Sequel: Ours
Status: 6/6 Thanks so much everyone!

I've Got A Thing For You


By the time they got to the camping area, the sun had fallen below the mountains, the temperature dropping about fifteen degrees as clouds thickened across the sky. They parked at the treeline, the car silent. Rory stared out the window, her breath fogging the glass. Her eyes struggled to adjust in the darkening light, straining hard, as her heartbeat quickened.

Matt closed his phone, having just finished talking to the guys.

“Where are they?” she asked.

“About two minutes away. Come on.”

They got out, slamming the doors shut. Rory pulled out her camera, taking pictures of the trees. She had never thought they were beautiful before. To her, they were just trees, just things in the way that prevented her from seeing the horizon line. But with the darkness falling around them, the pine tips touched with starlight, they looked almost…regal. She snapped a few pictures, getting a few of Matt when he wasn’t looking. She would never admit it to anyone, but she really liked the way he looked when no one was watching but her.

Matt jumped up on the back of his car, sitting on the trunk. Rory watched him.

“So Terry’s your cousin.”

She nodded. She had no idea if he could see her, but he must have, because he continued.

“What exactly does he do?”

Rory laughed, shouldering her tote bag and joining Matt on the car. “He’s a model for Abercrombie & Fitch. It’s something my aunt and uncle love to make fun of him for, but they don’t mind, since they don’t have to pay his tuition or anything, really.”

“Where does he go to school?”

“NYU, believe it or not. You know, it’s funny.” She shook her head. “He’s actually a lot smarter than he seems.”

“Now that’s hard to believe.”

They both laughed. Rory stared up at the sky, just like the previous night. They weren’t sitting close enough to touch, and for one of the first times that day, she felt comfortable in her own skin. The restlessness ceased, if only for a moment, and she felt like she and Matt were friends, or like they really could be.

Even if only for a summer.

“So what does he go to school for?” Matt asked. “Something art-related?”

“Surprisingly, no. He’s getting a bachelor’s in Hotel and Tourism Management. I don’t know why, but he likes people, and it’s a pretty dynamic degree, so that’s good. He can go so many places.” She shrugged. “I guess nobody in my family likes to really stay in one place for very long.”

Matt sighed almost wistfully. “That sounds great.”

“You think so?”

“Traveling, seeing the world? Hell yeah. Don’t you think it’s exciting?”

“Sure…” Rory trailed off, looking down at her hands.

At first, yeah, it had been a whirlwind, fun and exciting, just like Matt thought it was. But after a while, Rory wanted her own bed, back in her own room where she could put posters up, not a hotel with sanitary sheets and the same paint job as the last four hotels she’d been in. She wanted real, home-cooked meals, not something from a driveway window or a microwave. Of all the days in the year, she probably only spent one hundred of them back in Syracuse, and that time was spent packing, unpacking, and sleeping off the jet lag from being in a dozen different countries, their time zones stamped to the back of her eyelids.

To someone who had never lived that life, she was sure it seemed wonderful. But to someone who did, it wasn’t always perfect. Still, Rory wouldn’t trade it for the world. She had never been able to stay in one place long, a trait she earned from both of her parents.

“As opposed to you?”

She could feel Matt’s eyes as he turned to look at her. “Well, yeah. I’ve been here my entire life. I’d give anything to live somewhere else, to…” He faltered. “To, I dunno, see things.”

“Like what?”

“Oh, you know. Things.”

Rory made a face. “Real specific there, Matt.”

“Well, what do you want me to say? ‘I want to see the world’? Everybody says that.”

“Then what do you want to see?”

“I want to see… I want to see the snow falling on a different street than the one I live on. I want to see the stars from a different sky. I want to see the Hockey Hall of Fame, I want to see the pyramids, the Grand Canyon, the East Coast!” He pause. “I want to see all the things you’ve seen.”

Rory looked down, scuffing her heel over his bumper. “Nah, you don’t want to do that. Some of the things I’ve seen aren’t all that great. And the pyramids? Overrated.” Matt snorted, and that egged her on. “I’m serious! Don’t do it, not unless you want a bunch of sand in places that sand should never be. Plus, there’s that whole ‘threat of getting lost in a tomb trap and starving to death in a cramped room four levels down’ thing. Not fun, I’m telling you.”

“And this place is fun?”

“Well, it’s not perfect,” Rory admitted, shrugging her shoulders. “But so far--”

Headlights cut through the dark. Rory raised one hand to shield her eyes, flipping the SUV off when they laid on the horn. Whatever she had been about to say dropped off the edge of her mind, and their night suddenly got much louder, as the guys rolled down their windows and began serenading the two of them with “Hypnotize” by Notorious B.I.G.

Rory rolled her eyes, laughing. Matt jumped off the trunk, holding out one hand to help her. She let him, even though it still made her feel weird. She wasn’t some southern belle, he didn’t need to treat her like one. She knew what she was, and having someone like Matt around wasn’t going to change that.

The two of them helped unload the SUV, following the path through the trees to a small, bare clearing. There was a firepit in the center, and Rory watched as the guys set up camping chairs. Mac went in search of firewood, while Mason and Terry set the cooler down and immediately went fishing for beers. When they got the fire going, Rory flinched, edging away from it.

Unfortunately for her, Matt noticed. “What’s wrong?”

“I have a thing about fire…”

He rolled his eyes. “You and your things. Seriously, what is up with that?”

“I have a more pressing issue: What is up with your outfit? Seriously barf-worthy.”

Matt frowned and left her to grab some beer, and she smirked, reaching for her camera. She snapped off a few shots of the fire and the guys, before turning it off and putting it away again.

Terry and Mac started sword-fighting with two sticks from the firewood pile. Mason was digging through a duffel bag, his back to the group, while Matt watched the other two spar, exchanging parries that echoed with dull whacks. Terry lowered his guard for one second, and Mac smacked his leg. Terry squealed and dropped his weapon into the fire, his expression crestfallen.

“Aw, man. Now what?”

Mac swung his stick up to Terry’s face. “Now, you admit defeat.”

Rory snickered. “Or, better idea: you could hand me a beer.”

Terry complied, tossing a bottle over the fire to her. She caught it and twisted the cap off using the hem of her t-shirt. Matt, too, had a beer in his hand, but he was talking with Mason. Rory caught the word "surprise", but Mason shrugged him off without saying anything. Instead, he pulled a pack of cards out of his duffel bag with a triumphant flourish.

“Aha!” Mason stood, pointing at Mac. “Unfold the tiny table, we’re playing strip poker!”

Mac paled, letting the tip of his branch fall into the fire. Terry glanced between Mason and Rory, raising his eyebrows and grinning, while Matt reached over and grabbed Mason’s arm.

“Dude, no.”

“What?” Mason glanced at Rory. “The lady doth not protest.”

All four of the guys looked to Rory. Terry was making faces, pretending to puke into the fire and Mac looked like he was about to faint, but both Matt and Mason were awaiting her reaction. Slowly, Rory removed her tote bag from her shoulder and set it down on the nearest camp chair. She tossed her hair back over her shoulder, and planted one hand on her hip.

“The lady doth not protest,” she agreed, “but I’ll have you know, my poker face is excellent.”


Matt was screwed. No, worse than screwed, he was fucked. They all were, every single one of them but Rory. Mac was already down to his boxers, shivering with one arm around himself. Every now and again, Mason and Terry would glance over at him and snicker. Rory was too busy making lewd comments at him to laugh; every now and again, she would wink and make him blush. So far, she had won four times, and whatever perverted scene Mason had envisioned was not going according to plan, as the only thing she was missing were her shoes.

Mason was missing his shirt, but kept mentioning he would take off his pants for free. Terry was already naked, his shirt laying across his lap for everyone’s benefit. And Matt? No shoes and no socks. At least his feet were warm, the fire still going strong in the dark. The sun was gone, the stars alive and dancing, the northern lights a dusky glow above them. They had pulled out a stereo to listen to the nearest country station, the music distracting Matt as he tried to make sense of Texas Hold ’Em.

He didn’t get it. Which was the river and which was the flop? What was the difference between a flush and a straight flush? He glanced around at the others again, wondering if he should fold or call. Who even made up those names, anyway? For something as serious as gambling, it was all very ridiculous.

Matt looked over at Rory. She was watching him. When she saw him staring, she grinned, winked, and nodded at Mason. “Your move. Show your cards.”

Mason threw down his hand. In the center of the table there was a four of diamonds, an ace of spades, a four of spades, and a queen of clubs. Everyone already had one pair by default, simply from the two’s. Mason had two pair, with a queen in his hand.

Mac had folded already, so he just shrugged. Terry had a three of a kind, beating Mason, even though he was technically out. Mason pounded his fist on the table and cursed, reaching for a new beer.

Rory laid her own hand out. She had a straight--five cards in numerical order, starting with a ten and ending with the ace on the table. Mason cursed again, letting out a low whistle. “It’s on you, Matty,” he said, reaching over and shaking Matt’s shoulder. “Come on, dude, at least getting something off her besides her damn shoes!”

Rory smirked, leaning back in her chair, throwing her hands up. “Well, we’re waiting, Matty.”

Matt had no idea what he had, only that he hoped it was going to beat someone. He laid his cards down almost hesitantly. Rory leaned forward, frowning. When Mason started laughing, relief spread throughout his limbs.

Rory stood up abruptly. “Seriously?”

“What? What is it?”

She cut her eyes to him. “You don’t know? That’s a flush, Matt.”

He looked down at the cards. A flush. So that was what it meant when they were all the same suit. He looked up at them, raising his eyebrows. “So what does that mean?”

“That means you win.” Rory shook her head. “I don’t fucking believe it.”

Terry clapped slowly, while Mason cheered. “Woo! Okay, take something off.”

Rory looked down at what she was wearing. She had so many options, and it was likely she was about to take off her socks. Matt glared at Mason, about to protest, when suddenly the dark blue shirt landed on the table.

He wanted to be respectful, but he couldn't not look. She was standing there, holding out her arms, in that polka-dotted bra she had been wearing when they first met. His breath caught as the firelight flickered over her curves and smooth skin. She was grinning, while Mason and Mac clapped. She bowed theatrically.

Terry covered his face and told her to put some damn clothes on. She stuck her tongue out at Matt, before she sat back down, folding her hands over her bare stomach. Terry mentioned Mason had to take his pants off too, since he lost, but he had a different idea.

“Forget that! Now that the sun is set, I’ve got a surprise for everyone.” Mason jumped up, going over to the cooler they had nearly emptied. He pulled out his pillowcase from behind it, hefting it over his shoulder like some weird, shirtless Santa Claus. He upended it on the table in front of them, scattering cards and covering Rory’s shirt. Everyone leaned forward and stared.

Fireworks. It was a giant pile of fireworks, of sparklers, of firecrackers, rockets, fountains, cakes, and the ever-deadly roman candles. Tons of fireworks covered their cards, some that Matt had never even heard of before. He stared, in both appreciation of the time it must have taken Mason to collect all the contraband, and in horror.

“Whoa,” Terry said, blinking. “Am I hallucinating?”

“Nope,” Mason said proudly. “That is the last year of hard work. Feast your eyes, children!”

“Dude,” Matt said, unable to process what he was seeing. “Are you insane?”

“What? It’s the Fourth of July. We can’t just not have fireworks.”

“They’re illegal.”

“They’re illegal?” Rory shot a glance at Matt. “You didn’t tell me that.”

“Well, I…I just…”

“Come on, Matt,” Mason pleaded, his eyes wide. “You would really waste all my hard work?”

“Yeah,” Terry said, tapping his chin. “You have to admit this is a rather impressive stash.”

“Oh come on, Matt,” Rory echoed, her tone light, though she was scowling. “Let’s have some fun! Besides, I do need photos.”

It was clear he was overruled, so he admitted defeat by draining the last of his beer. “Fine,” he finally said, glowering at all of them. “But if we get arrested--”

“We won’t!” The three of them chorused.

His eyes found Mac’s across the table. “And you’re okay with this?”

Mac shrugged. “I’ve had four beers. I’m up for anything, bro.”

Mason rolled his eyes. “Lightweight.”

Together, he and Terry grabbed some of the foremost fireworks and began setting them up around the firepit. The first couple were duds, having fizzled out in all the time it had taken Mason to build up his collection. Eventually, the fourth one they lit went off, exploding above them in a green haze. Rory oohed appreciatively, before reaching over the table for her bag. She pulled out her camera, and began taking pictures as red, silver, and purple lit the sky.

There were giant bursts, louder than hell, but beautiful to behold, the sparks falling down almost to their level, wiggling unevenly before going out. There were gold wheels that spun lazily; blue stars ringed in silver; multicolored fountains with vivid orange centers; rockets that went straight up in thick lines of red and white, before falling back down in a haze of sparkles; yellow and green clouds that rained glitter. The pile grew smaller and smaller, as their noise increased, the five of them cheering and laughing. The air stunk of sulfur.

“Those are amazing,” Rory whispered, leaning over to talk to Matt, just Matt. His skin crawled as the ends of her hair ghosted over one arm. “Um, before we get too drunk or I forget, I just wanted to say thank you.”

Matt blinked. Was he seriously drunk, or was she actually thanking him? “For what?”

“For this.” She held up her camera, grinning. “For the atmosphere.”

“Yeah, it was…” Matt trailed off. He cocked his head, listening. His smile faded.

“What? What is it?” Rory paused, stock-still, listening too.

The fireworks still popped, and the guys were cheering, but there, layered beneath them---



Rory was no stranger to running from the cops. This time, however, was different.

The stereo was kicked over, the music vanishing. Rory only had time to throw her camera around her neck, before they were up and panicking. In their haste, they upended the card table, the fireworks falling straight into the firepit.

“Oh shit,” Mason shouted, before they all scattered in different directions. Fireworks and sparklers ignited, shooting off into the woods, fuses screaming past them like live rounds in a war zone. Rory ducked her head, as one zoomed right past her.

Sounds were muffled in Rory’s ears, sirens distant, warping in and out of her hearing. Footsteps pounded behind her as the guys split. Someone was shouting--she thought it was Terry, but she couldn’t tell. Her heart was running a relay, and the memory of an altercation in Buffalo reminded her of her less-than-pristine record. If she got caught, there was a chance she’d been in a lot of trouble. She couldn’t let that happen.

As if he read her mind, Matt appeared at her left. He grabbed her hand and pulled her along after him, the others fading in a different direction. Her lungs heaved, her feet stinging from rocks and sticks, the stitch in her side burning, but they managed to make it to the cars. Matt slid over the hood, nearly falling, while Rory practically yanked off the door trying to get in. With shaking hands, Matt started it up and they flew backwards.

“What about the others?” she asked.

“No time! They’ll be all right.” He gunned it forward, and dust flew. They bumped and bounced over the road, the ground weaving in Matt’s headlights.

They pulled out onto the main road, but Rory caught a glimpse of blue and red just beyond the curve in the road. She held tight to the headrest, perched on her feet in the passenger seat. “Matt,” she warned, eyes wide. “Matt, let’s go!”

“Shit,” he exclaimed. “Hold on!”

He switched the lights off and sped off the road, into the wild. The bumper slammed into a rock, sending Rory into a tumble against the dashboard. She held on to the seat as tight as she could, as they went over the rough-and-tumble wilderness, tires sinking and jumping over divots and into holes, grass and weeds catching in the undercarriage, branches scraping the paint and windows, screeching all the way. They crashed through the undergrowth for about ten heart-stopping minutes at full speed, miraculously not hitting any trees, before Matt finally slowed. Rory’s heartbeat was in her throat.

When he finally stopped, shutting the car off, the only sound was their breathing. They sat there in the dark for a long time, each of them glancing out the back window, looking for lights. There was nothing. In the distance, thunder rolled across the sky. Raindrops began plinking on the roof, growing heavier in the moments that followed.

Rory set her camera on the dashboard. “Huh.”


She glanced towards the driver's seat. “I thought you said it wouldn’t rain.”

“Guess I lied.”

They were silent once more. Rory’s teeth were chattering; the night had grown chilly, and she had no shirt. Thanks a lot, Mason. What began as annoyance, however, swiftly changed to concern. She hoped the other guys were safe, that they were okay. Even Terry.

Matt cleared his throat. “I know you’re probably going to take this the wrong way, but if you’re cold, you can come over here.”

“What, on your lap?”

“It’ll be warm, at least.” He paused. "Or you could wear my shirt."

She made a gagging noise, but on the inside, she was giggling. It was either a genuine offer, or a very smooth move. She figured it was probably both. As carefully as she could, she climbed over the gearshift and onto his lap. There wasn’t room for her to sit on one knee or the other, so she did the only thing she could do -- straddle him. She placed her hands on his shoulders, only resting the side of her face against his for a second. One of his hands slid to the small of her back, holding her in place. His skin was hot to the touch.

Facing each other in the dark, eyes closed, they waited.

Rory woke to Matt shaking her awake sometime later. She raised her face from his shoulder and looked around, instantly panicking at the total darkness compressing her eyelids. She jerked backwards, but his arms were wrapped around her, holding her tight.

“Hey, hey, hang on,” Matt said softly. “It’s fine, you’re here with me.”

“Where are we? What happened?” Even as she asked the questions, she remembered the cops and the fireworks, running away and falling asleep on Matt’s lap. She sat up straight, unintentionally pressing against him. He inhaled sharply, but she rubbed her eyes sleepily. “How long was I out for?”

“Judging by the time on my phone, just an hour or so. I fell asleep too, but I got a text right now.”

He had one bar of service. The light from the screen illuminated the entire car, and it hurt her eyes as he held it up for her to read.

“It’s from Mason,” he said, sounding relieved. “They’re okay. They took off in the SUV, but they’re like us, laying low for right now. The cops probably confiscated all of our stuff, though. It’s probably a good idea if we just spend the night here.”

Rory almost burst out laughing. It was so elaborate a scheme, she knew it was impossible, but the idea that Matt and his friends might have planned it all occurred to her all the same. It was just too easy. Getting some of her clothes off, sticking her in a car with him for an entire night, sheltering her from the rain… It was all too much.

But if it was a plan, it was working. He was warm, she was sleepy, and the car smelled like rain and whatever detergent Matt used. Something about running from the cops brought people closer, forging a bond that deserved to be celebrated. At least, that was how the argument with herself was going. Such as it was.

“Matt…” she began, but her mind was still fuzzy from sleep, numb from the events of the past few days, and whatever that fluttering was in her stomach. She let that hang there, like the last note in a song, echoing on for a long time.


She could feel his breath on her lips. “Why did you go back for my shoes?”


“The shoes. The sandals, my white sandals. You went back and got them.” Rory shook back her hair, one of her curls brushing his cheek. “Why?”

“I just figured it was the right thing to do, since it was my fault.”

Matt’s thumb lingered at the waist of her shorts, dipping into the material slightly. Almost against her will, she leaned into him, chest to chest. “Why do you do that?”

“Do what?”

“I don’t know, you just--” Her breath hitched as his hand skimmed over her spine to her bra, fingers running over the clasps but not undoing them. “You always do the right thing.”

“I guess I’m just a nice guy.” His lips brushed hers, and she parted her lips.

“No, you’re not,” was all she managed, before crushing her mouth to his.

If he were any other guy, she would’ve been naked and in his backseat. He would’ve been ripping her clothes off as fast as he could, because the guys Rory typically went home with were the type to do that. But he wasn’t some other guy, he was Matt Niskanen, and this wasn’t some elaborate scheme. It was literally just him, and he was touching her like she was a cool drink of water, and he was Moses, parched from wandering the desert, alone.

Rory felt like she was caught in a movie as they lazily kissed, Matt slowing it down until she felt like they were almost dreaming the same scene. His hands fumbled with her bra, managing to unhook it with her help. He slid it off her arms, gently exploring the skin of her shoulders, her neck, her breasts. His thumbs grazed her nipples, and she purred into his mouth. Their tongues touched, exploring too, tasting and feeling and wanting. Rory had seen the world, seen the pyramids and the Grand Canyon and all those other places Matt wanted to see, but all at once, there was no other map she wanted to trace than the map of his skin, of his body, their hearts quickening in time. She pulled his shirt off over his head, following his lead and trailing her fingers all over him, committing the new landscape to memory. He planted kisses down from her lips, over the skin of her neck, mouth closing over one nipple. She shivered.

There was hardly any space between them, no room to move, the two of them locked in a bubble of heat. It was mostly humid air brought on by the rain, by the swelling of summer skies and pressure, that delicious pressure building in the middle of balmy nights, but that didn’t make it any less hot. Beads of sweat, tremulous as pearls, slid down Rory’s back and over Matt’s hands as he palmed her ass. She leaned back to unbutton her shorts, shimmying them down her thighs as far as she could. Matt’s hands tightened on her, and she could feel him shaking.

She reached for his wrist, bringing his hand to the front of her filmy panties. They were barely there, and she guided his fingers over her through the fabric. He kissed her neck as she arched against him, body clinging, begging for more to finish off the ache. He gently pushed her panties aside and slid one finger inside her. Rory bucked slightly, holding onto his shoulders, pushing herself down on his hand while he rolled her clit with his thumb. She sobbed out a low breath, squeezing her eyes shut and digging her nails into his back.

“Matt,” she murmured breathlessly, her voice betraying her. “I…” I want you.

He stroked in and out twice, words overlapping with hers. “I’ve been thinking about this,” he muttered against her neck, his voice husky. “Ever since…the other day at the lake.” His finger curled and Rory gasped. “I just couldn’t stop thinking about you.”

“Oh god, don’t stop.”

The sleepy, slow movements turned frantic, as Rory’s blood raced. She reached for his shorts, pressing her palm against the front of them. He sucked in a breath, murmuring something she couldn’t decipher, before she unzipped his shorts and stuck her hand inside, wrapping her fingers gently around his cock. He was thick, hard, and the feel of his desire dizzied her. She stroked him, learning the secrets of his skin, before pushing his boxers down.

Rory’s stomach fluttered, and the darkness spun, twisting before her eyes. She didn’t know what was going on, only that a storm of emotions were buffeting her like a tempest, pushing and pulling her in all directions, and there was only one way she could get a hold on the situation.

Without waiting for him, she lifted herself off of his hand. With some careful maneuvering, she wrangled herself out of her shorts, her panties twining around one ankle. When she settled, she wrapped her hand around him, and he cursed softly as she guided him inside her. He was bigger than she imagined, and she had to go slowly, so slowly that she almost didn’t believe it was actually happening. When she finally worked herself down to his hilt, he held her tight, his fingers clenching and unclenching at the base of her hair. They stayed there, locked in an embrace, both struggling for breath.

She moved first. She rolled her hips down his entire length. He made a strangled noise in the back of his throat. She did it again, but that time, he thrust, meeting her movements, keeping the rhythm. One of his arms hung across her back, his fingers gripping her shoulder. Her right hand moved over his bicep, her fingers clenching.

He kissed her deeply, hands fisted in her hair, strands catching on his calloused fingers like spiderwebs. They parted with a ragged breath, and even though it was dark, Rory thought for just a moment she could see his eyes shining. She had never looked someone in the eyes before during sex, not for long enough to form any sort of emotional connection, but now she couldn’t stop. His hands brushed her bangs back from her face, kissing her again. In the dark, it was easy to pretend that for one moment, she could love him.

She didn’t know what they were doing, or where their summer was going to go, but for just one night, it was enough.


The first thing Matt heard was birds chirping. He forgot where he was, imagining himself back in his bed at home, waiting for his mom to yell up the stairs that she had waffles ready and he better get his butt out of bed. He fully intended to wrap his arm tighter around his pillow and fall back into whatever delicious dream he’d been having…but then the pillow punched him in the side.

“Quit squeezing me, asshole, I can’t breathe.”

The day--and night--before crashed back into Matt’s conscious like a semi truck at full speed. There was a day spent in his car, laughing at Terry’s expense; cards thrown on a table, followed by a blue shirt; fireworks, dazzling and bright, sparkling in his eyes; and long, slow kisses in the dark, his heartbeat fighting its way out of his chest with every breath.

He opened his eyes. Dark hair was pooled on his chest, her entire body cuddled up on his right side, her back pressed to the grey interior. His arm was wrapped around her, crushing them together. His fingers were numb and starting to tingle painfully. He let go of her, easing up, and she took a deep breath, letting it out in a cool stream over his bare skin. They were laying entangled in his backseat, barely able to fit in the confined space. If anything, it just forced them to sleep wrapped around one another.

Matt wasn’t complaining. Or, he wasn’t before she punched him in the ribs.

He watched as she sat up. Her makeup had smeared off in the night, and her hair was curly on one side, flat on the other. Yet, with the early morning sun framing her face and rain drops still shining on the window behind her, he had never seen someone more beautiful. He watched her stretch, his eyes wandering over her skin. There was a tattoo low between her breasts that he hadn’t seen the night before. He sat up on his elbows to see it more closely; it was a heart-shaped map. The center of the geographical area was a dot labeled Botswana.

Matt reached for it, touching it lightly with two fingers. “What’s this?”

“Oh.” She looked down, moving her hair out of the way. “My parents met in Africa.”


“Yeah, I was conceived in Botswana. My dad was doing a piece on the Kalahari, and she was there with the Peace Corps. Spent the first two months of my uterus-dwelling life there. My mom told my dad the week before he left, and she came back to the States with him.” She examined the ends of her hair, eyebrows raised. “You know that song by Toto? That’s pretty much them.”

He didn’t know the song, but he nodded anyway. “That’s pretty awesome.”

“Yeah.” She looked around the car, her hand absently placed at his hip. “My mouth tastes like death.”

“That’s attractive.” Her subject-changing has improved.

“And this is why I didn’t want to spend the night.”

She climbed over him, elbowing him in the stomach. He couldn’t tell if it was accidental or not, but he would bet on no. She dressed in the passenger seat, pulling his t-shirt on over her head. She no longer seemed to mind that it was hideous. When he handed her the sandals, she grinned.

“Well, if nothing else, we certainly woke up with a story to tell.” She yawned, itching the back of her head. “But now I’m hungry, and we are…” She leaned forward, looking out through the windshield. “…in the middle of nowhere. Yep.”

Matt dressed as well, pulling on his boxers and shorts. He recognized the area they were in, if barely. They were only a few minutes from the cabins, but they were going to have to find the road first. Matt tumbled into the front seat, shoving his key into the ignition, before his pocket started vibrating. He pulled out his cell phone, noticing in surprise that it still had some battery life. He had almost ten texts and twenty missed calls. Nearly all of them were from Mason, who just so happened to be calling again.

“Good morning,” Matt answered, glancing at Rory in the passenger seat. She had her feet up, and she was smiling at nothing. Pride tugged at the corners of his mouth. I did that.

“Dude, where the hell are you two?”

“A few minutes away from the cabins. Where are you?”

“At the cabins. Get over here. We need to reconvene and go get our shit later.”

Rory nudged Matt. “Ask about Terry.”

“Hey, what about Terry?”

Mason chuckled. “He passed out on the couch and just left a few minutes ago. Said he’d cover for Rory if she decided to spend the night with you.” There was an obvious pause while Matt waited. “So, did she?”

“Mason, we’re all adults. Why don’t you just ask the question you’re really asking?”

“Listen, dude, I was trying to be--"

Fingers closed around the cell phone, and Rory snatched it out of his hand. She held it up to her own ear, smirking. “Hi, Mason.” She paused, listening. “Mm-hm. Yeah. Yes, we did. No, we did not. Only creepy people like you do that. Uh-huh. Ha, like that’s going to happen! Okay. Goodbye, Mason.” She snapped the phone shut and handed it back with a smile. “We’re going out for breakfast.”

“What about the guys? And your family?”

Rory reached over and twisted the key, starting up the car. “We’re going out for breakfast,” she repeated, putting her feet up on the dashboard.

Matt looked down at his phone, before tossing it into the backseat, and shifting into gear.

This has been one hell of a summer, and it’s only the beginning.
♠ ♠ ♠
Chapter Tunes:
"Ready Or Not" [Rory] -- "After The Last Midtown Show" [Matt]

I didn't edit this as thoroughly as I wanted, so if there's anything weird, just remember, I'm a child of divorce.