Kissing Booth (Version 1)

 

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Introduction

Follow Quinn Hart and her classmates as they finally make it to the year they had been all dreaming of. Transition Year. The intentions of this year is for self discovery and that's exactly what happens in ways Quinn did not expect but appreciated all the same. Some secrets are let out, friendships are formed, friendships are broken and romance blossoms.

For Quinn, it began with a kiss. It was just a kiss on the lips to help raise funds for their Transition Year funds, right? There was no way that Violet Valentine had any other reasons to engage in behaviour such as that, right?

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1 | The Year of Quinn

1 | The Year of Quinn

The summer holidays finally came to a close, meaning school was once again open for business. However, for my year group it was different. There wasn't the feeling of our annual dread. We could arrive at school without the urge to throw our guts up. It was the year we had all been yearning for, dreaming of for years.

Transition Year.

After a grueling year of examinations, the school year we were about to enter consisted of no academic studies. None that counted.  It happened to be our chance at dipping our toes in other subjects. A trial run, so to speak. This meant we could try and fail, it wouldn't matter. The pressure of succeeding was non existent. The important thing was, we knew whether or not the subject choice would be viable for the next year coming.

This prospect had me on my toes, actually looking forward to entering the gray building. For once, no eyes were on me to accomplish something. I would enter that building with the sole purpose of self improvement.

"You're so going to regret doing this year," my brother Charlie told me for the nth time.

I let out a sigh in response. "Not this again." I closed my eyes. "You've been quiet for entire car ride, there's no need to start up now."

He parked the car into one of the school's limited parking spaces. "All that motivation that you've built up?" he continued speaking, deciding to ignore my grumbling. "Well, there won't be any left by the time this school year is through."

I rolled my eyes and opened the car door. Charlie was only a year older than me. He opted to do Transition year, a year that you could completely ignore and do junior year as normal. Of course that would mean he would've been forced to transfer schools, seeing as his entire year group did Transition Year. Junior year wouldn't be supplied for just one student. There had to be a demand. There was no demand.

It didn't help that he was forced to do it by our parents to help him with his 'awkward stage' or what ever. Apparently I'm now at that stage and need help getting over it too. Or something along those lines.

"So you've said." I mumbled, handing him my school bag as we walked towards the entrance. He took the bag as an automatic response, I hid my smirk. Acting casual in situations often meant the other party wouldn't think much of it. "I think the message was heard last night, loud and clear, thanks Charles."

He recorded a voice memo on his phone and left it playing beside my bed all night, in a fail attempt to some how train my mind to associate 'transition year,' with a feeling of dread.

'Your life with be worthless if you do transition year. It will suck your soul dry of any motivation and trigger your lazy gene.'

"You've heard it but you haven't digested it!" he claimed.

"Stop trying to freak me out." I told him with a huff. "I don't scare easy. Your attempts are futile. Save your energy for when you decide to actually pick up a book."

He opened the door to the school and looked at his hands in confusion. He finally realised he had in fact my bag in his hands. He dumped the bag on the floor and put his hands on my shoulder, stopping me in my tracks. "Just look at me! I have no initiative left."

I scoffed and looked around, to see the empty hallways of the school. I didn't particularly care what people thought of me, but Charlie managed to invade a space that managed to evoke that feeling inside of me with his mannerisms. But luckily for me, Charlie insisted on arriving half an hour early to school every morning before the thirty parking spaces were filled. No one was here.

I shook his hands off my shoulder. "I see you." I stared him in the eye. "I saw you. Lets face it, there was none to begin with!"

He scowled. "I resent that."

I plucked my bag from the ground and swung it over my shoulder, smiling faintly. "You resent it because it's the cold hard truth. Now hurry along to your friends- oh wait- that's right. No one is here. Because they are sane and are sleeping."

He grumbled, "I resent that too."

"I get it," I patted his shoulder awkwardly in some poor attempt at playing the sister role that birth had given me. "The truth can hurt. So long, fair well." I patted his shoulder again, before walking off towards my locker.

I knew some people would be at school, even at the ungodly hour it was. People had to travel over an hour to school. A few buses would have to bring one batch of pupils and then another, resulting in a portion of students, arriving half an hour early to school and another portion who had a shorter journey arriving just on time for registration.

I wandered down the relatively quiet hallways towards my locker. On my way, I observed some new freshman exploring the school and its recently new building attached to the old. I could remember how I felt when first attending High School, the excitement and and that incentive to achieve the goals you have set out for yourself.

Well, the excitement quickly faded the goals were laughable. But I felt that sense of excitement again. For some reason, setting aims and achievements was exhilarating for me.

My aim for the year?

The year of Quinn.

"Man, are you just going to freak out those freshmen or are you going to look at me?"

I blinked, allowing my focus to return to my surroundings and noticed that I was indeed 'freaking out' two freshmen girls, self consciously shifting their enormous school bags on their backs. I let out a scoff at the sight, not caring that they were still looking at me with wide eyes.

I remember being in both awe and fear of juniors and seniors when I was a freshmen. It was only right I continue that honour. I don't remember being able to hold eye contact with one though. I didn't have a death wish. Apparently, they did. So understandably, I allowed my face to transition to a glare.

"I don't know, their discomfort amuses me." I looked away from the squirming children to my best friend, "Hey Kat."

Katerina looked back to the freshmen, scrunching her nose up with clear distaste. "Please, please tell me we weren't like them."

The two girls' discomfort must have hit its capacity because they waddled down the hallway away from us. Their pink and purple sparkly bags were perched so high, their heads were no where to be found. It seemed bags with legs spurted from the bottom walked around the school. How odd.

I was hit with cringe worthy images of the younger version of myself. I almost gagged.

"Ah, I can't tell you that," I held my bag close to my chest. "this is my freshmen year bag."

She looked at it. "Oh no." Katerina closed her eyes, I knew memories floated in her mind. Had it been my intention to make a rush of cringe worthy moments flash behind her eyes? No. That didn't mean I didn't enjoy witnessing it. "I knew we were dorks but, Quinn!" She groaned and turned away from me and made the short walk towards our lockers. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Seriously?"

I followed after her, holding my bag protectively. I loved the bag. I didn't need a large bag for our upcoming year and it was the perfect size. Charlie gave it to me years ago. I wanted to use it again. Anyone who thought the bag looked dorky could think just that. I didn't care. Plus freshmen would see it as a green light to be as weird as they wanted.

"Charlie promised me that I would be the coolest girl at school." I laughed at the memory. I actually believed him too. "I thought I was the shit going into school that first day." I leaned against the locker next to hers. I smirked. "You weren't any better though."

Katerina's head rounded her locker door and looked at me. Her eyes widened with realisation. "Power Rangers." she whispered. She closed her locker door and banged her head against it. "Man, at least we didn't give a shit about what other people thought."

"That or we didn't notice." I supplied.

It was at this point that I noticed that we weren't alone. Many people in our year were catching up at the lockers, casting Katerina odd looks, then they realised it was in fact Katerina and strange behaviour was to be expected. They returned back to their conversations, not giving it a second thought.

I held eye contact with one of the girls called Eleni and shot her a smile. She wasn't a friend per-se, but I had known her for years. We had been in the same football club. She was a nice enough girl. She was well aware of our weird personalities. But, she was nice to me. She smiled back at me and looked away.

The first bell rang, signaling a five minute warning before registration began.

"Transition Years, please report to the hall upon registration." Mrs. Frank, the school's secretary reported over the intercom in her usual bored tone. I could relate, she didn't exactly like her environment. "Transition Years, please report to the hall."

I tugged on Katerina's sleeve, beckoning her to follow. It took a few tries but eventually I got her legs moving.

I had been sympathetic with her reluctance. Every year in some shape or form, our school's Principal Ms. Moran would make a speech. It tended to have no substance whatsoever, yet still managed to last for twenty minutes.

Those were the most unbearable moments of my life.

The school's hall was used for many things before the extension. It was a sport's hall and it was also a place allocated for musicals because of the big ass stage residing in the room, with curtains, lights, the whole lot. But, there had been a sport's hall added to the school so it was just the musical room now. This meant we would have more time to prepare for the annual Transition Year concert and musical as no other year would be using this room.

As soon as we entered the doors, the division in our year was apparent. There was three rather large groups of people assembled in different locations on the stage and on the ground floor. I guess there were some tiffs between the groups but honestly, I just hung out with my friends and didn't care to interact with other people. It was just that simple for me. But, obviously other people cared about social status.

Katerina pointed out our friends and spoke in a hushed whisper, "Have you spoken to Madeleine over the summer?"

I shook my head. "Negative. But then again I'm not that great with staying in contact with people in general." I shrugged. "Have you?"

"True. It's not that hard to type out a few words to let me know that you're alive though." She rolled her eyes. "No, I haven't. I'm done with that eh," She waved her hand. "drama. It's way too much effort."

I nodded. "True true."

We as people tended to avoid drama as much as possible. Of course a(n) (ex)friend of ours, Madeleine wasn't much of a talker. So there wasn't any drama. But five months prior she began to speak. Most of what came out of her mouth wasn't entirely truthful. In other words, total and utter bullshit. I forgave her the first time, but then she continued to lie and what not so I gave up.

I decided to banish her and the drama that came along with her.

The quiet ones always stirred the pot.

Katerina directed me towards our friends, pinching my side as she spotted Madeleine sitting an awkward distance away from our friends. Not too close to be involved in conversation, but not too far to be considered a loner.

"Hey Maia!" Katerina brought the ginger into a hug. Then she threw herself at the brunette who stood beside her. "Layla!"

I hung back and offered Layla a warm smile once Katerina pulled back and gave her room to breathe, that is. I wasn't much of a hugger. Or at all really.

"Yo." I greeted from a safe distance.

Layla laughed. "Quinny!" She stepped forward pinched my cheek with a wide smile. "Forever the awkward one."

I rolled my eyes. "Just because I don't like my personal space being invaded, that doesn't mean I am awkward."

"Please," Katerina scoffed. "you're the definition of awkward."

I pulled an exasperated face. "Please, not this again." I groaned and plopped myself on the ground so I could kick my legs childishly off of the stage's edge. I needed to vent my frustration some how. Kicking the air seemed more suitable than their faces. "I believe that topic has been thoroughly discussed last year."

"Fine, we'll leave you be." Katerina relented, sitting next to me. "For now, because- what the hell man? Yes you Maia! I haven't seen you in ages."

It was then that I decided to zone out.

Apparently I was the master at pushing people away. Or isolating myself. Perhaps I just had that vibe that allowed people to unfriend me easily. Maia and I were friends freshmen year, best friends even. Apparently when we came back to school we had a silent agreement to not acknowledge each other's existence. Just like that, I was ignored.

I was confused but let it happen, thinking that it wouldn't go on for long. I thought she'd get over what ever she had against me and we'd talk it out. So I gave her time. I left it way too long to patch things up. I grew stubborn and decided if she wanted to ignore me, then fine. Two could play at that game.

So we just sat there, with the same group of friends not uttering a word to each other.

Maybe I was awkward.

"I believe this further proves our point," Layla commented, sitting down to my left. "what do you even think about when you zone out like that?"

I released the lip that I had trapped between my teeth with a pop. I replied, "The utmost important matters."

"Like?" she pressed.

"Hmm." I hummed, taking my time when placing my hands behind my back so they rested on the floor, supporting me as I leaned back. "Sleep."

"Yes, because why sleep when you can day dream about it?" She let out a bark of a laugh. "Damn Quinn, I've missed you."

"Ditto."

The hall at that point had thirty or so students on the stage whilst the remainder twenty stood on the floor, chatting animately. The atmosphere in the room changed when the main entrance's door flung open, followed by a clicking of heels and two other footsteps right after. It wasn't tense, just hesitant.

Ms. Moran, the woman dressed in a plaid pink suit jacket accompanied with the same coloured skirt that ended below the knee, looked up to the stage with a blank expression. She blinked a few times upon noticing her speech area had been occupied by us.

"Hah, take that Moron." Katerina whispered haughtily, flipping her dyed blonde hair over her shoulder. "No microphone for you."

I let out a light laugh, gaining curious looks in our direction. I started silently laughing, then I found I couldn't stop laughing and attempted to cough to cover up my little weird moment. Thankfully Layla slapped my shoulder, hard. I managed to refrain myself.

"I'm telling you," Layla whispered, leaning over my body. "extremely awkward." she told Katerina.

I shoved her back, she always invaded my personal space. Like a dog following me around for a bit of my food, no matter how many times I told her to back off, it kept on happening.

"True that." Katerina snorted. "Awe look, she's pissy now." She raised her hands. My glare sharpened. "We'll stop."

Ms. Moran with the Transition Year Coordinator, Mr. Ritter and music teacher, Mr. Kessler stood in a line before us. They spoke softly amongst themselves, before Ms. Moran abruptly stood straight and her brown afro bobbed up and down in accordance with her movement.

Her face took on her everyday blank expression and let out an 'ahem' which happened when she demanded our focus to be on her without giving instruction.

She wore a pleased smile when the room slowly went quiet. "Welcome back everyone. Now, I haven't much time but I have a few important matters to discuss with you."

"Oh, kill me now." Layla muttered. "Literally, get a chicken wing and choke me with it. At least I'll die happily."

I shoved her away from me. "Right after this speech, promise."

"Now that right there," Katerina sniffed. "is true friendship."

Layla held up her hand, arching the smallest of her fingers out with a hopeful expression. I rolled my eyes and locked my pinky finger with hers.

"So first, an introduction to Transition Year." Ms. Moran clapped her hands together. "Information should have been sent out to your parents two weeks ago." She gave her brightest smile, one that was thin and closed lipped. "This year is to promote the personal, social, educational and vocational development of pupils and to prepare them for their role as autonomous, participative and responsible members of society."

She hadn't been speaking for a minute and boredom had completely consumed me.

Layla had declared a game of thumbs war and I was crushing her. Ms. Moran's voice was monotoned, but it could quickly transform into a chirpy tone if parents were prowling around the premise. It was amazing to see her many personalities around various people.

I sighed and leaned my head against Katerina's shoulder, which allowed me to see two guys playing a game of slaps on the steps leading up to the stage, sniggering as they made louder and louder claps as they went on, paying Ms. Moran no attention.

I rolled my eyes and looked away, to concentrate on my own game, only to see Mr. Ritter watching my every move. He glanced from the guys and back to me again.

"Erik, Antonio." he snapped.

I let out a puff of air and took that time to snap my thumb down.

Layla whispered a 'fuck you.' But all the attention of the room was already occupied by the entrepreneur's of the year group.

They both looked up. Antonio had his famous smirk, the smirk that let us all know he could get away with anything because all his parents had to do was snap their fingers and it was dealt with. All because he owned the local pharmacy, and same could be said for Erik although he wasn't as bad as Antonio. His parents owned the local butchers.

They both shrugged and stopped playing, their smirks deepening when they saw the damage they caused their opponent.

"The year focuses on many non-academic subjects, such as life skills including: First Aid, cooking, self-defense, driving and typing. A lot of sport goes on," Katerina pinched me at that. "with many different types including: rock-climbing, hill-walking, horse-riding, sailing, kayaking and orienteering. Voluntary Work is a requirement, with students helping out in local communities and charities. It is not possible to fail Transition Year overall: all students continue to their next year of education no matter what their results. However, if a student does not do the set work or is absent for a large amount of time, there is a chance that the school will request that they leave."

Mr. Ritter stood ahead of Ms. Moran, to get our attention. "We'll be evaluating you on your participation and this year provides a chance for you to gain experience and improve your curriculum vitae's."

Ms. Moran eyed Mr. Ritter's stance before clicking forward ahead of him, now standing near the stage where my legs were dangling free. I shuffled backwards in discomfort, accidentally knocking into Maia's leg. I knew then the true meaning of discomfort because it wasn't like I could even mutter an apology. I closed my eyes briefly and awkwardly shuffled back to my original position.

"Now, as stated in the letters to your parents this year there isn't enough in your budget to have your Transition Year hoodies or the annual trip abroad." My eyes snapped open at this news. "But you may participate in your concert and work experience, and other activities."

Dalton Cunningham, the guy who liked to think he was the know it all of our year group, stood up. "Excuse me, but I read over the letter and that was not mentioned."

She looked at him, blinking three times before answering, "I think I know what was placed in that letter, after all, I was the one who wrote it."

"I have a photographic memory," he continued. "but, if you must see it to believe me, here." He for some reason had the letter handy in his bag and placed his reading classes on the bridge of his nose.

"Dalton, now isn't the time for this discussion."

He ignored her. He skimmed through it and wore a confident smile as he walked down the steps towards the principal. "Here it is, read it."

"Again, I said I only had a few minutes with you all." She took a step backwards. "Come see me in the office at my convenience, will you Dalton? We can discuss the matter further."

We all knew what that meant. That conversation would never have the opportunity to be held as she was the master of avoidance and deflection, even better than me at the art.

And just like that, she trotted out of the room as fast as her pink heels would carry her.

As soon as the door closed behind her, the room exploded with people talking over one another, allowing their disagreement to be heard with grunts and shouting. My lip took the brunt of my frustration with my teeth roughly tugging on it. Our complaints were useless if no one with official authority stood there to listen.

Mr. Ritter himself looked quite shocked, but Mr. Kessler read some notes, seeming to not have heard or already knew and didn't quite care.

"Now now," Mr. Ritter raised his hands. "calm down."

"Calm down?" Isabel, one of the sounder girls of the year, laughed. "You know as well as us that she has always hated our year."

"She speaks the truth." Lina, Isabel's counter part agreed. "Every other year group got a school tour and what did we get last year when we complained?"

"You tell them Lina." Isabel shook her head.

"Oh right. We got to see our football team play a match. A home friggin match." She took in a deep breath as though to steady herself. "That everyone got to go to anyways!"

I shrunk into Katerina as it was the girl's senior team that played that match. It was the first time our school had won anything at a national level. I was actually quite proud of that game. Although I would have enjoyed the victory more if I had a friend on the squad.

Not to say Katerina didn't force me to celebrate later.

"This bitch did a bicycle kick though." Katerina raised my hand. All I could do was watch it rise awkwardly. "And don't tell me you didn't enjoy them shaking their booties."

Isabel rolled her eyes. "Obviously." She wiggled her eyebrows at me before turning serious. "But we deserved to watch that match and have a school tour!"

I yanked my hand away from Katerina's and gave her an icy stare. Everyone looked to me, like I had some sort of input. Did I have anything other than my embarrassment to share? I was lucky I seemed to not have the capability to blush, just like my mom. Although my dad was a sucker.

I shrugged my shoulders. "My brother told me not to do this year." I heard a few people laugh, they thought I had made a joke. "I'm serious." I stated, which made my friend called Chesky laugh. He knew I was deadly serious. I looked at him and rolled my eyes. "You won't believe the lengths he went to, to keep me from doing this year."

He patted the bulge in his pocket. His phone. "He did mention something about saving his sister's soul."

"Your brother says a lot of things," Katerina gave my school bag a pointed look. "Looks like you've learned from your mistakes though, am I right?"

That's all it took to take the attention away from me. An indifferent answer.

Mr. Ritter turned to Mr. Kessler with an irritated scowl and spoke too low for me to hear. Although with everyone shouting over each other, I didn't stand a chance of hearing them. I did want to know why Mr. Kessler was so unaffected by this, he was usually so passionate about Transition Year groups.

It was as though Mr. Ritter and him had swapped personalities over the summer months.

"If we all could just kindly shut the hell-" At Mr. Kessler's keen eyes the girl took a small breath. "Kindly be quiet," she said through gritted teeth. "I may have a fix to both of the problems."

Of course the room went deadly quiet for Violet Valentine, the most well known person at our school. She was outspoken and musically talented making this year her bitch. Everyone knew that and respected that. But as well as being in her element, she had confidence like no other, which in itself drew people to her. Not to mention her natural beauty that had girls envious and boys drooling.

Mr. Ritter looked intrigued, with a smile he instructed, "Go ahead Violet, the stage is all yours."

She rose one of her perfect eyebrows, clearly not amused with his attempt at a joke and replied, "The solution is simple. A fund raiser."

The guy next to her, called Lorenzo grinned at the idea. "We could do one of those dunking tank things. We can put Beckett in charge of that,"

Beckett, the guy sitting with the entrepreneurs blushed furiously and looked around the room. He ducked his head, probably remembering the time the guys in our year put him in the recycling bin and left him there for hours. There was police involved. It wasn't pretty in the slightest.

"If I may?" The room rolled their eyes in unison. Mr. Ritter motioned for Kira to continue. "We should set up a booth. A kissing booth." She grinned at the idea, revealing her large yellow teeth hidden behind her braces. "We could charge five dollars a pop. I volunteer to be in charge of that."

"That's a great idea, keep them coming guys."

Like that everyone in the room shifted in their seats. It was like we had a silent understanding that we could not allow that to happen, otherwise no funds would be raised. It was nothing personal against her, okay it was. She wasn't not attractive but she wasn't the most hygienic person either.

"I volunteer as tribute." Lorenzo piped up. Everyone let out a sigh of relief. Kira shot him a confused and hurt look. "You need stamina to be able to do that job, Kira." he explained.

"Ooh and me." Amy, the most stuck up girl in school volunteered.

At that everyone spoke up, wanting to do the kissing booth and I sat there in bewilderment at everyone's eagerness to kiss a bunch of strangers. Especially Amy of all people. They didn't even take into account that as well as kissing the people they liked, they would be kissing strangers. Maybe old men, women. People they disliked. So on and so forth.

I crossed my arms. "Nope, I refuse to offer up my lips for service."

"Well that's because you're a prude." Katerina said, waving her hand about in the air. "Oooh pick me!"

Mr. Ritter closed eyes in held his breath as everyone continued to plead for the job. Mr. Kessler offered no help and continued scribbling down on his notepad of his.

Mr. Ritter's eyes opened and he plucked the notebook from his hand. "We'll only need two people," he informed us and skimmed through the notepad. "I'll close my eyes and what ever two names my finger lands on, on the attendance list, will be the," he paused giving Lorenzo a look. "tributes."

"But I offered first." Kira complained, followed by everyone shushing her.

Mr Ritter's eyes closed and his hand ran up and down the page a few times before coming to an abrupt stop. Everyone, including myself held their breath as he opened his eyes.

"The first one is, Amy Couch." He announced.

She grinned largely at this, casting Lorenzo a sneaky look before nodding her head in acceptance. Everyone knew she had her eyes on him for the past year or so.

As the clapping went on, Mr. Ritter repeated the process and quickly picked out another name.

"Quinn Hart is the second one."

I ignored the wolf whistling and clutched my hands together. "Hell no." I snapped. "What did I just say two seconds ago? My lips are not up for service."

"Hell yeah babe." Isabel fist pumped the air. I shot her a warning look. "Want my celebration to be quieter?" she asked. "Hell yeah!" she whispered with an impish grin.

"Sorry Quinn," Mr Ritter apologised even though he didn't look sorry and was actually smiling really hard. "It's done and dusted. Now remember guys, there's training for both girls and boys football teams after school at four."

Just then the school's bell went and it was our first class of the day. I angrily grabbed my bag and stormed out of the hall, sending a glare in Mr. Ritter's direction. He gave me a satisfied smile back before turning his attention to Kira who was pulling on his sleeve to grab his attention.

I felt like Sue from that Glee show. This would not stand. I felt like hurdling the lost freshmen into the walls and dumping their abnormally large bags in the bins.

"Regretting it already Quinn?" my brother questioned as we crossed pathways.

"Shut up Charlie."

The year of Quinn was starting strong...

* * *

Hi.

Thanks for reading!

Advisable to read chapter posted before this one for information on 'Transition Year.'

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2 |True Love's First Kiss

2 | True Love's First Kiss

Several days later, I woke up not exactly knowing the day or date. I did know it was the day of the fund raiser. Man, had I been so looking forward it. Aha. No. It always got to me, that dates that were alarming seemed to allow time fly by. Days leading up to a date that I actually looked forward to, tended to drag on.

Fully dressed but half asleep, I slumped my way into the kitchen. I took my usual seat at the kitchen table. I closed my eyes, it seemed for a second before a hand squeezed my shoulder, prompting me to reopen my eyes. There happened to be sliced toast on a plate accompanied by tea sat right in front of me.

I felt another squeeze to my shoulder. "Did you hear me darling?"

I blinked a few times and glanced up. Mom placed another plate down for Charlie. Dad sat at the head of the table with his glasses on, reading his newspaper. His morning routine followed through and through.

I shook my head at myself. I grabbed a piece of toast before answering, "Sorry, what did you say?"

Mom frowned at my response. She drifted around the table towards me. "Are you okay honey? You look a bit pale."

Having heard Mom and her worry, Dad looked over the top of his newspaper. "Quinny," he sighed, he placed the paper onto the table. "how many times have I told you to deal with your stress? There's a mediation matt in your room for this exact reason."

"Dad," I scoffed, unsure of how I was being scolded for looking under the weather. "maybe, just maybe I'm not stressed and actually feel unwell, has that even occurred to you?"

He happened to be spot on, of course. Stress ate away at me, over what was to occur in the later hours of the day. It didn't help when Charlie came in with his all knowing smirk. Apparently Katerina and him decided to converse over Facebook. They found common ground over my 'mood swings' or something. She found it appropriate to divulge my lack of first kiss and the job appointed to me to rectify the earlier statement.

Mom placed her hand under my chin and turned my head to the side so she could feel my forehead. Charlie sat down beside me at the table. I knew his eyes were studying me and I knew exactly what he thought- that I was pretending to be sick to get out of the whole ordeal.

It was something I considered.

"Your does temperature seems a bit high," she told me, quickly placing a hand over Charlie's forehead to compare. "Mhm. I'm not sure."

"Well that's convenient, isn't it?" Charlie smirked. He gently removed Mom's hand from his forehead.

"What's convenient?" Charlie returned Dad's attention back to table. He looked suspiciously between Charlie and I. Charlie hummed innocently, knowing I was two seconds from ripping his throat out. I really wanted to. "Charlie." he called for his attention.

"Well," Charlie began, grinning a little. "I kid, I kid, she's a good kid that doesn't get up to any mischief, whatsoever." He shook his head. "She's quite boring, actually."

Dad rolled his eyes at Charlie and began reading his paper again. He clearly lost interest in Charlie's games. I kicked Charlie's foot underneath the table and stood up before he could return the favour.

"I'm half tempted to get the bus this morning." I took the tea cup in my hand and a slice of toast.

"No you're not." Charlie called me out. "After freshmen year, you practically became allergic to that thing."

I shrugged noncommittally, not willing to admit that he was right. The bus was always full and Maia used to be my bus buddy. Charlie and I use to be the last ones to get on the bus. Maia's seat was usually the only one available, which I obviously didn't mind the first year of high school.

But the next year came around. The silent treatment commenced. So I didn't want myself to go through awkward seating arrangements? I saw nothing wrong with that. I still saw nothing wrong with that.

I smiled at Mom who threw our lunch into our lunch boxes and kissed her cheek.

"So you're going then? I don't think you should go in today." Mom said, she raised my lunch box in the air. She actually refused to give me my lunch box.

As inviting as her offer sounded, I knew Mr. Ritter and I also knew he would find ways to make this year hell if I decided to skip. Although, I didn't know what could be worse than lip locking with bearded dudes.

"I'm fine, Mom. Don't worry. I'll text you if I vomit or something." I went to take the lunch box but she pulled back. Again.

Her eyes widened. I had to hold back a laugh. "Text me before you vomit, Quinn!"

At her ridiculous demand, I copied her facial expression. "How on earth am I suppose to predict when I'm going to vomit?"

"Oh Quinn," Mom just shook her head with a sigh, indicating that she was disappointed, leaving me further more confused. She handed me my lunch box. "Charlie, just take her."

He kissed her on the cheek then dragged me to the hallway, where we put on our coats and got our school bags. Off to this little Ford Focus we went in complete silence. Which was a rare occurrence, considering Charlie was a chatter box.

It wasn't like the day was great to begin with but my mood instantly dampened when I sat in the passenger seat. Thoughts of Kira suggesting the damn booth in the first place. Then she didn't even get to follow through with her plan. Mr. Ritter being a complete fuckwit and not caring to listen to me. The car shifted my body. The sting of my nails in my palm became noticeable. I was furious. I didn't know who or what with. I decided on everyone. But that didn't matter. The feeling was still there. I was being forced to kiss people. Charlie was holding it over my head.

It was such a big deal because I was 'Daddy's little girl,' and if he heard of such things being done to his daughter he would be banging on Ms. Moran's office in twenty seconds flat. They already had their fair share of disputes so I didn't exactly want another one over something like this. Especially this. I could only imagine what my classmates would have to say about it.

I always prided myself in not being pressured into doing something that I did not want to do. But there I sat, accepting what fate had in store for me. Why? Because I didn't want to cause a scene. Because it wasn't that big of a deal, right? Right. So I shoved down my dismay. 

I would have told Mom about the fund raiser but she couldn't keep a secret to save her life so I decided against that.

"So since I'm doing you a solid," Charlie broke the silence. "you owe me a favour."

I looked from the window to Charlie. His fingers drummed against the stirring wheel. We weren't even past the first week of school and my patience with him was near non-existent.

I ignored him and looked out the window again, imagining a figure jumping from tree to tree then randomly to a wall or two before they hopped back to the trees again.

I felt my phone vibrate and I looked down to it.

Kat: I gots you covered man.

Me: How?

Kat: Gots you chapsticks. 3 fresh ones.

"Quinn, Quinn fo fin, fin fin fo- I can't do that. Quinn!" I looked up from my phone. "Finally! Look, you're working with Amy right?" I nodded my head, wondering where he was going with the conversation. "Okay, get her phone number for me and I'll consider us even."

I crossed my arms. "Even? Do you know what this is? I'm pretty sure this is blackmail, Charles."

"So? Your point being?"

We finally arrived at school and I hopped out of the car as soon as he pulled in and walked quickly towards the school's entrance. I glanced over my shoulder and upon seeing Charlie's jogging to catch up with me, I stopped in my tracks, causing him to collide with my back.

"Okay, lets get one thing straight here," I twisted around and poked him hard in the chest. "car chats? That's done. No more of that. That's not going to become our thing."

"But-"

"No. Just no." I spun around and made sure to not hold the entrance door open for him.

***

After school the buses transported the students two miles down into the local town. There in the town's center, lay an open space of greenery. It was occupied by the tents and the booths we had set up during the last few days.

Personally, I didn't want to have to see the place until it was all done up. I didn't want to have to see the kissing booth any longer than I had to. So it was quite a shock as to how nice it actually looked, the whole set up that is. Who knew the lads in our year could actually be... productive?

"My posters didn't do this place justice." Katerina clapped her hands together, she looked around in awe. "Seriously man, why hasn't this been done before?"

Layla waltzed up behind us, Maia followed in tow. "Because," She wrapped her arm over Katerina's shoulder. She gestured towards her school uniform and then towards me. "they didn't have to degrade themselves for money like we have to."

I let out a huff. "Don't lose your dignity and self-respect trying to make people appreciate you, you said Kat." I cringed as I saw Erik and Antonio high-fiving when they had successfully constructed the kissing booth. "Well hey, it's okay if it's for a money, right?"

"Right," they both said in unison.

I made the mistake of looking back at Layla. I awkwardly made eye contact with Maia in the process. It was probably the first time in two years that I did that. I could have sworn that her eyes were green but there they were, blue. Maybe I made that assumption because I always imagined gingers with green eyes for some reason.

My bad.

That different vibe I felt when I was around her, when we were friends, came back. I couldn't tell why she always seemed different from Layla, Katerina or even Madeleine. (And Madeleine was weird.) But she was. I only seemed to notice it properly when we stopped talking. And because we stopped talking, I didn't care to worry about it. This awkward eye contact brought it up in my thoughts again. 

I awkwardly shrugged off the weird moment. It wasn't the time to think about that.

I grabbed Katerina's arm. "Are you seriously going to allow my first kiss to be with an old man with burger breath?" I asked, pouting slightly, hoping she would take pity on me.

She removed my hand from her arm. "What do you want me to do? Kiss you?"

"Ew."

"Exactly." She took me by the shoulders and twirled me around. "Now off you go, set up your booth. Get Amy to do the first shift and we'll laugh at Griffin when he gets dunked."

I groaned and began walking away, before being grabbed. "Pucker those lips, Quinny." Layla sang and slapped my bum.

I growled and yanked her off of me. "Go to hell. The lot of you."

We had a few minutes to get our stations set up. Everyone scampered off of the bus and raced off to their designated jobs. Considering fifty students in our year came, not everyone had been assigned something. They were here for moral support and to make the center seem busier than it actually was. The reasoning behind that? To attract more people willing to spend money, to help us out.

As I walked to my booth with a tin box and spare change thrown in it, I admired the traditional red and white tent that was placed smack down in the middle of town. The entrance door's were clipped to the side, it was wide open allowing me to see the mini stage and Mic being set up by Dalton and Jack.

Of course everything Jack had set up, Dalton moved an inch or so.

Amy sat down at the booth. She placed her left hand down on the table as she applied white nail varnish. She completely blanked the keen pair of entrepreneurs by her side. They wove their hands towards the booth itself but she didn't seem too bothered by their obvious distress.

I placed the tray right beside her hand which made her look up.

Amy, well she was an interesting character. By interesting I mean the only judgment I could form of her was by witnessing her tantrums. She and I never spoken before. I talked to every single other person in the year. I made the effort. But with her, I never did. She had this attitude that would waft through the air-superiority.

I didn't see what she saw, obviously.

"Erik, Antonio." I greeted, resting my hands on the booth.

The pair nodded their heads. "Amy, that's what I've been asking for," Erik pointed towards the tin. "There's change in there, right?"

I nodded my head and shook it. "How much are we charging?"

Antonio looked me up and down. "I'd say your worth a good ten dollars." He looked back to Amy, he grimaced. "But we'll keep it at five. People are coming in now, I heard people down at the pub talking about this so, get the ball rolling ladies."

They both banged the table with the palm of their hands at the same time and made their way towards the tent.

I looked down at Amy and I just knew I'd have to be the first one to speak. I really didn't want to. I exhaled through my nose. "Right, well I'm assuming you want to go first considering Lorenzo," I glanced back over my shoulder to confirm my suspicions. "is lurking about."

Even though Lorenzo knew of Amy's crush on him, or what ever she was capable of feeling; he never showed any reciprocation of those feelings. Not that it was any of my business, but it was common knowledge. By common knowledge I mean I overheard Layla telling Maia about it.

He was a teenage boy. Which meant when there was a booth that allowed guys to kiss a pretty girl, they would have to cease the opportunity. He didn't have to worry about talks of commitment or emotional crap that came along with kissing someone.

Or so he thought.

Amy looked over my shoulder, like a predator about to catch their prey. Then she returned her attention back to her nails. I got annoyed with her silence so I rose an eyebrow and tapped my fingers against the booth, to knock her concentration from her nails.

She sighed heavily, like having to answer me was problematic. "Yes, Quinn."

"Right." I rolled my eyes. "You have fun with that."

I was so glad I didn't have the first shift. All the hype would die down throughout the day. Well, I hoped so anyways. Teenagers and their hormones could be unpredictable.

I made my way to the dunking station. Katerina had been going on and on about it for days, she was all jumpy and excited, waiting for me beside the table where she had to pay.

She stretched her arms behind her head when she noticed me. "Finally Quincy, be a doll and pay the nice girl." She thumbed behind her. "Well... girl." she corrected. She grabbed a few balls and grinned. "Lets get this show on the road."

"Don't call me that." I muttered, waving at Griffin. "I see you've come prepared." I drawled.

Griffin sat on the top of the plastic chair. He wrung his hands together in his navy wet suit. He managed a smile at my words but his nerves only seem heightened when he saw me. I frowned at this, confused as to why he was sweating profusely so suddenly.

I turned towards the table to pay for Katerina. I plucked five dollars from my purse and realised that I was in fact paying for Katerina and didn't know why. It was just an automatic response of some sort. Katerina picked up a thing or two from me, I noted.  Much like what I did to Charlie earlier in the week with the school bag. Acting casual was the key to manipulation.

I sighed and placed it on the table and looked up. Of course Violet Valentine sat at the table with her legs propped up on it. Sunglasses covered her eyes and her red lips curled slightly.

She really never stopped smiling or smirking. I wasn't sure.

It was kind of infuriating.

"Thanks for contributing to our cause." She placed the bill into a gray tray, similar to mine. "But I believe you have something else to offer to help raise funds." Her grin grew as she playfully puckered her lips. "Mwah, mwah."

"Oh don't." I scrunched up my nose and turned away, hearing her laugh lightly in the process. "I really want this day and over and done with." I groaned.

"Sorry to hear about your misfortune." she sounded genuine. Which made me turn to her. "Though, I'm sure the public are rather pleased about it." she said matter of factly.

"Your condolences are appreciated." I replied flatly.

I really did just wanted the day to be over. I was either constantly thinking about the inevitable or I was being teased about it. Not that everyone knew that I hadn't had my first kiss or anything. It wasn't that big of a deal. Well to them anyways. But it was to me. I never imagined it going like this, at all.

When I made eye contact with Griffin his body froze again. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why the hell he acted so shady. I gave him a confused look and stood beside Katerina.

"This is fucking rigged, I hit bullshit three times now."

I snorted. "Bullseye. Kat. Bullseye." I couldn't stop laughing, I heard a light laugh beside me. Violet held up one of Katerina's balls in her hand. "Oh for crying out loud." I pointed at Violet's hands whilst looking at Katerina. "You can't throw for shit. Give me one."

"I'm pretty sure it's bullshit Quincy. Why would a target be called a bull eye?"

"Why would it be called a bull shit?"

"Okay. What ever." She handed me a ball and gave me space to do my thing. "Why don't they just call it a target then?"

I shrugged, not wanting to explain bullseye was the center of the target. We'd just argue over it. Then I'd grow angry because I knew I was right and she'd call getting me angry, a victory. I refused for that to happen this time around.

I turned away and grinned as I realised something. Griffin's forehead had done a vanishing act as his eyebrows touched his hairline. Sweat poured down his cheeks, or it could have been tears. Who knew? His eyes, wow. Who knew they could go so wide? It was amazing what fear could do to people.

I threw the ball from one hand to another, I waited until Griffin's shoulders were as tense as they could ever be and threw. I threw hard.

The buzzer went off and Griffin let out a girlish scream as he plunged into the water, I ducked behind Katerina as water splashed against the sides of the tank.

"See? Rigged!" Katerina threw her hands up in the air. "Griffin doesn't like me. That's the only reason why he's in that water right now! Because he likes you!"

"R-r-igged?" Griffin's voice rang out. "Wha-"

Katerina pointed towards her nose. "Griffin man, you totally put in that nose plug when you saw her coming!"

I turned away from the bickering pair and grinned as I walked up to the table. "So what's my prize?"

Violet pushed her sunglasses off of her face, which also pushed her raven coloured hair back. She silently studied me for a few seconds, her lip inched up and back down like she was trying hard not to smile. She finally pushed her sunglasses back down and settled on letting herself smile.

"The thing is Quinn," she started, biting down on her lip. "Antonio thought there was no point wasting potential profit. Meaning the prize is the satisfaction of dunking Griffin."

Well that was disappointing. If I knew that I wouldn't have participated in the game. Poor Griffin. I wasn't sure if anyone was switching shifts with him. I would have offered, but I already had an awful job to accomplish.

I frowned. "You would have more customers if you put someone else in there." I looked over to the shivering boy. "Everyone loves Griffin."

Griffin, Katerina and I went to the same schools before high school. He was always the sweetest kid around, always offering me half of the cookie he brought to school every day. I always refused him though. I knew that was basically his favourite part of the day. He would always grin the hardest when the lunch bell rang.

A hand was placed on my shoulder. "Quincy, Amy's off duty now." Katerina informed me, pointing towards the girl watching Lorenzo from a distance. "Time to have your true love's first kiss."

"Good luck with that." I heard Violet say in a sing song way.

"Thanks." I again replied flatly. I turned away from Violet. I prodded Katerina's shoulders. "Aha, I wish. Don't make fun of me. You know the reason I waited. I wanted it to be special. With someone special. But nope," We began to walk towards the booth. I hoped Amy was smart enough to hide the tray at least. "I'm getting paid to do it early and with the wrong person!"

Upon arriving to the booth I was pleasantly surprised to see an 'On break for ten min' sign, hung on top of the booth. Fair play to Amy.

I walked around the booth and checked the tray. It was even locked. Yeah, the key lay in it but, Amy had done better than I had expected. She tried. That was what counted, I guess.

"Okay no more procrastination man. Make up with Maia already." Katerina suddenly burst, pounding her fists on the table. She then smiled sheepishly at her outburst. "I'm so tired of having to choose you over her all the time." She dramatically sighed. "Plus having you both in the same area is just extremely awkward."

She was right about it being awkward. But hell to the no, I would not be backing down from something I did not start. Every time Katerina brought up this topic, I always shut it down before it even began. She always asked why was this 'feud' going on between us. That, was a pretty good question. I would've like to have known the answer to that myself.

"She started this ignoring game." I fidgeted with the sign. "Look, I see your point. I'm sorry that this has strained your friendship with her. But I feel if I confronted her about this whole thing, she'd just-"

"Wait. Wow. She started this?" Katerina looked taken aback. "Maia won't talk about it either, but Layla and I just assumed that you started ignoring her."

I sat down, offended by her accusation. "Why me?"

"Because of the rumours about her." Katerina continued looking at me. Her eyes widened when all I could give her was a confused stare back. "Wow okay, we were totally wrong. You don't even know about the rumours? That she was totally a lesbian?"

I shook my head, allowing this new information to sink in. Wow. Everyone knew that Maia and I weren't speaking to each other. According Katerina Maia was assumed to be a lesbian, which would mean everyone would have made the assumption that I ditched her because of her sexuality. That I was homophobic.

I stood up, feeling Katerina's stare to burn into me as I placed the 'on break' sign on the table.

A headache started to form.

"So you all just assumed I was homophobic? Why would you choose to speak to me over Maia?"

Katerina closed her eyes. "Well you've always refused to speak about this, so I was never sure. I was hoping you weren't. Look, after I sell these raffle tickets we can talk and you'll give me the details of all your kisses today." She took my hand in hers and gave it a squeeze. "I think Maia wants to talk to you. She has been staring at you since the first day of school."

She twirled around and left me to my own devices. When I looked down to my hand I saw a chap stick lying there.

I stood up and walked around the booth so I could lean against it. I couldn't believe Katerina would drop a bomb like that and leave. Okay, I could believe it. But I was already freaking out about this booth. She could have waited until one anxiety attack was over before adding to the pile.

I leaned back against the booth. I stared at people with a crazy amount of envy as they carried their cotton candy and embraced the warm wind. There was a large queue at the dunk tank. They got their adrenaline rushes by seeing poor Griffin whimper.

I saw Mr. Ritter headed in my direction, with a grin on his face. I shrunk back against the booth, praying to the high heavens he planned on just passing by. He made direct eye contact with me. My fingers clasped the chap stick. There was no point giving him any ideas.

"Ah Quinn," he greeted, nearly at the booth. "how much have you raised so far?"

I brought the tray into my hands and opened it. "I don't know, I'm just relieving Amy from her shift now. There's a bit in there though."

"Right," he murmured, glancing at the sign Amy had left behind. "so are you set up now?"

I had an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I just then found his eagerness to have me work here, odd. His body seemed to have shifted closer without me noticing. I just about opened my mouth to speak when I heard soft footsteps coming in our direction.

I left out a sigh when Mr. Ritter's body moved backwards.

I had never been so happy and relieved to see Violet Valentine's strutting around like she owned the place. She removed her glasses before she gave Mr. Ritter a cold stare as she walked to us.

She spoke lowly, "Eleni's letting all the guys know the booth's back up for business." She looked directly at Mr. Ritter.

"That's...that's great. Thank you Violet. I'll leave you to it Quinn." Mr. Ritter glanced at me then back at Violet. "Should you not be at your booth? Is someone covering for you?"

"I'll be there in a moment." she said in a dismissive tone. "I'm here to return a favour to Quinn, first."

"I'll go see to your booth then." he mumbled, hurrying towards the direction of the booth.

Once he walked out of hearing distance I let out the biggest sigh known to man. I walked around to the side of the booth, twisting my body in circles and enjoyed the fabric of the dress Katerina made me wear. I hauled myself on top of the booth, crossing one leg over the other in a lady like fashion.

I then noticed Violet still stood there. "Thank you. That was...." I had no words for it. I relaxed against the booth. "If I'm going to do this, I might as well do it in comfort," I leaned back. "the bastards can work to get a taste." I playfully puckered my lips and pecked the air.

"Well, that's only fair." she commented. "I also thought I would return that favour now." she said, her lips curled up at my questioning stare. She walked over to where I sat. "You see," Her hands placed themselves either side of my thighs, essentially trapping me. "you were my first customer. I thought it only be polite that I return that respect."

Next thing I knew, she was on her tip toes and her cold hands were cupping my cheeks.

In contrast to her hands, gently her warm and smooth lips moved with mine, a slow but definitely not boring kiss. Instead of my body being stiff and tense, like I had assumed it would be, I felt a sense of relaxation throughout my entire body.

That is until the butterflies made an appearance, discarding any sense of peace I had and exchanged it for excitement that crept and ran through my bones. With my heart beating boisterously against my chest, so fast that I thought it was going to explode, an overwhelming intense feeling, a warm fuzzy feeling made my head spin.

And then it vanished.

I opened my eyes and hazel eyes stared right back. A small smile formed on her face as she took a step away from me. Her smile shouldn't have made my knees go weak, should it have?

I had made the right decision to stay seated. Damn, right I did.

"I never did like owing a favour." she said lightly, placing a five dollar bill down on the table. She began walking away before I could even open my mouth to respond. I probably wouldn't have been able to say much regardless. "I'll let Griffin know that you're having a similarly miserable time over here then, shall I?" she called over her shoulder.

My mouth dropped open. Was she serious?

When I finally looked away from her retreating figure, I took notice of the rather long queue awaiting a kiss. I groaned as I made from the side of the booth, towards the front. I had almost forgotten about the plans for the rest of my day.

"Okay," I looked at the first- second customer. I sucked in a deep breath. "Francesco, you better put that tongue back inside your mouth before I slap you silly."

 

Thanks for reading, dudes. 

Hope you liked it. :D

Kissing Booth

2 | True Love's First Kiss

Several days later, I woke up not exactly knowing the day or date. I did know it was the day of the fund raiser. Man, had I been so looking forward it. Aha. No. It always got to me, that dates that were alarming seemed to allow time fly by. Days leading up to a date that I actually looked forward to, tended to drag on.

Fully dressed but half asleep, I slumped my way into the kitchen. I took my usual seat at the kitchen table. I closed my eyes, it seemed for a second before a hand squeezed my shoulder, prompting me to reopen my eyes. There happened to be sliced toast on a plate accompanied by tea sat right in front of me.

I felt another squeeze to my shoulder. "Did you hear me darling?"

I blinked a few times and glanced up. Mom placed another plate down for Charlie. Dad sat at the head of the table with his glasses on, reading his newspaper. His morning routine followed through and through.

I shook my head at myself. I grabbed a piece of toast before answering, "Sorry, what did you say?"

Mom frowned at my response. She drifted around the table towards me. "Are you okay honey? You look a bit pale."

Having heard Mom and her worry, Dad looked over the top of his newspaper. "Quinny," he sighed, he placed the paper onto the table. "how many times have I told you to deal with your stress? There's a mediation matt in your room for this exact reason."

"Dad," I scoffed, unsure of how I was being scolded for looking under the weather. "maybe, just maybe I'm not stressed and actually feel unwell, has that even occurred to you?"

He happened to be spot on, of course. Stress ate away at me, over what was to occur in the later hours of the day. It didn't help when Charlie came in with his all knowing smirk. Apparently Katerina and him decided to converse over Facebook. They found common ground over my 'mood swings' or something. She found it appropriate to divulge my lack of first kiss and the job appointed to me to rectify the earlier statement.

Mom placed her hand under my chin and turned my head to the side so she could feel my forehead. Charlie sat down beside me at the table. I knew his eyes were studying me and I knew exactly what he thought- that I was pretending to be sick to get out of the whole ordeal.

It was something I considered.

"Your does temperature seems a bit high," she told me, quickly placing a hand over Charlie's forehead to compare. "Mhm. I'm not sure."

"Well that's convenient, isn't it?" Charlie smirked. He gently removed Mom's hand from his forehead.

"What's convenient?" Charlie returned Dad's attention back to table. He looked suspiciously between Charlie and I. Charlie hummed innocently, knowing I was two seconds from ripping his throat out. I really wanted to. "Charlie." he called for his attention.

"Well," Charlie began, grinning a little. "I kid, I kid, she's a good kid that doesn't get up to any mischief, whatsoever." He shook his head. "She's quite boring, actually."

Dad rolled his eyes at Charlie and began reading his paper again. He clearly lost interest in Charlie's games. I kicked Charlie's foot underneath the table and stood up before he could return the favour.

"I'm half tempted to get the bus this morning." I took the tea cup in my hand and a slice of toast.

"No you're not." Charlie called me out. "After freshmen year, you practically became allergic to that thing."

I shrugged noncommittally, not willing to admit that he was right. The bus was always full and Maia used to be my bus buddy. Charlie and I use to be the last ones to get on the bus. Maia's seat was usually the only one available, which I obviously didn't mind the first year of high school.

But the next year came around. The silent treatment commenced. So I didn't want myself to go through awkward seating arrangements? I saw nothing wrong with that. I still saw nothing wrong with that.

I smiled at Mom who threw our lunch into our lunch boxes and kissed her cheek.

"So you're going then? I don't think you should go in today." Mom said, she raised my lunch box in the air. She actually refused to give me my lunch box.

As inviting as her offer sounded, I knew Mr. Ritter and I also knew he would find ways to make this year hell if I decided to skip. Although, I didn't know what could be worse than lip locking with bearded dudes.

"I'm fine, Mom. Don't worry. I'll text you if I vomit or something." I went to take the lunch box but she pulled back. Again.

Her eyes widened. I had to hold back a laugh. "Text me before you vomit, Quinn!"

At her ridiculous demand, I copied her facial expression. "How on earth am I suppose to predict when I'm going to vomit?"

"Oh Quinn," Mom just shook her head with a sigh, indicating that she was disappointed, leaving me further more confused. She handed me my lunch box. "Charlie, just take her."

He kissed her on the cheek then dragged me to the hallway, where we put on our coats and got our school bags. Off to this little Ford Focus we went in complete silence. Which was a rare occurrence, considering Charlie was a chatter box.

It wasn't like the day was great to begin with but my mood instantly dampened when I sat in the passenger seat. Thoughts of Kira suggesting the damn booth in the first place. Then she didn't even get to follow through with her plan. Mr. Ritter being a complete fuckwit and not caring to listen to me. The car shifted my body. The sting of my nails in my palm became noticeable. I was furious. I didn't know who or what with. I decided on everyone. But that didn't matter. The feeling was still there. I was being forced to kiss people. Charlie was holding it over my head.

It was such a big deal because I was 'Daddy's little girl,' and if he heard of such things being done to his daughter he would be banging on Ms. Moran's office in twenty seconds flat. They already had their fair share of disputes so I didn't exactly want another one over something like this. Especially this. I could only imagine what my classmates would have to say about it.

I always prided myself in not being pressured into doing something that I did not want to do. But there I sat, accepting what fate had in store for me. Why? Because I didn't want to cause a scene. Because it wasn't that big of a deal, right? Right. So I shoved down my dismay. 

I would have told Mom about the fund raiser but she couldn't keep a secret to save her life so I decided against that.

"So since I'm doing you a solid," Charlie broke the silence. "you owe me a favour."

I looked from the window to Charlie. His fingers drummed against the stirring wheel. We weren't even past the first week of school and my patience with him was near non-existent.

I ignored him and looked out the window again, imagining a figure jumping from tree to tree then randomly to a wall or two before they hopped back to the trees again.

I felt my phone vibrate and I looked down to it.

Kat: I gots you covered man.

Me: How?

Kat: Gots you chapsticks. 3 fresh ones.

"Quinn, Quinn fo fin, fin fin fo- I can't do that. Quinn!" I looked up from my phone. "Finally! Look, you're working with Amy right?" I nodded my head, wondering where he was going with the conversation. "Okay, get her phone number for me and I'll consider us even."

I crossed my arms. "Even? Do you know what this is? I'm pretty sure this is blackmail, Charles."

"So? Your point being?"

We finally arrived at school and I hopped out of the car as soon as he pulled in and walked quickly towards the school's entrance. I glanced over my shoulder and upon seeing Charlie's jogging to catch up with me, I stopped in my tracks, causing him to collide with my back.

"Okay, lets get one thing straight here," I twisted around and poked him hard in the chest. "car chats? That's done. No more of that. That's not going to become our thing."

"But-"

"No. Just no." I spun around and made sure to not hold the entrance door open for him.

***

After school the buses transported the students two miles down into the local town. There in the town's center, lay an open space of greenery. It was occupied by the tents and the booths we had set up during the last few days.

Personally, I didn't want to have to see the place until it was all done up. I didn't want to have to see the kissing booth any longer than I had to. So it was quite a shock as to how nice it actually looked, the whole set up that is. Who knew the lads in our year could actually be... productive?

"My posters didn't do this place justice." Katerina clapped her hands together, she looked around in awe. "Seriously man, why hasn't this been done before?"

Layla waltzed up behind us, Maia followed in tow. "Because," She wrapped her arm over Katerina's shoulder. She gestured towards her school uniform and then towards me. "they didn't have to degrade themselves for money like we have to."

I let out a huff. "Don't lose your dignity and self-respect trying to make people appreciate you, you said Kat." I cringed as I saw Erik and Antonio high-fiving when they had successfully constructed the kissing booth. "Well hey, it's okay if it's for a money, right?"

"Right," they both said in unison.

I made the mistake of looking back at Layla. I awkwardly made eye contact with Maia in the process. It was probably the first time in two years that I did that. I could have sworn that her eyes were green but there they were, blue. Maybe I made that assumption because I always imagined gingers with green eyes for some reason.

My bad.

That different vibe I felt when I was around her, when we were friends, came back. I couldn't tell why she always seemed different from Layla, Katerina or even Madeleine. (And Madeleine was weird.) But she was. I only seemed to notice it properly when we stopped talking. And because we stopped talking, I didn't care to worry about it. This awkward eye contact brought it up in my thoughts again. 

I awkwardly shrugged off the weird moment. It wasn't the time to think about that.

I grabbed Katerina's arm. "Are you seriously going to allow my first kiss to be with an old man with burger breath?" I asked, pouting slightly, hoping she would take pity on me.

She removed my hand from her arm. "What do you want me to do? Kiss you?"

"Ew."

"Exactly." She took me by the shoulders and twirled me around. "Now off you go, set up your booth. Get Amy to do the first shift and we'll laugh at Griffin when he gets dunked."

I groaned and began walking away, before being grabbed. "Pucker those lips, Quinny." Layla sang and slapped my bum.

I growled and yanked her off of me. "Go to hell. The lot of you."

We had a few minutes to get our stations set up. Everyone scampered off of the bus and raced off to their designated jobs. Considering fifty students in our year came, not everyone had been assigned something. They were here for moral support and to make the center seem busier than it actually was. The reasoning behind that? To attract more people willing to spend money, to help us out.

As I walked to my booth with a tin box and spare change thrown in it, I admired the traditional red and white tent that was placed smack down in the middle of town. The entrance door's were clipped to the side, it was wide open allowing me to see the mini stage and Mic being set up by Dalton and Jack.

Of course everything Jack had set up, Dalton moved an inch or so.

Amy sat down at the booth. She placed her left hand down on the table as she applied white nail varnish. She completely blanked the keen pair of entrepreneurs by her side. They wove their hands towards the booth itself but she didn't seem too bothered by their obvious distress.

I placed the tray right beside her hand which made her look up.

Amy, well she was an interesting character. By interesting I mean the only judgment I could form of her was by witnessing her tantrums. She and I never spoken before. I talked to every single other person in the year. I made the effort. But with her, I never did. She had this attitude that would waft through the air-superiority.

I didn't see what she saw, obviously.

"Erik, Antonio." I greeted, resting my hands on the booth.

The pair nodded their heads. "Amy, that's what I've been asking for," Erik pointed towards the tin. "There's change in there, right?"

I nodded my head and shook it. "How much are we charging?"

Antonio looked me up and down. "I'd say your worth a good ten dollars." He looked back to Amy, he grimaced. "But we'll keep it at five. People are coming in now, I heard people down at the pub talking about this so, get the ball rolling ladies."

They both banged the table with the palm of their hands at the same time and made their way towards the tent.

I looked down at Amy and I just knew I'd have to be the first one to speak. I really didn't want to. I exhaled through my nose. "Right, well I'm assuming you want to go first considering Lorenzo," I glanced back over my shoulder to confirm my suspicions. "is lurking about."

Even though Lorenzo knew of Amy's crush on him, or what ever she was capable of feeling; he never showed any reciprocation of those feelings. Not that it was any of my business, but it was common knowledge. By common knowledge I mean I overheard Layla telling Maia about it.

He was a teenage boy. Which meant when there was a booth that allowed guys to kiss a pretty girl, they would have to cease the opportunity. He didn't have to worry about talks of commitment or emotional crap that came along with kissing someone.

Or so he thought.

Amy looked over my shoulder, like a predator about to catch their prey. Then she returned her attention back to her nails. I got annoyed with her silence so I rose an eyebrow and tapped my fingers against the booth, to knock her concentration from her nails.

She sighed heavily, like having to answer me was problematic. "Yes, Quinn."

"Right." I rolled my eyes. "You have fun with that."

I was so glad I didn't have the first shift. All the hype would die down throughout the day. Well, I hoped so anyways. Teenagers and their hormones could be unpredictable.

I made my way to the dunking station. Katerina had been going on and on about it for days, she was all jumpy and excited, waiting for me beside the table where she had to pay.

She stretched her arms behind her head when she noticed me. "Finally Quincy, be a doll and pay the nice girl." She thumbed behind her. "Well... girl." she corrected. She grabbed a few balls and grinned. "Lets get this show on the road."

"Don't call me that." I muttered, waving at Griffin. "I see you've come prepared." I drawled.

Griffin sat on the top of the plastic chair. He wrung his hands together in his navy wet suit. He managed a smile at my words but his nerves only seem heightened when he saw me. I frowned at this, confused as to why he was sweating profusely so suddenly.

I turned towards the table to pay for Katerina. I plucked five dollars from my purse and realised that I was in fact paying for Katerina and didn't know why. It was just an automatic response of some sort. Katerina picked up a thing or two from me, I noted.  Much like what I did to Charlie earlier in the week with the school bag. Acting casual was the key to manipulation.

I sighed and placed it on the table and looked up. Of course Violet Valentine sat at the table with her legs propped up on it. Sunglasses covered her eyes and her red lips curled slightly.

She really never stopped smiling or smirking. I wasn't sure.

It was kind of infuriating.

"Thanks for contributing to our cause." She placed the bill into a gray tray, similar to mine. "But I believe you have something else to offer to help raise funds." Her grin grew as she playfully puckered her lips. "Mwah, mwah."

"Oh don't." I scrunched up my nose and turned away, hearing her laugh lightly in the process. "I really want this day and over and done with." I groaned.

"Sorry to hear about your misfortune." she sounded genuine. Which made me turn to her. "Though, I'm sure the public are rather pleased about it." she said matter of factly.

"Your condolences are appreciated." I replied flatly.

I really did just wanted the day to be over. I was either constantly thinking about the inevitable or I was being teased about it. Not that everyone knew that I hadn't had my first kiss or anything. It wasn't that big of a deal. Well to them anyways. But it was to me. I never imagined it going like this, at all.

When I made eye contact with Griffin his body froze again. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why the hell he acted so shady. I gave him a confused look and stood beside Katerina.

"This is fucking rigged, I hit bullshit three times now."

I snorted. "Bullseye. Kat. Bullseye." I couldn't stop laughing, I heard a light laugh beside me. Violet held up one of Katerina's balls in her hand. "Oh for crying out loud." I pointed at Violet's hands whilst looking at Katerina. "You can't throw for shit. Give me one."

"I'm pretty sure it's bullshit Quincy. Why would a target be called a bull eye?"

"Why would it be called a bull shit?"

"Okay. What ever." She handed me a ball and gave me space to do my thing. "Why don't they just call it a target then?"

I shrugged, not wanting to explain bullseye was the center of the target. We'd just argue over it. Then I'd grow angry because I knew I was right and she'd call getting me angry, a victory. I refused for that to happen this time around.

I turned away and grinned as I realised something. Griffin's forehead had done a vanishing act as his eyebrows touched his hairline. Sweat poured down his cheeks, or it could have been tears. Who knew? His eyes, wow. Who knew they could go so wide? It was amazing what fear could do to people.

I threw the ball from one hand to another, I waited until Griffin's shoulders were as tense as they could ever be and threw. I threw hard.

The buzzer went off and Griffin let out a girlish scream as he plunged into the water, I ducked behind Katerina as water splashed against the sides of the tank.

"See? Rigged!" Katerina threw her hands up in the air. "Griffin doesn't like me. That's the only reason why he's in that water right now! Because he likes you!"

"R-r-igged?" Griffin's voice rang out. "Wha-"

Katerina pointed towards her nose. "Griffin man, you totally put in that nose plug when you saw her coming!"

I turned away from the bickering pair and grinned as I walked up to the table. "So what's my prize?"

Violet pushed her sunglasses off of her face, which also pushed her raven coloured hair back. She silently studied me for a few seconds, her lip inched up and back down like she was trying hard not to smile. She finally pushed her sunglasses back down and settled on letting herself smile.

"The thing is Quinn," she started, biting down on her lip. "Antonio thought there was no point wasting potential profit. Meaning the prize is the satisfaction of dunking Griffin."

Well that was disappointing. If I knew that I wouldn't have participated in the game. Poor Griffin. I wasn't sure if anyone was switching shifts with him. I would have offered, but I already had an awful job to accomplish.

I frowned. "You would have more customers if you put someone else in there." I looked over to the shivering boy. "Everyone loves Griffin."

Griffin, Katerina and I went to the same schools before high school. He was always the sweetest kid around, always offering me half of the cookie he brought to school every day. I always refused him though. I knew that was basically his favourite part of the day. He would always grin the hardest when the lunch bell rang.

A hand was placed on my shoulder. "Quincy, Amy's off duty now." Katerina informed me, pointing towards the girl watching Lorenzo from a distance. "Time to have your true love's first kiss."

"Good luck with that." I heard Violet say in a sing song way.

"Thanks." I again replied flatly. I turned away from Violet. I prodded Katerina's shoulders. "Aha, I wish. Don't make fun of me. You know the reason I waited. I wanted it to be special. With someone special. But nope," We began to walk towards the booth. I hoped Amy was smart enough to hide the tray at least. "I'm getting paid to do it early and with the wrong person!"

Upon arriving to the booth I was pleasantly surprised to see an 'On break for ten min' sign, hung on top of the booth. Fair play to Amy.

I walked around the booth and checked the tray. It was even locked. Yeah, the key lay in it but, Amy had done better than I had expected. She tried. That was what counted, I guess.

"Okay no more procrastination man. Make up with Maia already." Katerina suddenly burst, pounding her fists on the table. She then smiled sheepishly at her outburst. "I'm so tired of having to choose you over her all the time." She dramatically sighed. "Plus having you both in the same area is just extremely awkward."

She was right about it being awkward. But hell to the no, I would not be backing down from something I did not start. Every time Katerina brought up this topic, I always shut it down before it even began. She always asked why was this 'feud' going on between us. That, was a pretty good question. I would've like to have known the answer to that myself.

"She started this ignoring game." I fidgeted with the sign. "Look, I see your point. I'm sorry that this has strained your friendship with her. But I feel if I confronted her about this whole thing, she'd just-"

"Wait. Wow. She started this?" Katerina looked taken aback. "Maia won't talk about it either, but Layla and I just assumed that you started ignoring her."

I sat down, offended by her accusation. "Why me?"

"Because of the rumours about her." Katerina continued looking at me. Her eyes widened when all I could give her was a confused stare back. "Wow okay, we were totally wrong. You don't even know about the rumours? That she was totally a lesbian?"

I shook my head, allowing this new information to sink in. Wow. Everyone knew that Maia and I weren't speaking to each other. According Katerina Maia was assumed to be a lesbian, which would mean everyone would have made the assumption that I ditched her because of her sexuality. That I was homophobic.

I stood up, feeling Katerina's stare to burn into me as I placed the 'on break' sign on the table.

A headache started to form.

"So you all just assumed I was homophobic? Why would you choose to speak to me over Maia?"

Katerina closed her eyes. "Well you've always refused to speak about this, so I was never sure. I was hoping you weren't. Look, after I sell these raffle tickets we can talk and you'll give me the details of all your kisses today." She took my hand in hers and gave it a squeeze. "I think Maia wants to talk to you. She has been staring at you since the first day of school."

She twirled around and left me to my own devices. When I looked down to my hand I saw a chap stick lying there.

I stood up and walked around the booth so I could lean against it. I couldn't believe Katerina would drop a bomb like that and leave. Okay, I could believe it. But I was already freaking out about this booth. She could have waited until one anxiety attack was over before adding to the pile.

I leaned back against the booth. I stared at people with a crazy amount of envy as they carried their cotton candy and embraced the warm wind. There was a large queue at the dunk tank. They got their adrenaline rushes by seeing poor Griffin whimper.

I saw Mr. Ritter headed in my direction, with a grin on his face. I shrunk back against the booth, praying to the high heavens he planned on just passing by. He made direct eye contact with me. My fingers clasped the chap stick. There was no point giving him any ideas.

"Ah Quinn," he greeted, nearly at the booth. "how much have you raised so far?"

I brought the tray into my hands and opened it. "I don't know, I'm just relieving Amy from her shift now. There's a bit in there though."

"Right," he murmured, glancing at the sign Amy had left behind. "so are you set up now?"

I had an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I just then found his eagerness to have me work here, odd. His body seemed to have shifted closer without me noticing. I just about opened my mouth to speak when I heard soft footsteps coming in our direction.

I left out a sigh when Mr. Ritter's body moved backwards.

I had never been so happy and relieved to see Violet Valentine's strutting around like she owned the place. She removed her glasses before she gave Mr. Ritter a cold stare as she walked to us.

She spoke lowly, "Eleni's letting all the guys know the booth's back up for business." She looked directly at Mr. Ritter.

"That's...that's great. Thank you Violet. I'll leave you to it Quinn." Mr. Ritter glanced at me then back at Violet. "Should you not be at your booth? Is someone covering for you?"

"I'll be there in a moment." she said in a dismissive tone. "I'm here to return a favour to Quinn, first."

"I'll go see to your booth then." he mumbled, hurrying towards the direction of the booth.

Once he walked out of hearing distance I let out the biggest sigh known to man. I walked around to the side of the booth, twisting my body in circles and enjoyed the fabric of the dress Katerina made me wear. I hauled myself on top of the booth, crossing one leg over the other in a lady like fashion.

I then noticed Violet still stood there. "Thank you. That was...." I had no words for it. I relaxed against the booth. "If I'm going to do this, I might as well do it in comfort," I leaned back. "the bastards can work to get a taste." I playfully puckered my lips and pecked the air.

"Well, that's only fair." she commented. "I also thought I would return that favour now." she said, her lips curled up at my questioning stare. She walked over to where I sat. "You see," Her hands placed themselves either side of my thighs, essentially trapping me. "you were my first customer. I thought it only be polite that I return that respect."

Next thing I knew, she was on her tip toes and her cold hands were cupping my cheeks.

In contrast to her hands, gently her warm and smooth lips moved with mine, a slow but definitely not boring kiss. Instead of my body being stiff and tense, like I had assumed it would be, I felt a sense of relaxation throughout my entire body.

That is until the butterflies made an appearance, discarding any sense of peace I had and exchanged it for excitement that crept and ran through my bones. With my heart beating boisterously against my chest, so fast that I thought it was going to explode, an overwhelming intense feeling, a warm fuzzy feeling made my head spin.

And then it vanished.

I opened my eyes and hazel eyes stared right back. A small smile formed on her face as she took a step away from me. Her smile shouldn't have made my knees go weak, should it have?

I had made the right decision to stay seated. Damn, right I did.

"I never did like owing a favour." she said lightly, placing a five dollar bill down on the table. She began walking away before I could even open my mouth to respond. I probably wouldn't have been able to say much regardless. "I'll let Griffin know that you're having a similarly miserable time over here then, shall I?" she called over her shoulder.

My mouth dropped open. Was she serious?

When I finally looked away from her retreating figure, I took notice of the rather long queue awaiting a kiss. I groaned as I made from the side of the booth, towards the front. I had almost forgotten about the plans for the rest of my day.

"Okay," I looked at the first- second customer. I sucked in a deep breath. "Francesco, you better put that tongue back inside your mouth before I slap you silly."

 

Thanks for reading, dudes. 

Hope you liked it. :D

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3 | All Sorts of Outings

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4 | Hardcore flirting

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5 | Message Received, Imagination Kills

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6 | Things don't always go according to Plan

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7 | Fingers are Magical Weapons

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12 | The Bigger Picture

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9 | Tired Induced Decisions

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10 | Downward Spiral of Destruction

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11 | Family Fun Day

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12 | The Bigger Picture

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~

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