Second Kiss by Chelsea M. Cameron

  “It wasn’t just you. I could have tried harder for contact. I mean, it’s not like we didn’t have the internet and phones and everything. You just moved, you didn’t fall off the face of the planet.” I had to take some responsibility for losing touch with her. We’d both been at fault.

  “But it’s okay now,” she said, reaching out and taking my hand. “Because you’re here and I’m here. Together.” Together. I squeezed her hand and then jumped off the swing, tapping her shoulder.

  “You’re it!”

  Tag was another one of our favorite games and we chased each other all over the playground and down the slides and all the way down to the soccer field, where we both collapsed onto our backs.

  Puffy clouds drifted across the sky and I turned to look at her as the sun lit up her hair.

  “I always thought you were so beautiful, you know. I felt so plain next to you.” Molly had always been “the hot one,” or she would have been the hot one if she’d stayed and we’d gone to high school together.

  “Do you ever wonder what would have happened if we’d stayed friends? If I’d stayed here? Or if we might have drifted apart anyway?” she asked.

  “I don’t know,” I said, plucking a blade of grass. “There really is no way to know, but we’re here now.”

  “True. I guess dwelling on the past doesn’t do anyone much good.” She sighed and closed her eyes. I took my moment to roll on top of her and kiss her.

  “Hey,” she said into my mouth, her eyes popping open.

  “It’s just kissing.” I brushed my nose against hers and then took her bottom lip between my teeth.

  “Nothing with you is ‘just’,” she said. Ditto.

  I was freaking out last night about how fast things were moving, but it seemed less scary today. Maybe it was the sunshine. Maybe it was sleeping with her arms around me. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I knew, without a doubt, that I wanted whatever this was with her.

  I’d been staring down at her.

  “What are you thinking about in that brain of yours?” she said, brushing some of my hair out of our faces. I should have put it up so it would stop getting in the way.

  “You,” I said. “Just being with you.” Her smile was brilliant.

  “You’re sweet. And sexy. And funny. And lovely. And . . .” I stopped her with a kiss. It was just too much.


  After our playground adventures, we decided that we were hungry, so we headed back to my house for lunch.

  “You have better bread there,” Molly said when I asked her if she wanted to go out to eat. I couldn’t argue with her there, so we went back to my house.

  “This place is so cozy,” she said as I walked to the kitchen and started messing around in the fridge.

  “Thanks. I mean, it’s definitely cozier than yours. No offense.”

  “None taken.” She flopped on the couch and sighed. The chairs were still out from making the blanket fort. Had that really been just last night? We’d covered so much ground in such a short time. But sometimes life was like that, I guess. Sometimes things happened so fast you just had to hold on and enjoy the moment.

  I wasn’t really good at doing that, historically. But the way Molly looked at me was something special. Something to treasure.

  “Do you need any help?” she asked, but I waved her off. I liked feeding people. It was kind of my thing. My main contribution to the world. So I made up a tray with turkey, avocado, tomato, and basil-mayo sandwiches on my favorite sourdough bread, as well as some potato chips and a few clementines. And because no meal was complete without dessert, I added two slices of Italian cream cake.

  “You want some iced tea?” I asked. She nodded and I made up two glasses, topping them off with lemon slices and fresh mint.

  “You’re so good to me,” she said.

  “I feed people. It’s my thing. I’d probably be smaller if I ate less, but who wants to do that?” I said.

  “I’ll cheers to that.” She raised her glass and clinked it with mine.

  My phone buzzed and I looked down. Mom. If I didn’t pick up, she’d leave a long ass message and just call me incessantly until I picked up. She was fun like that.

  “Hey, Mom,” I said.

  “Hey, Daisy Grace!” My mom was one of those people who was disgustingly cheerful for no apparent reason. “How are you doing?” she asked and I could hear her fluttering around the house. She could never sit still either. Sometimes she even talked to me on speakerphone when she was doing the dishes.

  “I’m good. How are you?” We had to go through the little routine before she would tell me why she was calling. There was always a reason, but sometimes it took longer to figure it out than others.

  Molly just sat and ate her sandwich. If Mom knew she was here, she’d die. My mom loved Molly to pieces. Probably more than she loved me.

  “Oh, I’m fine. What are you up to today?” It wouldn’t matter if I was at work. I’d still be having this exact conversation.

  “Not much, how about you?” We went back and forth like that and then finally she asked if I knew that Molly Madison was back in town. AHA. I knew it.

  “I did. As a matter of fact, she came to the café the other day,” I said. Molly perked up. She’s asking about you, I mouthed to her.

  “You can tell her I’m here,” she whispered. “I miss her too.”

  “Who are you talking to?” Mom said, her voice getting all excited. She knew. Of course she knew. Someone probably saw us and told her. Because this town was too small and people couldn’t mind their own damn business.

  “Molly,” I said with a sigh. Mom made squealing noises and bombarded me with questions for Molly. Which I relayed to her and then gave Molly’s answers back. It was seriously annoying, but they were both so cute about it.

  “You tell her that she’s coming over for dinner. Anytime she wants. You can come or not.” Thanks, Mom. Nice to know how much you care.

  “You wanna go tonight?” Molly asked. Trying to listen to both of them was starting to give me a headache.

  “Yes, fine! We’ll come tonight. Okay, see you later. Bye!” I had to hang up. I buried my face in one of the pillows and groaned.

  “Aw, you’re so cute.” I looked up to find Molly grinning at me.

  “She’s going to figure it out. She’s my mom. She figures everything out. And then she’s going to get all involved.” My mom loved to meddle in my love life. So much. It was her main hobby.

  “So?” she said. “Would that be so bad? You know she likes me and she likes you and she loved it when we were friends. So why would she be upset that we’re . . . doing what we’re doing?” I hated that logic, but she was right. If I told my mom that we were together (or whatever we were), she would probably start planning a wedding.

  “I wouldn’t mind having her as a mother-in-law,” she said, smirking.

  “Slow your roll, M&M,” I said, falling back on the nickname I’d used for her when we were kids.

  “Whatever you say, DG,” she countered. I growled and pushed her back, straddling her.

  “I will tickle you, don’t think that I won’t,” I said, wiggling my fingers. She put her hands up to stop me.

  “Don’t you dare. Remember what happened last time.” Oh, I did. I was remembering it right now and it was making my skin heat up and my brain start to forget why I’d told her that we should cool things down.

  “Ugh, fine,” I said, pushing myself off her. She made a little sound of protest.

  “Wanna watch a movie?” I asked and she nodded. I flipped on the TV and handed her the remote. We would end up watching what she wanted, so it was easier just to give it to her and save myself a fight. It was strange, the things I still remembered about her.

  She flipped through my Netflix and found something old that we’d watched a hundred times together. I scooted next to her and she grabbed my arm and slung it around herself before putting her head on my chest. Oh. Okay then. I wrapped my legs around h
ers and we held each other as we watched the movie. Her fingers made lazy designs on my side, just barely slipping under my t-shirt. I ran mine through her hair.

  Just holding her was incredible. Molly was warm and she smelled good and the feel of her head on my chest made my heart feel like it was going to grow and then explode.

  “This is nice,” I said softly. Her fingers stilled for a moment.

  “It is,” she said, snuggling closer. “I could do this forever.” The word hung in the air after she said it. “Would that be awful?” Her voice was timid.

  I kissed the top of her head.

  “No. It wouldn’t.”


  “Why are you so stressed?” Molly said a while later as she drove us to my mom’s house. I’d been picking at a thread on my jeans. “It’s not like I haven’t met your mom before. Tons of times.” It was true. But I knew the second Mom looked at me and looked at Molly, she would know. And then she would say things and I’d have to explain what the hell was going on when I didn’t even know what was going on.

  “I just am, okay?” I said and cringed. I didn’t mean to snap at her. “Sorry. I’m fine.” She reached out and took my hand, kissing the back of it.

  “We got this.” I thought she was going to drop my hand, but she held it the rest of the way to the house.

  Mom was waiting on the porch for us.

  “Molly Madison. It’s been a while,” she said, holding her arms out to Molly.

  “Hey, Miss Deb,” she said. Molly had always called her “Miss Deb” and Mom had found that delightful.

  “Oh, baby, it’s been so long.” Mom held Molly for a long time and then leaned back to examine her.

  “Look at you. A grown woman, and a beautiful one at that.” She sighed and gave Molly another hug.

  “Hi, Mom,” I said and she had a hug for me as well.

  “Come on in, come on in. It’s been so long since I had such good company.” Mom ushered us into the house.

  “I’m making seafood pasta, is that okay? You’re not a vegan or something now, are you?” Mom asked Molly.

  “No, that sounds wonderful.” It also happened to be Molly’s favorite thing that my mom made. Subtle, Mom.

  “So tell me how you’re doing?” Mom said, forcing Molly to sit in the living room as she brought us all tall glasses of super sweet iced tea. Molly glanced at me and gave the update that she’d given me, leaving out the fact that she’d come back because of a breakup.

  “So now, are you seeing anyone?” Mom said, getting right to the good stuff. Molly blushed.

  “I’m not really sure, but I think I’m starting something with someone really special. I’d like it to turn into something, but I’m not sure yet.” I couldn’t look at her because I knew she was talking about me.

  “Oh, sounds like it could be serious,” Mom said.

  “It could be,” Molly replied. I really wanted to leave the room. This was getting a little too weird for me.

  “Mom, do you need any help in the kitchen?” I said, standing up.

  “Sure, if you want to put the bread under the broiler to crisp that would be great,” she said and turned back to Molly to ask more about her love life. I sighed inwardly and escaped to the kitchen. I didn’t want to hear anything more.

  I got the bread crisping and checked on the pasta and the seafood with Mom’s special alfredo sauce. She didn’t like it when I meddled in her cooking, but right now I needed something to do.

  I was so immersed in stirring the sauce that I didn’t notice when someone came up behind me.

  “Hey,” Molly said in my ear. I jumped and dropped the spoon I’d been using into the sauce.

  “Shit.” I fished the spoon out and turned around.

  “Are you okay?” she asked, brushing some of my hair back.

  “Don’t do that. She could walk in and see.” I glanced around, but I could hear Mom singing in the dining room as she got the “good plates” out of the china cabinet.

  Molly’s mouth made a thin line.

  “And what if she did?” I wanted to groan and melt into the floor.

  “Because then we’d have to explain and I’m still trying to process this. It’s a lot, okay? I can’t be like you and just jump into this with both feet. Hell, it hasn’t even been two days. I need time. I just need time.” She sighed.

  “I know. I know you’re right. I guess I just get carried away with everything. You’ve always been the one to ground me. To keep me from floating away on wings made of silly ideas.” I laughed, remembering some of her schemes from when we were kids.

  “Or maybe I could float away with you,” I said, touching her cheek.

  Of course, someone cleared their throat and we both froze and slowly turned to find Mom leaning against the wall with a satisfied smirk on her face.

  “Hey, Mom,” I said, shooting a glance at Molly. Her face started to heat up.

  “Well. All I’m going to say is that it’s about damn time.” She walked over and gave both of us hugs.

  “You finally got there,” she said in my ear, planting a kiss on my cheek.

  “Huh?” I said.

  She just laughed and hugged us both again.


  “A mother knows,” she said over generous servings of seafood pasta, garlic bread, and salad.

  “But . . .” I was still playing catch up.

  Mom rolled her eyes and went for another piece of garlic bread.

  “I always knew you’d be together, I was just waiting for you to figure that out.” Molly and I shared a bewildered look.

  “But you didn’t know that we both liked girls.” Mom snorted.

  “Of course I did. But I didn’t want to push and I didn’t want to interfere. I wanted everything to blossom in its own time.” This was wild. I’d never thought of my mother as the diabolical type, but damn. She had kept that quiet.

  I shook my head and looked at Molly. She just smiled and shrugged.

  “This is just . . .” I kept shaking my head.

  “Go with it,” Mom said.

  “What she said,” Molly agreed.

  “That’s my girl.”

  Was this some sort of conspiracy? Molly started to laugh and Mom just patted my shoulder.

  “I still have no idea what’s going on, but I think I’m outnumbered so I’m going to sit here and eat my food and pretend that everything is normal.” Molly picked up my hand and kissed it. Mom sighed dreamily.

  “That’s what I wanted to see.” Unbelievable. It was so unbelievable that I started to laugh and then I couldn’t stop.

  “Now I’m not going to be pushy or anything, but winter weddings are really lovely. You could do a Christmas theme with a carriage and beautiful lights. Oh, it would be so beautiful.” Mom was off her rocker. I looked over at her, but she was off in her own world.

  “So I guess you’re okay with this?” I asked, meaning me being with Molly.

  “It’s all I ever wanted for you. Someone who lights up when you walk into a room and loves you unconditionally. Who will take care of you.” I was still dumbfounded.

  “That’s quite an endorsement,” Molly said, blushing a little.

  “I meant every word. You’re my other daughter. Always have been. Always will be. I couldn’t have picked anyone better.”

  “I think I need a minute,” I said, getting up from the table and walking outside. I sat on the porch and looked out at the yard. The sound of the screen door alerted me that Molly had followed me. She took a few moments before she sat down next to me on the glider.

  “You okay?” she asked, putting her hand on my knee.

  “I honestly don’t know. It’s all happening so fast and I can’t seem to catch my breath. You’re here and you like me and we’ve kissed and it was amazing and you’re amazing and my mom is like, shipping us together and she wants us to get married? What the fuck is even happening, Molly?” She leaned over and kissed my cheek.

  “Love,” she said. I turned and
met her eyes.

  “What did you say?”

  “Love. That’s what’s happening.” I waited for her to tell me that she was joking.

  “You love me?” She laughed.

  “Are you kidding? I’ve loved you my entire life. I might not have known, but I’ve never felt this way about anyone. It’s the most obvious thing in the world. Of course I love you. How could I not?” I opened my mouth and closed it a few times.

  She loved me? Did I love her? The answer to that question hit me over the head and it was like my brain exploded.

  “I love you, too,” I said. It was just that easy. Did it make sense? Probably not. Was it a little rushed? Yup. Did I care? Nope.

  “I love you, Daisy Grace. I’ve always loved you.” She reached for me and our lips met and that was the period at the end of the sentence. I loved her. She loved me. The end.

  I knew her. I knew her arms and her hair and her laugh and the way she smiled. I knew how she liked her eggs and that she hated pickles and that she wanted to have kids someday. I knew all the important things. The rest? We could figure it out.

  I waited for some instinct inside me to scream that I’d made a mistake. That I was rushing too far, too soon.

  All I felt was love. And certainty. And calm.

  No panic. No feeling of wrongness.

  Just right. She was right. We were right.

  I pulled back from her and rested my forehead against hers.

  “I love you,” I whispered.

  “I love you.”


  Mom came out to find us snuggled up a while later.

  “Look at you two. Pretty as a picture.” She sighed in that dreamy way again.

  “I can’t believe you wanted this all along,” I said to her. “You could have said something.”

  Mom raised an eyebrow.

  “Would you have listened?” Yeah, she had a point.

  “Probably not.”

  “Exactly.” She leaned against the porch railing and Molly updated her more on what had happened in her life and what her parents were doing and so forth.

  “Well, you can come and stay anytime you want if you’d like to get out of that apartment. I have a spare room and this house is awful big and lonesome.” She had tried to get me to move in with her, but I’d put a stop to that right away. I couldn’t imagine trying to have someone over with my mom in the bedroom across the hall. No way. But Molly staying here would be something else. She could always stay at my place when we wanted to do sexy things.

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