* All names have been changed to protect the innocent and nerdy.
The watery moon winked overhead.
The December winds played with Samantha’s loose, brown braids. Letting out a long sigh, she watched as her warm breath hung suspended in the cool sea-salt air.
As she unlocked her front door, she traced the top of her lips, remembering the kitten’s paw touch of Dave’s hand against hers.
Her first real first date.
Idling outside of her house, they had taken off their seat belts and held hands, making silent, but short lived eye contact.
Samantha hadn’t known if she was going to throw up or start crying.
When Dave placed his arm around her shoulders, she too shifted, nestling into the smooth groove of his upper chest, stealing glances at their reflection in the rear view mirror.
Samantha liked the way the olive tones of Dave’s skin stood in contrast to her own. She had smiled when she felt him fiddle with the frayed pompom on the top of her toque.
Unfortunately, in an awkward attempt to turn up the heat, but not dislodge Samantha from her nook, Dave accidentally poked Samantha in the eye, hard, and with his elbow.
“Owww…” moaned Samantha.
Dave had shot ramrod in his seat, appalled.
“I’m sorry! Samantha, are you okay? I’m – are you okay?” Inching to the edge of his seat, Dave had paused, and then gingerly, reached out to try and stroke the right side of her cheek.
Samantha, trying her best to smile it off, wanted desperately to pretend that she wasn’t hurt, but instinctively shied away from his touch.
Slowly, slowly, she opened her eye.
“It’s…it’s fine. Really.” She said.
Dave shifted a little closer. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
Samantha wiped away at her tears. “Yes.”
“I cannot believe I did that.” Dave rubbed at his furrow brow.
Samantha let out a timid laugh. “It’s totally okay.”
Turning to face her, this time Dave did place his hand on her cheek.
Samantha felt herself turn to stone.
For a second their faces seemed to hover next to one another.
Samantha’s cheeks burned hot, two glowing coals in the light of the dash.
Her heartbeat in her ears.
Dave inched closer.
Her breath paused, lips parted.
And then, as the car stalled, their teeth clattered together – a crack like that of a stack of pencils knocked onto a freshly swept floor.
Panicked, Samantha had quickly tried to kiss him again, but only got the peak of his nose and then the side of his chin.
“I’m sorry! I’m not very good at – ” She blurted out.
But before she could finish, Dave had placed his soft, shaking hands on either side of her face and pulling her closer, pressed his lips against hers.
Samantha pressed back.
Thinking back, as she tiptoed to the top of her staircase, Samantha realized with just a twinge of disappointment that she had completely forgotten to close her eyes.
Next time, she thought to herself.