Placing an elbow on the other side of her head, Noah leaned close and kissed her once more. This time, it was more of a thought than a feeling, a soft heat that began at her mouth and unfurled through the rest of her. One of his cold hands slid behind her neck and he kissed her again, lips parted. It was not just a touch, an action. It was a simplification of both of them: They were no longer Noah Czerny and Blue Sargent. They were now just him and her. Not even that. They were only the time that they held between them.
Oh, thought Blue. So this is what I can’t have.
Not being able to kiss whoever she fell in love with didn’t feel so different from not having a cell phone when everyone else at school did. It didn’t feel very different from knowing she wasn’t going to be studying ecology abroad for college, or going abroad period. It didn’t feel very different from knowing that Cabeswater was going to be the only extraordinary thing about her life.
Which was to say that it was unbearable, but she had to bear it anyway.
Because there was nothing terrible about kissing Noah Czerny, apart from him being cold. She let him kiss her, and kissed him back until he pulled back on an elbow and clumsily wiped away some of her tears with the heel of his fist. His smudge had gotten very dark, and he was cold enough that she shivered.
Blue gave him a watery smile. ‘That was super nice.’
He shrugged, eyes doleful, shoulders curled in on themselves. He was fading. It wasn’t that she could see through him. It was that it was hard to remember what he looked like, even while she was looking at him. When he turned his head, she saw him swallow. He mumbled, ‘I’d ask you out, if I was alive.’
Nothing was fair.
‘I’d say okay,’ she replied.
She only had time to see him smile faintly. And then he was gone.
She rolled onto her back in the middle of the suddenly empty bed. Above her, the rafters glowed with the summer sun. Blue touched her mouth. It felt the same as it always did. Not at all like she had just gotten her first and last kiss.