“Oh my god.” you exclaim as the door to Celine’s room softly shuts behind you. “I….I can’t believe…..I can’t believe I just did that.” Your eyes are open wide darting around the room trying to find some indication that this was a fabrication of reality and not reality itself.
“Did what?” Celine asks quietly, confused by the hysteria evident on your face.
“I……I……I kissed him.” you stammer, unable to form anything but the most basic of sentences. “Leon…he was there….and I……I kissed him. Oh my god Celine what do I do?”
Celine laughs and shakes her head, “You go and see if he’d like some more.”
“What?” you reply, your brain a fog.
“I’m kidding Al.” Celine rolls her eyes and holds out her hand for you to grasp onto. Without thinking you reach out and secure her hand in yours. “Come here my love.” she whispers gently. “He was different wasn’t he.”
“Did you like it?”
You stop for a moment, opening your mouth to speak, only to close it, then open it once more, “Yes……yes I did.” you admit to Celine, “…but no more..or no less than I liked your kiss.”
Celine perked up at that. Her posture immediately improving as an injection of praise straightened her back and stuck out her chin. “Oh?” she asked, trying not to sound like she was fishing for a compliment.
“Yes……I liked…..I liked them both.” your words trail off as you contemplate the implications of this revelation. “What……what does that mean Celine?” You look at her with wide panic stricken eyes, unsure how to feel about your own feelings.
“It means you like kissing cherie. That is all.”
“Are you sure?”
“No?” you stammer again, “b-b-but…why aren’t you sure?”
“Because only you could be sure.” Celine tells you gently. “You’re the only one that knows the answer to that question.”
“But….but I don’t.” you look at Celine once more and tell her, “I….I liked you both…I enjoyed both kisses…..I think…I….I. think I …oh god Celine I’m so confused.”
Celine pulls you close to her and hugs you. The warmth of her body feels soothing against you. “Oh Al, you don’t have to put yourself in a category. Just be yourself.”
“No but’s.” Celine smiled and you shut your mouth quietly. She made it sound so easy. Just be yourself. How could you be yourself when you’re not even sure who you are. How could you be content with your desires and your sexuality when you didn’t really know what you wanted. You closed your eyes and slumped your head onto Celine’s slim shoulder while she gently patted you on the back. “We love you for who you are, not for who you want to share a bed with.”
“I think….I think I want him.” you mumble into her shoulder as she strokes your still damp hair. You pick your head up off her shoulder and look into her eyes, looking for some indication of what you should do, or how you should feel. “But I want you too.” you admit trailing off and slumping back into Celine’s comforting embrace.
“Oh cherie,” she whispers in your ear “what’s stopping you from enjoying both of us?”
Slowly you raise your head back up to look at Celine. “How could I?” you lament, “I’m leaving in the New Year to go back home. To go back to university and back to my parents.”
“So?” Celine retorts. “What is it that you’re scared of?”
“I….I ….don’t know.” you admit. “When we grow up we’re told that we can’t be intimate with someone that we’re not in a committed relationship with. Sex is supposed to be between people that love each other.”
“And you don’t love me? You don’t love Leon?”
“No…no I do. I really do. I know that now.”
“So?” Celine repeats for the second time.
“Let me ask you something Al.” Celine asks quietly. “If you left tomorrow, and you never saw us again would you be sad?”
“Of course!” you exclaim standing in contempt for the question.
Celine holds out both hands and motions for you to calm down. “If you knew for certain that this was the last time you’d ever see us, would you act the same way?”
“What do you mean?”
“Would your answer change. Would you accept the pleasures of being intimate with Leon or me if you knew for certain that you would not see us again?”
“I….I’m not sure.” you admit, “Probably……probably yes.”
“Because….well because I would never get another chance to be that close to you.”
“So the only reason that you are avoiding intimacy with either of us is because some part of you thinks that as long as you can see us again, there is the chance of it occurring later.”
“I….I’m not sure….maybe?”
“You see the problem with this?” Celine asks sincerely. “Do you know if we will be here tomorrow.”
“Well of course you’ll be…”
“….do you know? Do you know….for certain…..absolute certain. No doubt. No maybes. Do you?” Celine states, emphatically pointing her finger at each time.
“Well…..no…I guess not.”
“So why then? Why are you allowing the possibility of closeness in the present be absconded by the promise of some future situation that could be more acceptable to your socially imposed concept of what’s right or wrong.” Celine takes a step closer to you. Her hand softly pushes your damp hair from your eyes. “This is the moment you live in Alcina. You exist in the present, not in the past, not in the future. Your existence is here.” Celine takes another step towards you pushing your hair behind your ear and allowing her hands to slide to your shoulders. “Your existence is now, in this room, with me.” Celine looks at you with almost pleading eyes.
“But…what…what happens when I have to leave…” you mumble. Your heart fluttering and your eyes dart from her gaze to her lips and back to her eyes.
“The future will deal with itself when we get there. For now….you are here…” she leans towards you and kisses you gently on the lips “….with me.” Her hands move from your shoulders and back up to cup the back of your head. You marvel at the softness of her lips, the sweet scent of her hair, the gentleness of her touch. She is…..beautiful.
And in that moment you let drop all of the inhibitions you carried with you. The years of holding yourself back, keeping yourself from experiencing such wondrous carnal desires. You put your arms around Celine’s petite frame and she nestled comfortably into your embrace as your kiss deepened. The tiny room faded away and it became only you and her. Her skin on yours, her lips on yours. Each breath became shared as you moved as one. Your minds and emotions were linked in the singularity of this kiss.
There are of course defining moments in a human’s development. Their first heart beat, their first breath, first gulp of solid food, first words and first steps. All of these are instinctual. These moments are rooted in survival. Our animal brain knows it must learn certain skills in order to hunt or evade predators. Of all of these firsts along the long chain of lifelong learning there is no more significant step than our first romantic kiss. It is the point which instinct is handed off to intuition, and love. While in the kiss you, of course, are not aware of its pivotal significance but when you look back on your life and remember these tender moments it’s the kisses that are the stars by which you navigate.
You finally break from Celine and hold her quietly to your body closing your eyes you can feel a small tear streak down your cheek. Celine softly caresses your face and wipes the tear away tenderly asking, “Why are you crying?”
“I…..I don’t know.” you stammer. Your voice wavering with crippling uncertainty. You look into Celine’s inquisitive caring eyes and smile, “I don’t know anything anymore.” as another tear streaks down your face. Celine smiles back at you and kisses the salty path left on your skin. Without a further thought you pull her tight to your body and kiss her even more passionately. Your lips meld with hers and both of you open your mouths slightly allowing your tongues to tease and tango with each other in the midst of this passionate connection. You feel Celine’s hands run down your body as you allow your hands to explore hers. Your heart is racing and you feel electrified. Every sense on your body is alive. Every nerve standing at attention and as you fall back onto the bed with Celine you know that you’ll never be the same.
“So let me get this straight,” I interrupt “Your first ever romantic kiss was with a woman?”
“Do you have a problem with that?”
“Oh goodness no, but…well…” I stop for a moment trying to think of a clever, casual and clean way of completing the sentence.
“Well what?” you turn to face me directly, a scowl developing on your face.
“It’s just that I would have never guessed.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well as much as I hate to admit it……you don’t strike me as the type.”
“The type? What type is that?” you guard is up now and I feel myself back pedaling from this hot button topic.
“See this is why I didn’t want to admit it. Don’t take this the wrong way Alcina, but you appear, at least superficially, as a prim and proper straight laced woman….”
“….who takes male strangers suffering from hypothermia into her bath….naked…and then allows them to stay over night regardless of how potentially dangerous the situation could be?” you retort cleverly, raising your eyebrow and smirking.
“Ok, ok…yes…you’ve got me there. Perhaps you are more adventurous and open minded than I would have ever expected if you and I had met under different circumstances.” I pause for a moment then continue, “It makes me glad I ran my car off the road.”
“You know,” you smile and sip the last bit of wine from your glass before leaning closer to me, “I’m glad you’re a bad driver too.” kissing me on the cheek then standing abruptly laughing as you take both of our glasses to the kitchen for a refill. “You never told me why you were out in this area. It’s a ways off the main routes. If you were going to any major city you pretty much went exactly the opposite direction as you should have.” returning from the kitchen you hand me my newly filled glass,”So why the heck are you out here Zale?”
I take a big breathe, take the glass from you, and then let out a long protracted sigh. The reality of my true purpose inching its way back into my brain. “I was on my way to a funeral.” I mutter eventually.
“A funeral? Out here?” you reply, obviously surprised.
“Well further on actually, I just chose to drive instead of fly.”
“And why would you do that. Clearly flying would have been safer.” you chuckle, flopping back onto the couch beside me and curling your legs under you taking another small sip of wine demurely.
“Driving was supposed to give me more time to think.” I answer, watching the flames twist and pulse in the fireplace. “I had to get a lot straight in my head before I got there.”
“Were you close to the deceased?”
“In a manner of speaking.”
“Ya…” the word trails out of my mouth lazily.
“Sorry to hear that.” you say with sincere sympathy.
“Don’t be.” I reply, surprising myself at my sudden candor. I see the puzzled expression on your face and I can’t help but sigh before explaining further. “Look, as horrible as it sounds, I’m not that upset to see him gone Alcina.”
“Then why are you going to their funeral?” you reply. “If you didn’t like him to the point that you aren’t upset at his death, you probably don’t belong at his funeral.”
“Because to everyone else, he was a saint and even though I know better I owe it to the rest of the family.”
“I’m sorry but I have to ask…..who is it that died?”
“My grandfather.” I answer slowly and just slightly above a whisper. I arch my back and roll my shoulders uncomfortably at the thought of him. Glancing up from the fire I turn to you and see the inquisitive look on your face. I sigh again in the realization that I will have to explain myself, but you sit silently, clearly patient enough not to push me into answering immediately. “My grandfather took care of me when I was growing up.” I explained and took an additional breath before continuing, “it wasn’t a very pleasant upbringing.”
“I see.” you shift in place attempting to mask your discomfort with the sensitive subject. Of the people you were closest too, none of them had the idyllic upbringing that you did. Now I, the newest stranger in your life. The stranger who you can’t help but be captivated by, is also the product of a broken home. “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.” you continue. A part of you hoping that I didn’t want to share.
“Perhaps another time.” I smile, allowing you the relief you were hoping for. We have only just met, and while there is the tendrils of a connection crossing the small divide between us, this is not yet the time to share the worst parts of our past. That will come in time, of that I am now absolutely certain.
“When is the funeral?”
“This Friday.” I can’t help but scowl. The funeral is at least another day’s drive away, and if I wanted to make it I would have to leave your place in the morning. The snow storm that blew in as I was a naked shivering mess in your bath, had finally dissipated. The drifts had been plowed away. My car had been retrieved from the ditch and was being resuscitated by the closest mechanic. All my reasons for having to stay had been swept away. I had to leave. I had to make my appearance at this funeral, despite of my deepening desire to stay.
“When do you need to leave?”
I shake my head and take another sip of wine before replying, “Tomorrow.” turning my gaze from the fire and back to you I catch the look in your eyes. You’re a disappointed as I am. You want me to stay as much as I want to stay. But neither of us can say it.
“Oh.” is all you manage to say. You look into your glass, drifting away in thought. You mull over some tenuous train of thought while gently swirling your wine. Looking up at me I see a change in your face, a subtle smirk appears before you take a slow sip of wine. “You don’t want to go do you?” you ask quietly, never breaking eye contact with me.
“No.” I reply placing my glass on the table.
“You’d rather stay here with me.”
“Yes.” I reply laconically, watching you place your glass down next to mine. The ambient sound of the house had become crystal clear. Each crack of the fire was audible. I could hear every creak of the trees outside, bending in the steady wind. My pulse seemed to catch in my throat. The pace of your breathing matching mine.
“I want you to stay too,” you admit, though by this point it’s plainly obvious. Unconsciously you brush back the hair from your face and behind your ear. Each feature of your beautiful face becomes like a siren call in the dim flickering firelight pulling me in.
“I……I can’t” I mumble, sounding unconvinced at my own decision. “I can’t stay. They’re expecting me.” Your smile is intoxicating, more so than the wine. Almost imperceptibly you’ve shifted your weight and have subtly leaned closer to me.
“But you want to.” you whisper.
“I want to.” I admit honestly.
“At least we have tonight.” you whisper again, staring deep into my eyes. Your smirk slowly morphs into a fully developed smile and you bite your lower lip gently as you look at my own lips. Slowly you lean towards me, inching ever closer. I can smell the fruity fragrance carried on the air from your long hair. It fills my nostrils as I breath deeply, alternatively looking at your full pouty lips then your mesmerizing eyes. I feel as a spectator to what’s occurring, unable to change course. We are but two drifting continents inching towards each other and irrevocably soon to become one.