Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes Page 28

I thought about it, unsure how to respond. “It’s hard to say, since I have nothin’ else to compare it to, but I think it was probably pretty good.”

“Pretty good?” he asked with a mischievous look in his eye. “Why, if I didn’t know better Rose Gardner, I would suspect you were a tease. Are you telling me that you need something to compare it to?”

I nodded, licking my lower lip where he had nipped.

His eyes followed my tongue. The playfulness fell away and his lips found mine, much more insistent this time, much more demanding. I never thought it possible to lose oneself in someone else, but I lost myself in him. When he stopped, I had no idea if I stood on my own. Turns out I didn't. Joe held me up with the arm around my back.

“Was that one better?” Huskiness filled his words.

“Does it get even better than that?” I asked, trying to catch my breath.

“Yes,” he said, his breath tickling my face. “But it involves more than just kissing. You would have to move to number fifteen.”

“Do more…?”


“Can you help me with that one too?” I asked, eager.

Joe groaned, pulled my face to his chest and murmured into my ear. “You have no idea how much I want to help you with that, but I can’t. You’re drunk and it wouldn’t be right.”

I pulled back in protest. “I’m not drunk!”

“You most certainly are. Try to walk a straight line.”

I had serious doubts about my ability to do that.

“There you go.” Joe said, smiling. But he looked a little sad too. “Do you still have to go to the bathroom?”

I nodded.

“Can you make it by yourself?”

“I think so…,”

Joe decided it would be better if he escorted me inside. I shut the bathroom door behind me, looking at my reflection in the mirror. My cheeks were flushed and my eyes sparkled. I’d never seen myself look that way.

When I walked out, Joe waited outside the door.

“Now what?” I asked. “Are you going to go home?”

“Not if you don’t want me to. We could watch TV.”

I smiled. “That sounds nice. But I don’t have cable.”

“Yeah, I know, because of number three. Get cable TV.”

“Why do I think I’ll regret showin’ you my list?”

He laughed. “Because you probably will.”

“We can go to your house if you want, you probably have cable and a sofa.”

“I think we can both squeeze in that chair over there.” He gestured to the oversized one in the living room.

I blushed a little. For both of us to sit in that chair meant we had to sit very close together.

Joe took my hand in his. He sat in the chair and had me sit on his lap, my legs over the arm of the chair. I laid my head in the crook of his neck.

“Comfy?” he asked, turning on the television with the remote.

“Mmmhmm…” I had never felt so comfortable in all my life.

Between the beer, the coziness of being held and the murmur of the television, my eyes got heavy and I decided I’d rest them for a minute.


“Hmm?” I hovered on the edge of wake and sleep, when you’re straddling both but belong to neither.

“I really like your hair.”

I fell asleep, lying against his chest listening to the soft beat of his heart in my ear, my own full of joy.

Chapter Eight

The next morning, beer and I mutually decided our relationship wasn’t going to work out. I wondered why it decided to turn on me as I clung to the toilet, waiting to puke my guts out. Everything had been going so well the night before. I lifted my head, trying to remember what happened, and groaned when it all rushed back. I dropped my head in dismay, whacking my forehead on the porcelain. Just what I needed to help my already aching head.

What did I do? What did I do? What did I do? ran through my head like a Buddhist chant. What did I do? I drank a beer. And then another. Joe showed up. And he brought me a sandwich. I drank another beer. And he read my list.

I groaned again. He read my list. How could have I let that happen? Then I remembered our kiss. If my stomach hadn’t been rallying the rest of my intestinal track into a march of protest, I might have enjoyed the rush of heat and anticipation that accompanied the memory. I remembered asking him to help me with the do more wish and I groaned again. What had I done? But I remembered both kisses and I couldn’t find enough shame to muster any guilt. I felt like a fool and Joe surely thought I was a complete idiot, but I wasn't sorry I kissed him.

And there you had it; I was paving the highway to hell in beer bottles and kisses.

But I checked off another wish on my list. That brought a smile to my lips, right before I puked.

When I made my way to the kitchen, I found a note on the table, written on the back of a Stop-N-Go receipt. Next to it was my Wish List, which now had tiny check marks next to the numbers one, ten, fourteen and eighteen.

I picked up the gas pump receipt, the print small enough to fit on the three-inch long paper.


I hope you feel okay today. Be sure to drink lots of water and I’ll check on you later.


PS. In case you missed it last night, I really like your hair.

I clutched the receipt to my chest. My first note from a boy. Well, a man. Joe definitely wasn’t a boy. Giddiness washed through me, in spite of my overall ickiness. I really wanted to share this with Violet, but I wondered if she was still mad.

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