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You practiced one night, weeks ago, in the guest bedroom of her parents’ house, your feet shuffling on the hardwood floor, your voices in whispers and your laughter contained inside your throat because people were sleeping, her older sister and her husband in the room over, her two young nieces in the room beyond that. It was almost three in the morning, but neither of you has ever been able to fall asleep at an appropriate time and so you were talking about it, the wedding, it was coming up in three weeks. You were at her parents house to finally meet all of her family, to celebrate various birthdays of that month, to be paraded around and introduced to a family which would soon be your own.

You were standing by the dresser and she was sitting on the bed. You were making a joke about something, you don’t even remember, you just liked how she laughed when she was trying to keep quiet, her hand over her mouth while her eyes danced above. She was telling you to shut up, because her sister was a light sleeper and she didn’t want to hear all the suggestive jokes the next morning about what was going on in here.

You said suddenly like you did sometimes when the thought of it popped up in your mind again, in the context of your entire history, the ugly past mingling with everything that was right now, you said, “We’re getting married.”

She said, “Yes,” and nodded and your eyes traveled along the skin of her bare legs in the lamplight as you walked towards her. You held out your hands and held onto hers as she stood up with you. She was laughing again, without her hand over her mouth, just her head tilted back, hair spilling off her shoulders. You started dancing with her even though there wasn’t any music. “Dork,” she said into your shoulder as she went along with it.

“I’m just practicing for the wedding,” you said rationally.

“Ah, yes.” Her hand curling around your shoulder, her body getting closer to yours.

The floorboards were creaking loudly under your feet but you didn’t care. “So how should we kiss?”

“What?” She brought her head back from where it was resting on your shoulder and looked at you with a furrowed brow.

“I mean, during the ceremony. What’s appropriate?”

She laughed at you then and so you twirled her around and dipped her but pretended to lose your grip and almost drop her. She yelped but you caught her and she said, “We’ll kiss like we always do,” her body still parallel to the floor, your arm still supporting her.

You looked down at her there, her skin washed in the dim light, her hair flooding on the floor behind her head. “I might get carried away,” you said. You were very serious about that even though she didn’t seem to think so.

But then she must have noticed it in your eyes or in your face because she sobered up a little and said, “Okay,” and then, “okay,” again and lifted herself back to her feet.

And then you were standing there in the middle of the room and her eyes were steady on yours and she had her hands on your chest and yours were on her face now and she was saying, “Like this,” and she was kissing you softly and your instinct was to pull her in, hold onto her, but before you could open your mouth to hers, she pulled back and kissed you quietly once more on your bottom lip and said, “Like that.”

You warned her then, you said, with your hands moving to those dangerous hips of hers, “I don’t think that’s going to be enough for me.”

And now you’re here and everything has blurred past you. All you know is that she is yours now, forever, finally, and you aren’t kissing her at all like you practiced.

unfold is the author of 102 other stories.
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