I was still lying on my bed staring at the wall when Mom came home. I heard the front door open, followed a few minutes later by footsteps on the stairs. Finally, she opened the door and peeked in.
"Hi, Kenny," she smiled. "Where's Sarah?"
"I hate her," is all I said.
Mom sighed. "Uh oh. Did you two have a falling out?"
At first I didn't want to talk about it, but I decided I needed to tell someone how I felt, and Mom had always been a good listener. So I began talking, and soon I had explained everything. Obviously I left out the sexual parts, but other than that, I went into detail about how much fun we had had and how I felt about the whole thing.
Mom listened patiently, not saying a word until I was finished. It felt good to get it all out in the open, to be able to put all of my mixed-up emotions into words, and to have someone actually understand me.
In the end, I reemphasized that I hated her for what she had done.
"I don't think you hate her," said my mom. "You know what I think? I think you love her. If you hated her, you would be glad she's moving away."
"I don't love her!" I insisted. "Not after what she did to me."
"What did she do? She gave you a week full of wonderful memories. And don't forget, Sarah's not the one who decided to leave. That decision was made by people who have never met either Sarah or you and don't understand how much you care for each other."
"But I'm never going to see her again!" I whined.
"Shame on you, Kenny!" said my mom, putting her hands on her hips. "I thought you were the boy who believes in dragons. I thought you spent most of your time in a fantasy world. You of all people should be able to recognize that you're living in a fairy tale."
I stared at her, not understanding what she was talking about, so she continued.
"You're a brave hero, and she's a beautiful princess. It doesn't matter that those are just made-up characters in your world. What matters is that they're who you are inside. In your imagination you've risked your life to save hers, and from what I know about you, the only reason you haven't done the same thing in real life is that you've never had the opportunity. I've seen the way her eyes light up every time she sees you. You and I both know that you love her, and I'm pretty sure she loves you just as much. That's why I say that you two are living in a fairy tale. And there's one thing all fairy tales have in common. They all end up happily ever after."
"But she's moving away!" I protested.
"So you'll be apart for a while. Write to her. Email her. Just stay in contact with her. But most importantly, let her know how you feel. In a few years you'll be old enough to decide where you want to live and who you want to spend your time with, and then I don't think all the Shadow Monsters in the world will be able to keep you two apart. Just have a little faith."
I sighed. It didn't sound particularly pleasant, but then, it didn't sound as bad as I had thought either. I was still angry at Sarah and I didn't know if I even loved her anymore, but at least it gave me a little comfort.
Mom hugged me, then left me alone to think about what she had said. Part of me wanted to believe her, but unfortunately, I was stubborn, and I had already decided I would never forgive Sarah. I didn't tell my mom this; she would probably try to talk me out of it, and right now that was the last thing I wanted. Sarah had hurt me, and it wasn't easy for me to get over that.
I stayed in my room the rest of the night, and didn't even come down for breakfast the next morning. Just before leaving, Mom knocked on the door and asked me if I was all right. I wasn't, but I told her I was fine. I don't think she believed me, but she knew that I just needed some time to be by myself. So she left me there and headed out the door to drive to work.
Despite her comforting words last night, I was miserable. I missed the fun times I had had with Sarah, but right now, she was the last person I wanted to see. Not after the way she had treated me. Not after saying that I wasn't as important to her as all the stupid possessions she was going to have at her new house. So I wouldn't allow her to talk to me. If she came over to babysit me, I wouldn't let her in the house. If she called, I wouldn't answer the phone. If she banged on the front door until her knuckles bled, I would just sit up in my room ignoring her. I was determined to never speak to her again, not even to say goodbye when her family packed up and moved away. It would serve her right.
Just like I expected, I heard a knocking on the door. That was Sarah, no doubt, coming over to talk to me. I just sat on my bed and stared at the floor, stubbornly refusing to budge. She knocked again, and again I remained immobile. I could just imagine her giving up, then walking back across her yard to her house, where she would pick up the phone and call me. In a minute or two I expected to hear the phone ring, but I would stay right where I was. I had even closed the curtains on my window so that she couldn't call me from across the way. I had built up an impenetrable fortress around myself, a mighty castle that would never be breached by a mere girl like Sarah.
But sometimes fate has a way of intervening. My mother, always a bit of a perfectionist, always a little protective, never left the house without locking the door behind her. Except today.
Instead of a phone call, I heard a third knock, but this one was at my bedroom door. "Kenny?" Sarah's voice said on the other side.
Now I was really mad. How dare she come in my house without my permission? This was my castle, not hers. It was nothing short of an invasion, an act of war.
"Go away," I told her.
Instead, she opened the door and slipped inside.
"I don't want to talk to you!" I shouted at her, in as harsh a tone as I could muster. She deserved nothing less for hurting me like she had yesterday.
She came over and sat down on the bed. "Kenny, I came here to tell you I'm sorry."
"I don't care."
"Please, Kenny. I can't stand the thought that you hate me. Look, what I said earlier... It was all a lie."
"A lie?" I asked, shocked. My anger began to fade.
"I told you that all of my feelings toward you were made-up, that it was all just a part of the fantasy. Well, that's not true. I was just so devastated over losing you when I move away that I thought if I could convince myself that I didn't have feelings for you, that it wouldn't hurt so much. Because it does hurt, Kenny. Bad. But it hurts worse to think that you hate me. Please forgive me, Kenny." By now she was almost in tears.
I stared at her for a couple of seconds, then broke down into tears myself. I threw my arms around her and hugged her. "Oh Sarah, I forgive you," I told her. "I'm just so sad that you have to move away."
"Me too," she sobbed. "Kenny, I... I love you."
We sobbed and hugged and held each other for longer than I had ever hugged anyone before. It was as if we were afraid to let each other go, as if it would be the last time we would ever touch.
"Kenny," she whispered. "I want you to make love to me. Not Kenneth Shadowbane, but you. Last time we were just acting out parts, but this time I want it to be real."
I nodded, then turned my head and kissed her on the lips. As one, we fell back on the bed. Sarah kicked off her shoes, and for several minutes we lay side-by-side, just kissing and caressing each other. There was no rush this time; I wanted to draw this out as long as possible, and I think Sarah did too. This was, in one sense, our first time. The other instances were just practice. But because we had had that practice, we were no longer nervous or tense. We wanted it to be special, but there was no doubt that it would be.
After lying together kissing tenderly for a while, my hand went to Sarah's hip, where I slipped it under her blouse and felt her bare skin. That had a noticeable reaction in her, but a positive one. She sighed, and all of the worry and sadness she had felt before slipped away, to be replaced by a loving smile. She gave me a look of adoration, and no matter what had come between us, in that moment I fell in love with her all over again.
Her hands reached for my own shirt, grabbing the base and pulling it upward. I sat up and lifted my arms, and she stripped off my shirt. Then she pushed me down again to the bed, where she set to work kissing me all over the chest. I loved the feeling of her lips on me, running all over my skin. I knew she was doing this because she got a thrill out of pleasing me like that, and I was almost content to just let her continue all day. But there was so much more I wanted to do to her, including returning the favor.
I gently pushed her away, but only far enough that I could reach for the buttons on her blouse. She smiled when she saw what I was doing, encouraging me to continue. My fingers eagerly made their way down her body, one button at a time, until the whole thing came open. Sarah sat up, threw her shoulders back, and shrugged off the garment, giving me a great view of her chest. She still wore a bra, but that wasn't enough to stop me from at least getting a start on what I wanted to do.
I drew her to me, lowering my head to kiss her just below the neck. She let out a satisfied hum, letting her head fall back and lifting her face to the sky. It was an invitation, and I took her up on it. My lips sought out her neck, kissing her there with growing passion and intensity. We were still relaxed and taking it slow, but there was just a touch of urgency, a bit of impatience for what would come later. Still, it didn't hurt my enjoyment any, or hers either.
As I moved on to her shoulder, I reached up and slipped off the bra strap. I kissed her first on the top of the shoulder, then on the front, then moving gradually lower. Using the loose strap, I slowly peeled down the cup of her bra, inch by inch exposing her breast and always following right behind with my mouth. From the sounds she made, I could tell that she really enjoyed what I was doing to her.
As soon as her nipple was exposed, I stuck out my tongue and scooped it into my mouth. As I began sucking, Sarah's hums of delight turned to excited moans.
She reached behind her to unfasten her bra and give me more room to work, and soon it was discarded alongside her blouse. That gave me the opportunity to shift my focus to her other breast; I didn't want it to feel left out of all the fun, after all. Sarah placed her hands behind my head and held me to her chest, gripping me tightly in her excitement.
Meanwhile, my hand returned to her hip to caress her there, my fingers running circles around the area. They slipped under the waistband of her skirt, at first just incidentally but spending more and more time there, diving deeper and deeper until my hand rested permanently on her thigh inside her skirt.
In a way, I felt like I was trying to see just what I could get away with, but at the same time I knew that Sarah would let me get away with just about anything. We were lovers after all, even if the previous times had been just playing parts. I knew now that it meant the same thing to her that it did to me; the roles of Kenneth Shadowbane and Princess Allura were just an excuse to put us in the position where we could truly and honestly express our love for each other.
Sarah released my head and slipped her hand onto my own where it rested on her thigh. She gripped it firmly and drew it forward along her skin, and I knew what she wanted me to do. As she lay back on the bed, I slid my hand down inside the front of her panties, seeking out that pleasure point that she had shown me the other day. At the very first contact, she let out a long, lustful groan of pure pleasure.
I toyed with her for a while, watching the entertaining and erotic motions of her body. She squirmed around on the bed, sometimes her eyes closed tightly and sometimes gazing up into my own, but always with a smile on her lips. I could feel her getting hotter and wetter under my fingers, and I even grew so bold as to slip a finger inside, eliciting a gasp and an even brighter smile from Sarah.
"Kenny," she said sweetly. "Would you take my skirt off?"
I withdrew my hand, then took hold of the front of her skirt, where I noticed it was fastened together with a snap. I undid the snap, which loosened up the skirt enough that I could draw it down. Sarah lifted her hips to help me, and I took a moment to savor the view of her in that sexy pose with her hips thrust upward like that. Then I pulled her skirt the rest of the way off, leaving her in just her socks and panties. I noticed a large wet spot on the front of her panties, and I knew exactly where that came from.
"Kenny," she said again in that same tone of voice, and I knew exactly what she wanted. I reached for her panties, and gently drew them down her legs. She lifted her hips again, and the sight was even more intensely beautiful as her mound was now completely uncovered and exposed to my eyes.
I was about to reach for her socks, but she had other plans. She grabbed me and pushed me down on the bed, a grin on her face. She rolled over on top of me and kissed me deeply. To my astonishment, she even slipped her tongue inside my mouth. I balked at this for a moment, then decided that if it was something she wanted, I would oblige her. I let my own tongue run over hers, surprised and delighted to find that it was far more enjoyable than disgusting. We kissed like that for the longest time, until finally Sarah came up for air.
She winked at me, then rolled off of me and reached out for my sweat pants. I hadn't bothered to get dressed yet because I hadn't planned on anyone coming into the house, so I was still in the clothes I had gone to bed in last night. As it turned out, that made it easier for Sarah because she didn't have to deal with buckles or zippers.
In fact, she first squeezed my erection through my clothes, causing me to groan like she had earlier. She giggled at the sound, then released me. Rising to her knees, she grabbed to waistband of my sweat pants and shorts and drew them down. It felt so relieving to release my cock from its confinement, especially knowing what awaited it moments in the future.
First, though, Sarah had other ideas. She grabbed it with one hand and started pumping up and down on it. Now it was my turn to squirm all over the bed, gasping and grunting as Sarah pleasured me with her hand. I loved the exquisite feeling, especially since it came from the girl that I loved, the girl that had been my playmate, friend, and now lover. It no longer mattered to me that she had learned this from some other man, a man that perhaps she had loved just as much as she loved me. For now she was mine, and even if we only had a short time together, we loved each other. That was the important thing.
When she lowered her head, I knew what was coming. She wanted me to feel the whole range of exquisite feelings, and I was happy to oblige her. She closed her lips around the head and began to suck, and I let out more groans, even louder than before. I was tempted to grab her head the way she had grabbed mine a few minutes ago, but I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep myself from shoving her down too deeply. So I clutched the sheets of the bed tightly instead. Each motion of her lips and tongue shot electrifying pleasure through my body, so intense and powerful. I loved the feeling; it was so thrilling and so overwhelming that I could hardly stand it.
All too soon, she lifted her head. "Kenny, I want you to do something for me," she said.
"Anything," I told her.
"I want you to do the same thing for me that I'm doing for you."
I stared at her in surprise. I didn't know how I felt about that; maybe I should be disgusted. Or maybe I should be delighted to have that sweet, beautiful thing right there before my face. Or maybe a little bit of both.
She sensed my hesitation. "It's okay," she said. "You don't have to if you don't want to."
"No, that's all right," I told her. "Let's give it a try."
She flashed me a mischievous grin. "Let's give it a try together," she said.
I wasn't sure what she meant by that, but it all became clear a moment later when she moved the bottom half of her body up toward my head. To be honest, this was a completely new idea to me, but not an unwelcome one. I figured if it would make her feel good, I would go along. In fact, I was determined to enjoy it.
When she slipped one knee over my head and straddled my face, I found that beautiful, scrumptious pussy just inches from my face. I lifted my head and stuck out my tongue, brushing it against that ridge at the top of her slit, which was now at the bottom from my point of view.
Sarah's body immediately jumped, and I knew I had done something right. I started licking her all over. In the mean time, I could feel her continuing her ministrations at the other end. There was something intensely naughty yet sublimely intoxicating about this position, and I soon lost myself in the sight, feel, smell, and taste of her. I decided that whatever my previous reservations, I loved giving Sarah this kind of pleasure almost as much as I loved receiving it from her.
She took a moment to tell me to use my hands to loosen her up, and I happily did so. I spread her outer lips with my thumbs and ran my tongue around the soft, wet, pink tissue inside. Any disgust I might have felt was swallowed up in my love for Sarah.
We continued to mutually pleasure each other for several minutes, then finally Sarah rolled over off of me, gasping and panting. She rested there for a minute, then lifted her head and gazed into my eyes.
"It's time," she said, and I knew exactly what she meant.
I reversed my position so that I now faced the same way as Sarah, then rolled over on top of her. She spread her legs widely, and this time I knew exactly what to do. It took me just a moment to line myself up right, then I lowered my hips, spearing into her.
"Oh, Kenny!" she squealed in delight. "I love you!"
"I love you too, Sarah," I replied. I drew back and thrust again, then again. No longer nervous about my abilities, I put my trust in instinct, knowing that we would soon fall into that rhythm, that dance without music, that had taken control of us before. And just like last time, it happened.
Our bodies merged into one, a single unified whole that worked together for the good of us both. The pleasure that I received gave pleasure to Sarah, and the pleasure that she received gave pleasure to me. It was beautiful, it was sensual, it was meant to be. We held each other tightly, hugging and kissing and basking in the warmth and softness of each other's bodies. Sarah held me like she was afraid of letting go, as if I were her hero and without me she was lost. And perhaps that wasn't far from the truth.
But it worked both ways. I needed her just as much as she needed me. She had become a part of me now; the world of my imagination would be empty without her. Everything that made me who I was had now been touched by Sarah, and it would never be the same again.
We both reached our peak at the same time. I heard Sarah cry out just as my own pleasure spiked, and together we tensed up in a mutual orgasm. I could feel myself pulsing deep within her body, in a sense giving her a part of myself just like she had given me. Then I collapsed on top of her, laying my head on her breast, which wasn't hard to do since she was almost a full head taller than me.
Sarah wrapped her arms around me, and we lay there cuddling for the longest time before I finally rolled off of her and reclined beside her.
I still dreaded our separation in the future, but for now we were together. What we had just shared somehow made everything seem all right. Perhaps we would go our separate ways later. Perhaps we would grow more distant over time, even if we stayed in contact. But for right now, it was enough that we loved each other.
I glanced down and noticed that she still wore her socks. In our enthusiasm, we never did get them off of her. For some reason, I found that amusing. It was sexy, naughty, and more than a little playful.
Suddenly, it hit me. That symbolized our whole relationship. We were engaging in a very adult activity, but at heart we were still just kids. Our world was a mixture of the grown-up world of everyday life and the fantasies of childhood, making us both adults and children at the same time.
"Maybe my mom was right," I commented.
"About what?" asked Sarah.
"She said we're living in a fairy tale. She said that somehow we're going to live happily ever after."
Sarah smiled. "Your mom's wise."
"But is it true? How can we be happy if we're separated like that?"
"I don't know. But I promise you, if there's any way to make this work, we'll find it. Somehow. You came to rescue me when I was captured by Shadow Monsters. Do you think a little thing like living in different cities is going to keep us apart?"
I sighed. "I hope you're right. I'm just so scared of losing you."
We spent the rest of the day just sitting together on the couch, our arms wrapped around each other. It was a bittersweet time for both of us, feeling so physically and emotionally close yet haunted by the future and the separation it would bring. If only we could slow down time, or stop it entirely, to make this moment last forever. We didn't even have to have sex; it was enough just to hold each other in our arms and know that we were in love.
Perhaps in our fantasy world time travel was possible, but the real world had a nasty habit of intruding on fantasy. The clock still ticked away, still taunting us as it counted down the hours, then minutes, and finally seconds when Sarah would have to go home. I would see her again tomorrow I knew; she didn't know when she was moving but it would probably be a matter of days, if not weeks. But with that deadline, every hour away from her felt like an hour stolen from us.
Eventually my mom came home and found us still sitting there on the couch. She smiled, no doubt happy at our reconciliation.
"So you two have made up?" she asked.
"We have," replied Sarah.
"So it was a good thing I left the door unlocked," said Mom with a grin.
Even in my melancholy, I managed to laugh at that. So it wasn't fate after all, but a little foresight on my mom's part. It figured.
"Are you two going to be all right?" asked Mom.
"More or less," I said. "I'm still hoping for a happy ending, but I don't know if it's going to happen."
Sarah suddenly released me and rose to her feet, a determined look in her eyes. "I just realized that we're looking at this all wrong. It's time to stop hoping for a happy ending, and time to start creating one."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
She smiled. "I don't know yet. I just know that I'm going to do whatever it takes. I need some time to think, so I'm going home. But I'll see you again tomorrow, hopefully with some good news."
My spirits picked up at that; I still didn't have much faith, but Sarah's enthusiasm was always contagious. Maybe, just maybe she could find a way to make it all work out.
I didn't even have to wait until the next day. I was just finishing dinner that night when I received a call from Sarah's dad. My first reaction was panic; had she told him what we had been doing behind his back? But he didn't sound angry or stern on the phone; he sounded pleasant and maybe even a bit apologetic. I wasn't sure what that meant. He invited me to come over and visit with the family, and I was happy to take him up on the offer. His invitation seemed a little unusual, but right now, anything unusual was good. In the natural order of the universe Sarah and I would soon be apart, so I was open to anything that would upset that natural order.
I hurriedly threw on my socks and shoes, then made my way across to the Laurents' house. Mr. Laurent met me at the door and invited me in, and I found Sarah and her mom sitting in the living room. He motioned for me to take a seat next to Sarah on the couch, then he sat in a chair across from us.
"We've just had a family council," he told me. "Or I suppose it's more accurate to say, we're in the middle of a family council. Sarah had some very important things on her mind that concern the whole family, and we invited you over because this concerns you too."
"Yes it does. Sarah tells me you feel really bad about her moving away."
"And from what I've seen and heard, I'm pretty sure she feels the same way."
"Daddy, Kenny's the best friend I ever had," she told him with tears in her eyes.
"I understand," he said. "Kenny, Sarah also said that your mother told you that you're living in a fairy tale."
"Oh, that," I said, trying to think of how to explain it. I wasn't as eloquent as my mother, and no doubt whatever I said would come out sounding pretty dumb. "It's just..."
"No need to explain," he smiled. "I think I understand what she means. Believe me, I want to see a happy ending for everyone as much as you do.
"Sarah," he continued, turning to his daughter, "I want you to think for a minute about what this promotion means for our family. We'll live in a much bigger house, and have fancier things--"
"I don't care about that," she said. "Things aren't important to me. Only people."
Mrs. Laurent glanced at her husband. "Sounds like Sarah's the wisest one of us all," she said.
Mr. Laurent nodded. "I think you're right. All this time I've been trying to provide the best for my family, because I love you. I've worked hard to get where I am, and now a promotion comes along that will give us everything I've ever wanted for you.
"But somewhere along the way, I lost track of what's really important. Everything I've done has been for my family, but sometimes I forget that money isn't always the solution. Although this promotion will give us everything I've ever wanted for my family, I'm not so sure that we all want the same thing. So let's make this a family decision. Each of us gets a vote. Kenny, I'm sorry but you don't get to vote with us because you're not a part of this family."
"That's fine," I said.
"All right. Should I accept the promotion? I vote yes."
"I vote no," Sarah immediately said.
Mrs. Laurent stared at her husband for a few seconds, then glanced at Sarah, who wore a pleading look in her eye. Then she glanced at Mr. Laurent once more. Kenny's heart pounded in his chest as he realized that this was it. It all came down to Sarah's mom's vote.
"Honey?" Mr. Laurent asked his wife.
She sighed. "I'm already halfway done unpacking the boxes," she said. "It would be a shame to pack them all up again so soon. So I'm voting no."
Sarah squealed with delight and threw her arms around her mom, nearly tackling her in her enthusiasm.
Mr. Laurent laughed. "I guess I've been outvoted," he said. "I hope that doesn't mean I don't get a hug too. I don't want to be the villain in this fairy tale."
Sarah immediately released her mom and embraced her dad. He hugged her back, a smile on his face.
"So that's it," he said. "Tomorrow I'll call the president of the company and tell him I'm not accepting the promotion."
Sarah broke her hug with her father, and dashed over to embrace me. I could see tears in her eyes, and realized that I was in a similar state. We hugged and sobbed in each other's arms for the longest time.
Then Sarah's mom put her arms around both of us, and even her dad joined in the group hug. Despite his earlier words, right now I felt like a part of their family.
Kenneth Shadowbane had never been gifted with the power of prophecy; like everyone in Elderhaven, he relied on the Ancient Oracle to see into the future. Kenny Grant, of course, was even more lacking in such mystical powers, and if I were to claim that I knew what would happen years in the future, people would dismiss it as just one more manifestation of my extraordinary imagination. But as I hugged Sarah and thought about how good it felt to be temporarily a part of her family, I had the feeling, stronger than the prophecy of any oracle, that one day that would become permanent. We belonged to each other just like Kenneth Shadowbane and Princess Allura belonged to each other, and despite the absurd impossibility of it all, I knew that in this one instance, fantasy would one day become reality. I glanced at Sarah, and the look in her eyes told me that she was thinking exactly the same thing. And why not? If a boy could believe in dragons and wizards and monsters, if a girl could believe in fairies and princesses and unicorns, then surely we could believe in destiny.