died. He leaned back again, biting his thick pink lip. BRB felt all the
bones of her face connect. That was when they really began to dance,
like artists, the spins, the trickery. It was both respectful and sensual.
The crowd cleared a giant circle for them. The lights stained the parquet
floor pink and green and blue. She held his neck and he held hers as they
orbited each other’s young, wrecked souls.
They made out in the taxi back to her hotel. She blacked out during
the ride but knew that she had her period that night and that somehow he’d found out then. He was impressed by her hotel room. She said
her company was paying for it, and he said, “Bet the boss fancies ya.”
Nothing about him grossed her out. They ordered room service, grilled
cheese and Boddingtons. When Justin smiled, his whole face creased
and dimpled. BRB felt a drop of jealousy toward his future wife, with
whom he would not brawl.
They watched Cocktail, lying on the bed and holding hands. She gave
him a blow job with a condom on. He didn’t act like he found it strange,
nor did he come. He never tried to fuck her, and when they slept he
didn’t press his pelvis into her or touch her tits. Everything they did,
including every kiss, was instigated by her. At least, that was the way she
The next morning, they ate packaged croissants in the room and
went zip-lining in the jungle. They took the chair lift to the zip-line
place. It was a thirty-minute ride up through the jungle canopy. Nobody was ahead of them and nobody was behind. BRB turned to look at
him. She had never seen such a handsome face. She shimmied her legs
out of the holes between the bars and then shimmied herself to straddle
him. He had a “Whoa” look on his face, but mostly he was adroit at setting her down to face him. She unzipped his cargo shorts and nothing
had slipped in easier, nothing had felt safer. She was, for the first time
since before the accident, happy. This was the kind of thing that carefree
kids did—zip-lining on a touristy island in a half-jungle, half-mall state.
Fucking on a chair lift. She didn’t think about HIV, just the benign stuff,
like crabs. It was only during her orgasm that she remembered she had
not yet called her mother that morning.
As they tracked back down to the base on parallel zip lines, she was
dripping from her underwear, and he smiled at her with a look of blithe
beauty on his face. She realized he was freer than she was. The loss of
a little sister was different. It would give him more character. He didn’t