a moment of silent uncertainty exploded into the space after the kiss, the kiss that was her fault, an awful failure of aim and timing and choreography that left him with a wet spot where a dimple would be if he had one. a silent freeze frame of dilating pupils, reddening skin, the choked fragment of a laugh. the pull of the air around her toward the escape hatch that was the door, until he broke in with a mess of confused word-pieces and stuttering shock:
"wh- wh- why did you d- do that?"
"i thought it was a shame that no girl had ever simply grabbed you and kissed you." he once told her that he'd never been suddenly and unexpectedly kissed. "i sort of missed, though."
there was none of the suave lover in her when she kissed him that first time, in the cramped, cluttered stock room in the back of the bookstore. it was all rushed and hasty and bite-the-bullet-ish, from the cigarette she'd smoked nervously earlier, when she made up her mind to kiss him, to the way she tried to apologize beforehand for the inappropriateness of the act ("um, garble mumble mumble hum"), to the flustered "fuck it" that escaped her lips only a second before they landed on his face.
"do you want to try again?" he asked.
she tried again. and again. thousands of times.