Though I’m covered in sweat, it has nothing to do with the heat from the stage lights. We’re standing on the footbridge facing each other with our hands clasped. There may be an audience of five hundred, but the way she looks at me as she sings makes me feel as if there’s only us. I know what’s supposed to come next, but not because it’s scripted.
I’ve imagined this moment—craved it—long before I had reason to believe we’d be here tonight. Despite everything for which I’d blamed her since we were in high school together, I was never able to let go of my fantasies. I wanted her more than anything. After a decade of haunting me the way only lost love can, I walked into her classroom knowing this time I wouldn’t be invisible. She’d see me; she’d have to. What I saw in her eyes that day confirmed it. It didn’t matter if I was a twenty-five-year-old man pretending to be a seventeen-year-old boy—she wanted me as much as I wanted her.
Now she knows the truth; she’s standing in front of me, waiting for me to make my move. Though my life has never made more sense, I second-guess it all out of habit. As much as I want to feel her lips against mine now and her body against mine later, there’s something I need to know first.
“This is real, right?”
She nods, and her perfect lips form a smile.
It doesn’t matter if she’s been acting her entire life; she isn’t acting now. She’s never lied to me. As much as the extent to which I’ve been dishonest with her bothers me, it’s all in the past. As soon as I close the space between us—as soon as I kiss her—we have a fresh start. And I want to move forward—with her—more than anything. So why can’t I move my legs?
I can tell by the expression on her face my hesitation concerns her. It’s not for the reason she thinks. Now I know how young Anakin must have felt when he realized the hot, older, and in all likelihood more sexually experienced Padmé returned his feelings—thrilled and terrified in equal parts. Kissing her may be everything I’ve ever wanted, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be good at it.
There’s only one way to find out.