The No Kiss Blogfest–a scene in which they don’t.
(Links to more non-kisses here.)
From a work in progress:
“Do you want help?” Declan asked.
Julie shook her head. “It’s all done. And I only have the one roller.”
“I can do the trim.”
“The paint has to dry first.”
Dec stopped in the doorway, which blocked her way out of the room. “Am I interfering with something?”
“I don’t know,” Julie confessed. “You’re wearing a suit and you spend all your time doing odd jobs for people. Don’t you want to, oh, take a night off? Go a movie?”
“Cinema’s in Glenkillen.”
Julie sighed. It was like questioning a rock. “Can I at least trade you for drinks? If I wreck your suit, I’ll buy you a round at the Harp.”
“Harp’s hosting a darts tournament tonight; the place’ll be a madhouse.”
“Fine, it’s your evening. You can move the furniture in the dining room. That’s what I was going to paint next.”
Declan headed for the stairs. “You’re warmin’ to this idea, lassie. If you’re going to undo decades of Protestant asceticism in one night, you need my help.”
He just meant the painting, surely. “Open some windows,” she called after him.
By the time she’d dragged the tarp downstairs and washed out the roller, he’d dragged all the furniture away from the dining room walls and surveyed the kitchen.
“So this is Sunrise over Wherever? O’Sullivan made it sound dire.”
Julie handed Dec the dustiest of the whiskey bottles and let him scrape the wax off the lid. “It’s the kitchen. It should be bright, cheerful. This place can use a little excitement.”
Dec handed her a glass. “Feuds and secret babies aren’t exciting enough for ya?”
She’d let her gaze drop to his mouth while he was talking, which was a mistake. She took in the dark stubble across his chin, the unbuttoned collar under his tie, and took a gulp of the whiskey. It was a mellower year, or she was already sensitized, but it hardly sparked on its way down her throat. She looked him in the eye. “Six weeks until the estate is resolved.”
Declan took Julie’s glass out of her hands and set it carefully on the counter. “Six weeks and you sign the deed. And what are you thinking then?”
She moved back and hoisted herself up to sit on the kitchen table.
He leaned back against the kitchen counter, mirroring her distancing. “I’m telling myself I’m just projecting, but sometimes when you look at me . . .” He looked around, found his tumbler of whiskey, and took a swallow.
Julie sat up. “Look at you like what?” It came out as a whisper, but he heard it, and slowly walked over to the table. He stood close enough to brush over her knees, past her legs, to rest his hands alongside her hips before meeting her eyes. He leaned down and Julie was falling, falling back with Declan’s arms around her . . .
It took a moment to realize that that table in fact had collapsed under them. A piece of wood was wedged between her shoulder blades and Declan was pressing against her from collarbone to knee and every tingling part in between. She groaned and he half laughed, half groaned back.
“Maybe I don’t look at you quite like that,” she said.
“Bloody hell.” He rolled off her but didn’t get up. “The thing looked sturdy enough. No, you go that way, I’m pinned.”
“Oh, my God!” Julie popped up. “Are you okay?”
“It’s mostly my jacket. We can be glad you didn’t succeed in getting me out of my suit.”
Julie heaved the table off Declan’s sleeve. He sat up, rolled his wrist and winced. “It’ll do. Are you alright?”
“Just startled. I’ve been eating on this table for a month.”
“You weakened it,” he said.
“This must be a Catholic table.”
“It’s Protestants who are repressed.” He reached over to pick up the tabletop but had to drop it. “Right then, now I’m starting to feel it.”
Julie pulled his sleeve back to look at his wrist. There was a deep crease across the skin and his palm was turning purple. “You need ice on that now, and then we should take you to the doctor. Is there anybody closer than Sligo?”
“Not at this bloody hour. And get my mobile out of my pocket, wilya?”
Now reaching into his pocket felt too intimate–especially when the phone turned out to be vibrating. She flipped it open and handed it to him and retreated to the fridge to put together an ice pack while he talked. . . .