Slipping into the barn is like entering a cathedral – the high ceiling lost in dimness. Sunlight beams through the spaces in the weathered boards, and the hay dust shimmers in the lights, shifting and swirling. The air is heavy and hot. The August sun beats down on the roof, the heat of the afternoon barely lessened by its shelter.
She stands just inside, letting her eyes adjust to the gloom, her bare feet scraping the cool cement floor. Swaying in the light breeze, her pale yellow dress glows backlit from the open door behind her. The soft cotton caresses her bare legs. Sweat trickles down her back.
“Jasper?” she whispers. “You here?”
“Hsst,” she hears to her left.
She turns and follows the voice.
From the other end of the barn a shape takes form, moving into the bars of slanting sunlight. He seems haloed by the light and the dust, and her heart pounds. His shining black hair frames an angelic face, his blue eyes seek her own deep brown ones. As he moves towards her, hand raised to meet hers, he licks his lips in anticipation.
Their hands touch. Palm to palm their fingers intertwine and they stop closer. As his lips touch hers, she feels his power rising through her belly. The heady pull of his desire, her desire, makes her knees weak, and she melts into his body.
Their breath catches, quickens.
Their kiss deepens and she is lost. She grips his shoulders as his hands run down her damp back, her dress sticking to her body, his leg moving forward, leaning, pressing.
They pause, gasping. They have waited so long for this kiss. This touch. They shake with the power of their feelings, their need. Having kissed, they cannot stop. This desire is a torrent, a mad rushing like a dam bursting its confining walls and hurtling downstream, taking everything in its path.
There is no stopping.
Forehead to forehead they gaze into each others’ eyes, breathing each others’ breath. He leans back, holding her waist, and she nods her head to the side, to the ladder leading to the hayloft.
They sprint, hands together, gripping one another knowing they’re tossed like flotsam on this river. They climb the ladder, the dust and heat rising as they rise, breath labored and eager. They tumble onto an old wool blanket, cushioned by piles of hay, and slide into each others arms again. They laugh and roll – he tickles her and she shrieks. He shushes her with a hand to her mouth.
He slowly slides his hand away. She feels the weight of him, pressing her down onto the scratchy blanket, her thin dress no barrier. He grasps her shoulders and stretches her arms up over her head. He grips her hands. She feels pinned. She feels like she no longer has to make a choice – it is already made.
She shifts her hips and slides her legs up around his, pinning him to her. She licks her lips, salty with sweat. He leans down and slides his lips against hers and surrenders.
The barn door moans as she pushes it open. The lights snap on with a hum, but their faraway light is dim and holds no comfort. She stamps the snow from her boots onto the cold cement floor.Her breath fogs the air and forms a halo around her head. Frozen dust motes flicker in the light here and there. She leans against the doorpost, panting, her breath gasping past the pain of her heart.
She hears the back door slam, out in the starry cold December night. She hears his angry footsteps crunching on last week’s snow and the grinding squeal of the car door. The engine struggles to turn, then catches and revs. Tires grind down the drive and slowly the sound fades. She is left alone in the icy barn. Her tears fall slowly, hot against her cheeks.