“So…I hear you picked up a souvenir boyfriend on that road trip of yours,” Alan said, turning the conversation personal for the first time that evening.
Of course, we were at the end of our allotted hangout time—with me about to drop him off at his house. And of course, I was in a hurry to get back home. I’d known Alan most of my life, and he never did have a keen sense of timing. Still, I hadn’t seen him since high school graduation, and a lot had happened in the last three months.
“That’s one way of putting it,” I shrugged, pulling my car to a stop under the circling light of the street lamp in front of his parent’s modest, two-story home. It was a balmy early September night in Minnesota, and the crickets seemed to know they were running out of time before cold weather set in. Their desperate chorus of chirping drifted in through my open car windows. “I didn’t really mean to, he just…refused to give up.”
“The last time I refused to give up on a girl, I’m pretty sure it ended in a restraining order,” Alan laughed, a tight raspy sound. I wasn’t entirely sure he was joking. I’d known him since childhood, and his scrapes with the law bordered on legendary. “It’s just kinda weird,” he went on, voice carrying blatant intrigue. “You finally pick somebody, and he’s on the opposite side of the country. That long distance thing has to be tough.”
“Yeah,” I said, grimacing. “But I figure if we can handle this, we can handle just about anything.” I put my car in park and turned to look at him.
Ever the thrill-seeker, Alan hadn’t bothered putting on his seatbelt. He held one arm draped along the passenger window while the rest of his compact form pivoted in my direction. Alan had tousled white-blond hair, eyes as blue as the sky on a subzero day, and the kind of Scandinavian-fair complexion that only came in two shades depending on sun exposure: pasty white, and lobster red. He liked to claim he was descended from some ancient Viking chieftain, but I was reasonably sure it was just an attempt to impress girls…and/or excuse his propensity for causing senseless property damage.
While I was off traipsing around half of North America by car over the summer, Alan was causing car-related problems for roughly half the population of our hometown. First he’d stolen a friend’s Jeep and played pinball with it between a guard rail and a handful of other vehicles. Now on probation with his license revoked, he was under suspicion of using a high-powered BB-gun to take out the back windows of several hundred parked cars. He wasn’t admitting anything one way or the other, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to know.
“I never would have guessed you’d be the type,” he went on, puzzling something out aloud.
“What type?” I asked, trying to hurry him to the point. He didn’t seem to notice my impatience.
“To up and fall in love with some internet guy you just met.” His sandpapery tone was taunting, intended to get a rise out of me.
“First of all, Vince and I had been friends for a long time before I met him on the road trip,” I corrected, flexing my hands around the steering wheel. “And I didn’t ‘fall in love’,” I added, with a liberal use of air quotes. “I geared up, anchored a rope, and made a controlled descent into love.”
Okay, so that didn’t sound particularly romantic.
But oh, how I despised that saying. Sinkholes…abandoned wells…vats of industrial acid—those were the kinds of things people “fall into.” They also “fall short,” “fall ill,” and “fall in line.” For me there was no falling involved at all. I’d counted the cost and made a choice, simple as that.
“So, it’s serious?” Alan asked, scrutinizing me with an intensity that unsettled my stomach. Or maybe it was the stale scent of cigarette smoke clinging to him that made me queasy—reminding me of someone who didn’t deserve a place in my memory.
“You make it sound like a terminal ailment,” I countered, chuckling to dispel my own discomfort. I caught myself doing an unconscious check for the can of Mace I kept alongside my emergency brake.
“Yeah, well…these things usually are terminal. One way or another.” Cynicism added a trace of coolness to his demeanor. Alan was putting on his best ‘bad-boy trying to be deep’ impression, and I wasn’t sure what to make of it. He had never pretended to care about my personal life before…so why now?
“You think I’d be putting myself through this if it wasn’t serious?”
“Probably not.” He smirked, regarding me with an almost calculating thoughtfulness. “You always were the most practical girl I knew.”
“Gee, thanks.” I rolled my eyes, hands still fiddling with the steering wheel in front of me. “As compliments go, that’s right up there with ‘dependable’ and ‘good team player.'”
I was wielding sarcasm like a shield, I realized. I shouldn’t be so unnerved to be alone with a guy-friend in a car. It was just Alan. We’d grown up together—trading sibling-like insults and the contents of innumerable school lunches. But so much happened over the summer, my perceptions seemed forever altered.
Or maybe “damaged beyond repair” was more accurate. After all, it was the misjudging of one of my best guy-friends that had caused me so much lingering pain. So far the only person I’d trusted with my freshly wounded state was Vincent, the sweet-yet-troubled boy I’d tried to leave behind after visiting Alabama. The only one who really knew me.
Alan cracked an amused smile. “I’d ask if he’s good to you, but I figure you’d have neutered him by now if he wasn’t.”
I laughed. Okay, so maybe Alan knew me a little.
“He’s pretty great,” I said, sobered by the reminder that I hadn’t actually seen Vince in over four weeks. “But he’s going to worry if I don’t get back and make our nightly phone date.” Vince had called earlier in the evening, while I was in the middle of watching a movie with Alan and my parents. I had promised to call him back once I’d ferried Alan back home, but Vince sounded dejected over the delay. I didn’t want to make him wait any longer than I had to.
“Boyfriends before bros, huh?” Alan’s white-ish brows raised in mock-offense. “I see how it is.”
“Says the guy who can’t seem to give any of his friends the time of day whenever he’s got a new girlfriend,” I shot back, making no effort to hide my irritation.
“Whoa, easy,” Alan raised both of his hands in a sign of surrender. It was all I could do not to ask how much practice he’d had at making that particular gesture. “Okay, so I’ve been a crappy friend sometimes. I can own that. But I’m working on this whole turning over a new leaf thing.” He lowered his hands and dropped his chin, giving me an earnest look. “So in the spirit of leaf-turning, let me just say…I’m happy for you. I hope it works out.”
I eyed him warily, taking a moment before deciding I partway believed him. “Thanks,” I said, mustering a faint smile.
“And if it doesn’t work out…” Alan pulled his shoulders up in a slow shrug. “It’s not like you don’t have some options closer to home.”
Before I’d fully processed his last statement, or the unspoken implications, Alan pushed open his door and got out. Without so much as a backward glance, he sauntered straight through his parent’s yard and disappeared into one of the open garage doors. I was left with the distinct impression I wouldn’t be hearing anything more from Alan unless I made a return to singleness.
Well…that was certifiably awkward.
Come to think of it, even my male friends online seemed to be distancing themselves as of late. Was this really how it worked? Were any of my friendships with guys real, or had I just unwittingly existed as some sort of desperate fallback plan in the event that nothing else worked out for them?
Not exactly a flattering thought.
Pulling away from the curb, I cranked up the radio and drowned out my speculating brain.
It was ten o’clock when I got home, less than an hour since Vince had called me the first time. He should have still been awake, but he wasn’t picking up. I started to worry on the third try.
He’d been driving back home from Birmingham when he’d called. The commute was long, and undeniably more treacherous in the dark. Vince had kicked into volunteer firefighter mode and helped pull someone out of a flipped truck along that route less than a week before. My mind went straight to the place I didn’t want it to go: picturing worst case scenarios in graphic detail. My heartbeat shot to a gallop. I waited a minute and then tried twice more in quick succession.
No one picked up.
Remembering some of the provisions I’d taken before setting out on my road trip, I hunted through my bedroom until I found the address book that held all of my primary and backup contact information. I was going to have to wake someone up.
This time, the ringing ended on the fourth round.
“H-hello?” a groggy voice half-whispered into my ear.
“Marie?” I lowered my voice, sinking onto the edge of my bed as a small fraction of my anxiety faded. “I’m so sorry to disturb you—”
“Angie?” The voice cheered with recognition.
“Yes, ma’am,” I answered Vince’s mother, defaulting to Southern politeness with an ease that surprised me. I hadn’t spent more than a few weeks in the deep South, but more than a few parts of it had stuck with me. Marie’s son, included. “Did Vincent come home tonight? He’s not answering his phone. It’s not like him.”
“Ya know,” she said, increasingly alert and not the least bit perturbed, “I thought for sure I heard the door downstairs. You just hold on a minute for me, sweetie…” I heard a rustling and a pause before she drawled, “Well, there’s his car in the driveway.”
My heart rate eased at the news, though the rest of me grew more perplexed. “Thank you. I just wanted to make sure he was okay.”
“Vinny!” Marie’s voice trilled at a muffled distance. “You sleepin’ this early?
I winced. “You really don’t have to—”
“Miss Angie’s callin’ for you.” She didn’t seem to hear my protest. “Are ya sick? You look like ten miles of bad road, son.”
That was enough to pique my concern again. I waited a moment while some sort of shuffling handoff and incoherent exchange of muttering took place.
“Hello?” Vince’s voice was beyond tired, with a tinge of something I instantly recognized as despair. I could see it in my mind’s eyes as clearly as if I were able to see it on his freckled, boyish face.
“Hey, you…” I answered, scooting back on the bed until my back pressed flat to the cool drywall. “What’s wrong? What happened?”
There was a long breathy pause on the other end before he spoke again. “I had…a lot of Nyquil.”
“But you didn’t sound sick just an hour ago,” I pointed out, bewildered.
“I’m not,” he said, weariness coming through clear. “I just wanted to sleep.”
“You didn’t want to talk to me?”
Another long beat. “I didn’t think you’d get back to me tonight.”
“Why wouldn’t I?” Suspicion prickled at the back of my mind. “Wait…are you upset because I was hanging out with a friend tonight?”
Vince groaned. “Well, when you put it that way it sounds all controlling and psycho.”
“Let me get this straight,” I spoke into the phone with deliberate care. “You downed a bottle of Nyquil because you thought I blew you off?”
“Half a bottle,” he amended, trading the misery in his tone for the beginnings of embarrassment. “I guess…that might seem dramatic.”
“That definitely seems dramatic,” I said, my insides scrabbling for a safe emotion to settle on. For the first time in the month since I’d agreed to this relationship, a nagging uncertainty flared within me. Maybe we couldn’t handle 1,000 miles of distance after all. “Vince…that was stupid. You could have hurt yourself,” I said, settling on blunt exasperation. “And over what? Me hanging out with a guy I’ve known since we were kicking each other’s shins in the third grade—and who, by the way, I have absolutely no attraction to.”
The line was silent for so long, I began to wonder if he’d fallen back to sleep. “He was at your house…”
“Watching a movie with me AND my parents, like I told you,” I said. “It’s not like we were alone.”
“You never mentioned him before.” It was more of a weak statement than an argument.
I sighed into the receiver. “Because he wasn’t really worth mentioning.” I pulled my knees up to my chest and rubbed at my temple with my free hand. “What do you want to know? He called me out of the blue today wanting to catch up. I’m betting he was just bored and nobody else was willing to give him a ride anywhere. My parents were already renting a movie, so I invited him over. At least it kept him out of trouble for a few hours.” I paused, searching for reassuring words while still wondering if I was facing a huge relationship red flag. “We’re not even that close. He’s one of the many guys who turned me down when I was looking for somebody to go with me to my senior Prom. Even just as friends.”
“Well then, he’s an even bigger idiot than me,” Vince said.
“I’m not debating that,” I tried to keep any trace of humor out of my voice, focusing on why Vince’s behavior had me rattled. “I just want to know what I’ve ever done that would make you think you can’t trust me.” My anxiety grew as I waited for Vince to respond. So, I did what I always defaulted to when I didn’t know what else to do. I prayed.
God, I need to know if this is something we can work through…or a really bad sign of things to come.
“I’m sorry, babe,” Vince said, heaving a sigh as he spoke. His usual mellow tenor returned. “I overreacted.”
“Yes, yes you did,” I said. His admission clung to my thoughts more than the apology. It wasn’t the first time one of us had tripped over mental baggage and overreacted to the other, in some shape or form. We even had an idiom for it: “I hit a landmine, didn’t I?”
It was a curious thing, this inadvertent ability to trigger unresolved issues in one another. Maybe it was just the price and privilege of caring for someone so fiercely. For better or worse, we had immediate access to each other’s hearts. And I was just smart enough to grasp that along with such close emotional proximity came the potential to build, repair…or destroy.
“Alaina,” Vince spoke the name of his ex-girlfriend without emotion.
I, on the other hand, bristled as though he’d just invoked an ancient curse. Understanding broadsided me. “I reminded you of her somehow?”
“A few weeks before she dumped me in that email, she started being too busy to talk when I’d call. It seemed like every other night she was in the middle of watching a movie with somebody. She was getting to know people on campus—I didn’t think much of it at the time,” he reflected. His voice was dull and distant. “She always told me names—acted like everything was fine.”
“And, let me guess…” I said, forcing my teeth to unclench. “A couple of those names sounded familiar when you finally found out she’d been cheating on you.”
“Yeah,” he conceded, sullenly.
“I’m. Not. Her.” I articulated each word, trying to hammer the point deep into his consciousness.
“I will never be her,” I pressed. Vitriol tightened my throat, creeping into my voice. “I’d rather die than hurt you that way.”
“I know…I know,” Vince said, as if to calm me and sort out his own awareness at the same time. “I’m sorry. You didn’t do anything wrong. It was about her, not you. Just…” His voice cracked, and he took a long moment before going on. “Tell me you can forgive me for being a paranoid spaz.”
He thought I was angry at him. That cooled me off faster than a polar swim in January. “You’re not the one I’m having trouble forgiving,” I said, quieting. In that moment, I would have given almost anything to be able to touch him. “Just promise me you won’t do something like that again.” It was so difficult to do this—to soothe an old hurt without being able to look into those piercing green eyes and into the soul I’d come to know so well. For now, all we had were our voices. It would have to be enough.
“I won’t—I promise,” he said, voice strained. “I knew this would be hard. I just didn’t realize it would keep getting harder the more I figure out how to love you. Twenty-two days, and I’ll see you again. But right now that feels like halfway to forever.”
I rested my head back against the wall and closed my eyes. I could picture him lying on the bottom bunk of his bed, staring up at nothing while running a hand through his penny-red hair. All at once, I remembered the one piece of music that had been playing on my short drive home. Maybe it was nothing, but at that instant, it struck me as too eerily significant not to mention.
“You know…I just heard a song on the radio. I hadn’t heard it in a long time. It’s kind of fitting, actually…”
Vince’s tone dropped with alert interest. “What was it?”
I took a slow breath in. “Are You Strong Enough to Be My Man.” I spoke the title matter-of-factly, without the inflection of a question.
Silence ticked away for several seconds before he spoke again—this time with conviction weighing heavy in his reply.
“I want to be.”
You know you’ve been loitering somewhere too long when you start recognizing the security guards.
For the third time that afternoon I took stock of the same rotund, middle-aged man in uniform as he sauntered past my bench. He cast me a backward glance and muttered something into the walkie-talkie mic he had pinned to the inside of his shoulder. Resisting the urge to give him a friendly wave, I slid my journal into my backpack and scanned the busy Baggage Claim area of the Minneapolis airport.
Arriving two hours early was a bit excessive of me—overeager, even.
I told myself it was just prudence, given I’d never driven to the airport before and had attempted to navigate the Twin Cities just twice in the two years since receiving my driver’s license. But the truth was, after a 6,000 mile road trip and traversing even larger metro areas solo, I wasn’t so easily intimidated.
No, there was only one reason I was lingering about, people-watching as complete strangers collected their luggage and reunited with other complete strangers. My boyfriend’s flight was coming in this afternoon. And I was stupidly, nervously, ridiculously in love.
The designation still sounded so foreign rolling around in my brain. Then again, I was new to this dating thing. Plus, I hadn’t exactly gone about it in a way most would consider “normal.”
Half an hour earlier, a thirty-something woman awaiting her ride had tried to strike up a conversation with me. “That’s a lovely blouse. You look like you’re waiting for someone special,” she’d said, giving me a knowing smile.
I’d nodded, glancing down at the rosy, slit-sleeved peasant shirt I’d painstakingly selected for how well it fit my long, curvy frame. It was a much more feminine look than I usually attempted, but the concession was justified in my mind by the fact that I’d snagged it at a Goodwill bag sale. Deciding it wouldn’t be socially acceptable to mention all this to the professional-looking woman, I volunteered what I thought she was looking for: “My boyfriend. I haven’t seen him in two months.”
The older blonde woman gasped. “Oh, you poor thing! That must be so difficult.” With a look of intense interest she dropped to sit beside me on the bench I’d claimed, parked a little rolling suitcase at her feet, and smoothed her pencil skirt. “My fiancé travels a lot for work. They send him all over—a weekend in Vegas, a week in Japan… I can’t stand it half the time, but two months?! I can’t imagine.”
“It’s…kind of a long distance relationship,” I admitted, unsure what to do with the chatty woman’s attention. Should I introduce myself?
Hi, I’m Angeli. Are you interested in becoming friends, or am I just your social life raft for the next few minutes? I managed to contain the tactless thought. Even though, in all probability, we’d never see each other again.
Deciding the anonymity was enough reason to be my candid self, I added, “He lives in Alabama.”
“Oh, well that’s…quite a distance.” The woman gave a lipstick-smooth smile that seemed meant to cover skepticism. “But I hear if those kinds of relationships do happen to work out, they’re pretty solid. ‘Whatever doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger,’ and all that…”
I didn’t think I liked her use of the word “if,” but I gave a polite smile and nodded. After all, my own family, who were well-versed in how mulishly determined I could be, was only somewhat optimistic about the potential lifespan of my first real relationship. Why should I expect more from a stranger?
As it occurred to me I should give her a turn at being the focus of discussion, the blonde woman decided to fill the silence. “I bet he’s really looking forward to seeing you,” she nudged my elbow with hers in a conspiratory gesture.
Guessing she was insinuating something, I tried not to look embarrassed. “I like to think so.”
“How did you two meet, anyway? College? Spring break…?”
Oh boy, here goes…
“Technically, I guess you could say I met him on the internet,” I began, noting as the woman’s finely-shaped eyebrows shot up. I couldn’t tell if I’d merely surprised her or if she’d just set her freak-sensors to maximum.
“But not on a matchmaking site or anything like that,” I hurried on. “We started out just friends in a sort of story-writing community…thing.” Specifying that it was a text-based role play game probably wouldn’t help build a case for my sanity, so I left that part out. “Then I went on a road trip a few months ago to finally meet a few of my friends from there in person, and he and I just…clicked.” The summary didn’t do the experience any justice, but it was the best I could come up with on short notice.
“Oh,” the woman uttered, shifting uncomfortably on the bench. “That’s very interesting.” The way she stressed the word “interesting” made me think it wasn’t the term she wanted to use. At least she was polite enough to hide her bewilderment. “Were there a lot of you who went on this road trip?”
“No, it was just me,” I said, impressed by how much higher her eyebrows were able to creep up her pale forehead. I was losing her. “But I was careful about it. I did background checks, self-defense training…kept a knife and a can of Mace close by. The Mace actually got me in a fair bit of trouble while I was in Canada—that’s kind of a funny story…”
The woman straightened her back and craned her neck, as if tracking one of the cars passing the window through the pickup area behind us. “Oh, well, there’s my ride,” she said in a cheery voice. She got to her feet and shoved the rolling suitcase ahead of her. “Thanks so much for keeping me company…and good luck to you!” With a tight smile and a wave she stepped around to the automatic doors and out into the mild, late September air.
I watched her out of the corner of my eye as she paced the sidewalk for another ten minutes before a car pulled to the curb and she moved to meet it.
Shouldn’t have mentioned the knife, I decided. I’d picked up my journal then and passed the time with a few reflections on what had brought me to this peculiar point in my life.
With my journal entry finished, I got up to check on Vincent’s flight. I discovered there was still time to kill, so I made an aimless loop around the baggage carousels and through the milling crowds. The reuniting of a young couple captured my attention—if only because I couldn’t miss them.
A young woman who looked just a few years older than me was coming down the escalator from her terminal, bouncing on the balls of her feet and waving. The ecstatic movement caused her head of dark, corkscrew curls to bound and recoil around her shoulders. The obvious focus of her attention was a broad-shouldered young man wearing an MSU jacket and an elated grin. He raised a hand and shuffled side to side, impatient for her to reach the ground floor. When she did, it was like a scene out of one of those romantic movies I only watched when my more idealistic friends outvoted me.
The dark-haired woman bounded into her lover’s arms. He lifted her slender frame off the ground with ease, giving her a long look that struck me as entirely too private for a public place. As he lowered her back to her feet, their mouths crashed together in a dramatic display of affection. A few hoots and sighs bubbled through the crowd around them. I looked away then, feeling voyeuristic.
And the Oscar goes to…those guys.
I tamped down my inner sarcasm and shuffled over to an empty seat I’d spotted a few yards away. The awkward truth of the matter was…I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw Vincent. And that wasn’t the first couple I’d seen set the expectation bar high.
Not that I should even consider comparing us to anyone else—our situation was as unique as it was trying. Five days. That was how long we’d spent together in person before I’d moved on to the final leg of my now infamous road trip. Vince declared his love, and I left him behind—convinced he would come to his senses. Instead he made a point to call and check on me every night. Every night we talked for hours, like two people who’d always known each other but were catching up on years we’d missed. He persisted, yet gave me enough space…until finally I stopped doing what I’d assumed was best for both of us. I stopped resisting and let myself love him. For me, there was no turning back.
Maybe I did want an earth-moving, toe-curling reunion kiss. Was that so idiotic?
I closed my eyes and settled into my newly claimed chair, blocking out the surrounding footsteps and murmurs. Quieting the usual clamor of my own mind, I hunted around for one elusive memory—struggling to recall what it had felt like when Vince and I last kissed. It shouldn’t have been so difficult, but one interloping thought kept creeping in at every opportunity.
Heavy breathing…crushing weight…a dim sense of panic.
His swarthy face and feral expression invaded my mind. I snapped my eyes open to clear the image, looking all around me at everything and nothing. A fake plant, a hobbling old man, a little boy with a teddy bear backpack… Realizing my hands were shaking, I clenched them together until they stilled in my lap. A flash of anger burned away at my anxiety.
Why did my brain keep doing this to me? Scott didn’t deserve a single moment of my consideration, not anymore. It had been seven weeks since he’d irreparably shattered our friendship and my trust. And yet, he still had some insidious foothold in my mind—his betrayal haunting my thoughts and dreams. It was as though he’d left a stain on my psyche that refused to be purged.
Oh, God…please make it go away.
“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…think about such things.” I spoke the muddled verse under my breath, only half-aware of what I was doing. It brought me some small measure of comfort.
Vincent was noble. I knew that much as unquestionably as I knew my own name. I’d tested his resolve—not to mention his patience—time and again before ever agreeing to this relationship. In the last two months, nearly every moment he wasn’t working or at college he’d spent on the phone with me. With little to cling to but each other’s voices, we’d traded so many stories, hopes, and sorrows. I knew all about his dream of becoming a video game designer, and he knew every facet of my indecision over possible career paths—the endless waffling between becoming a nurse like my mother or chasing the far-fetched hope of writing for a living.
He’d listened to me fall to pieces, and he’d loved me back together. Now he was flying up to meet my parents and hopefully earn their favor.
With everything in me, I wished Vincent’s was the last kiss I remembered.
The harsh blare of an alert siren snapped me out of my brooding. At the carousel across the causeway from me, a revolving red light indicated luggage was about to arrive. My gaze caught on the flight number and my heart rate kicked into a giddy double-time. A fresh mass of people were already moving down the escalator. I got to my feet and scanned from face to face. Finally, toward the very end of the line, I found him.
Vince’s spiked, copper-colored hair stood out like a beacon. Black cargo pants and a pale blue button-up shirt did something to camouflage the leanness of his build. I’d nearly forgotten how slim he was. He was turned halfway around, having an animated conversation with someone behind him. It warmed me to watch him be sociable. He had an innate sense for people and a quickness of wit—strengths I lacked, but admired.
I stood and took a few restless steps forward, willing him to notice me.
Wow, I’m pathetic.
I had to marvel at myself. I couldn’t recall anticipating anything with such elation and longing. Well, maybe my high school graduation, but that was like being released from prison. This being in love thing was more like looking forward to incarceration in a chocolate factory. The good European chocolate, not the waxy American variety…
Vince reached the bottom of the escalator and I forced myself to stand still. He started for the luggage carousels, pulling to almost a dead stop when he spotted me. An affected look of awe flickered across his face—keen green eyes widening behind narrow-framed glasses. Amusement tickled low in my chest as he regained his more cavalier composure and veered toward me. He didn’t quicken his steps, just set his sights like I was the last level in a game he was determined to win.
Stopping toe-to-toe with me, Vince slid his laptop bag off his shoulder and set it on the floor without breaking eye contact. “Hey, Angel.” A slow smile tugged at his mouth. We stood at about the same height, a few inches shy of six feet, but I had a good 40 pounds on him. Though it didn’t seem to bother him, the disparity between us gave me a sudden twinge of worry.
“Hey, you,” I breathed, feeling as though a small bird was thrashing around inside my ribcage. My trepidation built with every passing second. Was he going to kiss me? Should I kiss him?
Do something, already!