Part I- age 15, vacation bible school

She was a year younger than I, and like me had been sent to VBS more to watch on younger sibs than to get in touch with the Spirit. We were at the age where flirting consisted mostly of verbal abuse (Look what the cat drug in!-hey, Who died and made you King?-etc).

Occasionally I would catch her curling the ends of her red hair around a finger while staring my way, but that was rare. Mostly it was nasty comments to friends and thrown balls of paper.

One night, the last night of the school, all the kids had a bonfire and an extended game of Hide and go Seek. It was cloudy, without stars or moon, so therefore really dark. After a while I decided that the school bus of the First Baptist Church would serve as both a good hiding place and an observation point. The windows had been left open, but the night air hadn't cooled it off much. The metal floor I crawled on, commando style, was still warm from the afternoon. When I got to the back door, which had one of those small "safety windows" I bumped into a set of legs. Her.

Sheesh, you gave me a fright!

(although truthfully, her little drawl made it sound a lot more like "Froht.")

I pulled myself up to my knees, and we found ourselves at eyelevel. Only her eyes and her metalwork caught the light, little flickers of silver.

I could only manage a single syllable- "Hi"

She managed the rest-placing her arms on my shoulders and leaning forward while placing her lips on mine. I don't know how she found the way. First, chills. Then, as we pulled closer together on the seat I slide my tongue across the edges of her dental work. Slick and cool, like licking the edge of a fresh aluminum foil gum wrapper. Not painful at all.

II-age 25-the parking lot, Southern bar

She was a redhead, which should have been a clue. But there was more. She had extragent hand gestures and bright green eyes. There were a series of men who wanted her attention, but I had come with her and two of her friends and she was holding fort.

Ah don't think it's that bad, I mean I will have them out in 10 months, then Dr. Hamilton will have remedied two generations of bad teeth.

She was speaking of her braces, bright metal with pink rubber bands on the edges. The same color as her freckled arms and neck. I was counting them, and was up to 40 at this point.

What do you think M? Is it immature of me, a woman of my age to put on these rascals?

She winked when she said this, as if rascals was not a word to be used in mixed company.

"They look cute," I said, trying to look at her eyes, instead of elsewhere for a moment. "they look great on you, seriously."

There ya go ladies, an unbiased opinion. Her friends laughed, knowing I was many things at that moment, unbiased not being one of them.

She leaned over towards me and her arm around my shoulder and whispered in my ear, That was nice of you, care to take a walk?

I pulled away from her, just a step to see if she was serious, and she put down her drink and stepped towards the door, Mr.M is gonna help me find something in my vehicle, we'll be back shortly. She sashayed toward the exit never looking to see if I was following. She knew.

Outside, the sky was clear through the big oak trees in the parking lot. We leaned against her car's hood so we could see the Big dipper and Cassiopea. They were bright as light bulbs against the blackness, with little red/green planes doing dot to dot across the sky.

I like the stars, it makes me feel small, is that a weird thing Mr.M?

"No, its a wonderful thing. And I meant what I said about your braces, they are endearing. "

I put my hands on the sides of her face so I could see those eyes, bright green as evergreen with little jewels of light.

Kiss me then, you... And again, that metal. Sharp-the taste of paperclips on your lips. This time, a little more dangerous, her teeth biting down on my tongue. Stretching her mouth to make room. Then another bite.

"ouch" I pulled away, but no blood.

Her arms still on my shoulders, head pulled to one side with a devious grin-If you think that's bad, wait 'till later, hun."

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