“Uh, it’s not that I haven’t thought about kissing you. I think about it and ah,” thank God I didn’t have a heartbeat, because I’m sure I would have blushed embarrassingly, “other things I’d like to do with your,” my eyes slid up to her mouth, “parts. But I’m just not ready.” Good thing Deja didn’t have sight to see me lowering my focus to the soft curve of her breasts peeking above the tunic she wore. “I’m ready in some ways. It’s just—”

“You’re still scared. And that’s okay.” Her hand moved across the table to find my hand. She squeezed. It helped. “Nina asked me. When you brought me home the other night if we’d kissed.” She laughed softly. “She said that when we got to the door, she saw you lean forward. Thought we were going to. She asked why we didn’t.” Deja shrugged. “I’m just curious. You don’t have to answer. You’ll kiss me. Or you won’t today.” She smiled. Once again not saying the word tomorrow. In fact, we didn’t ever say it.  And I liked that. She meant what she said—only today mattered. “I was thinking, we add something to our today. Each day.”

I stiffened. Deja squeezed my hand. I relaxed the tiniest bit. “What?”

She laughed. “Look at you! Not jumping to conclusions and getting all growly with me Killer Man. I’m proud of you. If gold stars still existed, I’d get you one.” She got a loud snort from me at that. “We always say goodbye. And goodnight. But if we’re supposed to not expect another day and we’re only living for today, I thought we could change that.” She lowered her head and a flicker of sadness appeared for a beat. It crossed her pretty features. Clouded her eyes. Then vanished. “I don’t like telling you goodbye. I know I said one day at a time. And I meant that. But did you know the people of Hawaii don’t have a word for hello or goodbye?”

I laughed. “I don’t know if you are aware of this, but the city is far from Hawaii. And the world is definitely not fucking paradise. And pretty sure this,” I picked up a piece of dried apple, “isn’t pineapple.” Tossed it in my mouth. “But okay, they don’t have words for those things. What does this have to do with our arrangement?”

She laughed. “It’s not that they don’t, but it means more than just a greeting and a farewell. It’s both.” Her brow creased and she gave me one of those dazzling smiles. Ah, she just tapped into that teacher gear. I was about to get taught. I didn’t mind. Deja taught me so much every day. To laugh easily. Smile with no threat. Got used to her bumping into everything, including me. Shit, even renaming my cat. I now called Asshole Snowball, too.

“The word “aloha” is made up of two parts. Like a lot words.” She felt for her pad and pencil on the table. In the few months she’d been around, I’d learnt how to spell and write my name better. It didn’t even look like a little kid did it. I also learned hers. Shit, I even knew the alphabet too. Mostly.

She began to write the word aloha on the pad. Slowly and carefully without being able to see it. Her sensitive fingers felt the dents her letters made on the paper. “See this first part? ‘Alo’ It means to share. And this second part, the ‘ha’ means to breathe. Aloha means to share breath. It means to share the breath of life with someone else.”

With my head down, I traced the letters along with her. I mouthed each letter. “Okay. That’s sweet.” I flashed my eyes to hers. “I’m still not sure what this has to do with our deal.”

Deja smiled and moved closer. Her hands came up to palm my cheeks as her forehead touched mine. “I don’t want to tell you goodbye. I hate that part of our day. Can we just say aloha? Share the same air. Your life and mine. For that day? Share the same air. Breathe in each other. And never say goodbye. Just use, aloha.”

As she spoke, her voice a soft whisper, we did just that. She’d exhale. I’d inhale. The sweet scent of the fruit mixing with the sweetness of the woman. Sharing the same breath of life. One she’d made more than I ever dreamed off.