While talking to Heath, Neil spots a woman he’d never expected to see again—Cynthia Finley, Cliff’s younger sister. Feeling the years drop away, he finds himself drawn to her again, stronger than ever. They decide to do get supplies for banana splits before going to her house to eat.
“I used to go camping here,” he said as they walked into the Wal-Mart. “Over there, near aisle ten, is where I lost my virginity.” He chuckled. “Nothing like sex in a tent….”
“Better than the flatbed of a truck.”
“Is that how you…? Naw, you’re kidding.”
“Totally exaggerating. It was in the comfort of my boyfriend’s dorm room at college.”
“I did it all wrong, Cynthia. That should have been you and me in that tent.”
“I was fifteen when you left, Neil.”
“I know, but I loved you ever since you were twelve and shoved me off the dock.”
“You almost drowned, Neil Braxton! How could you love a woman who almost killed you?”
“Cause you jumped in to save me. Then you went under and Cliff saved us both. Jesus, I miss him. I didn’t even know how much he was in my heart, until I got home. How do you stand it?”
She blinked hard, shaking her head. “I try not to think.” Hugging him fiercely, she wiped her eyes. “Look at me. Having an emotional breakdown in the frozen foods aisle. You always did bring out the worst in me, Neil.”
“I never did. I brought out only the best, Cindy Lou.”
She tapped him with the shopping cart, knocking him sideways. Laughing, he righted himself and grabbed the door to the freezer. Fortunately, it held and he got his balance. Standing close, he touched her hair.
“If I promise not to call you Cindy Lou again, can we get the damn ice cream and go?”
“Yeah,” she sighed.
They made their purchases quickly, heading back out to her car. She drove to her home, on the edge of the swamp, where her brother and sister-in-law had lived since they were married. It was the Finley ancestral home, going back to a time when Miracle was a fly speck on a map. It was lit up by brass lamps on each porch post. Two carriage lanterns flanked the door. The stairway was long and steep, leading to the front porch, since this part of the house was on stilts. The lower part, which they called the basement, was really at ground level.
“Old place is still the same,” Neil said, smiling sadly. “We had some good times here.”
Cynthia unlocked the door, ushering him in. “Yep. You gave me my first ever kiss right over there,” she teased, pointing to the darker end of the porch.
“Was it your first? Aren’t I the lucky man.”
“Wasn’t your first, though.”
“I’m three years older, course it wasn’t. But how I wished you were older, because I wanted it to be.” His fingers wound in her hair as the door drifted shut. “I wanted all my firsts to be with you, Cynthia. I’m sorry that it didn’t work out that way.” His lips touched hers, brushing gently across them.
Her arms went around him, pulling him close. He held her around the waist with one hand, the other still wound in her hair. They kissed a long time, until they remembered the ice cream. Laughing, they went to the kitchen and got out bowls. Preparing the banana splits didn’t take long. They took their dessert to the living room, sitting together on the huge, white couch, foot to foot, like the old days.
When they were done, they set their bowls aside and stared at one another for a long minute. Neil’s eyes drooped a little, making him look sleepy, his arms crossed behind his head. Cynthia knew that expression. He always looked at her that way when he wanted a kiss. No longer a teenager, she suspected he wanted something more. She hadn’t quite made up her mind until he leaned forward. Crawling over to her, he knelt between her knees, his lips less than half an inch from hers.
“I really wanna kiss you, Cindy Lou.”
For once, the silly nickname didn’t earn him a smack or a shove. Instead, Cynthia wound her arms around his neck, pulling him to her. Touching her only with his lips, he loomed over her, kissing her deeply. Cynthia could smell his desire, it coursed through him like white heat. Hers rose to meet his, setting her veins sizzling. She pulled his shirt over his head as he reached for hers. His body felt hot, more than feverish, as if he had a fire burning under his skin. Each muscle stood out in sharp contrast, the grooves and ridges of his superb body seeming to glow from within. It took a moment to penetrate her lust induced haze, he really was glowing!
Neil stopped, staring at her body. He’d just taken off her shirt and he could swear her body shone with a pinkish-golden light—like holding your hand in front of a candle. It wasn’t his imagination.
“You’re glowing,” he gasped, his voice very nearly betraying him.
“So are you.”
He stared at his hands, shocked by what he saw. It looked like some sort of weird special effects were at work here. Both of them shone brighter than the carriage lights outside.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes