There, I've said it: my home is not a balmy 75 degrees year-round.
Durham gets cold.
I slip out after 3, when the management has finally gone to bed. A quick glance across the courtyard, making sure security's not looking (bastards are on 24 hours, but i have no intention of getting caught) and i'm gone.
Durham gets cold.
Tapping at Anne's window - this is always the worst part... easiest place to get caught, and then there'd be hell to pay.
But I do not get caught. I am invisible.
I see the blinds move, see Anne peek out, nod, and slip out of her room. I'm there waiting when she comes out of the building. She puts her hand in mine, and we dart from bush to bush, keeping an eye out for those who would stop us from what we are about to do.
We are ninjas. Crouching behind a wall, watching the management walk by, trying not to giggle - we are unstoppable.
For the first time tonight, I take a good look at Anne's face - the shadows cast by the streetlamps make her look different, older somehow.
I know better than that. Right now, we're both about 10 years old. Security passed us by 20 seconds ago - we have about 5 minutes before the next guy comes. We take full advantage, stealing a butterfly kiss or two, hiding in the memorial gardens by the wall.
A last smooch, a moment of hushed shared laughter, and we're ready to be on the move again - sprinting across the 100 yards or so of open space before we are at the road. Somehow this gets turned into a race - she says "can't catch me" and takes off. I follow as fast as I can.
She's right. I can't catch her. Not until we're safe in the shadows on the road and moving away from campus do I catch up with her. She gently mocks my complete lack of speed. I resolve to beat her next time.
A few blocks and we're climbing the fence that surrounds the reservoir - a fence we've climbed dozens of times in daylight, but never at night. Makes it even more adventuresome.
And then, hidden from the world by the slats in the fence, we are alone with the night. I open my pack and produce kindling and marshmallows; she pulls out a book and a bottle of wine. And the blankets - Durham gets cold. I busy myself getting the fire going, and she gets to work making us a little nest.
As we settle down on our blankets, she starts to toast a marshmallow, asks if I want one. Maybe later, I say distractedly - I'm too busy trying to notice everything about her, remember it forever. She's wearing that long flannel shirt she stole from me last week - it looks better on her than it ever did on me (small wonder). Her very blond hair is slightly disheveled - my fault for running my fingers through it, I suppose. I take in her scent from my fingers - she smells like autumn, appley and maybe a bit cinnamony. The firelight sparkles in her slate-gray eyes. She notices me noticing her eyes, asks what I'm looking at. I say, "You." Rolling her eyes, she gets back to the serious business of marshmallow roasting.
She shivers a bit, I move a little closer. She reaches behind me, hands me the book. "Read to me."
I open it, let my finger fall halfway through a page, and begin. I forget what it was I was reading to her - I remember only one thing:
"All stories are true.
"All stories are true, and some of them really happened."
Having toasted a marshmallow to what she considered perfection, she demands that I eat it. I let her place the marshmallow in my mouth, and savor the slightly burnt sweetness for a moment. Next thing I know, Anne's grabbed hold of me and given me the hardest, most powerful kiss I've ever had.
"Wow, how'd I earn that," I say. She smirks and replies, "You didn't, I just decided I wanted the marshmallow back."
I throw a pillow at her, and she tackles me, pins me to the blankets, and tickles until I say mercy.
I would get a chance to retaliate later on; for the moment, I just wanted to lay there, feel her next to me, and watch the smoke curl upward into the star-filled night.