Peer Review by Ash (United States)

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A Letter

By: Kayla

PROMPT: Open Prompt

My phone screen finally lit up.

"HE RESPONDED!" I screamed to Hannah who was sprawled on the ground next to me.

"WHAT DID HE SAY?!" she sat up immediately.

Hannah and I had spent the last hour and a half trying to plan the perfect night for later that week. My parents had trusted me with the daunting task of running the Wicklund household for an entire week while they whisked away to a resort in Cancun. Obviously, Hannah and I were thrilled at this because A) two cars for me to use whenever we wanted B) an empty house for me to do with whatever I wanted and C) we are basically joined at the hip so every good thing that came out of this situation applied to her, too. So, having a beautiful Ram pickup truck just sitting in my driveway for a week called for a trip to the drive in. But obviously, we weren't about to go sit at the most perfectly romantic dateish spot by ourselves when we had no parents around telling us what we could or couldn't do. We wanted to bring boys.

Finding the perfect boy for Hannah to bring wasn't exactly easy. She was wrapped up in a very complicated boy mess but finally thought of a good friend who could do the job.

I didn't have that issue...well not exactly. I knew exactly who I wanted to bring.

I met Liam at camp only a year ago. My best friend Hallie introduced him to me as "the one who would stay up until the sun rises just to listen to you talk" and that was exactly who he was. Three days after meeting him, I was clotheslined off a horse (actually, it was a pony which makes it sound even more pathetic than it already is) and found myself laying on the ground with a concussion. The first person to sprint after me and pick me up? Liam. He held me while blood streamed down my arms and chest and tears streamed down my face and just kept comforting me and hugging me. I knew I had found a terrific friend.

Camp ended and I had to say goodbye, but only temporarily. Liam and Hallie showed up to support me in my biggest passion, musical theatre, in November. I still remember how that first group hug felt as I raced towards them in the lobby after the show. My favorite picture to this day was taken after that show in that lobby with those two. We all have huge grins pasted on our faces, the first time we were truly happy since leaving the Ranch. 

Liam and I had kept up our texting and snapchatting and we talked almost daily but you can't give hugs over the phone. And there was something different about the way we would talk. We'd call each other pet names and tell the other we loved them, but it all seemed like we were just growing to be two of the closest friends you'd ever seen. Liam went through a few girlfriends and I was always there with advice when he needed it. He, like Hallie promised, would stay up and talk to me on the phone for hours past midnight and I would do the same. I had never really been jealous of his girlfriends because I knew that we were different, it was more than close friends but I didn't compete with whoever he was with. I was just his Kayla.

Flash forward to April and it's been months since we'd reconnected. We kept talking about having to get together but things never worked out, especially with him living half an hour away. Then one day, things changed. Liam had a new girlfriend, but this one wasn't just some nameless girl who went to SLP with him. This was someone I knew. This was Natalie. Natalie also went to camp, but not the same week as Liam so I had no idea how they'd met. I realized the second he told me though, I didn't like that one bit. I wanted Liam, I didn't want to share him with anyone, especially not Natalie. But I also realized that there was nothing I could do about it at the moment and I held myself back. "If he's happy, I'm happy" I told myself. And i believed it. I put him first and stuffed my sadness down. I dragged Hannah along to one of his baseball games to surprise him and we hung out for a little bit after in pure bliss. It made everything worth it, just to see him for that short burst of time.

Hannah counseled me over and over again, saying that I needed to let Liam know how I felt. This was absolutely true, but I chose to wait. I watched him hang out with Natalie and talk about her, but something wasn't right. When I asked what was up, he'd reply "oh, I'm just thinking" and I'd ask what about and he would say something about choices and me and I couldn't help but see through things. He wasn't really content. Something was missing.

Finally that day came. I got a text extremely late at night. "I broke up with Natalie."

I didn't know what to do. I needed to comfort him but I also had to control the very excited Kayla who was trying to scream and dance and jump around chorusing "HE BROKE UP WITH HER HE BROKE UP WITH HER!!"

I decided that first and foremost, I needed to be his friend and be there because that's all he's ever been to me, nothing less.

So, on the night in question, when my phone screen lit up after I had sent a text asking if he was free one night this coming week to go to the drive in, I reacted accordingly. Screaming at Hannah.

I opened the text which explained that he had a retreat all week that he left for in the morning. I was crushed, I had thought that this could have really worked and been amazing. Hannah and I had even already taken the truck out to practice driving it.

I sent back a half assed "ah it's alright" but if this story ended there obviously it wouldn't be worth reading. As I dissapointedly set my phone back on the ground, it buzzed again.

"Come over now then."

I screamed. Again. After getting permission from Hannah to cut our chill time short, I ran downstairs to grab a new shirt. Hannah and I ran out the car, as it was already 10:15pm. I was still a very new driver and was not allowed by the state to be on the roads after midnight. The 30 minute drive would cut the time even shorter. After dropping her off, I tried my best to navigate highways after dark. Definitely one of the scarier moments of my life. I was so nervous the entire time, thinking about what would happen.

When I got there I was greeted by a pair of warm arms and the biggest smile as Liam ran to hug me. We went in to the house where I found out that my parents weren't the only ones gone, as he was home alone, too.

We just laid on the couch and watched parts of movies as he held me in his arms before moving to his room. This sounds like it's taking a mature turn, but I promise this is PG. We cuddled and talked and listened to music in his room for an hour and I can honestly tell you that I've never felt safer. He had his arms all entangled up in mine and my body and he would occasionally kiss my forehead.

The clock hit midnight and I realized that I still had to drive home and that I really needed to leave. Liam walked me out to the car and gave me a big hug. He pulled away and I already knew what was going to happen. He smiled down at me and then pulled me back in. But this time instead of just our chests pressing together in a hug, our lips met and parted and intertwined. Time stopped.

Now, I've kissed boys before, and I've felt 'kiss fireworks'. At least that's what I had thought. I had been painfully mistaken. I had no idea what even the definition of 'kiss fireworks' was until I kissed Liam. It wasn't fireworks. It was the Fourth of July Spectacular. It was shooting stars. It was a double rainbow. It was more. It was being able to release all the romantic tension that had built up for the past year.

Eventually we pulled away slowly. Time started back up again, and I realized that if I didn't leave, I would risk getting caught out after curfew miles and miles from home. After one last goodnight kiss, I pulled out of the driveway.

I don't know how I survived the drive home. All I could think about was him. I tried to call Hannah but she didn't pick up. So I just quietly tiptoed back into my house as to not wake up my little sister, and texted him telling him that I had gotten home safely. I didn't sleep that night, I only stayed up thinking about it and him and his smile and his eyes and his laugh and his hands and his hugs and his scent.

So yes, I have kissed other boys, but as far as I'm concerned, they don't count.


Peer Review

A story about a girl's first kiss

Tone. It's very strong. Pretty much any time you describe something, you can gleam something about the narrator and what she thinks/believes.

Nope, all good :)

Reviewer Comments

Loving the title.