“I think you’re underestimating my commitment here.”
“I think you’re getting ahead of yourself.”
“Am I?” He leaned forward, a knuckle cupping her chin as he edged it upwards and softly pressed his lips against her hesitant mouth. Every fiber wanted to resist, to push away, but the touch of skin pressed together felt too good, and she deliquesced into him.
Slowly, they parted, her voice hoarse. “We shouldn’t …” She couldn’t bear to open her eyes. She didn’t want to see the expectations and hope she imagined to be shimmering in his gaze, or reveal the shame and uncertainty she knew was in hers.
He pressed a finger against her lips, leaning forward to whisper in her ear, his breath intoxicatingly warm. “Don’t say ‘we shouldn’t’ anything. Open your eyes, sweetheart, look at me.” He paused, and she could feel him back away. Setting her jaw firm, her lids eased open to stare into Triston’s gaze mere inches away. “It was one kiss, Shy. That’s all. And I won’t go further than that until you’re ready. But to make it clear, I love you. It might seem impossible, it’s been years and we haven’t spent much time together since I came to the Grande. But I realized this afternoon, when I took a jog down that path we walked … I loved you in high school. Honestly, truly loved you. I screwed it up. But the love never really went away.”
“Please, let me say this. It has been years, and we need to relearn one another in a lot of ways, but we talk and it’s like all those years never happened. I want to explore that place again with you, as two mature adults who know what the terrain of love is truly about, in all of its dips and heights. And I will wait six months, a year, three years, if that’s what it takes. That’s all that kiss was about.” He reached out to tuck a piece of hair behind her ear. “Okay?”
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