The sky had grown a deep purple above them, and a gust of wind blew through the yard with a fury. Becca picked up a chair to arrange it with some others in a semicircle under the live oak. The tree's limbs spread out like arms stretching across the backyard. A pair of jenny wrens hopped along the branches, squawking intensely at them. "They've been scolding me all day." Just as Becca said the words, the male swooped down and pecked the scarf off her head.
"They're dive-bombing you," Victor said, amused with the bird's antics.
Becca shooed the wren away. "They're building a nest." She peered up at the tree. "We're standing too close. They don't trust us."
Becca said they should head inside when a thunderbolt split the sky and lit up the backyard like a theater. Victor grabbed Becca's hand to run to the porch, but she pulled him in the other direction. "This is closer," she called above the wind and pointed toward the garden house that was just beyond the live oak. They ran around the chairs, through the yard, and burst through the open doors of the small wooden house. Once they were inside, the clouds let loose. Rain crashed down on the tin roof, pelting it with gigantic drops that had been stored in the heavens way too long. The torrents pummeled the miniature house until it shook, teetering on the blocks that held it above ground.
Victor and Becca stood panting just inside the doorway. They wiggled in deeper to shield themselves from the rain, but the garden house was stuffed with lawn mowers, weed eaters, and shelves filled with everything from jarred preserves to odd cushions and rusted paint cans. Victor sucked in his chest to give Becca more room. With her body wedged against his, he breathed in of the scent of her, a heady duo of fresh roses and sweat. Her head was bent just beneath him, but he could feel the beat of her heart in sync with his own. This melding of flesh, of muscle to muscle, bone against bone stirred an impulse, a desire buried deep within him that urged him beyond the restraints of class or race or even time. He raised a hand to Becca's chin and lifted her face to meet his. While he gazed at her and absorbed the warmth of her eyes, the heat of her breath enveloped him. He kissed her.
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