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all winter, wanting summer

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The trampoline is an accident waiting to happen, Mulan knows, but it's also an excellent excuse. She's not sure what other circumstances would lend her the opportunities it affords—cherishes the moments their play fighting and jumping turns to laughter so breathless the rise and fall of Emma's chest is drowned out by insects buzzing.

A small lie—she can think of a few other situations, she's been imagining kissing Emma senseless since last summer.

She pushes the thought away now, as they lie side by side on the black surface, so close to touching Mulan's counted the almost-but-not-quite points of contact.

(Three. Toes, knees, elbows.)

For a while they do nothing other than bask in the sun. Emma looks like she's solar charging—eyes closed, hands tucked under her head, and the faintest suggestion of a smile. It feels a stark contrast to Mulan's own posture: on her side, knees curled slightly inward, facing Emma, and watching.

The quiet intimacy, the two of them sheltered away behind the trampoline's encircling mesh walls, is heavier on her skin than the humidity.

Emma's eyes blink against the light, “I can feel you thinking.”

Mulan rolls her eyes. No matter how much she wants to stop thinking about this, she can't.

She's thinking about the way Emma's lips looked curled up in her shit-eating grin and whether or not she still tastes like the watermelon her mother had cut for them earlier and what it would mean if Mulan was in love with her best friend and Emma didn't feel the same and—

“If you want to kiss me, all you have to do is ask.”

Emma likes to think she's unknowable. Mulan likes to think she knows Emma better than anyone.

When she does a quick study of Emma's face in that moment, she holds her breath, braces her heart.

Within the sanctuary of their own little kingdom in Emma's backyard, it feels easier to take the plunge.

“Can I—“

And before Mulan finishes, Emma rises up to press their lips together.

She lands a little off the mark with the unaccounted for bobbing of the trampoline and the laughter between the kissing makes Mulan almost dizzy.

It's nothing like Mulan imagined and it's so much better.

(Their lips, their chests as they rise and fall, their hands—they're touching in so many places and the last thing Mulan cares about is counting.)