I looked up from my blackened catfish. "What? Who can't?"
"That man," she said, gesturing with her chin across the room. I turned to give him a look. "You can tell. It's the way he talks."
"What are you talking about?"
"Look at him. His mouth is always moving, but there's no grace. He never lets his mouth stay closed long enough for the muscles to relax."
I peered. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
"And look at the way his hands move when he's talking. It's like he's reeling in a fish. He doesn't have any control over himself." She shook her head and leaned back, with a satisfied look on her face. "Kissing him would be like kissing a camel, all spit and meaty tongue."
"That," I said, "is an absolutely disgusting image."
I looked around the room. "Well, then, Muse, tell me. Who here is a good kisser?"
"Oh, I already know who the best kisser in the room is," she said, not looking around.
"Who?" I asked.
"You," she said.
"Get out of here."
Her eyes twinkled as she smiled. "You're a very deliberate speaker. You consider what you're saying before you speak, and you're always careful of your pronunciation and enunciation. You aren't given to broad gestures that serve no purpose in the conversation, and you don't chew your lips. And don't think I haven't seen you eating spaghetti... very supple lip action there." She popped a cherry tomato into her mouth while she paused, considering. She swallowed and said, "I think not having kissed you, and I mean a serious, toe-curling kiss, is one of the big regrets in my life." She raised her glass of water with lemon and took a long drink.
"Oh, it's never too late, Muse," I said, completely joking.
She squinted at me and crinkled her nose. "You know, I think you're right." Without another word, she slipped out of her seat and came to mine, slipping in next to me and taking my head in her hands. She moved her face in close to mine.
"Hey!" I said. "I was just kid..." She stopped my protestation by putting her mouth directly on mine, and I was lost completely to her. Her lips were firm to begin, and then yielding under my own, but never soft enough to hold back the maddening friction of skin on skin, never enough to stop me from knowing that I was kissing one of the most beautiful women I have ever known. She tasted slightly of pepper, from her meal perhaps, but underlying this was the taste of her, the essence of her that infused her soul, and through her lips, my own. Her tongue slipped over and along the length of my upper lip, before diving down, pressing between my teeth and pushing at me, while at the same time she pressed her lips over my mouth and sucked gently, creating a tiny vacuum that pulled me closer to her than I had ever been before. My eyes were frozen open in surprise the entire length of the kiss, and she left hers open as well, never looking away from me while she kissed me like I had never been kissed before.
Eventually, one moment short of eternity, she lowered her hands from my face, took her lips from mine and pulled away from me. My heart raced in my ears, my skin was hot--no, burning, boiling, molten--and I was uncomfortably aware of just how erotic a moment I had just spent a lifetime within. She laughed aloud at my obvious mental shutdown, then said, in all seriousness, "I knew you were going to be the best kisser here." She leaned forward again, put her lips almost against my ear, renewing the shivers running along my spine, and whispered, "I just didn't think you were going to be the best kiss I've ever had."