The next time I saw Jess (other than little glances and hellos since we were neighbors, of course) was at a family party a year later. It was a little awkward at first, but both of us tested the waters and moved forward a bit more carefully. We were rediscovering our friendship.
I tried not to stare at her, but I couldn’t help. The last time I’d seen her, she was Jessica Park, the girl who was my best friend. When I saw her at the party, she was Jessica Park, the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. Her hair hung just above her shoulders the way it had when I’d first seen her years ago, but now she had long earrings and makeup. She wore a dress, too, that stopped above her knees (and got even shorter when she sat down).
I couldn’t tell you what the color of her dress was or what it even looked like. I was just so aware of her. She stretched her legs out in front of her, and I saw how perfect and smooth the skin was. I made sure to look away as I talked to her.
Since I wasn’t looking at Jess, I didn’t see her hand as it came up to my face and pulled it toward her. She smelled sweet, like some kind of flower, and her lips were soft and warm.
She leaned back with a little smile and whispered, “I’m sorry. I know it’s selfish, but I just wanted to make sure you were my first kiss.”
I didn’t tell her then that she was my first kiss too. After everything that happened between us, I couldn’t decide if I was happy or furious. But even then, I knew that was a lie. You don’t decide what you feel–you just feel it.
I don’t know if it’s true that love is like a flame (if it is, why’s it so hard to extinguish?), but it really did feel like one at the time–in fact, it felt like it went from a flame to a blazing fire.
Max | Jessica
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