“Look out or you’ll blow your damn fool fingers off,” Raleigh told her. He held the punk for her, but Lenay resented her boyfriend’s insinuation. She didn’t need him telling her how to do everything.
“I might look ignorant, but I’m not stupid,” she said. The girl knew how to handle a bottle rocket, had been in plenty of throwing wars with her brothers. At times it would be nice to have those boys around.
Raleigh acted so self-righteous, as if he could save her from herself or something. “You get one beer in ya and get all full of yourself, girl.” He tightened his grip around her forearm a little tighter like he usually did as a warning. Right before he began to get angry.
Lenay looked up when a burst of green and gold blew up in the sky over their car parked on the hill. Small trails of light filtered down through the darkness as if to land on treetops and set the woods ablaze. They had a great vantage point to watch the town’s big fireworks display.
Not that the couple in the back seat noticed. The two groped at each other like dogs in heat. Quite a duo they made for a double-date.
She shot Raleigh her most flirtatious smile, which seemed to diffuse his temper, so she tugged her arm away. “Come on. This is supposed to be fun. Remember?”
“Just watch what yer doing, huh? I’m not driving you to the hospital.” That was probably the truth.
He might just let me bleed out, she thought. Leave me laying here for good, the bastard. “All I want is to shoot off some fireworks, Raleigh. Do some sparklers. Let’s enjoy ourselves for a change.”
Raleigh apologized the last time he got rough. Said he’d never do it again. Grabbing her arm like that didn’t seem like he was so sorry.
Another blast exploded overhead, this time blue and red, and spiraled outward from its point of detonation. She watched the tendrils of light drift downward and considered what the fireworks supposedly meant, what they celebrated.
“Hmmm, freedom,” she said out loud, more or less to herself.
Raleigh shook his head at her. “What the hell are you talking about? You’re freakin’ crazy.” She breathed deeply, exhaled, and bent over to dig in a brown paper bag of firecrackers.
Raleigh shouted toward the car, “And what the hell is wrong with you two?” He clenched his fists in front of his body, pumped his elbows back and forth, thrust his hips forward and backward, and guffawed loudly at himself. “Woohoo!”
Lenay suddenly felt fearless, even without her brothers to back her up. She tore the thin red paper from a pack of Black Cats to expose the fuse, set the bunch on the ground behind where Raleigh stood humping the air, and flicked her lighter to set it all on fire.
The eruption served as her favorite of the night, although she didn’t wait to watch Raleigh jump around and dodge the sparks. She’d have loved to see his hotfoot but was too busy turning the key and shifting her car into drive. The couple in the back seat finally sat up, suddenly startled. They grabbed ahold of the front seat as Lenay punched the gas and sped away, leaving Raleigh to his solo dance.
“Be careful, there, boy,” she told his reflection in the rearview mirror.
(image: Jdmoar via Flickr)
Our Write Side writing prompt – fearless