He was scared down to his toes.
He tried to convince himself that his fear lay in old man Hackett's rickety, constantly creaking barn, or the huge cobwebs that draped each dark, haunted corner and promised far too many creepy crawlers for his peace of mind -- but it wasn't working. The early October darkness hovered just outside, kept at bay by only an old lantern. He sat down Indian style next to Carrie, who had her skinny legs pulled to her chest, chin resting on knobby knees. On Blair's other side, Margaret Mary sat with long legs stretched out in front of her, an almost sphinx-like smile gracing her features.
Blair looked at Davy, who was downing the last of his soda. It was almost time. In a moment, his life was going to change forever. He hoped.
Dust and straw swirled up just inside the doors as the wind swept in. The wick in the lantern flickered - and thankfully steadied. Davy set his bottle of Coca-Cola down and favored them with a dentist-perfect smile. Everything about Davy was perfect. Everything about Blair wasn't. He looked at Carrie, who smiled shyly. He smiled back, almost giggled actually, as the lantern light sparkled off her braces.
In a low, husky, challenging voice, Davy asked, "You guys ready?"
Margaret Mary leaned forward and said, with the kind of confidence that seemed to go hand-in-hand with her type of easy beauty, "Natch. Let's get going."
"You know the rules, right?" Davy said as he looked at each of them in turn.
Blair gulped, but nodded even as Carrie mumbled a barely audible, "I ... yes."
"Come on, let's just do it," Mary Margaret commanded.
One of Davy's eyebrows shot up. "Fine." He nodded in her direction and added, "You agreed to go first, MM. We'll go clockwise from there."
He put the Coke bottle on its side in the middle of the floor and Margaret Mary immediately got to her knees and gave it a good spin.
Blair found himself holding his breath. He wanted the bottle to stop with its neck pointing at him... yet prayed it wouldn't. He was fifteen and hoping for his first kiss from Margaret Mary, who was almost two years older. He was pretty sure he loved her.
The bottle slowed ... only to finally stop, its neck pointed at Carrie.
With a muttered "Damn", Margaret Mary spun again, a little more ferociously this time. The bottle stopped where all gods would expect it to - in front of Davy. Handsome, seventeen year old Davy.
Blair watched, round-eyed, as Margaret Mary met Davy halfway. Their lips touched and Blair's eyes nearly popped out of their sockets as her mouth opened. He could see Davy's tongue flick out and disappear.
Would he be expected to put his tongue inside her mouth? Or... Carrie's?
The kiss ended with hushed breathing and Margaret Mary's soft pants. Davy leaned back on his haunches and said, "Sandburg, your turn."
Blair was suddenly aware of his ratty, worn-at-the-knees jeans and his too-big yellow shirt decorated with mustard from lunch. His hand, almost of its own volition, started for the mass of unruly and frizzy curls, but ended up knuckling his glasses back up his nose. Biting his lower lip, he took his courage in hand -- and spun the bottle.
It twirled so fast, Blair got dizzy as he tried to focus. When it stopped, the neck pointed at Carrie.
Fate was so predictable.
Thinking she was no more thrilled than he, Blair turned and found her facing him, eyes closed, lips puckered. Questions assailed him. Should he leave his lips open? Inhale or exhale? Close his eyes? He took in Carrie's freckles and heart-shaped lips, took a deep breath, touched his lips to hers ... and a moment later, was flat on his back, Carrie stuck to him like a vacuum cleaner.
As quickly as it happened, it was over. Carrie scrambled back, face red, hand over her mouth.
"Wow, Carrie, who knew?" Davy said with an appreciative look.
Blair got up, coughed, licked his lips, and ducked his head, thus missing the sudden speculative gleam that crept into Davy's eyes.
Carrie spun the bottle so hard, it almost took off. When it came to rest, Blair held back his groan. It was pointing at him.
Several spins later and Blair had yet to kiss Margaret Mary. If he didn't know better, he'd swear the damn bottle had a mind of its own.
It was Davy's turn again. He spun ... and the bottle stopped with the neck pointing at Blair. He waited for Davy to take a do-over.
"Wow, I got Sandburg."
"Spin again," Margaret Mary said,
"You know," he mused, "the rules state that who ever the bottle lands on, you kiss. I think we should follow the rules."
"Meaning?" Margaret Mary asked.
"The bottle landed on Sandburg and I'm going to kiss him."
Blair's head shot up. What? He blinked owlishly from behind his glasses. Davy was going to kiss him?
Smiling, Davy leaned forward and Blair had a moment to think; okay, no big deal, he could do this. He face heated up as Davy's lips landed on his.
They felt ... nice. Not unlike Carrie's, but with stubble. He was shocked when Davy's tongue touched his lips. Davy wanted to French kiss him? His jaw automatically loosened and the next thing he knew, Davy's tongue was in his mouth.
The tingling he'd experienced when kissing Carrie turned into fireworks with Davy. Davy's fingers tangled in his curls and then ... Davy was gone.
Blair fell back on his butt.
Before anyone could say anything, the wind blew through the barn and the lantern blinked out as more dust and straw swirled up around them. Margaret Mary got up, pulled her sweater close and hugged her chest. "We'd better get back. This is, like, scary."
Blair rose awkwardly, his left foot having fallen asleep. He helped Carrie to her feet and studiously avoided looking at Davy. Margaret Mary hurried over to the barn door but paused on the threshold. Outside, the moon bathed the field in harvest gold as the wind moved through the trees causing the musical rustling of leaves caressing leaves. Blair and Carrie joined her and, a moment later, Davy. The four of them seemed poised on the brink of... something, but Blair decided he was just being fanciful. October nights could do that to a kid.
In an odd kind of unison, all four moved forward and, as the wind picked up and branches moaned in the moonlight, they hurried to the road that would lead them to the safety and warmth of their respective homes. Once on the asphalt, Davy looked east before looking back at the two girls and saying, "I'll walk you two home since it's on my way." He fidgeted a bit as he glanced at Blair from under his eyelashes.
Blair pulled the collar of his jacket up around his neck and said, "I... I'm that way." He jerked his thumb in a westerly direction.
"You're staying with the Olson's, right?" Davy asked.
"Yeah," was all he said. The Olson's were the parents of Meg Olson, one of his mother's friends. They were okay but honestly didn't know what to do with a kid, let along a boy his age. His mother and Meg were currently on a retreat, leaving him in Mansfield, Connecticut so that he could go to school.
"Right," Davy said.
Blair pushed his glasses back up on his nose. Mary Margaret tugged at Davy's arm. Carrie smiled shyly at Blair.
"So see you tomorrow at school," Davy offered.
"Yeah," Blair said before turning and heading up the road to the Olson farm.
Davy watched the younger boy until the night swirled around him and he was no longer visible. With reluctance, he turned away, favored Margaret Mary and Carrie with a brilliant, but forced smile, and said, "Come on, girls, let's go."
Outside the safety and warmth of the loft, the wind howled. The only light on in the loft gave the cozy apartment a soft, harvest glow that encouraged Blair to nestle down against the cushions, relishing the comfort. He took another swig of his Coca-Cola and thought it was funny how he always had to have a Coke in weather like this. He studied the old-fashioned green bottle, and while he twisted it around with his fingers, Jim walked in.
Stomping his feet for some obscure reason, he said, as he hung up his jacket, "It's colder than a witch's--"
Waving the hand with the Coke in it, Blair interrupted with, "Yeah, yeah, Jim. What I'd like to know is who the hell did the witch tit study in the first place, you know?"
Walking over to the fireplace and sticking out his hands before the blaze, Jim shook his head, grinned, and said, "Not me." Still warming himself, he indicated the soda and said, "A Coke, Chief? In this weather?"
A memory from long ago came back to Blair and he smiled dreamily. He could see the old barn in his mind's eye, and could suddenly feel - Davy's lips on his. A moment later, those lips were replaced by someone else's. He stared at the Coke bottle as he came back to Earth. Twirling it in his hand, he said speculatively, "Jim, how'd you like to play -- Spin-The-Bottle?"
Surprised, Jim turned around and faced his partner. "Did you just say ... Spin-The-Bottle?"
With a wicked gleam sparkling in his eyes, Blair licked his lips, held up the Coke, and said, "I've got the bottle -- you got the spin?"
Jim studied his partner for several seconds before finally saying, "Sandburg, I've got a spin that'll set you back on your ass."