Her name, Mary Jane, danced in my head. My first kiss felt like a warm breeze in evening twilight. Three days later, I stood beside her hospital bed. Influenza, the nurse said. Flu was bad that year, but I couldn’t help wondering if it was my kiss. Mary Jane slipped away that night.

Two years later, I met Sofie in the theater hall. My second kiss imprisoned me in bliss. She held my hand until the symphony melted into the night. On our second date, I attended Sofie’s funeral. Weak heart, her mother said. Nodding relatives agreed, but a question bled into me. Did my kiss invite the dead?

Nearing the end of our fourth date, Annabella held me tight. We danced on the sidewalk outside the diner. The cold night air turned threatening, but our embrace was armor. Annabella whispered a request. Trepidation stormed my head, and I nearly fell over. Her smile set me straight.

On my third kiss, I knew.