This is a regular column featuring original poetry and fiction by and for teens, provided by Figment, the online community writing site for young readers and writers.
"If you wanna play it like a game, well c'mon, c'mon, let's play."
"Are you crazy? There's no way on Earth I'm doing that."
"Oh, come on, Raelynn. Don't you wanna do something wild and crazy for once?"
"I thought we were saving wild and crazy for college."
I leaned back in the chair, taking a quick glance at Asher Kinsley and his friends gathered on the other side of the Food Court. Even with his friends flanking his every side, the guy didn't look in the least bit approachable.
Asher stood tall, maybe a few inches over six feet, with his back pressed against the wall and hands crammed into the pockets of black skinny jeans hanging just below his waist. There were at least five piercings on his left earlobe, shining even from thirty feet away, and another at his eyebrow. His friends laughed hysterically around him, but Asher barely even cracked a smile --- as if smiling too widely was painful for him. I snickered. How could Leah expect me to run up and kiss that guy? He looks like he punches babies.
"This is our last week of high school, Rae," Leah says, "Chances are you'll never see Asher again, so what do you have to lose?"
"Then why don't you kiss him?"
Leah scoffs, taking a loud slurp of her smoothie. "Easy. Because he's not my type."
"He's not mine either!" I lash.
Leah waves my complaint off, leaning her elbows on the table. "It's not like I'm asking you to kiss a toad. Asher Kinsley may be that creepy emo guy nobody wants to mess with, but you gotta admit he's cute."
I couldn't argue there. With his short, raven-black buzzcut and shocking emerald green eyes, he could have girls lining every street for a shot with him. You know, if he didn't look so threatening and serious all the time.
"Think of it this way," Leah continues, "if you kiss Asher quickly and run away, he'll have no chance of rejecting you. Plus, the guy rarely talks at Saint Stone, so nobody at school will hear about it."
"Sounds like you've really thought this out," I tell her.
Leah grins, shaking around her now empty smoothie cup.
I sigh. Of all people to dare me to kiss, why in the world did she have to choose Asher? We're in two completely different social circles. I've never even had a conversation with the guy in all four years of high school. He's the type of guy that smokes behind bleachers and starts fights in the hallway. I'm the type of girl that doodles pictures of anime characters on her paper in class and jumps on top of cafeteria tables in the middle of lunch to sing Justin Bieber songs with her friends.
But, in a way, Leah was right. We'd only be in high school for one more week. I'll never see Asher again once that week's over. I had nothing to lose just to kiss him quickly and run off. Right?
"Ah, I see that look on your face. You're thinking about doing it, aren't you? Go ahead and do it!" Leah exclaims excitedly. "You'll have something to reflect on in twenty years."
"Yeah, being the girl that gets punched in the face for trying to kiss Asher. I'll be a legend."
"Hey, you asked for a dare and I gave you one. Now just get your butt up and kiss the guy," she says in response to my sarcasm.
I exhale deeply, rising from my chair hesitantly. "You just remember, Leah, when Asher comes for me in the middle of the night and hashes my body into little bite-size squares, it's because you made me kiss him."
She laughs, pushing me in Asher's direction. She chants "good luck" behind me as I start to walk over to him. My heart thrashes like the wings of a moth in my chest with every step forward, legs wobbling like limp noodles. I take a quick nervous glance behind me at Leah sitting at our table. She gives me two thumbs-up. I turn back around nervously.
All I have to do is kiss him and head back to the table. That's it, I tell myself as I edge closer to Asher and his friends.
Asher's so close now I can see the faded lines of scars down his lean, sinewy arms. I close my eyes and breathe, trying to wave away the butterflies in the pit of my stomach. Asher and his friends look at me strangely --- Asher especially, green eyes squinted in an emotion I can't quite read --- probably wondering why the weird art geek is infiltrating their guy circle. I block his friends out and stare straight at Asher. And then I do it. Lean right up and kiss the dude.
I don't give Asher a chance to react; I immediately start walking back to the table. But even though my feet are moving, I'm not seeming to go anywhere. I look behind me. Asher's hand is wrapped around my wrist.
"What do you think you're doing?" he asks in a deep, threatening voice.
Air rushes from my lungs. I swallow nervously. This was not supposed to happen. "Um...nothing," I stutter.
Asher snickers, turning me around to face him. "You call kissing me 'nothing'?"
"Look, " I start, pulling a strand of hair away from my face, trying my best not to look Asher straight in the eyes, "I'm sorry. My friend Leah just thought that, you know, since it's our last week of ---"
Asher, to my surprise, leans down and kisses me. It's nothing like I've ever experienced before, and it leaves me completely breathless when he pulls away.
Flustered, I stare up at him in complete astonishment. "W-why'd you do that?"
"Same reason as you," he says. A pedantic smirk twists its way across his lips. He leans down, so close that his forehead is a sliver of an inch away from touching mine.
"I was dared."