Hally happened to be at the registration desk when they came in, hand in hand, and for a moment she was fourteen again, and it somehow hurt as it had hurt back then. As if it were the most important thing in the world.
It was the summer that two dreams had died. One, that she’d get a swim team scholarship to college. And the other–
She used to have posters of him all over her room. Other girls had posters of rock stars, but she had Morgan Muir. Pictures of him smiling, lifting his Olympic gold medal aloft, when she was just seven or so.
Morgan Muir was when she’d first become aware that men were different, that she wanted to marry one someday. Well, beyond men being like daddy, of course. Not that she’d been exactly sure what the relationship between men and women was, just that you married a man and then he’d be with you all the time. Oh, and you got to wear a pretty white dress. And somehow babies appeared and they looked like him, and you got to be mom, and run the house.
By fourteen, she had a better idea. Enough to fuel daydreams. Not from the sex education classes. That whole thing was too real and vaguely squeaky. Dreaming about it would be like dreaming of butchering the chicken, instead of the Sunday roast all golden and mouth-watering. Instead her day dreams were composed of the love scenes in a million movies — not that she watched much, but when mom and dad were watching something, she caught glimpses of men and women embracing, their faces full of ecstasy of love, of belonging — and of stories of the attraction between couples in books. Not that she read Romance because she simply wasn’t that sort of girl. But there were love scenes in every adventure book, particularly westerns.
Sometimes in her daydreams he came and saved her, but more often she saved him, which is when he realized she was special and important and he loved her. This was because she was conscious of being ten years younger than him, and that the difference between fourteen and twenty one was a great gulf. She still looked like a little girl who’d grown too fast. She knew that. And he was a man.
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