[Steph: Or two scenes, perhaps straying a little from the prompt, and one in which someone is almost kissed for the first time.]
She is his first girlfriend. In the morning, he showers longer than he used to, plans his clothes with better care, turning up the collars of his golf shirt, spritzing on cologne. He remembers to brush his teeth after breakfast.
At school he holds the door, her books, her lunch, her hand. He sits beside her in the caf, arm casually around her shoulder, just so, conscious of how he looks, how she looks, pert breasts pushing against her tight tee-shirt, how she smells like strawberry lip gloss and cotton candy perfume—
In the dark, all pretence gone, he relaxes, fumbles, kisses her shyly, says in her ear what he thinks she’d like to hear. He is sweet, and she will remember this.
The Thing Is
You lean in to kiss her and just as she closes her eyes you think better of it and sit back. Everyone kisses on impulse and you know too many people who regret it. The thing is, this doesn’t have to be a romance. It’s just expected in some way by the unseen watching your story unfold. It’s not unlikely you might fall in love but it’s not only too soon, it’s cliché, and if there’s anything you’ve learned about living out a story, it’s that clichés may be long-lasting but they quickly become uninteresting and naturally predictable, even if the endless variations on a theme continue to impress those who think they’re art. This is real life, not some romantic comedy in which characters profess their love for each other, actually using the word love, after a mere afternoon of fun. No, you decide, today your lips are sealed.
She opens her eyes and you grab her hand. Let’s go out, you say.