Seventeen [The Ride]

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Harry shakes his head for the third time, lifting his hand to nibble on the skin around his thumbnail as he contemplates, "I'm a bit scared, I dunno."

You step forward and flip up the face shield of your helmet so that Harry can see your eyes, the other helmet that you've brought for him held tightly in your palms between your adjacent bodies, "please don't be, sweetie. I'm an incredibly safe driver and I even went to the store to buy you a helmet today. You have a nice warm jacket and the ride to your water tower is only about fifteen minutes from here. You can hold onto me so tightly, okay? Otherwise I'll either have to leave my scooter here and pick it up tomorrow or ride by myself and meet you there." You drop his helmet to your feet and then pull yours off so that he can relax with the sight of your entire face, "you can pinch me if you hate it and I'll pull over. Let's just try? You might love it kinda like, maybe one day you'll slip sweet potato into my dinner and I'll be like 'wow, this is amazing. What is it?' And you'll be like, 'it's sweet potato, gotcha! You were wrong all along!'"

His smile forms so slowly that you don't notice it until the corners of his mouth push his cheekbones into an attractive prominence, his eyes shining in tribute to your lovable disposition. He swipes the helmet you've brought for him from the ground, wiggling it onto his head and then holding his arms out in silent questioning of how he looks. You giggle and nod, admiring the way the ends of his hair curl around the bottom of the helmet before flipping his visor down and pushing the chin protector up to reveal his mouth. The arch of his ruby lips, their full pout encompassed in finespun stubble and bordered by the sharp angle of his jaw is so attractive that you're compelled to step forward and seal your mouths together in appreciation.

His reaction is lazy and he only manages to kiss you back for a full second before you're drawing back and smiling at him, "that thing is a weapon. I'm gonna need the antidote soon or..." You peer at his eyes through the film of glass as your thought trails off into a new one, "I like you, Harry. You know that, right?"

He had thought it was possible but he wasn't exactly sure, he didn't want to jump to conclusions and get hurt or embarrassed. He could tell that you enjoy kissing him because you do it quite often, but then again he has never fully shaken the way you greeted your coworker outside of the art museum; how customary it seemed for you to be intimate in comparison to how much of a struggle it is for him. He wants to say that he likes you too, he wants to say that he's been in love with you since he learned what love is, he wants to say that the two of you should run away together before it's too late but instead he shakes his head, clears his throat and says nothing.

"Well, I do. I want soft things for you. I want leisure and lightness, you know? I can see the real you buried deep down in there and I think it just needs a little coaxing. Kinda like cracking a walnut and then using those little metal picks to dig out the good stuff. That's you. I'm digging. I am. Because I want to." You shrug and brush your knuckles against the back of his hand, "I don't know, it just seems like you need to hear me say that or something. In case you couldn't tell."

For once the inside of Harry's skull is met with radio silence, filled with nothing but visions of walnut shells cracking open to reveal their brain-like nature on the inside. He hadn't considered that him being in your life is possibly just as complicated for you as it is for him because you have a grace and ease that he can't comprehend. Being an ARA and befriending a Dodger is risky because it puts you in harms way and in the position of arrest for keeping a secret from the government. The idea of you putting in effort to maintain and build a relationship is astounding, warming his body from the very center of his belly and shooting out to his fingertips, buzzing static electricity in his ears.

He's sensing a pattern with intense emotions of realization and gratitude fueling his lust but he pushes the thought aside as he rips off his helmet and drops it to the ground, taking you by complete surprise when his fingertips sink into your hair and pull you close, his mouth attaching to yours and digesting your moan when he takes several steps forward to back you into the wall of the alleyway.

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