BY LEN LANGE
Your name is Cas, and your hair that is usually dyed red probably looks maroon when it’s dark and wet outside. “Dark and wet” of course, is more than a bit of an understatement when one is wedged half under an umbrella during a past-midnight thunderstorm in July.
“This is stupid.”
“Or you’re stupid and this idea is Steven Hawking reincarnated or something.”
“Hawking isn’t dead, genius.”
“You say that now, but you’ll see.” There is a glint of joking malice in Matt’s next glance at you, grey eyes shining silver in the horrible lighting of a thunderstorm. It’s too dark, too windy, and generally too wet to be pleasant in any sense of the word. But you suppose any time spent in Bethany Beach is preferable to your own miserable residence.
“What are you planning to do to the guy? What’d he do to you, Matt?”
“Who knows?” You find yourself laughing at the ridiculous concept and dark tone, and he follows suit, dropping the umbrella in the process.
It’s pouring buckets out here.
“Augh!” The ever-so-wonderful windstorm that’s been whipping leaves on trees about the entire time you’ve been out has decided to send a gift of hatred your way, too. You only find yourself growing more soaked to the core as he runs after the escaped umbrella. You should follow him, or look for cover, but you aren’t feeling particularly compelled to do either right now. ”
On his return, you’re glad you didn’t.He looks wetter than you are, and he’s had the thing for half the trip.
“I told you this was a bad idea.” He looks away, all dramatics in pause, before speaking.
“I think I- I’m sensing something, Cas.”
“What is it, oh wise one?”
“It’s you. You’re- you’re being a-” “A what, do tell me?”
“A cynical, whiny baby!” The following gasp is so melodramatic it causes what might as well be hysterics. You find yourself wracked with laughter and need to lean on him for support as you catch your breath. What you don’t expect is for him to push you back out into the storm.
“So does your betrayal.”
“I have a rule Cas, and it’s this. Cynical babies are strictly forbidden from standing under my innocent optimist umbrella. You have only the rain to love you now.”
“What can I say? You broke my code.”
You’re far too tempted to face-palm, though he’d only tease you more for it. You’d prefer not to be stuck out in the rain right now, in all honesty. Rather, you make sure nobody’s around, lean into his space, and do the one thing he can’t push you out for.
You kiss him, for the long and short of it. You can’t help but notice how cliché it is to be smooching while soaking wet during a thunderstorm. For God’s sake, one of you’d might as well be Drew Barrymore, this is so cinematic. That’s the real reason why you pull away too soon, actually. You have no reason to be afraid of your father here, as Matt’s sister is sworn to not say a word to him, not to mention that he’s still 600+ miles away, so it isn’t that. It is literally your own vision of being Drew Barrymore that stops you, contrary to what Matt may think now. You doubt that’s what he’s thinking now, though.
“Cynical baby, am I?”
“Cynical enough to be left out there?”
“Oh you totally are, lameo, but I think I’ll have to make an exception.”
“You’re such a dork.”
“Yeah right, dork.”
Illustrations by Hannah Parmenter