“What are you doing?” her words came out through chattering teeth. She met his gaze for a second and smiled.
“I just wanted to get a little closer to you,” he leaned into her, resting his weight against her. “I wanted to see if I could help you get warm.”
“Maybe,” she met his gaze again but this time did not look away. They held onto the moment, watching each other, and both smiled. She let out a laugh, loud at first; it echoed off the trees, bouncing back at them from the dark woods. She put her hand over her mouth until the laugh died away.
“Maybe I can warm you up?” he asked, “You’re not sure if I am capable?”
“Oh I know you’re capable,” her voice was louder now, she no longer shivered.
“Should I throw some more wood on the fire?”
She looked at the orange flames, leaping occasionally, seated on a sturdy bed of branches, stacked against each other, a pyramid of deep red heat.
“I think the fire is plenty big, we don’t want to burn down the forest,” she said, “But there’s plenty of room in this sleeping bag, I think we could both get warmer if you joined me.”
She unzipped the bag from within, opened it, holding her arms wide to show the ample room, and then reaching toward him to envelop him, to wrap him up beside her. They managed to both fit, snug. She pulled the zipper back up, and they found themselves nestled tight, nose to nose, awkwardly close even for she and him.
“When do you think they’ll be back?” she whispered.
“It could be a while, they want to try to get some beer. It could take a bit to find someone to buy for them, or a place that will sell to them. We could be alone for a while.”
“Oh no!” she mocked concern, “All Alone! Do you think we’ll be alright?”
“I think we might,” he played along, “Don’t worry your pretty little head, I’ll fight a bear if I have to.”
She giggled, leaned in and kissed him. They were immediately intertwined, arms reaching and curled, wrapping around one another. They tangled, hungry and urgent.
Their hands danced inside the sleeping bag. They pushed against each other, trying to get as close as possible, trying to get as much of their own being in contact with the other’s body.
In the passion, in the shifting weight of their bodies squirming together, they lost balance. They slipped off the log, hitting the ground with a thump.
Eyes opened but lips did not detach. She giggled directly into his mouth, and they resumed their embrace, their starving, indulgent kisses. They dove at each other, frantic and sloppy, wet. Mouths wide, tongues dancing, each wanting to consume the other.
They rustled and rolled, adjusting to their horizontal position, but never disengaging. They jerked and struggled into comfort. He laid on top of her, his hand pushed into her hair, keeping her head from the ground, out of the dirt.
She pulled her head away, panting. “Oh! You are hot.”
“No. No, you’re the hot one,” he leaned in to kiss again.
In a moment, she pulled away once more. “No, I mean you’re on fire!” she spoke in a new, firm tone.
“No you are the one–” he managed to say before she hit him hard on the back, slapping at him as fast as she could manage. He opened his eyes; he felt the heat on his back, and realized they had rolled too close to the fire.
©Robert Emmett McWhorter