I left the kiss simple and wrapped my arms around her. Mirela hugged me back and I shut my eyes. I was still shaking. I didn't know how we got here but, as I felt her damp hair soak through my shirt, I didn't want to go back. I spoke the truth. I wasn't really interested in sleeping with other women. Hell, I didn't even notice them anymore.
Suddenly, the power went out and we jumped as the sky lit up and thunder cracked. She laughed a little.
"I'll be right back," she said. "I'll go find the flashlights."
"Why?" I asked, wishing she was still in my arms.
She laughed again. "I can't see you, dude."
"Sure you can. Just squint your eyes."
"Nope, not working."
"I can see you."
"Oh yeah? Prove it."
"This is your shoulder," I said and reached out.
My hand came in contact with her face and she snorted.
"I'm gonna go find the flashlights."
"I'll come with you," I said. "I'm scared of the dark," I added in a fake scared voice.
"What am I thinking?" she said and I heard her smack her forehead. "We have phones."
"Oh. We do, don't we."
She laughed and got her phone out. I did the same and shined it in her face. We walked back to the living room and sat down on the floor, waiting for the lights to come back on. I held her hand and she leaned on my shoulder. It felt nice and I smiled. I laced our fingers and kissed her hand. She kissed mine and my smile got bigger. Is this what I had been denying?
My phone rang and I answered it.
"Hey, Lu," I said.
"Dude! I've gone blind!" he cried, obviously drunk.
"What are you talking about?" I asked, putting the phone down so Mirela could hear.
"I-I was drinkin' and watchin' TV, right?"
"Right," I said and tried not to laugh.
"Then everything went black! Dude! You gotta get back here! You gotta take me- Dude! I can see again! Holy shit, man! It's God!"
He hung up and we both laughed. A few seconds later, the power came back here, too, and the TV kicked back on to the title menu.
"Want to finish our movie?" I asked and she nodded.
"Let's sit on the couch, though. We're dry enough."
"Thank God," I said. "This floor is freakin' uncomfortable, no offense."
She laughed as we sat down on the couch. I put my arm around her and she leaned into me. I pressed play on the remote and it started over.
"Hey, Mirela?" I said halfway through the movie.
"Yeah?" she said, looking up at me.
I ran my finger down her jaw.
"I'm really glad you said yes," I whispered and she smiled a little.
"Me, too," she whispered back.
I kissed her and she leaned into me. She pulled away before it could go any further and, though a little disappointed, I found it rather nice.
Twice more, the power went out and we groaned.
"I hate it when this happens," she grumbled and yawned.
"Go on to bed," I said. "I'll walk you home."
She looked at me like I was crazy. "In this rain? No."
"I'm too tall for this couch, dear."
She rolled her eyes and grabbed my hand. We stood up, using our phones as lights again. She walked slowly toward her room and I bit my lip, realizing what she was suggesting.
"Just don't make a pass," she said simply, taking her shoes off.
"Mm, I'll do my best," I said and took mine off, too.
She laughed and got into bed, plugging her phone in for when the power came back on.
"Are you going to work tomorrow?" she asked around another yawn.
We were facing each other and holding hands.
"Yeah. I've got a couple scheduled appointments." I thought for a second. "Come with me. You can see what it's like."
"I don't know," she said slowly. "I have to work...."
"Bring your stuff with you," I said. "If someone calls, you can work in the computer booth."
She laughed. "In that super tiny thing?"
"It's not that small," I said.
She giggled and moved closer. "Sure. It sounds like fun."
"Can I put my arm around your waist?" I whispered.
"Yes," she whispered back and put my arm around her and pulled her close. "Not that close, please."
"Sorry," I said quickly and put some more space between us. "Force of habit."
"It's okay," she promised. "Good Lord I'm tired from that walk."
I kissed her a little. "Sleep well. I'll see you in the morning."
Loud techno music woke us up and we sat up, bumping forehead. We laughed and she picked up her phone, rubbing her forehead. She snorted.
"Well, hello there, Luther," she said with a smirk. "Are you still blind?"
She put him on speaker just as he groaned.
"God I have the worst hangover. Why didn't Caleb answer his phone?"
"It died," I said.
"Don't forget, we have appointments today."
"Yes sir. Mirela is joining us today," I said, nudging her.
"Finally!" he yelled suddenly and we jumped. "Jesus. It took you two long enough to sleep together."
"Oh shut up," I snapped. "We're dating."
"Awesome! Dude, that's even better! Well, I'm going to gulp down another Tylenol then I'll see you at the studio."
"See you in about an hour."
I shook my head and we laughed as we got out of bed. I left the room so she could change and put my dead phone in my pocket, intending to plug it in at the studio to charge. I turned her TV and the lights in the living room off for her.
We had to walk again but it was more pleasant. I could put my arm around her without the pressure of the tension between us. We stopped by the Starbucks for coffees for all of us.
"Probably triple that one," she said to the barista, pointing at Luther's. "He's got one wicked hangover."
"He'll love you forever," I laughed.
"So what's it like?" she asked, carrying the carrier carefully.
"What? Being loved by Luther forever?"
"No, you dork. Having appointments."
"Oh. They're fun, I guess. As long as there aren't any little kids," I added with a shudder.
"Aw you don't like the little ones?" she asked.
I opened the door to the studio. "They scream and throw up on my screens. No, no I don't."
She laughed loudly and passed Luther his coffee when he winced.
"I love you!" he groaned. "I feel like shit."
"You look like it, too."
We drank our coffees until the first appointment showed up. It was a family of four with a teenage boy and a girl about ten years old. The boy looked like he'd rather be playing video games but the girl looked ecstatic.
"I'm Caleb Parrish," I said, holding out my hand. "And this is my partner in crime, Luther Banks."
"It's nice to meet you," the man said. "My name is Ian. My wife, Naomi, my son, Ron, and my daughter Paula."
I smiled at the others but the son, Ron, was gaping at Mirela. She shook her head a little, sipping her coffee. Naomi noticed and glared at Ron.
"So, you guys have purchased the basic family package," Luther intervened, sensing the tense atmosphere.
Mirela stood on her toes. "I'll sit in the booth," she said and I nodded, smiling at her and kissing her lightly.
"Aw!" the little girl squealed and I blushed, clearing my throat.
"We'll put you guys on the white screen," Luther said. "It'll be better with how you're dressed. I need you to wipe your shoes on this, though, so we don't get the screen dirty."
While the family got in position, I stepped into the booth.
"You okay?" I asked her and she laughed.
"I'm used to it."
"Okay." I winked at her. "Pay attention. You're about to witness a fucking legend."
She rolled her eyes and beckoned me over. I was confused but obeyed. She kissed me and I smiled, sucking on her lower lip a little.
"Try not to kill the son," she whispered and I laughed.
"I'll do my best."