Book 3: Once Upon an Ending
I finished sweeping and leaned the broom against the wall. “And what if he tries to kiss me again?”
“You should kiss him,” Allie said. “Not a long one. Just a little one, and then cut him off.”
Natalie nodded. “Don’t push him away too hard. He needs to see that you’re worth the chase.” When we all gave Natalie a surprised look at her Allie-type advice, she shrugged. “I’ve been listening to Allie for so long I know what she’s going to say.”
“Well, okay, that’s great advice, but there’s one small problem with that.” Or rather, one big problem. “I still don’t know how to kiss! That was why I didn’t kiss him in the first place. Not because I was putting him on The Ledge.”
“Who didn’t you kiss?” Colin appeared in the doorway of the barn, a big, annoying grin on his face.
Oh, God, I wanted to die right then, right there. Why, oh, why, did he keep walking into our conversations like this? This was completely humiliating.
“Heath Cavendish,” Allie announced.
“Allie!” Okay, I was wrong. Now I was completely humiliated.
“Really?” Colin leaned against the doorjamb and folded his arms across his chest, as if he was going to stay and join the conversation. “I can’t imagine many girls refuse to kiss Heath. How’d he take it?”
“I don’t know,” I muttered. “I left.”
“You refused to kiss him and then took off?” Colin grinned. “I love it.”
I was not getting into this discussion with a boy. “Why are you here? Mom said you weren’t coming today.”
“Plans changed, so I thought I’d swing by and see if there was anything to do. I could always use the extra cash.”
“Well, I’m covering all the chores tonight, so you can leave.”
Something flashed in Colin’s eyes, then he shrugged. “Fine. I’ll see you around, then.”
“Wait a sec.” Allie jumped off the feed bin and grabbed Colin’s arm. “You should stay. We could use your advice.”
Was she insane? “No, we can’t. He should leave.”
“No, no.” Allie tugged Colin back into the barn. “Colin, I have a question for you.”
I had to feel a little sorry for him. He didn’t really look like he wanted to be subject to Allie’s interrogation, but he was too nice to reject her. Because he was nice, even if he did have a habit of catching me in embarrassing moments.
“Anyway,” Allie continued, “if a guy kissed a girl who’d never kissed before, would he be able to tell?”
Colin narrowed his eyes. “Tell what?”
“That she hadn’t kissed before.” Allie rolled her eyes in exasperation, while I contemplated pretending to pass out so I would have to be rushed off to the hospital, and therefore spared this incredibly humiliating discussion of my kissing talents.
Granted, I wasn’t interested in Colin, but he was a boy. Which meant I didn’t want him listening to my kissing failures.
“Oh.” Colin glanced at me. “That’s why you didn’t kiss Heath? Because you were afraid he’d think you weren’t good at kissing?”
If only the earth would swallow me up now. “I really don’t think we need to be having this conversation.” I turned away and began filling feed buckets. “I have work to do. You all should leave.”
“And I thought you refused to kiss him because you just didn’t want to kiss him,” Colin said, with a hint of derision in his tone. “Dumb idea, I guess. As I said, what girl would turn down Heath Cavendish?”
“So he’s popular,” I snapped at Colin. “What’s wrong with that?” Personally, I thought it was kinda cool that he was popular.
Colin shrugged. “Nothing.”
“You didn’t answer Allie’s question,” Frances interrupted Colin. “We really want to know.”
“Frances!” What was with my friends? Since when had it become their goal to embarrass me so badly? “I don’t want to know!”
Colin turned away from me and looked at Frances , the corners of his mouth turned up in amusement. “You mean, would I be able to tell if I kissed a girl who wasn’t experienced? You guys really want to know that?”
“Yes,” she said.
Natalie nodded her head in agreement. “Yeah, could you tell?”
“No, we don’t want to know!” I grabbed Colin’s arm and tried to push him out of the barn, only vaguely noticing that the muscles in his arm were pretty big. “Colin, leave. This conversation is killing me.”
He deftly stepped out of my path and spun back into the barn, still sporting his amused grin. He turned to Frances . “I might be able to tell that a girl was inexperienced, but if I liked her, that would be cool. I’d rather kiss a girl who hasn’t kissed a lot of guys.”
“Really?” Allie twirled her hair, no doubt trying to recall the countless boys she’d kissed. Guaranteed she was contemplating feigning ignorance the next time she kissed a boy.
“But if I just wanted some action, I’d probably be more interested in someone who knew what she was doing,” Colin added.
Well, thank you, Colin, for muddying the waters.
“So what about a guy like Heath?” Allie asked, rubbing her own lips thoughtfully. “What would he want?”
Colin’s tone became a little less friendly. “I’m not Heath. I don’t know.”
Allie looked at me, still wearing that look that indicated her wheels were turning. “Heath has been around a lot. I bet he’s looking for the experienced type.”
I threw up my hands. “Oh, great. Now I’m really going to avoid kissing him. Thanks a lot, Allie.”
“That can be addressed,” she said.
Trepidation slammed my gut. “What can be addressed?” I didn’t like the expression on her face, like she was plotting my downfall.
“Your lack of experience,” she said.
Somehow I felt this entire discussion was heading in a dangerous direction. “What? Am I supposed to practice kissing on the dog?”
“No.” She pointed to Colin. “On him.”
“You want me to kiss Colin?” My stomach flopped and my hands instantly broke into a sweat.
“No, let Colin kiss you. Let him teach you how to kiss. Then you can kiss Heath and wow him.” Allie grinned. “You have to learn somewhere, right?”
“Oh, yes!” Natalie said.
“Perfect,” Frances exclaimed. “Do it!”
“I can’t kiss Colin,” I gasped, not even daring to look at him.
“But he’s cute, and he’s nice,” Allie said. “Why can’t you kiss him?”
“Because…because…” Because having someone teach me how to kiss would be the most embarrassing thing ever. And Colin? Granted, he was moderately cute, but he wasn’t my type at all.
No way could I kiss him.
No possible way.
But I’d never admit I was too wimpy to kiss him. That was even more embarrassing. So, instead, I simply said. “I’d never ask Colin to do that.”
He looked at me, and for the first time I realized that his eyelashes were really long and thick. “I’ll kiss you, Blue.”
And I could tell he meant it.