My heart's still throbbing with adrenaline as Max floors the gas, ejecting us into the night. "What a crazy jerk" -- His comment seems to slip away with the wind rushing by our open windows. No substances for us, not tonight! -- even without them, the two of us are high as kites.
I laugh; Max laughs. Though it terrifies me, it's that recklessness of his that makes me so crazy about him. Taking risks, to Max, is a necessity. It's his kind of fun, yes, but more than that -- it's his way of life.
As he drives he puts on a tape of heavy-metal music that I cannot identify. I've never had much of a taste for the genre -- but at two-thirty AM, speeding along in a sweaty, dented Volvo with the only boy I've ever loved, the angry racket is exactly what I want.
He calls me his Wildcat, which is corny, but that's how I like it. And that's how I feel, with him. I'm a spicy vampire-girl, in a sleek plastic dress that hugs my pelvis so tight Max wants to kiss it. I'm a bad-ass sex kitten with short, choppy hair like a rock musician. I'm wild, I'm chill, I'm sexy. I'm a sacred monument to which my fellow hormone-ridden problem-children flock.
Of course, I've always been one of "those" sorts of girls, even before I met Max. You know -- the type you whisper about behind your pretty slender hands, even though you know that you admire me. The type with a stubborn attitude, curvy hips, wearing thick black mascara and quick flashing grins. "Sexually active" at age fifteen. But that was all it really was, a... style of mine. A persona. Truthfully, "those" sorts of girls are quite common.
However, the Trisha who runs wild with Max Landen -- she is not. And after what has gone on between us tonight, I feel infinitely extraordinary.
Max delivers me home by three, driving relatively safely for the remainder of the journey. I yawn, and rub my eyes despite the zombielike effect the smeared makeup will have on my face. Then I lean over the grimy cupholder and kiss Max's acne-scarred cheek before slinking away down the cleanly paved walkway to my house. "See ya."
Max believes in anything forbidden, everything alternative. And I am an open book. If he suggests it, I'm more than happy to try it, because I love him more than anyone I've ever known. He isn't conventionally attractive -- too sickish-pale, with a ferrety face and slender limbs -- but I am enamored endlessly by the beauty I perceive in him. Without question, he loves me back. There isn't a question in my mind.
I sneak a backward glance as I unlock the front door and, without explanation, I am stricken with a thrill of fear.