Lloyd straddled the Triumph with the kickstand down and watched the sun fall toward the horizon. The glow cast his shadow on the ground near the wall of plywood sheets that formed a drive-in movie screen. Behind him, speaker posts protruded from the sandy earth like giant match sticks in battalion formation, staggered forty yards deep in rows of ten.
He read the handwritten note scribbled in haste on the dollar bill Jamie slipped him at the car wash. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t eat. His world revolved around a woman he hardly knew, a woman he yearned to touch. To smell. To taste.
He found more than a physical connection with Jamie. He found a woman who understood him; a woman who accepted where he’d been and what he’d done; a woman long on heart and short on judgment; a woman not afraid to be herself.
He broke no laws. He made no excuses for his actions. He had the right to live his life the way he wanted. The state still owned him, but his future was his alone to decide.
He checked his watch and dismounted the bike to inspect the vacant grounds. He found the abandoned concession stand with the old-time popcorn machine caked in dust beside a cash register with an empty change drawer. Popcorn kernels dotted the floor beneath a spilled container on the counter.
The outmoded theater conjured memories of a time when he snuck through the entrance and hid between cars to catch a low-budget horror flick. He loved the movies, which fueled an early desire to be an actor until his father poured water on the flame. “Actors starve,” his father had preached. “Real men earn a living the honest way. Chase your dreams on your own time. You can’t support a family waiting tables in a Hollywood dive.”
Lloyd picked up a rock and threw it toward the setting sun like a touchdown pass to an open receiver down-field. His heart jumped when he saw the red Volvo exit the highway and double back toward the giant screen. He waited impatiently for his lover to reach him, kicking his boot at the ground.
“I wasn’t sure you would come,” he said to Jamie, who emerged from the shiny sedan in a sleeveless top and miniskirt, with white-rimmed shades. Her perfume carried in the humid air.
Jamie threw her arms around Lloyd and hugged him in a warm embrace. “I can’t stay long…”
Lloyd pulled her tight, engulfing her body next to his. He framed her face with his hands and gazed through her glasses at her beautiful eyes. “I missed you…”
Jamie opened her mouth to him, craving his touch, his warmth.
Lloyd swallowed her with a fervent kiss, his tongue wrapped with hers as he slid his hands down her back and felt her firm, naked flesh beneath her dress. He nibbled at her lower lip, kissing his way along the side of her neck with a satisfying moan.
“I can’t do this,” Jamie gasped as she pushed Lloyd away. But there was no conviction in her voice. No strength in her effort to physically disconnect herself from the one person she yearned to feel inside her.
“I need you,” Lloyd panted. “All of you.” He pressed his lips to Jamie’s mouth with his eyes wide open, oblivious to the heavenly sunset or the voice in the back of his head that cautioned against such foolishness with a married woman.
Jamie hugged her arms around his neck, engulfing his mouth with hers, wanting more, needing more to satisfy the hunger that consumed her day and night.
He could feel the wetness between her legs, void of any panty obstruction. A warm, aching fervor throbbed sinfully in his stomach.
“I want to feel you inside me,” Jamie whispered in her lover’s ear. She locked her arms around Lloyd and jumped onto his sturdy frame, locking her ankles behind his thighs, her body melting with anticipation.
Lloyd carried her behind the concession stand pavilion, facing away from the road. He rested her back against the wall, his fingers kneading her warm buttocks in a sensual massage. He braced her weight in his arms as she tore at his pants and sprung him free.
Lloyd lifted Jamie’s hips and slowly brought her onto his thick erection one agonizing inch at a time as Jamie gripped his muscular arms and pressed her lush, tender breasts against him. He could feel the heat between them, a raging fire that engulfed them as they clutched one another with their hips in motion, lost in a world all their own.
Lloyd buried himself inside his lover, the intensity of his urgent thrusts rising to crescendo, driven by an uncontrollable desire to please her. He could feel Jamie’s nails dig into his skin, her pliant body bouncing in perfect time with every thrust until he felt her shudder with pleasure from the onset of a feverish orgasm.
Lloyd supported her with his arms, his torso defined and rippling with almost superhuman strength beneath his shirt. He slowed his thrusts, plunging himself to her core until he felt Jamie’s desire rekindle, almost instant and hot, engulfing him tighter than before. And so he continued, on a seemingly endless quest to deliver all the passion he could summon for his lover, burning deep within him and more pronounced than anything he’d ever felt before. His body melded with Jamie’s, gripping her tighter, hotter, and more relentlessly with every thrust of his rigid thickness. The bulbous head of his penis ignited a million nerve endings until his own desire began to overflow inside him, swelling beyond his ability to abstain from the aching need for release. He held on for Jamie’s second orgasm, sheathed in the sweat of his endeavor before he spilled himself in one volcanic rush of nirvanic proportion.
When he finished, he helped Jamie lower her legs and balance herself against him on weak knees. Years of emotional neglect and pent-up angst melted in the fantasy come true.
Lloyd secured his pants and belt. He hugged his arms around Jamie with her head against his chest and whispered, “I could stay like this forever.”
“What are we doing here?” Jamie asked him. She pressed her ear to Lloyd and heard his heart pounding inside his massive chest, the steady tempo drowning her voice of reason.
“Whatever we want.”
Jamie lifted her head and kissed his lips. “Who are you?”
“Whoever you need me to be.”
“You don’t even know my name,” said Jamie.
“And yet I know you better than you know yourself.”
“This isn’t me. I mean… I don’t do things like this.”
Lloyd scooped his precious Jamie off her feet and cradled her with one arm around her back and the other beneath her knees. He carried her to the Triumph.
“What are you doing?”
“Taking you for a ride.”
“What if someone sees us—”
Lloyd placed her gently on the seat. He pointed to the metal prongs mounted to the frame. “Keep your feet on those. Don’t stand up.”
“I’ve never ridden a motorcycle before,” said Jamie.
“I’ve never had sex at a drive-in before.”
“What if we tip over?”
“What if we crash?”
Lloyd carefully swung his leg up and over. He planted both feet to distribute his weight before he righted the handlebars and raised the kickstand. He pulled the clutch and started the motor. The bike responded with a guttural rumble from the chrome tailpipes. “Hold on.”
Jamie grabbed onto him, resting the side of her head against his back, terrified and thrilled at the same time. She closed her eyes when the bike got underway but opened them in the pending twilight when she felt the wind in her hair and the thrum of the big twin motor between her legs. The sounds and motions energized her sense of freedom, adventure, and uncertainty about the direction her life had taken.
Lloyd kept the ride short and circled back to the drive-in theater. He slowed the bike at the property entrance. The rear tire kicked up dust as he carved back and forth between the rows of speaker posts snarled in overgrown weeds. He revved the engine in low gear and popped the clutch, raising the front wheel momentarily.
Jamie screamed in his ear and tightened her grip before the bike skidded to a stop near her car. “Don’t do that!”
Lloyd grinned ear to ear. “You’re welcome.”
Jamie blew her hair from her eyes, still perched on the Triumph’s back seat with her arms firmly wrapped around Lloyd’s chest from behind. “Are you trying to kill me?”
Lloyd cut the motor and dropped the kickstand. “Tell me you didn’t like it, and I won’t make you ride again.”
“I didn’t like it.”
“Yes you did.”
“How do you know?”
Lloyd kissed her passionately. “Stay with me.”
Jamie let go and dismounted from the bike. “I can’t.” She shuffled toward her car, feeling light-headed from the bout of incredible sex and the euphoric ride on two wheels. “Alan comes back tomorrow morning.”
Lloyd followed her. “Ten more minutes.”
“I can’t,” said Jamie. “I have to go.”
“My life’s empty without you.”
Jamie flashed her eyes at Lloyd. “And mine without you. But I can’t stay here.”
“When will I see you again?”
“Don’t say that.”
Jamie turned away, her tangled emotions pushing her closer to the hairy edge of insanity. “This isn’t a game. If Alan found out about us…”
Lloyd touched her shoulder and caressed her soft, wind-blown hair. “He won’t.”
“I’m a married woman.”
“Who’s not in love with the man she married.”
“That doesn’t make this right.”
“Then leave him,” said Lloyd. “Be with me.”
Jamie took his hand in hers and kissed it. “It’s not that simple. There are things you don’t know…”
“At least tell me your name.”
“That’s a beautiful name.”
“I really have to go.”
Lloyd kept her hand in his. He rubbed his thumb on the soft texture of her skin. “Tell me more about you. Do you have family here? Do you have children?”
“I thought you knew me better than I know myself?”
“I know you’re holding a deep sadness that you can’t let go. Something in your past that hurt you. A death in the family.”
Jamie pulled her hand away and crossed her arms at her chest. “How did you know that?”
“I can feel it.”
Jamie wiped a tear from her eye. “I gave birth to a stillborn child three years ago. So no, I don’t have children.”
Lloyd hugged her and kissed her forehead. “I’m sorry.” He held her for several minutes, her heart pressed against his. “Stay a little while longer.”
Jamie kissed him for the last time and got back in her car with the window down. “I have to go.”
Lloyd persisted. “Our life is what we make of it. I can’t predict the future. I can’t promise what will happen. I can only tell you I don’t want it to happen without you. I think of you every minute of every day. There is nothing more precious to me than the time we spend together. If you let me, I can make you the happiest woman in the world.”
“At this point in time,” said Jamie, “you already have.”
Lloyd put his hands on the Volvo’s roof and shook his head. “You still haven’t answered my question.”
Jamie started the car. “I can’t be late.”
“Meet me here again, tomorrow. Same time.”
Jamie drove away.
Lloyd cupped his hands to his mouth and shouted, “Next time I’ll let you drive.” He mounted the Triumph and watched a blue Impala charge the entrance with its headlights pointed at the concession stand. The car stopped a few feet from his bike.
Varden jumped out with the engine running. “Old habits die hard, Mr. Sullivan.”
“What do you want?” Lloyd asked sharply.
“You’re trespassing on private property.”
“I don’t see any signs.”
Varden pointed to a patch of weeds where a “No Trespassing” sign hung upside down from a length of broken chain barely visible in his headlights. “Step away from the bike and put your hands on the hood.”
Lloyd dropped the kickstand and dismounted. “Are you serious?”
Varden shoved him face-forward onto the Impala’s hood. “What are you doing here, Mr. Sullivan?”
“My bike had engine trouble. I pulled over to fix it.”
“About an hour ago.”
“What are you doing all the way out here?”
“Looking for a pay phone.”
Varden patted Lloyd’s pockets and checked his ankle monitor. “You got anything on you I should know about? Knives, needles, drugs of any kind?”
Lloyd lifted his hands from the hood. “Nothing.”
Varden shoved him back down. “I own you, Mr. Sullivan. Your ass belongs to me. Don’t think for a second that I can’t find you. That I don’t know where you are or what you’re up to. If I catch you dealing—”
“I’m not dealing.”
Varden grabbed Lloyd by the hair and pulled his head back. “Then what are you really doing here?”
“I told you, my bike broke down.”
Varden let go. “Where were you headed?”
“So you were just joy-riding for the fun of it, just minding your own business all the way to a piece of private property. You know this town as well as I do, Mr. Sullivan. There are only two reasons people come out to this site. To do something they’re trying to hide or hide something they don’t want you to find.”
Varden stood by the Triumph. He pulled a folding knife from his pocket and opened the blade. “You said you had engine trouble?”
Varden inspected the bike. He turned the ignition on, pulled the clutch, and pressed the starter button. The motor came to life instantly. “Must have been something in the gas.”
Varden looked at Lloyd, still spread on the hood of his car. He wrapped his fist around the knife handle and plunged the blade in the Triumph’s seat, slicing back and forth to shred his way through the foam rubber core. He dug his hands inside the cushion and tore a chunk from the base plate.
“You can’t do that,” said Lloyd.
“It’s called ‘probable cause’ Mr. Sullivan. I’ll find what you’re hiding eventually.”
“That’s personal property.”
“Your problem, not mine,” Varden said hotly. “I know your type. You’re a bottom feeder. A parasite who ignores the law and stirs trouble for those around him. That’s how you earned your first stint in prison. Tonight I’m going to earn you a second.”
Varden smashed the handlebar mirrors. He dented the gas tank with the butt of the knife and unscrewed the cap to peek inside.
“Search it all you want,” said Lloyd. “You won’t find anything.”
Varden stabbed the rear tire. Air hissed from the narrow puncture. “I’m just getting started.” He squeezed the tubeless tire as he moved his hand along the tread and stabbed the sidewall. “You might be right about this bike. It’s got some issues.”
“That’s enough!” Lloyd shouted. He got off the car and charged at Varden. “You don’t have the right to do this!”
Varden pointed the knife at Lloyd. “You don’t have the balls.” He turned sideways and kicked the bike until it toppled on its side. “That’s for lying to me again.” He stowed the knife and retreated to his car. The tires spun wildly under his lead foot, kicking up sand and pebbles as the car spun through a hundred and eighty degrees.
Varden powered down the window. “I could violate you for trespassing on private property, but that would be too easy.” Varden gunned the engine in neutral with his arm out the window. “See you back at the ranch.”
“How am I supposed to get there?” “Phone a friend,” said Varden. “There’s a 7-Eleven with a payphone a few miles from here. Curfew starts in one hour. Twenty bucks says you’ll never make it back in time.”