GENRE: YA Contemporary
Melanie is a competitive swimmer who feels awkward out of the water, and Alec has his eye on her after his football practice:
Alec’s strong shoulders rolled forward. He held his big gym bag with one hand. I wondered if he could wrap that hand around the whole football.
“How wide is a football?” I asked. He squinted his eyes.
“Why?” he asked.
“You have big hands.”
“Yeah?” he said, starting to grin.
“And I wondered if you could fit a whole football inside your hand.” He smiled widely as his eyes squinted from the sun. He stretched through another big yawn. “Well, you seem pretty tired, and I need to get home,” I said.
“Wait,” he said, and I turned around. “I’m sorry, I always yawn when I’m nervous,” he said, looking down.
“Why are you nervous?” For a second, he didn’t say anything.
“Melanie, are you going to Homecoming?” he asked, and suddenly, everything got weird. I can deal with weird. I bring weird to the party, I know. But this was different. Uncharted territory.
“Do you want to go with me?” he asked. Before I could answer, he set down his gym bag. I didn’t get what was happening until he leaned down. His strong hand was warm on my back, and then, his lips were on mine. I laughed then, loudly and full of spit, like a freakish, quacking duck. He jumped away and wiped his hand across his face. My face turned completely red. He stepped back and looked at me, his head tilted. Like I was a weird curiosity. A fish out of water.
“Sorry,” I sputtered, “but why’d you do that?” He laughed.
“What? Kiss you?” he asked. “Because I like you, Melanie.”
“Well, that’s because you don’t know me,” I said.
“We’ve been going to school together since second grade,” he said.
“I just spit on you.”
“Yeah. That was…weird,” he said. “You wanna try again?” he teased.