“Okay, so… that one’s Orion, right?” Emberlynn pointed up, tracing her finger along the three stars of its ‘belt’. “I think I’m getting the hang of this…”
Beside her, she could see Mason nodding eagerly. “Brilliant! You’re a natural.”
She chuckled softly. “Not gonna say ‘no’ to the brilliant part, but I’m not so sure I’m a ‘natural’… How’d you get so good at all this nature crap?” Emberlynn asked, pushing herself back to her feet. Her back was starting to hurt from lying on the hard ground.
She never would have guessed that the cute kid in the knight costume would wind up being so amazing when it came to identifying plants and insects, or naming the constellations. It was impressive. Bizarre, but impressive.
Mason shrugged as he joined her on his feet as well. “Mostly camping, I guess. Traveling around with my dad. Taking pictures of everything… Wish I had a camera good enough for some constellation shots though…” He added almost dreamily. “They look so much clearer here. I don’t know why… But it’s different back home.”
Her heart sank slightly at his mention of ‘home’. “I wish you didn’t have to go back so soon.” Emberlynn sighed softly as she lowered herself onto a nearby bench.
“Me too.” He agreed. “It sucks.”
“I’m really gonna miss you. What ever will I do without my robot in shining armor?” Emberlynn half-teased.
Mason rolled his eyes. “Have you looked in a mirror lately? I’m sure you’ll have a whole line of robots waiting to swoop in once I’m gone.” He assured her.
“Ha! Yeah right. We’ll see about that…”
Neither of them spoke for a few moments then. Emberlynn found herself gazing back up at the clear night sky. It was such a gorgeous night.
“Hey, Emberlynn?” Mason’s soft voice broke the silence. “Um… just… just so we’re on the same page about all this… Once I go back home, we’re still friends, right? But like, just friends?” He was eyeing her almost hopefully as he spoke.
Emberlynn laughed softly, nodding. “Just friends. Don’t worry.”
“Oh, thank God!” Mason chuckled in visible relief. “Don’t get me wrong — I really like you, Emberlynn. You’re awesome. But I just can’t do the long-distance thing. And I was kind of afraid you were expecting this to turn into something like that.” He admitted. “I just had to be sure.”
“Nah, you’re off the hook. Honestly I’m not really into the whole ‘relationship’ thing anyway, long-distance or not.” She explained.
“Well, to be fair, you’ve never really had one before, right?”
“Nope.” Emberlynn admitted. “And I don’t ever want to.”
Mason appeared surprised. “Really? Never?”
She sighed softly before speaking again. “Mason, they’re a trap.”
“Yeah, okay Admiral Ackbar.”
“I’m serious!” Emberlynn shook her head. “Look, do you know how many dumb girls at school I’ve seen crying their eyes out because some guy broke their heart? Or guys doing the exactly same thing but trying to be all tough and hide it?”
Mason shrugged. “Probably loads. It’s the same at my school.”
“Or what about that statistic that like half of marriages end in divorce? I mean, your parents are divorced, aren’t they?”
“And I’ve told you about my parents, haven’t I?” She continued, feeling herself get more and more wound up the more she spoke. It was so rare for her to speak aloud about these fears, so now that she finally had the chance, she was getting a bit carried away. “That’s even WORSE than them being divorced. They’re miserable.”
“I know. And that totally sucks. But that doesn’t mean –”
“They all fell for it!” Emberlynn cried, feeling her cheeks grow warm with some sort of emotion she could not quite name. “They fell for the trap! They let themselves get attached and fall in love and blah-blah-blah… and look what happened! All they did was get hurt. Why would anyone ever wanna do that to themselves?”
Mason did not immediately reply. Emberlynn took the silence as an opportunity to steady her breathing and try to calm herself. Over their past three weeks together, she’d opened up to Mason in ways she never had before… physically, at least.
But now she’d done so emotionally as well. Emberlynn had never shared those feelings with anyone but Zelda before. She felt almost embarrassed at finally having done so.
“I get it.” Mason replied at last. “I get what you’re saying.”
He nodded. “Relationships are risky. It’s just… It’s not like every single relationship is doomed to fail either, you know? There are plenty of people out there who are perfectly happy together. You must know that…”
“I do.” Emberlynn acknowledged. “I’m not an idiot. There are plenty of happy people out there.” She agreed. “But they all took a huge risk, and the odds were stacked against them… they just got lucky.”
Mason’s brow furrowed for a moment. “Well, you could get lucky someday too.”
Emberlynn shook her head. “Not a risk I’m willing to take.”
“Seriously? You’re telling me the girl who’s been sneaking out almost every night to go mess around with some guy she barely knows isn’t willing to take a risk?”
She shook her head yet again. “Not that one.”
Mason sighed. “Fair enough, I guess. But there’s gonna be a ton of disappointed robots in shining armor out there.”
A small laugh passed her lips. “Is that so?”
“Well, yeah. They’re all gonna want the chance to come in and sweep you off your feet.”
“I never said they couldn’t do a little sweeping.” Emberlynn clarified, her lips curling into a smile. “Long as they put me back on my feet again when they’re done.”
Mason chuckled softly, but said nothing.
Ember, meanwhile, stifled back a yawn. It had to be nearly three in the morning by now. But if she went back home, that meant it would really be over. And she wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to her friend. Not yet.
“So, uh, Emberlynn, I was thinking…” At last, Mason spoke yet again. “Tonight’s my last night here.”
“I know.” She replied sadly.
“So it’s kind of our last chance, isn’t it? To… To do… stuff.”
Emberlynn felt her breath catch in her throat. Was this going where she thought it was?
“I mean, if you don’t want to, it’s okay.” Mason continued awkwardly. “But I, uh, came prepared, if you know what I mean?” He patted his pocked for a moment. “Like… Like if we wanted to… y’know.”
She giggled softly, amused by his embarrassment. “Are you asking me if I wanna have sex?”
He nodded, his cheeks visibly reddening a bit, even in the moonlight. “Yeah. And it’s okay if you don’t want to. It’s just, they always say your first time’s supposed to be with somebody ‘special’ or something. And you are special, Emberlynn. To me.” Mason stumbled over his words as he spoke.
Emberlynn raised an eyebrow at him. “Special, huh?”
“Shit, that sounded way too sappy and romantic. I didn’t mean it like that! I was serious when I said we’re just friends. But you’re still important to me.” He explained quickly. “And like, if sex is really as big a deal as everybody says, then I think I want my first time to be with somebody important. Not some high school girlfriend who’s probably gonna dump my ass or something. I don’t want it to be with somebody I’m gonna regret. So… So, like…”
Emberlynn put up a hand, silencing him. It had been cute and sweet listening to his little speech, but she knew it was time to finally put the poor guy out of his misery.
“Sure.” She said happily. “Let’s do it.”
His eyes lit up. “Really?!”
Emberlynn nodded. “I get what you’re saying about ‘somebody special’. And I guess I feel pretty much the same.” She explained with a small shrug. “If it’s really that big of a deal, then you’re the right person to do it with.” She assured him. “But…”
She couldn’t help but laugh as she replied. “Well, we’ve already had our hands and mouths like, everywhere… So is this really gonna be a bigger deal than any of that?”
Mason quickly joined in her laughter. “Good question. I dunno… But… I guess we can find out together?” He suggested with a smile.
Emberlynn’s answer was a kiss.
Hey guys! Just wanted to share with you all that I decided to create a Discord server for A2A, if any of you who are on discord would like to join! 🙂 People can have some fun and chat there or ask questions, I’ll post my updates there and maybe some teasers or outtakes… Just a fun little hangout spot, and a way for me to interact more with some readers too. Hope to see some of you there! ^_^