Excerpt from An Act of Love

When they arrived at the party Brian stayed with her instead of joining the other boys, who were watching a basketball game. He talked with her and her friends in the kitchen, and when they put on some music he danced with her.

She hadn’t told him about the limit since she hadn’t wanted to put a damper on the evening, and she was having such a good time, she forgot about it. But later, while they were dancing to a slow one, holding each other as closely as possible with the cast between them, she suddenly remembered to check her watch.

“I have to go,” she told him sadly.

“What time is it?”

“It’s quarter to eleven.”

“What time do you have to be home?”

“By eleven.”

He frowned. “You didn’t have to be home by eleven last week.”

“I do now. My mother set a limit.”

“She did? Why?”

“She thinks I need one.”

“You mean with me?”

“With anyone,” she said, not wanting him to feel that he was being discriminated against.

“Do you want to stay out later?”

“Yeah. But I can’t.”

“Okay,” he said, looking dejected.

They left the party and headed toward the aqueduct.

“I really don’t want to go home,” she said, trying to reassure him.

Brian said nothing.

She didn’t know what else to say.

They arrived at her house with a minute to spare. They stopped at the foot of the back steps.

“Do you like me?” he asked as if his life depended on it.

“Yeah. I do.” She went further, saying: “I love you.”

But he looked as if he didn’t believe it.

So she proved it the only way she could. She leaned toward him and kissed him, putting her whole heart into it.

And he responded...