I feel like a voyeur.
“Happy anniversary,” I whisper to her. The camera pulls away and it looks like I move it to the pillow beside her head. The only view we have now is the profile of Charlie’s face as her head rests against her pillow.
It’s not the best view, but it’s enough to see that she looks exactly the same. Her dark hair is splayed out across the pillow. She’s looking up and I assume I’m hovering over her, but I can’t see myself in the video. I just see her mouth as it curls up into a smile.
“You’re such a rebel,” she whispers. “I can’t believe you snuck in to tell me that.”
“I didn’t sneak in to tell you that,” I whisper quietly. “I snuck in to do this.”
My face finally appears in the video, and my lips rest softly against hers.
Charlie shifts in her seat next to me. I swallow the lump in my throat. I suddenly wish I were alone right now, watching this. I’d be replaying this kiss over and over and over.
My nerves are tight, and I realize it’s because I’m jealous of the guy in the video, which makes absolutely no sense. It feels like I’m watching a complete stranger make out with her, even though it’s me. Those are my lips against hers, but it’s pissing me off because I don’t remember what that feels like.
I debate whether or not to stop the video, especially because the kiss that’s happening right now looks like it’s turning into more than just a simple kiss. My hand, which was resting against her cheek, is now out of view. From the sounds coming out of Charlie’s mouth in the video, it seems like she knows exactly where my hand is.
She pulls her mouth from mine and glances into the camera, just as her hand appears in front of the lens, knocking the camera face down onto the bed. The screen goes black, but the sound is still recording.
“The light was blinding me,” she murmurs.
My finger is right next to the pause button on my phone. I should press pause, but I can feel the warmth of her breath escaping her mouth, flirting with the skin on my neck. Between that and the sounds coming from my speakers, I never want the video to end.
“Silas,” she whispers.
We’re both still staring at the screen, even though it’s been pitch black since she knocked the camera over. There’s nothing to see, but we can’t look away. The sounds of our voices are playing all around us, filling the car, filling us.
“Never never, Charlie,” I whisper.
“Never never,” she whispers in response.
The sound of a zipper.
“I love you so much, Charlie.”
Sounds of bodies shifting on the bed.
Heavy breaths. Lots of them. They’re coming from the speakers surrounding us and also from our mouths as we sit here and listen to this.
Two sharp intakes of breath.
A horn blaring, swallowing up the sounds coming from my speakers.
I fumble with the phone and it falls to the floorboard. Headlights are shining into my car. Fists are suddenly beating on Charlie’s window and before I can retrieve the phone from the floorboard, her door is being jerked open.
“You feel incredible, Charlie,” my voice barrels through the speakers.
Loud bursts of laughter escape the mouth of the girl who is now holding open Charlie’s door. She sat with us at lunch today, but I can’t remember her name.
“Oh, my God!” she says, shoving Charlie in the shoulder. “Are you guys watching a sex tape?” She turns around and yells at the car whose headlights are still shining through the windows. “Char and Si are watching a sex tape!” She’s still laughing when I finally have the phone back in my hands and press pause. I turn the volume down on the car radio. Charlie looks from the girl to me, wide-eyed.
“We were just leaving,” I say to the girl. “Charlie has to get home.”
The girl laughs with a shake of her head. “Oh, please,” she says, looking at Charlie. “Your mom is probably so drunk she thinks you’re in bed right now. Follow us, we’re headed out to Andrew’s.”
Charlie smiles with a shake of her head. “I can’t, Annika. I’ll see you at school tomorrow, okay?” Annika looks overly offended. She scoffs when Charlie continues to pull the door shut, despite her being in the way. The girl steps aside and Charlie slams her door and locks it.
“Drive,” she says.
I do. Gladly.
We’re about a mile away from the gas station when Charlie clears her throat. It doesn’t help her voice because it still comes out in a raspy whisper. “You should probably delete that video.”
I don’t like her suggestion. I was already planning on replaying it tonight when I get home. “There could be a clue in it,” I say to her. “I think I should watch it again. Listen to how it ends.”
She smiles, just as my phone indicates an incoming text. I flip it over and see a notification at the top of the screen from “Father.” I open my text messages.
Father: Come home. Alone, please.
I show the text to Charlie and she just nods. “You can drop me off at home.”
The rest of the ride is slightly uncomfortable. I feel like the video we just watched together has somehow made us see one another in a different light. Not necessarily a bad one, just a different one. Before, when I looked at her, she was just the girl who was experiencing this weird phenomenon with me. Now when I look at her, she’s the girl I supposedly make love to. The girl I’ve apparently made love to for a while. The girl I apparently still love. I just wish I could remember what it’s supposed to feel like.
After seeing the obvious connection we once had, it only further confuses me that she was involved with that Brian guy. Thinking about him now fills me with a whole lot more anger and jealousy than it did before seeing us together in that video.
When we pull into her driveway and stop, she doesn’t immediately get out. She stares up at the dark house in front of us. There’s a faint light on in a front window, but no sign of movement anywhere inside the house.
“I’ll try to talk to my sister tonight. Maybe get more of an idea about what happened last night when I came home.”
“That’s probably a good idea,” I tell her. “I’ll do the same with my brother. Maybe figure out what his name is while I’m at it.”
“Want me to pick you up for school tomorrow?”
She nods. “If you don’t mind.”
It’s quiet again. The silence reminds me of the soft sounds that were escaping her in the video that’s still on my phone, thank God. I’ll be hearing her voice in my head all night. I’m kind of looking forward to it, actually.
“You know,” she says, tapping the door with her fingers. “We could wake up tomorrow and be perfectly fine. We might even forget today happened and everything will be back to normal.”
We can hope for it, but my instincts lead me to believe that won’t happen. We’re going to wake up tomorrow just as confused as we are right now.
“I’d bet against it,” I say. “I’ll go through the rest of my emails and messages tonight. You should do the same.”