Perfect for You (Short Story) (Fire and Icing)
room, determined to put her doubts and stress behind her and enjoy the evening.
    They spent the next hour snacking on s’mores and sipping red wine from glasses large enough to serve as their own mini fishbowls. They chatted with a few of the other guests at the s’mores station, but chose a private table near the balcony, overlooking the largest tank in the aquarium, to enjoy their treats.
    Trent was all the company she needed, and she could tell he felt the same. His eyes rarely left her face, even when the stars of the giant tank, a mama beluga whale and her newborn baby, swam by, followed closely by the other belugas.
    When the time came for the movie, they snuggled together in the back row, Dawn’s legs draped over Trent’s lap and his big hands warm on her thigh. Dawn hid her face against his chest when the killer whale ate a baby seal, and Trent did the same—twisting to bury his face in her neck when a shark attack got especially bloody, making Dawn giggle so loud the couple in front of them turned around to shoot her a dirty look.
    Afterwards, she and Trent hit the restrooms to wash up and change into their pajamas, preparing for lights out in half an hour. Dawn changed into a black tank top and soft gray drawstring pants with tiny black skulls on them, her pulse picking up speed with every passing minute.
    She and Trent were about to spend their first night together. There wouldn’t be sex involved, obviously, but they would get to lie down together tonight and wake up together tomorrow morning. It was a heady thought, and something she’d been looking forward to as much as getting a chance to see the aquarium exhibits without the crowds.
    She hadn’t had an overnight with a man since her divorce. She’d dated on and off, but with Marshall and Emmie at her house five nights a week and every other weekend, she hadn’t had a lot of opportunity to have overnight guests, not if she didn’t want to have a boyfriend in the house at the same time as the kids. Until now, she’d never even considered it—she didn’t want to introduce a man to her son and daughter unless it was serious—but now…
    Maybe she should tell Trent how she was feeling and get it over with. Then she’d know whether or not she needed to tell Dave that she was planning to introduce Marshall and Emmie to her boyfriend when her ex dropped the kids off this coming Wednesday.
    “I love you,” Dawn whispered to her reflection, screwing up her face at how stilted the words sounded.
    “Trent, I love you,” she tried again in a deeper tone, making herself snort with laughter. “You sound like a transvestite.”
    “I got some love for you, baby,” she said in an Elvis voice, pointing her toothbrush at her reflection and wiggling her eyebrows. “Get over here and give me some sugar.”
    By the time she finished washing her face and brushing her teeth, she had succeeded in cracking herself up practicing ways to spill her emotional guts, but was no closer to figuring out how to say those three little words without sounding like she’d recently escaped from a mental institution than she was when she started.
    She’d decided to give up and let the confession emerge organically when she wove her way out the L-shaped hallway leading into the bathroom to find Trent standing outside—a big grin on his face and his cell phone in hand.
    One look in his eyes left little doubt he’d heard her making a fool of herself, but she dared to hope until he said—
    “Sorry, I couldn’t resist.” He hit play and a moment later, Dawn’s Elvis voice emerged from the speaker, followed closely by her Dracula voice, her best Valley Girl imitation, and an overblown version of her Southern accent like something straight out of Gone with the Wind. She heard herself confess her love for Trent over and over again, growing progressively mortified until she finally begged him to turn it off.
    “What’s wrong?” Trent said, hitting the stop button.

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