In the past – when Winter is in his late teens
Winter leaned forward, his lips only a millimeter from Karen Schneider’s.
He could feel the place where the Strands were about to be disturbed. He could see the disturbance, even with his eyes closed.
He kissed her anyway. Kissed her and then wrapped an arm around her and rolled them both to the side.
“What!” she gasped and tried to pull away, but Winter had practice with this, if not with Karen.
The water balloons hit the tree behind them, right where they would have been if he hadn’t rolled them.
Winter released Karen and rolled off to his side so she didn’t feel the least bit restricted, just as his little sisters ran up to him.
“Winter!” Summer complained. “You cheated!”
Karen was finally catching up with what was going on. “You saw them coming?”
“Heard them,” he temporized. “I like this shirt. I imagined you didn’t want it getting soaked.”
It was a nice mint-green top, thin enough that even dry, he could see the lines of her bra strap through it. Wet, it would have left nothing at all to the imagination.
She blushed. “Thanks. Thanks, it’s just… you startled me.”
“You cheated,” Summer repeated.
“No.” Winter had far too much practice not getting irritated with his sisters. “As I recall, you three promised not to bother Karen and I for at least an hour. So I’d say you cheated.”
“Come on.” Autumn took Summer and Spring’s arms and steered them away. “He’s not any fun when he has company.”
Winter appreciated the gesture, but he could see that it was already too late for this particular date.
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