“Did you get everything you wanted?” I debated my answer for a split second and lifted my chin. “No. Not yet, but I’m hoping there are still some surprises in store for me. Maybe you can help me. I am the birthday girl after all. I’m pretty sure you have a duty to make all my wishes come true.”
“Hmm. Is that right?”
“Would I lie to you?”
One side of his mouth hooked up and I swear on everything holy my stomach fluttered. “That’s up for debate, but I’ll play along for now. What do you want?”
“So, um, I’m eighteen now and all, and I-I…” My courage stalled and I couldn’t get the request out of my mouth. I rolled my neck in a circle, unscrambling the tangled thoughts clouding my brain. He could say no, and without a doubt, I’d feel uncomfortable every time we ran into each other, and that was all right. I didn’t plan to remain under my father’s roof for more than another year anyway.
“I want a birthday kiss,” I blurted before my pride had the chance to edit my request.
His hand abandoned mine. “You do?”
“From you,” I added, heat crawling up my neck. Thank God for the darkness.
He glanced at the house and rubbed the back of his neck. “That’s not gonna happen.”
“Well, for starters, I think your dad would put a bullet between my eyes.”
“My dad is holed up in the study with the rest of the men drinking bourbon and smoking cigars.”
“That explains why it looked like a girls only party inside.”
The corners of his eyes crinkled, taking me in and clearly deliberating the pros and cons of my request. “In that case…” He tugged on my sleeve, pulling me closer to him. “I think I need to do my duty and grant the birthday girl her wish.”
“You do,” I rasped out, my eyelids heavy, my heart racing, and my lips tingling in anticipation.