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Authors: Wendelin Van Draanen

Confessions of a Serial Kisser

BOOK: Confessions of a Serial Kisser
9.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


Title Page


1 Dirty Laundry

2 Shifting Paradigms

3 Adrienne Willow

4 Robbie Marshall

5 New Attitude

6 Ch-ch-ch-changes

7 Emergence

8 Conquest

9 Aftermath

10 Sunshine on My Shoulder

11 Willow Talk

12 The Kissing Corridor

13 Groovy, Baby

14 Chicken Soup for the Shattered Soul

15 Coffee, Tea, or Me

16 Bulldozer

17 Cheap Trick

18 Ravishing Red

19 Visitors

20 Biology Experiment

21 Rendezvous

22 Morning Madness

23 Hippity-Hop!

24 Shack Attack

25 Faulty Analysis

26 Plenty of Mouth to Go Around

27 Surrealistic Pillow

28 Reflections

29 Chemistry Lesson

30 The Psychology of It All

31 Driven

32 Cool Compression

33 More Notes

34 Counseling

35 The Tune of a Hickory Stick

36 News Flash

37 Counteracting the Mope Gene

38 Memories

39 The Spit Bath

40 Interception

41 Wasted Breath

42 Flashbacks

43 Disconnection

44 Waving a Plastic Spade

45 Ghosts

46 Heavy-Metal Kissing

47 Studly

48 Quarterback Sneak

49 Tongue-Twisted

50 Intersection

51 Bumping into Tatiana

52 An Unexpected Kindness

53 Avoiding Sweets

54 The Pitfalls of Avoidance

55 Page 143

56 Tutoring

57 Cataclysmic Kissing

58 Vow of Silence

59 Give Me a Little Less Conversation

60 Risky Business

61 "Edelweiss" at Ozzfest

62 Accounting

63 Barking Up Trees

64 Hitchin' a Ride

65 Clam Chowder

66 Mysterious Phone Call

67 The Halls of Hell

68 Call Me Stupid

69 Attempting to Re-establish Sanity

70 Outsider

71 Swinging

72 Ditch Day

73 Escape

74 Rock School

75 Roadblocked

76 The Clash

77 Puffy Eyes

78 Jagged Halves

79 Revelation

80 Ice Cream Therapy

81 Resident Shrink

82 In Search of Lips

83 Continued Quest for Ill-Begotten Lips

84 Crossing a Threshold

85 Behind the Bleachers

86 Curbed

87 Shut Out

88 Salting the Soup

89 Considering a Dismount

90 Treasures and Trash

91 Opening the Sack

92 Crossroads

93 The Key

94 Under the Bed

95 Give 'n' Take

96 Room 212

97 Good Lighting

98 Shelved

99 Yodeling the Night Away

100 Witness

101 In the Powder Room

102 Investments

Also by Wendelin Van Draanen


For fans of
especially the ones who wrote me letters.


Dirty Laundry

, and I am a serial kisser.

I haven't always been a serial kisser. There was a time not that long ago when I had next to no kissing experience. It's interesting how things can change so fast--how you can go from being sixteen with very few lip-locking credentials to being barely seventeen and a certified serial kisser.

It all started one day with dirty laundry.

At least that's what
trace it back to.

My mother had said, "Evangeline, please. I could really use some help around the house." She'd looked so tired, and what with homework and the amount of time I'd been wasting at Groove Records looking through old LPs and CDs, I
been slacking. Especially compared to the hours she'd been working.

So after school the next day I kicked into gear. I had the condo to myself because Mom was working her usual eleven
. to eight
. shift, and since my taste in music is old blues and classic rock (probably thanks to being bombarded with it since my early days in the womb), I selected an Aerosmith greatest hits CD and cranked it up.

I made the kitchen spotless during "Mama Kin," "Dream On," "Same Old Song and Dance," and "Seasons of Wither," sang along with "Walk This Way" and "Sweet Emotion" while I cleaned the bathroom, then tidied the bedrooms through "Last Child" and "Back in the Saddle."

It was during the pulsing beat of "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" that I began my fateful search for wayward laundry.

Laundry at the Logan girls' residence isn't found in hampers. It's found on the floor, draped over chairs, putrefying in boxes and's anywhere my mom and I want to dump it. And in my rocked-out state I was checking for laundry in places I'd never looked before. Like on her closet floor, behind and between the big packing boxes that still serve as my mother's dresser, and then under my mother's bed. It was there that I discovered one dusty sock and a whole library of books.

Not just random books, either.


At first all I could do was gawk at the covers. I'd seen these kinds of books at the grocery store, but they were so obviously stupid and trashy that I wouldn't be caught dead actually looking at one.

But now here I was with a whole library of trash in front of me and no worries that someone might spot me.

So as strains of "Angel" began playing, I looked!

I checked out all the covers, then started reading the blurbs on the backs. Aerosmith eventually quit playing, but I didn't even notice. I was skimming pages, laughing at the ridiculous, flowery prose, my jaw literally dropping as I read (in great detail) how one book's chisel-chested man and his luscious lady "joined souls in sublime adoration."

I couldn't believe what I'd found. Couldn't believe my mother! While I was slogging through
The Last of the Mohicans
The Red Badge of Courage
for my insane literature teacher, Miss Ryder, my mother was reading books with bare-chested men and swooning women? Miss Ryder would have an English-lit fit over these books, and for once I'd agree with her!

But for each book I put down, I picked up another. And another. And another. Why, I don't know. Was I looking for more soul joining? I don't think so. Something to hold over my mother's head? She didn't need any more ravaging. I think it was more that I was still in shock over my mom being a closet romance freak.

But after ten pages out of the middle of a book called
A Crimson Kiss,
something weird happened: I actually kind of cared about Delilah, the woman that the story was about.

I read some more out of the middle, but since I didn't get why Delilah was in her predicament, I went back to the beginning to figure it out.

I have no idea where the time went. I was carried away by the story, swept into the swirl of romance, racing hearts, anticipation, and love. They were things that were missing in my real life. After six months of watching my parents' marriage implode, I found it hard to believe in true love.

But inside the pages of this book my parents' problems vanished. It was just Delilah and her hero, Grayson--a man whose kiss would save her from her heartache and make her feel

Love felt possible.

One kiss--the right kiss--could conquer all!

So I read on, devouring the book until I was jolted back to reality by my mother jangling through the front door.


In my panic, it didn't even occur to me that
was really the one busted. I just shoved her books back under her bed and escaped to my room with
A Crimson Kiss.


Shifting Paradigms

I read every book in my mother's sub-mattress library, including a self-help book on finding your inner power and another one titled
A Call to Action
on how to take charge of your life. (Books she'd gotten, no doubt, to help her get over my two-timing dad.)

But it was
A Crimson Kiss
that I kept going back to. It was
A Crimson Kiss
that I read and reread. The other romance novels didn't have any layers to them; no real
It was like pop versus rock. Some people like the pure tones of pop, but to me it's just gloss. There's nothing
it. Give me the heart-wrenching gritty guts of blues or rock any day.

Not that
A Crimson Kiss
was written in a gritty way, but it sure was heart-wrenching. And the kissing was incredibly passionate! I dreamed scenes from it at night, waking some mornings still feeling the breathless transcendence of a perfectly delivered kiss.

Once I was fully awake, though, reality would strike.

It was just a dream.

Just a romantic fantasy.

Then one morning, I found a book on the kitchen table beside an empty bowl. (A bowl with telltale signs of midnight bingeing on chocolate ice cream.) The book was splayed open, spine up, and the title was
Welcome to a Better Life.

I looked it over as I ate my usual before-school bowl of cereal (in this case, Cheerios). The section titles were things like: "Re-envision Your Life!" "The Time Is NOW!" "The Change Is Yours to Make!" "Living Your Best Life!" "See It, Be It!" "What Are You Waiting For?" "Shift Your Paradigm!" and "Four Steps to Living Your Fantasy!"

Four steps to living my fantasy?

This I had to see.

Too many anecdotes and testimonials later, the author finally put forth step number one:

Define Your Fantasy.


I poured myself a second bowl of Cheerios and defined my fantasy:

I wanted love. A love like Grayson and Delilah's.

But something about that felt wrong. It was too heavy. Too serious.

I took a bite of Cheerios, and as I munched, the image of Grayson kissing Delilah drifted through my mind.

was it.

The kiss.

I wanted my own "crimson kiss."

I went back to the book and discovered that step number two was easy:

Speak Your Fantasy.

"I want a crimson kiss," I whispered into the quiet of the kitchen, feeling more than a little silly.

Step three:
Your Fantasy.

I closed my eyes and pictured myself as Delilah, pictured Grayson sweeping me into his arms, looking lovingly into my eyes, his mouth descending toward mine, his lips brushing against mine, warm and tender, full of smoldering passion....

Oh, yeah. I could definitely see it.

I shook off the shivers, then turned the page and discovered that step number four was: Live Your Fantasy.

my fantasy?

How was I supposed to do that?

All the book really offered by way of explanation was, "See it, believe it, live it."

I snorted and slapped the book shut. What a rip-off!

Then I noticed the kitchen clock.



I flew around the condo getting ready for school, and despite some unintentional banging and clanging, I managed to slip out the door without waking my mother.

I hurried toward school, and as I walked, my flip-flops seemed to slap to the rhythm of the steps outlined in
Welcome to a Better Life.

Speak Your Fantasy.

See Your Fantasy.

Live Your Fantasy.

The cadence of it was catchy. Like the chorus of a song.

Speak Your Fantasy.

See Your Fantasy.

Live Your Fantasy.

And as it repeated in my head, I suddenly realized how much my life had been dominated by my parents' breakup. When was the last time I'd even thought about my own love life?

Speak Your Fantasy.

See Your Fantasy.

Live Your Fantasy.

Maybe it
be that easy. I could just live my own life! Get out from under their dark cloud! Have some

Speak Your Fantasy.

"I want a crimson kiss!" I shouted into the sky.

See Your Fantasy.

I spun in a fantasy dance across an intersection, adored in my mind's eye by my own dashing Grayson.

Live Your Fantasy.

I hurried onto the Larkmont High School campus. My life was going to change!

BOOK: Confessions of a Serial Kisser
9.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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