Story of an odd way to have a first kiss. Sadly, it's non-fiction. About me...
Josie whips around the corner of the gym. "He's here," she says. Caroline and I exchange nervous, yet excited, looks. I quickly follow Josie out into the concession area of the gym. I look towards the entrance, searching for his face. Nothing. I see other people in line for tickets, but not him. I lean against the wall and stare at Caroline.
"Be cool," I say, jokingly. She rolls her eyes at me and we look back at the entrance. He walks in and spots us right away. He smirks and stands in line to pay for his ticket. After he pays, he finds us by the wall, where he'd seen us a minute earlier. He finds my eyes and smiles.
"Hey," Austin says.
"Hey, it's been a while," I say. He nods. We share awkward eye contact for a few moments, and then I hear Caroline and Josie make a comment. I ignore whatever they said, and then Caroline looks back at the door.
"Oh, my god. Dillon is here, Tia," Caroline says. I look and see Dillon walk through the doors. He walks straight by the ticket booth, like it isn't there. He is in pep band and they don't have to pay to get into school sports. My eyes widen.
I panic for a moment. I suddenly find my mouth saying words, and I can't stop them.
"Austin, do me a favor," I say. Austin looks at me.
"Pretend to be my boyfriend." Austin gives me a look.
"I want to make someone jealous. Please?" I beg. He rolls his eyes.
"What's in it for me?" he asks. I shrug.
"Just give me your hand. Hurry." I grab his hand and lace our fingers together. I glance at Dillon, and he is giving me a weird look. He is frowning at us. When he catches my eye, he looks away.
We walk up the bleachers to a clear spot. Dillon conveniently chooses a spot directly across from us, within easy view. I look at him, and catch him looking away from us again.
The thing about Dillon is this: A year ago, I had a crush on him. I am over him, now, but I used to think I was in love. And then he played me like a fool. He made me think he liked me back, but he never did. All he wanted to do was to trick me into sleeping with him, which I would have done, but I realized his motives before he had the chance. I grew to hate him. But he never gave up. He, even now, when he has a girlfriend, talks to me online and asks me to come over all the time. Apparently, I am not the only girl he's done this to. But I'm not getting into all of that right now.
Because I never gave Dillon what he wanted, he continues to ask. He is frustrated that I won't give in. Which is why, when he first saw Austin holding my hand, he kept staring at us.
And there's Nick. Nick is my current obsession. I'm not 'in love' with him, like I was with Dillon. I'm not even sure what my deal is with him; I like him, but then I don't.
When Nick moved here at the beginning of the year, I flirted with him a lot. But he showed no interest. I suppose I'm like Dillon in this way: I want to be acknowledged, and if I'm not, I get obsessive. I want him to at least say 'hi' to me once in a while, but his hatred is so deeply ingrained that he refuses to make any sort of contact with me. He avoids me in every way he can, such as taking different routes to classes, pretending he can't hear my greetings in the hallway, and avoiding eye contact with me. It infuriates me.
When Nick walks into the gym, all of my sense of control is lost. All I want to do is let him see what he can't have, if he continues to be this way. So, right when I see Nick's head turn our way, I let my mouth speak the kind of words that would embarrass the normal, self-contained person I used to be.
"Austin, kiss me," I say.
I don't know why I said it. I've never been kissed. I never would have done anything like this before now, but jealousy and fury mask the traits of the civilized person I usually am.
"What?" Austin says. He raises his eyebrows as Nick stares at our clasped hands.
"Just kiss me," I say. Austin shrugs and leans in to me. I'm slightly nervous, but most of my focus is on the feeling of Nick's eyes on us, but only until Austin's lips touch mine. Then I realize the actual reality of the moment. I realize what I've just done.
This is my first kiss.
I suddenly forget about the two boys I am trying to mess with and feel Austin's lips on mine. It's not the most private moment; I'm in a high school gym, surrounded by my students that have gathered to watch a basketball game, not to see a make-out session.
I am the one to pull away. I don't even bother to look to see if either of the boys are looking at us; I suddenly don't care. The way Austin's eyes stay on mine after we pull away, it makes me not care.
"Next time you do that, make sure to give a little bit more of a warning, please," Austin says, smiling. I blush.
"I'm going to kiss you again," I say. I smile and kiss him again. I grin when we pull away. "Was that enough of a warning?"
Austin stays ahold of my hand for a long time. We sit there, not watching the game. We kiss once in a while. I don't care that people are judging.
After a while, Austin says something surprising.
"I don't like the fact that I'm pretending to be your boyfriend," he says.
"Maybe we don't have to pretend," I suggest. Where did this sudden surge of bravery come from tonight? First, the pretend boyfriend, then the kiss, now this?
"What are you suggesting?" He smiles at me.
"I'm suggesting that we not pretend," I say, and I kiss him.
The junior varsity basketball game is over. Groton won. The varsity game starts right after it. If we win this one, too, I'll be surprised. The Clark Cyclones are pretty good this year.
We go down to concessions after a while. He leads me by the hand. We catch a lot of flak from my classmates; mainly from a boy named Dustin. We wander around in the room outside of the gym, holding hands. We talk about random things, and I introduce him to a few of my friends.
When it's almost halftime, we decide to ditch the game. We slip out the doors and go to his car. We decide to go to Subway. We get a couple drinks and go back to his car.
"What now?" he asks. I shrug.
"I don't know. What do you want to do?"
"We could drive around. Do you know any good dirt roads around here?"
"Well, I know a few that are south of town."
So I lead him through town until we leave out the south side by the train tracks. We drive a few miles away from town and turn onto a gravel road. I know the roads around there because I live about five more miles away. I know where we won't be found, if anyone's looking.
We drive down another gravel road, and Austin's phone goes off. It's Josie.
Where are you guys?
"Tell her we were hungry. We went to Subway. Tell her to text us when the game's almost over," Austin says. I text Josie back what Austin says.
Austin shuts the car off and we talk for a while. I am holding his hand.
It doesn't even bother me that my first intention was to use Austin, and now I actually have feelings for him. I don't even care. For the past couple hours, he's been wonderful. From the first kiss up until now, my feelings for him have been growing, and that scares me because I don't know what exactly he wants from me.
We stay in the car for a long time. Eventually we sit in the back seat so we have more room. We--come on, we're teenagers...what do you think we do? We make out. Not the entire time; we talk, too. I rest my head on his chest, and he has his arm around me and we talk.
"I like you, Austin."
"I like you, too," he says. We're whispering. We kiss for a little while, until Austin's phone lights up again.
"Oh, shit," Austin says. He looks at the phone. Josie is calling.
"I'm going to answer it," I say, taking the phone. I answer the call and put it on speaker phone. "Is the game over?"
"Where the hell are you guys?" Josie asks.
"We told you, we went to subway," I lie.
"Whatever! We went by subway and you guys weren't there. Where are you?" Josie says. I frown. They checked? Why did they go look for us?
"We left subway a while ago. We're just driving around. How much time is left in the game?" Austin asks.
"A couple minutes," Caroline answers from the background.
"Shit," Austin mutters.
"Okay, we're on our way back," I say. I hang up.
Austin jumps in the front seat. I crawl out and get back in the front, too. He starts the car and starts driving down the road, back to town.
We pull in the parking lot and run to the gym. I expected to see everyone leaving but all the cars are still here. Not a single person, besides us two, in the entire parking lot. When we enter the gym, Josie sees us. Then Caroline sees us. And then Dustin. They all give us weird grins.
"What were you two doing?" Dustin asks, raising his eyebrows at us. I roll my eyes. Dustin always annoyed me.
"We went to Subway --"
"Liar! You were not at Subway. We drove by and checked," Caroline says, cutting Austin off.
"Dustin drove us by subway," Josie says.
Then, Dustin decides to try to give me a Sex Ed speech. I roll my eyes again.
"I don't have to listen to this," I say, getting mad. I let Austin's hand go and walk up the bleachers. I stand by my friend, Gabbie. She gives me a look.
"What?" I ask, defensively.
"Where did you guys go?" she asks, raising an eyebrow.
"Oh, my god." I walk back down the bleachers and back to Austin.
Caroline and Josie obviously lied to us about the game being over, because the game is still going on. Groton is winning. Wow.
For the rest of the game, Austin and I try to avoid the personal, inappropriate questions from Dustin. Then the game finally ends. We wait for Gabbie and her boyfriend, Spencer, asking them if they need a ride. They decide to walk.
Austin drives me to Gabbie's house. I was staying the night with her.
"So, how long do you think we have?" he asks, after he parks in the street by her house.
"I don't know. She's walking seven blocks. And she takes forever to say goodnight to Spencer," I say. So we hold hands and kiss a little.
"Sorry about Dustin, by the way. He's stupid," I say.
"He asked me if I had genital herpes," Austin says. My eyes widen.
"Is that what he said to you when I went up the bleachers?" I ask. Austin nods and smirks.
It stays quiet for another minute. And then I say, "What are we?"
"Whatever you want it to be," Austin says. Smart. Avoid the question.
"And if I want you to be my boyfriend?"
"Then I'm your boyfriend," he says, smiling at me.
We're about to kiss goodbye when a car pulls up behind us. It's a completely empty street, but this car is right behind us.
"What the hell?" Austin says.
"Gun it. Turn left at the next block," I say. Austin does as I say and the car follows us. Austin turns left again at the next block and the car does the same. Austin speeds up and goes down several random blocks at my direction, the reason being I know Groton better than he does. We eventually lose the car and circle around the entire town one more time to be sure. Once we're on the road taking us back to Gabbie's again, we drive normal speed. It doesn't take too long, though, for us to pass a car going the opposite direction. I'm paranoid, so I look behind us to see if the car turns.
"Oh, my god. The car's doing a U-turn!" I say. The car stopped at the next block and backed up, and then headed our way again. Austin watches the car in the rearview and speeds up. Once we're close enough to Gabbie's, I see that her living room light is on.
"Oh, shit! Gabbie is home," I say. "Pull over at the end of the block and I'll run to the house." Austin pulls in front of the door and I quickly kiss him goodbye. I grab my things and head towards the house. The car is getting dangerously close. Once I'm out, and far enough away, Austin punches the gas pedal and his wheels squeal as he drives away. The car pursues him for another block and then turns back around, giving up. I roll my eyes. I just keep walking. The car stops behind me, on the side of the street. Dustin gets out. How did I know?
"What the hell is wrong with you Dustin? Are you, like, jealous of Austin or something?" I demand. Dustin just laughs his stupid laugh.
"Just messin' with ya. I want to meet this guy. I think he's mental or something."
"Dustin, you're the one who's mental! Chasing us down the streets? What the hell?"
"Just making sure you're behaving." Dustin grins. And then Caroline appears from behind an opening window. She's laughing.
"You're joking." I am giving up at this point. I don't care what they think Austin and I did. I don't care what they think about Austin, in general. I like him. A lot.
"You guys are crazy," I say. I walk away and step in the house. I throw my stuff in the corner and lean up against the wall. I smile to myself and feel my face go hot.
Whatever happens with Austin in the future, I will always remember tonight. This boy has done something to me tonight; he's made me feel fearless, like I can face any army alone, my head held high, with only a positive vision for what the future might hold for me. Only, if all goes as I wish it, I won't have to be alone. Maybe he'll be with me.
He's made me feel like there is no rock bottom--like everything will be alright if I just don't regret. And I didn't regret anything about tonight, other than not kissing him every second I could spare.