She wasn’t expecting him to kiss her. She was just prattling on about the movie they were going to go see while she was doing the dishes, more just to talk than to expect him to be actually listening. But then suddenly he was there next to her, taking the baking sheet out of her hands, and before she could even think to ask what he was doing, he wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed her.
At first, there was no reaction because her brain could barely process it, let alone formulate a reaction. But then, soapy hands be damned, she wrapped her arms around his neck, pressing up onto her tiptoes to reach him better, kissing him back.
Far too soon, he pulled back, breathing heavily. He rested his forehead against hers gently. “God, Michelle, you don’t know how long I’ve wanted to do that.”
“Adam.” She said weakly. She wasn’t sure why, except maybe to make sure it as really him–that she wasn’t dreaming. He’d really just kissed her.
“I mean—Michelle—I’ve been into you for so long. But I didn’t know if you’d be into me-or if you’d ever date someone younger than you and then you were with Alex and I had to hope for the best because you seemed so happy with him—and that break up was bad—real bad. And maybe I should have waited even longer than now but you were talking and so wonderful and beautiful and I just couldn’t help myself, so the cat’s out of the bag now.” Michelle turned her head up just slightly, to try to get a better look at him, but she saw his eyes were closed.
“Adam,” she repeated, and he gave her a little squeeze.
“Can I ask you for one favor, Michelle, a favor I don’t really deserve? If you’re about to tell me that you don’t think of us this way or that we can’t be together, as a favor to a friend can you please just wait ten more seconds? Can I please have a moment to hold you close and pretend that you might love me? And then you’ll never hear word one about it again, I swear.”
Adam’s eyes were still closed. Michelle considered waiting but decided it wasn’t worth it. She tightened her grip around Adam’s neck, pressing into him again, kissing him gently. After a moment, a much shorter moment than their first kiss, she stepped back, opening her eyes to look at him properly. This time he let his arms fall away from her.
“Adam—we need to talk for a second,” she tried again
Adam deflated a little bit in front of her, opening his eyes and offering her a small smile. “Well, that was officially the shortest romantic relationship of my life.” He sighed, trying to pass it off as a joke.
“I really hope not.” Michelle blurted, and Adam gave her a really strange look.
“Okay. I don’t know what’s going on.” He confessed.
“Let’s sit down,” Michelle grabbed a dish towel and headed towards the kitchen table, where Adam had been sitting before he decided he had to kiss her. After drying her arms and hands off, she offered the towel to Adam and he wiped the soap suds off the back of his neck.
When they were all cleaned up, Adam folded the dish towel neatly and placed it on the table. “Chell, the suspense is killing me. What are you thinking here?”
“I’m not ready yet.” Michelle said, “I mean, you saw me and let’s call it how it is—Alex really fucked me up. And I haven’t recovered enough for this to be healthy, Adam. And if we’re going to do this, Adam,” she said his name slowly, she’d always loved the sound of his name in her mouth, maybe that should have been a sign, “I’d want this to be something healthy. I’d want it to be something that could last. Wouldn’t you?”
“Yeah,” Adam added quietly. “I’d want it to be good. I’d want it to last.” He took a deep breath and laid his hands flat on the table, “I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable. I just—“ he stopped and shook his head. “Please, take your time. Be where you need to be to give this its best chance.”
Michelle reached out and put her hand on top of Adam’s. “That being said, I don’t know how long this will take. I don’t want to make you wait by the phone at night while I decide whether or not I want to start dating again. I don’t think that’s fair to you at all.”
Adam smiled down at his hands. “Oh, Michelle.”
“Whether you ask me to or not—whether it’s fair or not, I’ve been waiting for you since the day we met. And now that I know I have a chance—I don’t care if it’s days, weeks, months, years, or even centuries until you are ready. For a chance to be the one who makes you happy—I’ll wait as long as you want.” Adam flipped his hand over and entwined his fingers with her.
“And what if I had said no. What if I said this wasn’t something that I could consider?”
Adam gave a shrug with one of his shoulders. “It would hurt. I mean—it always hurts to hear you aren’t loved that way, doesn’t it? But—I don’t know. I’d move on I guess. Knowing there’s no chance would eliminate me from daydreaming that it might happen. I’d find a way to be more platonic in my love for you. I’d be the best friend I could be and hope that you wouldn’t abandon me or think I was too awkward.” Adam gave her a smile. “I know you don’t owe me anything if that’s what you’re asking. I’m not going to throw a friend-zone hissy fit if you want to go ahead and confess now that you just don’t think of me that way. I’m not Charlie.”
“Oh, god, Charlie.” Michelle rolled her eyes. “That was a train wreck of a friendship, wasn’t it?” she chuckled and Adam smiled at her. She gave Adam’s hand a little squeeze. “I wish I could be better. I wish I could trust anyone right now. You’re a good man, Adam, and I wish that I didn’t have to make you wait. But I do.” Michelle chewed on her lip.
“Hey.” Adam frowned at her, looking concerned, “Don’t beat yourself up over that. It’s not going to help anything but make you feel like you need to rush. I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true that you are worth waiting for.” He reached up and pushed a piece of her hair behind her ear. “Now—I want you to forget all about this. I want you to not even think about dating until you’re completely ready And when you are ready, if you decide that you want to date someone else, go ahead. You owe me nothing, and I am in charge of my own happiness. But, if you decide you want to give us a chance, give me a call. Or, if you want me to be all old-fashioned, you send me a daisy and I’ll ask you out. Whatever you want. Now!” Adam dropped her hand and jumped out of his chair with a clap. “Has our heart to heart made us miss our movie?” He checked his watch, grinning from ear to ear. He was every bit the same Adam that came over earlier that afternoon, no air of pretense or putting on a show in spite of their conversation. And Michelle kind of loved him for it. “Oh, if we hurry we can still make this showing. Do you think the rest of the dishes can wait for after the movie?”
“Yeah.” She would have preferred to get them done, but she did really want to see this movie. Besides, the change of venue might help her break some of the tension in her own head.
“Excellent. Shoes and coats and out the door.” Adam headed for the door himself.
Michelle did want to break the tension, but not until she’d said one last thing. “Hey, Adam?” He stopped halfway between the door and the table and turned back to her with a questioning smile. “I’m really glad you kissed me.”
He smiled, sticking his hand’s in his pockets, chewing a little on the corner of his lip. She tried to think back to who had that habit first—did he get it from her or did she get it from him. “Yeah?” he asked hesitantly.
Michelle smiled back, a wave of that giddiness from the first kiss washing over her again. “Yeah.”
“Good. I’m glad I kissed you too.” He rocked back on his heels for a second, before starting to the door again. “C’mon. Let’s not miss our movie.”