I roll my eyes and walk away from him, toward a fountain near a church. Silas follows behind. I want to see his face, but I don’t look. This is all business. I can’t make it into something else. It’s an experiment. That’s it.
When we reach the fountain, we both sit down on the rim of it. I don’t want to do it this way, so I stand up and face him.
“Okay,” I say, coming to stand in front of him. “Close your eyes.”
He does, but there’s a grin on his face.
“Keep them closed,” I instruct. I don’t want him to see me. I barely know what I look like; I don’t know if my face contorts under pressure.
His head is tilted up, and mine is tilted down. I put my hands on his shoulders and feel his hands lift to my waist as he pulls me closer, between his knees. His hands slide up without warning, his thumbs grazing my stomach and then making a quick swipe along the underside of my bra. My stomach clenches.
“Sorry,” he says. “I can’t see what I’m doing.”
I smirk this time and I’m glad he can’t see my reaction right now. “Put your hands back on my waist,” I command.
He puts them too low and now his palms are on my ass. He squeezes a little, and I smack his arm.
“What?” He laughs. “I can’t see!”
“Up,” I say. He slides them a little higher, but slowly. I tingle down to my toes. “Higher,” I say, again.
He takes them up a quarter of an inch. “Is this—”
Before he can finish his sentence, I lean my face down and kiss him. He’s smiling at first, still in the middle of his little game, but when he feels my lips, his smile dissolves.
His mouth is soft. I lift my hands to his face and cup it as he pulls me tighter, wrapping his arms around my backside. I’m kissing down and he’s kissing up. At first, I expect to just give him a peck. That’s all they ever show in the fairy tales—a quick peck and the curse is broken. We’d have gotten our memories back by now if this were going to work. The experiment should be over, but neither of us stops.
He kisses with soft lips and a firm tongue. It’s not sloppy or wet, it moves in and out of my mouth sensually as his lips suck softly on mine. I run my fingers up the back of his neck and into his hair, and that’s when he stands, forcing me to take a step back and change position. I do a good job of hiding my gasp.
Now I’m kissing up and he’s kissing down. Except he’s holding me to him, his arm wrapped around my waist, his free hand curled around the back of my neck. I cling to his shirt, dizzy. Soft lips, dragging…tongue between my lips…pressure on my back…something pressing between us that makes me feel a riot of heat. I push away, gasping.
I stand there looking at him, and he looking at me.
Something has happened. It’s not our memories that have awoken, but something else that makes us feel drunk.
And it occurs to me as I stand here, wanting him to kiss me again, that this is exactly what doesn’t need to happen. We’re going to want more of the new us and we’ll lose focus.
He slides a hand down his face as if to sober himself up. He smiles. “I don’t care what our real first kiss was,” he says. “That’s the one I want to remember.”
I stare at his smile long enough to remember it, and then I turn and walk away.
“Charlie!” he yells.
I ignore him and keep walking. That was stupid. What was I thinking? A kiss isn’t going to bring our memories back. This isn’t a fairy tale.
He grabs my arm. “Hey. Slow down.” And then, “What are you thinking?”
I keep walking in the direction I’m certain we came from. “I’m thinking I need to get home. I have to make sure Janette has eaten dinner…and…”
“About us, Charlie.”
I can feel him staring at me. “There is no us,” I say. I bring my eyes back to his. “Haven’t you heard? We were obviously broken up and I was dating Brian. His dad was giving me a job. I…”
“We were an us, Charlie. And holy shit, I can see why.”
I shake my head. We can’t lose focus. “That was your first kiss,” I say. “It could feel like that with anyone.”
“So it felt that way for you too?” he asks, running around to stand in front of me.
I consider telling him the truth. That if I were dead like Snow White and he kissed me like that, surely my heart would kick back to life. That I’d be the one to slay dragons for that kiss.
But we don’t have time to kiss like that. We need to find out what’s happened and how to reverse it.
“I didn’t feel anything,” I say. “It was just a kiss and it didn’t work.” A lie that burns my insides it’s so foul. “I have to go.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow.” I lift a hand over my head and wave because I don’t want to turn around and look at him. I’m afraid. I want to be with him, but it’s not a good idea. Not until we figure more of this out. I think he’s going to follow me, so I wave over a cab. I open the door and look back at Silas to show him that I’m fine. He nods, and then lifts his phone to snap a picture of me. The first time she left me, he’s probably thinking. He then buries his hands in his pockets and turns in the direction of his car.
I wait until he’s past the fountain before I lean down to speak to the driver. “Sorry, I changed my mind.” I slam the door and step back to the curb. I don’t have money for a cab anyway. I’ll go back to the diner and ask Amy for a ride.
The cabbie peels off and I duck down a different street so Silas won’t see me. I need to be alone. I need to think.
Another night of shitty sleep. Only this time, my lack of sleep wasn’t because I was worried about myself, or even worried about what made Charlie and me lose our memories. My lack of sleep was strictly because I had two things on my mind: our kiss, and Charlie’s reaction to our kiss.
I don’t know why she walked away, or why she preferred to take a cab over riding with me. I could tell by the way she responded during the kiss that she felt what I was feeling. Of course it wasn’t like the kisses in fairy tales that could end a curse, but I don’t think either of us really expected it to. I’m not sure we really had any expectations for the kiss at all—just a little bit of hope.
What I certainly didn’t expect was for everything else to take a backseat once her lips pressed against mine, but that’s exactly what happened. I stopped thinking about the reason we were kissing and everything we had been through all day. All I could think about was how she was clenching my shirt in her fists, pulling me closer, wanting more. I could hear the small gasps of air she was sucking in between kisses, because as soon as our mouths met, we were both breathless. And even though she stopped the kiss and stepped away, I could still see the dazed look on her face and the way her eyes lingered on my mouth.