Connor nervously twiddled his thumbs in his lap. He and Abby were sitting on an old upside-down wooden fruit crate waiting for Danny and Becker to meet them. They'd been at the video store when the anomaly alert had gone off and Abby had driven her car to the site. They'd dealt with the anomaly and the others had driven off in one vehicle, but Abby and Connor hadn't gotten far at all because apparently Connor had forgotten to fill the petrol tank after he'd last borrowed the car. Abby had tried and tried to get the car started, but to no avail, and finally she'd made the embarrassing phone call and asked the others to turn around and come get them.
Only, there hadn't been room in the ARC vehicle because it only sat four, so they'd had to finish driving Sarah back to the ARC first and Connor and Abby were looking at at least a fifty minute wait now.
"I'm sorry, Abby," Connor said softly.
"It's fine, Con. Mistakes happen, no worries, yeah?"
Connor nodded, slightly confused as to why she wasn't yelling at him. Actually, Abby hadn't yelled at him in a few days, not since the day that she'd kissed him and Jack had moved out. Connor still hadn't gotten up the courage to ask if he could move back in yet. He was working on it. He was also working on the courage to ask her about the kiss. She hadn't mentioned it again, but he was kind of hoping it meant something. She hadn't kissed him again, but she was currently leaning against him, resting her head on his shoulder.
"Abby?" he questioned, taking a deep breath as he did. "Are you me girlfriend now?"
Abby looked up at him, surprise registering across her face. "No," she said quickly. She scooted a bit further away from him on the crate, "Why would you think that?"
She instantly felt bad. She knew why he'd asked. To be honest, she kind of wanted to be his girlfriend, but she wasn't really ready for that yet, she didn't think. Not with Connor. She'd had too many relationships turn sour in the past and she wasn't going to risk losing Connor. Maybe one day, when she was a bit surer of her feelings, but not yet.
She could see the embarrassment and disappointment in Connor's face. "Oh," he said, "No reason, I just thought… you did kiss me, Abby." He hoped desperately that she wouldn't try to deny it.
"I know," she said quietly, "I'm sorry."
Connor shook his head vehemently, "No, no, no, Abby, don't be sorry. I mean, I enjoyed it. You can kiss me any time you want, yeah? I was just wondering why you did it then."
Abby smiled at his understanding. "Thanks, Con. I just, I guess I just felt like it is all."
Connor nodded slowly without responding and Abby could pretty nearly see the gears in his head turning as an idea was forming. Finally he turned to her, "Hey, Abs, what if sometime I just randomly felt like kissing you? What would happen then?"
Abby ducked her head a bit to try and hide her smile. Trust Connor to ask something like that. She bit her lip as she thought for a moment and then replied, "Well, I guess that would be fair. Fine, I grant you one freebie kiss, whenever you want it."
Abby raised her eyebrow, "Of course only one."
"That don't seem fair, actually, Abs."
"Why not? I only kissed you once."
"Ye-es," Connor drew out the word into two syllables, "but when you kissed me once, I had kissed you zero times. Why can you kiss me just because you felt like it, but I can only kiss you because you kissed me first? Maybe I kiss you and even it up, but then I feel like it again the next day, and then I'm not allowed to?"
"Hmmm," Abby replied, thinking hard. He did have a point.
"Besides," Connor continued, "What's not to say that you won't ever feel like kissing me again? And if you did, are you allowed? Because that means you'd be allowed twice? And I'm not gonna say no to granting you a second go, if you'd like."
Abby burst out laughing and then said, "Okay, fine. Here's the deal Connor: you have two chances now, but you can't get more than one kiss ahead."
"These are the rules, k? I kissed you once, so I got one kiss ahead. Now, you can kiss me once and tie it up. Then if it's a tie, it's anyone's turn, yeah? But you can't get more than one ahead."
"So, you mean, like I can kiss you now, but you can't kiss me, because you are already one kiss ahead?"
"Exactly, but if you kissed me, it'd be a tie. Got it?"
"It feels like your describing a game, Abby."
Abby giggled, "It can be a game: The Kissing Game. We play until either one of us is dating, or things get weird between us. If things become weird because of it, then we quit, okay?"
"If we quit, can we still kiss each other without the rules?"
"No!" Abby replied forcefully, playfully swatting at him, "So don't let things get weird."
"Okay, I think we need a time limit on turns though."
"What do you mean?"
"You know, like when you play chess with someone that takes ages and ages, then the next time you play with them, you tell them they have one minute to make a move or their turn is forfeit. So, if I got, say, a kiss ahead, there should be a time limit and if you don't kiss me by then, it's tie again and I'm allowed another go."
Abby hesitated, not so sure that it was such a good idea suddenly, but then again, she had rather enjoyed the kiss. Besides, granting Connor permission to kiss her sometimes might help. She wanted to kiss him. She'd probably enjoyed their kiss as much as he had. Maybe it'd help her make up her mind about him if she gave him permission to make some first moves on her. "Fine," she agreed, "What sort of time limit are you thinking of?"
Abby laughed, "No chance, that's way too soon."
"You choose, Abby. What are you comfortable with?"
Abby hesitated and then said, "Two months."
Connor grinned; that wasn't too bad actually. Much better than once every three years, which was what his record was at now. Plus, he was already up one and could take the next two if he wanted. "Agreed," he accepted, "Now, we need to fine tune the details. What constitutes a kiss?"
"What d'ya mean?"
"Well, I seem to remember you kissing me on the cheek once too, so maybe you're two up and I need an extra turn."
Abby chuckled, "That doesn't count. Anything but lips are freebies."
"Good," Connor said, leaning over to give her cheek a quick peck.
Abby blushed a bit, wondering what she'd just gotten herself into, but not yet regretting her game, after all it was only fair. "You know," she said, almost a bit flirtatiously, "it is your turn."
"Yep," Connor grinned at her, but he made no effort to kiss her just then and Abby wondered if she should be worried about the fact that she was disappointed by it.
Connor was brilliant. Somehow he'd talked Abby into playing the best game ever with her, even having her suggest it and come up with the rules. He just wasn't sure how he'd done it. All he knew was that he wasn't about to blow his opportunity by making her stop playing. He had to be careful that things didn't get weird between them. He really wished he'd clarified with her what 'weird' actually meant.
In the meantime, he didn't want to use up his turns right away. It was best to save them, thought. On the other hand, if he waited for too long, it might feel more awkward. That was usually the case with things like this. So he'd use one turn soon and save the other. Unless Abbyused her turn of course, then he'd have two chances again. He grinned at the thought, but then squashed the idea. He had to make sure he didn't get his hopes up about that one. But then… she had kissed him first and, unless he was a lot less observant than he liked to believe, she'd been flirting with him today. Oh she'd denied they were boyfriend and girlfriend as always, but the game had been her idea and he'd noticed the disappointed look in her eyes when he hadn't kissed her on the spot. She might use her turns.
Tonight was their movie night and so Connor had had Danny and Becker drop him off at Abby's flat with her. It'd be the perfect opportunity, Connor thought, but before he kissed her, he wanted to get her to agree to let him move back in with her. To him, that was more important than the whole kissing thing and he was worried that if he did mess up and make things weird between them with the kiss, she'd say no.
It's been Abby's turn to choose the movie. Connor swore it was somehow her turn every week, but Abby said the same thing about him. Obviously that wasn't true though, because Abby had chosen tonight's movie. It was actually a good day for Abby to choose though, he mused, because he was thinking so hard about the kiss and the flat, that he wasn't really paying the movie any attention anyway.
About halfway through the movie, Connor suddenly noticed that Abby had gravitated towards him and now her arm was brushing with his every time she reached for the popcorn. He smiled to himself. She was definitely flirting… maybe.
He took a deep breath and then said hurriedly, "Abby, since the ARC hasn't towed your car over yet and I don't really want to bug Danny again and the weather isn't great, maybe I might just crash on your sofa for tonight?"
Abby nodded, a smile spreading across her face, "Yeah, sure. You don't have to ask, you know, Con."
"No. I told you, didn't I, that you moving out was only temporary? You're welcome here as often as you like now that Jack's gone. It's your home too."
Connor was elated. She wanted him back. Permanently. In fact, he was so thrilled and that kiss had been on his mind so much, that he went for it. Accidentally. It wasn't at all the kiss he had planned on giving her. He'd wanted something like the breathtaking passionate one she'd given him at the race track, but before he knew what he was doing he'd leaned over and given her an overly-excited thank-you peck on the lips that was over before either of them could blink.
Abby turned with a half shrug back to the telly, but it didn't stop Connor from seeing the smile and blush on her face.
"Abby?" Connor asked tentatively.
"Can that not count for the game?"
Abby turned back to him in disbelief. "What?"
"I want a redo kiss. Can I get it?"
" 'Course not! That's one of the rules. Why should I let you have a redo?"
"You never said that rule before," Connor pointed out. "It wasn't a proper kiss, Abs. Not like when you kissed me. It was more just a peck."
Abby hesitated. He was right about that, but she couldn't risk giving him too much control in what already seemed like a dangerous game. She shook her head. "Nope, no redos. It was on the lips, so it counts as a genuine kiss."
"Alright," Connor sighed, "but you really should have specified that rule before."
"Another rule: rules can be added at any time." Abby said with a grin.
Connor pouted, giving her his best puppy-dog face, but Abby ignored it as she continued, "If you want a proper kiss, you're still allowed another turn. After all, it's a tie now," she pointed out.
Connor grinned, "or… you could initiate it."
Abby rolled her eyes and turned back to the movie, but Connor wasn't disappointed as he hadn't really expected anything different. Stubbornly, he did the same, determined not to use up his turn either.
About ten minutes before the movie ended, Abby suddenly turned to him. "Oh to hell with it," she muttered, before grabbing the back of his head to pull him close in a much, much more passionate kiss than what Connor had given her earlier. Connor returned it easily, hoping that returning a kiss didn't count as a turn, but too caught up in the moment to actually care.
When Abby did finally pull away, she blushed a bit as Connor smirked at her. "That was a great kiss, Abs," he complimented her, "but now you've gotta remember that you have to wait on me to move next and it's your own rule not to allow redos."
Abby shrugged and nodded, trying to act like she didn't care, and she partly didn't as the kiss had been worth it, but Connor was right; he now had full control over the game again and though she didn't know why, the thought did make her slightly uncomfortable still. She wasn't used to not having any control in any situation.
Connor on the other hand was incredibly happy with this turn of events. He'd never expected Abby to use another turn so soon, if at all. He didn't really want to stop kissing her, and he knew he could take a turn again now and continue it, but he also thought it might be too much at once. He didn't want Abby to take the game back. Instead he put his arms around her and drew her close to his side. She didn't pull away, just cuddled against him as they watched the movie credits roll across the screen. He did sneak a couple light kisses into her hair and saw her smile.