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Coin Toss: A Short Story by Candice Coates

Heads or tails?”

“What? You can’t be seri-”

“Heads? Or tales?” Quarter sat at the ready, balanced atop the smoothness of his thumbnail, Josiah cut off her words. It wasn’t so much his words that eased her into silence, but the glint in his eyes and the smile that curved his lips.

He was serious, deadly serious.

Severin pressed her eyes closed and pinched the bridge of her nose, feeling nervousness roll up and around her belly. Had she actually eaten the lunch he had packed for them instead of anxiously pushing it around with her fork, nibbling it here and there, she would have had no room inside for anxiety to fill her guts in the first place.

At least the plate was neatly stashed away in the cooler for later if she survived to eat it later. Of course, the coin was two-sided so there was the other option that didn’t involve leaping to her death, but it did have a “leap” all its own.

As it were, Severin Hastings, true to her name, had spoken in feisty haste and she was now going to have to eat her words for lunch, the heads or the tales of it.

“Come on, Severin.” Josiah’s smile deepened followed by a chuckle that was too deep and thunder-like to be considered delightful, and yet somehow it was.

Severin’s tummy gave another nervous roll. Oh, how she wanted to slap that quarter from Josiah’s hands. They were too old for this; she at her thirty-one, and he thirty-seven. She knew his age not because she had asked around, but because another of their coworkers had given the information.

Claire, in Human Resources, had a bizarre fixation on Josiah Reed. Truth was, it wasn’t so bizarre. He was the epitome of “perfect guy.” Gorgeous, with black licorice hair, dark chocolate eyes, teeth like milk, a physique like The David, but he had such a generous heart and sincere faith in the Lord that Severin had yet to see in any man she had dated over the years, even the ones she had grown up with.

Josiah caused massive swoon fatalities whenever he walked into the office, so Claire’s “obsession” was contagious…not at all bizarre. What was bizarre, however, was that Josiah had taken an interest in Severin. And as it went, the sudden revelation left Severin leery and guarded-severe, also like the meaning of her name.

“That’s fine,” he said with another chuckle. “I’ll call it then.” He winked before sending the quarter into a series of twist and turns in the airspace between them.

“Heads!” He shouted just as Severin shrieked “tails,” caring not for Josiah’s reaction, as calling out either side left her in a precarious predicament that would demand an embarrassing go at trying to explain herself.

Tails: Please Josiah Reed, put your lips on my lips. Kiss me now!  Or Heads: Josiah Reed, I would rather base jump off this cliff than kiss you! Both options completely childish, and both born out of her foolish attempt to hide behind fear of liking this man by making herself seem disinterested.

Of course, he was the one who had planned their date, but she was the one who said, “I am not one for kissing on the first date. It is not my thing. But I would rather lock lips than jump off of this cliff!” The words sounded good in her head, but terrible once they were said.

Josiah then, after giving her a long and curious silent appraisal, and explaining that jumping twelve feet down into a pond was not actually base jumping, suggested a coin toss, having obviously seen through her mask and assumed this would be the best way to “break the ice.”

He was so wrong. He should have prayed about it!

The coin did one final turn in the air before clanking down on the rock face, rolling about mockingly on its thin quarter’s edge between their bare feet, before sliding sideways into a crack; neither heads nor tails.

It had opted for both.

“Well,” Severin finally said, having found her voice again rife with its usually starch and guarded tone. “I suppose this means we are at a dra-”

Before the words were free of her tongue, Josiah had kissed her, not on the lips but right on the cheek, with enough innocent tenderness to send a heated blush up her neck and face.

The kiss was short but it had sent a jolt through Severin, one so gripping that she hadn’t even realized Josiah had laced his fingers with hers and pulled her off the rock’s edge with him, down into the pond below.

Water and bubbles erupted around her with effervescence, drawing her into a fit of laughter that melted her rigidity away. Her eyes fell upon his and that same rolling in her belly rolled again, except for this time it wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t bad at all. This time it made her hope for more coin tosses in the future and his thunderous laughter.


Written September 8, 2015

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