For the One
“What the hell was that? Why did you storm off?”
“Because I didn’t want to say anything rude, and you made me angry.”
“Because I asked you to look me in the eye?”
“Well, maybe I’m just tired of you looking everywhere but my eyes.”
He blinked. “It’s difficult.”
He shook his head. “Because when I’m looking in your eyes, I’m too distracted to hear what you are saying. It’s intense.”
“What’s intense? I mean, I know I’m beautiful, but…” I joked in an effort to lighten the mood.
“Yes. You are beautiful. You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”
I sucked in a breath. Wow. He’d said it in a matter-of-fact tone as if stating that the sky was undeniably blue. There was no art to the words, no obvious attempt at flattery. Why was my throat closing up like this?
“I was joking.” I laughed self-consciously. “I’m not really that full of myself.”
“I don’t know what that means. But you shouldn’t joke about being beautiful. It’s not a joke.” He stuffed his hands into his pockets and waited.
“I didn’t realize,” I suddenly blurted, my voice trembling with regret.
“That it was so hard for you to look in my eyes. I thought that was a myth. I don’t spend a lot of time around autistic people.”
“It’s hard to look in anyone’s eyes, but easier if I know the person.” I was flooded with relief that he seemed okay discussing this. “Mostly it keeps me from focusing on what is being said. It also makes me feel like I’m violating that person’s privacy.”
“By looking in their eyes?”
“Like I’m seeing things that I shouldn’t see.” He shakes his head. “I get tired of having to explain it to people. And you aren’t going to get it so—”
“The eyes are the windows to the soul,” I interrupted quietly.
“Eyes are not windows.”
“It’s a metaphor, Wil. It means that a person’s eyes can show what’s going on with them beneath the surface. So maybe you’re feeling like a Peeping Tom?”
He was quiet for a long time, shifting from one leg to the other. “Yeah, so maybe if I make eye contact with you as long as you want, you’ll let me peep through your window.”
I opened my mouth, about to lodge a protest, when I saw the smile on his face. He was rather pleased with himself and his joke. “Ha ha. Then again, you do stare at my boobs enough.”
“I like your breasts.” His eyes darted to my chest, causing my nipples to tighten under my t-shirt.
I folded my arms to cover my unconscious reaction and laughed. “I can tell.”
“And your butt. And your legs. And—”
“All right, all right. I get the picture. Let’s get in your car,” I said with an exasperated sigh. Typical man.