I want to delight her. Again and again. I will spend the rest of my life trying to make her smile the way she is right now.
"I'm pretty glad too," she laughs. Her voice is softer. "It's gorgeous here."
I look down at the shoreline. The waves are gentle, sighing into the sand. It's low tide. "Sometimes shells wash up," I tell her. "Over here."
They wash up everywhere, but I am using this as an excuse to take her hand. It slips into mine like it belongs there. "Okay," she says, her voice barely above a whisper. I'm not sure if she's saying it to me or to herself.
Darkness is gathering in the trees. "What was that?" she asks, startled by a sharp cry from the branches.
"Migratory birds," I tell her, picking my way carefully along the waterline. "This is a stop for a lot of them. Someday I'm going to learn all of their names, but right now I just think of them as happy surprises. This place is protected, you know. A bird sanctuary." I pause. "My sanctuary.”
Sanniyah stops, forcing me to look back. Her head is tilted to one side, exposing the curve of her throat to me. I eye it hungrily until her words catch me by surprise. "So why share it?"
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