I avoided Wendy for a week. I took different routes home from school, even getting rides from friends. I stayed inside every evening, knowing her eyes were watching at the fence for fire. I just needed things to cool down so Crotchety wouldn't come back.
Unfortunately, the longer I waited, the more I wanted to do two things.
Firstly, I wanted to burn something. My fingers itched. I found myself playing with a lighter for hours every night, flicking the flame on, watching it dance, flicking it off. I watched the sparks ignite it, watched the flame glow blue and yellow, and even blew lightly or waved the lighter around to make the fire dance. But watching te tiny flame was unsatisfying. The more i played with it, the more I wanted to see it grow into something huge. I wanted to see the orange flames licking over wooden surfaces. I wanted to watch the fire dance wildly, whipping into tornadoes of heat. I wanted to smell the sweet aroma of smoke, thick, and pungent. I missed the sizzle and pop, the crackle and snap, and even the squeal of an air pocket releasing quickly.
Secondly, when I tried to stop thinking about fire, Wendy's kiss floated into my thoughts. I wanted to kiss her again. I wanted to have another adventure with her by my side. I wanted to see the flames reflected in her eyes and watch her smile contentedly. I wanted to feel her warmth against me, her breath on my cheek.
And I knew that I could do neither. Both desires were dangerous. Yet, each day they grew in intensity. Dreams about fire and Wendy invaded my sleep. I woke several times a night, sometimes drenched in sweat. Daydreams about them kept me doodling flames and black eyes in the margins of my notes in class. I had failed two tests this week.
I'd tried distracting myself with TV and video games. But every time something exploded, I found myself sucking in my breath and my heart skipped a beat.
I wanted to get them out of my head!
I snapped my lighter shut. There really was only one way. Like when you get a song stuck in your head, really stuck, and you can't get it out, even by thinking of other songs. The only way to end the relentless repeating choruses is to play the song followed by another and another until your head is empty.
I put on my shoes and a light jacket. It was around 8PM, dark, and a bit chilly. I went out the back door and stood in the yard beside the fire pit. My eyes adjusted to the dark and soon I could make out two shiny orbs through the holes in the fence.
I walked calmly over to her.
"Wendy." I whispered. "We have to talk."