Smed's grip felt nothing like Craig's. Megan thought of how she felt for so long as some sort of prize of Craig's. He definitely had ownership of her, even when they danced.
It was a bit clumsy with Smed. Once he forgot it was her he was dancing with, he was OK. She wondered who he was thinking of. She knew she still made him nervous. They kept dancing though. Getting the feel of the floor. Each others moves. Really, it was fun. Soon they were spinning and she was forgetting she'd left her mother drunk on the couch... and it was just summer. A beautiful summer.
Soon the birthday boy had his dinner, then presents and finally his cake. There was laughter all through dinner and she enjoyed the company. So different than what she expected. She thought Smed had lived in an underground world of some kind.
"Well, I do live in the basement." But he really had no intention of showing her his room. Instead, afterwards they took a walk in the late evening.
"You've lived here all your life?" She had to ask something. He had his hands in his jeans. Hers behind her back.
"It feels that way." He nodded. "My Mom left my dad once and we went to Florida. She hated the hurricanes, so we came back. Still there are tornadoes."
"God, funny how parents are." She tried to laugh, but she knew her mom had changed for the worst. Her Dad had left because of it, leaving her the pieces to deal with.
"I guess. Maybe they never actually grow up, either." Smed shrugged.
"Guess so." There was a silence. She looped her arm around his. It wasn't exactly holding hands, but she needed him just the same. She needed him to listen. She needed him to know that her life wasn't perfect, either. She had to tell someone.