“For the millionth time, no.”
“Well, yeah, I guess. Somewhat a little more accurate?”
Johnny looks up at me, an unbelievably dumbfounded scowl on his face. “NO,” he firmly glares at me.
I stifled a laughter, biting my lip and curling up my face.
“Look, why does it even matter what I am? I’m not trying to find out how much Chinese/Portuguese/whatever you are. HUMAN. That’s it right? Unless you got some, what, alien uncle?” Johnny waved his knife along to his whining.
“Well you can’t blame me for being curious,” I pushed my hair back, wiping the sweat away from my eyes.
Johnny stopped hacking at the undergrowth momentarily, catching his breath. He handed me the large army knife, which I proceeded to continue making our way through the brush.
“Really? Sasquatch?” his hands flew to his hips. “Are those even real?”
“You’re asking me? I thought you spent a longer time out here than anyone else,” I flicked a branch out of my face.
“That doesn’t mean you can call me chupacabra,” he scowled.
I opened my mouth to fire off some more witty insults, but a yelp came out instead. In my haste to turn, my braid snagged on some twigs and pulled me back, hurting quite a bit. Johnny rolled his eyes and came over.
“Hold still. Don’t just yank it out!” he whispered, brushing my braid out with his fingers.
I stood still, staring up at him. My heart thundered in my chest. I wondered if his super-human ears could hear it. The shadow from his hands fluttered in the corner of my eyes as he intently tried to pull the twigs from my hair as gently as possible. My mind jumped from thought to thought to nothingness anxiously.
“What?” Johnny seemed to answer my heart.
“W-why did you kiss me?” I stared at my feet, shutting the view of him out.
His hands paused, and I heard him hum in contemplation. “You make it sound like a bad thing?” he tried to chuckle, but we both knew this was absolute nervous territory.
“No, it’s just… why?” I looked up, but just only enough to see his chest heave with a deep breath in another thought.
“Well, why’d ya kiss me?” he hesitantly asked, tossing a free stick away. His hands dropped with a few more sticks, and I slowly looked up at him properly.
He looked as if he was bracing himself for a slap, leaning away slightly. But that same funny glare he had before he kissed me was back in his eyes.
I rubbed the spot where my hair hurt, thinking about what to say. Why did I kiss him back? I remembered how the wall felt behind me, rough and full of potshot holes.
I remembered my hand hurting; throbbing and bleeding after a bite from a crazy cannibal girl, which my low impulse control and demented trauma led me to bash her head in. A semi-circular scar now dotted the back of my left hand.
I remembered seeing his soul, staring at me. And my soul, staring back. Shit, that was so damn poetic.
I chuckled. Johnny straightened. “What?” he leaned in closer. I laughed harder, scolding myself with disbelief in my mind.
“Heat of the moment. Or something like that,” I nodded contemplatively. Johnny’s face fell, but he looked like he had the same reasoning in mind.
“BUT, I … I kinda like you, and I don’t regret kissing you,” I gave him the most awkward of smiles. Honestly, I was being genuine.
I remember when we finally pulled away. My knees were trembling so much I did not let go of his jacket for support. He too was trembling, his outstretched arms against the wall shaking so much he seemed to have a mini-seizure. We practically collapsed onto the dusty concrete floor, too shy to even look at each other.
I don’t remember what we did next, but somehow we stayed together for three days before we spoke properly to each other, not one-word answers and grunts anymore.
Johnny gave me a tender smile, almost blushing. “Same here,” he shrugged in agreement.
“Now that’s out of the way,” I spun on my heel and began to hack at the bushes again. He was silent again for the next good few minutes I cut away at a stubborn bramble.
The branch fell away to reveal a sea of bright tall yellow in front of me. “Woah.”
Tall sunflowers in peak bloom towered like a wall; an orchard. Sheathing the knife, we pushed our way through the flowers, Johnny’s height giving us a little vantage bonus. He took the lead, leaving me a little trail in his wake.
“Soooo, you sure you’re not a Sasquatch?” I prodded again, a very naughty grin spreading all over my face.
“Sarah, if you call me Bigfoot one more time-,” he spun around, his eyes wide.
“Well is it true about what they say about guys with big feet then?” I fired back rapidly, smoldering an innocent face.
If Johnny’s eyes grew any wider they’d fall out of his head. “Jesus, Sarah,” he ruffled his own hair, stupefied. I giggled, sneering mischievously.
“Come here,” he drew me in and hugged me, cradling my head to his cheek. “You are ridiculous,” he sighed, grinning. We shared a laugh for a bit, til he looked at me, our noses touching.
Tilting my head back slightly, he pressed his lips to mine gently. I pressed back, my hands reaching up to grip at his shirt again.
The sunflowers around us swayed gently in the wind, the smell of greenery hinting the air; and for that moment I could forget that the world had gone to shit.