Dedicated to Ash. She
knows why. Also dedicated to Emi-chan, for starting her own "date
series" and keeping me motivated to finish mine.
"Good Night Kisses"
Declan couldn't believe how
well the night going. It was better than well--it was wonderful!
He'd been a little late, thanks to Mole, but Peggy hadn't seemed to notice
and dinner had gone off without a hitch. They'd talked and laughed...
it was almost perfect. Although, Peggy *had* seemed a tad preoccupied,
but she'd brightened up once they got to the bowling alley.
A smile suddenly pasted itself
across Declan's face. She'd hugged him. It was one of those
spontaneous things... and Peggy probably hadn't realized she'd done it.
But Declan had noticed. He'd felt a jolt of lightning go through
his entire body when she'd touched him just then, and he still felt warm
I love you, Peggy, he thought
to himself as he watched her pay for the bowling shoes they'd used that
evening. I've always loved you. From the moment I first saw
you in Dr. Hess's classroom, I knew there was something special between
Declan sighed, the silly
smile melting from his face. He knew Peggy was still hurting from
losing her husband, but he also felt that if he didn't act soon, he'd lose
her, too. Again. He'd always regretted not asking her out before
she disappeared from his life the first time. He didn't want to blow
He also didn't want to push
her into anything she wasn't ready for. That's why it had taken all
the courage he had just to ask her out on one little date.
"Declan?" Peggy's voice
cut into his thoughts. "Is something the matter?"
"No," he said, shaking himself
out of his introspection and grinning at her. "I was just thinking
about how great tonight's been."
"Me, too," Peggy admitted.
"I really had fun. I'm glad you asked me to come." Her smile
was warm and friendly, and Declan found himself smiling back at her.
If tonight had been good for Peggy, then he was happy.
They walked out of the building
together and headed for Declan's truck.
They chatted some more on
the ride home, but Declan was beginning to feel nervous about the date
ending. Funny, huh? He was nervous about asking her out, nervous
about picking her up on time, and now he was getting the jitters about
dropping her off. Maybe it was because he was afraid this would be
their one and only date?
"Well, we're here..." Declan
said, as he opened the driver's side door and climbed out of his truck.
He started the front of the truck to open Peggy's door for her, but she
beat him to it by getting out on her own. A bit flummoxed, not because
she'd exited the truck but because he didn't know what else to say or how
to end the night, Declan just stood there, hovering awkwardly by the truck.
"Yeah," Peggy sighed.
"Here we are." She grabbed her purse from off the passenger seat
and closed the door. It made a rusty, metallic clanging noise which
sounded somehow very *final* to Declan. "Would you like to come in or something,
Declan?" she asked, totally throwing him for a loop. He hadn't expected
"I... umm..." he stammered.
Would he *like* to come in? Did she know what that one question did
to him? Did she have any clue that she'd just made his heart race
and stomach flip-flop? "Yeah," he said at last, his cracking like
a teenage boy's does when he hits puberty. "Sure. I'd love
Peggy laughed at Declan's
anecdote as they sipped coffee and relaxed on the couch in her living room.
"That's a really cute story," she said.
"Really? You liked
it? I have tons more!"
Peggy chuckled. "Maybe
*after* I make a trip to the little girls' room," she told him.
When Peggy left, Declan's
jitters returned, causing the walls to start closing in on him. He
stood, pacing the room until he stopped in front of the balcony where Peggy's
telescope--her husband's telescope, he corrected himself--was still set
up. Pushing open the sliding glass door, he slipped outside into
the cool night air.
He was leaning over the railing,
staring out in to the starry sky when she found him a few minutes later.
"Declan?" Peggy came
up behind him, placing a hand on his shoulder. "What are you doing
out here all alone?"
"Looking at the stars," he
replied. His heart skipped a beat when she came stand next to him.
"They're beautiful," Peggy
said, staring into the dark vastness before them.
Without hesitating, Declan
said the first thing that came into his mind. "Not as beautiful as
you, Peg." When she didn't reply, he worried if he'd said the wrong
thing. She had, after all, insisted that tonight be just about friendship.
You screwed this up, dummy, he told himself and braced for the worst.
"Hey, Peg, I'm sorry, I--"
he said, turning to looking at her. He stopped when he saw the tear
sliding silently from her cheek. Oh great, he thought, I made her
cry. "Peggy, I--hey. Please don't cry. I'm sorry... I
overstepped my bounds there. Maybe I should just go."
"No, Declan," her voice stopped
him. "Don't go. I'm not crying because of what you said."
"You're not?" he turned
back to her. "Then why the tears?"
"Because," Peggy began, moving
closer to him. Declan could feel time slowing with her every moving.
"I just realized how close I came to missing out on something special."
She reached out her hand, her fingers lightly touching his five o'clock
shadow. To Declan, her touch felt like warm, like being next to a
cozy campfire. "I'm glad you finally got the courage to ask me out,
Declan." She whispered to him, her voice thick with meaning and emotion.
Declan thought he knew what that emotion was; he was feeling it, too.
He leaned in, like a moth
drawn to a flame, and was surprised when her lips met his halfway.
Their kiss was soft and gentle, the pure first kiss of true love.
Around them, the stars sparkled and shined in the heavens and a comforting
breeze washed over them, erasing any doubts Declan might have had about
And time stood still.