A Promising Touch. (a free #romance short story)


I grit my teeth as soon as the shovel slid into the snow.  My back and shoulders tensed with the combination of biting cold and old but not quite dead wounds.  I lifted and tossed the snow to the side in one movement.  I could feel a sheen of sweat starting to build beneath my layers.  It was mainly due to the pain I felt, more than the exertion. Then I thought about Anna, my best friend and mental pin up.  I grasped that the last bit wasn’t entirely healthy.  It also wasn’t completely healthy that whilst shoveling snow I thought of the yoga positions she taught me.  Her bendy, cat like body leaning to the side.  Her elf like face looking peaceful mid twist.  Just the thought of her wild hair doing battle with its clips and ties gave me a certain energy I thought could override the pain.

I was still enjoying my mental Anna-based slide show, but my lips were probably turning white. I certainly wasn’t going to get any sleep anyway.  Seeing as it was Valentines Day soon, I thought I’d show my parents how much I appreciated them by clearing the drive way.  I also just wanted to be outside.  Away from my dark room where I’d started pondering if it was a good idea to request stronger pain medication.

Anna was an ace physical therapy student, working on her doctorate.  I was only just getting stuck into my psychology course. Granted that was because I’d been in the service.  It still didn’t stop me from feeling like an old man while still in my twenties.  I groaned when I sat down and stood up.  I knew the nineteen year olds in my classes didn’t share the same weariness.   The fresh faced, heavily muscled, full of mischief part of me had been left behind some time ago.

It would be for the best that I didn’t particularly want to interact with too many of my classmates.  Parties and alcohol were a bad idea for me.  Crowds I still didn’t relish.   But the books were great.  I loved every second of study time.  The reality of being unable, at least yet anyway, to participate in high intensity exercise was starting to frustrate me.

Hence my hasty idea to start shoveling the snow for my folks.  They’ve been so supportive. Which made me lucky.  There were some guys I knew who didn’t have anything to come home to.   Anna, had been almost like a gift I’d received practically upon arrival.  We had taken it so slow, only meeting up once or twice a week for coffee.  Sometimes we’d squeeze in a third and have lunch together.

That and she gave me a ride home sometimes.  Only after I insisted she tell a friend where she was going and I told my Dad Anna was taking me home. I couldn’t drive yet.  My chronic pain issues were unpredictable.  I’d had a couple of flashback episodes, one of which when I was with Anna.

Then I heard the garage door going up and saw my Dad emerge.

‘Hi Jason.’

‘Dad, morning’  I said through my teeth. My head hurt and there was something going with my shoulder blades that wasn’t making speech easy.

‘It hasn’t even been A.M. for that long, son.’  He let out a sigh.  This would be where my irrational anger came in.

What, I can’t even do a nice thing like shovel the driveway for my folks?  

I squeezed the shovel, tensing which gave the shoulder issue a voice.  I grunted and threw the shovel down. ‘Jason…’ my Dad said tentatively.  I hadn’t punched any walls.  I may have yelled once or twice.  But I could handle this. I let anger come in and wash out.

‘What?’ If there was something to say, I’d rather he just said it.  The storm was still brewing in my chest.

‘You know I appreciate you doing this and all, but yard work and stuff is part of my exercise regime.  If I don’t do any, I’ll get fat.’

I lifted my eyebrows and saw my dad holding his rather underdeveloped beer belly. Half of a closed mouth laugh came out and I said ‘That’s nothing…’  I couldn’t think of anything funnier to say.  But the relief that passed between us was enough.

‘You have classes today?’


‘A therapy session?’

‘Which one?’

‘The one where you talk to someone about the emotional side of things.’

‘Oh, yeah.’

‘Are you seeing Anna today?’

‘I might meet her for coffee or something later, yeah.’

‘If you don’t mention this to her or your physical therapist, then I will.’

‘Dad, I tell them everything.  That’s what I’m supposed to do.  I talk to Anna about most stuff.’

I said this whilst looking at the snowy ground and rocking on my feet a little.  Letting the truth out wasn’t fun.   At all.  I still did it though.

Dad hadn’t technically met Anna yet, only over the phone.  She would walk me to my door, but there was this unspoken rule we had about taking things slow.   I wanted to get rid of that unspoken rule.

‘It’s Valentines Day this weekend.’ Dad said.

‘Yes, I know’

‘There is a movie out ya know…’

I was aware of the one he was talking about.  Possibly the most awkward date movie ever.

‘Jeez, Dad’.

I took my hat off and scrubbed my hand over my head and face.  Erotic thrillers aside, I really needed to lay down.

He laughed and said ‘okay, okay.  I don’t think I’ll take your mother to see that one either….whew!’ he said shaking his head, chuckling and going inside.

Not before he stopped to pick up the shovel and put it back in the garage.

Well that was an ‘I’m-in-the-mood-for-love’ killer if there ever was one.  I stood breathing in and out and made my way back up to my bed.  I removed my layers and hung them on the hook beside the door.  I’d always worked through pain.  It was a part of my life.  I was getting better at admitting when it really was too much.   Granted the past hour was not one of the finest examples.

The film my dad talked about, was causing a bit of a stir due to explicitness and being accused of making violence against women sexy.  I really didn’t find violence sexy.  The thought of hurting Anna in any way made me physically ill.

I shook my head, thinking about the fact that in the countries I’d seen combat in, that film would be classed as contraband.   I spared a thought for the women who might be caught with it.

I wanted to hold Anna, feel her arms around me.  I wanted to bury my face in her hair.

I took one of the non opiate pain killers I’d been prescribed.  I lay down on my bed and placed my head and back in a way that the physical therapist taught me.  Anna always talked about alining my spine.  I smiled to myself.  It felt so good.  Just thinking about how amazing she was when she went into ‘clinical mode.’  She really was going to be great at what she did. But as I closed my eyes, evil dark fear threatened to turn me into nothing.  I really didn’t want another nightmare.  Not one of those.  

I tried to focus on one muscle group at a time.  Slowly relaxing my body piece by piece.  Maybe it wasn’t healthy, but I focused on Anna.  Her delicate but oh so deft finger pads pressed lightly into certain points in my back.  She would go up to my neck and back down again. My phone chimed and I looked.

Five am. I’m busy getting ready to head out, but I would LOVE to meet up later and I’d be happy to give you a ride back?  🙂 🙂 – Anna 

I grinned in the dark.  It was uncontrollable.  I couldn’t not feel the happiness.  This was big for me.  I replied to her and put my phone down. Then that movie popped into my brain and I recalled that Anna and I hadn’t even kissed yet.  There was no written law that said we had to go see it if we were anything like a ‘hot couple’ or whatever.   There were as many incredibly annoying, pushy people insisting that it would unleash a world of erotic delights for repressed couples as there were folks who found it disgusting and degrading.  And millions who shrugged and went to do something else.

God Bless America.  

….and Anna.  

I thought of her when I prayed too.


It would be Valentines Day soon.  We really had been taking it slow.  We hadn’t declared ourselves a couple.  I didn’t say in front of him, my boyfriend.  He didn’t call me his girlfriend.  I had been asked out a couple of times this year.   When the guys asked if I had a boyfriend I just smiled.  Jason’s all too rare grin and stunning blue eyes flashed in my head and I was rendered speechless.

‘I’m seeing someone.’  That’s what I would say eventually, almost too quietly.  I couldn’t pressure Jason.   I just couldn’t.  Not after all that he’d been through.  Not when what he had been through wasn’t something I could relate to.  I had the honor of helping him with his pain issues and he seemed to want my company as much as I wanted his.   Even if the verbal expression of his emotions was far too evasive for both of us.

We communicated best through touch and eye contact.  It was effortless.  It was relaxing and inspiring.  We hadn’t even kissed.   It didn’t matter to me.  I still wanted to respond to the guys who asked me out with ‘Yes, I have a boyfriend.  He’s amazing.  He’s studious and fun.  At the same time he’s an honored soldier who served bravely in his time overseas.  He’s also incredibly funny.’ I freaking adore the guy.   I so want to scream out to everyone that he is my boyfriend.  

I knew it wasn’t right to put him on a pedestal in a way that made him feel he had something to live up to.  He really didn’t.   What he was doing now was carrying on fighting a battle with Post Traumatic Stress and Chronic Pain.  He helped me a lot in my research.  I was focusing on alternative fitness regimes for others like him.

Jason wasn’t a huge guy, but he’d always been healthy and active.  Not being able to exert himself was frustrating. He missed the release of running.  His will power was astounding regarding nutrition and dedication to trying different things like yoga. The day I showed him some positions at the gym was a pretty good day.   He smiled and laughed a lot.  He also watched me in a way that went beyond studious.

‘I can’t do that spinal twist thing.  But I like sitting in this position.’

Then, in the his low, serious voice he said,  ‘You go ahead and do that cat thing. I’ll wait.’

I cracked up.  People stared.  Neither of us cared.   I really dug him admitting his attraction to me.

Outside of therapy, when we embraced, when he held my hand, the atmosphere was never subtle.  We meant it when we touched.

I made my way through classes,  pondering that I might have to change my clinic timings if we made our relationship official.  It didn’t mean I couldn’t still help him though.

He’d replied to my invitation to meet up by saying, I’ll be at the coffee shop at around six 🙂 – Jason

It was too short.   So was I, according to him.  Hence his nickname for me.

The cold stung my legs through my skinny jeans.  My booted feet skipped down the sidewalk.  I pushed my shoulders up to my ears so my face went down into my scarf.  Otherwise people would notice me grinning like an idiot.

I finally reached the cafe and scanned behind the window.  He wasn’t there.  My face fell as I reached for the door.  It was pulled away from me and I lost my balance for a second, letting out a little ‘oh’.

Jason’s voice was in my ear saying ‘Hi, Hobbit.’ and his hand grasped my elbow.

We locked eyes.  One corner of his mouth was lifted.  He hadn’t shaved that day, but it suited him.  We were so physically close I could smell the masculine deodorant wafting from beneath his shirt and heavy coat.  We moved in synch together towards the line.  He didn’t let go of my elbow.  My arm was completely his for all I cared.

The intensity died down and I laughed.  I couldn’t wait to start talking.

He let out a little chuckle and said, ‘oh, sorry.’ Then he let go of my elbow.

We now stood in the middle of the glass case displaying cheese cakes and muffins.

I sighed and said ‘Oh, you didn’t have to let go.  I was really enjoying that.’  Then I widened my eyes. Idiot.  

He actually laughed.  Like a proper one.  I shrugged and smiled in response.  Whew.  

How are you?’  I said.

‘I’m good.’ He replied.   But I could see the shadows underneath his eyes were particularly dark.

‘I tried to shovel some snow for my folks. It didn’t go well.’  He said.

I bit my lip and stared at a piece of lemon cheesecake before responding.  ‘I’m really determined to come up with something better that will satisfy your need to push and exert yourself.  But it was really nice of you to want to do that.’

‘Yeah.’ he went quiet.

We ordered, took our coffee to the seats.  So far, I had bit my lip and talked about physical exertion.  Ugh…

I had read the stories that were the basis of a certain Valentines Day film release.  Some ladies at the clinic wouldn’t stop asking me to read them.  Which is a poor excuse, but it was a mildly amusing (if disappointing and kind of disturbing) break from constant academic reading. I knew Jason wouldn’t read books like that.

He was far more likely to read Ernest Hemingway and Sylvia Plath.  Next to that he loved high fantasy like Tolkien.  I hoped he hadn’t read the books as I didn’t want him to think my lip biting was a lame attempt at being sexy. The more I thought about it, the more I actually bit my lip.  Then I would purse them, stomp one foot and inwardly chastise myself.  Idiot.  Then I bit my lip again.

He watched me the whole time.  His eyes were a shade of blue I hadn’t seen in the sky for months.  Screw it.  

I winked at him and he tilted his head at me and pressed his lips together.

Ruthless film marketers and snarky critics could go and swivel. This was my time with Jason.  I was damn well going to enjoy it.

‘Are you tempted at all?’ he suddenly said tilting his head towards all the fluffy, creamy, powdered sugar dusted baked goods.

We were both into healthy eating, but the occasional piece of cake wasn’t the worst thing in the world.

‘Nope’ then I took a big swig of my latte before saying ‘How’s school?’

“Great.  I feel really old and out of place amongst people.  But…with the books and my lecturers.  It’s…it’s just great.’

Then he spoke about his current coursework, where he imagined it was going to take him.  Being such an avid reader, Jason had, before his deployment taken classes in English lit.  He had a naturally analytical mind. Yet he was creative and innovative about where he imagined his study of psychology would take him.

When he’d finished he said ‘I know I must sound really stupid to you.  You are already on your postgrad work…’.

‘Jason, I think the way you view your coursework and the passion you have for it is awesome.  It’s a million times removed from the ambivalent way some of the kids in your class will be.  A lot of them will just want to party.’

‘I like to party.’  he said in a childish voice.

I laughed, saying ‘I know’ and shared with him some new ways patients with joint pain were able to experience the benefits of cardiovascular activities.  We were both genuinely interested in each other’s field of study.

Then the barrista dropped a load of cups behind the counter.  I saw Jason’s eyes slowly close and his face pale.  He insisted on meeting at the cafe, always said he wanted to just feel normal.  But crowds where loud noises were a possibility could be an issue for him. I reached over and placed my hand on his leg.

‘Jason…’  I said in a voice intended to cut through the surrounding noise but still remain unnoticed.

He opened his eyes and his breathing was shaky. ‘The barrista just dropped a load of mugs.’  he said quietly, but I could tell he wasn’t completely free of whatever was creeping up on him.

‘Why don’t you let me take you home? Jason?  Can I take you home?’   I placed my hands on his knees.


When we’d only just met, we left this very same cafe and a truck backfired.  He’d had a full on flashback then.

As we were leaving I saw a newspaper with a picture of a smiling, happy human being.  Someone who was now lost to this world.   My heart ached for that family.   I thought of how easily it could have been Jason.  Once we were outside I firmly rubbed my hand over his shoulder blades.  His breaths grew less shaky.  I leaned into him and wrapped my arm around his waist, pulling him to me.  He looked down at me and I looked up.  He knew where he was. It was like we were completely alone together.  It was such a gift.


I did my best not to look, for any great length of time, at the news.  Most of it was biased in one way or another.  It was important to grasp that before attempting to download information. I’m an analytical guy.  Yes I love to read and yes some very serious things happened to me and I’m living a different life now.

I knew why Anna drew me so close.  I saw the paper too.  She valued me.  A lot.  I found so much pleasure in that knowledge that I could have basked in that one little fact forever. There was so much, so much to be gained from understanding each other better.  By that I mean humans generally.  But with Anna, I really didn’t think I’d ever get enough of her.

It still didn’t stop me from feeling inadequate.  Like I couldn’t hack it as a warrior.  That’s why my body shut down and refused to heal quickly.  That’s why my brain and senses got hijacked by memories I wished I didn’t have.

Jason, you are a warrior. You always will be. They don’t give out medals like candy.  You earned them.  Your highly intelligent, highly tuned systems are letting you know that you need to navigate your life in a different way.  Only people who have been asked to dig very deep for courage have to do this.  You are extremely valuable to society.  

That’s what my therapist had said today.  I didn’t completely swallow it at the time.  Sometimes all this ‘you are valuable’ talk is a little uncomfortable for me.  But I listened.  Always.  I always listen. I sure as hell wasn’t valuable by monetary standards.  I really hoped Anna didn’t have a ‘thing’ for billionaires.  If that was the case I was screwed.

I had thought about doing some tutoring.  One on one interaction in quiet environments was doable and my English lit credits might help me out.  I knew I would be ‘alright’ regarding money one day.  But it was unlikely I would ever be a rich man.

That was the farthest thing from my mind though when Anna wrapped her arm around my waist and pulled me close.  Her body was right up against mine.  She had a way of pressing her arm against my spine that adjusted my posture and eased my back. Her coppery eye brows glinted even in the winter evening air.   Her lids went over her hazel eyes just a bit when I looked down at her.  This would be a perfect moment for a kiss.

But I’ll be honest, crowds still made me uneasy and I just wanted to be alone in the car with her.  That might sound creepy but I relied on solitude or at least quieter environments to gather myself.

She opened the door for me and I said ‘I’m supposed to do that for you.’  My voice was croaky, like it had gone somewhere far far away.

‘One day, you’ll give me a ride and you can be all gentlemanly, and stuff.’   She said.

I still hated that she opened the door for me and she huffed and continued, ’Come on, Jason.  Give me something to look forward to.’

I kept my eyes on her as I got in the car.  Unfortunately, the need to grit my teeth was still there and I positioned my arms quickly to avoid the pain of motion.

Then, after she’d shut the door I saw a huge guy approach Anna.   I’d recognize him anywhere as a football player.  He was bigger than me, likely a little younger and he had that fresh-faced, healthy college boy glow.   He probably had a legion of admirers.

Get the hell away from Anna.  

I watched her mouth spread into that pretty smile.  Hell, she was sexy.  I was a particular fan of the way her hips curved.  It was the crazy hair that did it too.  It matched her emotional personality.   Naturally, uncontrollably vibrant.  She wasn’t wild or stupid.  Some girls mistook recklessness for being a free spirit.  Her movements were sensual.  Every single touch meant something to her.  Obviously not always erotic.  Just always meaningful.   If they were always erotic that would be inappropriate and physical therapy wouldn’t be the career for her.

All the same, her innate sensuality could not have gone unnoticed by the massive fellow talking to her while I sat helplessly and uncomfortably in her car.  I could get out and take his feet out from underneath him.

That would be unreasonable though. I guess.

I missed running hard and lifting the way he probably did every day.  I did not care for the way he smiled at her.

Before my thoughts started to go somewhere much bloodier I listened to their conversation.

‘Well, listen..’ he said.  ‘I just wanted to say thanks.  I appreciated the advice you gave me.  You think you’ll ever work in sports medicine?’

Anna said  ‘I’ll probably always work with athletes on and off.  But I’m trying to get as much experience as I can with different conditions.’   She was in ‘clinical mode’.  Completely focused.  I didn’t think he appreciated her clinical mode the way I did.

I could see storm clouds rolling in.  Unreasonable, irrational storm clouds bringing certain death to fresh faced, six-pack abs endowed college boys who went anywhere near Anna.

Then she promptly said ‘Well, listen I’ve got to go.  Good luck!’

He said ‘Yeah, thanks again.’ then in a lower voice ‘Is that your boyfriend?’


Anna turned towards me.  Whether or not she realized I could hear her through the glass I wasn’t sure. She pushed her fingers into her hair and beamed her irrepressible smile.  The type she couldn’t stop if she’d wanted to.

‘I wish….’ Anna breathed out, looking like a hot fairy in jeans.

I made eye contact with the football player through the car window.  He nodded and made his final farewell pretty quickly.


I can’t believe I just let that out.  ‘I wish…’ like a ditzy school girl.

He was one of the guys who had asked me out before.  Nice guy, but I had no connection with him other than wanting to give him advice about avoiding injury.

Whereas when Jason was near me, every single nerve ending inside lit up.   Eye contact with him made the world disappear.   ‘Sorry.’ I said when I got in the car and started the ignition.

We had a full half an hour before we would be at his folk’s place.   He was silent for a minute.

Then he said, ’It’s really okay.  I like it when you let your emotions loose.   I think it’s pretty obvious we like each other.’

‘Yes, but, I don’t mean to pressure you.  I know you’ve got stuff going on.  I can’t…relate to everything.’

‘Anna, you just seriously helped me out back there and it was ‘okay’ for me.  I needed to leave the cafe.  Being home is getting easier, it’s just that I don’t think I’ll ever be totally fine.  I’m sorry.  I’m being kind of selfish, always wanting to be with you.’

His voice had gone quiet on those last few words. I could feel something about to spill out of my mouth that he might think was weird.  Oh well. 

‘You like when I touch you and you are always watching me so close.  I love it.  I freaking love it.’   Ooops.  

We came to a red light and I snuck a peek at him.  He was indeed watching me.  The red light glowing in the car gave my front seat a shockingly sensual atmosphere.  I looked him up and down.  I watched the way he still held his body in a way that eased discomfort.  I was proud of how quickly he’d mastered the yoga positions that were appropriate for him. Despite the damage he had suffered, he was still very body aware and well, good at manipulating himself.  He was easy with movement for someone with his condition.

When I’d been present at his therapy sessions and touched him, warmth flooded me and I was utterly connected to him. Right now, I wanted to wrap my arms around him.

I managed to focus on the road and was relieved when the expanse of sparkly snow covered fields surrounded us. ‘It’s so peaceful.’  he spoke so quietly.

I could hear the tremor in his breath though.

‘You are still in pain.’  I said.

‘Yeah. ’ he said softly.

There it was again.  The overwhelming urge to wrap my arms around him.  I gripped the steering wheel and took a deep breath.

‘I choose to be with you Jason.  But I won’t force you to be with me if you don’t feel it’s right.’

I heard him sigh. It was silent most of the way back.  The moon lit up the blanket of snow in a million sparkles.  I’d always loved that.  The sight of snow at night was so romantic.  A cozy warm house on its own amongst the snow was a perfect setting for lovers.  In my humble opinion.   A total retreat of closeness.  Complete intimacy.  I so wanted to go there with him. Nothing about being with Jason felt wrong.  The reality that he might stop this before it really got going overwhelmed me with misery and felt, well wrong. 

Then his voice came out of the darkness ‘It’s Valentines weekend.’

‘I know.’

I glanced at him and saw him staring at the snow as well.

‘Would you like to get together?’

‘I would love that.  I don’t want to go to the movies though.’  I said.

He laughed and said ‘okay okay, no movies.  I prefer watching you anyway.’

My heart started to pound against my coat.  ‘The feeling is exceptionally mutual.’



‘I really can’t imagine hurting you.  That, would not be my ummm…’thing.’’ He cleared his throat.

‘Whew!’ I said.  ‘I’m glad we established that one too.’

We were getting close to his house.  I pulled into his driveway.   I could see it had been fully cleared.  I winced when I thought of Jason stubbornly pushing himself too hard with the shovel. The lights were on and his parents were home.  I turned the ignition off and turned towards him.    I don’t know why I hesitated.  I looked him in the eyes.  I wanted to ask permission.

He must have guessed my desire when he whispered,

‘Anna, it’s okay…you can kiss me.  Come here.’

‘Oh, thank God.’ I let out.  Then I kissed the beginnings of his grin.


When her lips met mine I didn’t want her to move.  I just wanted her to stay there.  Just like that.  Lips to lips, her face against mine.  Her skin as close to mine as it ever had been. Anna had incredibly strong core strength.  She held herself so carefully, so as not to lean on me too hard when her hands held onto my shoulders.   I wanted to savor every millisecond.   I could smell her actual skin. Not any particular product, but a combination of them plus her own chemistry.

I reached out and touched her hair.  The thick, kinky waves were so soft.  I wanted to just hold her in my arms and stroke her beautiful body.   It was starting to feel like we were a part of each other.

I cursed myself for over doing it with the shovel in the wee hours of this morning.  Then she pulled away and said ‘Now, we’ve established something.’  with a proud smile.

‘We can do better than that.’  I said, watching her eyes widen as she collapsed back against the drivers seat.

‘Jason, I.…’  I’d never heard her breath so shaky before.

‘Relax, Hobbit.  I mean, would you like to meet my parents?  Like in person?’

‘I would love to.’ she said in the most polite voice I’d ever heard. ‘Don’t you dare move.’ I said.

Before she could get out of the car, I grimaced and opened my own door and got out myself.  I walked around the car, taking care with each step and I held the door open for her. It was ‘okay.’

She looked up at me in a way that I knew meant she wished I had let her open the door. ‘Just let me do this okay?’  I said.

Then we walked towards the door, arm in arm. Well, Anna slid her arm around my waist and pulled me to her again.  God it felt good when she did that.  With the side of her body against mine,  she moved her hip against me in the most lithe of motions.

Then she promptly removed her body from mine and placed her hand neatly in my elbow.

‘Damn.’ I said.

‘Parents.  I don’t want them to think I don’t know how to behave in these situations.’  she explained.

I smiled and said ‘Don’t worry, I’m sure you will do great.’

We walked into the house and removed our boots. I tried to keep from making a face when I removed my layers.

‘Jason? Is that you?’  I heard my mom call.  She came quickly to the door. ‘Oh, you brought a friend.’  The grin on my mother’s face was downright embarrassing. Then my Dad appeared around the corner.   This is it.  

Anna stepped forward towards my mother with her hand extended.  ‘Hi…I’m Anna.’

Then my Dad said ‘Well, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you in person.  He talked about how smart you are, how helpful you’ve been.  He sure didn’t mention how beautiful.’

‘No, he didn’t.  And you really are.’  Mom said.

‘Oh’…Anna shook her head and blushed, saying ‘Thank you.’   I never saw her blush like that.

She looked at me and I looked at my parents. ‘Well, Mom and Dad?  This is Anna.  My beautiful girlfriend.’   I smiled.  A genuine beam of happiness that extended right down to my toes.

Anna’s shoulders went up and her grin widened with glee. We both had a long journey ahead of us, of education and careers.  Mine was longer and involved more healing.   But our journey was definitely going to involve each other. The little moment of heaven we shared in that kiss held a promise of love and extreme closeness.  A tender, sensual familiarity that we knew would come roaring to life in our future.

Later than night, after we watched some television with my folks (including an embarrassing preview for the film about the billionaire who loved spanking), I lay in the dark focusing on Anna again.   I figured she would be almost home by now.

I was kind of worried about meeting her parents.  It probably would be better if I was some sort of billionaire.  That so wasn’t me.  I wondered if Anna would find it hot if I had more money.

Then my phone chimed.

I’m home, thank you for introducing me to your folks.  I can’t wait to introduce my handsome boyfriend to mine 🙂  Oh, and by the way, you know what I find incredibly hot?  A real life, flesh and blood hero who is brave enough to be explicit with his feelings.  You. You. You. 

I replied.

I’m going to kiss you next time we meet.   I can still feel your lips on mine.  I can feel the promise of us being completely together in my heart. 

You make me swoon and melt just like in stories.  Only it’s so much better!  My heart so belongs to you.  Good night, Jason. 🙂 

Good night, Hobbit 🙂 🙂 

I made Anna swoon. I have her heart. 

I lay down and turned towards the window, towards the moonlit blanket of snow.  I knew she would be looking at it too, finding it romantic.  I knew she would be craving my embrace as much as I craved hers.  My pain was present, just like always, but it was secondary to the happiness. Our connection had become undeniable, irrefutable.  The pleasure in declaring it was greater than that of any rushed or forced intimacy.   It didn’t cost anything, it didn’t require any extravagant, sexed-up platform.  It was priceless and true.  I loved Anna.  I looked forward to showing her just how much I loved her every day.

The End