Jack paces the room, his eyes darting between me and the floor. The cold pavers offer him little distraction from the task at hand. He is here to conquer me, to finally overcome the fear and the doubt that have left him taking wide berths whenever I’m in the room. Today I have been placed in the middle of the room on a small stool. I don’t think Jack knows that I am privy to the dare. In his avoidance of me I feel he has forgotten that I can hear even when it is just a whispered conversation amongst friends.
He stumbles through a false start. His knee jerks harshly in my direction but his second foot remains planted to the ground, glued down in panic. A painful grimace cringes around his nose. He inhales sharp breaths in a feeble attempt to regain composure and stand before me once more as a strong man. Any tears that shove their way out of him will betray the manliness he has wagered with his friend. A dark red pulsated on his knee from where he scraped it across the pavers. It’s impossible for me to avoid the fact he faltered, it was on full display. Luckily we are the only two in the room so he saves himself from mass embarrassment. He must know I’m not much of a talker otherwise I’m certain he was would dashed from the room and as far away the village his horse can gallop, and then on until his own legs give out from exhaustion.
Jack postures into some force of confidence. He flashes a flirty smile, distracting me from the injury scratches on his leg. I catch a glimpse of myself in his eyes, a shine glimmers back at me. Light seems to touch onto Jack and nothing else. A dark shadow forms around the room. There is just Jack and I, nothing else around us matters. Desire flickers deep within his eyes. A finally mustering of strength gathers behind his shoulders. His back straightens. A shade of hope tempts its way out of Jack yet barely covering the tingling of adrenaline that still shivers out of his limbs.
The moment arrives. He charges at me. His legs power him forward. His tongue sticks out the corner of his mouth as he lines me up to the final move. He adjusts for the launch and springs over top of me. The flame sizzling on the top of my wick hushes out in the draft of his body leaping above me. The room falls to darkness. Jack lands the other side of me with a thud. A gasp pounds of his chest followed by a triumphant cheer. He made it over me. He has completed the dare that has entertained him during this dark winter day.