“Ow!” I squeal, “Why are you crushing my arm?” Katy's grip is surprisingly strong for a thespian.
“Jackson, I need you,” she says, pulling me away from the fire pit and toward the house. I was in the middle of hearing about my new math teacher from one of my soccer teammates when Katy popped out of nowhere and started wrecking my left forearm.
“Katy, where are we going?” I ask again.
“I want to play a game, and I'm not playing it without you.”
While it's not that weird for Katy to yank me out of nowhere to go on some errand with her, she's definitely had a few drinks. I've only drank with her a few times, but the particular determination shining in her eyes only shows up after a few adult beverages. In other words, this is not up for discussion. Alcohol, I'm guessing, also increases her grip strength by a factor of twenty.
“If you let go of my arm, I promise to play a game with you,” I say. She releases her grip and faces me, putting her hands on my shoulders.
“You're the best. It's gonna be super fun.” She looks me in the eyes, and I can see booze and mischief swimming around in her pupils. “If you're lucky, you're going to thank me. And maybe you can help me, too.” She throws me a quick wink and resumes leading me across the yard towards the patio, this time gently by the hand.
“Can I at least ask what game it is?” My question hangs in the air as we reach the edge of the patio. “Oh, shit,” I whisper under my breath.
In the middle of the patio are a handful of party goers sitting in a circle. They're chattering and giggling nervously, shooting looks back and forth to each other and then into the center of the circle. In the middle of the circle is an empty bottle of vodka.
But it's not an impending game of Spin the Bottle that has my heart lurching into my throat and my stomach doing evasive maneuvers. It's the person sitting on the far side of the circle, laughing at someone's joke and nursing a beer in between drop dead gorgeous smiles.
Carter. Fucking. Mulkins. I'm going to play Spin the Bottle with Carter. Depending on pure, simple luck, I might lock lips with the single most desirable person in the world in the next ten minutes. Oh. My. God.
His conversation with his girlfriend must have really not gone well. Playing Spin the Bottle isn’t exactly cheating, but I can’t see volunteering myself to play if I wasn’t at least looking to blow off a little bit of romantic steam. While it doesn’t necessarily have any impact on me, I can’t help but take a little bit of joy from the knowledge that Carter and Beth aren’t in a state of perpetual bliss.
Katy jabs me in the ribs with her elbow, snapping me back to reality. I resume breathing, at least for the moment. She shoots a furtive glance to her side and it dawns on me. Obviously she's in my corner when it comes to Carter, but she's here for Jeff.
Jeff was slowly but surely putting the moves on Katy before she went to New York for the summer, and apparently Katy's looking to pick up exactly where they left off. As luck would have it, he’s also occupying the circle of partygoers gathered around the bottle.
Jeff plays basketball, which is pretty obvious when you see how tall he is. But for all his height, he's also built like a fucking tank. He is totally, absolutely ripped. Not huge, mind you, but cut with muscle. He honestly has the body of a god.
Which is kind of funny, because he has a baby face. If you just saw his face, you'd think he was in middle school. Not exactly my type, but he's certainly good looking. I don't know him that well, but at least we have one thing in common: Neither of us would be playing right now if it wasn't for Katy. You just can't say no to her.
“Jackson. You playing, or not?” Matt's standing at the keg with a cup. Drinking must be involved.
“Yeah, he's playing,” Katy says confidently. I glance at Carter again out of the corner of my eye and I can feel my stomach churning. I poker face as hard as I can and look back at Katy, who must have seen it happen. She smiles at me innocently.
I see a few people I know, and a few that I don't, although I'm at least familiar with everyone in the circle. Carter, Matt, Jeff, and one other guy from the tennis team (David? Drew? Something with a 'D?') round out the rest of the male portion, and of the girls I at least know everyone's names: Alicia, Jen, Trish, Jackie, and Katy,
We take our seats in the circle and Matt hands each of us a beer. He explains to us the rules as he passes them out.
“There's not much to it. You spin, you kiss, you pass. The only rules are as follows. Your kiss has to be at least as good as the person before you. We'll start the game slow, so the first time around we're just doing a quick peck. But after that, it's anybody's game. Plus, every time somebody ups the ante, everybody drinks.” Matt thinks for a second and looks back at Carter. “Am I forgetting anything?”
Carter shrugs. “I dunno, man. I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”
Even though I think everyone's a little nervous, we hide it with some emphatic head nodding (and a little bit of giggling).
Matt picks up the bottle with a flourish and hands it to Carter. “Would you like the honors, sir?” he asks dramatically.
Carter reaches for the bottle, and holds it over his head ceremoniously like Simba in the Lion King, making us all laugh. “Oh yeah, I almost forgot,” he says. “At least for the first few rounds, guys kiss girls and girls kiss guys.” He sets the bottle down with a dull clink on the patio. “After a few rounds and a few beers, we'll see what happens...”
“And I'm not kissing my cousin!” adds Matt. Katy pretends to pout and the rest of us laugh. Matt takes his seat, and all eyes are on Carter.
Carter raises his eyebrows and glances around the circle with a sexy half smile as he twists his hand around the bottle. His eyes meet mine for a split second and a hundred butterflies spawn in my stomach and take flight. God, I want to feel those lips on mine.
The bottle eventually stops and a girl to my right squeals like a fourth grader. The bottle is pointing at Jen, a senior I know from swim team who is obviously fully aware of how great it is going to be to kiss Carter. She bites her lower lip and giggles before leaning into the middle of the circle. Carter leans forward, happy as a clam, and gives Jen a quick peck on the lips. Carter passes the bottle and everyone drinks.
The bottle makes its way around the circle and a few more people give and receive quick little kisses. Matt, much to his chagrin, gets Katy on his first spin and he looks hilariously uncomfortable as he plants an awkward peck on her waiting cheek, much to the amusement of everyone else.. I guess their family isn't so touchy-feely.
Jen spins and gets Carter again (lucky!), and then it's my turn. I give the bottle a spin and wait for my fate to be decided. I get Jen, too. This girl's like a magnet.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm pretty gay. Like, maybe 80% or something like that. But I'm also a teenage boy, and the intense horniness I feel pretty much all the time can trump just about anything. Let's add that to the fact that I'm feeling giddy, sitting in a circle of people who are hot to kiss each other, and I've had a few beers.
Furthermore, even though I don't have any real interest in dating girls, I still think some are more attractive than others. And Jen is not too shabby. In fact, she's really cute. Plus, she just finished kissing Carter, so it's only one degree of separation. That doesn’t hurt.
I lean in for my first kiss of the night and close my eyes as we both lean our heads a little to the right. Our lips meet for a second or two and then release. I make some eye contact as I pull away and Jen blushes a little bit. I pass the bottle and sit back in the circle.
Not bad. She has really nice lips and some sort of pleasantly fruity lip gloss on. Obviously, given the choice, I'd be making out with Carter, but I wouldn't completely hate another round or two with Jen in the meantime.
The bottle makes its way back over the start and as Carter grabs it, Matt reminds us to start stepping up our game. He gives it another spin and it lands on Trish.
Trish is terrible. And this isn't just jealousy talking because she gets to kiss Carter – she really is awful. Yes, she has a hot body with pretty big boobs and a well worked-out butt. Yes, she has the highlighted blonde hair. Yes, she is a popular cheerleader type. But her idea of a hobby is probably “wearing pink clothes” or “tanning.” She's hot to look at and boring to be around. She'll make a good trophy wife one day if she’s lucky.
But that’s not the full reason for my ire. Today she's been especially annoying, because it's blatantly obvious that she's trying to get with Carter. I've seen her pretty much all night following him around and laughing extra hard when he says anything funny. Carter's girlfriend isn't here, and Trish is trying desperately to sink in her talons.
I can't blame her, but that doesn't mean I have to like her.
I try to keep the disgust from creeping into my facial expression as they kiss. It's not that much more than a peck, and I'm happy to see that Carter pulls away first, even though Trish is clearly looking for more. I'm sure word would get back to Carter's girlfriend if things looked too intense between them.
The bottle continues around and kisses are delivered across the circle. Things are still pretty chaste, and we're all waiting for somebody to step things up a little bit.
Soon it's my turn again. I give the bottle a spin and it stops pointing right back at me. Everyone laughs a little and I reach out for a mulligan, but Alicia, sitting to my left, grabs my hand before it can get there.
“Close enough!” she says. Alicia has been in a few drama productions with me and Katy, and sometimes I think she might have a crush on me. She's super outgoing and plenty cute, in a pixie-ish kind of way. Once again, if I'm kissing any girls, at least they're objectively nice to look at.
Instead of just leaning in for a quick smooch like I expect, Alicia pulls me to my feet, whispering something as she does. I couldn't quite make it out, and I don't have any time to guess as she navigates us into the middle of the circle, and pulls me close. I look puzzled for a second before it dawns on me what she wants me to do. She said, “Dip me.”
Us drama kids, always looking to make a scene, right? I turn on a little bit of character, looking deep in her eyes as seductively as possible before dramatically dipping her as low as I can. I plant a five second kiss on her lips, and the rest of the circle hoots and whistles before we both bow ironically and take our seats. Everybody drinks, and the ice is broken for better, harder kissing.
The bottle passes around the circle a few more times, and I have another kiss with Jen, then Jackie, a girl I think Matt might have his eye on, and then one with Katy. I am mercifully spared having to lock lips with Trish, although she makes her way through most of the other guys.
Things start getting a little hotter, slowly but surely. Everyone is loosening up, and after a couple good kisses, we're all feeling good. I see Matt slip Jackie a little tongue during one of their kisses, and their hookup later tonight is probably a sure thing now that they're all worked up. It at least confirms my suspicion that they have something going on. Jeff is resting his hand on Katy's thigh during downtime, and she keeps making eyes at him. Sex is in the air.
But even with all this going on, things don't get really interesting until Katy gets the bottle. I know Katy well enough to see the strange, little smile playing across her lips. The alcohol has been catalyzing some wild idea in her brain.
She has a plan. And when Katy has a plan, shit gets real.
Katy takes her spin and the bottle stops, pointing directly at Jen. So far, we've been playing that this kiss would get transferred to the next male on the left, which, in this case, would be me. But I don't think it’s happening this time.
"I think we can make this game a little more... interesting. Don't you?" she asks. The rhetorical question is for the group, but she's not taking her eyes off of Jen, who suddenly meets Katy's gaze and looks very nervous. Nervous, but also a little bit excited.
Katy slides over to Jen and gently puts a hand on her cheek. She slides a finger across Jen's lower lip, making her intention very clear. She leans in close and then stops, looking quizzically at the group, and then seductively at Jen.
Katy is one hell of an actor, and when she turns it on, it's on one hundred percent.
"But I don't want to break the rules," she says longingly, before biting her lower lip and making more eyes at Jen, whose face is getting to be a bright shade of crimson. You could cut the sexual tension with a knife.
Matt finally breaks the silence. "We could probably change some of the rules," he says. "Anyone opposed to that?"
Katy waits a couple more seconds for any dissent, and it's pretty clear that it's the best idea anyone has had all night. We all wanted it, we just needed someone to say it.
"Good," she whispers in her sexiest voice, then slowly moves her face towards Jen's.
Their lips make contact very softly at first, but in just a few seconds the two girls are full on making out. I might be gay, and this might be two girls kissing, but I think I speak for everyone present when I say that this is really, really hot. The guys (and girls) all look pretty hot and bothered by the display. It’s not about gay or straight. It’s just plain hot.
After about twenty seconds, Katy breaks the kiss and backs away. Jen looks like she just got hit by a freight train.
Katy passes the bottle along to Jeff, who, if he was interested before, now seems to be in complete awe of her. She leaves her hand on the bottle longer than she needs to just to make a little extra contact, and she gives him a sultry smile. She's slaying this guy.
Sadly for Jeff, he winds up kissing Alicia with his turn. And kiss her he does, taking out a little bit of his frustration with his tongue. He catches his breath and passes the bottle over to Jen. She shakes her head and passes it over to me.
"Guys, I think I need another minute," she says. Katy hit her like a freight train.
I grab the bottle and take a look around the circle. No question, Spin the Bottle has been a success. The game and the drinking have been going on just the right amount of time; everyone looks flushed, tipsy, and horny. I see rosy cheeks and dilated pupils. I hear breathing that's a little heavier than normal coming from both Alicia on my left, and Jen on my right. I can't help but smile as I give the bottle another spin.
My eyes follow the line of the bottle in it's final resting place.
Oh my god.
It's pointing straight at Carter.
But there’s no way this is happening. He would never…
The oohs and aahs around the circle tell me that maybe he would. Katy kissed Jen. Hell, she sucked her face off. That means the rules have changed. Girls can kiss girls, and guys can kiss guys. I am going to kiss Carter.
Except that no one moves. I was hoping Carter would take charge, because I don’t want to seem too eager. He does look a little bit nervous anyway, and whether he ok to do this or not, he's not going to make the first move either.
The seconds tick by, slowly and awkwardly. All that hangs in the balance is the most important possibility of my entire life.
Finally, after the longest five seconds I've ever experienced, Alicia, of all people, jumps in to save the day.
“Fair is fair, boys,” she says. “Let's see a kiss.”
“Damn straight!” calls Katy. I make a mental note to thank her later.
“Carter?” I look over to gauge his reaction.
“I'm cool with it if you are,” he replies.
I plaster a grimace of concession on my face and shrug. “I think we have to.” Outside I may be the very picture of nonchalance, but inside I'm doing a goddamn backflip.
“Oh, you definitely have to.” Katy again with a clutch performance.
“Jackson?” Carter looks at me and raises his eyebrows. Oh yeah, this is happening.
I move into the middle of the circle and he comes forward to meet me. He looks at my lips for a second and then back up to my eyes. His eyes are a striking, beautiful green. Hell, everything about him is striking and beautiful. I want this more than anything.
We both lean in until our lips are only inches apart. Carter stops and his lips break into a nervous smile. Seeing him grin is too much – I can't wait anymore, so I go in for the kill. Our lips make contact and it's like my whole body is on fire. My heart is pounding in my chest, and I'm practically swooning as we kiss. This is heaven.
Carter's a good kisser, and unless I'm totally crazy, he's into it. His lips are full and soft, and we hash out a pretty good rhythm. His breathing comes in light gasps between kisses, right on the verge of being sexual.
What am I saying? It's sexual as hell. Thank goodness I'm wearing boxer briefs and heavier jeans, because even that might not be enough to hide my erection right now.
God, I want to throw off the shackles and make this even bigger. Forget the fact that people are watching. Forget about reputation and social norms. I want to pin this boy to the ground and rip his clothes off. I want to take this kiss and move it all over his body. I want his lightly interrupted breathing to come in gasps and moans. I want to...
And it's over.
Carter finishes the kiss with one more light peck on the lips, punctuating a sentence I might never have ended on my own. And it's probably for the better, because I think I was on the verge of doing something drastic. I will my face into some expression besides “afterglow” and scoot back out of the circle.
“Um, excuse me?” Katy says. “I didn't see any tongue.”
Everyone freezes and looks around at each other, unsure of how to take that. Round 2? I think my head (or dick) might explode.
“Maybe next time,” I manage to sputter out to quash the awkwardness of the moment. Everyone laughs, thankfully, taking it as a joke rather than a hope. I'd love to lock lips with Carter again, but I'm not sure I could handle it right now. I pass the bottle, everyone drinks, and I check out.
The rest of the game probably goes on without incident. I don't know, and I don't care. The game is over for me, and I won. My body autopilots through the motions of the next hour or so, and I'm only thinking about one thing. Kissing Carter. Even though it was just a game, it was a moment I'll never forget for the rest of my life.
Tonight wasn't a day of the week, or a certain date in late August in a specific year of the Gregorian calendar. No, tonight was the night that I kissed Carter Mulkins. And it was great.Next Chapter Previous Chapter