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Enjoy this steamy, tension-filled day! Let the No Kissing begin!
My 2012 No Kiss
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a girl shouldn't be caught alone with James London. It is a fact, only idiots are unaware of, that a girl shouldn't be caught alone with James London when she is supposed to be in detention. And it is just a matter of plain common sense when that girl is me, and she is knowingly risking not only her spot in the Summer Scottish Studies Program (skipping detention=expulsion), but she is also surely kissing goodbye her chance at getting a college recommendation letter from a top professor at Oxford University.
Who also happens to be the headmaster at SSSP. AND James London's father.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
Not that I really wanted to go to Oxford, or dreamed of it my entire life. I mean, what kind of esteemed member of academia names their son James London? It sounds like he's a 60's rock star. Or porn star. Watching him walk through the woods by the school, I suppose the connotations do fit. James London could be a rock star, or a porn star. Eventually. Maybe already, if what every other girl in the program says is true.
No, I need to focus. I need to stop being an idiot and stop following him to Arthur's Peak and return to detention and apologize to Headmaster London if he discovers my whereabouts and pray pray pray I can still study English at Oxford.
But then James turns and looks at me again and his eyes are just so blue, blue, blue, that I'm lost and I'm not turning around, I'm still following him and we're going even deeper into the woods.
He reaches into his back pocket, and pushes up the back of his t-shirt to do so, giving me a nice clear view of his jeans and their backside, which only reinforces my porn star thoughts and dissolves my ability to think clear.
Then my brain snaps into focus. "What are you doing!"
He leans against a tree, pulls a lighter from his pocket and lifts it to the cigarette now balanced on his lip. He does all of this with his blue eyes burning into me, never leaving me. And somehow he never falters, like he has absolutely perfected the art of smoking a cigarette while leaning against a tree.
"I guess then you don't smoke," James says to me, a mischeifvous glint in his eye. "You don't go to parties. You don't sneak out on weekends. And before today you never served detention. Do you ever have fun?"
I stand back, part hurt at his accusation, and part confused that he actually paid enough attention to know these things. "I have fun," I say. Just not the kind of fun you like to have.
"You looked like you needed some," he says. "Come here."
"I don't smoke."
"I didn't offer you my cigarette. I said come here."
I shouldn't go. I KNOW I shouldn't go. There's still time. Time for me to go back to the school, slip into detention, maybe even revise my alternative Macbeth ending one more time. But like two cowardly traitors, my feet propel me forward.
And I can smell him. And he smells amazing. And I can see the little bit of green in his eyes, and the mint on his breath, and a beauty mark I never noticed below his ear. But I can also smell the pre-cigarette smell and step back.
He grabs my hand. "Why did you come out here with me?"
I don't know what to say. I don't know what to admit.
I came because he asked me to. I came because he's beautiful. I came because before now, no beautiful boy has ever talked to me before.
"Detention got boring," I finally say.
He laughs. "You didn't seem bored. You were working on your Macbeth ending, right?"
I nod, barely breathing.
He knew I was writing a new ending to Macbeth? For him to know that, he'd actually have to be paying attention to me.
He smiles. A wonderful, beautiful, glorious smile that makes me melt. Like he knows I know he was paying attention and he wants me to know and somehow after all this time, after a lifetime of keeping my head in the books I may have actually gotten the guy.
He draws me close with his free hand. His arm is around me and his other hand is now returning the lighter to his pocket.
"You're not going to smoke that?" I ask, looking toward his mouth.
"Eventually," he says.
He pulls it from his mouth. "I don't know."
What are we doing? More importantly, what am I doing? Why am I standing here, body pressed up against James Freaking I Could Be A Future Porn Star London, who will probably die of lung cancer when I should be writing abot Macbeth?
"When will you know?" I ask, and realize my voice has gone hoarse. And I can feel his hands on my back and they are so warm despite this cold Scottish summer I've been having. In more ways than one.
He leans closer to me, his lips just barely brushing against mine, sending tingles all across my limbs. "Soon," he says.
And all I can hear is the blood rushing through my ears and then...the footsteps and cracking of sticks behind us.
We spring apart and there is Headmaster London in all his Oxford glory, and James has somehow managed in that one split second to light his cigarette and I have lost all chances at my future at Oxford...and then...
"Sorry, Dad," he says, between puffs. "Did you need something?"
And then James is covering for me and telling his Dad he made me follow him and he's believing it and I'm so happy I could scream because I can still go to Oxford...if I get in...and I almost kissed a boy who looks like a porn star and has the name of one, and then back in detention, James passes me a note.