The Girls

Some guy's girlfriend gets turned into a trashy rat girl in the Big Apple. Maybe not quite the Big Apple you're thinking of, but still. Explicit.

Rosa leaned against the railing in front of the windows. The city skyline spilled out on either side of her. She gave me the biggest, toothiest smile she could manage. I held her phone up, leaned back, and tapped the screen. There was a soft shutter-click.

I passed her phone back. "All right. I'm ready to climb back down," I said.

She gave me a confused look, the smile still stuck to her face. "What, you don't want a shot of us together?" she asked.

Before I could tell her she shouldn't be giving her phone to a total stranger, she'd slipped by me and passed it off to a wolf in a track jacket, then jogged back over to me.

Rosa hugged me tight around the waist. The side of her head pressed against my chest. I took a breath, put my arm around her, and tried to smile as big as she did.

***

Standing at the stern of the ferry, Rosa snapped one last picture of the Apple of Liberty, pale green in the afternoon sun. She turned around. The harbor wind pushed back her brown hair, save for a strand or two clinging to the corner of her lips.

"Here," she said, offering me her phone again. "Take a look."

I pressed my shoulder against hers so we could look at her pictures together. There were shots of us underneath the wall of clocks at Times Station. There was one of Rosa pointing up at the impeccably perpendicular corner of the Madison Square Building, and then a matching one of her at the top pointing down. There were shots of the post-modern floral arrangements at the Metropolitan Garden of Art. There were even shots of the hot dogs we'd had for lunch.

I gave her phone back. "That is a lot of photos."

Rosa stuck her phone in her jeans pocket and tugged her flannel shirt tighter against the thick harbor breeze. "We don't get to go on a lot of vacations," she said. "I want to make sure I remember all of this."

I did too. My hand rested on her waist and we leaned together against the wind.

"Hey," she said.

I looked into her eyes.

With a grin, she nodded toward the Apple of Liberty. "I guess that's why they call it the Big Apple, huh?"

I pursed my lips and sighed, which only made Rosa smile brighter.