The girl among the legs of the other children coming back from the woods and the supple trunks of the river birch. The birch had made for good swinging and some of the older boys came back with calloused palms. She ran her hand along the bark and concluded that swinging from birches was a boy's business.
The actress had tired of struggling and she sagged in his arms. Her breathing, her black hair hanging like a mophead over her face. Joe brought her closer to him, and holding her tightly, he said directly into her ear that away from here, in that world, she was her own self. Yesterday you did not belong to anybody and tomorrow you are free again, but right now, right here, you belong to me. For this short time that we are together, you are mine. You have belonged to men before me, all of them temporary, and all of them inferior. You will belong to me to a further degree than you have ever belonged to anybody, or ever will. No man will ever bother to know your heart more than I will. Do you understand?
Joe held her cross the middle with one hand and with the other he brought her dress to his teeth and pulled her underwear down over her ass. Her bare ass there on the river bank something bashful and tamed and pathetic. The actress broke from Joe and ran into the river. She stood knee deep in the water and turned to Joe. I'll drown myself, she said. She began to weep and dropped to her knees. She covered her face and swore, once again, that she would kill herself.
Joe watched the actress there in the river. He dropped to one knee and waited for her. You're gonna need me to get you back to the camp, you know.
She stopped crying. She dug her hands into the rocks at the river bottom and said into the river, need you. Need you? She stood with rocks in both hands and drove toward Joe there kneeling on the river bank and swung for his head, but her tripped her and swung her around underneath.
She finally looked up at him. She had stopped weeping and stayed crouched there in the river. I need, she asked.
Yeah. You do.
Joe watched her stand and, dress in hands, walk over to him and hit him. He tackles her, sees blood dripping from his head, he sees she is holding a rock from the bettom of the river. He comforts her