It’s awkward to know when it’s right to take that first kiss. From the moment I saw Frazier, kissing him was all I could think about. No, he wasn’t the type I’d envisioned myself falling for. He wasn’t movie star handsome or body-builder athletic, but there was a magnetic power in the way his eyes praised me. He made me feel praise-worthy.
It was ridiculous to think about locking lips so soon after being introduced. There are things to get out of the way. Where did you go to school? How old are you? What do you do? Does insanity run in your family?
We meandered around the popular food festival in Chicago’s Grant Park with the couple who’d introduced us. The night was steamy and water dripped from the lush green trees above whenever the breeze wove its way through their lush leaves.
“I wish I had a jacket so I could cover you,” he said.
I waited for a corny follow up line such as, “sugar might melt in the rain,” but he didn’t spoil it by saying anything more. That assured me he really wanted that jacket.
People say when love is real you know it, but I’d stopped believing that because so many times I’d thought it was real. Tonight I realized I hadn’t known a thing.
I was grinning like a ninny, but I couldn’t stop acting like the African Princess in Coming to America. “What do you like,” Eddie Murphy had asked her. “I like what you like,” she answered, having no idea what a man she’d just met might like.
My friend Sunny looked at me and frowned. What’s wrong with you, her eyes asked. I rolled my eyes at her and looked away, embarrassed. I wasn’t myself. I couldn’t find my voice. I’d lost my mind!
Staying on the outside as we walked down the crowded street was awkward for Frazier, but he seemed determined to cover me. My fault, entirely. I was used to protecting myself because other guys were ignorant of the ‘girl on the inside’ rule or they didn’t care if a car hit me first.
The backs of our hands kept brushing each other’s as people jostled us on the crowded street. Finally, he pulled my fingers inside his warm grasp. I stifled a moan that rose from my abdomen, spread up my chest, and threatened to take my breath away.
“Are you all right?” he asked, pausing to tuck my hair behind my ear. His brown eyes smiled down at me and I knew we’d kiss that night.
While the guys stood in line waiting to buy grilled turkey legs, Sunny quizzed me.
“Don’t you like him?”
“Yes!” I said.
“Well you don’t act like it. You’re not saying anything.”
“I like him a lot. He’s doing all the talking.”
“And you haven’t cut in once to stop him. I know you. That’s not like you,” she said.
“He’s interesting,” I said.
And strong. And masculine. And sexy, I thought.
It’s amazing how bright and colorful ordinary neon signs can seem on the night you fall in love. We dropped Sunny and Paul at her place first. Paul had left his car there so Frazier and I could be alone if we hit it off. The silence between us was comfortable. They’d picked me up, so I didn’t have to tell him where I lived.
I stared out at the storefront churches, liquor, and mattress stores that lined the boulevard. They all seemed so unique. Street people who stepped off the curb in front of Frazier’s car looked immensely interesting. I wanted to stop and ask them about the night they’d fallen in love. Buses, full of people in love, traveled along beside us rushing passengers home to their waiting lovers’ arms.
“Are you comfortable,” Frazier asked. “Do you want more air?”
Startled, I shook my head, no.
God, I was glad he couldn’t hear how I was tripping. I made myself speak up.
“It’s fine,” I said.
“Are you always this quiet?” he asked.
“No,” I said.
“I rarely talk this much. I’m trying to impress you so you’ll go out with me again,” he said.
“Will you? Go out with me again,” he asked when I said nothing.
He was turning onto my street. The night was about to be over and I didn’t want it to end. Once he parked in front of my place, I turned to him with the answer in my eyes. Lifting my chin with his fingers, he leaned over and pressed his lips to mine. I reached up to stroke his cheek, and he kissed me deeper.
Is swooning a real emotion?
I parted my lips just a fraction, inviting him to be bolder if he desired. He desired! After several long seconds, I pulled back. This was a first date, after all, but there would be more. That first kiss promised many great evenings.