“Let her in, my dear. She makes you feel the way Ollie made me feel—whole—and a love like that isn’t something one should ever pass up. There might be a million reasons why you think it couldn’t work, but all you need is one reason why it could. That reason is love.”

I knew she was right about Lucy and love.

If love were a person, it would be her.

When our dance finished, Mary kissed my cheek and said, “Tell her. Tell her everything that scares you, everything that excites you, everything that moves you. Tell her all of it and let her in. I promise every moment will be worth it.”

I thanked her and took a breath as I turned around to see Lucy finishing up a dance with one of the older gentlemen in his seventies. I could hear Professor Oliver in my head, and I could feel him in my heart as it beat.

Be brave, Graham.

I met her at our table, and she sat down, beaming with happiness. It was as if happiness was the only mode she knew.

“Thank you for bringing me, Graham. This has been—”

I cut her off. There wasn’t a chance that I could wait one more minute. I couldn’t waste another second of time where my lips weren’t against hers. My mouth crashed into hers, making my mind swirl as I felt her lips on mine. I felt her entire being wrapping around my soul, soaking me in, changing me into a better man than I’d ever thought I could be. I’d died a million deaths before I gave living a chance, and my first breath of life was taken from her lips.

As I pulled away a bit, my hands stayed resting around her neck as my fingers slightly massaged her neck. “It’s you,” I whispered, our lips still slightly touching. “My greatest hope is, and always will be, you.”

And then, she kissed me back.

We didn’t know how to act with one another after our first kiss. Our situation wasn’t the norm when it came to building a relationship. We did everything backward. I fell in love with a boy before our first kiss, and he fell for a girl who he wasn’t allowed to have. Our connection, our heartbeats, matched one another in our fairytale world, but in reality, society deemed us as an awful accident.

Maybe we were an accident—a mistake.

Maybe we were never supposed to cross each other’s paths.

Maybe he was only meant to be a lesson in life and not a permanent mark.

But still, the way he kissed me…

Our kiss was as if heaven and hell collided together, and each choice was right and wrong at the same exact time. We kissed as if we were making a mistake and the best decision all at once. His lips made me float higher, yet somehow descend. His breaths somehow made my heart beat faster as it came to a complete halt.

Our love was everything good and bad wrapped in one kiss.

A part of me knew I should’ve regretted it, but the way his lips warmed up the cold shadows of my soul…the way he left his mark on me…

I’d never regret finding him, holding him, even if we only had those few seconds as one.

He’d always be worth those tiny seconds we shared.

He’d always be worth that soul-connecting feeling we created when our lips touched.

He’d always be the one I spent my nights dreaming of being near.

He’d always be worth it to me.

Sometimes when your heart wanted a full-length novel, the world only gave you a novella, and sometimes when you wanted forever you only had those few seconds of now.

And all I could do, all anyone could ever do, was make each moment count.

After we went home that night, we didn’t talk about it at all. Not the following week, either. I focused on Talon. Graham worked on his novel. I believed both of us were waiting for the right time to come up for us to speak about it, but that was the tricky thing about timing: it was never right.

Sometimes you just had to leap and hope you didn’t fall.

Luckily, on a warm Saturday afternoon, Graham jumped.

“It was good, right?” he asked, surprising me as I was changing Talon’s diaper in the nursery.

I turned slightly to see him standing in the doorway, looking my way. “What was good?” I asked, finishing up fastening the diaper.

“The kiss. Did you think it was good?”

My chest tightened as I lifted Talon into my arms. I cleared my throat. “Yeah, it was good. It was amazing.”

He nodded, walking in closer. Each step he took made my heart ache with anticipation. “What else? What else did you think?”

“Truth?” I whispered.


“I thought I’d been in love before. I thought I knew what love was. I thought I understood its curves, its angles, its shape. But then, I kissed you.”


I swallowed hard. “And I realized you were the first and only thing that ever made my heartbeats come to life.”

He studied me, uncertain. “But?” he asked, moving in closer. He slid his hands into his pockets and bit his bottom lip before speaking again. “I know there’s a ‘but’. I see it in your eyes.”

“But…she’s my sister.”

He grimaced knowingly. “Jane.”

I nodded. “Lyric.”

“So, you think never? You and I?” The hurt in his eyes from his question broke my heart.

“I think society would have a lot to say about it. That’s my biggest worry.”

He was even closer than before, close enough to kiss me again. “And since when do we care what society thinks, my hippie weirdo?”

I blushed, and he moved my hair behind my ear.

“It’s not going to be easy. It might be very hard, and weird, and out of the norm, but I promise you, if you give me a chance, if you give us a few moments, I’ll make it worth all of your time. Say okay?”

I lived in the moment, and my lips parted. “Okay.”

“I want to take you out on a date. Tomorrow. I want you to wear your favorite outfit and allow me to take you out.”

I laughed. “Are you sure? My favorite outfit involves stripes, polka dots, and a million colors.”

“I wouldn’t expect anything else.” He smiled.

God. That smile. That smile did things to me. I placed Talon on the floor so she could crawl around as Graham kept speaking.

“And, Lucille?”


“There’s poop on your cheek.”

My eyes widened in horror as I moved to a mirror and grabbed a baby wipe to clean my face. I looked at Graham who was snickering to himself, and my cheeks didn’t stop turning red. I crossed my arms and narrowed my stare. “Did you just ask me on a date even though there was poop on my face?”

He nodded without hesitation. “Of course. It’s just a little poop. That wouldn’t change the fact that I’m in love with you and want to take you out on a date.”

“What? Wait. What? Say that again…” My heart was racing, my mind spinning.

“I want to take you out a date?”

“No. Before that.”

“That it’s just a little poop?”

I waved my hands. “No, no. The part after that. The part about—”

“Me loving you?”

There it was again. The racing heart and the spinning mind. “You’re in love with me?”

“With every piece of my soul.”

Before I could reply, before any words left my mouth, a little girl walked past me. My eyes widened at the same exact moment Graham’s did as he stared at his daughter.

“Did she…?” he asked.