She's put over the wooden horse.
...and his world shattered.
Debbie had done what Ned had always dreamed and hoped she would do, and he never felt more excited or afraid in his life. He slowly tried to relax, which was hard, because Debbie's hands still held his head in a vise grip. But when he managed to breath evenly again, her hands began to slide slowly down the sides of his face and neck, coming to rest gently on his shoulders. Her lips were still on his, and an electric current seemed to pass back and forth between them.
Slowly Ned loosened his grip on Debbies' wrists and tentatively moved his hands to her shoulders. Tentatively, because no matter how much he loved and trusted her, he was afraid. Afraid of his parents, afraid of making the wrong move, afraid for her, afraid for himself. He began to shake with a horrendous mix of guilt, love, fear and desire until he couldn't take it any longer. He pulled his head away and just stared, shaking, at the angel, the demon, the woman in front. They held each other at arms length and stared, and stared.
"I will never hurt you," Debbie whispered, tears streaming down her face.
He Suddenly pulled her in towards him and hugged her tightly, fiercely. Rocking back and forth, they cried all their emotions free.
Debbie stroked Ned's hair and whispered "It's all right, it's all right." over and over again.
They slowly collapsed to the floor in a crumpled heap and sat there for a while looking at each other.
"I want to show you something Ned, something that I have never shown anyone, something that you should see."
Ned nodded and got up with a serious look on his face. He leaned over to offer Debbie a hand but she grinned wickedly and pulled him back down. Quick as a flash she rolled him on his back and sat on his stomach, pinning his arms over his head.
"I love you Ned, but you're going to have to know whose boss."
She leaned forward slowly, and slid down until she was sitting astride his hips with her stomach and chest pressed against his body. Ned willed himself to look her straight in the eyes.
Outside, a bird called once and was quiet. Bob woke up, stretched and settled back to sleep on the porch. Time moved forward through molasses.
tick tick tick tick
"You are," Debbie whispered, and kissed Ned lightly on the lips.
Ned would never forget those words, or the time his heart stood still...
"But you'll have to lighten up if you want to be my friend," she giggled as she rolled him over him over onto his stomach. Quick as a flash she grabbed Ned's left foot and proceeded to tickle him until all angst and desire fled, and he was pounding the floor and begging for her to stop.
"Right this way," she motioned as she jumped up and help him to his still unsteady feet.
He followed her past her bedroom to a closed blue door at the end of the hall. Painted on the doorknob was a Yin-Yang symbol.
"Bluebeard's castle," He whispered, his eyes as wide as saucers.
Debbie bowed a deep bow, "Ah, you pass numbah one test glasshoppah," she lisped.
As she bowed, she drew a key that lay between her breasts, unclipped it from the silver chain it hung from, and unlocked the door, ignoring Ned's slight flush. She stepped inside and bowed towards the far end of the room, then drew Ned inside. Teh room was entirely white with Japanese tatami mats covering the floor. On the opposite wall at eye level were two Japanese swords arranged in a classical samurai fashion. Above the swords was a photograph of Helen Keller.
Debbie got down on her knees and bowed to the swords. She then got up and moved behind Ned.
"Ned, I love you more than anyone in the world. And maybe you want to return that love..."
Debbie waited for a heart beat then continued...
"I won't be your partner and can't be until this wonderful society says we can."
Ned whirled around but the sight of Debbies' tears and bitter smile stopped his tongue.
"You will understand, and I will try to make it as plain as I can. But for now welcome to my Hidden Fortress, my Batcave, my Dojo. Take a look around."