Flo and Jett Excerpt for Valentine’s Day

I look around, horrified at the thought of staying in the dark woods all night by myself. I’ll miss a hot supper and the comfort of my small tent, exchanging it for sitting out here on damp soil in nothing but a robe. The trees suddenly look a lot more menacing—the shadows between them, and the sounds of animals scratching and rustling in the branches. The woods transform into a sinister rather than welcoming place when I’m faced with a night alone here.

I shake my head no. “I don’t want to stay here alone,” I say. I don’t mean to sound like I’m suggesting Jett stay with me, but I don’t protest when he tells me he will.
What if the camp packs up and leaves before we make it back in the morning? This is the last night, after all. They’ll already be preparing to move on.

He edges closer and puts his arm around me. I hadn’t realized how much I was shivering, and not just from the chill in the air. I rest my head against his chest and breathe in his scent. He smells clammy and musky, like the circus, not like Jett—like lemon and fresh mint. I suppose I must smell the same.

He trails his fingertips across my collarbone and up my neck. I close my eyes and whisper, “What am I going to do?”

— The Wanderers