“Do you think we’re far away enough?” Steph asked
Pete adjusted his glasses and squinted into the distance. “I doubt we’d be visible from camp”
“yeah” Steph agreed, “but I meant - do you think we’re far away enough for me to do this?” She put a hand on Pete’s cheek and another on his side; she pulled him in close and kissed him on the lips. It was brief yet eager.
Pete smiled, making a nervous sound. “I think we need to get farther away.” He grabbed her hand and they continued to walk away from Camp Idontwannabang.
Pete had been kissed before. He’d dated Jenna for about three months last year. The kissing was bad, though. Even besides the kissing, they hadn’t been a good match. And in retrospect he’d known it all along. He had later realized that he’s dated her in part because so many people around him had been saying “don’t you /like/ each other?”. Their interactions hadn’t felt the most comfortable and the touching hadn’t been satisfying. Jenna was a lovely friend, but romance was something different.
Steph incited a great many feelings inside of him, and Pete was pretty sure that it wasn’t all just the adrenaline from their current daring escape. It was her calm demeanor. The way she didn’t look down on him for having masturbated in a school bathroom. She made him feel accepted and safe. She’d been looking out for him, up to and including their current jailbreak. Pete chuckled. “You know, when you broke in the door and burst into my little solitary cabin - that moment was very much like ‘I’m Luke Skywalker and I’m here to rescue you’. But more badass.”
“Oh boy, I hope we’re not headed to the trash compacter!” Steph joked.
Pete laughed. Steph chuckled. “No but to be real though, I think we’ve got at least a few hours”.
“Before what?” Pete asked
A worried look crossed Steph’s face. “Well, I’m sure that Grace will eventually come to my cabin to visit me. And then will realize I’m gone.”
Pete exhaled, “Grace is such a pious little shit”
“She sure seems that way”
“You sound conflicted”
“I’m angry at her, of course, for landing me into the trash fire of abstinence camp. Even though it was really mostly my dad’s doing. Anyway, the anger burns itself out and, well, part of me is worried for Grace. It’s so clear that she is trying her best to adhere to the rules of a bad belief structure that ultimately doesn’t care about her wellbeing. In some ways she is stunningly naive. So it can be super frustrating to talk to her.”
“Right,” Pete added. That had been his only experiences with Grace.
Steph continued, “But then there are these moments when she makes a small comment or looks at me a certain way - and it seems like there’s a real, genuine person somewhere in there - buried under all of the dogma. It’s like . . . did you see that movie Get Out?” Pete nodded. “It’s like she’s in the sunken place. But she’s been there her whole life and so she doesn’t know it. Doesn’t realized the fucked up nature of the life that she’s in”
Pete wasn’t sure how best to respond; it was a perspective on Grace Chastity which he had not previously considered. “That’s tricky” Pete remarked. “It sounds like you wish you could connect with her in a more real way than seems to be possible”.
Steph nodded “Yes”. They were quiet for a little. Then Steph said "I’m glad we found each other. That was all on my mind, but I couldn’t say it out loud, not in that camp.”
“Fuck that place” Pete declared in agreement.
Steph nodded “Yeah, fuck that place”.
After some more walking and talking they found a clearing. Pete cupped a hand on Steph’s cheek, then leaned in and kissed her. Steph sucked on his lower lip eagerly. The kissing grew more energetic as Pete’s hand moved to caress Steph’s neck. Steph’s hands were on Pete’s lower back, pulling their bodies into each other.
“Hold up” Steph suddenly removed her mouth from Pete’s. Her expression seemed thoughtful.
Pete took a step back - their bodies were still close but no longer touching. Both teens were breathing more than normal after the excitement of the kiss.
Steph met his eyes. “It doesn’t feel right in these shirts.”
Pete looked down at his blue T-shirt, with the phrase ‘virginity rocks!’ on the chest in a kitchy font. He put a hand on his stomach, and then looked back up at Steph. A mischievous grin crept onto his face. “Well then I guess we’ll just have to take them off”
Steph cocked her head and rolled her shoulders, pleased with his answer. “Yeah I think so too”
Pete’s hands moved to remove his shirt.
“Wait” Steph said, and he paused. She pecked him on the cheek. “Let me.” She used both hands to take off his glasses, and placed them on a nearby tree stump. Then she grabbed the hem of his shirt and pulled upwards. Pete put his arms up and closed his eyes allowing her to undress him. He felt free. He laughed a little as Steph dropped his shirt to the ground. In a rush, he felt for her waist, and then pulled her shirt over her head.
Pete took in the sight of her. Skin and shapes and a black sports bra. Pete had seen undressed people before, of course. Both in real life, like at the pool, and in porn. But this was the first time he’d had a shirtless person in front of him whose body was eager for his touch all over. Steph rolled her shoulders. “My god I feel so much better out of that damned pink shirt. I mean the fabric is whatever but the colors, the…” she clenched her fist, then expanded it. Her hands shook a little “the conformity. The pressure. What it puts on you.” She shook her head. “It’s messed up. It’s bad for us.”
He hadn’t given this a ton of thought before, but somehow her words rang true to him. He looked her in the eye. “I know. But fuck that whole place. We can be whoever we want to be”. Steph nodded. Both teens weren’t really sure if that was true, but they hoped without understanding what they were hoping for.
Then Steph’s eyebrows moved mischievously and turned her shoulders. “What if I want to be the hottie who turns you on?”
Pete laughed “Mission accomplished! You’ve achieved that goal - check it off your list!”
Steph put a hand on his stomach and then slowly moved it upwards until it rested on his peck. Her thumb found his nipple, and circled it. “Well there’s always room for improvement”