The Kiss: The Fall

It’s three a.m., two weeks since that first kiss, and we are sitting outside my sister Emma’s apartment in her car.

She’s fresh off of work, still in uniform; she looks like heaven on Earth.

I am restless. Bouncing between my parents house, Jake’s house, and Emma’s place. Trying to figure out how to start over for the first time in eight years, alone.

Just having her near quiets the storm in my mind.

She’s talking about her best friends wedding in a few days in Florida. How she took off work for it, and I am excited for her but I can’t concentrate. All I see is her lips moving fluidly with each syllable.

She finally stops talking and asks if I’m okay.

“Jake doesn’t understand. I can’t stay there. He keeps thinking I’m going to change my mind and that this is a phase.”

She looks solemn.

“He’s hurting.”

“I know.”

Silence.

I fidget absentmindedly.

“Something’s on your mind,” she starts. She always has this uncanny ability to tell when I’m lost in thought.

“You’re going to be gone for four whole days. Is it stupid that I feel kind of panicky?”

“Oh, baby…”

She reaches over and grabs my left hand and it rests perfectly in hers.

“It will be okay. I’ll still have a few days off when I get back.”

“I’ll miss you like crazy.”

“I’ll miss you more. But what can you do?”

“I don’t know. Just love you I guess.”

It slipped out so fast I wasn’t even sure I had said it. We weren’t even officially seeing each other and it had only been two weeks.

I said it so quietly that I thought maybe she hadn’t heard me. And she was so still I thought that if she had heard me, I probably just freaked her out.

But then she reached over and lifted my chin up so I was looking her in the eyes.

“Do you?”

My heart races and I feel slightly dizzy. I’ve always been a commitment-phobe. I was always the last one to acquiesce when it came to feelings.

“I think so. I think I do.”

She doesn’t reply. And I know I just fucked up.

But I didn’t.

She let’s go of my hand and pulls the ring off her left hand. One of two matching stainless steel bands that say, “Amor Vincit Omnia: Love Conquers All” and she slips it on my finger.

We get out of her car to smoke and I know she’s getting ready to leave me. To go home and pack for Florida, and let me alone with my crazy imagination.

She bounces around while she smokes, hopping on and off the curb.

I flick my butt into the road and stand in front of her, looking up into her face.

“Is it too much too soon? To say I love you?”

She wraps her arms around me and I feel her lips against my ear. Her warm breath sends shivers down my spine.

“Oh, baby girl,” she whispers. “I’ve loved you for a long time, now.”

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