Model Home
Ryan W. Bradley

I was making you listen to songs in my car. It was a mixed CD I'd just made you. We were sitting in the backseat and you leaned over me, so I got a whiff of your shampoo. Strawberry-kiwi. You hiked up your dress and straddled my lap. We kissed and you moved up and down a bit, rubbing on me just to prove you could get me excited at will.
"Let's go to the house," you said. You had been working for a real estate company, showing people a model house for a subdivision they were hoping to build behind the truck stop south of Palmer.
"Let's sit here and listen to music," I said and kissed your neck.
But you kept pleading until I said "all right already" and we got back in the front seats. I watched you pull down your dress and smooth it out as I put the car in gear. It felt like a sledgehammer in my gut how badly I wanted to feel the insides of your thighs. How suddenly it felt like a matter of life and death. Having you, every inch of you, every ounce of your energy.
We drove out past the truck stop into the once overgrown field that had been leveled by the developers. It was spring but it had snowed a few days before and the ground was still muddy. We drove through the makeshift streets, which had been marked with stakes and neon spray paint so investors could envision the layout. There was one house at the back of the lot. I parked to the right of it, imagining a driveway.
"There's a generator out back," you said.
"I'll get it.
You kissed my cheek and told me you would meet me inside. I trudged through the mud around the back of the house and found the generator. We'd been going together almost eight months, which was long enough that people were starting to have expectations about our relationship. Even my dad who had been trying to get me to take a job on the slope with him was now adapting his strategy.
"You can put some money away for a ring," he had said a few days before.
I was in love with you. Of course I was in love with you. That was the horrible, gut-wrenching nausea I'd been suffering every time I looked at you lately. But I didn't even know what I wanted to do with my life. I just wanted to listen to music. Or play guitar in the band I'd started during our sophomore year. I wasn't ready to follow my dad up to the pipeline.
I flipped the switch on the generator and grabbed the pull crank. I wasn't ready to start a family or have a wife or move into some valley subdivision. I wasn't ready for kids or a mortgage. I yanked the cord a second time and the motor groaned to life.
A couple lights came on in the house. You were there in the kitchen window waving. I didn't know what you thought about any of this stuff, because I was too scared to ask. I was too afraid you would say you were ready. For all of it.
You opened the back door, stood out on the porch.
"Coming in?" you said.
I walked up the steps, scraping mud off my shoes as I did. You took my hand and led me inside, showed me around like I was a prospective investor. You said things like "crown molding." I had no idea what you were talking about, but I nodded anyway. We got to the bedroom and I grabbed you by the hips. I hiked up your dress so I could see your thighs again.
"The room has a lovely feng shui," you said, reciting another line from the script the real estate company had given you.
I picked you up and laid you on the bed, crawled between your legs, pushing your dress ahead of me. You continued to recite your script, laughing as you went on about whirlpool baths, walk-in closets, and adjoining rooms.
"Perfect for a nursery," you said.
I tried to tune you out. I focused on your pale skin. I ran my hands the rest of the way up your dress. I pushed inside you. I only wanted to listen to the music.