Somewhere Between Light and Dark
Birdsong filtered through the city noise and a breeze, as cold as the arctic, blustered through the trees. Kira let the chill dance about her feet and pulled her scarf tighter. She rested her hands on the park bench beside her. Frost still coated the wood like icing sugar and her finger tips traced gentle patterns.
She’d had a little tipple or two before leaving the house and a giggle left her lips. She felt deliciously naughty and not nice.
The birds still sang, but footsteps quietened them for a moment before they struck back up in a wintry chorus. Kira closed her eyes and listened to the beat of the shoe – heel, toe, heel, toe – until it faded in the distance.
The cold indicated snow would soon blanket the ground and the faint discord of Christmas music tickled her ears. She focussed on the music so intently that she missed the footsteps sauntering past, but her nose didn’t miss the scent that filled the air: salty, citrusy, and… sandalwood. Her cheeks flushed, but she didn’t move an inch.
Her attention leaped back to the footsteps and her eyes fluttered open again. The man sat down on the bench and Kira’s body tingled as the planks of wood sank adjusting to the weight of two. She was a little unsure if the cider she’d drunk at home caused the tilting warmth in her bones, or if it was something else.
He shifted his weight, somewhat uneasily, and the bench creaked. She splayed her fingers beside her on the wet wood, but they touched nothing. Her fingers retracted and her thighs tensed. His breath came light and shallow, and she imagined vapour like dragon’s smoke swirling before him.
“Hi.” His voice was soft, nervous, and gravelly.
He sounded like chocolate tasted, like coffee and vanilla, and Tia Maria, and she felt her heart skip. “Hi,” she responded, her own nerves tingling. It was a dangerous word, because maybe it wasn’t her he spoke to.
She felt the heat of his smile. “It’s cold, isn’t it?” he commented, staring ahead at the trees in front of them.
She nodded. “It is. Winter is definitely here.” She swallowed and bent her head a little.
He opened his mouth to speak again, but hesitated. Kira barely breathed, wondering if she should turn her head to him.
“I’ve seen you here loads before…” he began, then stopped abruptly, maybe worrying if he sounded like a stalker.
She smiled, recalling booted feet and aftershave. “I’ve noticed you too,” she said.
She nodded. “I know it probably doesn’t seem like I notice anything…”
“I didn’t mean it like that,” his voice betrayed anxiety.
“It’s okay.” She giggled, the cider giving her confidence. “I’m Kira.”
“Like Nerys?” he said quickly. “I’m sorry, that might be a bit too geeky! You might not have…”
“I have, and yes!” She grinned.
“Nick,” he said.
He laughed. “Yep, just like him! But I don’t look a bit like him…” He paused and drew in a breath.
She laughed. “That’s okay, I’m not into the beardy type…” This time she hesitated. Maybe he had a beard.
“Good!” He said firmly, and she let out her breath. He moved a little closer on the bench and it rose and sank beneath his weight. “You’re not usually here alone,” he said.
Her mind whirled with danger, with attraction, and with a slightly tipsy sway. “I know, but I felt like getting out on my own.” She didn’t dare add it was because she knew he spent his lunch breaks in the park.
“Where is he?” he asked.
Kira reddened. He knew. She took a moment to compose herself. He was still talking to her, initiating conversation, even though he was perfectly aware of her situation. “He’s at home.”
“Do you often come out without him? I’ve never seen you alone before. I’d imagine he’s quite protective?”
She nodded. “He is, but I think he’ll like you.” She turned her head and bokeh from several points of light burst into her eyes. Even through a blur of light and dark, his silhouette was attentive and striking and she wanted to reach up and stroke his face. “You should meet him.”
“I’d like that,” he said and his hand moved across the bench to touch hers. “Would you like me to walk you home?”
She nodded. “I think Odin, my guide dog, will love you!”
750 words max on a tipsy Christmas theme. ‘Bring us your tales of drunken holiday mayhem (no Santa actually required, but the Tipsy part is highly encouraged).’
I’m feeling mellow this year, so not going full out drunk, just romantically tipsy…