Arizona Skies
Author: Isabella Darcy

Chapter 41
Trust Me

This is not happening, this is not happening, this cannot be happening! I think. What the fuck! And then my muscles suddenly regain control, and I push against Frank, propelling him backward.

"Holy shit Frank!"

He sways a bit from the sudden force of my push, a thin screen of dust rising slowly behind him. Suddenly I'm struck with how quiet it is here: the saturated egg yolk yellow of the sun streams down steadily, heat rises off the sparkly rocks in perpetual shimmery waves.

The only sounds I hear seem to be coming from me: the loud, irregular beat of my heart in my head, pounding  with heavy steps; my rushed, trapped breathing; the shaking rustle of my hair as the slight, dry breeze runs across my neck. Why is it so quiet?

Frank’s eyes are wide and shocked, his mouth open in a ridiculous mime of surprise. “Oh my god Aurora, I did not mean to do that.”

“What did you mean?!” I rub my throat, feeling the lump of tears and frustration already growing there. I feel trapped, suffocated. Suddenly the hot air is pressing down on me like a million tons.

He steps toward me, shaking his head. “Oh my god Aurora, I swear I did not mean to do that. You were just- so close-“

I tear a hand through my hair and turn away from him, breathless. I can feel the heat flush up my face, squirm in a pool in my gnawing stomach. “I can’t do this.”

“Wait, Aurora-“

He darts around me, grabbing both my shoulders, making me look up at him. His eyes are wide and blue, honestly surprised. I see a thin sheen of sweat on his upper lip- oh God, I’m going to be sick.

“Aurora! Sit down.”

He pushes me down on the dust. My legs collapse like a doll’s, pliable and plastic. He plops down in front of me. I look at him and see three pairs of blue eyes swim before my vision. I put a hand to my hot forehead and blink, trying to clear my eyes.

Frank waits a couple moments. Then he prompts, “Better now?”

I open my eyes and nod, swallowing. Then I find my voice again. It sounds stringy and thin in the pulsating heat. “Frank! Why would you do that?”

Frank’s face flushes a deep brick red. “I’m sorry, I really am. I guess- it’s just- I’ve been wanting to do that for a while now-“

I try to ignore that. “Frank! The whole point of this was that I clearly tell you what my feelings for you are- and for us to have, you know, boundaries-“

He nods vehemently. “I know, yes, yes. I’m sorry! Continue with what you were saying- you want to be just friends-“

I roll my eyes, my distraction momentarily overcoming the worry. “Well that’s kind of weird now! I just wanted to see if we could be just friends- nothing beyond that. I mean, now…”

“No, no, we can! California, I promise it won’t happen again. I’m more than happy to be just your friend.” Sincerity is traced in his every feature- but why do I still hold back?

“So what happens now? We just forget that- that you kissed me?” I flush with the word.

A momentary grin flashes across his face. “Well, I won’t.”

“Frank!” I run a hand through my hair in exasperation. Is he not getting it…?

“I’m sorry!” The grin becomes more prominent, lighting his face up with that sunshine look I haven’t seen for a while. “I don’t regret it- but hey, look, now that I’ve had an outlet to these emotions, let’s just move on! We can go back to how it was before.”

I can’t help smiling at his naiveté. “No, we cannot. You need to understand that Aubrey is my boyfriend-“

Wait, Aubrey. The red pickup-

“Frank! I think Aubrey saw!”

Frank’s neck flushes deep red again, matching the rest of him. Before he can hide it I catch the guilt on his face. Swiftly I jump up, splashing dust.

“You knew?! You knew he was watching?!”

Frank scrambles up, and deftly swerves as my hand swings out to smack him. “California, wait-“

“Is that why you kissed me? So he would see? So he would be jealous? I cannot believe you!”

I try to storm away but once again he runs up to me, this time keeping a little bit away, aware of my flying fists.

“No, California, I swear! That was not my intent- I knew Hunter was there- but I didn’t mean to kiss you, it just happened-“

He ducks again as my arms go for him once again. “Bullshit! You wanted him to see- I can’t believe this-“

Angrily I stomp away, my blood rushing like a waterfall in my brain. I need to find Aubrey- What is he going to think? What do I do?

“California! Please! Trust me!”

This time I don’t turn back.

 

 

I run into the house and up to my room, hoping for some bizarre reason that Aubrey will be here, perched on my bed, his face like a thundercloud, demanding an explanation. But when I push open the door and it swings so hard back that it hits the wall, the room is empty.

My shoes come off in two swift kicks, and I fly onto the empty bed with a scream of frustration. For a few moments I let my sheer panic and frustration seep out in angry dry sobs. But then I lift my head and am forced to confront my real, immediate problem- I need to find Aubrey and explain.

When I reach the kitchen Lindsey is sitting serenely reading the paper, her coffee steaming in a bright orange mug. She looks up at my crazed appearance with bland surprise.

“Good morning Aurora.”

I vainly attempt to smile. I’m pretty sure it comes out more like a grimace.  “Hi Grandma Lindsey. Um, I need to find Aubrey.”

She knowingly smiles. “Never too early in the day for love. Don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll be over soon.”

I’m not so sure. If Aubrey’s intent was to confront me, he would’ve been here faster than I could say his name.

“The thing is, I really need to find him. Like right now. Could you tell me where…his trailer is?”

Lindsey’s thin eyebrows arch in surprise. Sharply she asks, “Is everything okay?”

This time I make an effort to make my smile believable. Last thing I need is Lindsey involved in this. “Yeah, everything’s fine. I just really want to talk to him.”

“Okay.” Her voice still seems kind of doubtful, but she goes over to the fridge and pulls off a sticky note with scribbled blue ink. She hands it to me. “It’s quite a walk. But if you really want to…”

“Yeah, I do.” Impulsively I give her a hug. “Thanks.”

The look on her face is definitely suspicious now, but also a little pleased. Taking advantage of her temporary speechlessness, I flee.

 

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