He makes a face and tosses the flower at me. It lands on my cheek, and I pick it up and twirl it between my fingers. I could lie out here all day, not moving an inch, feeling the sun above and the grass below. With a contented sigh, I stretch my arms wide, raking the grass with my fingers – and find myself brushing Aladdin’s hand with my own. I pull it away quickly, my cheeks warming. He laughs a little. “Sometimes,” he says, “I forget you’re supposed to be four thousand years old. You act as shy as a girl of sixteen.” “I do not!” I sit up and glare at him. He grins and shrugs, sliding his hands under his head. There are bits of grass stuck in his hair, and after a moment’s hesitation, I reach over and flick them away. Aladdin watches me silently, his throat bobbing as he swallows. I drop my gaze.
— Jessica Khoury
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