Over the next few days, she told stories and he sang to her. It was more than just a way to pass the countless hours. It broke through the loneliness and despair. It was a way to briefly escape their predicament.
The food continued to come every other time the light came on. They heard no news about the tape that was sent to their fathers. Every time the guard showed up she would ask, “Have you heard anything from our families?”
“Not today,” he would answer.
She wondered why. Conrad told her not to worry. Their fathers were looking for them and maybe the guard wasn't allowed to say anything. Still, it was disheartening to both.
One time, after a warm meal of rice and meat, Misty began a story. This time, it was about the two of them.
“Take a walk with me, Conrad.”
“Where are we going?”
“Hiking. Grab your gear.”
He decided to participate in the creation of a fantasy world where they were free.
“Got my backpack ready.”
“Great, let's go.”
“Which trail are we taking? Expert or beginner?”
“Let's take the middle one. I don't want to be too tired when we get to the top of the mountain.”
“Sounds like a plan. Let's go.”
Misty stood and walked. The sound of her feet echoed through the hall and into his cell. He stood and fell into pace with her.
“Wow, it's nice out today,” she said.
“It's perfect. Not too hot for walking. White puffy clouds in the sky.”
“Still, I'm glad there are trees on the trail. We can duck into the shade if we get too hot. Mm, the air smells so clean and fresh.”
“Can I take your hand?”
Misty put her hand out to the side and pretended to take his.
“Look, Misty. A rabbit,” Conrad whispered just loud enough to travel to her ears.
“Sh, you'll scare her.”
They continued hiking and told each other about the things they saw, each of them feeling the experience as if they were truly out in the wilderness, just the two of them. Twigs cracked beneath their feet. Birds cheerily chirped in the bushes. Bee buzzed around from bloom to bloom.
After a while, Misty suggested, “Let's take a break. We can go sit under that huge oak tree.”
“I'll spread out the blanket.”
“Did you bring anything to eat? I'm kind of hungry.”
“I got a couple of ham sandwiches.”
“Cool. I have two diet cokes and some chips.”
Misty sat down on the floor and crossed her legs. She pretended to take a small cooler out of her backpack, retrieving the two bottles of soda and the chips. He pretended as well. He spread his blanket on the floor and sat down.
“Mm, Conrad. This sandwich is great. I love the spicy mustard.”
“I thought you would.”
“Hm, so you think you know me well, then.”
“How long have we been together? Three months?”
“I remember that first day I saw you. You were so beautiful.”
“Ha! I looked terrible. I had just gotten back from a run. My hair was pulled back in a loose pony tail, strands clinging to my sweaty face. I must have smelled really bad too.”
“You looked great to me.”
“Maybe it was the sun in your eyes.”
“You're even more beautiful today, Misty.”
She involuntarily blushed. “Thanks for the sandwich. It was really good. Do you want some more chips?”
“Nah, I'm good. Should we rest a while before we get back on the trail?”
“Let's take everything off the blanket and we can lay down.”
Conrad lay down on the blanket, imagining the firm earth beneath him.
“Are you tired?”
“My feet are a little. The rest of me is fine.”
“Let me take off your boots.” A moment later, he added. “You have beautiful feet.”
“How can feet be beautiful?”
Misty rubbed her feet. “That feels so good.”
“You have such shapely legs.”
“That's from all the walking.”
“Misty,” he said in a low moan. “Can I kiss you?”
They both made believe they could feel each other's lips. Misty released a low, almost inaudible moan sparking his arousal.
“Conrad? I've never...”
“It's okay, Misty. I won't make you do anything you don't want to.”
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