A bit of a Kiss

She leaned across from where she stood close to him, unable to smell anything on him but a whiff of trust and interest. They’d been talking several hours and all she wanted to do was make him aware of her affection for the evening, affection for the undivided attention she got from him. And perhaps to say she had given him the same.

It was a scene out of a cliche. A softly glowing city was all around them, as they stood anonymous and glorious, devoid of the popular notion of love. And yet free to love the way they pleased. If all this moment required was a peck on the cheek, that was okay. And if it involved a more intimate kiss, an inclusion of man and woman, that was okay too. Nothing mattered but an exchange of secret information: “I am having such a good time.”

She leaned in, gently registering he was taller than she had first assumed. She stood on pretty tall heels and he was still taller than her. She laid her palm on his upper arm and decided to give him a peck on his cheek. But as she leaned in his head moved just a little towards her, taking his cheek away from her and gently offering her his lips. Everything about him was gentle. The way he talked, the way he charmed her through the evening so that it came to this, the way he was wicked, all with a gentleness that she didn’t gather till he dropped her home safe and went away.

As his face turned, her eyes struck confusion. Should she be love struck and kiss him on the lips, or should she just keep this a friend-dinner casual and stick to puritan plan A? There’s little room for decision making when an attractive man is making very clear what part of his face he wants you to kiss. Even if there was room, there’s even little time when you’ve already leaned into his warm space, so tantalisingly close to his beautiful shoulders and ordinary smile, and you don’t know where to go without looking like an owl trying to get comfortable. So she did the safe thing. She kissed his cheek. And said with singular fervour, a warmth in her voice that was the perfect foil for the cool December evening, perfectly ordinary words. “I am having such a good time.”

And him, with his world of experience and his world experience, looking unsure, like a teenage boy, hands in his pockets standing close and warm, head leaning in just a little, stopping now, moving again, till he got her to respond to the gentle manipulations of his open, hesitant face and head. A little dance, a little wondering of his own, should I kiss this woman, will she kiss me back. And she leaned in, eyes open, so close that she went cockeyed and, curious, her neck stretching towards his face, a face she’d loved, in a way, for a good decade. A kiss of those who were having a good evening, no tongue, no mad gnashing of teeth, a chaste old fashioned kiss. For her, a kiss like never before. She wasn’t sure who broke the kiss. The city around them was still cool, psychedelic and suddenly it looked different to her, like it had been washed in the rain. But it hadn’t rained. Unless you called this slow excitement of wine and a kiss rain. In which case, it had.

They went back to their table and talked some more. She hoped he wouldn’t remember a thing she had said all evening.

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