"In case I haven't said it enough already or I don't say it enough for the rest of the night, you look absolutely incredible."
I never know what to do with overt compliments. It's dark outside and it feels like we're flying through a black hole, except we're not. It's just a taxi. It's just a road. "You've said it four times already."
"That doesn't seem like nearly enough. Do you believe it yet?"
"I believe it's how you feel."
"That's not the same thing."
"I know but...it doesn't matter. It's very sweet. You're very sweet."
Finn takes two miniature bottles of rum from his inside coat pocket and gives me one.
"What are we drinking to?"
"To Audrey and Harold, and whatever anniversary this is of their blessed union."
We clink our miniature bottles together and drink. Rum does this thing to my throat where it's hard to breathe for a minute after I swallow and I'm just catching my breath when he leans over and kisses me. It's been a week and his kisses still take me by surprise. I don't mean I'm surprised that they happen, but I'm surprised by the effect they have.
It's been a week.
It's been an entire week.
It's only been a week.
He drapes an arm across my shoulders and I lean into it, into him. There's something dizzying about him. Not like the unpredictable electric buzz of Brett's presence, but something else, something more. It feels wrong to be thinking about Brett at all right now and I'm not thinking of him that way, but he's just there in my head.
The rum soaks warm through my body and I need to derail my own train of thought. "How do you know Audrey and Harold?"
"Audrey's family and mine go way back, so I've known her forever. Harold's a dark horse, but I like him. He's a vast improvement on Audrey's first husband."
"Why? What was he like?"
"He was loud and crass and he couldn't hold his drink."
"The worst of crimes."
"Is it weird that you're bringing me?"
"Why would it be weird?"
"Because we haven't known each other for long."
"Why would that matter? I'm an excellent judge of character and you're obviously wonderful."
I bury my head in his jacket and wish I hadn't said anything because I'm not sure how to get out of this conversation and I don't want to be having it, even though I started it.
He tilts my face up towards his and I still don't know how to get my head around being with someone who does things like that, who treats me like I'm not broken or breakable, but valuable. I don't think I'm ever going to see myself that way, but I'm starting to be alright with it being his perspective.
It's only been a week.
YOU ARE READING
Winter FollowsGeneral Fiction
One month, one city, five lives colliding with the forces of fate. A thrill-seeking tech genius with an appetite for dangerous extremes. A retired contract killer fighting to escape his past and himself. An underworld driver tempted deeper into a li...