I don’t think she really meant to fall in love with him. No, not really. And he was definitely far from expecting to fall for her, but they say the most unlikely things happen in the wake of extraordinary circumstances.
He couldn’t move, that was a given, the ropes were cutting into his wrists and his head was duct taped around his forehead to the chair back. His ankles were also bound. So, it was a given, he couldn’t move. She was looking out of place sitting on the dirt floor, playing with a .45.
“Hey,” he whispered at her, and she looked up at him. “Hey, do you think you could get me out of here?”
“No,” she answered emotionlessly. “I really don’t think I can.”
“Well, they tied you up for a reason, I think. I don’t ask questions and I don’t get involved, too much.”
“But you are involved,” he said. “By not helping me, you’re helping them, and that makes you involved with them.”
“Well they do feed me,” she mused. “And you’ve never done anything for me.”
“I’ve never done anything to you either, I bet they’ve done some stuff to you.”
She shivered. “Yes, they’ve done some . . . stuff to me.”
“Well if you help me out here, I promise I won’t do anything to you, and I’ll feed you, and you can leave with me.”
“Cross my heart and hope to die . . er . . I mean, I promise.”
He had a nice face, it was some kind of tanned or maybe naturally light brown. He had flecks of blond in his hair, he had trustworthy eyes. She wasn’t so pretty. Kind of dirty, probably from laying on that basement floor, with stringy hair, probably from limited availability to running water, and her skinny body was just sticks and stones under the over sized potato sack she wore as a dress. She had bright little coals for eyes though, they shined even through the grime. He found himself looking at her with a particular amount of attraction, unsuspecting attraction. She hadn’t seen a boy like him, almost a man, but in so many ways still a boy.
“Please, help me . . . What’s your name?” he asked. “They never said your name.”
“June,” her voice echoed, barely audible, meek and sad.
“June?” he said. “You don’t say, well my name’s John, Johnny.” He smiled at her from his torture chair.
“What’s funny about that?” she asked genuinely interested.
“Well you know, June Carter and Johnny Cash, Johnny and June, they were soul mates. Maybe we’re soul mates Juney.”
“Wouldn’t that be strange,” she muttered. “I didn’t think there were such things as soul mates, I thought that was kids stuff, you know like fairy stories and Santa Clause, God.”
“Aw, Juney, God isn’t a kid’s story.”
“You believe in God, Johnny?”
“Even though you’re tied up to a chair and those fellas are probably gonna kill you?”
“They’re not gonna kill me June,” he said with another confident smile.
“Why not?” she prodded curiously.
“Because you’re gonna get me out of here and we’re gonna escape, and be Johnny and June. Soul mates 101.” She giggled now. “What, you don’t believe me?”
“No,” she said, standing up and looking him in the eyes, his blue, trustworthy eyes. “I do believe you.”
She untied the ropes and released him from his bindings. He stood up and put his hands on her shoulders, he looked into her burning eyes, he looked past all the fear and pain and saw something like a fresh stream flowing through a mountain pass, pure glacier water, cool and untainted. Then he took her dirty face in his hands and kissed her hard on the mouth, pulling her close in his arms. Then they heard the foot falls rumbling down the basement steps. The sound of Johnny and June’s captors, the bad men with tools for doing bad things, with sharp edges and serrated blades. The first one turned the corner and saw their captive standing up with June. Caught off guard, he didn’t react right away. June pulled up the .45 and fired right through his chest, a big red gaping blossom blooming up on his breast. The second set of foot steps rushed down and caught the next bullet square in center of his mammoth forehead. He tottered for a moment, then fell like a big ole oak tree to the dirt floor. Johnny looked at June, June looked at Johnny, they grabbed each other’s hands and sprinted out of their blood and dust filled hell, they never looked back.