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Just About Perfect

F/F, Contemporary Romance, Friends-to-Lovers
[28 Pages / 6,500 Words]

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May Moretti screwed up. Even worse, after a month of clumsy radio silence, she still has no idea how to apologize for kissing Clio Garcia. Clio is older and wiser, a longtime family friend, and she clearly doesn't share May's hopeless infatuation. When their paths cross at a noisy party, there's no more avoiding their unfinished business. But May has already made a perfect mess of things, and she has no idea where to start.


For a time, they drink their cider in silence. It's so familiar and easy that May could almost ignore the unspoken strain between them. The night is lovely, aside from the unpleasant cold that clearly does not bother Clio at all—and can't really touch May beneath all her layers of winter gear—the stars and moon casting the yard in a piercing sort of clarity. Frost glitters on every conceivable surface, including the perfectly smooth drifts of snow that the wind keeps gusting into fresh flurries.

When May's drink is gone, she stares down into the empty mug and finally works up the nerve to ask, "Are we really just not going to talk about it?"

"I thought I'd give the strategy a try." Clio twists away from May for just a heartbeat, reaching through the banister slats to set her own empty mug down on the porch. "Is it working?"

When Clio grudgingly faces her again, May is ready with an exasperated stare. "Clio, I kissed you."

Just saying the words is enough to drag the memories up uninvited in May's mind, as she watches Clio's breath ghost out in a sharp, misty exhale. The weather was warmer then, though May was already wearing gloves and scarves and a bad attitude about the relentless trudge of autumn. Clio was laughing at her for something—for ranting about the audacity of the trees turning such bright, cheerful colors to signal the end of tolerable temperatures maybe—and May's tirade ended abruptly as emotion drove all the breath out of her lungs.

She already knew, even then, that she had a problem. She knew better than to let her guard down. And yet in that laughing moment, Clio was so gorgeous the sight of her made May's chest hurt. Standing in the center of a sidewalk covered in dry leaves, grinning so wide her whole face scrunched with the expression. May couldn't stop staring at the crinkling corners of her eyes, the dimples in a face lined from years of smiles.

They were already standing too close together. May can't remember how that happened. She only remembers how easy it was to lean forward and tilt her head down a little—to taste Clio's laughter with her own wondering mouth—to move them into a short-lived moment that felt just about perfect.

Now, in the strange, soft mix of golden light from the house and blue glow from the moon, Clio's eyes widen, and it's obvious she and May are both replaying the kiss in vivid detail.

May wishes she could forget the several glorious seconds in which Clio kissed her back; maybe then it wouldn't hurt so much, remembering the rest. The jerky retreat as Clio took her hands off May in a graceless rush. The wild panic in Clio's beautiful eyes. The utter absence of anything like the smile that had drawn May in to begin with.

The magnitude of her mistake settled over May instantly, and when Clio ran away, May let her go.

She's had weeks to pick apart every fragment of a second, and to agonize over what Clio might be thinking. They haven't spoken since, an anomaly too vast to ignore. The radio silence has been strange, when usually they're in almost daily contact, but May hasn't dared push. She has no idea where Clio's head is at about the whole debacle.

And it sucks, not knowing.

"Look," May says, even though her heart is pounding so hard she can barely hear herself think. It needs to be her that starts them through this minefield. It became her responsibility the second she put her mouth where it didn't belong. "I'm sorry if I misread things. I swear, I wasn't trying to be an asshole. I wouldn't have done it if I didn't think we were on the same page."

Clio's gaze cuts forward, across the lawn, and May's stomach tightens at this unconcealed evasion. It kills her to understand she caught Clio by surprise. May has been a mess of infatuation for so long, it seems impossible that Clio didn't notice, and yet May doesn't know how else to interpret the stubborn refusal to meet her eyes.

"We can pretend it never happened if that's really what you want." May speaks quietly, unable to conjure any volume when it's taking all her strength just to make her mouth form the words. "I just need to know if we're okay."

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Just About Perfect
Cover design by Yolande Kleinn
ISBN 978-1-946316-27-1
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