In the darkness of the theater, I was very aware of Bianca’s body beside me. Her elbow rested next to mine on the armrest and the heat radiating from it made my forearm tingle. Shifting in my seat, I let my arm slide closer, the fine hairs on mine tangling with the hairs on hers. A pulse of something electric passed through me. My arm buzzed and the sensation moved through me, making every inch of my body alive and ultra-aware.
Bianca turned to look at me. Her eyes glinted in the flickering light coming from the screen. Her arm pressed harder against mine, her body heat becoming a part of me. I flicked my eyes back toward the movie. Her hand wrapped around my fingers and squeezed gently. I squeezed back, thankful for the darkness, knowing my face would be bright red.
We didn’t do anything but hold hands, yet it felt illicit and dangerous. Her palm was soft and grew slightly damp the longer we held onto each other. I didn’t pull away though. The gentle pressure of her fingers made my heart swell. I became aware of an emptiness somewhere deep inside, a gnawing sense of longing I’d never experienced before. It excited and frightened me at the same time. Was this what falling in love felt like?
My whole head burned now, and I wanted it to stop before the movie ended and the lights came up. I fixed my eyes on the screen. I hadn’t paid attention to the movie at all, and had no idea what was going on. A woman lay in a hospital bed, dark hair spread across the white pillow in artful disarray. Machines droned and beeped alongside her while a handsome man knelt and wept with his head resting on her hand. The piercing sound of the machine flatlining sent a bolt of blue across my vision. The man’s crying turned to moans. He stood and pounded at the shrilling machine with his fists, beating at the hunks of glass and metal until his knuckles were raw and bleeding.
“Hey, are you okay?” Bianca leaned toward me, the hand not entwined with mine reaching up to push my hair aside.
I shook my head and ducked so she wouldn’t see the tears gushing from my eyes. I should’ve paid more attention to what movie we’d come to see. It wasn’t the right time to see this one. I glanced back at the screen, warped now by my tears, and saw me and Jules in that room.
The lump constricting my throat melted. I was really crying now, and couldn’t stop. I doubled over and tried to quiet the sobs in my knees.
“Oh, shit, Livvie. I’m sorry.” Bianca knelt on the sticky, popcorn strewn floor and wrapped her arms around me. “I’m so sorry.”
I leaned into her, burying my face in her neck. Her pulse beat a regular tattoo against my cheek and her hair tickled my neck. She smelled of apple shampoo and something darker and muskier, a scent that spoke of danger. I breathed it deep into me as I worked to control my sobs. The tears slowed, grief replaced by something much more primal. I pulled Bianca closer. Her breasts pressed against my chest. She was near enough I could feel her heart beating counterpoint to mine. Sliding down in the seat, I raised my head and found her mouth with my lips.
This kiss was nothing like the ones we’d shared outside the gallery. This one was serious. Hungry. We slid down onto the filthy floor and crouched there amongst the abandoned Coke cups and moldering popcorn kernels. The scattering of other film-goers could have been on another planet for all the attention we paid them.
Bianca’s hands crept under my t-shirt. They were warm against my skin and sent shockwaves rippling through me. I fumbled with her dress, plunging my fingers down the front to fondle the damp chasm between her breasts.
Somewhere beyond us, orchestral music swelled to a crescendo. How cheesy. The thought was vague and unfocused. Bianca’s long fingers smoothed their way across my stomach, her little finger brushing across the waistband of my low cut jeans, tracing the raised scars on my hip. I couldn’t think. My mind was nothing but a red hot pool of desire.
It took us several minutes to realize the lights had come up and the credits were rolling. People rose and left their seats, ignoring our entwined bodies as they exited the theatre. I pulled away and tugged my rumpled t-shirt straight. My knees stuck to the red and gold patterned carpet and made a disgusting sucking sound when I pulled myself off the floor to sit in my seat once more.
“Found it!” Bianca cried too loudly, waving a coin at me in an exaggerated gesture. Her face was pink, her lipstick smeared.
“Oh, good,” I played along. “I wouldn’t have been able to get home without it.”
Nobody even looked our way.
I reached out a hand to help Bianca to her feet. She took it and collapsed into her chair once more. The theater was empty now, the last credits rolling off the top of the screen. We watched them disappear, not looking at each other, our breathing returning to normal. I pushed my hair back out of my face and risked a glance in her direction. Her dress hung down on one side and her shoulder peeked out from a twisted black sleeve. I stood up and straightened it for her, tugging the slippery fabric back up over the smooth, white flesh.
I’d crossed a line. I wasn’t sure what line it was, or why it was there, but I knew, as the lights came up full, that I’d moved into new territory. Bianca squeezed my hand and stood up too, leading me out of the brightened cinema without a word.
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