Second Kiss by Chelsea M. Cameron


  I rushed home as quickly as I could, not only to shower, but to clean my apartment as fast as I could. “Clean” was probably the wrong word. It was more like cleverly hiding how much of a slob I was. Not that Molly didn’t know that already, but I wanted to give the impression that I’d improved over the years. Or something.

  As soon as I had gotten out of the shower, I flew through the apartment and tried to do as much damage control as I could, but there was only so much I could do. After braiding my hair back and throwing on some jeans and a nice shirt, I figured things were good enough.

  Of course she was on time, I thought as I went to answer the door. She’d knocked instead of ringing the doorbell, which I was glad about. The doorbell always made me jump. If I knew how to disable the thing, I would.

  I took a deep breath before I opened the door, but it didn’t help any. She still knocked me out. Had she gotten prettier by the hour? Because it was seriously ridiculous. She had on skinny black pants and a loose purple top that fell off one shoulder. Like she just came from a fabulous dance party and decided to bless me with her presence.

  “Wow, I mean, hey,” I said, wanting to die. I was doing great at this friendship thing.

  “Wow yourself,” she said, looking me up and down in a way that made me blush even more. I was totally reading too much into all of our interactions and I had to stop.

  “Well, this is it. Come on in,” I said, stepping back. She didn’t reach forward to hug me, and I was grateful. That would have just driven me over the edge and I would have done something awful, like smell her hair.

  “Nice,” she said, taking in the small space. I wasn’t much of a decorator, but I’d done my best with stuff my mom had found at yard sales and foisted on me and a lot of crap from the Target discount aisle. It was cute and comfortable, which was all I could really ask for. I didn’t want to live in a place that looked like a Pottery Barn catalog. Plus, it would be a lot more cleaning, which, ew.

  “Thanks,” I said, edging toward the kitchen.

  “Do you want something to drink?” We hadn’t really made an actual plan for what we’d do tonight so I was kicking myself for not having an itinerary.

  “Yeah, sure,” she said, sitting down on the couch. Okay then. Did that mean she wanted water or alcohol? Water was probably a better bet. I didn’t need to get drunk with her. When I got drunk, I got handsy. That definitely wouldn’t be appreciated right now. By her.

  I filled two glasses with water and ice and brought them over.

  “Oh, thanks,” she said, taking a glass from me as I set out the coasters. I should have had food. I guess I wasn’t a very good hostess.

  I sat down on the couch with enough space between us so it wasn’t weird and we sipped our water. My apartment was so quiet that I was going to start tearing my hair out any minute. Normally I always had the TV or music on. I was so used to the café, that quiet really bothered me.

  “So . . . ” I said, drawing the word out and turning to face her.

  “So,” she said, setting down her water. “I guess we’re gonna be friends now, huh?” I nodded.

  “It’s a little bit harder when you’re adults, isn’t it? I can’t just ask you to join my blanket fort with your Barbies.” She laughed.

  “Well, you could. Blanket forts are awesome.” She had a point. “Plus, now we can have wine in the blanket fort, which is so much better.” Now that was something I could get behind.

  “Okay. Let’s do it.” I set my water down and got up, heading to the closet where I stored my extra blankets. I was a HUGE fan of piling as many blankets on top of me as I could without suffocating in the winter, so I had a lot of them. My mom also seemed to give me a blanket for every single holiday because I loved them so much.

  I started yanking them down from the shelves and throwing them on the floor.

  “Are we seriously doing this?” Molly asked, her eyes sparkling.

  “Hell yes, we are seriously doing this.” She made the cutest little sound of delight and went back to the living room to figure out how this fort was going to happen.

  In the end, we used four chairs and had to pin a few of the blankets together to make it work, but soon we had a genuine blanket fort and I busted out a bottle of cheap red. Since it was dark under there, I pulled a few lamps under to make it cozy.

  “You know what this needs?” Molly asked.

  “What?” I sipped my wine, pacing myself.

  “Popcorn.” She ducked out and started rummaging through my cupboards. I left the sanctuary of the fort to go give her a hand. We almost bumped into one another and I apologized as she blushed. Fuck, she was pretty. So fucking pretty. She’d always been pretty, but it was a completely different thing to see her now as a woman. I got out the popcorn and put it in the microwave as she got out a big bowl and then a few other snacks.

  “This is perfect,” she said as I watched the popcorn bag rotate in the microwave.

  “Yeah,” I said without thinking. I looked up to find her staring at me. She quickly looked down to the plate that she was arranging cookies and chocolates on.

  Huh?

  I went back to staring at the popcorn and it finished popping. We gathered up the snacks and went back to the fort, but I brought my phone and pulled up some music. Something mellow. And not super gay. I settled on Adele. On a low volume.

  Molly and I shared the popcorn and our hands kept bumping in the bowl and it was almost a cliché romantic scene in a movie. Without the romance and sexual tension. At least on her side. On mine? Fuck, I wanted to grab her and kiss her so hard that both of us stopped breathing. I wanted to pull her hair and slip that shirt off and taste her collarbone.

  Yeah, I needed to slow down on the wine.

  I set my glass down.

  “What else have you been doing with yourself now that you’re back?” I asked.

  “Uh, not a whole lot. Feels like all the decent people left and now only the losers are left. With yourself as the exception.” She tipped her glass in my direction.

  “Yeah, yeah. I see how it is. I don’t even care. What people think about me doesn’t really matter. So what, I’m a lesbian that dropped out of college and moved back home. So sue me.” I took a swing from my glass and then realized what I’d just said. Oh. Oops.

  To her credit, Molly didn’t gasp or make any other signs that she was shocked by the information.

  “Well, I guess the lesbian is out of the bag.” What the hell, it didn’t matter. She was going to figure it out anyway. I worked at a fucking queer café. It couldn’t be that much of a surprise.

  “How long have you known?” she said, not meeting my eyes.

  “Not sure. I mean, I think I always knew but I didn’t want it to be true? Are you asking if I knew when we were kids? On some level, probably, but I never would have figured it out, I don’t think. Took me graduating high school. That’s when I found my first girlfriend.” Ah, what wonderful and confusing times those had been. I wouldn’t go back to them for all the wine in the world.

  “Oh,” she said and I couldn’t figure out what the fuck that word was supposed to me.

  “Do you not want to be friends with me anymore?” I said, even though I knew that couldn’t be the case.

  “Fuck, no. That doesn’t have anything to do with us being friends. I guess I’m just a little surprised. And not, at the same time.” Huh, that’s what a bunch of people had said to me when I came out to them. That they were shocked, but not. Whatever.

  “Does it make you see me differently?” Were we really having this conversation?

  She looked deep into her wine glass.

  “Do you remember when we played Spin the Bottle?” Uh, okay. Weird thing to think about, but sure. I hadn’t stopped thinking about it since she showed up again. My first girl kiss. The kiss I would compare all the other ones to. The kiss that made my blood zing and my toes curl.

  “Yeah,” I said, not sure where she was going with this. She finally looked up
at me and she had a strange little smile on her face.

  “That was the first time I kissed a girl.” Yeah, I knew. I was there.

  “And?” I said.

  “And . . . I knew.”

  “You knew what?” She could not be getting at what I thought she was getting at. I had to set my wine down so I didn’t drop the glass and ruin the rug.

  “Knew that I liked girls.” Well. Shit. I felt like all the air had been sucked out of the blanket fort.

  “You like girls,” I said. She nodded.

  “Yup.”

  “You like girls in a gay way.”

  “Yes.”

  “You like girls as in you want to kiss them and be with them and date them and marry them.” She started to laugh.

  “Yes. I don’t know how many other ways I can say it.”

  “Do you like boys too? Or people who are non-binary?” She thought about that for a minute.

  “Not boys, for sure. And I could date someone who wasn’t a guy. I think. It would depend on the person? I’m not really sure what that makes me. I usually just go with queer as my label.” You could have knocked me over with a feather. I was stunned.

  “You’re queer.”

  “Daisy May.” She gave me a look.

  “I’m sorry! It’s just . . . what? You’re queer. You like girls and you’ve dated girls?” She nodded.

  “Yeah. My last relationship was with a girl. We were living together and we broke up. That’s why I’m back.” Wow. “It . . . it didn’t end well.” She sniffed and I realized she had started to cry.

  I leaned forward, but she put her hand up to stop me.

  “It’s fine. I’m fine. Just still get a little emotional about it every now and then. I thought she was the one and it turned out she wasn’t. Anyway.” She wiped her eyes and drained the rest of her wine glass.

  “Holy shit,” I said. “So that kiss was . . . for both of us.” What did that mean?

  She sniffed again and the way she looked at me . . . I licked my lips, took the wine bottle and poured the rest of it into my glass and then hers until the bottle was empty. Then I took it and spun it around. As if the wine gods were with us, it landed right on Molly. Somehow. I had hoped for that to happen on the first try, but I would have spun that damn bottle as many times as it took for things to work out.

  I looked up at her and a slow smile started to bloom on her face. I leaned forward on my hands and brought our faces close together. I wanted to give her enough time to back out, if this wasn’t what she wanted.

  Forget about the past. Forget about everything. We were just a girl and another girl who wanted to kiss each other. Nothing more complicated than that. It was just a kiss.

  I exhaled and her lips trembled just a little before I pressed myself fully forward and met her lips with mine. She was soft and hesitant, but within a few breaths, she kissed me back. I tasted the wine on her tongue and under that was just . . . her. We hadn’t used tongues back in the day, but were making plenty of use of them now. I stroked the inside of her mouth and pulled myself closer. My hands dove into her hair and her fingers dug into my sides. I took a shuddering breath and opened my eyes.

  She was right there with me, those crystal blue eyes.

  “Wow,” she breathed, licking her lips.

  “Yeah,” I said, equally unable to come up with any other words. My entire body tingled from my fingertips to my toes and in-between. Now that was a kiss.

  I moved my thumb over her cheek.

  “You’ve had some kissing practice, I think,” she said, her voice low. Like she didn’t want to break the spell.

  “So have you,” I said. Our first kiss was what a first kiss should be. Clumsy. Nervous. Quick. But it had still made my heart race and kept me up half the night with the memory of Molly’s lips. And a whole lot of confusion about what kissing a girl and liking it meant. But that took me years to untangle.

  “What does this mean?” she asked, moving away from me a little more. Her face came back into focus and I dropped my hand from her face.

  “I don’t know,” I said, which was the honest truth. “Can we kiss instead of talking about it?” She laughed just a little.

  “Okay.”

  Four

  We completely lost track of time, and before I knew what was happening, it was late, late, late and we were horizontal in the blanket fort, and neither of us had taken a single item of clothing off.

  “I feel like we’re sixteen or something,” she said, tugging a wisp of my hair. My braid had come undone at some point and now my hair was dry and all wavy.

  “I know. I didn’t know I could feel like this. All fluttery and shit.” She laughed and then I started and then we ended up rolling around on the floor and laughing together.

  “I wasn’t sure about everything, but when I saw the café you worked at, I had hope,” she said, propping herself up on her elbows.

  “Yeah? I guess I wasn’t very stealth, was I?” She shook her head.

  “I mean, you weren’t broadcasting, but I had hope. I kept fishing for clues.” Huh. I hadn’t noticed.

  “Well, I had no idea about you. Holy shit, I’m still wondering if you’re pulling some elaborate and sick joke on me.” Her response was to lean over and stick her tongue in my mouth and kiss me until I was dizzy.

  “Does that feel like a joke?” she said, pulling back. We were both breathing hard again.

  “No,” I said.

  “Good.” She booped my nose with hers and then resumed her previous position.

  “So how long have you been out?” I asked. She sighed.

  “Well, I was out to myself for years before I came out to my parents. It, um, didn’t go well.” Oh. Shit.

  “I’m sorry,” I said. She picked at some fuzz on her shirt.

  “Whatever, it’s fine. It’s not my problem, it’s theirs. I’ve made my peace with it. Besides, even before that, they weren’t the best of parents anyway.” I didn’t want to say it, but she was right. Her parents were physically there, but never really emotionally there. I had always felt just a little uncomfortable at their house. Like I was disrupting their lives by existing in the same space. I knew Molly felt that even more acutely.

  “And what about you?” She looked up at me.

  “Um, I figured things out in college. Kissed a few girls, the usual. My mom was totally fine with it because she’s just like that.” I remember when I came out to her, I’d been flipping out, and all she did was hug me and ask if I wanted her to make me some cookies. I’d cried and then wiped my eyes and asked for snickerdoodles. With frosting.

  “She would be,” Molly said with a sigh.

  “I’m sorry about yours. I really am.” She shook her head and I thought she was going to cry.

  “I’m fine. I swear. I’m still a little raw from the breakup.” She sniffed.

  “What happened?” I asked, even though I kinda didn’t want to know.

  “The usual. We met, dated, moved in together, and then she decided that she didn’t want to be committed anymore. I don’t know. We just weren’t a good fit, I guess.” I brushed a tear from her cheek.

  “I’m glad you came back. Even though it was for a shitty reason.” She nibbled at her bottom lip.

  “Thanks. I guess I just felt like I needed to come back to where it felt like things had started. I always felt at home here, even when I wasn’t with my parents, you know? It just felt right here.” I knew what she meant. I loved this tiny little weird town. There were so many queers here somehow, and it was amazing. I never wanted to leave. Plus my mom was here, so I didn’t feel the need to go anywhere else.

  “That makes sense.” She nodded.

  “What time is it?” she asked and then looked at her phone. “Shit, it’s really late.” Pushing herself up, she ducked out of the blanket fort and groaned as she stood up. I followed her and blinked at the brightness of the rest of my apartment.

  Wow, it was late. Nearly one in the morning. I was starving
now, and suddenly exhausted.

  “You could stay,” I blurted out without thinking about it.

  She looked up from her phone.

  “What?”

  “You could stay. Not, like, in a sexy way. Just as in, you could stay. Sleep on the couch. So you don’t have to drive tonight.” The thought of her leaving and then me being alone in the apartment sounded like a terrible idea.

  “Oh, wow, that would be . . .” She closed her eyes for a second. “That would be really nice.” I breathed a sigh of relief. Molly and I had had sleepovers hundreds of times, but none like this. This was . . . something else.

  “Do you want to shower?” I asked. I knew she took her showers at night. It was strange, knowing so many things about her past but not a whole lot about her present. Other than she was an unbelievable kisser. And she was cute and hot as hell at the same time.

  “Yes, thank you,” she said, running her fingers through her hair. It was a little tangled now from my fingers. Almost sex hair. Almost.

  Nope, I wasn’t going to think about that. Neither of us was ready for that. Maybe she was. I wasn’t, that was for sure. Wouldn’t stop the fantasies though.

  I got her set up in the bathroom with towels and shampoo and everything, and then went to find her something to wear. Being roughly the same size was fantastic. I found some pajama pants, some shorts, and a T-shirt so she could choose. I left them in the bathroom and told her to use whatever she wanted.

  “Thanks, Daisy,” she said and I couldn’t help but lean forward and give her a little kiss. I pulled back before it turned into anything else.

  “You’re welcome.”

  *^*^*

  Figuring out the sleeping arrangement was stressing me out the whole time she was in the shower. I made my bed as nicely as I could and then made up the couch so there was no pressure. Not that there would be. Why did kissing have to make everything so complicated? Not that I was upset about the kissing. Fuck, the kissing was incredible. I never knew it could be like that. Sweep through your whole body and make you forget your own name.

  “Hey,” she said when she came out of the shower, towel wrapped around her head and wearing the t-shirt and shorts; score one for me!

 
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