Cato curled his toes into the carpet. “I…collect first kisses.” He didn’t, but he liked the sound of it, so why not? “I want us to kiss outside in the snow, not in here.”
“You want to pretend this isn’t a convenient hook-up?”
Disappointment curled in Cato’s gut. “I know what it is. But obviously it’s more romantic in a motorway service station car park than in a motorway service station motel bedroom.”
“Obviously.” Vigge smiled.
“I also want this to be spontaneous and we’ve lost that. Me having a shower, putting my lenses in so I look less of a dork, you having a shower, not that there is anything wrong in showering. But then we’ve eaten and watched the news and…” The moment wasn’t right. “I want to find the perfect spot outside to kiss. Shouldn’t take us more than an hour or two.”
If Vigge said no, Cato would accept it, and that would be that.
Vigge chuckled and pushed to his feet. “Get your boots and coat on, Father Awkward. You better make this kiss worth it.”
That Vigge was going along with this meant more than he could say. Cato loved kissing, but he couldn’t remember feeling this excited about kissing anyone. Even Max. Please be a good kisser.
When they stepped out of the motel into thickly falling snow, the blast of cold air made Cato suck in a breath. “No longer than an hour to choose a spot.”
“You have ten minutes.”
“Does that include the kiss?”
“Eleven minutes including the kiss.”
Cato laughed, grabbed his hand and dragged him across the car park. They slipped and slid through the churned-up lorry park and over the snowy ridges of the service road that led to the fuel pumps. There was a picnic area in front of a snow-laden wood, the tables and benches heaped in snow, no footprints anywhere. As Cato pulled him further on into a children’s playground, the sound of vehicles receded, as did the smell of diesel.
“Here,” Vigge said.
“We can still see civilisation.”
Vigge sighed but went with him towards the trees. Cato was already cold, and getting colder, his toes, fingers and ears tingling. But the longer they walked, the more the noise, sight, smell of the service station receded, and the fainter reality became until it felt as if they were in a world of their own.
“Whose woods these are I think I know,” Cato recited.
“Yeah, Robert Frost’s. His house is in the village though.”
Cato turned delighted eyes on him. “He will not see us stopping here to hug and kiss in the falling snow.” He looked round. “Where’s our little horse to think it’s queer?”
Vigge chuckled. “He’s run off. Here is perfect. We’re going to freeze.”
“I think that patch of snow looks better.” Cato pointed a metre away from where they