Chapter 9: Kiss on My List

Nalani returned at Winterfest as sure as Father Winter coming down the chimney, if Father Winter was a gorgeous tattooed chick with a smoking hot body. Also, I don’t have a chimney, since that would require a fireplace. A fireplace would require masonry skills I definitely do not have, so she came through the front, and only, door.

Father Christmas Never Wore a Tube Top This Well

She managed, once again, to time her arrival just as I was getting home from work. If I were a more suspicious man, I’d wonder if she was hiding out in the bushes waiting for me to get home, just so she can revel in my embarrassment at having her see me in my ridiculous work uniform again.

Speaking of the uniform, I’ve been promoted since we last chatted. The old green jacket will be passed on to the next unsuspecting intern, while I was issued a brand new red one, signifying that I’m a full employee now. I’m not a fan of the look, particularly, but what bothers me even more about the new jacket is its unfortunate lack of all the pockets the old one had. It may have made me look like a walking asparagus stalk, but at least I had a place for any frogs I might happen upon in the environs surrounding Sahara Social.

Yeah, I’m Kind of a Big Deal

Still, the important thing here isn’t the jacket, although pockets are not something to be underestimated. What’s important is that I’m now paid a lot more money (though still, truth be told, not very much), and they trust me to do things like write clickbait articles for our questionable “news” sites and to come up with bad jokes for fast food chain accounts on Twitter. That’s right, friends, I’ve officially now held down one job long enough to get promoted. And they said I’d never amount to anything.

Nalani was, of course, rather impressed by my rapid rise up the corporate ladder — or at least was kind enough to pretend to be impressed so as not to shatter my fragile ego — and offered to cook me dinner. She is, as it turns out, a very good cook… or she claims she is, anyway. After digging through my refrigerator and finding that all I had in there was week-old delivery leftovers and a few assorted, but rather uninspiring, other items, she accepted that she wouldn’t be able to actually cook anything, and mixed up a salad for the two of us. Still, it was better than anything I could have done.

After dinner we sat and talked for a while, since there really aren’t any other entertainment options in my shack unless you really enjoy the sounds an old refrigerator makes as it slowly dies. In an attempt to liven things up, at one point I actually led her over to the old icebox for a good listen. Let’s be honest, an appliance’s death rattle is probably more fun to listen to than me babbling on about social media-related esoterica for hours on end. That’s when the compulsion came upon me, and before I could overthink my way out of it, I just took a risk and went with it.

Right in Front of Her Salad

Looking at that photo now, I’m not sure if that’s surprise, shock, or fear in her eyes. It could be all three. I didn’t see that look at the time because my eyes were clamped shut as tightly as I could manage, so I wouldn’t have to see her turn away in disgust and flee from the shack in horror.

She didn’t flee. I would even venture to say she might have leaned into it a little, eventually. Then we both just kind of sat there for a long time, neither one of us saying much of anything. She had a somewhat dazed look on her face, and I was deep inside my own head wondering how bad a kisser she thought I was, and trying to remember whether I’d brushed my teeth after I ate that onion bagel in the morning.

After a few moments we both laughed at the awkwardness of it all. There it was again, her laugh. Sort of high-pitched and a little squeaky and almost clicky at the same time, it reminded me of something, but I just couldn’t for the life of me put my finger on what. I put it out of my head and decided that if tonight was going to be awkward, why not go all out. If there’s one thing I know how to do well, it’s how to make things awkward and then escalate to super duper awkward.

Throwing caution to the wind, I went in for kiss number two.

Lawrence of Arabia vs. Moana

That was the first (well, second actually) of a series of smooches that went on for quite some time. Nalani is a lot like a potato chip — you can’t stop at just one. Without delving into details you don’t need — or probably even want — to know, I’ll just say I inhaled an entire bag of chips out of her. No, wait, that’s a really horrible metaphor. Can you believe they actually let me write things on the internet that come out of the head that thought that was the right thing to say? It’s awful, and I’m an awful person not just for thinking it, but making you read it.

All metaphors aside, it was a rather lovely evening that didn’t end at kisses. I’d give you a more descriptive explanation of went on, but frankly, after the whole potato chip thing I just don’t trust myself not to make it really weird and creepy and high in saturated fats.

…and a bag of chips.

At the end of our little love fest I think we both dozed off, only to be awakened later by a noise I couldn’t quite identify. It was a sort of thumping, which I at first assumed was my ancient fridge shuffling off its mortal coil, but then I realized it sounded a lot like what a person knocking at my front door would sound like if anyone ever did that.

Well, crap. Someone just came by my desk and told me the boss is looking for me. It wouldn’t shock me to find out there’s a client angry about some inappropriate snack food metaphor I tweeted under their name. I better go find out what that’s about, but I’ll give you all the details on our late night visitor if I still have a job when I get back.

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