My eyes shot open as soon as our lips touched. A moment. No, longer. Seconds. All thought stopped. My confusion, inability to decide on what to do, overwhelmed. A blissful calm, where I wasn’t trying to figure out what I should be doing and just let things happen.
There were only two things. A rather odd feeling in the pit of my stomach, and a kiss.
The first sensation that returned to me was of confusion. It was shortly followed by the pressing need for oxygen. My careful control of my breathing, crucial to prevent making a scene with a bout of hyperventilation, had been left on the wayside by the sudden occurrence of kissing.
Lastly: that Beth had just lost her father, and kissing someone after that wasn’t a good idea.
I pulled my arms up between us and pushed her back from me, taking a lungful of air as we broke apart.
“I’m sorry,” I said, pulling at the floor to scramble away from her in case more kissing were to happen. I was still processing.
“Alexis, that…” I couldn’t see much of her but the glint of her eyes, wet, reflecting whatever low light was in the room. “I just…”
“It’s-” I choked on the words. “It’s okay.”
I had to get away. However much she needed someone, I had to work out what the hell had just happened. It might be best I wasn’t that someone. I couldn’t take advantage of her. Did I just take advantage of her? Did I want to? I needed to get out.
I half-crawled, half ran to the door and burst out into the blinding hall.
I’d never kissed anyone before. No one. Ever. I’d never even thought about kissing anyone, not even a shapeless blob of ‘future person’ to be filled out later. That happened to other people. People in movies. People with real life friends. Normal People. Other people. You didn’t just jump into kissing. Kissing came after talking, and I never really talked to anyone.
I took the narrow stairs two steps at a time.
Then Beth happened, and these ‘friends’ all sneaked up on me like a junkie after a fix in a dark alley. So much had been happening I never bothered to re-assess the whole I might ever kiss someone things. It was so firmly embedded in my mind that I…
I hit the door to the roof. It was courteous enough to give in to my demands to open and I was flung out into the cold morning light. The memory fresh in my mind. I played back every detail. The hug, what Beth had said, the brush of her fingers on my-
She’d meant all that. That wasn’t just… She’d kissed me.Beth, my friend.
I’d just kissed another girl. I hadn’t even considered…
Breathe. That wasn’t unusual was it? I’d never really thought of it, sure, but… the well…. Boys? Urgh. The thought of kissing Mike wasn’t appealing at all. I could picture the most chiselled, buff, perfect boy and the idea of kissing it repulsed me.
But… Danni? I mean, I don’t think I would. But, I could picture it. It kind of fit.
Beth? That… that made my stomach go all fluttery, but…
Holy fucking shit. Does that mean-
And Beth. She’d kissed me. Definitely the instigator of kissing. She kissed a girl. It wasn’t, therefore, such an outrageous hypothesis that she did, in fact, like girls. In a kissing way.
Me in particular.
I sat, legs dangling over the lip of the building, just letting myself soak in what could be described as an epiphany, if this was a storybook. I was more apt to describe as being hit with the sledgehammer of awareness. It would have made a romantic image, if it weren’t for the rain gutter filled with moss digging into my heel.
I’d come to two conclusions that definitely needed time to soak in. One, I liked being kissed by a girl. It had happened. It scared the ever-living-fuck out of me. But I, Alexis Loch, had on some fundamental level, enjoyed it. It was a thing that I would, possibly, think of exploring in the future.
The second, was that my very good friend didn’t solely seem interested in me as a just a friend. Of course, there was a few things that had just been turned up-side-down in her life, and a number of extreme circumstances that might be colouring that decision. It was somewhat difficult to see Beth being interested in me if we were in a more settled situation. Wasn’t it natural to… reach out, romantically, when people are placed together in stressful situations? It was biology. Psychology. One of the ‘oloies.
So, naturally, she was upset and she reached out.
Brave. I’d never be able to do that. I hadn’t even known if I… liked… girls. After facing that kind of loss to risk someone not thinking the same way as you…
What if I’d not? What if I’d just run… off…
I pushed open the door and let it slip shut behind me, holding it for one last second so it hardly made the slightest click as the latch snapped home.
I could hear the quiet sobbing, and knowing that I was the cause made my chest feel hollow. How utterly stupid of me. How selfish.
“Beth?” I wasn’t sure where to start. What could I say or do to put this right?
With a sharp breath, the crying stopped. A good sign? I took a step forwards.
“Ca-Can-” she stuttered. Broken words, hoarse voice, spoken directly to the wall she was huddled against. “Can we f-forget about that? Forget it ever happened? I… I didn’t- I don’t want to mess-”
“Shush.” I couldn’t stand to hear her like that, and for once I knew exactly what to say. “I… I’d rather not forget it, actually, if that’s okay with you of course.”
“Huh?” so feint I barely heard it. I was on my knees, she turned onto her back.
I could make out her face. Well enough to aim a kiss? I didn’t want to miss. But it was pretty simple right? You just touch lips and all that. Easy.
Just had to do it. Take a leap. She looked up at me, saying nothing. I stared down at her, wasting time that I should be using to do the one thing that would fix everything. I hoped.
With a quick movement, too quick, not from eagerness but pent up ‘just fucking do it’ breaking through the ‘oh shit this is a bad idea’ more forcefully than expected, I leaned down to her lips. My front teeth bumped hers, but it was a kiss. I felt her tears, wet on my cheek, her hand at my neck, snaking around to the back of my head, fingers tangled in my hair.
We broke off. Again, I’d forgotten to breathe. It hardly seemed necessary.
“Oh,” she said.
“Oh?” I repeated back to her.