Janie lowered herself onto the thin, lumpy pieces of fabric that served as a mattress and wondered how the hell anyone ever slept on these things. Her back was straight, and her hands were folded tightly in her lap. Fear nibbled at the back of her brain. She shouldn’t have sneaked out of the house. If her parents found out, she’d be grounded until she died. But it was worth it to see him.
Gage sat down next to her, smiling. “I missed you.”
Her heart ached. “I missed you too.” It had been almost a week since his dad had grounded him for being five minutes late for curfew. It was so unfair. She leaned into him, kissing him. The pressure of his lips on hers made her heart race. She never wanted it to end, but she couldn’t ignore the way her hands were shaking.
“You okay?” Gage asked. He threaded his fingers through her hair, then ran his thumbs lightly along her cheeks.
Janie nodded. She couldn’t tell him she was nervous. She knew what he wanted. Why she was there. But she wasn’t sure she was ready.
Gage’s mouth found hers again, and suddenly he was pushing her down onto the mattress. Caught up in the moment, Janie let his hands explore her skin, touching places that had never felt a stranger’s touch. His mouth broke away as he moved lower, trailing kisses down her neck and along her collarbone.
He pulled her shirt down, moving lower until his tongue was touching her nipple. She sat up, nearly knocking him backward.
“Jesus Janie. What the hell?”
“I’m sorry. I just . . .” What was she supposed to say? She’d told him dozens of times that she wasn’t ready. She loved him. She wanted him. But she wanted to wait. She was too young.
“Did I do something wrong?”
A nervous feeling rumbled in her stomach. “No. Of course not. I’m just scared.”
He leaned in close so that his lips were right beside her ear. “You don’t have to be scared. I would never hurt you.”
But she was. She was scared that if he kept pushing, she’d give in.
She pushed herself off the mattress and paced the floor of the small cabin that stood at the edge of the property Gage’s family owned. The floorboards squeaked under her feet, and moonlight shone through the dirty windows. It was the only light they had, making everything blend into hues of blue. And purple. And black.
She bent down and looked out the window. There were no lights on in any of the houses.
“I should go home.”
“C’mon Janie. Don’t be like that.”
She turned to look at him. There was just enough light to make out the way his lips turned down. The creases in his forehead. She’d upset him.
He stood up and wrapped his arms around her, kissing her in that one spot on her neck that always drove her crazy.
“If you don’t want to, we won’t. Okay? I’m sorry. I just got caught up.”
She nodded, chewing on her lip. He’d gotten caught up a lot recently. It was her fault though. “It’s okay.”
He tugged her hand so she was sitting beside him on the mattress again. His kisses deepened, increasing in speed and intensity. “Let’s take our pants off.”
“I don’t think . . .”
“I won’t let anything happen. I just want to feel your skin against mine.”
A lump formed in her throat making it impossible to say anything, but she nodded. It didn’t matter. He was already tugging at the button of her jeans, sliding them down her legs. Then he was straddling her again, kissing her.
A shock ran through her as his thickening bulge pushed against her, only separated by a few thin layers of cotton. Despite her nerves, a part of her was almost proud that her body, with her thick thighs, her unnaturally pale skin, and her face covered in acne, was able to make him respond like that.
“I want you Janie. I want to be your first.” His voice was a low, guttural growl
Her lip trembled. “I want that too, but I don’t think . . .”
“It’ll be okay. I promise.” Janie didn’t respond. “Please baby. I want you so bad.” He hesitated. “I love you.”
Her breath caught in her throat. She loved him too. She loved him in a way she had never known existed until that moment, but . . .
“Let’s just try. If you change your mind, we can stop. For me?”
She nodded her head, just enough for him to see. Then they were lying next to each other naked. Janie shivered and tried to cover her chest with her arms.
“You’re so beautiful,” he told her, and some of the fear ebbed away.
“I will.” He moved over her, forcing his way between her legs that she couldn’t seem to move. She closed her eyes and tried to relax, but she inhaled sharply when she felt him press against her.
“Stop.” Her voice was barely a whisper. Maybe he didn’t hear her because he kept pushing, and pain radiated through her body. “It hurts. Please stop.”
“It only hurts at first. Once it’s in, it won’t be as bad.” She didn’t want it to stop hurting because it was in. She wanted it to stop.
Before she could say anything, he pushed forward one more time. And that was it. There was nothing left to fight for. She took a shuddering breath and bit her lip, waiting for it to be over.
When Gage was done, he rolled over and kissed her tenderly. “That wasn’t so bad, was it?”
“It hurt.” The area between Janie’s legs was throbbing. Why did anyone ever do that? It had been miserable.
“It won’t hurt as much next time. I promise.”
Next time? She hadn’t even had a chance to process this one. How was she supposed to think about next time?
Gage yawned, stretching his arms up high. Then he gathered up his clothes. “I’ve gotta get to work early. I should probably head in.”
Janie wanted to say no. To tell him they needed to talk. To say she didn’t want to be alone. “Okay.”
He kissed her goodbye and headed into the house where his parents were sleeping. Janie walked alone across the open field, her head hanging, her hands shoved deep in her pockets. There were no streetlights. Just the moon and the stars shining down to light her way.
It’ll be okay, Janie told herself, trying to ignore the pain. He loves me. We’ll always be together. The night air was filled with the sound of a thousand crickets laughing.