"Karlson? Karlson, wake up."
He stared at her, her face illuminated in the pale moonlight that shone through the hole in her roof. Her hair was all over the place and her blankets wrapped around her snuggly. She rubbed her eyes and peered at him through the darkness.
"Mort? What's going on...?"
"Run away with me."
Her brows knitted together in sleep ridden confusion. He reached for her, slipping his cool hands into her warm ones.
"Just for a week or two. Maybe a month. I wanna go somewhere and I want to go there with you." He whispered, his breath turning into puffs of smoke in the cool air. Fall was coming. Karlson rubbed her eyes.
"Leave? Mort, I have work in the morning... You have school..."
"Who gives a damn? Come with me, Karlson. Please. I promise, you won't regret it."
He spoke in hushed tones, as if his voice would break the calm and wake the moon, then everything he had worked for would be gone. Karlson laid her head back down on her pillow.
"What time is it?" She asked sleepily.
"Two. Maybe half past."
"It's so cold..."
"I'll carry you."
"Alright, Mort..." She whispered, eyes gazing up at him. "I'll go with you." Mort smiled and gently put his hands under her tiny body, making sure to grab her cap along with the armfuls of girl and blankets. He lifted her into his arms and carried her out of the little shack as a man would carry his bride. And the gown? Old, threadbare, moth eaten quilts, dragging across the scratched up floor. As carefully as he could, she lowered her into the passenger seat. She rolled over, snuggling deeper into her blankets. The salty seabourne air blew her red hair across her porcelain skin. Mort stood there for a moment longer, watching the bundle of blankets and love. He brushed a rust colored lock out of her eyes, got into the passenger side, and drove. Karlson nestled herself deeper into the myriad of bedclothes, shivering in the cool night air. Mort looked over. At a broken, blinking stoplight, he laid his coat over her body. She opened one dozing eye.
"Don't mention it."
Mort looked away. Away from Ashton. Away from home. Away from everything he had ever known, armed only with a thousand dollars he had earned mowing lawns, a bright red convertible, and a person who slept peacefully beside him.
"I love you too." He said quietly enough not to stir the girl who had already drifted off again.
And they drove on.