Thursday, February 1, 2018

First Kiss #14

TITLE: What We Were Missing
GENRE: YA Contemporary

After a huge fight with her sister, Riley has driven to Hall’s apartment, where she’s taken out her anger on him. When she’s calmed down he wants her to talk, but she’s not sure she can trust him.  

“Do you want to talk about it?” His eyes are gentle and probing and I almost say yes.

“Not really.”

“Of course not,” he mumbles.

My body buzzes with irritation.

“What does that mean?”

He sits back with his lanky legs stretched out before him.

“Just more of the same from you.”

“So what?  You want all the juicy details?”

I sink into the cushion behind me and am suddenly, acutely aware of the negative space between us.  His head, leaned against the back of the couch, rolls towards me.

“Just something,” he says, and his eyes search my face with small, frantic movements.  I pull my feet up, embracing my knees like a shield.

“I don’t know what to do with you,” he whispers, and almost imperceptibly tugs at the hem of my jeans.

“That makes two of us,” I say.

When his eyes meet mine I can hardly remember myself.  Little flecks of gray float near his irises, like foam caps in a green sea.  This time when he pulls gently on my jeans I release my legs and let them fall towards him.  His hand brushes the top of my arm and before I can push back he’s pulling me close, his lips pressing softly into mine.  I move into the arc of his body and for a moment I disappear in his warmth.  For a moment I melt under his soft touch, his gentle kisses.  For a moment I let go.


  1. I like this scene. I think it's nicely done. I'm not sure what you mean in the lead-in where you say she's taken her anger out on him, but I think the scene that follows is good, natural. The one line I'm not sure about is 'negative space' between us. Can you say, 'suddenly, acutely aware of him next to me'?

    Also, maybe instead of him saying 'I don't know what to do with you, just have him tug at the hem of her jeans and then have their eyes meet. I think it's more powerful that way.(Just my opinion though.) Overall, nice job!

  2. I like how much you say with just a few lines of dialog, making me acutely aware of everything left unsaid. I love the "suddenly, acutely aware of the negative space between us." I know exactly what that feels like! The one thing that confused me was the logistics of the scene. I can't picture how she's embracing her knees, then she lets her legs fall toward him, but then they move together and kiss. It sounds like an impossibly awkward position to me, but maybe I'm missing something. I think the kiss itself is great, and especially the last line, "For a moment I let go." I don't know much about the character, but from what I see, it says a lot. Thanks for being brave and letting your work be posted like this!

  3. I love the tension you create with the dialogue leading up to the kiss, and I love his tugging on the hem of her jeans. It's a familiar action, clearly showing his desire to get closer to her (on multiple levels), and one that has not been used already a hundred times. It has me thinking about other little ways couples show affection and familiarity and how I can use them in my writing. (Thanks!)

    Like Doree, I'm confused about the physical set up. "The negative space between us" didn't create a picture for me- is she close? The falling back into the chair made me think they were farther apart. Apart from that, I really enjoyed this scene. Good work!

  4. I love the edgy set-up here. It really works well and is a very good show of the way teens tend to relate. There's snark, easy irritation, and a reluctance to show weakness. I remember those days well, lol!

    That said, I think the final paragraph needs further elaboration. I don't really think I'm picturing what's happening physically has she kind of melts into him and this is a super critical moment, given that she's finally given over to her emotions and isn't fighting to shield herself any longer.

    I don't feel like you need a lot of work with this scene, so good job!

  5. This is really good!! I agree with above comments that the blocking was a bit confusing. I like him saying "I don't know what to do with you" and him tugging on her pants hem. The only thing that would throw me out of the moment as a reader is "his eyes search my face with small, frantic movements." When I picture small, frantic movements, it suddenly seems less romantic and more manic. Actually picturing it gave me a little giggle. Maybe you can make it something like "his eyes search my face with intensity" or "with desperation" or "small, discreet movements." It could just be a me thing, though. Hope that helps!

  6. A few things:
    1) You should always avoid emotive words unless necessary in dialogue. Your character needs to SHOW that's she's irritated, not tell us.
    2) Your character seems to drop being irritated almost instantly (with one single look from him). This makes us question whether or not she was really annoyed in the first place, and also comes off as whiplashy. If she's truly angry, it should take something big to turn her around.
    3) Don't give the action to the body part (ie, "His hand brushes..."). Just say "He brushes..." (the hand thing is implied).
    4) Keep the action with the person speaking otherwise we assume you've changed characters which is confusing and makes us re-read (ie, He sits back with his lanky legs stretched out before him. / “Just more of the same from you.”) -- If these are both him, they need to stay together.