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Kiss #4

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"Do you remember the first kiss we had?" Yanjun smiles at the man standing across from him. "Or the second, the third, the fourth?"


He pauses. "Because I do."


"The first time we kissed, I was trying to shut you up." 


Yanjun grins seeing Zhangjing raise an eyebrow threateningly.


"We had just gotten out from classes, and you were complaining about that test you had the next day. And I remember it all very clearly because it was a shit day outside. It was raining hard all day, and there were huge puddles, almost like little lakes everywhere on our campus. And someone still managed to forget their umbrella even after I reminded him to take it in the morning. Imagine my surprise when I get a text in the middle of class from you, saying that you're stranded in the building across the campus. I walked all the way there after I finished class to get you so you wouldn't have to walk back in the rain."


He smiles at the memory. 


"And my umbrella was too small and half-broken from when NongNong stepped on it that one time, remember? So we were getting wet anyway on the way back to our dorms. You were saying that it was too wet and miserable outside to study for your exam, and you were begging me to go get hotpot with you, but I knew that you were just trying to procrastinate so I kept saying no. I thought you were so cute, pouting to try and get your way. So I tried to cheer you up by telling you cheesy pick-up lines, but you started calling me lame, complaining that I needed to get better jokes."


Yanjun laughs. "And all I wanted to do was shut you up."


"So I leaned down and kissed you at perhaps the worst possible time. That huge gust of wind came out of nowhere, and the stupid broken umbrella flew out of my hand before I could hold on to it. We kissed for maybe two seconds, but then you ended screaming when you felt the rain, and even worse, you half pushed me and grabbed on to me at the same time. And we both ended up falling into that giant ass puddle we were standing in, getting completely soaked."


Zhangjing is openly giggling now, holding his hand up to his mouth to try and hide it.


"And by the time we got back to the dorms, you were shivering so hard and sneezing every ten seconds. I ended up spending the rest of the night feeding you soup in bed while you watched cute animal videos on your phone."


The memory makes him shake his head in exasperation.


"Then you ended up failing that test the next day and had to retake it anyway."


Another threatening look, which he ignores.


"That was our first kiss, and it was barely even a proper kiss."


"The second kiss was on our first date. We went to the aquarium because you said you liked animals. I didn't know that meant you'd spend the whole time while we were there saying that you wanted to go out and eat fish afterwards. I think you must have traumatized that little girl for life when you looked at the octopus saying you wanted to eat it. She looked like she was about to cry when she asked her dad whether you were actually going to eat the octopus in the tank. And she kept pointing at you too."


Zhangjing really looks like he wants to hit him now. 


"But I was still really happy bringing you there because you spent the whole time running around like a kid, pressing your nose up against the glass. And we got to see those otters doing tricks, remember? You really wanted to feed one, but we missed their feeding time by like half an hour because we spent too long looking at the sharks. So we ended up going to the gift shop instead and picked out one of those giant stuffed animals for you to take home. You wanted the biggest one there, the great white shark plushie, and I never told you, but I ended up spending the rest of my week's lunch allowance on it. But it was totally worth it skipping lunch for a few days, just to see that sappy smile on your face when I gave it to you."


Yanjun smiles as he sees the sappy smile appear on Zhangjing's face, the same one from that day. 


"I started falling in love with you that day, and when I kissed you goodnight at your room door, you tasted like the sea. Salty, yet sweet at the same time. The whole day you were just yourself, not caring what other people thought, and I love that about you and never want that to change. It felt like I was underwater, the whole day happening in slow motion. And I couldn't fall asleep that night. I just kept thinking about what it felt like to kiss you."


"And you still have that shark to this day. It's sitting on our bed right now."


"Our third kiss was the one everyone remembers. We were sitting in the cafeteria with all our friends having dinner after finals were over. And no one knew we had gone on that date to the aquarium. I think maybe I had told NongNong about it, but no one else knew. And ChengCheng was teasing you about having some admirer in one of your classes, that boy who he claimed kept staring at you every day. I was so annoyed because you kept wanting to avoid the topic instead of saying that you were already dating someone. I'm not sure if you noticed at all, but I was stabbing my food pretending it was ChengCheng's face because I wanted him to shut up."


The cry of outrage makes Yanjun smile.


He pauses to collect his thoughts again.


"Then Zhengting had to go and start the conversation what types of things we all wanted the person we were dating to do for us. Do you remember what you said?"


Zhangjing shakes his head at him.


"Grand gestures. You said you wanted grand gestures, like out of one of those old classic Hollywood movies."


Yanjun groans remembering his own idiocy. "And I remember thinking, If Zhangjing wants grand gestures, I'll give him grand gestures.


The older boy is blushing now, knowing what he's going to say next.


"So I got up on to the cafeteria table and offered you my hand. You went bright red, and it looked like you wanted to die on the spot. But you still took my hand and let me pull you up to stand next to me on the table." Yanjun laughs. "And as far as I remember, I kissed you and swept you off your feet that day. It's too bad Justin had to go and ruin it by throwing a piece of bread at us and hitting me in the back of the head. Plus, the cafeteria monitor yelled at us and made us clean the whole place as punishment that night. We were so tired after trying to make the cafeteria spotless that we ended up falling asleep on the big comfy chair in the corner. And the next day when I woke up, you were curled up next to me with your head in my chest."


He is fond of this kiss, a soft smile gracing his lips.


"Plus, after that, everyone on campus knew we were dating within a week, especially after Xiao Gui posted the picture of us kissing on the school bulletin."


"But my favorite kiss," Yanjun takes a deep breath. "Is Kiss #4."


"We both had a long day that day, and you were so frustrated from dealing with everyone all week. I remember you coming back every day that week feeling pretty crappy. So we crawled under the covers of your bed and watched movies together for hours. You cuddled up next to me and let me put my arm around you after I made that dumb gesture of pretend yawning?"


Yanjun grins when Zhangjing shakes his head at him, amused.


"I don't even remember what we watched that day, I was too busy paying attention to you the whole time. I was pretty worried since I had never seen you that upset before." He jokingly adds on. "Or that quiet either."


"But I didn't want to push you to talk, so we just watched movies until we got tired and sleepy. And we laid down facing each other on your pillow and just looked at each other for a while. And I could tell that you were getting too tired to stay awake because you were blinking slowly, and once in a while, you'd blink a few times really fast as if you were trying not to fall asleep. But before you drifted off..."


Yanjun pauses again, feeling a bit choked up from all the love he feels for Zhangjing, all the love he wishes he could express fully.


"You asked me to kiss you goodnight."


"And I did, soft and light on your lips. And you stared at me, half-asleep already, and you told me you loved me."


He pauses again, feeling the tears of happiness welling up.


"Kiss #4." Yanjun takes another deep breath. "Kiss #4 is when I knew I wanted to marry you already, Zhangjing."


Zhangjing is crying now, and Yanjun can't stop the tears from sliding down his face too.


"So I just want to end my marriage vow with one last thing." Yanjun sniffs loudly, feeling a bit embarrassed that he ended up crying even though he promised himself that he wouldn't before the ceremony. But Zhangjing is smiling back at him with such joy that he can't feel too much regret. 


"Kiss #4 is when I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you, and I hope you feel the same way about me."


Zhangjing kisses him, and it's the only answer he needs, the sound of the cheering and clapping from everyone they care about in the background.