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   Chapter 11 A Knight on a Shining Motorcycle

Cuddle Application By Anna Rae Characters: 17253

Updated: 2018-01-09 17:24


"I don't want to be a passenger on someone else's motorcycle.

I want to be the one riding that motherfucker."

-Lily Brooks-Dalton

~~~

"But why can't the dragon just let him through?" Molly asks, pouting and snuggling in closer to my side.

I'm telling her a fairy tale, one of princes and princesses. We sat on the couch with a fuzzy blanket strewn over our legs, mine much longer than hers.

"Mol, " I reply with a ghost of a smile, "If the dragon isn't in the story, then it would be too easy for the prince to get to the princess."

Molly doesn't like this. Her small, puckered mouth frowns and her nose scrunches up, like she's smelled something awful. "But if he was a nice dragon, he'd just let the princess have her prince."

I laugh. "Yes, but then it'd be too easy. The prince has to work to get his princess."

She crosses her arms and huffs, a four year old who hadn't gotten her wish. "What happened to happy endings?"

"I'm getting there, Silly Willy, " I reply, poking her softly in her stomach with my finger.

She squeals and clings to the straps of her little, denim overalls. "Sky, you hit my bell!"

Her belly button.

I fake an evil laugh, and poke her in the same spot. Using a low monster voice, I say, "I am the tickle monster! I'm going to tickle you!"

She screams out a laugh, closing her eyes and balling herself up on the plush couch. "No!" I tickle her sides, and she flails wildly, trying to cover the tickle spots and giggling a loud, "No, " when she fails. I'm laughing so hard that my own sides hurt.

Molly tries a different approach and attempts to jump off the couch, but she gets her foot caught in the blanket on our legs. I grab her around the waist. "No, Sky! Daddy! Help!" She's laughing as I bring her stomach up to my face and blow a raspberry on her soft baby skin.

Molly tries to get out of my clutches, but she's stuck, laughing so hard she can barely breath. "Not the raspberry!" she yells, but she says it like "rapsy."

I laugh and pull her into my lap, the tickle fight over, grumbling some more nonsense about the tickle monster. Molly snuggles into my chest, her heat adding to the warmth around my heart. She puts her hand on my chest and moves her fingers to the pulse of my heartbeats.

"Sky, " Molly says softly. "Do the prince and princess end up together?"

I push a piece of her curly hair out of her face and nod. "Of course. The prince defeats the dragon and he and the princess live happily ever after."

She mulls this over, staring all the while at her fingers over my heart. "But that's just a fairy tale."

I smile. What goes on in this little girl's mind?

She keeps talking, "Do people actually get happily ever afters in real life?"

I pull my little sister even tighter to my chest. "I think so, sissy. Things don't work out all of the time, but, hey, you already got a happily ever after."

Molly's head pops up. Eyes bright and smiling cheekily to show off the tooth that's missing in the top row, she says, "I beat the monster."

I smile and wonder about all the things I did to deserve such a sister. "Yes you did. You beat the monster cancer because you're the strongest little girl I know."

Molly beams. "I defeated it like the prince defeated the dragon."

"Mhmm, " I murmur. "And our family lived happily ever after."

?♀??

I never got nervous for dates.

I'd never gotten even a little flutter of anticipation in my stomach before. Not with Josh, not with little middle school crushes - not with anybody. I simply did not get butterflies where boys were involved.

Girls always talked about it, and I'd certainly seen Lina and Cora go through their fair share of panic before heading out for dinner with a new guy. It was always a nervous laugh, paired with, "I'm so nervous I could throw up."

I could never relate.

Until today.

"Lina, " I groan, pacing the length of her room. "What is this?" I cover my stomach with my hands, still walking back and forth, trying not to moan. "I think I'm sick - I don't feel good. Oh my god, this can't be normal!"

She watches me from a seated position on her bed, looking smug.

"Seriously, Lina!" I urge, stopping in front of her laughing frame. "This isn't funny! It hurts."

I groan as a wave of something hinting of nausea racks my gut. "I've never been so uncomfortable in my life."

Lina smiles widely, and pats the spot on the bed next to her. I plop onto her pepto bismol colored comforter and fall on my back with a "hmpf."

It's nearly noon on Saturday, the sun standing strong and confidently in the sky, mirroring Lina's current aura and opposing mine.

"My dear, little Skylar, " Lina says like an adult speaking to a child. "Everything is fine. It's just a date."

Date.

And the nausea returns. It's like a thousand butterflies fluttering their annoyingly pastel wings against my insides. Except no, I realize, it's worse. It's like an entire pit of snakes in my stomach, slithering and sliding uncomfortably around, squeezing their textured little bodies around my abdomen and trying to strangle me from the inside, out.

It's quite possibly the w

stand for a moment.

"So this is Bessy, " Oliver says.

"Of course it is, " I reply. "Because all death traps must be named."

He rolls his eyes. "It's not dangerous, I promise. And I'll be an especially cautious driver."

I bite my lip, considering. Surly I could convince him just to let me drive us in my car.

Live a little, something inside me urges. I take a deep breath. "Ok."

He looks surprised. "Ok?" I nod. "Ok."

He turns to the bike, grabs the helmet from the seat, and faces me again. I reach out to take the helmet, but he ignores me and places it on my head himself, slowly until my head is covered and the world is tinted grey. He grins at me and taps the visor. "Safety first."

I roll my eyes. "Then why don't you have one." There's no other helmet that I notice, unless he plans to pull one out of a secret compartment.

"I gotta protect the goods, " he justifies, seating himself on the bike and motioning to me. "No one wants a bruised melon."

He beckons me over to the black bunch of parts and takes my hand to help me balance as I swing my leg over the side.

"You're a bruised melon, " I snap, settling in.

"You really know how to cut me deep."

I smile, glad Oliver is in front of me so he can't see me do it. His body heat only adds to the temperature of the already too-hot day, but somehow I don't mind. It's comfortable.

My legs are bare and sticky on the leather as shift into a comfortable position. Suddenly my arms seem like awkward appendages, and I can't decide what to do with my hands.

Oliver turns his head and sees my face, chuckles, chuckles again as I hit him for laughing, and grabs my hands. Still facing forwards, he wraps my arms around his torso and lets them go. He turns the key and the engine revs, an animal beckoned to life. The noise is calming, and it soothes the butterflies in my stomach.

Oliver shifts, knocking up the kickstand with his foot, his abs shifting with him. I force my mind into a blank sheet of paper. No abs. No distractions.

Just a time to have fun with a new friend, I remind myself.

The motorcycle rolls slowly down the driveway and my smile grows as the wheels leave the driveway. I can't help but feel giddy as the bike gains speed.

We stroll through the neighborhood, but even at such a slow pace, I'm ecstatic. The bike rumbles beneath my legs, purring like a wild animal. The wind flies through the hair that falls from the helmet, and I can't stop cursing the creator of the stupid thing.

I want to feel the wind on my face, safety be damned. Reaching up, I push back the visor and color returns to the world. My whoop is muffled by the part of the helmet that covers my mouth, but the wind still rushes in to reach my skin.

I close my eyes.

Downtown Helaci is only a six minute drive from my house, but I suddenly wished it would take hours to get to the lake. The ride to the fair wouldn't be long enough.

Oliver turns onto the main road, where the bike can truly shine. He twists the throttle. The speedometer climbs and with it, my excitement. My arms hold tighter to Oliver's body as we speed up, a giddy sort of fear whisking itself through my body. My fingers are tingling.

Oliver's chest rumbles under my hands and I can tell he's laughing. "I knew you'd like it!" I think he screams over the wind.

And I did. I liked it a lot. It was like flying.

And I wasn't talking about the motorcycle.

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