A Simple Kiss – By Lisa Kessler
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?
– Percy Shelley
Her laughter lingered in the wind, the finest music his heart had ever heard played. He chased after her, watching the way her curls of long golden hair danced down her back. Tiny white flowers adorned the braid around the top of her head like nature herself had crowned her queen of the forest.
He caught a glimpse of her slim ankle as she lifted her skirts and scurried behind the next tree. How he longed to touch her pale skin. Darting after her, he drank in the sight of her coquettish smile until he finally caught up and took her petite hand in his.
“Happy May Day, Emma.”
She looked up at him with green eyes the color of spring itself. Her cheeks flushed with color. “Good day to you, Alistair.”
His heart pounded out a lover’s song in his breast as he lifted her soft hand to his lips. Her skin smelled of roses and lilacs. Without taking his eyes from hers, he pressed a lingering kiss to the back of her hand, before turning it. He brushed the inside of her tender wrist with another kiss. Her lips parted as he lowered her hand, but failed to release it.
“You look lovely today, Emma. Spring is envious of your smile.”
Her chin tilted up toward him. “Is that so?”
“Most assuredly.” He nodded. “Your hair rivals the sunshine itself, and roses pale to the color of your lips.”
Color flushed her cheeks again as she retrieved her hand from his grasp. “You flatter me, Sir.”
“I only speak the truth.” He tipped his head in a slight bow. “Will you honor me with one request, Milady?”
She bit her bottom lip, pondering. “What would you ask of me?”
He gazed at her from under his lashes. “A simple kiss.”
A smile started to light her face, before she could demurely retrieve it. She brought a hand up to her lips, stifling her laughter. “There is nothing simple about a kiss.”
He straightened, perplexed. “A kiss is the simplest act a man and woman can share.”
She shook her head and a curl of gold settled in front of her shoulder, resting at the curve of her breast. “I disagree. A simple peck from father to daughter is also wrapped up with love and devotion. The love of a girl for her father is far from simple, kind sir. And a lover’s kiss on May Day could be a promise to be made, or a prize to be won. A kiss can linger long after your lips have left my own. How could that ever be called simple?”
He found himself following her back through the forest, toward the May Day bonfire. The May pole was quiet now as couples continued their courtships elsewhere. Bright ribbons swayed on the breeze, wistful and lonely. The smoke from the bonfire rose up as a signal of the end of winter, the welcoming of spring and summer.
As they approached the clearing, he stopped and took her hand in his. “You are my Queen of May, Emma.” She looked up at him, and he pressed her palm against his heart. “A simple kiss is my heart’s request. A simple kiss will allow my heart to speak, where words fail me. Our lips will love where words only complicate.”
She started to smile and he wondered if she could feel his heart pound in response. “It seems to me you do not lack for beautiful words, Sir.”
In a moment of self-indulgence, he brought a trembling finger up to caress her cheek, shocked at the tender perfection of her skin. “I can find no words to describe the depth of joy I feel when you are near, or the way I ache to hear your voice or see your smile.”
“If I give you this simple kiss…” Her gaze demanded his attention and honesty. “What will you give me in return?”
Alistair tilted his head lower, his pulse pounding in his ears as her breath teased his skin. He whispered as his lips claimed hers, “My heart.”
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