Samantha

Jason said he'd fight for me. So I know he did.

Jason said he'd come back in the morning. So I know he will.

Jason said he'd never let anything come between us. So I know he won't.

That night Jason didn't get any rest. He laid in bed next to me with his eyes starring fixedly on the ceiling. I couldn't shake this unbelievable sweat so I stayed awake too. He didn't toss and turn like I did. He was just still. He was so damn still.

I knew that something was going to happen in the morning. It was the cause of the fever; the cause of the fire underneath Jason's skin. It always happened like this and I flashed back to a brief moment when I had explained it to him the first time.

Back then I was the one with the fire under my skin and he was so damn worried about his elevation in temperature. He asked me "Am I dying?" and I said "No, I am."

You see when there's a fight on the ridges of our reality we can feel it. We can feel a burning in our core and the person closest to us—emotionally that is—gets the same feeling. It's like some kind of warning, some kind of 'goodbye alarm" and back then Jason didn't know a thing about us or about it and I had to explain it because I was the one in danger. A lot of time passed since. But now, now it was his turn.

I turned onto my stomach and felt the squish of my breast into the mattress. My arm flailed out involuntarily onto his middle and it was like touching an unquenchable fire. But I didn't pull away from him.

I only opened my left eye to look at his bright blues illuminated by the moon peeking into our domain. He wasn't blinking and wasn't thinking but I could almost feel a pain radiating out from his pores and into my body. He was angry and that much was clear but he was also a whole mess of things that was churning inside, making the fire hotter and hotter.

I thought he should say something to make the pain go away but he didn't open his mouth until the moon fell and the sun had not risen. At that point his eyes finally closed and opened once again. They drifted downward onto me and they stayed there for a little while. He whispered something across his thoughts and I waited for him to speak them out loud.

He said, "We're supposed to be filling out college applications."

"College applications?" I asked. That was what he was thinking about?

"Millions of them. All scattered on the coffee table and the kitchen table and on the bed too. Some on our laptops and some not yet printed. We're supposed to be pulling our hair about this Samantha. We're supposed to be wishing we were dead," he explained and I couldn't help but think 'You might get that luxury."

If he heard it I didn't know. I just responded, "Well we aren't. That's one thing I'm happy to have avoided. All those fucking decisions and all that fucking work with no help and no direction and no income."

"I would have helped you. We would have helped each other," he said, getting that glassy faraway look.

"Would we have? Would we have done anything but gotten high and gotten drunk to chase the pain of being treated like babies and expected to act like adults? Are you sure that's not what we would have done?" I snapped.

A tear rolled down his cheek and wetted his messy blonde hair, "Are you saying you're happy for all of this?"

The sound in his voice made me slow my voice and my accusing tone. I should be more sensitive. I shouldn't be so callous. I looked down at his bare pale chest and my paler hand tangled on it. I shook my head and whispered, "I'm trying to find the brighter side, Jason. I'm trying to find something."

"There isn't anything. You're reaching."

"Well so are you."

"I'm not. We should be filling out common apps."

"And fucking ourselves up because we didn't realize how serious gym class was freshman year."

"You would have done awesome in gym class," he said in this cracked little voice of his that made him seem like a baby before he could be.

I shook my head, "I would have hated gym class and all the boys that tried too hard and the girls that didn't try hard enough and the teachers that never grew out of their 'cool' guy attitude although they've become fat and bald."

"Why can't you let me dream?"

I looked at him this time. Really looked at him and saw his eyes on the verge of spilling over into a fountain of devastation. He was taking this hard, way harder than last time. I reached up and touched his burning cheek, "I'm sorry, Jason."

He closed his eyes and sighed, "I know."

I leaned my head against the side of his neck as I moved closer and on to him. I whispered, "We would have been the pretentious power couple. We would have listened to good music that no one ever heard of and we would have a comment on everything, especially in gym class and English."

I could feel his cheek retract into a smile, "We'd only pass the ball to each other and in Soccer, if we were on opposite teams, we'd be goalie."

"We'd have lunch together and if we didn't we'd skip class and get Saturday detention all the time," I continued.

"And we'd be filling out Common Apps," he sighed.

I nodded, "Common Apps everywhere."

He wrapped his arms around me suddenly and crushed me into his chest, making me feel weak and inferior even though I was known to be a little stronger. He almost chanted against my dark hair, "I'm going to fight for you, Samantha. I will come back tomorrow morning. I won't let anything come between us. Never. Nothing ever will."

I hit his chest lightly and suffocated the tears in my shut eyes, "Duh, you idiot. I already knew that."

He laughed a little bit and said, "But really. I'll fight for you."

I nodded, "I know you will."

"I'll come back in the morning."

"Uh huh."

"I won't let anything come between us."

"I know."

"I love you."

"I love you too."

I already knew all this so when he came back in the morning it wasn't such a big surprise. It wasn't a surprise at all.