We were planning to leave at 6am, so “convenience” justified the sleepover. Despite the early start, I was expecting more than a cuddle, but he made no advances. Something about conserving our energy. I fell asleep with a patronizing kiss on my forehead and promises of debts repaid whispered in my ear. “Better be worth it,” I mumbled into my pillow.
Secretly grateful that he had the foresight to shut me down, I pull on a hoody to fend off the morning chill as we shove off. I’m feeling on my game. “Let ‘er rip,” he says as he takes the oars, making for the middle of the river. “Where?” With a toss of his chin, he indicates a ripple halfway between our boat and the bank. “See where the water changes – there?” I nod. “Cast just above it.”
I pull back, find my rhythm, and place the fly at the top of the seam. We float along and I mend, awkwardly at first, but muscle memory overpowers my performance anxiety and soon I lift my line with a deft flick of the wrist. Without turning my gaze from the water, I catch his grin out of the corner of my eye. I guess I’m doing okay.
Only halfway through my coffee but feeling twitchy, I see the indicator jerk and instinctively pull up. When I meet resistance, I’m sure it’s a weed. Damn, this fishing trip might’ve been more premature than the sleepover. “That’s a fish!” he exclaims. But I know it’s bottom, until I feel my line go slack and then tight again, and realize that I have, in fact, hooked a fish. “Just a little guy,” I concede as I work the fish toward the boat. “No, that’s a nice fish!” I look at him with genuine surprise, as much at his excitement as my success. We release the brown and swing back toward the middle of the river.
“Away from those fuckos,” he grins and rows us farther from the line of boats sliding into the water behind us.
“Aren’t you glad we got an early start?” he asks with a wink.
I hide my amusement and steady myself in the leg locks. “If we can sustain this pace, maybe.” Picking up my rod, I kick one hip out a few inches more than is really necessary for balance and hear him chuckle. Debts repaid, indeed.
“Bucket. Right side.”
My aim is good and I feel a tug on my line almost immediately. Another brown. This day is shaping up to be far more exciting than the previous night, with cast after cast bringing trout into the net. Note to self: reevaluate priorities around sex and fishing.
On a Friday night a few weeks later, he suggests a trip to the upper upper Madison.
“Oh, that’s a trek.” I check my watch, eyes widening in feigned alarm. “And it’s already 10:30.” I shake my head.
He climbs into bed, looking slightly confused.
Pulling the covers up to my neck, I throw him a quick wink before closing my eyes, snuggling deeper into the blankets.
“We’d better get some sleep,” I whisper.