“If August could speak, what would it say?”
“August would speak of its empire lasting forever whilst glancing, warily, at the leaves cooking on the trees.
RM lay back in the grass; it had gone gold and was getting a little prickly, but he still found a comfortable spot and stared up into a spotless sky. He glanced over and looked at Mina beside him. She gazed up into the sky also.
Mina was a girl who lurked on beauty's doorstep but stubbornly refused to enter. Some might have said if she took care of her skin, got a flattering haircut, wore newer, better fitting, more stylish clothes, she would be beautiful; and perhaps it was true, but RM didn't see any of that. The oversized, secondhand jeans and t-shirts couldn't hide her grace. She was everything he wanted her to be.
Except one thing.
He'd been trying to bring it up all summer, but somehow it had always been time to do something else. What a summer it had been! They'd taken up karate lessons from RM's Uncle Bob, and stopped their occasional smoking at his request. Suddenly RM had enough energy to go exploring, and he did, and Mina was almost always with him.
Mina looked over at him. Her eyes narrowed, and her lips curved in a wry smile. “What're you thinking?” she asked, her voice biting and suspicious.
RM rolled over and raised up on one arm. “I'm thinking summer's almost over. There are Naked Ladies blooming all over.”
“Ha! I should have known it would be porno with you.”
RM rolled his eyes; Mina knew perfectly well he was talking about flowers. She rolled over onto her stomach and began picking at the grass.
“Brooding?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Screw you.” She tossed it off like it was nothing, which it was. She rarely did that around him anymore. She even glanced at him and looked apologetic for a moment. “Well, I was thinking about the end of summer, too. About how we haven't really done anything...really amazing.”
“I think the summer's been pretty full.”
“Yeah, with hanging around town. It's been fun, but not really amazing.”
“Oh. I see. You want a change of scenery?”
“Nah, not really, I guess. I like it here.”
“Yeah, me too.”
“But still. I'd be nice to do something really awesome.”
Mina rolled over onto her side, facing him. “I don't know. I'll have to give it some thought.”
“I'm not doing anything crazy,” he said.
She pouted. “I'd never ask you to do anything crazy.”
RM's heart pounded. “I have an idea.”
“Oh. Let's hear it, then.”
“Okay.” He moved closer to her and put his hand on her arm, then leaned down and put his lips on hers.
She inhaled sharply, sort of a gasp up through her nose, but that was the only sign of surprise. She lifted her head and their teeth bashed together. He came up for air and tried to apologize, but then they were kissing again, both of them together like they'd had the same thought at exactly the same time.
RM had no idea how long they lay there and did nothing but kiss, but it was long enough for him to consider moving his hand down her arm and then maybe see where else she'd let it go, when she broke off suddenly and exclaimed, “That's it!”
“The amazing thing we'll do. We'll prank Marcus Aurus hard. I still haven't gotten him back for what he did to me at the spring dance.”
“Um...wasn't he just getting you back for--”
“We're not even,” Mina insisted. She bounded to her feet. “Come on!”
RM sat up and looked up at her. “Really? So, what, it's like that didn't just happen?”
“What? Of course it happened. We don't have to talk about it to make it have happened, do we?”
“I suppose not.”
“Good, then. Come on.”
“You don't want to talk about it then?”
“What do you want me to say?”
“That you'll be my girlfriend?”
“It'll make things weird at school.”
“Yeah,” RM said, slowly climbing to his feet. “And get us more attention than we like, I suppose.”
“They don't like to see our kind too happy.”
RM snorted. “No. But we can cool it at school. That's how we play it anyway, right?”
Mina nodded. “Yeah, all right,” she said.
RM stepped up to her, put his hand on her shoulder and kissed her. This time there was no tooth-banging. She broke away far too soon and grabbed his hand. “Come on. We can make out later. We gotta get to the junkyard.”
“What are we going to do?”
“See if you can figure it out as we go along.”