Useful To You

So, there it was, the truth of her past. She was on the run from something more sinister than greed or self-interest. She was running from herself, only to trip and fall into his shaky arms. He didn’t ask any more questions, he couldn’t. He was on borrowed time, and asking how was never as important as asking why. So, he held her close to him like a newborn clinging to their mother’s finger. He started the car and drove. The city lights bounced off the glistening ocean as she felt the cool breeze on her face. The car sped up the highway and under the tunnel, then they came to Malibu. They made a couple of turns past a residential street, geeking at glass houses on the side. He pulled over, just away from the sands but close enough that she could dart barefooted if she wanted to and the ocean would embrace her wildly.

The winds at Zuma beach were calm around this time of night, and the stench of nature polluted the airways. He reached for her, and she obliged. She held him close as they walked towards the water. The bag was a little heavy for her, so she passed it on to him. She wanted to be the one to carry the bag but gave up halfway through. This made him laugh hysterically. They fussed over the perfect spot to lay the blanket and after a few tries, they wedged the blanket down with hooks they bought for cheap on Amazon.

She pulled out a bottle of wine and poured some into the glasses. They savored for a bit, only stopping to take in the view. He turned to her, conflicted in his facial expression but steadfast in his voice as he spoke.

“I won’t be around much longer, but if you’ll still have me, let me be your protector.”

She took a sip of the wine and savored the textured flavor. She smiled and looked him in the eyes.

“On one condition”

“Okay,” he said calmly.

“Only if you’ll let me be your protector,” she said firmly.

His voice croaked as he acknowledged her. She kissed him softly and the mystery in his eyes disappeared. He was young again, and this time, she thought, she could give life a real go.


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