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The Window

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The Kiss

“How far away are we again?” Neilhan lements as she slouches deeper into the back seat of the moving vehicle, her silver wings outstretched across the backseat. Though she is at the ripe age of fifteen, she insists on embodying a five-year-old while on these rides. Pestering her parents with questions about when their destination will arrive. Neilhan is often dragged along on various affairs. Business meetings, tours, and inspections of their many vineyards. She even gets to attend a ball every now and then. But now isn’t one of those times. They are traveling three hours this time to meet with the head of one of their most profitable vineyards. Comparably, three hours is nothing. They have traveled as far as fifteen in the past. Nonetheless, Neilhan does not revel in being involuntarily forced to attend such events and makes this known to her parents by insisting on annoying them as much as angelically possible.

“Almost there,” Her father sighs forbearingly. He is a patient man and knows that his daughter does not enjoy such occasions so he doesn’t frustrate her further by antagonizing and therefore adding to her malcontentment. He simply puts up with her unfavorable attitude.

Neilhan looks out the window, staring at the ample fields. Disinterested in the view, she closes her eyes and lets her mind wander. It’s been a year since she has seen Habmal but every time she hears that they are traveling to a vineyard her grandiose thoughts soar. What if he is there? Of course, she is disappointed more times than she is pleased, but she can’t help but hope. She has had a crush on this boy for as long as she can remember. Their families have business ties so sometimes they would see each other every week, and other times it would be years between visits. When they were smaller they would chase each other around the vineyard giggling and playing. As they got older they seemed to grow a bit distant. This saddened Neilhan, she wishes they were still close. She wishes they were friends. She wishes they were something more.

With her eyes closed, her thoughts roam as she remembers what he looks like. His curly blond hair and his arrestingly blue eyes. She wonders how his hair is cut, sometimes it is long and shaggy, whereas other times it is neatly trimmed. It seems he must wait long periods of time between cutting it. She imagines his glasses and how handsome he looks with them on. She fantasizes about taking off those same glasses as she kisses him and…

“We are here Neilhan,” She hears her mother’s voice and she snaps out of her fantasies. Opening her eyes she looks at the farmhouse. His farmhouse.

It is a substantial house with pillars, brick painted white, large windows, and little balconies hanging off from the top stories. Needless to say, her parents pays them well.

The family gets out of the car and Neilhan is pleased that she wore something nice. An elegant white sun-dress with shimmering sheer tights and little black velvet heels. She has her long blonde hair half tied up in a black velvet ribbon to match her shoes and she feels beautiful. She feels graceful. Neilhan doesn’t need makeup, so she doesn’t often wear it, though she wishes she had in this instance.

The trio walks up the stairs and rings the doorbell. They are met with warm hugs and cheerful hello’s. When it comes time to embrace Habmal she blushes and tries to hug him hastily, as to alleviate the uncomfortableness she feels in her chest. However, as she tries to gently pull away he holds onto her for a few seconds longer. She starts to feel her heart spur but as she is forced to take a moment, she notices how nice the affection is. She closes her eyes, trying to enshrine this twinkling moment, and when he does pull away she notices her lips are holding a smile that is a bit more luminous than before.

The hosting family leads Neilhan and her parents through the foyer and into the broad living room. They all take a seat and commence the business talk. This is something Neilhan is supposed to be paying attention to, but she can’t help but be preoccupied by something else. Or shall it be said, someone else. She steals little glances at him, trying to not seem suspicious, but also absorbing his presence as much as feasibly achievable. He sits with poise, hands crossed in his lap, and with proper posture. She takes notice of his hair, it is quite shaggy now, somewhere between professional and incredibly sexy. Nope, professional and relaxed, she fixes her thinking. She can’t let her brain gallivant too far, she doesn’t want to be caught drooling over him.

“Where are my manners?!” Habmal’s mother exclaims. “Would anyone like something to drink?” Neilhan’s parents decline, but noticing how her mouth is tangibly quite dry she politely asks for a cup of water.

Habmal stands, beaming at her, and goes to their kitchen to fetch the water. Before he returns she stands, leaving her parents side, to meet him by the entryway to the dining room that is connected to the kitchen. When he hands her the glass of water their fingers caress against one another’s ever so slightly.

He leans in and whispers in her ear, “You look quite lovely today.” His lips brush her ears and she feels them turn crimson. “Would you like to join me on a walk? It is a nice day.” She leans slightly away from him to look into his eyes. His striking eyes.

“Are you sure we aren’t supposed to sit in on the meeting?” Neilhan looks fervently back to the living room where they are both supposed to be.

“I’m sure they won’t mind.” His hand approaches hers and she is suspended in place as he folds his fingers around her hand. He gently guides her to the back door that leads to the garden, and then further, the vineyard.

Neilhan is both excited and dreadful. It seems that she has the opportunity to be alone with her crush, it is both her astonishing wish and her marvelous fear. As they glide past the dining room table she sets the glass down.

Their feet stumble quickly down the porch steps and she laughs as he pulls her along with him. “Stop,” she manages to get out between giggles, “you’re going to fast!”

He turns to her with an extravagant smile on his handsome face. “Oh?” He looks at her for a fleeting moment before winking and tugging her arm in a gentle yet brisk manner. It is sudden enough to knock her off her feet. This was intended of course, Habmal opens his arms and into them she falls. While her decline was not by any means graceful, his embrace undeniably was. She stares into his face aghast and he helps her to her feet grinning delightfully.

After giving her a moment to catch her breath he asks, “So how have you been, Neilhan?”

“I’ve been quite well, thank you for asking. And yourself?” She stares at her feet as they walk on the path toward the garden noticing how the brick seems to shimmer when touched by daylight.

“I have been great.” He turns to look at her face only to meet her diverted gaze. He follows suite and looks down at the ground, but instead of looking at his feet he looks at hers and notices how graceful the click of her heels sound on the brick pavement. They walk in silence for a bit before he says more, “I’ve missed you.”

She giggles slightly under her breath and smiles up at him, raising her eyebrows, “Oh? You have?” She shakes her head, “We don’t even talk anymore,” she shrugs her shoulders, “What have you been missing?”

“I miss your beautiful face and your graceful walk. That’s all. I know, it’s silly but I’ve always yearned to be your friend. We used to be. Once.”

“We were little, things were easier then.”

“What’s made things more complicated?” He narrows his eyes at her.

“I’m not sure.” Neilhan looks at her feet again and watches as their feet make a sudden turn. They have arrived at the garden and are now shielded by hedges. All of a sudden she feels extremely vulnerable. They are in private now. “Well things just got a bit more,” she licks her lips, in an unitendedly sultry way, lost in thought for a moment. Hesitant to say her next words she takes a breath and spits out, “awkward I suppose.”

Habmal tilts his head, “And why is that Neilhan?” She feels a rush through her chest when he says her name. It flows from his lips like a peaceful stream.

“Well, um.”

“I know why,” His grin grows a bit larger, a bit gentler, “It’s because I liked you, Neilhan. I felt awkward around you and I stopped making an effort to talk to you. Maybe out of fear. Maybe out of, as you put it, awkwardness.”

She fixates on the past tense of the word like. He only liked her. Her playful mood collapses and her heart feels heavy. That’s why he isn’t being timid anymore, he must not like me anymore. He must have moved on. What if he has a girlfriend? What if he’s just being friendly? What if I missed my chance? Her face falls and Habmal takes notice. He quickly ducks his head in order to peer into her eyes that have fallen back to the ground.

“I like you, Neilhan.” He corrects her thoughts. He sits down on a concrete bench in the center of the garden, right next to a grandiose fountain and clasping onto her hand he guides her down onto the bench next to him. Even though she is now sitting on the bench, he doesn’t let go of her palm. He notices how soft her hands are in comparison to his. They feel like expensive velvet and he rubs his thumb against the back of her wrist.

“Oh,” She looks at her feet, finding it too hard to look into his eyes.

Habmal squints at her, trying to read her face. He notices her rosy cheeks and her pink ears. His heart is also pounding, though he would never let her see how nervous he is. Fuck it, he thinks. Why not shoot his shot? He holds onto her wrist with one hand and gently guides her face up with the other. Their eyes meet and he whispers, “May I kiss you?” Her eyes widen and she slowly nods. With the hand on her chin, he calmly leans his face toward hers. He stops midway, waiting for her to meet him. For a moment she is suspended and she feels his breath against her delicate skin. Then she leans in and their lips touch.

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