Kimberly Gould’s Picture Choice: Both
Title: Never Be Afraid to Try
“Go on. Try it,” Alan dared, nudging the plate of takoyaki toward me.
I was a sushi virgin. Well, nearly. I’d had cucumber rolls before, those seemed harmless. Tonight I’d had cooked shrimp and barbequed eel. Those looked safe. It required a dare and the promise of a fresh can of Sapporo to get me to put the piece of raw salmon on my tongue. It wasn’t as bad as I expected. I could really only taste the wasabi. I chugged my beer down and squeezed tears from my eyes.
Octopus. It was cooked, he had told me, but still, it was octopus. Inside a sweet doughy shell, but still, octopus.
“You can do it. You watched me to it,” he taunted, nearing a dare.
“Fine.” I picked one up in my fingers, popped it in my mouth, and swallowed, only chewing once.
The sweet syrup on the outside coated my tongue and the chewy center was similar to a cookie or tart. It wasn’t bad at all. I snagged another and chewed more slowly. Nope, I didn’t taste fish.
Alan grinned. “Told you! You just don’t know until you try something.”
After dinner, he paid. That had been another requirement to get me into a Japanese restaurant. Then we walked through the park back to my place.
“Pat?” he asked, stopping me and looking toward the sunset.
His hand, brushing the back of mine as we walked, slipped around my waist and pulled me closer. “Thank you for trying.”
I held my breath, sure I knew what was coming next. This was Alan. He’d been totally honest about his sexual orientation from day one, four years ago. He hadn’t pushed me one bit. Until today. He put his lips to mine, firm lips, still tasting of beer and green tea.
I closed my eyes and tried to kiss him back. My hand moved to his arm. Was it inviting? Did he know I wasn’t completely turned off, just awkward as hell?
His nose brushed mine as the kiss broke. “Thank you,” he murmured again, then backed up slightly, taking my hand in his.
That was easy. I squeezed his in return. If anyone thought it odd that two guys were holding hands, they needed to grow up and take a look around.
I did take a look around. We were alone in the park.
Leaning over I kissed Alan’s bristly cheek. “I wouldn’t mind doing this again sometime.”
His smile was brilliant. I was willing try a lot of things to see him so happy.
Kimberly Gould is the author of Cargon: Honour and Privilege and the upcoming Thickness of Blood. She can be found most places as Kimmydonn, including Kimmydonn.com