Nowhere, Virginia, 1920

 

Jesse kissed Beth’s hip and traced a circle around her navel with one finger. “You gotta head out or…?” he asked.

“Not for a while.” she grabbed him by the chin and pulled him to her face to plant a small smooch on him. “We got plenty of time.”

Jesse hummed and settled back on his pillow. “gimme half an hour and I’ll be up for round two.”

“what should we do in the meantime?” she said, tracing fingers across his chest.

Jesse chuckled. “damn, woman, let a man rest.” he crossed his arms and closed his eyes. “You’ll get yours, don’t you worry.”

when he woke again a couple hours later, he was on his side with an arm draped around Beth, who was snuggled against his chest. He took back his arm and stretched, rolling onto his back. he sat up, swung his legs over the side of the bed, and rested his elbows on his knees. he tensed when he felt fingers tracing across his back. he looked over his shoulder at Beth, who was looking at him with a groggy smile.

“You up for round two?” she said.

“um… in a bit.” He half smiled back, “I’m gonna run and… get some ice. and uh.  drinks.” he stood and gathered his pants and shirt from the floor and got dressed, then walked outside barefoot.

on his way out he stared at the ground and thought about the roughness of concrete against his feet, the light breeze on the air, and the soft glow from the soft-burning street lamps. He scratched his chest through his thin shirt, and the feeling of Beth’s shoulders faded quickly from his skin. Some of the tension eased from his shoulders.

he walked next door and negotiated a couple bottles of wine from the liquor store, and then to the front desk of he motel for a bucket of ice chips.

by the time he got back to the room, he’d drank nearly a third of the first bottle, and knocked on the door with the butt of it.

Beth opened the door to find him leaning on the frame with a cocky smile.

“You come here often?” he said.

she took the bottle from him and pulled him inside by his collar.

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