by K. E. Baxter
Two best friends are locked in a closet for 5 minutes while playing "Spin the Bottle."
|They watched each other, each waiting for the other to move.
The closet was fairly spacious, considering its purpose. The walls were lined with shelves racked with cans of vegetables and boxes of one-skillet-meals, barely visible by the light seeping in through the slatted doors. Fourteen-year-old Tavian locked his emerald gaze onto one such box of beef stroganoff and swallowed what little saliva was left in his mouth. "So...um..."
Katari smiled at him. "Why are you so nervous?"
"I'm not," he protested, forcing himself to meet her russet eyes. "It's just...this is weird, okay? What're we even supposed to do in here?"
She rolled her eyes at him. "Don't be such an idiot, Tavian. You're turning fifteen tomorrow! You can't just turn fifteen without knowing how to kiss-"
"Shhhhh," she mocked him. Tavian was her best friend, and six months her elder; but at times, he could be so naïve. "Just relax, okay...? Take a deep breath...that's it, now close your eyes and let it all out..."
He did so obediently, although his brow was still creased, and his mouth was still pursed shut.
"Okay, now look at me..."
His eyes flickered open.
"Don't look look, just like...look at me, but with your eyes closed."
"That doesn't even make any-"
"Just do it, okay?"
Another sigh escaped his nostrils, but he complied nonetheless.
"Okay..." Katari took a deep breath of her own and gazed at him-his perfect olive skin, his spiky black hair... How long had she waited for this? Ages, it seemed...and now it all came down to this.
For a moment, it seemed as though the entire world could fit into that pantry. It was her first kiss too, but he didn't need to know that.
She squared her shoulders and stood up straight, tucking her blue-black waves behind her ears. Goosebumps pinched her caramel skin.
Tavian licked his lips; "what're you doing?"
"Nothing," she spoke hastily.
"Shut up, don't rush me." She took his hands in hers, leaned up onto her toes and planted her full lips against his. This part she had practiced a thousand times in her bedroom, with many an unresponsive stuffed animal...but she was unprepared for the actual feel of his mouth against hers. The softness of his lips, the tenderness with which he returned her kiss...
The smell of his awful garlic breath...
She held her breath and enjoyed the kiss for as long as her lungs would allow before pulling away from him. "There. You are now, officially, a teenager."
"Yeah..." He opened his eyes and grinned; "but you're an awful kisser."
Katari ripped her hand from his and shoved him away; "how would you know?"
His grin broadened. "That was your first kiss too, wasn't it?"
Footsteps approached the pantry door, and it slid open. Katari's twin sister smiled at them, her russet eyes darting between Tavian's face and Katari's. "That's five minutes."