“Are you ready?” he asked his jaw locked. His knuckles were wrapped around the handle of the knife so tightly it looked as if he could break it in half. She could tell he wanted to do this even less than she did.
She let her eyes fall shut, looking away from the knife glowing like a jack-o-lantern. It was as if she was little again and propped up on the crinkly tissue paper at the doctors’ office for a vaccination. Her mom always told her to close her eyes and it would be over before she knew it. She could practically feel her mom rubbing small circles on her back. Her voice rang in her head, clear as day.
You won’t feel a thing.
“Let’s just get this over with,” she said trying to forget the fact she didn’t have anyone to rub her back and tell her it would be okay.
“Here,” he said and she opened her eyes to see him taking off his belt. “I know it’s not ideal, but you really need to bite down on something.”
The worst pain she had ever experienced was a sprained ankle from rock climbing and a broken arm when she was four, and she couldn’t even remember what that felt like. April couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to burn her skin closed.
She gave him the okay, but he didn’t move. Her eyes remained on his as he stepped forward to sit down on the chair again. She looked up at him confused, unsure what was happening.
He leaned down, his hand moving into her hair. She held her breath. Her eyes drifted down to his lips as he placed them softly on hers. He kissed her slowly, gently. With what strength she really had she kissed him back. His lips were soft compared to her chapped ones. He breathed into her, his hand curling around the back of her neck before pulling away.
“What was that for?” she whispered as they shared the same breaths.
“Are you still scared?” he asked her, a smile forming and his dimples coming to life. She realized that at the moment she wasn’t. She was only thinking about him.