Home > A Place Without You(8)

A Place Without You(8)
Author: Jewel E. Ann

I let my thoughts simmer into secrets I will never be able to share with him. Something about him makes me want to get all sappy and sentimental. Probably the same something that had my claws curling, ready to attack an innocent blonde just minutes ago.

“When are you done?”

He glances at his watch. “Five hours.”

I frown.

“But I have forty-five minutes to grab some food. Can I feed you too?”

With only hours remaining, I want to spend Bodhi’s forty-five free minutes making out with him. I can’t get enough. New attraction is like the first glance of an exquisite view or the first bite of the most delectable dessert. I want to indulge on Bodhi, but lunch is fine.

It’s safe.

“Lunch sounds perfect.”

He takes my hand, letting our fingers intertwine, and we grab two Korean BBQ bowls and ice cream on the way back to the stage where Bodhi has to work.

“It’s melting. You’d better hurry up.” Bodhi points to the blue ice cream melting down my wrist. “You’re gonna get—OH!” He fists his hand at his mouth as it drips down the front of my white top.

“Shit! Shit, shit, shit!” I lick it as fast as I can, but the desert heat is one step ahead of me. “Help!” I hold it away from my stained shirt as it continues to drip.

Bodhi grabs my wrist and starts licking the ice cream in the cone, the pools of it running down the sides. Then he licks my fingers and forearm, eyeing me with a mischievous grin around his lapping tongue.

I want that tongue. I want those lips. And when my smile fades, I think he knows exactly what I’m thinking.

Without taking his eyes off me, he, too, loses all playfulness. It’s replaced with the same need I have. I know this because I’m certain Henna and Bodhi is a phenomenon greater than the simplicity of fate. We are a definable law of nature like those that came before us from Newton, Ohm, and Mendel.

He tosses the rest of my ice cream in the trash and pulls me around to the side of the tent. There are a few people, maybe fifteen yards away, vaping and chatting, but …

We don’t care.

Bodhi grabs my face and kisses me. Our tongues and hands lose all control, feeling each other everywhere.

“Get a room,” someone says on a laugh in the distance, followed by a few whistles and snickers.

We don’t care.

Every crazy emotion stays caged in my head and my heart because that’s what they are—crazy. I want to beg him to tell me everything.

His last name.

His address.

His age.

His greatest childhood memory.

And his most daunting fear.

But we are temporary. I need to keep reminding myself of that one truth.

His hand brushes over the thin material of my crop top. I moan into our deep kiss while he skims his thumb over my hard nipple.

More whistles and catcalls ensue.

We need someplace more private. Someplace that requires a condom to prevent nine-month surprises.


I fist his shirt to keep us attached at the mouth as he tries to pull away. There isn’t enough time to get my fill of him. There will never be enough time.


I kiss his neck, tracing my tongue along his collarbone.

“Let’s go somewhere more private.” I slide my hands around his back and poke them down into his pockets, giving his nice ass a firm squeeze.

“Fuck …” He rests his forehead on mine, breathless. “Trouble. Hell. You’re my complete undoing.”

“What do you think I taste like?” I whisper.

“What?” he says with a strained voice.

“You asked me what I tasted like.” I shrug. “I don’t know what I taste like. But …” My heart knocks wildly against my ribs as I realize I want Bodhi. I want to use those condoms. All of them. “I want you to tell me what I taste like.”

“Henna … I …” He pushes me so my backside is almost touching the tent, his body guarding me from our audience in the distance.

We stare at each other with drunken eyes and parted lips as his right hand squeezes my ass, sliding my miniskirt up a bit.

I swallow hard, knowing that if someone were to walk around the tent they’d see my half-exposed ass, something that the whistlers down the way can’t see.

“Tonight.” I kiss him, letting my tongue tease his lips first to ask permission.

He returns one last kiss that liquefies every inch of my body, leaving me a mere pool of a girl on the ground. “Tonight.” He grins. “I’ll call you when I’m done.”


For the next five hours, I meander around the festival, higher than I’ve ever been after any form of pot. Every ten minutes, I post a snap, resisting the urge to hashtag with #Countdown­To­Losing­My­Virginity.

Showered, waxed, and covered in a thin layer of lotion, with nothing more than a long, flowing sundress covering my otherwise naked body and pink Birkies, I wait by the exit we took last night. I know Bodhi should be calling me at any moment as the scant, lingering crowd filters out at the end of night two.

Over my shoulder and a safe but protective distance away, Mr. Bodyguard watches me. He’s not here to adjust my moral compass or rat me out for a few gummy bears; he’s here to make sure no one harms me. That’s it. That’s just how cool my mom and stepdad are.

Bodhi’s name illuminates as my phone rings.

“Hurry up. I’m wearing nothing and I mean nothing under this flimsy sundress. I’m getting cold. You need to warm me up with your body.”

“Henna,” he says in a strained voice.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” I step away from the entrance, planting myself under a light, but away from everyone else.

“I’m on my way home. I left three hours ago. I tried to call you, but—”

“My phone died.” Too many photos posted to social media. “I left to charge it in time for you to call now, not …” I shake my head, feeling this grinding pressure in the pit of my stomach. “Why?”

“Something personal came up. It’s my dad. I couldn’t wait.”

“Is he okay?”

“I hope so.”

“Bodhi …” What can I say? This terribly selfish part of me wants to get mad at him for leaving without saying goodbye. The irrationally emotional side of me wants to cry. I do neither. “I’m sorry. I hope he’s okay.”

“Me too.”

“Maybe …” Maybe what? I pinch my eyes shut.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever enjoyed being with another human as much as I enjoyed every second with you. Just … always know that. Okay?” he says, and I feel every ounce of his honesty and disappointment.

“What if we—”

“No what ifs. I’m sorry. My life doesn’t leave room for any more what ifs. It’s complicated.”

“Can I …” Tears burn my eyes. I found him. Two days is not enough. Everything is temporary, but Bodhi can’t be two days of my life. No … that’s not okay.

“I’m sorry.” So much pain bleeds from his voice. “We were perfect. Bodhi and Henna … I want every memory to be perfect. Let’s let it end this way. It was so fucking perfect, and …”

Don’t be sorry.

I wipe the tears from my eyes. “And temporary.”

“Only our time together. But you, Henna Eve Lane, the mark you made is permanent.”

“You’ll forget about me. Henna fades.”

“Never …” he whispers.

I choke on my emotions while I nod a goodbye I can’t actually say aloud.

He waits on the line, but I can’t speak. I can’t even take a single breath, so I press End.


May (4 weeks later)

Henna: Hi. Remember me?

Bodhi: Hi. I’m pretty sure you’re still my greatest memory.

I die.

Henna: How’s your dad?

Bodhi: Better.

Henna: I’m in Italy. Where are you?

Bodhi: The barn.

Henna: LOL What if I swing by on my way home?

Bodhi: You’d wreck me. I’d have to start the getting-over-you process all over again.

Henna: How’s that going?

Bodhi: Pretty shitty.

Henna: I listen to Hedley “Pocket Full of Dreams” at least ten times a day. Makes me think of this ketchup guy I met.

Bodhi: Hozier “Jackie and Wilson”

Henna: Someday … I’m going to find you.

Bodhi: Wouldn’t that be something?

Henna: Oh, it will be.

June (4 weeks later)

Henna: Hi. Remember me?

Bodhi: Hi. I’m pretty sure you’re still my greatest memory.

Henna: How’s your dad?

Bodhi: Obnoxious and grumpy.

Henna: I’m in California visiting my dad—the ex-drummer. You’d like him.

Bodhi: I’ve met his daughter. I’m sure he’s pretty great.

Henna: Where are you?

Bodhi: Under Alice. She’s getting her oil changed.

Henna: I miss Alice.

Bodhi: She misses you.

Henna: Are you over me yet?

Bodhi: Not even close.

Henna: I listen to Clean Bandit feat. Julia Michaels acoustic “I Miss You”

Bodhi: One Republic “Something I Need”

Henna: Someday … I’m going to find you.

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