Posted by: Trisha Leigh | May 3, 2011

Teaser Tuesday – The Magic of First Kisses

This is from a work-in-progress, Heartstrings. First kisses are one of the very best things about writing YA. 

Heavy disappointment dragged Elora’s mood down most of the day, but now that auditions for Romeo and Juliet were about to begin, nervous tingles left little room for anything else. Lightheadedness settled behind her eyes and her stomach clenched painfully. She wished the theatre had a chicken exit like the roller coasters at the amusement park.

“Are you going to throw up?”

Elora tried to smile but her lips were pressed together in case she did decide to vomit. “Not sure.” She gasped the words and clamped her mouth shut again.

Tim chuckled and warmth unfurled in her tight gut. Elora blew out a breath and turned to face him.

His face hovered closer to hers than she expected, and the amusement dancing in his soft, hazel eyes brought a real smile to her lips. He smiled back and her lungs constricted, squeezing her airway. Elora looked back at the stage, hoping her cheeks weren’t as red as they felt. “How do you do this twice a year? Got any tips for the scared-out-of-her-wits newbie?”

“The key, really, is to have a really kick ass audition partner, so you lucked out there…ow.” Tim rubbed his ribcage where she’d slammed her elbow. “Seriously, you’re gonna do fine. You know the material. Just remember to breathe.”

He made noises like the ones pregnant women made in the movies while trying to endure their labor pains. Tom and Gillian, the pair sitting a couple rows up, turned and glared. They were supposed to be preparing for their readings, not goofing off.

Elora jabbed her elbow again, but Tim caught it before she connected. Instead of letting go, his hand slid from her elbow to her wrist, leaving an icy hot trail in its wake. He turned her palm face up and traced gentle circles over the surface with his fingertips,  inciting an intake of breath Elora was sure he heard. “What are you doing?” The words sounded breathless and stupid. What was the matter with her today?

“Relaxing you. You’re very tense.” Tim stared down at their hands, his tone teasing.

Elora pulled away, threaded her fingers together in her lap. “That’s not helping.”

She didn’t add that his fingers seemed to be injecting electricity into her hand, speeding up her poor, overwrought cardiac organs.

“Hmm. Odd. Perhaps when we go on that date in a few days, I’ll learn better ways to relax you.”

“Well I don’t know what that means, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up.”

He laughed and Elora couldn’t help but giggle too. She did feel better, actually. He’d managed to take her mind off her debilitating stage fright.

“So we’re still on for Saturday night?” The hopeful glint in his words and the glance he threw her way tickled like a feather in her belly.

She still couldn’t believe he wanted to go on a date with her, the idea he would be nervous about it too nearly blew her brain out the back of her head. Today was only Wednesday. She had four more days to figure out how to get through a real life date. Maybe she should read some Sweet Valley High novels or something. Or watch a few movies that didn’t end in tragic death.

Tim Evans was so stinking normal, and his dating experience outstripped hers by about a thousand and one. It made her feel better somehow, that he felt anxious about the date too. A small, delicate piece of hope bloomed inside Elora’s mind, and for the first time in her life she wondered if she could be normal, have normal things like dates and boyfriends.

She snuck a glance at Tim. The dim theatre bathed his sharp features in shadows, and the house lights glowed against his tanned skin and full mouth.

Elora figured she might as well try to be normal.

“Elora and Tim, you guys are up.”

Everyone would perform the same scene for their audition, and it wasn’t very long. Elora’s hands shook and she clenched them into fists, happy she didn’t have to hold script pages so no one else would know. The aisle felt too short, and her feet barely touched the hard carpet before the stage loomed in front of her. She climbed the steps, Tim’s breath and warmth winding from behind her and worming into her head. Her lungs pulled in deep breaths as they faced each other, and he began.

“If I profane with my unworthiest hand this holy shrine, the gentle sin is this; My two lips, ready stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.” He stopped, fell silent.

Oh good Lord. It was her turn, and her mind was blank. Like an empty whiteboard. “Um…” Someone snickered and sweat rolled between her boobs. Tears pricked the corners of her eyes. Tim stepped toward her, smoothed a finger over her lips. Not helping.

Her eyes met his, saw encouragement and something else she didn’t want to define. Her mind clicked. “Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hands too much, which mannerly devotion shows in this; For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch, and palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.”

The words hadn’t been loud enough, barely a whisper, and her voice sounded hoarse to her own ears. She’d been ridiculous to think she could get this part.

Tim dropped his hands from her face and touched their palms together. “Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?”

“Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.” The teasing strength of the prose renewed her determination.

Tim stepped even closer and the sounds of their classmates – rustling papers, murmuring, breathing -evaporated. Blackness hung outside his face, and Elora saw nothing but his eyes as they latched onto hers.

“O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do! They pray; grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.”

Her response came, automatic but strong now, and passionate. “Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.”

“Then move not while my prayer’s effect I take. Thus from my lips, by thing my sin is purged.”

The audition scene Mr. Parsons had copied ended there, but a strange buzzing took up residence in Elora’s head and she couldn’t tear her eyes from Tim’s. She couldn’t move. He put his hand back on her face, traced her lips with his thumb before moving it to cup the back of her neck.

The buzzing stopped, and silence reigned. Tim pulled her face up, bent to brush her lips with his. They were soft, and warm, and when she didn’t pull back he pressed harder for a second before releasing her and stepping backward.

Heat poured from her body as questions stumbled through her mind, with embarrassment hot on its heels. Tim had just kissed her. In front of everyone.

The auditorium came back into focus, and the stunned faces of her classmates stared up at her from the first three rows. Mr. Parsons was making notes on a sheet of paper, a faint smile curling his lips.

Scarlette composed herself first. “God. Why don’t you just go ahead and do the sex scene, too.”

Mr. Parson’s waved a hand. “Thank you. Chris and Melanie, you’re up next.”

What I’m watching right this minute: Nothing. I’m too depressed about tonight’s Gossip Girl to watch television for at least twelve hours.



  1. Great scene! Took me right back to my high school drama days, and the painfully embarrassing auditions I somehow managed to live through. Good writing! 🙂

    • You might not believe this, but I TOO ENDURED THOSE AUDITIONS. Those were the days. 🙂 Thank you for reading.

      • Oh, I believe it. You captured the feel of it too well not to have lived through it in some way. 🙂

  2. 1) I love your names.
    2) That was amazing.
    3) F**k yes Sweet Valley reference
    5) Funny voice, very much you.

    • Thanks, Amy! I’m glad you mentioned the Sweet Valley ref, I waffled on using it bc I didnt know if teenagers would even get it. Still, I couldn’t think of a current series that might be comparable. Thanks for reading 🙂

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