Out of Bounds
Please tell me I’m having one of those lucid dreams I swear are real. The kind that has me waking in a sweat. The kind where I only remember the vague details around the edges of the plot. Any second now the air over his shoulder will shimmer indicating this flashback is ending.
Any second now.
Any. Second. Now.
The silence stretches out while Luca and I embrace. The air is still. There is no shimmering. No wavering. There is no movement at all.
This isn’t a dream, is it?
The smell of his clean sweat invades my nostrils and it hurls me back into another life when his scent was a part of my every day. I shiver at the sensation of a bygone era filling the space between my arms again. I stand on my tippy toes, looking over his shoulder though focussing on nothing. My arms curl around his neck while his wrap around my back. While it would be far more comfortable to encircle his waist and press my cheek into his chest given our height difference, that would be way too intimate for strangers of our ilk.
“Do you really live here now?” His tone has the same friendly vibe as if he was asking me why I put the empty milk carton back in the fridge. Even so, the shift in the air as his words pass over my ear makes my body react. Like a bolt of lightning, they streak down my spine and ground themselves out the soles of my feet making my legs wobble again.
“Good to see you, too, Luca.”
“Is it?” I expected a less confrontational response along the lines of Nice to see you too, Bobby, if only for public perception’s sake. Apparently, we aren’t looking to impress anyone here today.
While I would have preferred to be in control of our first encounter, I don’t think it’s terrible to see him. It’s simply unexpected like I dumped an entire packet of Pop Rocks into my mouth all at once. Painful and exhilarating all at once.
“You okay?” His hot voice whispers in my ear when I don’t answer his question.
“Not by a long shot.”
“Good. That makes two of us.” His throat bobs with a hard, angry swallow. I deserve his anger even if I’m surprised at the speed at which it makes its way into our conversation. “Did you plan this?”
“Yes.” I bite back. “I waited this long to insert myself back into your life while on very public display. Surprise!” I call out sarcastically. There is another long pause where I wait for him to say something snarky to me but he leaves it up to me to fill the dead air. “You go by Luke now?”
“Did the name change make me hard to find?” I set myself up for that one. With each word that either of us says, another brick is laid in the wall between us, as if it wasn’t already bigger than the Great Wall of China. Brick, mortar, brick, mortar. At this pace, we won’t have to worry about the awkward hug because, soon enough, I won’t be able to see him over the top of the wall.