Sticky Sweet

“Two,” she said. “But I’ve kissed three.”

Both hands were wrapped around the coffee mug that was hiding her smile.

Four billion guys in the world, and only three have kissed her. He didn’t dare say it out loud.

She giggled.

The sun cast shadows on her eyelashes, and he imagined how long they’d look if they were closed.

“It was that hour when everything stills itself…”

They were sitting outside. Spring had just arrived and the day was lengthening, drawing itself slowly toward sunset.

Mary looked at him and wrinkled her nose without dropping the soft smile playing on her lips. Her eyes danced. “What’s that from?”

He shrugged and leaned back in his chair, unable to keep a straight face.

Mary looked away. “Ah, yes. Professor Davies can’t tell all his sources. He must remain mysterious if he’s to be respected.”

A breeze slowly worked its way through her hair, left to right.

You are beautiful.

“Your turn.”

He looked down. Then he looked away. “Four.”

“For which question?”

“The first. I’ve kissed six.”

Her eyes were daring him and he couldn’t match her.

The smell of her coffee mixed with the smell of outside, and he closed his eyes and inhaled.

“You want some?”

He nodded, and she passed him her coffee mug. He felt the steam before the mug reached his mouth. The coffee was sticky sweet and the heat felt good. He took another small sip and handed it back to her.

“I could make you a cup, you know.”

Please.

“No, that’s okay. Thank you, though.”

He waited for the panic. Her dancing eyes and teasing smile. The way her hair was barely moving.

“I like you.”

I know, her eyes said. But her smile ran away.

Come back.

Then he said something and she was laughing and her laugh mixed with the rustle of the leaves.

Today’s almost as perfect as you. He was embarrassed for himself.

But it was true, and as he watched her his chest felt broad and full and he couldn’t help but smile.

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