A New Colour of Sunrise

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His fingers flex around the glass, testing their grip before he raises it to take a sip. Bubbling cherryade fizzes against his lips, the rosy colour of an early summer sunrise, and disappears into the wet darkness of his mouth.

By drinking so slowly, he's changed the world.

My chest jumps in a delayed gasp, lungs punching against my ribs and demanding I remember to fill them. My jaw is locked tight, molars crushing molars, against this strange and unfamiliar need to have my skin touched by another human. I want to say something, but my tongue is too heavy to move.

Fran looks through the window to the garden where our families sit and takes another sip, face turned into the sun. He's even more compelling in profile. The sweet pink bubbles and fizzes at the corner of his glossy lips and we're so close and so silent I can hear it bursting against his skin. His throat moves, swallowing the mouthful, and I feel the way his muscles tighten and relax.

We both look, shocked, at my left hand. My fingertips are touched to the side of his trachea, like I'm searching for a pulse but don't know how, and his cheeks glow to mirror the pink of the pop in his glass.

"You need a drink, too," he whispers, voice scratching against my fingers. He lowers the glass from his mouth and offers it to my right hand, joining us for a moment in a private sphere.

I could turn and pour myself a fresh glass, but I take Fran's, place my lips to the smudge left by his lip-gloss, and sip.

I don't like cherryade. All I can taste is artificial sweetener and it's like no cherry I've ever eaten but it's touched Fran's lips and, with my fingers still resting against his neck, I swallow. His eyelids twitch, like they were going to blink but couldn't commit to it.

His pulse thunders under my fingers, then steadies, then skips. I glance to my right, at the two families enjoying the sun, and put the glass down behind me. I'm sure the crashing of glass onto marble will catch their attention, but they continue, deaf and blind to the new day dawning on this side of the window.

My fingertips move into Fran's hair, pressing the palm of my hand against the side of his neck and holding him still. Both of his hands are free, and they rise through the air towards my waist so slowly it's like he's nervous of shattering the sunlight.

I thought we were further apart. His lips touch mine and my eyelids close, leaving the emerald of his eyes for the ruby of his mouth and for the rainbow of this first kiss, so soft and sweet and new.

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