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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2038590-A-Kiss-is-Still-a-Kiss
by beetle
Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Romance/Love · #2038590
A coffee date is tentatively had.
Notes/Warnings: Brief mention of drug use.
Summary: Written for the prompt: Write that kiss! We will be taking off from the end of the first date, think of it as a continuation. Switch back to character A, and use only their POV. How many senses can you incorporate in this scene to make your moment fly off the page? Make sure to use the sense of touch. How does this kiss make character A feel? Don’t forget to include some inner dialog here at some point in the scene, before, during or after their lips meet.



From: Luka Petrovic [mailto:lukapetr@tertiusmag.net]
Sent: Tuesday May 05, 2015 10:01 PM
To: Jaime Soto
Subject: Did you get home okay?

Did you get home safely, and without further incident? Like some other asshole stepping all over you or your work?

Best,

Luka

From: Jaime Soto [Jaime.Luis.S@Qmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday May 05, 2015 10:32 PM
To: Luka Petrovic
Subject: Did you get home okay?

Actually still at the Bearsville Theatre, waiting on my friend Max to get tired of open mic night. But he’s only had two beers all night, or so he claims, so I should get home safely *Smile*

How was group? Did I miss much?

TTYL,

Jaime

From: Luka Petrovic
Sent: Tuesday May 05, 2015 11:09 PM
To: Jaime Soto
Subject: Did you get home okay?

Oh, you missed plenty. Sabrina and Freda gave me the cold shoulder all evening. Decker ate all the pastrami AND the last of the chili—I’d hate to have to share a bathroom with him—and Clinton and Bobby nearly got into a fist fight. Not over each other’s writing, but over whether a troll in the The Two Towers was a cave troll or a regular troll . . . this is a fight they’ve been having since shortly after they met. (I think it’s a cover for repressed sexual attraction, but you didn’t hear that from me.)

And Angie, as usual, read her work in a monotone while she played with her hair.

See what you’re missing out on by not coming to the actual group?

Are you reconsidering, yet?

Luka

From: Jaime Soto
Sent: Wednesday May 06, 2015 4:57 AM
To: Luka Petrovic
Subject: Did you get home okay?

Wow, sounds . . . interesting, lol.

I’m not putting coming back to the group out of the realm of possibility. I just have to work my way back up to it. It’s not easy for me to get out and be around people. It never has been. I’m much more comfortable via email or text message. I almost come across as normal in those mediums, unlike on the phone or in person.

At any rate, it probably won’t be next week, if I come back. Or even the week after that. Like I said: Gotta work up to it.

Maybe I’ll open a window in my apartment today. . . .

Jaime

From: Luka Petrovic
Sent: Wednesday May 06, 2015 6:39 AM
To: Jaime Soto
Subject: Did you get home okay?

Hmm . . . work your way up to a group of nosy, chatty writers?

How about spending a little time with ONE nosy, chatty writer? Join me for coffee this morning, around ten a.m.? How does that sound?

Feel free to stay as long, or not, as you like. I won’t get offended whenever you choose to leave.

And for the record, you certainly don’t come across as ORDINARY in person. I consider that a good thing. As to “normal” . . . what’s that?

Luka *Smile*

From: Jaime Soto
Sent: Wednesday May 06, 2015 6:50 AM
To: Luka Petrovic
Subject: Did you get home okay?

“Normal” is that thing that I suppose gets written about, but never experienced. At least not by writers *Bigsmile*

Does that mean I’m EXTRAordindary? *Wink*

Coffee sounds . . . possibly do-able—and certainly easier than going to the writing group last night was—or it would if my car wasn’t in the shop. And Max, my ride, is at work till 5:30.

Sorry.

Jaime

From: Luka Petrovic
Sent: Wednesday May 06, 2015 7:17 AM
To: Jaime Soto
Subject: Did you get home okay?

Never you fear, I have a workable solution to your car-problem. Let me pick you up and drop you off. You’re in Hurley, right? Not far from me, at all. I can be there in a jiff. So say yes, or I’ll just keep asking till you do ;-D

All I know about “normal,” is that it’s highly overrated, as well as nonexistent.

Luka

From: Jaime Soto
Sent: Wednesday May 06, 2015 7:24 AM
To: Luka Petrovic
Subject: Did you get home okay?

Agreed. “Normal” ranks up there on believability factor somewhere between unicorns and the Great Pumpkin.

And you’re very persistent about coffee.

Jaime

From: Luka Petrovic
Sent: Wednesday May 06, 2015 7:29 AM
To: Jaime Soto
Subject: Did you get home okay?

At least there’s anecdotal evidence for the Great Pumpkin and unicorns. And we could pick them out of a line-up. Who knows what “normal” looks like?

Yes, I AM persistent about coffee. Persistence is often prized in an editor. And in a coffee date.


From: Jaime Soto
Sent: Wednesday May 06, 2015 7:33 AM
To: Luka Petrovic
Subject: Did you get home okay?

“Normal” is like pornography. Maybe we can’t define it, but we’d definitely know it if we saw it.

And is that what this coffee would be, then? A “date”?

Jaime

From: Luka Petrovic
Sent: Wednesday May 06, 2015 7:40 AM
To: Jaime Soto
Subject: Did you get home okay?

Oh, after my misspent teenage years, I have a pretty good working definition of pornography. Though I often double check to be sure. For persistence AND thoroughness’ sake *Wink*

If you’re not into labeling going to coffee with semi-random guys who happen to think you’re astonishingly attractive, as well as smart, sweet, and funny, as “dates,” then no, totally not a date.

If you ARE fine with labeling . . . then I wouldn’t say no to calling this coffee a date.

Honestly? I like you and I like the way you write. You seem like a cool guy and I’d love to spend time with you.

Luka

From: Jaime Soto
Sent: Wednesday May 06, 2015 7:59 AM
To: Luka Petrovic
Subject: Did you get home okay?

And WHY would a semi-random guy happen to think I’m astonishingly attractive, smart, sweet, and funny, when he barely knows me?

Jaime

From: Luka Petrovic
Sent: Wednesday May 06, 2015 8:06 AM
To: Jaime Soto
Subject: Did you get home okay?

Why? Because I have eyes? And discriminating taste?

Because I really like you, and I think that if I were to get to know you better, I’d like you even more? Because from the moment I met you, my heart beats faster at the simple thought of you? Because we have similar taste in music? Because you write so beautifully that I’d be jealous if I wasn’t in stark awe of your talent and promise?

Really, it’s all these things and more. I can only hope that you’d at least want to get coffee with me every now and again, because now that I’ve met you, I don’t want to imagine never seeing you again.

Perhaps that’s TMI, but it’s true.

Luka

From: Luka Petrovic
Sent: Wednesday May 06, 2015 8:39 AM
To: Jaime Soto
Subject: Did I scare you off?

God, I just realized how moony that all sounds. I’m not expecting you to say the same back—frankly, I’d understand completely if you never wanted to see me again, for obvious reasons . . . but I’m hoping that you do. I know we got off to a rough start, to say the least. But take a chance on me and the possibility that a man can change for the better. I won’t disappoint you.

Luka

From: Jamie Soto
Sent: Wednesday May 06, 2015 8:41 AM
To: Luka Petrovic
Subject: Did I scare you off?

259 Hurley Road, Apt #11

845.555.1738

I’ll probably be waiting outside by ten, but if I’m not outside, give me a text or ring my buzzer. See you then.

Jaime

P.S.—Thanks. Now I’ve got that ABBA song stuck in my head *Smile*

Jaime

*


“Hey.”

I smiled anxiously as I pulled the door to my building shut behind me and listened for the lock engaging. I knew that if I didn’t listen for that, I’d spend the whole morning worrying about whether or not my place was getting robbed, knowing full well that it wasn’t, and worrying anyway. It’d happened before, the few times I’d hung out with almost-friends or relatives in the past few years. I was always paranoid about getting robbed or hurt during a robbery while at home. My deadbolt was always engaged.

No one’s going to break into my apartment. There’s precious little worth stealing, even if they did. It hasn’t happened once in the past three years, and it won’t happen today. Today, I managed to overcome my anxiety and step out my front door without the aid of Captain Klonopin. I will also manage to put aside my paranoia . . . for a couple hours, anyway.

Taking a breath that I let out slowly, I forced the anxiousness out of my smile and Luka returned it in a way that made me feel welcomed and a little weak about the knees.
And there’ll definitely be none of that, I told myself sternly, but without much hope. This is just coffee with someone I happen to have something in common with . . . and never mind that he’s attracted to me and thinks both I and my writing are . . . are. . . .

“Cat got your tongue?” Luka asked mildly, standing in the sunshine a few feet from me. He was seemingly even taller than he’d been last night, long hands shoved into the pockets of his cargo pants. His dark hair was combed, but still a bit disheveled, as if he’d been running nervous fingers through it. Dark eyes regarded me with a mixture of humor and warmth that made me blush.

“No. Uh, hey,” I replied, turning to face him fully, stepping a little closer. “How are you?”

“Oh, I’m great,” he said jovially, rocking back on his heels, his dark eyebrows waggling in a kind of endearing way. “Feeling pretty lucky.”

“Oh? And why is that?”

“Because you said yes to coffee,” was Luka’s answer, and he shrugged, offering me his arm. Rolling my eyes, I took the proffered arm—I barely came up to his shoulder—and together we walked to his truck. The big blue beast looked even larger in daylight, like its owner.

“I said yes to a coffee date, Luka,” I laughed. “That’s all.”

“Believe me, it’s more than I had expected or hoped for,” Luka glanced down at me, smiling absently. Then he was opening the passenger door for me. “You have every right and reason to seriously despise me.”

“Maybe,” I admitted, pushing down any and all thoughts of five years ago, and the horrible mental shape I’d been in. So horrible, that a few shitty emails’d had the power to wreck me so thoroughly.

But that’d been five years ago. I was a different man than I’d been then. And so was Luka. I was—supposedly—sane and under the influence of powerful drugs. And Luka was—also supposedly—less of an asshole and no longer under the influence of powerful drugs.

And this . . . coffee-date, for lack of a better term, was just that. A date for coffee, and nothing more. Never mind that Luka was, at least nominally, exactly the type of guy I used to get crushes on before I turned into a hermit: tall, pale, dark-haired and dark-eyed. Intimidatingly intelligent, passionate, with a wicked sense of humor and a slightly awkward demeanor.

“But,” I went on, shaking my head to clear it of pointless musings as I climbed into the Blue Beast. “That was all a long time ago. We’re different people, now.” I hope.

“Well, maybe not totally different,” Luka said with a wry smile, meeting my eyes. He leaned against the frame of the truck. “But hopefully better. Stronger. More self-aware.”

“Cheers to that,” I agreed, and Luka winked, shutting my door. He jogged around the front of the truck to the driver’s side and got in. The truck started with a big rumble that turned into a sustained, but mellow purr. As he had last night, Luka immediately put on the CD player.

“Ah, Counting Crows,” I approved, and Luka laughed.

“It’s been that kind of morning,” he said dryly, as Adam Duritz began belting out about Albert Einstein on the beach.

Then, with a roar and a rumble, Luka pulled out into the lack of traffic, and we were on our way.

*


“And that’s when I said: ‘Shit, Abilene’s fifteen hundred miles that way!’ and I started running,” Luka finished his story, pumping his long, rangy arms like he was indeed running. I nearly choked on the last of my crumb cake, laughing.

“Oh, God!” I coughed, weak giggles still escaping me. I covered my mouth and squinched my eyes shut. After a few seconds, Luka began patting my back. The patting turned into a soothing stroke as my coughing tapered off, and I cleared my throat one last time, glancing over at Luka. Sitting next to me on one of the café’s many sofas—his leg not quite touching mine—he was watching me with that mixture of warmth and amusement, but there was another element there, as well. One that struck an answering chord within me.

Suddenly I was breathless for another reason, entirely, and I looked away.

“My, uh, post-high school career wasn’t nearly so exciting. And probably shorter than the time it took you to even tell that story,” I said, just to have something to say. It was the first time, in the four hours since we’d arrived at the café that I’d been at a loss for words. Luka and I had been talking almost nonstop since those first awkward minutes, when all he did was stare at me and smile, and all I did was try not to stare at him and smile. “I couldn’t deal with all the people and the rushing between classes. I dropped out pretty early on. Tried some online courses, but got bored fast.”

“Too bad. Well, it’s just that you’d be any English or Creative Writing teacher’s dream,” Luka added when I looked at him questioningly. Then I was smiling a tad ruefully.

“I was actually going to school for, uh, phlebotomy,” I admitted sheepishly. “But I wasn’t really interested in it. I just thought it was something I could or should do to support myself. I was all about the getting of a steady J-O-B.”

Luka’s eyebrows lifted. “Phlebotomy, eh? That sounds like a . . . a terrible fit.” He chuckled, long and low, and I joined him.

“Probably. But it was better than spending the rest of my life working at QuikChek.” I shivered dramatically. Then for real as Luka’s hand slid reluctantly across my back and away. I’d forgotten he was touching me—which was strange, since I didn’t usually stop noticing when someone was touching me. I was always far too uncomfortable with the fact that someone was touching me to just up and forget that they were.

Apparently Luka was . . . different. . . .

QuikChek, huh?” Luka snorted. “I was a Stewart’s man, myself. Through high school and most of college. When I got my first decent, post-undergrad job, I literally wept for joy.”

“See, I can’t picture you working behind a counter,” I said, and Luka snorted again.

“Neither could I, till I was. I half-think that’s what made me such an asshole in the rest of my life: having to be nice to people all day—sometimes people I couldn’t stand—and take their shit, and getting paid so little to do it.” He sighed and looked down at his half-finished blueberry scone. “That’s no excuse, of course, but it may be a reason.”

Silence descended between us, then. Not exactly uncomfortable, but somewhat charged. It lasted till I glanced at Luka and caught him watching me curiously. Then he smiled and nudged my leg playfully with his own.

“So, enough about me. Tell me more about you—what do you do for a living, now?”

I swallowed and looked down into my mostly empty third mug of hot cocoa. I had been afraid this question would come up when we first sat down, but Luka had told so many funny and sometimes appalling stories (when he wasn’t asking me about my own writing), that I’d forgotten to be nervous about—well, anything.

“I, um . . . I work from home,” I temporized, my face heating up so much that even my complexion wasn’t enough to hide it. “Data entry,” I mumbled, clutching my mug.

“Ah.” Luka didn’t seem to disbelieve me, but I felt like a filthy liar, nonetheless. Probably because I was a filthy liar. “I could never do that kind of job from home. I’d always be tempted to go back to my writing or editing, on the sly. They’d fire me pretty quick.”

“Yeah, it’s, a, um, real temptation.” I couldn’t even look at Luka for shame. I wasn’t used to lying—had never been good at it. Though what is creative fiction, but pretty lies told to hide sometimes ugly truths?

And my ugly truth? Wasn’t so much ugly, as it was pathetic.

“. . . work for OneSource or AlliedHealth?” Luka was asking me innocently. “I have a ton of friends who work at both places. Maybe you know some of—”

“I don’t do data entry from home!” I suddenly blurted, low and through gritted teeth. Luka’s eyebrows shot up then furrowed in confusion. I looked away again. Out the big picture window of the café, at the pedestrians and drivers going by. “I don’t—I don’t even work. I’m . . . on SSI and SSD. The only work I do—that I’ve been fit to do for five years is write stories then stick them in an anonymous blog.”

I could tell Luka was frowning thoughtfully from the corner of my eye, and I waited for the question I knew would come.

What sort of disability do you have? You look fine, to me.

Finally, Luka spoke, and it took me a moment to process what he’d actually said, because I literally heard the question I’d expected. And, it turns out, I’d also answered it.

“Clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder,” I said—whispered, really. And then what Luka really said caught up with me, and I paled, mortified. “I—I mean—uh. No, I don’t still send out my stories to literary magazines.” After blanching, blushing again was physically unpleasant. “Sending a link to my blog to the MeetUs group was the first time I’d let anyone I ‘knew’ read my work, and have them know it was mine, since. . . .”

“Since Tertius,” Luka finished for me, and I nodded once, still cold with mortification. But Luka didn’t seem the least bit phased by my unwitting confession. He merely sighed again and put a hand on my shoulder. Immediately, my whole arm started to tingle, as well as the spot on my back where his hand had rested. It was . . . rather alarming. “Jesus, Jaime. There isn’t enough apology in the world for the way I treated you back then.”

I smile mirthlessly. “Not your fault I was so sensitive. No,” I amended. “Not your fault I was so undiagnosed and unmedicated, living in a world of constant despair and anxiety.”

“And when you reached out for the light at the end of the tunnel, that light turned into a big ol’ train.” Luka shook his head, contemplating his scone once more. “I’m so sorry, Jaime. So very sorry.”

I covered Luka’s hand for a moment, where it rested on my shoulder. “You had your own demons. From the sound of it, you were looking for a light at the end of your own tunnel.”

“Yeah . . . it’s still no excuse for the way I treated you, and who knows how many others.” He squeezed my shoulder and looked up from the scone, his face solemn and sad. “I know I have no right to ask this, but—”

“Forgiven,” I said simply, instantly, sincerely. In that moment I realized that I had stopped blaming Luka for my downward spiral five years ago. If it hadn’t been his emailed rejections, it would’ve been something else. Possibly something worse.

Luka had been merely human. Flawed and broken, scared and hurting, just like the rest of us. Medicating himself the best way he knew how. Could I really continue to blame him for the ruin of my life?

No . . . I didn’t think I could. And I didn’t want to.

Now, his eyes widened and he looked so vulnerable for a few moments that it took my breath away. “I forgive you, Luka,” I said again.

“I—” he started to say, then cleared his throat. “That is . . . thank you. I would never have even asked that of you—never in a million years, after what I said—”

My brow furrowed. “Then what were you going to ask, Luka?”

Luka licked his lips nervously, his eyes flicking briefly down to my mouth, and a second before he said it, I knew—for real, this time—what he was going to ask.

“I was, uh, gonna ask if I could kiss you.”

He was leaning closer, very slowly, as he asked, his hand sliding up my shoulder and back, till his fingers were scratching through the hair at the nape of my neck, and his hand was urging my head closer to his.

Not that my head needed much urging.

“Um, okay,” I said belatedly, just before the world became his dark eyes, then the velvet-darkness of the backs of my own eyelids.

His lips pressed mine hesitantly, briefly, barely lingering long enough to impart fleeting warmth and softness, which initiated a pleasurable, never-before-felt prickling sensation all over my skin. But I was the one who followed when he started to sit back.

With a soft, hungry moan, Luka’s lips were pressing mine again, parting slightly, just wide enough for his tongue to dart out and taste my lips, flicking at them and teasing them. I didn’t know what to do next, my boldness all used up. For a few moments, I was statue-still.

Jaime,” Luka whispered shakily on my lips, his thumb caressing the back of my neck.

Tenderly.

When I opened my own mouth tentatively, uncertainly, Luka moaned again, tilting my head back a little as he leaned closer, his other hand settling on my waist. His lips tasted like coffee, sugar, and blueberries, and though I didn’t normally care for blueberries, I found that I liked the taste just fine on Luka’s lips.

Then his tongue was sliding wetly, agilely into my mouth and those prickles of pleasure that had danced across my skin were sinking down into the marrow of my bones, it seemed. I placed my hands on Luka’s chest before sliding them up and up till I was cupping his face in my shaking hands.

Is this happening? was all I could think as Luka possessed and plundered my mouth like it was found treasure. Is this reallyhappening? Or have I had a psychotic break? I’m kissing Luka Petrovic . . . the man who was, until last night—or, technically, a few minutes ago—the bane of my existence! I’m kissing him of my own free will, and enjoying it!

Then, as Luka really surged forward into the kiss, his arm sliding about my waist to pull me even closer, I thought: As first kisses and First Kisses go . . . this is way better than the stories I’ve heard.

After that, my brain shut down. My mind was white noise. My body had taken over, and apparently it knew both what it was doing, and what it wanted. And for once, it was want-take-have.

And that was that, until we had to come up for air.

Jaime,” Luka breathed on my lips again, his nose brushing mine as he exhaled heavily. “God, you’re. . . .”

I waited on tenterhooks for him to say: . . . a terrible kisser.

“. . . overwhelming,” he finished, stealing another kiss as he did so, brief, but no less of a sizzler for that.

“Is that . . . is that a good thing?” I asked, still filled with trepidation. Luka laughed breathlessly.

“That’s a very good thing.” He leaned our foreheads together and sighed. “Um, how’re you?”

I thought about it—as best I could, with my hormones raging and certain parts of my anatomy trying to stand at attention—for a few seconds before answering. “You know that kiss at the end of Princess Bride?”

“Mmhmm.” I could hear the smile in Luka’s voice, and I smiled back.

“Kissing you felt like how that kiss looked.”

“Wow . . . I didn’t think of it that way . . . but you’re absolutely right,” Luka murmured, turning his face just slightly . . . enough to kiss the palm of my right hand. “That was a Princess Bride-kiss for me, too.”

Wow, indeed.

“So, um. What happens, now?” I asked shyly, not daring to sit back, open my eyes, and take a gander around the café to see if we were being stared at. Or pointedly ignored. I didn’t particularly care. Not when Luka’s arms and his very presence felt so good.

“Well.” Luka’s nose brushed mine once more. “We could pick up where we left off before that whole needing-to-breathe-thing got in the way.”

Blushing, but pleased, I smiled. “As you wish,” I said softly, and Luka laughed as I stole some kisses of my own.

TBC
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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2038590-A-Kiss-is-Still-a-Kiss