I'm excited to announce today's guest post. Author KaraLynne Mackrory, author of Falling for Mr. Darcy and Bluebells in the Mourning, is here with me today. When I was approached about having KaraLynne on the blog, I told her she could write about whatever she wanted. Very trusting, I know. ;) I hope you enjoy her topic as much as I did.
My name is KaraLynne Mackrory, and I write romance novels. Phew. Sometimes I feel like I should be in a support group or something. All hearts and mush and flowers and syrupy love. Yuck! Ahhhh, but I love hearts and mush and flowers and syrupy love. Sigh. Since I was told I could write whatever I wanted for this blog (insert maniacal laughing here) I decided that I would treat you all with a taste of real romance. Sit back and relish in the story of my first kiss.
[Warning: The following historical depiction contains extreme levels of romance. It may cause swooning, heart palpitations, and/or a sudden desire to rush to the nearest bookstore and purchase the authors books - Falling For Mr. Darcy and Bluebells in the Mourning. Studies show that not acting upon these urges may cause irreparable damage.]
My First Kiss
When I was a kid, I spent most of my summers outdoors. I ran barefoot most of the time in cut-off jeans and a dusty old hand-me-down t-shirt. My hair was pretty feral and usually never combed. Flat-chested and ferocious, I would ride my bike around the neighborhood with the rest of the kids. My bike was old and well-worn, but it had solid rubber tires that never went flat. It also had broken pedals that would be like horizontal stakes for my feet instead of a small surface to push against. I would make jumps off sidewalks and would try to skid my tire on the gravel left over from the salt and sand trucks from winter storms.
My bike gang consisted of a several kids from the neighborhood living in the houses near mine. We were a bunch of boys and girls from between the ages of 8-11. My yard was the biggest and had a slope from the top of the driveway through the grass. We could get some serious speed going before heading straight for the sidewalk for our big jumps. Sometimes we even cleared extreme altitudes of 6-8 inches. Cars would honk, and drivers would bare their fists (or worse) at us as we heeded nothing before blaring into the middle of the road after our jumps. It was in the middle of the road that my sister taught me to ride my bike after all.
My first kiss was during the summer. Somebody had found popsicles and had distributed them around everyone. Some of us sat lounging on the edge of the sidewalk while others propped themselves up astride their bikes leaning from foot to foot as we balanced. There was this one kid, and to think of it, I'm not sure any of us really knew his name. He was one of the oldest, like me. He told another boy that I was his girlfriend. I thought, well I am a girl, and he is my friend so I guess that is right. The sun was hot, and we kept eating our Popsicles. After a few more bike runs, one of our parents called us in for dinner.
When you get called in for dinner it isn't like someone comes to you and asks you to come in. The gang would disperse only to the sound of a parent shouting out the front door the name of the kid wanted. Usually it was my mom shouting for my siblings and me. It was like the siren call, and we shrugged off to our own homes. Riding full speed into the grass, I would jump off the bike while in motion - never missing a beat as I caught my stride and ran the steps up to my door two at a time.
Sometime later, who knows really how long, (since summer days always run together and kids never keep track) I found myself again in a loose circle amongst my summertime friends. It was a funny lot. Even more interesting was how it would change through the seasons. During the school year we were in different grades and had different friends. We hardly acknowledged each other on the bus. Boys and girls would separate, ages would differentiate, and the school year months would roll on. When the summer time came, all the stringent codes of kid-set propriety fell away, and we were just kids in the neighborhood again. But I've gone off topic. My first kiss.
Well, I was in a loose circle with the friends. Most of us had thrown our bikes into the grass and sat resting on the sidewalk. I sat, leaning super cool like, on the seat of my bike as I would lean from one side to the other on one leg. Next to me was the kid who nobody knew his name. There was a kid named Allen sitting across the circle from us. Now, just a moment for Allen. For some reason, he wanted to go by his other name, James, when he got into high school. It was cooler, I guess, but we all knew him as Allen. He lived a few houses down from us. I kept calling him Allen until I left home. Pfft! James, whatever.
Anyway, this Allen kid looked up and scoffed at Noname next to me. He said, "She isn't your girlfriend."
Noname said, "Yes she is - we are the fastest kids here."
Allen replied, "That doesn't make her your girlfriend. You have to kiss her to make her your girlfriend. "
I thought, I'm not sure I know where this is going. I’ve got to get Allen to shut up. "He is my boyfriend, and you better shut it, Allen, or I'm going to kick you in the shin." Yeah, that was pretty good.
One of the other kids repeated, "You have to kiss her." As if on cue, the rest of the Parker North Neighborhood Bike and Scooter Gang chimed in and chanted the rule about kisses and boyfriends.
Noname spoke out, "Fine then I’ll kiss her!" And then awkwardly, Noname put his arm around my shoulder buddy style and looked at me. I gave him a smile that was more of a grimace. We looked back at the rest of the kids who were all leaning in—all anticipation and fascination.
Somebody voiced their impatience, and somebody else said something about us being chickens. I thought, I don't know how to kiss a boy. Everyone was looking at me and Noname. Nervously, I shifted from foot to foot causing Noname to shift on his bike too. We shifted uneasily side to side on our bikes with our arms weirdly placed on each other's shoulders. We looked like we were rocking on a boat. We stayed that way for what was probably only a few seconds but felt like a really long time.
"Fine!" Noname shouted at their jeers, and he looked at me again. His hair was blond and sticking up on one side more than the other side. He wore a ragged tank top and cut off jeans like me. I fidgeted nervously with the bits of denim fraying at the bottom of my shorts and looked at him. He gave me a face that seemed to say, "I hope this isn't gross." I echoed that in my thoughts.
For the briefest of moments, the rest of our spectator group fell silent as he moved his head closer to mine. We were still awkwardly astride our bikes next to each other—shoulder to shoulder. It made our necks have to crane unnaturally towards our target. Then it happened. His lips were soft and hot and were gone in a nano-second. An electrical current shot down me at the moment his lips squished mine, and my heart beat wildly. Then we turned red-faced back to our crowd and stammered our triumphant murmurs over their previous accusations. In another moment later, my name was yelled out into the summer heat for me to come home. I didn't know what the proper goodbye was when you had a boyfriend, so I gave Noname a few friendly taps on his back where my limp arm still hung. We released our arms. I said goodbye to the gang and took off like a horse at the starting gate towards my home.
Riding like the wind, I jumped my bike up onto the curb as I neared home, out of the street. Then, I turned when I hit my yard and let the grass slow me down as I again hopped off the bike while in motion, letting it skid to a stop as I ran towards the stairs to my house. My lips still tingled, and I touched them briefly on the way up the stairs. I looked back, the gang had broken up and Noname was riding down the street.
The next day I was worried about going out to ride bikes. I went anyway. I was the fastest and probably one of the best jumpers. I had a reputation to uphold there because in the summertime gang world of politics, if you were not there, you lost your alpha status. Noname didn't come for a few days. When he did return, he and I were alphas again, but we didn't really talk about the kiss. I guess we had broken up. That was all right with me.
If you want to know if Darcy and Elizabeth share any memorable kisses in Bluebells in the Mourning - then put down your popsicle, get off your bike, and go read it!