The first time I kissed Kowalski, I did it to be an asshole. Which, no surprise there, since I am an asshole.
I know first kisses are supposed to come before first blowjobs and first fucks and first handcuffs and so on, but hey, me and Kowalski, we're rebels. So we'd been fucking for a couple of months, and Stella asked him to fix her car. It had refused to start that morning in the parking garage of her fancy condominium, and it was brand-new and European and the mechanic she'd hired to come out had said everything needed replacing and she was supposed to drive to New York on Monday for a deposition and yadda yadda.
And you know, I was cool with that. I mean, it was better than her asking me. And they had kinda gotten to be friends again, and they'd known each other forever, and I'd have done stuff like that for Ange if she'd asked me to. So fine. But of course there was nowhere to park near her snazzy new building, her parking garage had exactly three visitor spots which were always occupied with the building manager's (1) cleaning lady, (2) mother-in-law, and (3) coke dealer, and Kowalski wasn't about to let anyone valet park the Goat. So I had to give him a ride over there.
On the way, he said, "I dunno how long this is gonna go. God only knows what Stella did to that car. If it ends up being late I may just crash on her couch instead of making you shlep all the way out here again."
I didn't say anything.
We were meeting her at her parking spot so Kowalski wouldn't have to lug his tools around. There were some awkward hellos while I helped him unload everything from the trunk. Then he said, "Thanks, Vecchio" and turned to ask her to open the hood, which is when I did it.
"Hey, Kowalski," I said, stepping close.
He turned around. "Yeah?"
I glanced at Stella to make sure she was paying attention. Then I leaned in and gave him a peck on the lips, just a normal boyfriend see-you-later kind of kiss. He was so surprised he just let it happen, which I'd counted on. Stella had no way of knowing it was the first time. "See ya," I said easily. "Give me a call if you need anything else from the garage."
"Uh, Stella, just a sec, okay?" Kowalski said, and followed me back to the Riv. I looked at Stella out of the corner of my eye. Her expression was about equal parts stunned, hurt, and amused. And in that split-second my attention was off him, Kowalski somehow backed me up against the car, putting his hand on the hood and leaning in, very smooth, very James Dean. Very boyfriends.
He grinned at me. "I did just mean crash on her couch, you know."
Better safe than sorry. I shrugged. "Yeah, I know. But hey, you want a ride, you can call. Doesn't bother me if it's late." I gave him an up-and-down look and licked my lips. "There might even be a blowjob in it for you."
He leaned in closer, not grinning any more. "Might there be a kiss in it for me?"
I took a deep breath. "Maybe. If you ask nice."
He called at eight o'clock. When I got there he was standing on the sidewalk with his toolbox looking at his watch. "What, I got held up in traffic," I said, getting out of the car and opening the trunk. When I turned back around, there was Kowalski.
"Kiss me," he demanded.
"Kowalski, I'm double-parked in a bus lane, and you're covered in sweat and engine grease," I said---but the thing was, sweat and engine grease is actually a good look for Kowalski.
"Like I care, asshole," he said. "I been thinking about this all fucking day. I woulda been done hours ago, except I was thinking about your stupid mouth and dropped a wrench on Stella's million-dollar bumper and had to fix the scratch."
"All right," I said with what I thought was gonna be a smug grin, but I think it ended up just kinda happy. "C'mere."
The second time I kissed Kowalski was for real, eyes closed, slow and exploratory, learning his lips, learning the way his stubble scraped my chin, learning the way his mouth followed mine like we were dancing and this time he was letting me lead.
I hadn't even gotten to tongue yet when the bus driver started honking and cursing at us and we had to stop. I didn't mind. I had the feeling that when we got to Kowalski's, he was gonna invite me in for a good old-fashioned make-out session on his couch.