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Maybe sex killed brain cells. That would be her explanation if anyone ever found out.

The ice cream was melting. It would have been oozing out onto her pants if it weren’t for the plastic bag. He was driving, even though she was the one who wanted to go out for ice cream; he only came along because there wasn’t a functioning television in his room. She wanted Neapolitan, but had to settle for strawberry, because it was a mom-n-pop shop out in the middle of Nowhere, Colorado. Their lead had been a dead end, and her life was starting to feel like one, too.

And as he drove back from the store, she traced a random pattern in the frost on the carton. She told him that the tank was full of gas and their luggage was already in the trunk, so they could just keep driving.

He pretended that he didn’t hear her.

-

It was illicit, and some part of her wondered if he was only doing it for the thrill. If she meant anything to him at all.

Jack made love to her as if the world was ending and this was the last thing he was going to do, ever.

She closed her eyes, because nothing was hers, and this made it easier to breathe.

The sheets made her skin itch, but she dared not pull them off, for fear of whatever lurks on a motel mattress. His fingers entwined with hers, and she held on for dear life. He drove into her with such ferocity that it was almost painful – it was painful – but the release he was pushing her towards was worth it.

-

He missed the turn.

It was clearly marked, with a sign so large it almost dwarfed the trees. His knuckles were turning white as he clutched the steering wheel. One of his hands found hers, and she began tracing that unknown pattern on his skin. She imagined it as a road map, displaying their journey from Colorado to Utah, maybe down to Arizona before crossing into Nevada, and then California. They’d get a little house by the ocean.

“If we just kept driving, the ice cream would melt,” he said in an unnervingly calm voice.

“We’d also be stealing a rental car. I think the ice cream would be the least of our problems.”

-

He was trying to kiss her, but she couldn’t breathe, so she didn’t let him. Hypoxia made everything go blurry.

Her orgasm felt like a panic attack. A wail tried to escape her lips, but there wasn’t any air to give it a voice. He grunted and collapsed; she finished around him.

She tried to tell herself that it was the danger, the wickedness of it all, that made the sex so good. If he wasn’t married, if this weren’t so wrong, it couldn’t possibly be this good. This was the kind of sex you only read about in cheap novels, the kind that only existed in the imagination of lonely women.

He extracted himself from her body. It was suddenly cold, and she grasped blindly for the sheets.

-

“I can throw the ice cream out. It’s not that important.”

“You wanted it.”

She squirmed, because it was suddenly too hot in the car, because he was still driving, because the sign said they were twenty miles from the state line, because she had no idea what he was talking about now.

“You can’t always get what you want.”

It was impossible to breathe. He was still driving – still driving – and her mind was preoccupied with irrational thoughts. She only packed two pairs of pants. Her toothbrush was in the travel bag, back at the motel. She only had twenty dollars cash on her, and she had just spent $6.79 on overpriced strawberry ice cream.

“We can’t do this.”

He was silent as he did a sloppy three-point turn.

-

“Should I be flattered or worried that you always act as if you’ve been held underwater for an hour when we do this?”

She shrugged, partly because she was still gasping for air, partly because she didn’t know.

“I want ice cream.”

He muttered some kind of response, but with his head buried in the pillow, she couldn’t make it out. He didn’t look up until she had gotten out of the bed and begun retrieving her clothing.

“Our flight isn’t for another three hours. Come back to bed.”

“I’m going to get ice cream.”

He had torn the waistband of her underwear.

Again.

(fin.)