Finn balanced his weight between the balls of his feet.

Finn balanced his weight between the balls of his feet and flexed his knees in preparation. Everyone knew a running jump did not count.

He jumped.

He jumped.

For weeks those gaudy bells had hung at Sigefrith-​​height, just out of reach, taunting every boy who passed beneath them. But Finn was the tallest of all the boys and had elven blood besides, and if he was not the first to ring them, he would never live it down.

He felt at once that he would fall short. No one was watching, and he had held nothing back – if he did not touch the bells now, it meant he could not touch the bells this year.

He felt at once that he would fall short.

For an instant he hated nothing and no one on earth as he hated those bells, with their flapping tongues and their gilded throats that mocked him with his own reflection. At the height of his leap he entirely forgot his original intent to to touch them, and put all his strength into punching them instead.

He felt a burning wrench in the socket of his shoulder, but his knuckles brushed cold brass, and as he soared to a triumphant landing he heard the indignant clinking of the bells.

He soared to a triumphant landing.

He was laughing by the time his feet hit the floorboards.

“Vin, it is your lucky night!” he announced to himself.

'Vin, it is your lucky night!'

Now he was a little sorry no one had been watching. He felt a little taller and a little older than he had a moment before, and he knew that if anything needed to be done tonight, or anything needed to be said to anyone who needed a talking-​​to…

Then something dark and tickly fluttered against his hair and flopped at his feet, and Finn squirmed like a girl until he saw that it was only a bit of Christmas greenery knocked loose from the bells.

“Hoops!” Now he was a little glad no one had been watching.


He picked up the twig and looked up at the bells. Undaunted, they mocked him with their dangling tongues and gaping maws.

“You did that on purpose,” he grumbled.

He looked around and spotted the wreaths of evergreen that hung from the arches. From a distance it appeared to be the same species of branch – and from a distance was all that mattered anyway.

From a distance it appeared to be the same species of branch.

“Who would ever notice?” he asked himself.

He stepped around the nearest flag to tuck his twig into the nearest wreath, but then he spotted a hem of sea-​​green silk trailing out of the alcove. He stomped around to meet its owner and came to face-​​to-​​face with Cousin Condal.

He stomped around to meet its owner and came to face-to-face with Cousin Condal.

“Why, Cousin Finn!” she peeped, looking as innocently surprised as if she had only just noticed he was there.

Finn felt his face go hot, though he could not have said how much with embarrassment and how much with anger at his cousin and her spying ways. She must have heard him talking to himself – but that meant she must have heard!

“Connie!” he gasped. “Did you hear me ring the bells?”

“Aye, Cousin!”

“From a standing stop!” he added. “Nobody else can do that except Sigefrith!”

'Nobody else can do that except Sigefrith!'

Condal grinned at him and nodded, and at that moment he would not have traded her for a roomful of appreciative boys. It appeared that there was something singularly intoxicating about the admiration of a pretty girl.

“You must be my whiteness if anyone says I am a liar, Connie. And look! I have evidence!”

He twirled his twig beneath her nose. Evidence! Why had he not thought of it before?

“I think that is called evergreen, Cousin,” Condal corrected shyly.

Finn laughed. It was a pleasure to speak English with a girl whose English was poorer than his.

“That also! But evidence, it means that I have proof, if anyone asks did I do it. And I have you, but you I cannot put into my pocket to show the boys.”

'I have you, but you I cannot put into my pocket to show the boys.'

He winked at her and opened his pocket to tuck his little twig away for later. Condal’s eyes followed his hand, and she leaned in to watch as if she held a feeble hope that she might fit into his pocket after all.

Finn patted his pocket closed and asked her, “But what are you doing, henny, hiding away in here?”

Condal curled away from him and flattened herself against the arch. “Ach, but I am not hiding, Cousin. I am simply waiting to meet someone.”

'Oh, for me?'

“Oh, for me?” he laughed.

She gasped, “No!” as though the very suggestion were a grave insult. Then she added gently, “Because you are a boy. I mean – I am waiting to meet a girl. Because I would not meet a boy alone.”

“Oh!” Finn laughed again, but he then began to imagine scenarios in which Condal did meet a boy alone – and not necessarily because she had been waiting for him.

Instinctively he leaned his hand on the opposite arch and made a sort of barrier for her with his arm.

Instinctively he leaned his hand on the opposite arch.

“You should find a better waiting-​​place, henny,” he said. “There is a lot of boys in this castle tonight.”

Condal laced her fingers together and whimpered almost tearfully, “I know!”

“For whom are you waiting, anyway?” he asked sourly, for he thought he already knew.

'For whom are you waiting, anyway?'

“For Lady Gwynn. She told me to wait right here, and she said she would not be so very long…”

Finn sniffed. He thought it sounded very much like Lady Gwynn.

“She stuffed you in the alcove like a bad evidence, or what?” he demanded. “Where is she?”

I came in the alcove by my own self,” Condal admitted, scrupulous as ever. “To… to be by this candle. And,” she added, drawing herself up stiffly with the pink-​​cheeked courage of primness, “if you must know, she had a small problem with her dress, which she went upstairs to ask her maid to fix.”

'She had a small problem with her dress.'

“And she made you wait here?” Finn asked. “Why didn’t she take you with?”

“I don’t know…”

“I always thought, if there is a room full of girls, if there is one girl with one single hairpin out of place, every last one has to get up and go with her to fix it!”

Finn laughed at the cleverness of his own observation, but Condal appeared confounded. Perhaps this breach of feminine protocol was some sort of insult after all. It sounded very much like Lady Gwynn.

“Well, forget about her, henny. You can come down with me. It will serve her right, for leaving you alone.”

'It will serve her right, for leaving you alone.'

Finn offered her his elbow, but although she dutifully laid her hand upon it, she did not move to follow him.

“But, Cousin,” she whispered, “I heard Colban saying something about mistletoe…”

“Oh, that!” Finn laughed. “We only put that up to see what Eadie would do when she saw it. Don’t worry, henny – I know where it is. I won’t make you walk under it.”

He tugged on her hand, but she only tugged on his elbow. The harder he pulled, the wider her eyes seemed to grow, until they seemed as large and as blue as a baby’s on her round-​​cheeked little face.

The harder he pulled, the wider her eyes seemed to grow.

“I won’t try to kiss you, I promise,” he said. “And I won’t let Cubby do it either.”

“I wouldn’t mind if you were kissing me, Cousin,” Condal mumbled.

Finn laughed, surprisingly flattered that she had not said “you or Cubby”. He decided he would tease Colban about it later on – perhaps even take advantage of her “wouldn’t mind” and kiss her when Colban was nigh.

Finn laughed, surprisingly flattered.

But Condal did not smile or giggle or bat her lashes at him as girls were supposed to do when flattering boys or hinting at kisses. Finn realized then that there was far more than Colban missing from her you–big men, with big hairy hands, and stubbled chins, and eyes that could see through gowns of sea-​​green silk. Finn had thought them all jolly enough – Cearball excepted – but he had never paused to wonder how they must appear to a shy, scrupulously prim young lady.

“Are you worried about those other fellows, henny?” he asked. “Don’t worry – I shall take it down as soon as we go down. They will never even know it was there. And if they already saw it, and were making plans, we shall have the last laugh.”

'We shall have the last laugh.'

Condal began to smile. Her round cheeks went still rounder, her dimples deepened into creases, and the color of her eyes darkened from blue to green.

Finn found there was something singularly intoxicating about the gratitude of a pretty girl – the flush of it warmed him as far as the tops of his ears. He felt like a fairy tale hero. If he leapt up now he thought he could touch the moon and make it ring.

But Condal’s smile seemed to stretch too far, and something in her snapped like a band. Her sweet little grin became a grimace, her dimples looked like cruel gouges, and her blue-​​green eyes spilled over with tears. She choked and tried to laugh and brush them away, but Finn had seen.

'Ach, it's no use!'

“Ach, it’s no use!” she lamented shakily. “There will always be mistletoe somewhere! Or perhaps they needn’t even that…”

Finn was uncertain about the present condition of his handkerchief, so he brushed at her cheek with his bare thumb. He was strangely surprised to find her tears so warm, and her cheek so velvety soft, like a kitten’s ear.

“The first thing you must do,” he advised, “is, do not hide yourself alone in dark places like this. No matter what that triple-​​ninny Gwynn tells you to do. Any man who finds you here will think it looks like a place made for kissing.”

'Any man who finds you here will think it looks like a place made for kissing.'

“Ach, no!” she pleaded.

“Don’t worry, now,” he soothed. “This time it was only I.”

Finn did not know what to do with his wet thumb – he did not think that a girl’s tears were something he could wipe on his sleeve – so he rubbed it into the back of his hand.

“And the second thing we shall do,” he continued, “is, tell Alred to take all that mistletoe down at his castle. It is not funny if it makes you worry and cry. And I think it is a stupid custom anyway. But I thought you girls liked it…”

'But I thought you girls liked it...'

“Ach, Cousin, ’tisn’t the mistletoe!” she sighed. “I don’t mind kissing you or my friends or the old gentlemen – those aren’t real kisses.”

Finn pursed his lips into a little frown. He had thought he had performed his mistletoe duty honorably enough.

“Sure and certain,” she whispered, “one of those boys will be trying to use the mistletoe – or some other reason – to steal a real kiss from me. Do not think me vain, Cousin,” she said solemnly, “but I’m thinking some of those boys came all the way from Scotland only for that.”

'I'm thinking some of those boys came all the way from Scotland only for that.'

Finn shrugged, afraid to nod and appear to condone this unreasonable behavior.

She concluded mournfully, “And I’m not liking any of those boys enough to want him to have my first kiss.”

“But… But, Connie,” Finn protested, “you’ve already had your first kiss. I know, because I already kissed you!”

“No! You know the kind I’m meaning,” she insisted.

'No!  You know the kind I'm meaning.'

Finn dared not admit he did not. Had he done something wrong? Had all the boys?

“An erotic kiss,” she whispered.

Finn saw at once the kind she meant. The kind she meant was the kind that smarmy Irishman had plastered all over Lady Gwynn’s naive little face, and which had so utterly turned her head that she was likely to have a crick in her neck all the rest of her life – if she ever regained her senses at all.

“Nobody had better try to kiss you like that,” he muttered.

'Nobody had better try to kiss you like that.'

His heart began to pound and his breath to come faster; and as ever more often of late, he had the frightening sense that his own body was a stronger weapon than he could safely wield. If provoked, he thought he could be brave or blind enough to attack a bigger man than himself. If his little cousin were in danger he thought he could swing high enough to strike the moon.

“But, Cousin, I’m fearing someone will,” she whimpered. “For the last time we ate a chicken, I was wishing on the wish-​​bone that I would be having my first real kiss by Christmas – and when it broke the wish went to me!”

She looked pleadingly at him as though she thought he held the power to cancel out wishes. Finn stamped and snorted and seethed.

'Well--why were you doing a so stupid thing like that, Connie?'

“Well – why were you doing a so stupid thing like that, Connie?” he demanded. “If you don’t like anyone enough to want to kiss him? I cannot understand you girls!”

Then he remembered something Gwynn had said: “I know whom she does like…

“Or is there someone?” he asked ominously. He could not think of anyone of whom he would approve.

'Or is there someone?'

Condal bowed her neck. A few wispy curls drifted past her ears and down her cheeks, and they rose and fell like fronds as she shook her head no. Finn knit his fingers together and cracked his knuckles to suppress his intense urge to smooth them back and tuck them away. Her ruffled hair made her look forlorn to his elven eyes.

“Well… you could eat another chicken,” he suggested.

'Well... you could eat another chicken.'

She lifted her head. “Aye, but I might have to eat a lot of chickens to get another wish. I have bad luck with wishbones.”

“Hmm. Does it work with pigeons? One can eat more of those.”

“I think it takes a chicken wish to break another chicken wish,” she sighed.

“Then… is there someone you don’t not like?” he pleaded. “You could at least get it over. It would make your wish come true, and then you don’t must kiss anyone else before Christmas.”

“Someone I…?” she asked.

'Someone I...?'

“Someone you do not… ah, not like. Is that hard to understand English?”

“I do not not like you,” she said thoughtfully.

Finn carefully canceled out the nots in his mind until he came to a startling conclusion. But had Gwynn not assured him of the contrary? Or had she played the same linguistic trick on him?

“I… don’t not like you either,” he mumbled. “Ah, too, I mean.” It seemed the only thing to say.

'I... don't not like you either.'

His heart was beating faster again, and his breath coming quick, but there was none of his usual surge of strength – none of the desire to hit or kick that was only just becoming familiar to him. In fact his arms felt rather weak and tingly. This was something new.

“Would you mind?” she whispered.

He gasped, “No! Unless you… unless you would.”

“Why would I?”

“Ah… because I might do it wrong?”

“Aren’t you knowing how?” Her wide eyes expressed a flattering astonishment. “Ach, is it your first kiss too?” she whispered. “Perhaps we oughtn’t…”

'Perhaps we oughtn't...'

“Why not?” he blurted.

“If there’s being someone you do not not like more than me…”

“Oh, no, not at all. I don’t not like you more than any girl I know.”

He began to laugh at his own absurdity. He had no idea whether he was saying what he meant. He was not even certain he knew what he meant. Standing within kissing distance of a pretty girl was proving to be more intoxicating than wine.

'Then we could do it!'

“Then we could do it!” Condal whispered eagerly. “Couldn’t we, Cousin? Then we could be having our first kiss as we like it, and not let some rude boy steal it away. Or rude girl. And you did say it looked like a place made for kissing.”

He giggled. He felt drunk. “I did say that,” he admitted. “Do you mean right now?”

“Who’s knowing what may happen tonight?” she asked sadly. Her wide eyes seemed to see past him into futures he could not.

Her wide eyes seemed to see past him.

“All right,” he agreed immediately, hoping to cut those futures back to one not too terribly disagreeable to her. “Let’s get started. Ah… how do we get started?”

Her face dimpled at once, and she giggled. She sounded as breathless as he. “I think we must stand closer together.”

“That sounds likely.”

She slipped one small brown hand between his arm and his side, and he felt it slide around the small of his back. His body had been touched by a girl’s hand! Before he knew it, his own hand was on her waist, and then his opposite arm was on her shoulder, as though their hands and arms had no place to go as they came together but upon each other.

Finn was unnerved by how much of her body he could sense.

Finn was unnerved by how much of her body he could sense even at this distance. The soft wool and sea-​​green silk of her gown hid her skin away, but he could feel her warmth right through it, and the surprising softness and solidity of her. There was a girl underneath! He was beginning to understand what she meant by real.

“And now?” he asked weakly.

“Now I think we must simply kiss,” she giggled.

“Will this work, if we don’t know how?”

“You’ve seen folk kiss before, haven’t you?” she asked. “I think we should try to do how it looks.”

'I think we should try to do how it looks.'

“Not many things in this world are as easy as they look,” he pointed out.

She laughed. Her arms tightened around him, and he felt them trembling – and yet she did not seem afraid, or if she was, not of him. He did not know what she was feeling, but he thought he was feeling it too.

“I think we must close our eyes,” she whispered. Her chin was shivering.

Finn immediately closed his eyes. “Don’t move now or I shan’t know where your lips have gone,” he warned her as he leaned his head closer.

'This is so funny!'

She giggled and gasped, “This is so funny!”

Finn thought it the most convenient thing she could have done. He easily found her lips by following the warm puffs of her breath to their source.

He kissed her then, or tried, for her mouth still giggled and puffed and shivered a while. But though his heartbeat drummed in his ears and his arms shook as they did before a fight, his savagery had melted into deep pools of patience and a tenderness for the little thing she was. Her breathless timidity made him feel old and wise and strong, and he kissed the beveled edges of her trembling lips while he waited for her to calm.

He kissed the beveled edges of her trembling lips.

All of a sudden she did. She sighed and stretched her shoulders, and then he felt her weight come to hang from his neck as she relaxed into drooping ease. Then she was not merely letting herself be kissed. Her lips were soft and warm and slippery and met his everywhere he sought them.

She did not taste of honey or wine or any ridiculously poetic thing – she only tasted of a warm, wet mouth, and in its feminine unfamiliarity it was sweeter and more intoxicating than anything he had ever drunk. She did not reek of frankincense or ambergris or whatever mystical perfumes fairy tale princesses dabbed behind their ears, but the faint odor of her cheek was soft and clean, and he wanted to breathe it forever.

She did not taste of honey or wine or any ridiculously poetic thing.

This was what she meant by real! He felt her so keenly that from kiss to kiss he began to lose track of whose lips were whose, whose hands were where. Her body was almost – not quite – his. Fearfully, as during a fight, he felt his own self-​​mastery being ripped away from him. She was making him insatiable. Every time he kissed her he wanted to kiss her twice again.

Every time he kissed her he wanted to kiss her twice again.

No one – no man, no matter how big and hairy-​​handed and bekilted – nothing could have stopped him except the frail timidity of herself. She turned her soft cheek towards his lips and made a frightened little chirping laugh, and he pulled back his head at once. His fingers were buried deep in her dark knot of hair. She wrung his collar between her hands.

Finn swallowed, as he had been dying to do for some time, though he would have choked to death rather than break off that kiss. Carefully he slipped his hand free and laid it on the neutral territory of her shoulder. He felt a little afraid of himself, as when he surveyed the damage after one of his fits of temper, but more than anything he feared that she would be terrified of him.

He felt a little afraid of himself.

She bowed her head until her cheek brushed his shoulder and laughed nervously again. “That was… not how it looks, Cousin!”

Finn gasped, “I’m sorry, Connie! I didn’t…”

Her head popped up, and she asked, “Sorry why?”

'Sorry why?'

A second later a fat loop of hair dropped out of her bun, and Finn awkwardly tried to catch it.

“Hoops, I messed your hair!” he whimpered.

Then she laughed aloud, and she was his dear, dimpled Cousin Henny again, with the old familiar sparkle in her eyes when they squinted up in merriment… Only now his Cousin Henny was standing so near he could feel her warmth all mingled up with his warmth, and her breath on his face, and the weight of her arms on his shoulders.

“Ach, is it very messed?” she asked. She made a small face and dabbed at her bun, but then she burst out into dimples and giggles again, and cleared her throat and straightened his collar, and made a funny show of trying to make the two of them presentable. Finn finally laughed.

'Don't worry, henny, I can fix your hair.'

“Don’t worry, henny, I can fix your hair.”

“Ach, aye!” she gasped. “I forgot you are an elf boy. Ach, du lieber!

She giggled breathlessly and turned around to let him see the back of her head. She stood so near that her shoulder brushed his chest as she turned, and he found this so very agreeable that he was sorely tempted to throw his arms around her and hold her there.

“All the girls will be so jealous!” she announced. “Only my sister Flann has an elf-​​man to do her hair.”

'All the girls will be so jealous!'

Finn ran his hand down the length of her loosened curl.

“Unless Paul is doing Cat’s when no one may be the wiser,” she added slyly.

He looped her hair around two fingers and tried to find an empty spot in her bun that would allow him to tuck it in. He saw that he had done more damage than he had realized; half the knot of hair hung loosely, pinned only to itself. He would have to do it over. He would have to take it down.

He squeezed her arms and laid his cheek against her shoulder for a moment. He did not know why. If it was meant to calm himself or her, it made them both breathe faster. If it was meant to ease his desire to touch or hold her, it made him want it more.

He stood and began picking out the pins that still lay against her head. Her coil of hair drooped down over the backs of his hands.

“That was quite a kiss,” she tittered.

'That was quite a kiss.'

“A real kiss,” he hastened to add before she called it the other thing.

“Aye!” she laughed.

He pulled out the last of the pins that he could see and pinched them against his palm. He ran his seven remaining fingers from the back of her head to the curling ends in search of any stragglers. She had brushed her damp hair to a glossy smoothness before her maid had pinned it up. It rippled over his wrists like dark water.

Finn had grown accustomed to seeing her romping about with rumpled curls, as only the littlest of elven girls would go, but he had never seen her hair brushed to silk. No one saw Condal with such hair but the person who undressed her at night. No one but the person who slept beside her in her bed. The intimacy frightened him with how it made him feel.

The intimacy frightened him with how it made him feel.

He slipped the pins into his pocket with his other bit of evidence and grasped her by the arms again. When she did not wriggle away, he laid his cheek upon her hair. No rose-​​scented fairy tale princess was she: she smelled of sweet grass and tiny, unpretentious flowers. Still she did not move except to breathe, and still he was not satisfied.

He wanted to kiss her again. He had a faint, frightening desire to bite her – not cruelly, of course, but to nibble his way down her neck and shoulder with the gentleness of a mother wolf mouthing the floppy ear of her cub. Then, perhaps, he would be satisfied.

“I’m thinking we were doing it right, aren’t you?” she asked breathlessly.

Finn stood straight and blinked his eyes. He was literally dizzy.

Finn stood straight and blinked his eyes.

“I think your wish came true,” he agreed.

“Ach, aye!” she gasped. “Thank you, Cousin!”

“Don’t thank me!”

“Ach! I know – it was your first kiss, too. I was forgetting, you did it so well.”

“Ah… thank you,” he grinned. Somehow he found the steadiness of hands to part her hair into three rippling tails.

'I shall think back on my first kiss with fondness and pride.'

“When I am an old, old lady,” she declared smartly, “I shall think back on my first kiss with fondness and pride. It was not nearly as bad as it could have been.”

Finn laughed aloud. “Thank you, I think!

Condal gasped. “I mean – not that it was bad. It was not bad at all. It was quite… good. I only mean…”

Ordinarily he liked to listen to her anxious little back-​​tracking explanations, but he was still seized with a protective tenderness for her.

“I know what you mean, henny,” he assured her.

'I know what you mean, henny.'

“I know you know,” she whispered.

She fell silent for a moment, and Finn twisted the tails on either side of her head into soft bands.

“It seemed almost too easy, wouldn’t you say, Cousin?” she murmured.

Finn did not know what to say, so he twirled up the hair at the back of her neck and tried to seem busy.

Finn did not know what to say.

“It seemed almost to happen by its own self,” she mused. “What do you think that means?”

“Ah… hmm.” He twisted the end of the long tail back into itself, and tucked the side tails into the knot. “Hold still, henny, I need to get the pins.”

'Hold still, henny, I need to get the pins.'

He fished a couple of pins out of his pocket. He had more than he would need.

“That was more than a real kiss, aren’t you thinking?” she asked.

Finn laughed nervously. Was there more than real? O Mother, was there more than erotic?

“Do you know what you need, henny?” he blurted. “You need a – something. A ribbon or something. Wait here.”



Finn dashed out into the hall. The first thing he saw was the bells leering down at him – his lucky night! He would have liked to have yanked them down and stolen their ribbons for Condal’s hair, but he had no time for that. Then he thought of the wreaths.

“Don’t leave me!” she whimpered.

“I’m not!”

'I'm not!'

He grabbed the nearest dangling end and pulled. It was his lucky night indeed: the ribbon slipped easily away, and the wreath clung to the wall.

“Ach, Finn, no!” she laughed.

“You cannot go about with nothing in your hair!” Brandishing his ribbon like a whip, he chased her giggling back into the alcove. Then he folded it in two and tucked it tidily into the knot. “And there!”

'And there!'

“Thank you,” she whispered.

“Ah… it was the least I could do,” he smirked. “It’s not the same, but…”

“But, Finn, are you thinking you could kiss another girl like that?”

Finn laughed shakily. “Not right away!”

She turned to him and asked, “I mean, you couldn’t kiss a strange girl like that? Or a girl you didn’t like?”

'I mean, you couldn't kiss a strange girl like that?'

Finn had his own opinions of men who could kiss strange girls “like that”, but he did not know how to express them in a language fit for the ears of a young lady.

“No, I could not,” he said solemnly.

“Nor could I!” she cried. Her eyes were almost pleading. “And you wouldn’t want any other boys kissing me like that?”

That decided him. There was not a man on earth he would have suffered to kiss his little cousin. He was not even certain he ought to have excepted himself – but there he was.

“No, I would not.”

She laughed in what looked like relief. “Nor I you! Or – kissing any girls but you! Or me, I mean. Ach! What was I saying?”

Abruptly she grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him close to kiss him again.

Abruptly she grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him close to kiss him again.

The last time it had taken them a moment to fall into a rhythm together, but now they seemed to return to the instant they had left off: she was not shy, and he was only briefly startled. She was warm and soft and so perfectly fitted to his vague needs that she must indeed have been the very thing he desired.

Then she pulled back her head and gasped, “Unless you’re liking some girl better than me…”

Finn moaned, “No!” and chased after her lips with his.


“For I’m not either!” she panted. “Are we… I mean, do you – ”

Finn opened his eyes and tried to focus on her anxious little face. In an instant he had been intoxicated again. He found it rather troubling, and singularly tempting nevertheless.

“Connie, are you trying to say something?” he asked weakly. “For if you are not…”

'For if you are not...'

Then it occurred to him that she might have been waiting for him to say something, and his patient, possessive tenderness unfurled itself again and wrapped them round like unsuspected wings.

“…I wanted to ask, will you be my girl?”

She giggled shortly and kissed him again. Finn felt as if the moon had fallen out of the sky and landed in his awkward hands.

She giggled shortly and kissed him again.