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First Embrace

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"I've never been kissed before," Eleanor confessed. She looked away shyly, her cheeks flushing with embarrassment.

Paige gave her signature half smile, her green eyes glinting mischievously.

"That's your big secret?"

"Disappointed?" Eleanor responded.

"Not at all," Paige said standing up. "But, I think we should change that." She held her hand out to Eleanor who simply looked at her incredulously.

"You're serious?"

"Dead serious."

Eleanor rolled her eyes at Paige's terrible humor.

"Come on," Paige said cheerfully. "Everyone deserves a proper first kiss."

After a moment's hesitation, Eleanor accepted her hand, gracefully rising to her feet.

"Okay, so, first kiss. What do you want?"

"I...what?" Eleanor replied, fumbling over her words.

Paige smiled again, causing a strange fluttering sensation to occur in Eleanor's stomach. "We might be from different worlds, Eleanor, but every girl dreams about her first kiss. So, come on. Tell me how to make it perfect."

Eleanor thought for a moment before responding. "Well, I...I suppose I've thought it might be pleasant to be kissed..." her cheeks flushed several different shades of red. "By the pond?"

"Lead the way," Paige responded, lacing her fingers through Eleanor's.

Eleanor smiled shyly, guiding them down the winding path. She was grateful for Paige's understanding at her own inexperience, and she found it refreshing to talk about such things she could never discuss with her siblings. Indeed, everything about Paige was like a breath of fresh air to her. She obviously struggled with her own demons, but she had a way of putting Eleanor at ease, something she had never been able to experience before.

"What was your first kiss like?" Eleanor asked as she led Paige through the grounds.

"I was ten and it was a dare. It was so quick I wasn't sure it actually happened. We never talked about it, just awkwardly avoided eye contact until he moved away."

"That's it?" Eleanor said smirking. "I was expecting something a bit more..."

"Scandalous?"

"I was going to say romantic. After all, wasn't it you that said everyone deserves a proper first kiss?"

"I did. Unfortunately it doesn't always work out that way, so some of us have to keep trying until we have one that really means something."

They walked the rest of the way in comfortable silence, the only sound coming of snow crunching beneath their feet. Eleanor kept sneaking glances at the girl next to her, feeling herself drawn to her in a way she could not explain.

She led them past the line of trees to the frozen pond, pausing at the water's edge. "This is it," she said gazing out at the frozen water. "Though in my dreams it is usually less solid." She sighed, turning her attention back to Paige who was staring at her with an intensity that Eleanor had never seen before. It was as if she was not able to see anything else in the world. Several moments passed, and Eleanor was truly worried that she would be lost in the other girl's gaze if she looked too long. "So, what now?" She finally asked, her voice slightly hoarse.

"That depends," Paige said, tilting her head slightly. "In this dream of yours, what happens once you're standing by the pond?"

Eleanor chewed her lip thoughtfully for a moment. Finally she reached out, gently running her fingers over Paige's lips. "I believe, this is the point where you kiss me."

Paige stepped forward, gently tucking a loose strand of hair behind Eleanor's ear. "I was hoping you'd say that," she said softly, closing the gap between them. A surprised gasp escaped Eleanor as their lips met, feeling suddenly vulnerable at the intimacy. Paige's lips moved over hers in heated but gentle movements, each one sending a fresh wave of excitement through her.

They broke away after a long moment, both gasping for breath. "So?" Paige asked gently, pressing their foreheads together. "How was your first kiss?"

"Everything I dreamed of." Eleanor responded, smiling happily. She wrapped her arms around Paige's neck, feeling suddenly bolder. "But, for my second kiss I think I might like to be much closer."

Paige grinned broadly. "Happy to oblige," she responded, wrapping her arms around her waist. Her eyes sparkled with something Eleanor could not-or would not-name. Eleanor closed the distance between them, kissing her more insistently than before.

For a brief moment, the rest of the world faded away. Who they were, where they were from, and what came next did not matter for the moment. Any dark secrets that they held melted away along with the rest of the world. All that mattered was the feeling of being together, and ju