Flick. Flick. Flick. Cassie's face lit up briefly with the brilliant orange flame of her Bic lighter.

"You sound like you're struggling," I whispered.

She exhaled slowly; a practiced release of smoke that had no doubt been displayed at parties before for entertainment. The pungent smell of marijuana filled the air around us like a warm, comforting hug.

"It's a new lighter, I didn't get a chance to take the safety off," Cassie said. Unlike me she was speaking at a normal volume, and the sound seemed somehow intrusive on the silence of the backdrop, an unlit dead end road.

She passed her glass pipe to me. I took my own toke with ease.

"How'd it go with your mom?" she continued.

I hesitated, letting the taste of the smoke linger in my mouth.

"As good as you'd hoped?" she added. I snorted.

"If she knew where I was, I'd be dead."

"Oh, Amy." She touched my hand and a flutter appeared in my stomach. As emotion and drug hit me at the same time, the scene started to flatten in my vision; it felt portrait-esque, me in front of a still St. Lawrence river, surrounded by trees... In the middle of a road with a beautiful girl beside me.

I passed the pipe to her.

Beautiful. My stomach lurched. Cassie lit up her face with burning weed for a moment, then went back into darkness. She passed the pipe back. I stared down at it in the darkness, trying to gauge how much was left. Things were dwindling fast. I had to act now.

"Cassie, what do you think about doing something crazy and reckless?"

Her eyebrows went up. "I've been saving," I continued. "I've been thinking about this a lot since the fight with my mom, because... I really, really don't want to be alone on the other side of the province when I go to school."

Cassie looked away, even though the darkness made that pointless. "I can visit sometimes, when I get the money--"

"But I want you all the time."

That lingered in the air awkwardly for a second.

"...I have a single dorm. People probably wouldn't care if you stayed there for a while as you look for a job..."

"Without an address in the city..."

"That's true," I frowned. "But can you put P.O. Boxes on resumes?"

Cassie giggled.

"Fuck it. I'm sure we could figure something out, right?"

My heart jolted. Was she really saying...?

"Who's gonna pay for weed?" she added fake-seriously.

I suddenly remembered the pipe in my hand. I lit it up, and the moment it left my lips Cassie grabbed me into a warm hug. I pulled my head away from her and let my smoke out. The smell drifted in the air around us, calling to mind an olfactory memory of weed smoked in the past. Intimate moments that made me love her in the first place.

"You can figure that one out," I whispered.

"Deal." And not for the first time, she groped my butt.

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