I struggled to balance how much I wanted to help him with how little he wanted me.
“Despite everything that we dealt with this weekend, I still think that it’s true. And that’s fine, if that’s best for you, and it won’t change my willingness to be supportive and comforting if that’s what you need. I mean, I can see from the way you show concern for others, that you are kind, thoughtful, pensive even, and extremely caring for those in your inner circle, but you never expressed any specific interest in me beyond your general thoughtfulness.” Well, and the one crooked smile. I barely felt like I belonged in his inner circle even, despite our revelations to each other.
“I’m not certain if that is a compliment.”
“It is. It absolutely is. I think you are remarkable, and unique, and handsome, and chivalrous, but we just spent a weekend away, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset, we shared a tent, we started to open up to each other, well, truthfully, we covered a lot of shit. You made crazy, passionate love to me, or whatever you want to call what we did, and then that was it.” I think it was safe to use the L word now that I knew where I stood with him. “You never took my hand in yours, or wrapped your arms around me, or kissed me, which either shows a ridiculously insane amount of restraint on your part, or is an honest and truthful reflection of how you feel about me.
“We just spent the past forty-eight hours together almost exclusively finding out some pretty scary stuff and then we packed up and headed back to civilization, so I get it. I understand completely. What we have developed here is probably the most healthy friendship I’ve ever had with a man. I’ve always imagined adult relationships like this, and I hope you feel similarly because I would be extremely thankful to have your friendship, and not just because I don’t really know anyone else here, but because you are the kind of person I would always want to have in my corner.”
He stood across the room listening, looking me in the eyes. He was quite adept at that. He started walking towards me, and I expected, or rather hoped, he might acknowledge that he could see us spending time together again. He did, in a manner of speaking, but his primary intent as he crossed the room was to rectify the situation immediately, and he did.
He touched my chin, then pulled my face into a warm, tender, tantalizing embrace. He kissed me! How did I have that presumption entirely wrong?
He confirmed the softness I suspected about his lips; they tasted absolutely yummy, not in their flavor, but in their presence against my own. His fingers climbed my scalp through my deeply tangled, and overly dirty hair. I felt subconscious about my lack of cleanliness after two days in the mountains, but not enough that I ever wanted him to stop. He certainly saw the worst of me – my appearance, my clumsiness, my cluttered apartment, my horrid fishing skills, my pathetic dating history – and still he kissed me wholeheartedly.
I felt almost apologetic for not knowing he wanted to kiss me. Or maybe he didn’t know until that moment, but if his heart changed, I wanted it to be transformed permanently. He wrapped both of his arms around my waist and his fingertips at my side tickled slightly and I nearly laugh until I realized I was not amused as much by his touch as I was by his intention. When our lips finally separated, the grin on my face must have looked insanely giggly.
“I had no idea,” I laughed.
He kissed me again to reinforce his stance in this mostly physical discussion. I really loved the Wyoming style of conversation. I loved feeling his whiskers brush against me. I loved the churning happening inside me.