Authors: Suzanne D. Williams
I Kissed The Boy Next Door
Suzanne D. Williams
I Kissed The Boy Next Door
by Suzanne D. Williams
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual people, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental.
I kissed him and I ran. But then they dared me, and what’s a fourteen-year-old girl who’
s barely hit puberty supposed to do but what her friends say? And he
cute. And I
known for being a little bold anyway.
girls planned it together. They gave me the dare the night before. All of us in our pajamas gathered around inside the summer camp cabin, whispering about this boy or that one. How it was confirmed Mack wore Superman pajamas because Bessie saw them. How Esther said that Owen said that Paulie saw Francisco flirting with our camp counselor Miss Peters. That he brought her flowers and everything.
Demisha said, “Let’s play dares,” and everyone agreed. Demisha dared Sandra to run outside without her clothes on, knowing full well Sandra would do it because Sandra was like that. This gave Sandra permission to make the next dare, and so she dared Esther to go right up under the boys’ cabin and crow like a rooster.
Esther lived on a farm and heard roosters every day, so she was really good at it. We
all giggled afterward, especially when one of the boys swore out loud and another conked his head on the upper bunk sitting up too fast. We, of course, saw all this peering through the window.
It was Esther’
s idea for me to kiss Jackson. “Lucy, I dare you to kiss Jackson.”
I focused on her face. “As in kiss him, kiss him?”
“Yeah, and you gotta do it in front of all his friends.”
Alan Phillips, the Untouchable. That was what I called him because of all the boys he was the one every girl wanted to be seen with but none had any success with. Not that there was much to success at age fourteen. But Jackson was cool. Jackson was popular, and kissing Jackson was a big deal.
Kissing him in front of his friends was even bigger. Huge, in fact.
“We’ll set it up,” she said. “
Tomorrow after breakfast when they go down to the basketball court, we’ll all follow. You wait until they gather into teams, then I’ll yell his name.”
“You ought to flash something.” This remark came from Sandra. As I said, Sandra was like that.
“This is Lucy’s dare, not yours,” Demisha said. “Kissing’s big enough I think.”
I was grateful to
Demisha for that because I didn’t want to flash anything, and despite my age, I had plenty to flash. But no fourteen-year-old girl with any decency wants to do that. Well, except for Sandra.
“So like I said,” Esther continued, “I’ll call out his name, and you walk up and kiss him. Make it good too because we all want to see.”
I hadn’t any idea how to make a kiss good, since I’d never kissed anyone. I did like that my first kiss would be Jackson Phillips though it seemed like he should kiss me and not the other way around.
ith that, we broke up for the evening, seeing as I couldn’t dare anyone until my part in the game was done. I slept okay that night, not too worried about it, and didn’t actually get nervous until halfway through breakfast the following morning.
It didn’t help that t
he other girls kept looking at me and giggling, which made Miss Peters suspicious of what we were up to. And we made her suspicions worse by getting quiet each time she got nearby. As breakfast progressed, I had a hard time swallowing my eggs.
Esther saw I was nervous and tried to pump me up.
“Just think,” she said, “You can say you kissed Jackson. All the girls at school will be jealous.”
This made me feel a mite better, but not enough to quell the butterflies fluttering in my gut.
Breakfast eventually ended, and we cleaned up our table, toting our trays up front and wiping down the table top. This was required.
“Always keep a neat seat,” Miss
Price would say. Miss Price had lots of rhyming sayings like that.
we all filed out.
Esther pushed me to the front. “You stand at the side of the court, near the benches,” she said.
This was a good spot because it’d make me near the boys, yet not too out of place.
She looked at the others. “The rest of you spread out. If we bunch up, they’ll know something’s up.”
So we all tromped across the uneven ground, splitting up when we got within sight of the court.
“Listen for me to call his name. Then you come out,” Esther said just before she disappeared.
I nodded and moved to my position, my stomach now knotted up so tight you could use it for the basketball.
six boys on the court. Mack, of the Superman pajamas, Jackson, Paulie, Rick, Francisco, and Owen. They did like boys do, joshing around, slapping each other on the back. Owen had the ball, so he picked teams.
Jackson,” he said. Of course, he would take Jackson because Jackson was the best basketball player out there.
And I watched
Jackson run his hands through his brown hair and hook his fingers in his pockets. He moved to stand beside Owen, and I got a good look at his face. Lord, he was cute. He had eyes the color of the Caribbean Sea, kind of a turquoise blue-green, and the fullest lips.
Yeah, I was looking as his lips, thinking I had to kiss them
, and “Boy, won’t that be something.”
picked for the other team. He picked Rick and Mack. This was predictable because they were all best buds. That left Francisco with Owen and Jackson. Francisco always got picked last.
With the teams picked, they decided to play rock-paper-scissors for who goes first and all huddled into a wad.
Paulie stood on one side and Owen on the other.
I looked for Esther. This was the moment. They’d start playing after and the time would be lost. Sure enough, she popped out of the shadows.
“Hey, Jackson,” she shouted.
And the boys all stopped what they were doing and glanced her way.
This being my cue, I walked out onto the court. Not a one of them saw me coming, least of all Jackson.
“Make it good. Make it good,” I repeated under my breath.
I came up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder. He turned and those lips of his practically sang out my name. I took hold of his cheeks and planted one right there, holding just long enough he couldn’t squirm, then backed up one, two, three steps.
His eyes were as big as saucers. I could still taste his skin on my tongue. Gosh and gracious, but kissing him was the best thing I’d ever done.
But it hit me, “You kissed him, and he’s looking at you.”
Panic rifled through my bones and up my spine, and my feet took off with a mind of their own.
Three years later
I yanked my shirt off without any thought to the window being open. After all, the house next door had been vacant for well over a year. I also got a small thrill from the idea of being shi
rtless before an open window. This was harmless really because my bedroom was at the very rear of the house, facing a section of trees on one side and the vacant house on the other. It couldn’t be seen from the street.
So it was with complete horror that I turned right and looked into the eyes of a boy gazing back at me from the opposite bedroom window. I shrieked and snatched my shirt from the bed, pressing it to my chest. The boy made no effort to conceal his laughter or move away for my benefit. This set my blood on a slow simmer.
Then I got a good look at him and my eyes spread wider. It couldn’t be, not right next door. I re-donned my shirt and dashed out my bedroom and down the hall. My mother was in the kitchen, up to her elbows in flour.
“Did you know there are people next door?” I asked.
She glanced up, flour puffing into the air with the movement of her hands. “Yes, they moved in today.”
“And you didn’t think to tell me?” I sounded like I was accusing her of something, which I wasn’t, but after what had just happened––
Her face settled into that mom look, the one that says calm-down-or-else.
My older brother spoke from behind me. “I think it’s that friend of yours.”
I spun around on my heel. Well, I knew that by now, seeing as he’d been standing there laughing at me. The image stuck in my mind, and I stomped through the living room and out the front door.
The grass tickled my toes as I treaded across the lawn and around the corner.
“The nerve of him,” I said. “Standing there watching me. Probably thinks this will happen all the time. Probably thinks I’m in the habit of it.”
And I was, but I wasn’t going to admit that.
My arms pumping back and forth at my sides, I crossed the property line onto the crunchy, neglected grass of the vacant house and marched right up to his window. He was still standing there, his mouth curved into a sly grin.
Raising my fist, I pounded on the window and motioned for him to put the window up. He obliged me, though it took him a moment. I laid my palm flat to the window screen.
“You … you … you saw me!” I snapped.
He knelt down to my eye-level
“Yes, I did,” he said. “You’ve matured nicely,
He’d changed since I saw him last. He was considerably taller and broader in his shoulders. His boyishness was gone, re
placed by a deep voice and hair sprouting on his chin. But those turquoise eyes were the same. Better even.
Jackson Phillips, is it really you?”
s really me,” he said.
“And you live next door?”
Summer camp had ended that year, and we’d gone our separate ways. His family left town, for places and reasons unknown to me, and I’d forgotten about the entire incident. But standing there, staring at him, it all came back.
“Three years,” I said.
“Three years since you kissed me.”
My face warmed. After that incident, we hadn’t talked. I’d avoided him, and he’d avoided me. But such is the way of fourteen-year-olds. Yet now, here we were seventeen and eighteen – he was older than me
by a couple months – and things were different.
“That was a dare,” I said.
He ran a hand through his hair. He had the nicest hair, thick and just long enough to curl over his collar. “A dare, huh?” he asked.
“Yes, and we planned it all out, when and where.”
“You girls were always up to something.” He paused, looking at me with those incredible eyes. “Why me?”
This question took me aback. Why him?
Because he was the cutest boy there. Because every girl in that bunch wanted to get close to him.