Just a Little Crush (Crush #1)(7)

By: Renita Pizzitola


Once in the bathroom, the door clicked as he locked it. I stared at the tile floor. Trapped in this tiny space with Ryder sent my blood rushing and heart pounding. I took several even breaths, praying I wouldn’t hyperventilate.

He leaned against the sink and said, “We don’t actually have to kiss. It’s a dumb game. So don’t worry, I’m not going to make you do anything you don’t want to.” He put his hand out as if to reassure me.

But I wanted it. Really wanted it.

Though butterflies filled my stomach and I was terrified I’d make some horrible mistake, I wanted to kiss him. Or, more accurately, I wanted him to kiss me.

“We just need to let seven minutes pass and then we can go out. Not a big deal.”

But clearly, that wasn’t what he wanted. All the tingling nervousness settled into a cold lump in the pit of my stomach. “Oh. Okay.”

“So we have Biology together, right?”

I nodded, shocked he knew that, but, of course, I was the only freshman in the class, so maybe that had a little to do with it.

“Mr. B’s a pretty cool teacher, huh?”

“Yeah.”

A few moments of awkward silence passed before he finally asked, “So what should our story be?”

“Huh?”

“When we go out. Do you want me to tell everyone we kissed or we didn’t?”

I briefly met his gaze then stared at the toilet, having the sudden urge to hang my head in it. “Um, I don’t care. Whatever you want to say.”

“It won’t affect me. So it’s your choice.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, if I say we did, it could be nothing. They may think nothing of it and drop it, or they may turn it on you and say you kissed a guy you don’t even know in the bathroom. I’ve seen it go both ways.”

What went on at these parties? “Um, and if we say we didn’t?”

“They’ll probably laugh at you, claim you’re scared or say things like I didn’t want to kiss you.”

“So either way you walk out of this on top?” I shook my head, incredulous that no matter what we said, I’d still be the outcast and he’d still be the cool kid.

“I’m sorry. It’s not like that’s what I want.”

“So you knew this, the moment you chose to come in here? You knew that if I followed you through that door, I’d probably come back out worse off than when I went in?”

He looked down. “Had I not come in here with you, it would have been worse. I did it for you. I did it so you wouldn’t be embarrassed out there.”

Sweet and insulting all in one breath. Wow.

“I figured once we came in here we could figure out how you wanted it to go. Look, I’m trying. I’m giving you the choice now. The one you didn’t have when the bottle landed on you.”

There had been one other choice. Never even coming to this party. I didn’t belong. I’d never be accepted as part of this crowd. One way or another, they’d find a way to ostracize me. My eyes stung with impending tears.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

I looked into his eyes and saw genuine regret. “It’s fine.”

“I can tell everyone I wanted to kiss you, but you wouldn’t let me.”

I stared at the ceiling. “How in the world would that help? And anyway, no one would buy it.”

“Why not?”

“No one would believe you’d want to kiss me.”

“Why wouldn’t I?” He’d scrunched his face but somehow still managed to look gorgeous. “You’re pretty, you’re smart, I see no reason not to.”

“Because I’m not one of you.”

“One of who?”

“Forget it. It doesn’t matter. No one will believe anything. Whether you say you wanted to or said we did, no one will believe it. Guys like you don’t kiss girls li—”

He pushed off the sink and pressed his mouth to mine. His lips were soft as they brushed over me, moving gently against my mouth.

Having no experience kissing boys, my brain went into overdrive trying to remember everything from the magazines I kept hidden under my bed.

Step one: Relax your mouth. Step two: Part lips. Step thr—

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