The mistletoe hung inconspicuously. Inconspicuous unless you happened to look up where it hung in the doorway between the kitchen and the dining room. It was this particular doorway Joy Turner was walking through when she collided unceremoniously with her friend Andrew Robbins who was coming the opposite way.
"Oh, sorry." He mumbled, adjusting the book he had been holding to the opposite arm he leaned down to help her up.
"That's all right." She replied, "Your mom said dinner would be ready in twenty minutes, your brothers and Sam and Ryan are in the basement playing video games if you want to know."
As if this statement had carried down the cramped stairwell of the Robbins basement the boys appeared, ranging in age from seventeen to almost twenty three with Andrew and Joy somewhere in the middle at almost twenty-one.
"Andrew, by the way did you happen to install sonar downstairs considering I barely had to say anything for everyone to get up here so fast."
Andrew laughed, "No, of course not."
"Well let's not waste time dinners almost ready." Joy said as she walked away.
She had only taken a few steps when Andrew grabbed her arm. She turned,
Andrew pointed above her head, "Mistletoe."
Andrew raised an eyebrow, but as close as she was Joy could tell he was blushing.
"Kiss her." One of his brothers shouted.
"On the lips!" Someone else yelled.
The other boys were whistling causing Joy to blush even harder. She looked deep into Andrew's eyes, and she often did, to gauge the answer she knew he couldn't say out loud. Suddenly his face was coming closer and she was closing her eyes tilting her chin automatically.
His lips were so warm... that was her last coherent thought for the world seemed to freeze. She wasn't even aware she had wrapped one arm around Andrew's shoulders and the other was pressing his face lightly and he had wrapped an arm around her waist pulling her closer.
Somewhere, as if from a long way away, a camera whirred.
She pulled away and they looked at each other, faces flushed and Andrew breathing as though he had just run a marathon.
Joy could feel his warm breath on her face and realized he hadn't moved from where he had been standing. Finally she risked opening her eyes and slowly raised them to look at his face.
"Wow" she whispered.
"Yeah, wow." Andrew replied breathlessly.
Finally he turned to the group of snickering onlookers.
"Okay, who took the picture?" Andrew asked.
"Guilty." Andrew's younger brother stepped forward, holding Andrews digital camera.
"If," Joy said tersely, "that picture shows up on any birthday cards..." she stared pointedly at Andrew, "well, that's not a picture I'd like to display to the public."
The boys snickered again.
"Andy, Collin, Andrew!" Their mother called, "Dinner!"
"That goes for everyone too!" Andrew's father called from across the kitchen, "come pray!"
Relieved of a distraction, Joy grabbed Andrew's hand and pulled him toward the circle of waiting people for the moment content to keep what had happened between them to herself.