The words crept out in a whisper as the bedside lamp turned on. I laid the back of one hand against my eyelids and circled the other around her waist. I mumbled something about the A-Team, that being the only thought that came naturally to me at this point of the night.
She rolled off of the bed and stepped just outside of the light bulb’s 40 watt jurisdiction. My eyes were still closed, but I had a knack for identifying the edge of darkness at the time. I heard the clinking of glasses and the long, cool exhalation of the freezer. I felt the weight of a bottle in her arms as she slipped back into bed.
“I never bought you that drink,” she explained as she kissed me on the cheek.
“Never too late to come around,” I affirmed, sliding my fingers off of my eyes and wrapping them around one of the glasses. “To mercenaries,” I declared as I clumsily tapped the brim of mine against the side of hers.
“To civilization,” she corrected as she placed her hand over the top of my glass. “Give it a minute,” she warned with a giggle of embarrassment. “This is bourbon, not Jim Beam.”
“Howlin’ Mad Murdock would never approve,” I replied in defiance.
I clasped her hand in mine and took a sip. A 65% incantation of the holy Kentucky ghost shot straight to my nose, bringing a tear to my eye and evaporating straight off of my tongue before the crime could be traced. As the warmth spread through my chest, I coughed and kissed her gratefully on the lips. She swirled her glass in loving derision.
We lay there, listening to the two-step of ice cubes taunt a chorus of cicadas who had missed their nightcap.
She broke the soundtrack with a long sip. I completed the silence with my own. It began with a gentle, rounded nose that wasted no time in reaching up along the roof my mouth, brushing a gentle bitterness along the back my tongue without making too much of a fuss about opening the front door. Once inside, a sharp, oaky spice kicked the back of my throat, then tiptoed back to the front of my palate. The spice transformed into a slightly sour kiss, which met with the vanilla tinged sweetness radiating outward from the center of my tongue to complete the motion. She was right: This was not Jim Beam… but it would do.
A late summer breeze broke through the curtains. I say it was late, but there really was no deadline. We let our empty glasses fall to the floor and withdrew into the covers.