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He has a fine jaw and steady gaze. His
voice is strong and speaks to her with quiet reason.
He watches her intently.
The grace of her
smallest movement stops time.

She sips her espresso, and,
biting her lower lip,
estimates his worth and social position,
wishing her Mom were here to go over
the spreadsheet.
A miscalculation at this point
would be disastrous.

He turns from her and stares at the dessert tray,
worrying over her pedigree and
the width of her pelvis.
(Sister's cephalo-pelvic disproportion led to
seven minutes of difficulty in an otherwise routine delivery.
The medical bills destroyed
a portfolio it took a decade to build.)

"Would you like dessert?"
"Oh no, but you go ahead. Please."
He looks at the lemon tarts, fresh raspberries,
dark chocolates, and waves the
tray away, reluctantly.

Hearts and bodies ache
for the place where love lives,
where one kiss can change everything.
Die here or die there.
It makes all the difference in the world.

      — Denver Perkins