It was low tide and the sun had almost tucked itself beneath the waves of flickering cobalt. After a quick introduction, idle chit-chat and three or four bouts of nervous giggles on my account, a cute dark-eyed boy pointed to me, and said with a wink, “I choose you!”
I leaned in closer to Renny and grabbed hold of her warm hand. I knew instantly, out of the three boys, I liked this dark-eyed boy the best. Even as my knees knocked and my mouth grew dry, I was beginning to think that the whole meeting-at-the-beach-in-secrecy-plan wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
I crossed the fingers of my free hand, just as my favorite boy approached and casually brushed his shoulder against mine.
Yes, this would work.
I began dreaming about my first lover’s embrace. I imagined this boy would want to know everything about me, then perhaps stroll me home and ask me for a good night kiss. As my mind played out a romantic episode, more suitable for an after school television special than real life, I heard from a distance my boy say, “First you.”
I looked to my side to find him tilting his head sideways in the direction of the shack on the edge of the concrete pier. I was processing what he had said, when he spoke again. “And then her.” He pointed straight at Renny.
All of the sudden, I wished I had bigger boobs.
I crossed my arms across my chest and then heard the words Oh Crap shouting in my head. Renny curled into herself with a blushing giggle and the boys appeared to be salivating. Oh Crap my mind repeated.
Soon the circled boys shouted, “I’m next!”
Okay, so by now I was in a bit of trouble, but before I could think to say anything, my boy gleamed his full set of braces my direction, grabbed hold of my trembling hand and led me swiftly down the concrete pier. For a fleeting second I believed he loved me. Right up to the point, that is, when I glanced behind and eyed two boys nodding their heads, barking like sea lions, and flaunting a huge thumb-up. Right about then my stomach, as well as my hopes, dropped a good ten stories.
The thought of slut crossed my mind, roller-skated back and forth, and then plopped down with its wide butt and sat there.
Out on the edge of the pier, with the sound of the waves crashing, I shook crazily inside the dark shed. I tried not to breathe too heavily. And I tried not to move my feet on the tacky floor. There was just enough light trickling in that I could see the boy’s tinsel-smile.
With the door shut, the boy shuffled forward and set his hands on my shoulders, from there he slid them down my side to my waist. His scent was that of the beach air: the smell of cypress, suntan lotion, and salt.
This is it
This will be my first kiss
I let out a deep breath and the boy’s hands touched down.
I felt him there, touching my hips, caressing me through the layers. In the next few seconds I forgot all else.
But then, something inside shifted, and my heart started beating so fast I could barely breathe, and I’ll I wanted to do was escape.
I pushed his hands off of me, and without thought yelped an adamant, “STOP!”
On my word, the boy leaped back, almost tripping.
I could see his eyes narrowing and his left brow arching in question. And I could visualize my pitiful look as I bit down on my bottom lip and made a sound like a puppy that had been stepped on.
I counted ten hard-heartbeats. Then the words stumbled out of me, bumping here and there, so my voice sounded uncertain and unnatural. “I can’t because…” I paused for a split-second. “I can’t because our…” I thought as hard as I could, so much that my head hurt, and then I closed my eyes and said, “Because our braces might get stuck together!”
That was all I said. All I could say. Because before the last syllable left my lips, I opened my eyes, burst open the shed door, darted up the pier, sprinted past the astonished boys and Renny, and raced the entire two-miles back home.