You can do it.
But Duo's answer had been anything but clear.
You can do it.
What if it was all a ruse, intended to keep me hanging on to false expectations?
You can do it.
I trailed my fingertips along the barrel of my gun, then put it back in its box and closed the lid. I packed the cleaning gear away and cleared up the clutter I'd left on my desk. The motions of gun maintenance were so familiar my hands had worked almost on automatic - and much too fast.
The brief and impulsive distraction had vanished. In its place idleness returned - along with the thoughts. I could feel the shivers return to my fingertips, and I started tapping a rhythm against the wood.
I offered my nightstand a glare, echoes of the gilded lettering on the book inside it mocking me for my lackluster follow-through. It was all its fault. It was that damn book that had suggested I ought to be direct if there was something I craved so badly.
Honesty and pertinence has its perils, but the book suggested both were usually worth it - if there was even a remote possibility the craving could be satisfied in the first place.
I slammed my palm against the desk. What a bunch of hooey.
Then again, the author had also wrote that you only reap what you sow; what you prepare for. That, at least, had been decent advice. Asking Duo about kissing appeared my best move yet. I shook my head again, still having trouble believing I actually dared do all of it - hug him like that, kiss his cheek, if lightly, and whisper those words in his ear. I had gambled everything on that he would stick to his word.
He had - but now I wanted to push Duo's limits again, just to see what he had thought on my subject of choice. He never really said, only left me hoping. Bastard.
Cornering animals is a dangerous business, though. Cornering a human is worse. If I simply went for his lips unwanted...
Again, I started a steady cycle of four beats and a pause. My free hand slipped down into my pocket and closed around the familiar small object there.
Just a drop. A thimble. A single shot. Just enough to get rid of the shakes. My severe case of nerves. Body memory knew alcohol would do good in that regard, numbing it all out. I'd forget everything, if I just took a sip or two. Or three. Or...
I wanted to. I wanted to cave in so badly. Pursing my lips, I pressed my eyes shut, clutched the bottle so hard the few sharp edges began clawing at my palm.
...the only reason he'd kick me out...
I let go and pulled my hand out, interlaced my fingers and started twirling my thumbs. A deep breath.
It was no use. I would have to go the line alone. Liquid courage was not allowed.
Either way, I would risk everything - for everything else.
Again, I thought of that damn book and growled. It offered no real clue when nerves were involved. It was as if the author automatically assumed anyone reading the book also had the guts to follow its lead blindly. Again, those cursed golden letters flashed my mind.
'The Art of Seduction', indeed...