneath
her. Bethany leaned back, sitting upright, hands above her head as
she rode me roughly, bouncing up and down on my cock with a smile on
her face. I could barely feel her weight, but the pressure of her
inner walls around me was amazing. I trembled with pleasure. Felt
her tremble, too.

The thoughts of being apprehended were gone. For these moments,
Bethany and I were the only two people in the world. With my rough
hands, I touched her, from her fingertips to her hips. “You’re
perfect,” I said, just as her orgasm broke through. My hands
clutching her waist, my dick thrusting into her as she bounced on me,
she threw her head back. Her pale, wispy hair fell behind her bony
shoulders. Her bangs fell over her face, choppy and beautiful. Her
eyes, when they opened, focused on mine. “My turn now,” I said,
taking her by her shoulders and throwing her back on the bed. I
entered her roughly, wasting no time before penetrating her. I
twitched inside of her. My weight was on her now, small body, ghost
girl beneath me.

I fucked her relentlessly, the way I had after we’d first made love.
I didn’t want to be this guy, didn’t want to get off on fucking her
hard and fast, watching a look of confusion on her face as she tried
to separate pleasure from pain. But she always recovered, always
loved me regardless, because she was mine, I was hers, and it would
always be this way.

I called her name, the name that echoed in my dreams, the ghost of a
name that will follow me to my grave.

I moaned, came, filled her with my cum for the last time. I savoured
this orgasm, perhaps more than others. Her snug, little pussy was
full of me now, the meat of my cock, the hot warmth of my jism. As I
softened, I felt it dripping out, cooling against my exposed flesh. I
felt her, too, pulsating around me. Felt her body, so animated and
alive, breathing beneath mine.

She pulled on her pair of white panties; a stain of cum and blood
spread in the crotch. How rough had I been on her? If she was in
pain, she didn’t show it as she slipped her white dress over her head.

With the embers that remained in the fireplace, I began a new fire.
Beside the dancing flames, we drank hot chocolate and she sang her
song about falling down. I’d pulled on my jeans, but remained
shirtless, barefoot. We faced each other; she set her feet atop mine.
They were small, a child’s feet next to a man’s. I reached out to
tousle her hair.

“Truth or dare?” Bethany asked. She took a long sip of cocoa.

“Truth,” I said, recalling the terrible things I’d been dared to do in school.

“Why do you like me?” she asked. She leaned forward, setting her
steaming cocoa just off the rug, beside her backpack. Her head rested
on one of my knees, blond hair hanging down against my jeans.

“Hmm,” I said. “You’re absolutely beautiful.” I touched the side of
her face, warm against my hand. “You make me feel young. You make me
smile. You’re my soul. My sin. My dark, secret love.”

“No fair quoting your books,” she said with a grin. She could see
right through me, into my pretentious little soul. If I have a soul.
“Your turn now,” she said. “Ask me.”

“Okay, truth or dare.”

“Truth.”

“What do you see when you look at me?”

“Just you,” she said, looking up at me warmly. “Just the you I
love.” Reassuring; the rest of the world, I knew, saw a monster.
“Now,” she urged, “choose dare.”

I did.

“Run naked to the river,” she said.

“After you,” I replied, and she threw her dress over her backpack,
kicked her bloodstained panties to the side. In the darkness of the
night that, to us, was morning, we ran naked through the heavy air,
bare feet sloshing through the dewy grass. She ran ahead of me, a
silhouette of moonlit skin against the dark horizon. These are the
images I see in my head when I think of it. The outline of her,
pumping legs, little curves of hips, her eyes glinting as she turned
and held out her hand. “Hurry up, Kitty!”

The shock of the rushing water against my naked skin. Our bodies
splashing together in the icy water of the river. Her shrill
laughter, flailing hands pushing against me. Bodies paddling against
the current. I ducked my head under and listened to the rush of the
water against my eardrums. Our hands were clasped together. I
remember how small she was. I remember that she kept her head above
water, her hair reasonably dry.

In the distance, a dog barked. A car engine turned over, turned
over, and roared to life. “Let’s get back,” I said, the realist in me
waking up.

“Race you,” she said, and I let her win again. The air was still.
The only breeze came from following her, watching her hair flying
behind her, white like a flag of surrender. The cabin door closed
behind us, campfire smell of home surrounding us, I picked her up,
felt her struggling playfully against me. “Help, help!” she teased.
“I’m being kidnapped.”

I laughed as she swiped her hands at me, clawing at my face. Even
when she raked her hand across it, re-opening one of my scratches, I
laughed. “I’m going to get you for that,” I said, using my other hand
to tickle her. She was damp from the river; her skin felt sticky
under my fingertips. We were both laughing as I carried her into the
living room. “I know what I’ll do,” I said, now tickling the tender
skin of her inner thighs. I brought her down, hard, maybe too hard,
onto the bearskin rug, back resting against her own backpack, and fell
upon her with all my weight, my cock already growing between her legs.

She emitted a bloodcurdling scream. Stupidly thinking it was part of
the game, I clasped my hand over her mouth, forced her legs apart, and
drove into her in a clean thrust. She was juicy, still filled to the
brim with cum, despite our brief swim. Ignoring her mewling cries
from under my hand, the sharpened fingernails that clawed my face
again and again, drawing more blood. Suddenly, I wanted to taste her
lips; I took my hand away, pressed my lips down, kissed her so deeply
I could have sucked the light out of her. If she hadn’t bitten my
lip, drawing blood, I wouldn’t have jerked back, would never have
noticed the knife that had been sticking out of her backpack.

The knife that had gone straight through her.

Punctured a lung. Sliced into her heart. It didn’t matter.
Whatever it was, it was fatal and immeasurably, inconceivably fast.

Her breaths were pained and ragged. Her eyes were huge and watery,
the pupils nearly eclipsing the ice blue irises. She hadn’t managed
to speak, nor had I. I hadn’t managed to breathe since I saw her
blood on the blade that jutted from her chest. “Bethany,” I finally
managed. Her eyelids fluttered, but her eyes finally met mine. “I’m
going to pull the knife out, Bethy.” I lifted her; she was heavy now,
like the air, the weight of injury, of impending death. Her white
dress, had been pierced as well, and was now crimson-black, saturated
with her blood.

The knife came out in a single, quick movement, but it was followed
by a waterfall of blood that the dress was too soaked to stem.
Emptiness and darkness filled me. Shadows fell over my field of
vision. It was just too much blood. I lay Bethany back on the rug,
dress wrapped around her waist. Her eyes were clenched shut. “It’ll
be all right, honey, just hold on for me.”

“Kitty.” Her mouth formed the word. But her throat was full of
blood that gurgled out her mouth, staining her lips, her pretty, white
teeth, choking the last thing she ever said to me. Her eyes met mine
again, a knowing look. She knew that she was dying.

I drew her to me, maybe to comfort her, maybe to comfort myself,
holding the dress to the wound, unwilling to leave her as the end
came. Her last breath rattled away. I lay her on the rug again and,
barely breathing on my own, held her hand and breathed for her for the
fifteen minutes it took for me to lose her pulse.

The blood in my mouth—maybe hers, maybe mine, tasted bitter. She was
there, in front of me, warm, bleeding, perfectly formed, but she would
never move again. Would never feel pleasure. Would never feel pain.
Look at this tangle of thorns.

“Oh, Bethany.”

I pulled the dress off of her and threw it into the fireplace, the
first thing to go. They say wounds stop bleeding when a person dies.
They lie. Bethany lay there, bleeding out from a wound the length of
my thumb, as I picked up my phone and turned it on to call for help.
I knew there was no hope for her. Moments ago, she had been there. I
had been inside her. And now she had gone. I gave the operator my
location anyway. I was ready to surrender, ready to follow her into
death.

While I was waiting, I held her body against mine, looking at her
face now and again. It was the third time I’d seen death on the face
of a child; the ashen look reminded me of the boy who had drowned in
the lake, reminded me of Nevaeh.

I pushed the thoughts out of my head. I thought of Bethany singing in
church, thought of her leading me into the church basement. I
remembered things she’d said. The words she wanted to hear from God.
“Stop worrying, Bethany. Kitty is waiting in the next room. Would
you like to see him now?” But I was still alive, after leading her to
her death.

Another quarter of an hour passed. I lay her down, naked on the rug.
Pulled a singlet and jeans over my blood-streaked body. Maybe they
weren’t coming. Maybe they thought it was a prank call, pushed it to
the bottom of the list. Imagine—Clyde Orwell Delaney and Bethany
Kexel here in our town. They’d probably laughed about it.

I walked into the bedroom. Her notebook was sitting on the edge of
the bed, opened to a little sketch of a girl on a man’s shoulders, the
same as she’d done in the bathroom mirror. I couldn’t decide what was
worse, my physical pain or the mental. The blood now dripping from my
mouth was my own. The blood on my hands was Bethany’s. The blood on
my ripped singlet was, I assumed, a mixture of us both, like the fluid
that was dripping down her perfect legs at that very moment. I walked
back into the living room and threw the shirt into the open fireplace,
along with her backpack, and panties soaked with her blood. I’d been
too rough with her, but that hardly mattered now.

Bethany lay still on the bearskin rug, her lips unnaturally red, her
face pale, and those gorgeous blue eyes closed. Her head and limbs
hung unnaturally and I could no longer see the rise and fall of her
chest. She was completely naked, from her pert, pre-pubescent breasts
to her pubic mound, covered with sparse hair I hadn’t noticed before.
Her legs were opened slightly and I remembered the frantic fucking
that had occurred earlier in the day, Bethany on top of me, riding me
rough, my cock slipping into her used, juicy, but still tight pussy,
my hands touching that chest that was now so motionless.

I touched the deep scratches on my face—something else I would
have to cover up or explain away. How did I get here? What have I
done? Was there anything else I could have done, or was I a victim of
my own actions and hers? I fell to the floor, lifting her, bringing
her limp, naked body to mine, inhaling that childish vanilla scent one
final time. “Who am I?” I said it out loud. Just 27 days ago, I was
nobody. An upstanding member of the community. A normal guy. How
the hell did this happen?

Perhaps that was not the question, after all. Perhaps the question
is, Bethany, my love, how did I lose you? How, after all I was
willing to give up—my job, the woman I thought I would marry, my
life—could I lose you. To never see you grow up, gracefully,
gracelessly, it wouldn’t have mattered. I can picture you at twenty.
I can picture you at thirty-five with your first grey hair. I can
picture you old. What I can’t picture is us apart. How, when I could
have changed it so many times, did it come to this?

Have I answered this question in my narrative? I’ve nearly filled
the notebook now; just a few pages left until it ends. Whatever I’ve
left unanswered will, I suppose, remain so, but maybe none of this is
a surprise to you. No matter how many times you read the Nabokov
book, Lolita always dies in the end. So does Humbert.

I can hear them coming now. The sirens are blaring through the night
air, cutting the humidity like little knives. I toyed with the
thought of escape, but I know I can’t leave her, know I will close the
book, this dark and remorseless anthem to forbidden love, and lay
beside her silent body until the end.

Waupun Correctional Institution, 3 months later

I’ve lost track of the days since she died.

I just got my journal back after a month in solitary. Where I belong.
I don’t deserve human contact. Or maybe it’s what I do deserve.
Maybe it’s why they’re releasing me into general population tomorrow.
They know what happens in prison to men who rape and murder little
girls.

The trial came swiftly, quick justice, courtesy of two sets of rich
parents and all of the media exposure. I agreed to change my plea to
guilty—two counts of second degree intentional homicide, two
consecutive 60 year sentences in prison, one class C felony for sexual
assault of a minor child—and they agreed to let me have Bethany’s
notebook in prison. Today, the day they throw me to the wolves, they
finally delivered it.

I feel better with it here in my hands. All of her little drawings,
her blocky handwriting, our initials linked together with little
hearts. It gives me strength.

Aside from the loss itself, the worst thing about killing someone you
love is having to listen to your mistakes, again and again, during the
trial. After a week of hearing about her torn and bruised vagina, the
knife through her lung, the emotional trauma to parents who got “bite
my butt” instead of “goodbye,” I was ready to give up. Even the
evidence of Nevaeh being anally raped was enough to push me over the
edge. I didn’t mind taking responsibility for her death; to argue
would be to blame Bethany. Raping her was another matter. I guess it
doesn’t matter in the end.

I had a guest today, another ray of light in a life that has gone
dark. I couldn’t imagine who it would be. Even my own parents
wouldn’t visit me here. But I was led into the visitation room
anyway, and saw the thin form of a thirteen year old girl sitting at a
table covered in cigarette burns. Her mother was beside her. I
didn’t recognize her at first; she’d dyed her hair black, and her
narrow little face was a mess of white foundation and black
eye-shadow. When she lifted her eyes to mine, I cracked a smile.

“Hello, Madison.”

“Mr. Delaney.”

“Why are you here?”

Her smile was devilish, mean. “Because you killed my two friends,
and I wanted to tell you I don’t forgive you. Even if I don’t believe
the official version.” Madison’s mother patted her arm.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I said it gently.

“It means you turned me into a freak, the freak who wasn’t even good
enough for the pedo asshole who killed her two best friends. But
you’ll get yours in here. I know what happens today. They release
you into gen-pop.”

“You can track inmates on the internet,” her mother explained. She
didn’t need to. “Madison just needs a little bit of closure here, I
think.”

I nodded.

“You know what they’re going to do to you, right?” Her eyebrows were
raised, revealing the weight of the eyeshadow she’d caked around her
eyes. “Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But your day will
come. Soon.”

I nodded again. “Did you come here to tell me something I already know?”

“You don’t get it, do you?” She was crying now, the tears blurring
the black make-up around her eyes. She looked bruised. “You have no
idea what it feels like to be the only one left.”

I did. Every day of my worthless life, I did. “I do,” I muttered.

“Shut up. You have no idea what it’s like to be me. I’ll piss on
your grave,” she said.

“Madison,” her mother cautioned, but gave me a knowing glare.

I stood, ready to leave.

“Wait.”

“Yes?”

“The tabloids said there was a journal. You tried to introduce it as
evidence before you decided to admit to everything.” It was true.
They’d kept out my journal because it was written after the fact, like
a memoir.

“Yes,” I said. “It was inadmissible.”

“In your journal,” she asked, “Do you really claim that Bethany
killed Nevaeh? Pushed her off the cliff?”

“Yes. But I don’t see how that is going to help you find any sort of
closure. I was a desperate man. I wrote what I thought would...”

She cut me off. “I know you didn’t fuck Nevaeh. You can’t rape the
willing, and she was very, very willing. And Bethany, well, Bethany
loved you. I didn’t know it was you, but whoever she was with, he
made her happy. She was kind of sad when she was at Christian school,
and even after she switched. And then she met you. So.”

“So.” I sighed.

“So, when someone cuts your guts open with a filed-down toothbrush,
can I have it?”

I left, then. Told her to be well. Told her I would let her have
the journal if I did, indeed, get my guts cut open in here. I don’t
know what she’d do with it—show it to the world, keep it for herself,
burn it—but maybe I owe her that much for her visit.

It’s nearly time to go outside. I’ve been laying on my single bed
for hours. Still no roommate, though I’m sure that will be next.
Being alone gives me time to think about Bethany, from those first
timid moments to the last, the blond bangs matted against her face as
they wrenched her from my arms. I’ve had a long time to think now.
Some days, I think I see her out of the corner of my eye, sprawled
under my sheets or washing her face in the sink. The visions get
stronger every day, like I’m moving closer. Sometimes I reach out,
thinking that she’s close enough that I can touch her.

I guess it’s time for me to go out and see how they treat convicted
rapists and child murderers around here. I’ll write more when I get
in from the yard.

Clyde Orwell Delaney was cornered and stabbed to death at Waupun
Correctional Institution on his first day in general population. The
makeshift knife that killed him punctured his right lung and he died
before medical assistance could arrive. In an unexpected move, he
bequeathed his remaining possessions to Madison Kelley, a friend of
his thirteen year old victims. Delaney was serving two consecutive 60
year sentences for their deaths
37 comments

Anonymous readerReport

2014-10-21 23:10:46
Loved it, except thats its still rape, and murder, and he deserved to be killed.





like really? are you all that sick?

Anonymous readerReport

2014-07-18 21:27:51
8FpcCr Really appreciate you sharing this article.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.

anonymous readerReport

2013-11-26 17:04:09
ا




غرينه كبور الهنديه

slayer69Report

2013-01-08 23:47:58
Best I've ever read!!!!

Anonymous readerReport

2012-09-24 05:48:57
this was an awesome story...well written and poignant.......the best subtle blend of Blake and Lolita........

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