Unexpected This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

June 26, 2010
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First kisses are supposed to be perfect. They're supposed to be romantic and sweet. You're supposed to fall in love just after you kiss and feel fireworks all over your body. You're supposed to be under the stars at your front door after the perfect date. A shooting star flies by, and he says, “I just wished that you would kiss me,” and you – feeling unusually flirty and confident, because you're in a perfect moment – kiss him and it lasts for the perfect amount of time and doesn't get gross or walked in on by your parents. And then he says he loves you and you say you love him too and give him another sweet kiss before walking in your door and not telling anyone about it because it was too wonderful.

That's how first kisses are supposed to be, but not always how they are.

Larkin was in the girls' bathroom after school, crying. She tried wiping at her eyeliner, but it streaked even more. Her eyelashes felt heavy and clumped, and she cursed herself for wearing waterproof mascara but regular eyeliner. Then she began to cry again and retreated back into a stall.

Her eyes were red and her lips were puffy. Her nose was stuffed up and she tried to smile, hoping no one would notice. But when she smiled into the mirror to see if it looked like tears, it was unmistakable. So she began to cry.


She finally emerged from the bathroom 20 minutes after the buses had left. There was no late bus, so she had to walk home, a mile away. And she had a huge load of homework. So she walked, sniffling as she went.

I hope I don't see anyone I know, she thought, but knowing me, I will.

And how well she knew herself, because walking right in front of her was Jackson Davies, a boy she had known since first grade but never really talked to. He was nerdy, tall and lanky, and super pale, unlike the guys she liked who were tan and buff and … well, still tall, but they were into football, not computers. Or whatever Jackson and his friends were into.

“Please don't turn around,” Larkin whispered, willing him to keep going. She made as little noise as possible with her flip-flops, but it was a challenge. However, it was also slow, so it put her even farther behind him, which was good.

A stoplight was ahead. It was a long wait, and if it was still red when she got there, she'd be forced to talk to him.

Please say walk, she willed again. But she knew luck was not on her side that day, and how right she was. She took a deep breath as Jackson turned around.

Look upset and maybe he won't talk to you, she said to herself, trying to force tears.

“Hi, Larkin.” Jackson waved.

No tears came when she needed them. She sighed and rolled her eyes. “Hey,” she said softly.

He looked closer. “Are you crying?”

“I was,” she answered truthfully.

“You wanna talk about it?”

Larkin considered this. She wanted nothing more than to pour her heart out to someone who wouldn't judge her. She looked at Jackson in his white socks, pulled up to the calf, and his bright orange basketball shorts and running shoes. She figured he wouldn't be one to judge.

Five minutes later, they were sitting on a bench outside Taco Bell, talking.

“It's just that I wanted him to stay with me into high school,” she admitted, forgetting who she was talking to. “I sort of envisioned us going to homecoming and spending the summer together … I just never thought he would be the one to end it. I mean, I thought of ending it a million times, but I never did. I wanted him to be my first kiss. I wanted him to fall in love with me.”

Jackson sighed and touched her shoulder. She jumped a little at his touch, but then relaxed. He wasn't making a move; he was Jackson Davies, for crying out loud.

“You can't wish for someone to be in love with you. You just have to enjoy them so that first ‘I love you' and that first kiss are unexpected. You can't plan love,” he advised.

Larkin looked up at him, confused. Jackson's face was inches from hers, and suddenly, he wasn't so bad. His breath smelled like 5 Gum and he had freckles that were kind of … cute. His teeth were white and straight because of braces in sixth grade. And his lips were the perfect pink a guy's lips should be: not girly pink, but natural.

And now, Larkin didn't care that things weren't perfect. She didn't care that this wasn't homecoming and she wasn't in a beautiful dress with her hair done. She didn't care that Jackson wasn't asking her to dance under the stars. She didn't care that she was in a smelly Taco Bell parking lot in ripped jeans and worn flip-flops. She didn't even care that Jackson had a pizza stain on his shirt. And mostly, she didn't care that Jackson was, well, Jackson. It just felt right.

She scooted closer and leaned in. Then he leaned in and … then he stood up.

“I should get going,” he said. “Nice talking to you.”

Larkin didn't even wave. She just watched Jackson Davies, the boy she had never paid any attention to and suddenly wanted to be her first kiss, walk away from her.

She ran into the Taco Bell sniffling, clenching her teeth to fight tears. She ran straight up to the counter.

“You got a bathroom?” she asked frantically.

“For customers only,” the greasy guy at the counter replied.

“Crap!” she squeaked, running out and down the street.

Her eyelashes felt heavy as she ran and tears moved toward her ears and her flip-flops broke.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 69 comments. Post your own now!

JulsieBee said...
May 13, 2015 at 2:43 pm
I need part 2! ahh soo good!
Lavender2015 said...
Oct. 15, 2014 at 10:49 am
ABSOLUTELY loved this story. I felt like the scene was happening right in front of me. 5 star for you!
foreverSmallThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Nov. 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm
This is so awesome and utterly alive. It was so realistic I felt like I was in the story. Great job!
Athena101 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 1, 2012 at 7:41 pm
  I love this piece. It's very realistic, and romantic. 5 stars to you. :)
TaurusGal This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 28, 2012 at 1:00 am
just very realistic. =]
loyalfreak225 said...
Mar. 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm
i totally loved this!!!! and ur right everyone always writes about the perfect first kiss, and you wrote something thats real, and is still really awesome!!!!
Goddess said...
Feb. 28, 2012 at 4:36 pm
write more i must know what happens next!!!!!!
sondheimfreak This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm
nah man, the point is that life goes on and nothing happens next. or maybe something does happen. it's all up for interpretation, it just depends on how you look at life. but no, i'm not writing any more on this :)
zadiekatie23 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 6, 2012 at 8:47 pm
That was funny at the same time that it was really sad, funny because you were expecting the obvious, and sad because that's what happens in real life. I had fun reading this. Thanks! :)
Pamplemousse said...
Jan. 15, 2012 at 11:39 pm
This is so great and so true! Real life isn't like all the perfect love stories and kisses. Of course it's a little sad...its life.
Happy-Chic said...
Jan. 14, 2012 at 9:54 am
OMG that was absoultely amazing!!!!!!!!! Congrats on being such a skilled writer!!! I mean like seriously wow that was amazing
SunkistKisser said...
Dec. 31, 2011 at 11:55 pm
This is adorable! It's real and raw; good job! Keep writing!!!!!!!
chrissie_star said...
Dec. 7, 2011 at 2:51 pm
ever so true :')
RiverSong said...
Dec. 2, 2011 at 7:42 pm
This was tear-inducingly beautiful.
sondheimfreak This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm
WOW i wouldn't go that far but thanks!
LillyBelle131313 said...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 8:01 am
good but sad
kairi.kaylyn said...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 12:18 am
This was such a great article. I loved every word!
Fia-fia said...
Nov. 10, 2011 at 6:54 pm

THis is an amazing piece, I see why it was published in the magazine! Thank you


angelica.pgvtexas said...
Nov. 3, 2011 at 5:31 pm
i loved it !
sarah4president said...
Oct. 31, 2011 at 6:38 pm
the ending was so unexpected... i love it!
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