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September 17, 2008 by · 2 comments

David Snell

Photo: b.e.n.

Long shadows dapple the end of Badham Lane.

“Why did you bring me here?” The girl whispers.

“Good place to talk . . . get to know each other.”

“Oh.” Silence creeps into the parked Chevy. “Danny, are we still going to the movie?”



“Depends on what we want to do after talking.” He stares at her through dark, green eyes.

She offers a wistful smile. A crinkle in the porcelain skin. “Okay.”

He unzips his black windbreaker, his eyes never leaving her face.

She laughs nervously, looks out at the deserted clearing.

He strokes the side of her face. Startled, she bites her lip. A tear wets his hand, still on her cheek. She glances back at him.

He tries to read her large eyes. Pleading? Grateful?

She covers his caressing hand with hers. Tears flow down her face.

It’s his turn to feel uneasy. When the others cried, it was not till afterwards. When it was over, and they wanted to cling.

“What?” he asks, wanting to move his hand, but not daring to.

She blinks, her pale skin pinking. “I don’t know.” She sniffles.

He removes his hand, fumbles, and pulls out a frayed, stained handkerchief.



“My daddy has always been good to me,” she says dabbing at her face. “But no one has touched me like you did…since my mother died.”

Mrs. Sloan’s long battle with cancer is common knowledge in the small town.

“I’m sorry, Lorena.”

She returns the handkerchief. “I’m afraid it’s all wet.”

“No problem.”

She takes his hand, kisses it. “I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. I’m not wild or anything.”

No. Definitely not wild. Danny remembers her home, the lace doilies, family photos. The quiet in her father’s voice.

“It was nice to meet you, Danny. ‘Daniel’ . . . fine biblical name.” The man had patted him on the back, his hand lingering.

“Be safe, Precious,” he’d called to his daughter as they left.

Lorena’s voice returns Danny’s attention to the car. “Daddy is a wonderful man.”

“I’m sure he is. He’s a preacher.”

“Yes. He’s just not always sure what to do with a daughter.”

“But I could tell he loves you a lot.”

She touches Danny’s face. “I think he likes you, too.”

He lets this tickle his mind.

She smiles broadly. “You’re nice.”

He hugs her. She relaxes a moment, then returns the hug.

She asks, “What’s your family like?”

He releases his hold. “They’re not very interesting. Just a slew of kids, my momma, and my old man.”

She leans back. “It must be great to have all that life around you.”

“Yeah.” He looks away.

“Wish I had a big brother like you.”

He cringes. “We can catch up about family later.” He notices the pain in his side. The one that hit the table when his old man shoved him to get at his mother. He winces.

“Are you all right?”

“Sure. Uh . . . I’ll be back.”

He leaves the car and walks into a cluster of trees. As he unzips his pants, he tries to think. All he knows for sure is that he’s standing there, pissing into the dark.

Back in the car, Lorena asks him, “Aren’t we going to be late for the movie?”

“They show it again at ten.”

“But Daddy wants me home by….”

He kisses her. His roughness surprises even him.

She whimpers. Pushes at him. Her mouth turns down, rigid.

He takes holds of her shoulders. What to do? His groin aches more than his side. He releases her.

Time halts.

She takes slow, deep breaths. Her fingers explore his brown hair. She kisses his head.

His eyes moisten, sting.

“Danny. I never went on a date before. I mean. I don’t really know what’s expected.”

“Oh, boy,” he mutters, turning away to brush his eyes.

“I’ve read magazines about stuff, heard girls talk, but….”

He catches a whiff of her perfume. Its sweet aroma, a far cry from stale cigarettes and beer he’s used to.

She’s innocent. But he is who he is. Through narrow, slitted eyes, he glares.

“Take off your sweater and get comfortable.”

“Oh.” Lorena hesitates, then complies.

“Now. Your blouse.”


“You want to know what you’re supposed to do on a date?”


“You want to know—yes or no?”

“I do. I just—”

“Then take off your blouse,” he repeats in a mellow, reassuring tone.

Slowly, she does as directed. She instinctively covers her bra. But then, drops her hands as if at attention.

He moves closer, kisses her. She tenses.


“You…you won’t hurt me?” Her eyes meet his.

“You got nothing to worry about.”

She takes a deep breath, her body loosening.

As he reaches behind, she cooperates like a child being undressed for bed.

His fingers do their job. He drops her bra strap and kisses her. Long.

She puts her hands behind his head and circles her mouth on his. She sighs.

He leans back. She doesn’t try to cover herself from his gaze. Her breasts are small, but upright. In the diminishing light, he can see caramel-orange freckles across her upper chest.

Can a person be too pure to stain? He feels disconnected from his body. Light-headed. Light. Floating.

The sun’s last breath hazes around Lorena’s head and shoulders. A shimmering circle radiates from this strange and wondrous girl. She stretches as if to yawn.

Mesmerized, Danny decides at that moment to join her daddy’s church.

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