The Angel Falls legend says that any couple who kisses in front of the angel statue and throws money into the falls, will have true love forever…
“All proceeds from photos this month go to the shelter party for Christmas presents for the kids,” Mary said, wielding her camera like a weapon. So how about puckering up for charity?”
“For charity,” Rafe said. “Of course.”
“Of course,” Kaitlyn said, as Rafe slid his arm around her back. And oh, she felt his warmth, right through her coat. The dangerous warmth that she was afraid to feel.
“This has gotten out of hand,” she whispered in Rafe’s ear. “We really should say something.”
“Yeah,” he said, staring at her lips and sounding very unconcerned. “We’ll clear everything up…later.”
She didn’t protest. She was too busy staring right back at his nice full lips too. Wait. What was she doing? What were they doing, buying trees and ornaments, walking around holding hands, and now this? And was it wrong to want to keep that magic going just a little while longer?
Mary positioned them so that the statue was directly behind them. Rafe still had his arm around Kaitlyn. If only she could have a little breathing room so she could think, because everything was so muddled in her head.
Suddenly there was the sound of money hitting the ground, pinging and scattering at their feet. A quarter hit one of the iron posts on the bridge and ricocheted into the water.
“Oh-oh,” Kaitlyn said. They all knew the legend: drop in some money, kiss your honey, true love forever, yada yada.
Rafe looked down, searching for the source of the change.
Kaitlyn blushed. “Some change just fell out of my coat pocket,” she said. She didn’t say both pockets had holes, because he’d have a field day with that.
“You don’t have to kiss me,” she rushed on to say. “After all, that quarter plunged right into the falls, just to let you know.” She pretended to laugh, but for some reason she wasn’t finding anything funny.
“I don’t care about the folklore,” Rafe said. “But I do care about kissing you.” He tugged her closer and, smiling, he looked around, scanning something behind her head.
“What are you looking at?” she asked.
“Just making sure no other Christmas trees are about to fall on us.”
She couldn’t help laughing. Rafe was so…ridiculous. Funny. Unexpected. Wonderful. Yes, sometimes he was just wonderful.
“Did you say a quarter fell in?” Mary asked. “They say you need two for the legend to count.”
Kaitlyn could feel her face turning red from embarrassment, but Rafe just chuckled. Probably because Mary always did her best to increase donations for the city treasury.
At Kaitlyn’s feet, perched precariously on the edge, Kaitlyn suddenly caught the glint of another quarter winking up at her, the water under the bridge rushing and gurgling as it ran over the falls. Impulsively, she scooted her boot closer to the cement edge of the bridge and let the other quarter tip in. It was a crazy thing to do, she knew. And she must be out of her mind for doing it. She blamed her crazy behavior on all the confusion she was feeling.
“Smile now, kids!” Mary said, holding up her camera. “Say ‘onesie!’”
* * *
Then suddenly Rafe was leaning in, Kaitlyn’s heart skittering as it always did at his nearness. She let her gaze drift upward, thinking how tall and handsome he was, and how somehow the story he’d told about his past had changed everything between them. And despite the fact that she was pretty freaked out about it, she felt something else she hadn’t felt in a long time…a sense of wonder. Of awe. Of…happiness.
Was that what she was so afraid of?
Rafe smiled a devilish smile, curled a hand around the back of her neck, and pulled her in. His hands were cold but his lips were warm and soft, and his kiss was slow and lingering without getting indecent in front of Mary. Kaitlyn couldn’t help but close her eyes and lean into him, his hard muscle, his strength, his warmth. Her head spun, her breath becoming ragged as the kiss took away her breath and her sense.
Then Mary’s flash went off and Kaitlyn remembered she was standing on a bridge with icy mist from the falls hitting her in the face. The white twinkly lights strung through the trees surrounding the bridge blurred with the stars, and she saw her whole world spin. When Rafe pulled back, his eyes were shining with mischief, but also something else. A tenderness she only recently learned to see. A crack in the walls that surrounded his heart.
She was suddenly filled with the need to tear down those walls whichever way she could to find the man who’d been in there all along.
“Oh my goodness!” Mary exclaimed. “No wonder you two are…um, expecting. That is some positively ferocious chemistry! Lordie, pass me a fan!”
The photo was cute and, sure enough, Kaitlyn’s foot was twisted just a little from nudging that final coin into the falls. But she would be the only person to ever notice such a thing.
For the first time in their relationship, she wasn’t squashing all her feelings down somewhere where she refused to feel them. She was daring to let them out. And it felt more than a little like they just might be two people falling in love.