Chapter 12: Libby
His lips taste of coffee.
Coffee and smoke.
It reminds me of a home I’ve never known; a home I’ve always dreamed of. A home where I would wake up in the morning and the first thing I’d smell is the Community Coffee prepared downstairs, and the first thing I’d see is the bright sunshine seeping in from my bedroom window. A home where my future husband would kiss me awake, and I’d be wearing a smile that lit the whole world up and let others know I was happy.
It reminds me of the person I want to be; the person I picture myself as in the future.
And this boy... somehow shows it to me just by a kiss.
A kiss that’s meant to be for a complete stranger is turning out to be one of the best kisses of my life.
And I don’t even know him.
I feel him hesitating, his lips slack and body frozen. Unable to stop this sensation ricocheting in my stomach, I search for his hand that’s dangling uselessly by his side and squeeze it, reassuring him that it’s okay to kiss me back.
And then... wow.
My heart’s beating erratically, incapable of slowing down, and my stomach’s having compulsions, butterflies knocking its sides. My knees buckle when he breathes into my mouth, but I fight to stay standing up, the sounds of the city blocked out and the only people in the world being me and him. Is it so wrong for this to happen? For me to be enjoying this kiss that I’m sharing with a guy whose name I don’t even know? Who I’ve never spoken to?
His free hand travels lightly up my spine, his touch grazing my skin and sending chills through my limbs.He stops at the nape of my beck, cupping the back of it; he doesn’t pull me away, but he doesn’t push me closer either. His touch seems gentle - like he’s not sure what to do or is unsure of himself. My heart stutters a the thought of him pulling away, so I take a step closer to where out stomachs are barely touching.
He’s tall, having to hunch the slightest bit to reach me at my 5′7, and his breaths are quickening with mine, both of us running out. And then I break away. Or he does. My mind’s so hazy I can’t remember, but I do remember this: It ends all too soon.
Cool air brushes my lips and I open my eyes, finding him looking down at me with eyes full of questions and secrets. I curl my lips inside my mouth, savoring the taste of him inside of me, and meet his shining eyes with my nervous ones. His eyes, though - wow. They’re a brilliant blue - the most beautiful hue I’ve ever seen - but they look as if they’ve seen the most terrible tragedy a man can witness. They look sad. His face has sharp edges to it, his jaw square and strong, and his hair seems lighter now that I’m closer.
When I realize that we’re still staring at each other, stomach to stomach, hands intertwined, I take a small step back, feeling heat crawl up my neck. His hand behind my neck adjusts, but he doesn’t remove it. He seems dazed - as if he can’t believe what just happened. I know I can’t.
He just stares at me like... like I showed him something new. Like I showed him a part of life he never once even thought to consider. And, for some odd reason that I can’t explain, it makes me feel special.
When a car honks not too far away from us I jump, reality crashing back in like a dam that’s overflowing. I grasp what I’ve just done, looking at the boy standing in front of me in shock. I just kissed him in Times Square. This innocent guy that was minding his own business and continuing on with life. And then I interrupted it. When he doesn’t say anything and only looks at me, I feel humiliated. He didn’t like it. He doesn’t like me. I’m only some stranger.
But then he smiles.
Shifting in my uncomfortable bed, I stare out the ceiling-to-floor length window beside me, marveling at the beautiful scenery I have to gaze at at night.
The lights dancing outside my window seems as if they’re there for me - as if they’re symbolizing what I’m feeling inside.
The yellow lights on the brim of a canopy for the warmth his touch left, the blue and orange for the way he seemed to calm and excite my body simultaneously. The red for the way it hurt to break away from him, and the pitch black sky for the way everything blacked out around us - the people weren’t there, the sounds of the city were mute, and all that was there was him and me.
“God,” I groan, rolling onto my back and covering my face up with the duvet covers. “I sound like some cliche crap on Hallmark.”
But a thought ticks at the back of my mind that I haven’t had the patience to think about quite yet. Why did you pick him? This thought stops me short.
What had drawn me to him? Why was he the one? What if I had chosen someone else - would they have left the same effect on me as Liam had? I think back to when I first saw him: he looked crushed. Determined. Like he needed to make a decision of either right or left, but he had no idea which way to turn. He looked lost.
“I don’t know,” I say into the dark and empty room. “I don’t know.”
And I really don’t. When we parted, everything was bleary. My head was clouded with the memory of his lips on mine, and my mouth was savoring his taste. Coffee.
He asked me why, and I was befuddled because I didn’t remember at the time. He was just... the one. The one I picked to kiss. Why? That was a good question, indeed.
So, instead of answering him, I told him to meet me somewhere at noon the next day, and he offered a coffee shop behind my hotel. Lying here now, I can see it clear as day: Cornelia’s Coffee Creation. What a beautiful name.
Rolling my eyes at myself, I force my eyes shut and roll over to the opposite side of the window to shut my thoughts up.
But a thought thickens and I can’t push it away; I remember how pleased he looked when we parted for the first time. How he looked at me - how he saw me, like I was the only girl in the world. And when he asked for another kiss.... My cheeks warm and I know I’m blushing. Burying myself under the covers, I watch the lights outside and fall asleep to the warmth of the memory of my and Liam’s kiss only hours before.