Do you believe in love at first sight?”
He made himself look at her face, at her wide-open eyes and earnest forehead. At her unbearably sweet mouth.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Do you believe in love before that?”
Her breath caught in her throat like a sore hiccup.
And then it was too much to keep trying not to kiss her.
She came readily into his arms. Lincoln leaned against the coffee machine and pulled her onto him completely. There it was again, that impossible to describe kiss. This is how 2011 should have ended, he thought. This is infinity.
The first time Beth pulled away, he pulled her back.
The second time, he bit her lip.
Then her neck.
Then the collar of her shirt.
“I don’t know…,” she said, sitting up in his lap, laying her check on the top of his head. “I don’t know what you meant by love before love at first sight.”
Lincoln pushed his face into her shoulder and tried to think of a good way to answer.
“Just that… I knew how I felt about you before I ever saw you,” he said, “when I still thought I might never see you…”
She held his head in her hands and titled it back, so she could see his face.
“That’s ridiculous,” she said. Which made him laugh.
“Absolutely,” he said.
“No, I mean it,” Beth said. “Men fall in love with their eyes.” He closed his. “That’s practically science,” she said.
“Maybe,” Lincoln said. Her fingers felt so good in his hair. “But I couldn’t see you, so…”
“So, what did you see?”
“Just…the sort of girl who would write the sort of things that you wrote.”
Lincoln opened his eyes. Beth was studying his face. She looked skeptical-maybe about more than just the last thing he said. This was important, he realized.
“Everything,” he said, sitting straighter, keeping hold of her waist. “Everything you wrote about your work, about your boyfriend…The way you comforted Jennifer and made her laugh, through the baby and after. I pictured a girl who could be kind, and that kind of funny. I pictured a girl who was that alive…”
She looked guarded. Lincoln couldn’t tell from her eyes whether he was pushing her away or winning her over.
“A girl who never got tired of her favourite movies,” he said softly. “Who saved dresses like ticket stubs. Who could get high on the weather..
“I pictured a girl who made every moment, everything she touched, and everyone around her feel lighter and sweeter. I pictured you,” he said. “I just didn’t know what you looked like. And then, when I did know what you looked like, you looked like the girl who was all those things. You looked like the girl I loved.”
Beth’s fingers trembled in his hair, and her forehead dropped against his. A heavy, wet tear fell onto Lincoln’s lips, and he licked it. He pulled her close, as close as he could. Like he didn’t care for the moment whether she could breath. Like there were two of them and only one parachute.
“Beth,” he barely said, pressing his face against hers until their lashes brushed, pressing his hand into the small of her back. “I don’t think I can explain it. I don’t think I can make any more sense. But I’ll keep trying. If you want me to.”
She almost shook her head. “No,” she said, “no more explaining. Or apologizing. I don’t think it matters how we ended up here. I just…I want to stay…I want..
He kissed her then.
In the middle of the sentence.