The ‘Kissing Bandit’ for Valentine’s Day or how I learned to ‘Know Your Value’ as a young woman in High School by Jina Bacarr

February 11, 2022 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , , with 0 and 0
Home > Columns > Jina’s Book Chat > The ‘Kissing Bandit’ for Valentine’s Day or how I learned to ‘Know Your Value’ as a young woman in High School by Jina Bacarr

 

As Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s ;Morning Joe’ says, ‘Know Your Value.’ She’s the founder of this fabulous empowerment community and it’s not just in the workplace. Knowing your value starts in high school, as my heroine, Riley Murphy, finds out on Valentine’s Day in my short story, VIRGIN KISS

Valentine’s Day.is Monday — a time for kissing.

But what if your first kiss was just plain awful?

Meet Riley Murphy. She’s a kissing virgin, waiting for the right guy to come along. Until she joins the Drama Club at Holywell High and has to kiss the class dweeb on stage in front of the whole school on Valentine’s Day.

 

VIRGIN KISS

Jina Bacarr

Introduction

What’s in a kiss? A kiss by any other name is—

—sweet, romantic, intimate, passionate, wet, sloppy, disgusting, probing, awful, nasty, sexy, tingly, and sometimes just plain wonderful.

But what if it’s your first kiss? And you have to pucker up in front of a live audience at your high school? What then?

Pass the Altoids, please.

The kiss-from-hell happened to me, Riley Murphy.

This is my story.

* * *

A few weeks before Valentine’s Day…

I’m the new kid at Holywell High School, a shy, skinny freshman with cinnamon-colored freckles sprinkled across my nose. Flat-chested. I’ll never be Miss Popularity with the bouncy boobs and flirty lashes.

I’m more like an olive stuck on the end of a toothpick.

Even with that dossier, I’m not a total dork. I’ve gotten pecks on the cheek and quick brushes on the lips, but I’ve yet to experience the soul-melting kisses you see in the flicks. The passionate lip-lock I’ve dreamed about, wrote about in my diary.

I’ve pined for that kiss, but it’s yet to happen to me. God knows, I’ll be in graduate school facing lifelong debt before the right pair of lips meet mine.

To overcome my shyness, my mom convinces me to try out for the Drama Club. Somehow I land the leading role in a one-act Chekhov play.Yes, Chekhov.

I play this mad, beautiful countess with passion and heart. I love it. I come alive on stage. I can do anything, be anybody, say anything, I can—

—kiss the male lead?

A gangly sophomore named Harold Brimwell with long, greasy hair and an upper lip curled in a perpetual snarl. He’s going to anoint my virgin lips with my first kiss?

Forget the Altoids. I need a stress pill.

I quit the play. They can find another dupe. Not me. I’m not going to let him use my lips for kissing practice.

Then I hear this little voice in my head telling me this is acting. Going through the motions at rehearsals and on stage don’t count on the kissing scale. I can pucker up with Harold on stage and still be a kissing virgin.

Right?

After my pep talk to myself, I sail through rehearsals, knowing my lines and ‘connecting to my character’ according to the director. He says I’m a natural, my emotions raw but real. This is amazing. Me, Riley Murphy, the kid who’s always the ‘new girl’ at school because we move around so much because of my dad’s job, found something she’s good at.

Then the trouble starts.

The director insists on method acting.We don’t rehearse the kiss. He wants a real kiss on stage, not a phony smooch.

Worse yet, we open on Valentine’s Day with a preview performance at the afternoon school assembly. Not only do I have to kiss this guy, I have to do it on the most romantic day of the year in front of the entire student body.

I dump the Altoids… along with my confidence down the toilet.

* * *

Valentine’s Day dawns rainy and cold. Perfect weather for a Russian play.

I arrive at the gym early, put on my makeup in the girls’ bathroom then, with my hands shaking, I hook up my long Victorian black lace dress borrowed from the costume department, the silk petticoats rustling around my feet. I’m way nervous, but something cool happens as I run my lines over and over, my fear slowly dissolving into a shaky confidence as I slip into my character’s skin. Humming ‘I will survive’, I check my props, my fingertips tingling as I pull on my snug dueling gloves, then twirl the dainty parasol over my head like a spinning top.

I grab the small pistol for my big dueling scene, then heave out a big breath, praying I don’t drop it and everybody laughs at me.

I save putting on my lipstick for last.

First, I gargle mint-flavored mouthwash until my lips turn green and my mouth goes numb. Next, I line my lips with Chekhovian, dark red lipstick and smack them together. Perfect. I’m ready for my lip close-up.

It’s showtime.

I’m so nervous when the lights come up, I garble my opening lines. Then I trip over my own feet and nearly crash into the backdrop. Hot tears form in my eyes, but I want this too bad to give up now. All my life, I’ve stayed in the shadows. If I fail now, I may never get the courage to try again. I ignore the smirks and catcalls and swish my long skirts around like a real countess to boost my confidence.

I can do this.

Somehow, I get my groove on and my theatre training takes over. I sail across the stage, chin up, shoulders back, my voice clear, my lines down to a T. I’m ‘in the moment’. Much to my relief, the dueling scene goes off without the pistols misfiring.

Then it’s time for…

… the kiss.

I’ll never forget the expression on Harold’s face when he takes two long strides toward me. A mixture of sadistic pleasure and baddass ‘tude comes over his face, as shiny and sweaty as his palms, freaking me out. Lower lip snarling, my co-star gives me that ‘I’ve got you now’ look all fired up in his eyes, pinning me to the wall.

My teeth chatter. My mouthwash stops working.

It’s so quiet in the high school gym you can hear the director chewing on the end of his pencil.

My heart pounds so hard I can’t get my breath on when Harold pulls me into his arms, yanking me around like I’m a dollar store rag doll and then—

—he slams his mouth onto mine.

Bile rises in my throat as he pushes my lips apart and thrusts his mushy, saliva-coated gum into my mouth, making me nauseous. I swear if my dress wasn’t hooked up so tight, I would have ralphed all over him. Before I can push him off me, he shoves his tongue down my throat, way down, nearly gagging me.

I start choking.

I can’t breathe. Oh, my God, I’m going to pass out.

No, I can’t, I won’t. I’m determined not to faint. I have to get him off me. No gum-chewing, phony-macho sophomore is going to get the best of me.

I’m an actress, I tell myself, so act!

With stars circling around in my pounding head, I pull up my strength and kick him in the shin. There.

Startled, he jerks backward, but not before he bites my lower lip.

What the—

I taste coppery blood. Fresh, oozing, smearing my perfectly-applied lipstick. I’m in shock, disbelieving. It can’t get any worse.

Can it?

It can.

Dabbing my bleeding lip with my silk sleeve, I struggle in his arms, but he holds me tight, slobbering all over me, licking my face, my throat, coating my skin with stringy gum. My ears won’t stop ringing. The audience is going crazy, yelling and shouting like they’re at a basketball game and I’m the bouncing ball.

No, no, he’s not going to take advantage of me. I worked hard to get this part, learn my lines. Practiced how to walk, how to find the core of my character. Gosh darn, this is the first time in my whole life I’ve come out of my shell and done something really special.

He’s not going to ruin it for me.

I have to do something. Fast.

The pistol.

Where is it? After the mock dueling scene, I threw the prop gun down on the round table. It has to be there, but where?

I reach out behind me, my nails catching on the lace doily… I twist my head just a little… yes, I see it. I edge the gun toward me, an inch at a time. Sweat oozes down my too-tight collar and my knees buckle, but I don’t give up.

Almost got it… there. My fingers wrap around the pearl-inlayed handle. I suck in a breath then, without losing my nerve, I jam the prop into his ribs. Hard. I yank my body with such fury, I rip the black silk sleeve right out of the armpit. It slides down my shoulder, but it doesn’t stop me.

Get your hands off me, you sloppy-kissing, gum-chewer!’ I yell, ignoring the script and re-writing Chekhov. ‘Or you’re getting an “F” in drama class.’

The director gasps. Loudly. But he doesn’t refute what I said.

‘Yeah, sure,’ Harold stutters, letting me go, raising up his hands and backing away. ‘Anything you say, Riley.’

‘That’s telling him!’ a girl yells from the audience.

Amy Zanderbar. His ex-girlfriend.

She’s not the only one. All the girls stand up and start chanting, ‘Go, Riley, go!’

Wow. I hit a nerve with the females sitting in the bleachers who had their share of bad kissers.

They love it.

The audience starts clapping wildly and stomping their feet and continue chanting my name. I break the fourth wall and give them a ‘V’ for Victory high sign until the chanting dies down, then my thespian instincts kick in and I get back into character, giving Chekhov his due and ending the play as he wrote it.

I’ll always remember this night when a shy freshman girl in a borrowed Victorian dress took on a snarky sophomore and became empowered to stand up for herself in front of the whole student body.

It changed my life.

* * *

Epilogue

We performed the one-act play for the next few nights without further incident, faking the kiss each time. Harold is cool, not attempting any more way-out kissing. For me, it’s strictly acting.

I’m still a virgin in lip-land.

But I’ll never forget V-Day and my experience with the gum-toting, kissing bandit. Not a bad guy, just a rotten kisser.

And in case you’re curious, next semester I do find the right pair of lips to land that first kiss.

A hottie junior. Jack Dwayne.

When Jack takes me in his arms and lowers his face to mine, I quiver with anticipation and soon discover a kiss isn’t just a kiss, it’s…

… magic.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

——————–

PS — yes, Riley is me, a shy freshman back in the day.

And here’s a short clip of me back in high school…

—————

Music: ‘Sweeter Vermouth’ Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b…

Photos: https//www.Dreamstime.com

BONUS: The Princess and the Stilettos for VALENTINE’S DAY.

Music: ‘Fairytale Waltz’ Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b…

Photos: https//www.Dreamstime.com

—————- 

Love Forties Fiction?

A girl from a controversial upbringing becomes a famous perfumer during the war when she comes to Paris in 1940 to escape the Gestapo. Then how she uses perfume to do her part to win the war…

THE LOST GIRL IN PARIS is on Amazon!

US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09B1QDRVW/

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09B1QDRVW/

CA https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B09B1QDRVW/

Australia https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B09B1QDRVW/ 

——————–

Over 600 ratings on Amazon UK!

The Resistance Girl is a KINDLE MONTHLY DEAL IN THE UK FOR FEBRUARY!

Juliana discovers her grandmamma was a famous French film star in Occupied Paris & her shocking secret…

UK https://amzn.to/3bU18Qv 

US https://amzn.to/2FoKKeS

 

Author Details
Author Details
I discovered early on that I inherited the gift of the gab from my large Irish family when I penned a story about a princess who ran away to Paris with her pet turtle Lulu. I was twelve. I grew up listening to their wild, outlandish tales and it was those early years of storytelling that led to my love of history and traveling. I enjoy writing to classical music with a hot cup of java by my side. I adore dark chocolate truffles, vintage anything, the smell of bread baking and rainy days in museums. I’ve always loved walking through history—from Pompeii to Verdun to Old Paris. The voices of the past speak to me through carriages with cracked leather seats, stiff ivory-colored crinolines, and worn satin slippers. I’ve always wondered what it was like to walk in those slippers when they were new.
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I discovered early on that I inherited the gift of the gab from my large Irish family when I penned a story about a princess who ran away to Paris with her pet turtle Lulu. I was twelve. I grew up listening to their wild, outlandish tales and it was those early years of storytelling that led to my love of history and traveling. I enjoy writing to classical music with a hot cup of java by my side. I adore dark chocolate truffles, vintage anything, the smell of bread baking and rainy days in museums. I’ve always loved walking through history—from Pompeii to Verdun to Old Paris. The voices of the past speak to me through carriages with cracked leather seats, stiff ivory-colored crinolines, and worn satin slippers. I’ve always wondered what it was like to walk in those slippers when they were new.

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