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Land of the Living

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I want to be the only one for miles and miles. 

Except for maybe you and your simple smile.

 

//

 

Miracles. The name circles around in his head. They're on the road still, his arms wrapped tightly around her waist holding on for—

Miracles. 

He’s never been to Montana before, at least not when it was Montana. He’s tried to chart the journey in his head. Purgatory, south to— but the roads aren’t what he remembers. He can barely map Valdosta to Tombstone anymore. Tombstone to Purgatory. How did they get across the Rockies— Colorado or otherwise— then?

He doesn’t remember. 

There are things he never thought he’d forget, things he replayed over and over in his head at the bottom of that well, adventures he and Wyatt took, Kate. Silver linings in the dark. But looking out at that stretch of concrete, the scent of lavender radiating from her hair, they’ve been replaced by every inch of her and that thing he’s long avoided— a future. Their future. 

She signals off the highway just as the sun starts to set. It’s another late sunset and looking out at the horizon, he knows it's only downhill from here. 

He’s not sure where here is exactly, resists the urge to try and pull out his phone and find it on a map. Jeremy probably knows, is probably following along eagerly. If it wasn’t their honeymoon, Waverly and Nicole surely would be too. He can picture them now at the homestead around the fireplace, toasting their adventure. He feels a pang then, tight and heavy in his chest.

He needs a change now, to move and build, to redefine the contours of his— very long— life, but Purgatory is, the GRT is, he knows, they both know: home. 

Later, around the fire, when their phones both begin to die, she’ll take a swig from the bottle of Jack they bought along the way and ask, “Does it taste different?” 

“Does what taste different?” He’ll respond, sure the sly smile across his face is getting goofier by the minute and knowing it’s been hours now. 

“Now that you’re not…” she apes vampire somehow, hands just so with a hiss, “does it taste different?” 

He gives the bottle a whiff, pours the liquid down, holds it in his throat, before watching her watch him swallow, “I suppose…” he starts, as she inches closer. “I suppose it tastes the way it always did, just again.” 

“So,” her fingers dance along his thigh. “Different.” 

“Hmm,” he inhales sharply, grabbing her hand in his and pulling her even closer, “you could say.” 

“And do I?” she asks, her lips just grazing his, “Taste different?” 

He rises to his knees at this, puts his hands on either side of her waist, presses his thumbs deep into her hip bones. His lips brush back against hers, never gripping long or hard, just quick touches, slow brushes, like it’s a game. 

Her fingers reach for him, unbutton his pants, unzip his fly and trace the outline of him, as she pushes her mouth against his, harder and longer this time. Her tongue searching for his, then stopping, reversing course, like it’s a game. 

“Well, darling,” he whispers, fingers walking down the smooth leather of her pants, back up to the waistband. Once and again. Up and down. “I won’t know that until—”

Before he can finish his sentence, she grabs his hand and invites him in.  His index and middle finger brushing against the smooth flesh of her clit, until she too steadies herself on her knees, stares deep into his eyes, puts her hand back against his and draws him lower still. 

When he’s finally inside her, she moans softly, even if she knows this is just a tease, a taste, a brief moment in time. A game. 

Outside, the fire crackles, cicadas sing, the sun has set. 

Outside, his fingers reach his mouth. Taste her. “And?” She asks. 

“Hmm.” The smile is back, soft against his lips. “Before, you, I suppose, you, tasted all your own.” 

To this she’s skeptical, eyes raising poised to turn quickly back into her head. “And now?” 

“You taste all your own, but also mine,” he breathes these last words. Mine. It’s effervescent, dissolves in air, until it’s gone. Mine. 

“Fuck you,” she laughs, her mouth so close to his it takes more energy to keep them apart than it would to let them collide. 

He shrugs, it’s coy yet earnest, soft and sentimental. “You did ask.” 

“Mine,” she mimics, stressing his accent, elongating his already long drawl. She grabs him now, hands low and tight, putting deep pressure on the points of his hips. 

She eyes him, up and down, once and again, and when she’s had her fill, she works off his top until he’s shirtless against her. “Mine,” she breathes into him, “fucking mine.” 

Eventually, the fire light fades and they’re entangled naked in the grass, two travelers ill prepared for the journey ahead, for Miracles. 

When he stirs in the middle of the night and has to remove a strand of her hair from his mouth, he’ll wonder if that’s why she killed Charlene— to make it longer to get there. To preserve this, this moment, these moments, these two fuck ups on the long hard road, but trying, fucking trying. 

He’ll wonder, and then he’ll curl back into her, and fall asleep.