Today is Frankie's 4th Annual No-Kiss Blogfest!
Here's my contribution to the swooniest annual blogfest around — shining the spotlight on a scene about the rising, crushing, excruciating, longing tension that comes when two characters get oh-so-close to kissing that you can just feel it, want it, NEED it....and then...they don't!
My scene this year is a scene from my all-time favorite YA romance, Stephanie Perkins' incomparable ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS.
The setup: Anna and Etienne St. Clair have become best friends at their boarding school in Paris, but their feelings have developed into an attraction and connection that's becoming hard to deny.
The lobby is cloaked in darkness again, the only light coming from the screen saver on the front desk's computer. I stumble forward, patting the walls for guidance. St. Clair bumps into me. "Sorry," he says. His breath is warm on my neck. But he doesn't adjust his body. He stays close behind me as we stumble down the hall.
My hand hits the stairwell door. I open it, and we shield our eyes from the sudden brightness. St. Clair shuts it behind us, but we don't walk upstairs. He's still pressed against me. I turn around. His lips are only a breath from mine. My heart beats so hard it's practically bursting, but he falters and backs away. "So are you and Dave...?"
I stare at his hands, resting on the door. They aren't little-boy hands.
"We were," I say. "Not anymore."
He pauses, then takes a step forward again. "And I don't suppose you'll tell me what the email earlier was about?"
Another step closer. "But it upset you. Why won't you tell me?"
I step back. "Because it's embarrassing, and it's none of your business."
St. Clair furrows his brow in frustration. "Anna, if you can't tell your best mate what's bothering you, who can you tell?"
And just like that, I have to fight to keep from crying for a third time. Because even with all of the awkwardness and the hostility, he still considers me his best friend. The news fills me with more relief than I could have imagined. I've missed him. I hate being mad at him. Before I know it, the words spill out about Bridgette and Toph and prom, and he listens attentively, never taking his eyes from me. "And I'll never go to one! When Dad enrolled me here, he took that away from me, too."
"But ... proms are lame." St. Clair is confused. "I thought you were glad we didn't have one."
We sit down together on the bottom step.
... [And then they have an adorable, hilarious conversation that's too long to type out in which St. Clair reminds Anna why she thinks proms are lame and makes her feel better.] ...
I finally crack a smile, and he grins. "That's more like it."
We hold each other's gaze. His smile softens, and he nudges me again. I rest my head on his shoulder as the stairway light turns off. They're all on timers.
He stiffens at hearing his first name. In the darkness, I take one of his hands into my lap and squeeze it. He squeezes back. His nails are bitten short, but I love his hands.
They're just the right size.
Ok, now I need to re-read ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. And if you want to check out the full scene for yourself, it's found on p. 304 in the hardcover version.
For more no-kiss entries, check out the full list of participants here!
Here are my previous no-kiss contributions:
2010: an original New Year's Eve-inspired scene!
2011: my favorite scene from THE SEEKER, a Roswell High series book
2012: a super swoony scene from FIRE by Kristin Cashore