Graysen sat on the edge of his windowsill, the window pane pushed open as far as it allowed. He was leaning against the frame, his right leg dangling off the sill, skimming the floor below. In his left hand he idly held a lit cigarette, its smoke curling into the still night air. He brought it to his lips and inhaled deeply, the cool nicotine filling his lungs and coursing into his bloodstream. He knew smoking was unhealthy, but at this point in his life – when everything else had become so wrong, why stop if it was pleasurable? He leaned his head back against the frame and closed his eyes, letting the smoke pour from his mouth. With any luck the cigarette would calm his nerves.
His phone hummed beside him, alerting him to a text message. He didn’t have to glance over at it to know that it would be Jenny’s name written across the screen, likely wanting to confirm their plans for the evening. Behind his closed lids he could still see her eyes staring into his own, questions swimming in her smoky eyes. He had been drawn into that gaze, unable to escape it. In that moment it had seemed as though the scarred battlefield of his past did not separate them. The wind caught in Jenny’s auburn hair, extending the tendrils like fingers towards him. She had reached up and futilely tucked her hair back into place behind her ears before shrugging her shoulders that were made too broad from the bulk of his leather jacket. The physical space vanished as lips met. One hand had tangled in her silky hair, drawing her close; the other grasping at the soft leather, trying to hold her in a place where time could no longer touch them.
The kiss had been a mistake.
Time inevitably touched everything. Those moments were lost inside a barrage of questions and expectations. There was much about Jennifer Harrison that he didn’t understand, but Graysen knew himself. He saw the sharp and glittering edges that would cut and hurt Jenny until nothing good remained. And then what?
He flicked the remains of the cigarette to the street below and stood up, closing the window behind him. There was no plan for this. No rules. Jenny wasn’t supposed to have happened. He dragged his hands through his hair before rubbing his thumb and forefinger against the scruff on his chin. Jenny hadn’t happened. It was just a kiss. And kisses were as empty as promises.
He picked up his phone and responded that he was one his way and would see her soon before tucking it into the back pocket of his jeans. His leather jacket was still with Jenny so he settled for a soft gray tweed and headed out into the cool night.
At the back of his mind he couldn’t shake the niggling thought: if it had just been a kiss, why couldn’t he forget?
Jenny hummed to herself as she sat at her vanity, placing the final touches on her makeup. She ran the final strokes across her cheeks and set the brush down gently before she pulled her hair from the bun on top of her head to let the auburn waves fall down around her shoulders. She ran her fingers through the locks, adjusting just so, placing a strand here and there until she was satisfied with the outcome. There was a nervous kind of excitement building in the base of her belly - a familiar feeling now, whenever it came to a certain Mr. Daniels. She smiled at the thought and picked her phone up to message him. Are we still on for tonight? The sound of the clicks on her phone was the only noise left in her apartment, and being sure that his response would be yes, she moved to her front door to slip her brown leather jacket (strategically placed beside the black leather jacket she had stolen from him) and her flat brown leather boots on before she felt her own phone vibrate in her pocket.
For the first time in a long time, there was almost a skip in her step. It was funny what a single kiss could do. She didn’t know what it meant any more than he had, but it had felt good. Better than good, but she couldn’t think of another adequate word to put in its place right now. She had barely been able to stop thinking about it since that night - his strong hands holding her, the feel of his body pressed to hers…it had brought about a spark in her that she thought had died a long time ago. Jenny had tried not to think too much into it, but she had held onto that feeling with great ease.
The walk to the beach seemed quick tonight, and as soon as she turned the corner to the beach she could pick him out in the crowd. There was no way you could miss Graysen Daniels, she was sure of it. Even if he felt like disappearing, there was simply no one in the world like him. She didn’t know what she found more attractive - that she knew as much to be true, or that he did. Jenny folded her arms across her chest and smiled as her pace picked. His back was to her, facing out over the ocean. Jenny wondered just then, as she approached, what he was thinking about and if she’d be a welcome distraction to those thoughts. She made no motion to quiet the sound of her feet, but instead came up behind him and covered his eyes with her cool hands, grinning with her chin on the back of his shoulder.
”Give me all your change.” It was hardly a threatening gesture, not even remotely intimidating, and she kissed his cheek before she stepped back to give him the space to turn around.