By Mary Claire Ekstrom
It had been a long, hard week.
My summer job was killing me. Up at 7, work til 5, then out on the town until 2… just didn’t leave much time for sleep.
I was exhausted. So was Ben, my college boyfriend. Both of us lay sprawled across the sectional couch of his childhood home.
Nothing romantic going on. We were too tired for that.
Ottomans propped our feet. Computers lay on our laps.
My eyelids hung low.
I looked over at Ben. “I give up. I can’t keep my eyes open. I’m taking a nap.”
Ben continued to type. “I’ll wake you when dinner’s ready.”
I nuzzled down until my feet hung off the ottoman. Then, everything went black.
Pure, cold, hard sleep.
A noise. Rummaging sound. About three feet away.
Figuring it was Ben, I stretched. Shuffled my arms behind me and pushed my breasts out, trying to look enticing. A second later, I fluttered my eyes and peeked to see the effect.
Drew, Ben’s fourteen-year-old brother, and his friend Will, stood gawking at me.
I jerked into a more PG position. “Uh… Hi Drew… Hi Will…”
Ben lay flopped on his side next to me, eyes closed, snoring.
“So is this what y’all do on dates now?” Will joked.
My pulse calmed. “Yep,” I chuckled.
They grinned and wandered away.
I looked at my watch.
Dinnertime, in about an hour.
“Ben,” I nudged his shoulder.
His left foot fell off the ottoman and hit the floor.
He groaned, then re-propped it on the ottoman, never bothering to open his eyes.
“Ben,” I pushed again, this time more aggressive.
“Shhhhh…” he moved his arm around my waist and pulled me next to him.
I felt his warmth, the weight and strength of him.
Dinnertime could wait.
I shut my eyes. Time slowed and I floated away.
“Hey…” Ben whispered.
I thought… but… couldn’t muster a response.
His lips brushed my cheek. A kiss, so soft and gentle.
He moved his foot over mine and slid over to kiss the other cheek… but fell asleep on the way.
He nuzzled his face into the crook of my neck, and moved his other arm around me.
I blushed. He was asleep on top of me.
I thought about protesting. About pushing him off. But I was so comfortable. So warm…
His breathing evened out. At peace.
I closed my eyes and wrapped my arms around my muscular blanket.
A door banged.
My mind flashed to Will and Drew.
Just leave us alone… Still lost in the fog, no sound came out.
The shuffling got louder, maybe ten feet away.
There was a purposeful shaking of things.
They were messing with us… taking away this beautiful moment.
I was going to kill them.
Furious, I opened my eyes, to… Ben’s Dad.
Shocked. He reeled back and stiffened.
Humiliated, I gasped.
Suddenly, suffocating under Ben’s weight.
Panicked, I pushed on Ben. Desperate to move him.
“Mary Claire,” Ben nuzzled his face into my neck, ”relax.”
His dad saw. His jaw tightened.
I froze. Horrified.
Oh God… Help me…
Frantic, I pushed, twisted and struggled.
“Please Ben” I whispered-yelled. “Get off.”
Ben flattened himself more firmly on top of me and said, “Shhh… Be still.”
Ben’s Dad’s eyes darkened, then disappeared into tiny slits.
Please God, I begged, kill me now…
His dad’s mouth, a thin line of disapproval, opened. “It’s time for dinner.”
Thankfully, he marched away.
My mind raced.
I sighed, “This is so horrible.”
Ben let out a heavy growl in my ear and tried to kiss me.
“Stop that. I hate you.” I hissed and kicked Ben off me, on to the floor.
Panicked, he let out, “What? What?” he stared up at me.
I whispered furiously, “You fell asleep on top of me.”
I crossed my arms and huffed.
He blinked twice. “So?”
My arm began to flop as I sputtered, “A-And your dad came in… To tell us it was time for dinner… and saw us!”
“Why didn’t you just say so?” He stood and held out his hand. “I’m hungry. Let’s go.”
“But… But… he saw you…” I could barely spit out the words “Asleep. On top of me. He probably thought…”
He sighed and took my hand.
Knelt to meet my eyes.
My heart fluttered.
I leaned in a little and puckered a bit.
He put his forehead on mine.
“Mary Claire, don’t worry about my dad.”
His kissed me on cheek.
“He didn’t think anything about it. Because I fall asleep on Drew all the time.”