“Would you ever mind if I kissed you?”
Link is talking, then stuttering to a stop. “U-uh,” he says, cocking his head at the camera. He prays away the red in his cheeks, his ears, his neck. He opens his mouth before the millions of words in his brain can from a sentence, but luckily the laughter of the crew (most notably, Stevie) interrupts him, lets him think for just a few more precious seconds. “Well,” he says. Rhett raises his eyebrows. “Is this a trick question? I’m worried you’re gonna lean over and give me a surprise kiss.”
Rhett laughs, and Link can finally breathe. He’s said something right. “No, I wouldn’t do that to you,” Rhett says, softly. In an infinite pause, Link senses the shift of mood. Now Link is staring at him too closely, becoming too aware of the lift in Rhett’s cheeks, of the nervous rub of hands on their wooden desk. What are you saying? his eyes ask. What are you trying to say?
But then Rhett opens his mouth and rids the air of whatever it is that’s weighing them down. “It wouldn’t be a surprise if I did,” he jokes. He’s tittering before Link can process his words, then guffawing once he can tell Link has.
“You’re such a weirdo, man,” Link says, shaking his head but smiling nonetheless. He’s glad, relieved that the balance has been restored, that everything is back to normal. But in the back of his mind, the hesitance in his voice (and the absence of an answer) replays again and again, endlessly. He already knows this, but—maybe, maybe, he really wouldn’t mind if Rhett kissed him.