KISS, KISS
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KISS, KISS



“Huh?” Pam reacted on the other end of the line.

“You get to hang out, take it easy,” Reva continued. “I’m stuck in the stupid store practically every day, for the last two weeks.”

Pam was silent at the other end. Reva chuckled to herself. My cousin is such a wimp, she thought. Why doesn’t Pam ever speak up? Why doesn’t she ever have the nerve to tell me what she’s really thinking?

“I’ve got to get off, Reva,” Pam said. “My dad wants to use the phone.”

“You should get your own line,” Reva said cruelly. “Anyway, my dad wanted me to invite you for Christmas Eve. As usual.”

Reva stifled a yawn. Why does Dad insist on having them over every year? Doesn’t he get tired of pretending we’re all one big happy family?

She chatted a few minutes more with Pam, blowing on her nails, checking her hair in the mirror over her dressing table. Pam seems distant, Reva thought. Maybe she’s decided to give up pretending we have anything in common.

Reva had heard that Pam had been hanging out with Mickey Wakely and Clay Parker, just about the worst kids at Shadyside High.

What was she trying to prove, anyway? Reva wondered. Doesn’t she care about her reputation? Doesn’t Pam even want to pretend that she has a chance to make something of her life?

After all, Reva thought, Pam didn’t have it so bad. Sure, she didn’t have a big house or good clothes. But at least she still had a mother, someone to talk to, someone to share things with.

Tenderly running a finger along her cut lip, Reva said goodbye to her cousin and, glancing at the clock, replaced the phone receiver. Feeling the nearly healed lip gave her a shiver of dread and, for a moment, she considered not going in to work. She was already half an hour late, after all.

But then she thought about Mitch and changed her mind.

Mitch, Mitch—what’s your problem? she thought, feeling exasperated. It was more than two weeks since they’d started their vacation jobs at Dalby’s. Two weeks of dropping Mitch subtle hints—and not-so-subtle hints. Still he hadn’t made a move.

Was he so attached to that drippy Lissa that he was choosing to ignore the fact that Reva was coming on to him? Was he just impossibly shy?

Today’s the day, Reva decided. I’ll make the first move myself.

It’s time for a very direct approach.

And then poor little Lissa can start searching for a new boyfriend, someone as wimpy and washed out as she is.

Reva pulled off the sweater she was wearing and changed into a white cashmere turtleneck. She knew it looked great on her. It really showed off her figure, and the soft white cashmere brought out her blue eyes and dramatic red hair.

After rearranging her curls, she grabbed her bag and started toward the door—and was surprised to see that she’d had an audience.

“Michael—what are you doing here?” she asked her little brother.

“I wanted to ask you something,” he said, gripping the doorknob with both hands and leaning against the door.

“How long were you standing there?” Reva asked sharply. “You know you’re supposed to knock.”

Michael shrugged. “Will you take me to the store today?”

“What?” She tried to push past him into the hallway, but he moved quickly to block the door.

“Take me to the store. Please?”

“Why, Michael?”

“To see Santa Claus.”

Reva suddenly remembered that she had promised to take him to see Santa. It had completely slipped her mind.

She gazed down at him. She could never get over the fact that he looked so much like her. “I can’t today,” she said softly, reaching out and affectionately playing with his curly red hair. “I’m late for work.”

“Will you get fired?” he asked seriously.

Reva laughed. “No. I don’t think Daddy will let them fire me,” she told him.

“So why can’t I come see Santa?” he insisted, still blocking the doorway.

“I’ll take you, Michael,” Reva assured him. “But not today.”

“When?”

“Soon.”

“When is soon?”

“Soon.” She took his arm and pulled it aside so she could get by him. Then she hurried down to the front closet to get her coat.

Poor kid, she thought. He misses having a mom more than I do. I think he’s really lonely.

Pulling on her coat, she vowed to spend more time with him. Then she stepped outside into a sunny but cold morning. The sudden cold made her sore lip throb.

It had to be Hank who did this to me, she thought angrily.

Who else could it have been?

Such a vicious trick.

Starting up the Volvo, she forced it out of her mind. She wanted to concentrate on Mitch.

“This is your day, Mitch,” she said aloud, turning the car around in the circle at the end of the drive and heading down to the street.

He was so good-looking, with those adorable dimples on both cheeks when he smiled and that scratchy, hoarse little-boy voice. She liked his taste in clothes too—polo shirts, cuffed chinos—preppy without being too showy.

“This is your day, Mitch,” she repeated, grinning.

She thought about him all the way to work.

♦ ♦ ♦

She found him at lunchtime in the electronics department stockroom, unloading a crate of CD players. He was wearing a white sweatshirt and chinos.

“Hi,” Reva said, walking up close behind him.



He jumped up, startled by her voice.

She laughed. He blushed.

“Hey—we match!” she exclaimed, pointing to their white sweaters. She deliberately stood very close to him.

“Yeah,” he said, trying to back up. But he was already against the wall shelves. “How’s it going, Reva? I’ve been unloading cartons all morning. We got in an entire truck of CDs and stereos.”

“I’ve been thinking about you,” Reva said, making her voice low and whispery. She opened her eyes wide and stared meaningfully into his, giving him her best smile, lips slightly parted.

“Oh, yeah?” He glanced down at the carton, still half-filled with boxes of CD players. “I have to finish unloading these,” he said uncomfortably.

“It’s lunchtime,” Reva replied. “You can take a break. The boss’s daughter gives you permission.”

He laughed. “Thanks.”

“I said I’ve been thinking about you,” Reva repeated, staring into his eyes.

“I’ve been thinking about you too,” he said in his scratchy voice, his words sounding hurried, as if he wanted to get them all out at once. “I think we should talk.”

“I don’t want to talk,” Reva said, leaning forward. “I want to do this.”

She reached out quickly and put her hands behind his head. Then she pulled his face to hers and pressed her lips against his.

He let out a small gurgle of surprise but kissed her back. She held him against her, pressing the back of his head with both hands.

Not a bad kisser, she thought.

Her eyes went up to the security camera. She realized that Hank might be watching this passionate scene.

Good, she thought, moving her lips against Mitch’s, holding his head and moving her fingers through his hair. I hope you get an eyeful, Hank. I hope you enjoy the show.

She lowered her hands to Mitch’s shoulders and kissed him with renewed passion.

Are you watching, Hank? Are you watching it all?

What’s wrong with me? she suddenly thought. Why am I standing here kissing Mitch and thinking about Hank?

She held Mitch tightly, kissing him harder as if that might drive Hank from her mind.

“Whoa!” an angry voice cried from behind them.

Mitch pulled out of her grasp. Reva spun around to see who had the nerve to interrupt them.

“Lissa!” Mitch cried, his eyes wide, his open mouth smeared with Reva’s magenta lipstick.


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