Beside him he could feel her; she was the tickling breath in his ear and the wind that whipped past him. Her disposition had always been one of freedom. She was taking him from Georgia now, leading him to a life in New York.
The music from the radio drifted from the car into the brown, flat lands that surrounded them. They were swept off into the great unknown of those vast plains. On the horizon he could see a stretch of green. He’d been driving for hours but hadn’t reached it yet. It seemed closer now.
“I think we’re almost there,” he said to her. He felt the cool of her skin, could see her smile from the corner of his eye. That smile dazzled him no less than when he had first seen it.
His hands were white where they gripped the wheel as he committed every line and curve of that smile to his memory. It was lopsided, but no less brilliant because of it. It traveled up to her eyes, lending them a sparkle that reminded him of sunlight on a dew-dripped flower. It traveled down to her toes, which curled with that insatiable thrill that was markedly hers. Every part of her moved and quaked and felt with such intensity. She wasn’t beautiful; she was radiant.
The song on the radio changed. She threw her hands around him with a cry. “I love this song, turn it up!” he heard her say, her trilling laugh following the declaration. It beckoned him like the melody of shade on a summer’s day.
He obliged, turning it up for her. “Do you remember this song?” he heard himself say. It came out a plea.
Her eyes grew soft as she thought back. “How could I ever forget?”
He swallowed past the lump in his throat. “Sing the words with me. Like that night we danced together.”
The wind hummed past. It was the sound of promise. His future was an ethereal ghost, but in New York they would have a chance. She had always thought so.
Xavier held the wheel, but Samantha drove him.