How to Kiss a Girl by cymbalism
While trying to write a kiss for another story, I stumbled across the inspiration for this one. So, here we have yet another Javidy oneshot from yours truly.
Jack let his keys roll off his fingers onto the table by the door and kicked off his shoes.
"Back so soon?" David's voice filtered up from the bowels of the couch. A table lamp and the flicker of the television were the only light sources in their apartment.
"You waitin' up for me?" Jack picked his way around the empty bowl, laptop, assorted books and papers that indicated David had eaten alone again this Saturday night while working on his thesis and watching TV. He plopped into the wicker papasan chair leftover from their dorm days and when it creaked he knew without looking that David was scolding him with a glare for not treating one of their two pieces of furniture with more care.
David stretched his arms and yawned deeply, almost like a little kid -- his chest expanding and hips twisting against the second-hand couch cushions. "Yeah, I guess. Mostly I was working on stuff."
Jack glanced at the TV. "Oh, yeah? You change your thesis topic to an intensive study of Sci-Fi channel original productions?"
With a huff and maybe an eye-roll, David clicked the power button on the remote. "Tell me how it went with Mindy."
"Her name is Melinda."
David shrugged, still on his back. "Yeah, well you didn't go home with her, so was it a complete bust again tonight or what? I thought you said she was great."
Jack rested his head against the back of the chair. Sometimes he wondered if David had given up on having a love life of his own altogether and resigned himself to living vicariously through him. He only ever hung out with guys from his master's program. "She was great. Is great, I guess." Great, he thought, but not right.
For almost two years -- since graduating, since Sarah, really -- it seemed like he could tell sooner and sooner into a relationship if the girl didn't feel right. Now he pretty much knew by the end of the first date, but sometimes persisted through second and third and fourth dates regardless. What was the hurry in finding the right girl, anyway?
"So, why do you need to know? We had dinner, went to the movie, I walked her home, said goodnight, then came back." Jack wasn't sure why his tone had a defensive, hard edge.
"Okay," was David's clipped response. He sat up and swung his stockinged feet to the floor, then scooped up the bowl and headed toward the kitchen.
Jack sighed and shut his eyes. "Dave," he called, not moving from his chair. "Da-ave." He heard David running the tap, closing a cupboard. "Da-avey." Once he heard footsteps and David clear his throat from the center of the living room, Jack opened his eyes. He wondered how many times they'd done this routine as roommates. And how many times it was because Jack needed to apologize for saying something stupid. "Sorry."
"Yeah." David let his arms fall from their crossed position and settled himself on the couch again, a tacit invitation that he was willing to listen if Jack wanted to talk.
"It didn't go bad. We talked a lot at dinner, and she was flirty but not giggly, or throwing herself at me."
"Oh how you must tire of women throwing themselves at you." David smiled broadly, prompting Jack to lean forward and dig out one of the throw pillows Esther had made for them and chuck it at his head. David caught it instead.
"As I was saying," Jack sunk his head into the chair again and stared at the light pattern of the lamp on the ceiling, "dinner was good, the movie was cool. We both liked it, thought Will Ferrell was funny, whatever. We made it back to her place, and then since the night seemed like it was going pretty good, I kissed her."
Jack snapped his head up. "What? I've kissed her before."
David took a sudden interest in shuffling the papers on the floor into tidier piles. "Nothing."
"It's nothing. You were the big man on campus all through college. You've had hundreds of girlfriends. You know what you're doing." David pressed his laptop screen down and it snicked into place.
Jack narrowed his eyes. Obviously, David did not believe that. But what did he know? He'd had maybe two girlfriends his entire twenty-odd years, and one was Amanda Peterson from the fifth grade. "Out with it, Dave."
David squared his shoulders and sat back. "It just reminded me of something Sarah told me once. But look, it's no big deal. You and Mindy were having a grand ol' time. Kissing her probably felt like the right thing to do."
"Melinda," Jack corrected automatically, but absent-mindedly. Kissing Melinda hadn't felt like the right thing to do, but it was what you did when a date went well. He shook off the thought. "Wait, what did Sarah tell you about me?"
"Do you really want me to tell you, or are you going to get mad and bug me about it for days?" David was crossing his arms again. Sometimes he was so much like his mother, Jack wanted to shake him. Unfortunately, both Esther and David were usually right -- about everything.
"It's been over a year since she dumped me, Davey. I think I can take it." He felt slightly queasy at the memory, but he really was over Sarah. At first he had equated losing Sarah with losing his surrogate family and best friend, and he was devastated. But David hadn't reneged on being his roommate (or best friend), Esther still asked to talk to him when she called to remind David to change his sheets or eat more vegetables, and eventually the sting wore off. Mostly. In any case, he certainly didn't want her back.
David harrumphed, but relented. "It's not a big deal, but one time she mentioned that you had a tendency to be --" Jack watched as David searched the thesaurus in his head for the best word, "pushy, when it came to kissing."
Jack felt his pulse quicken and only realized he was on his feet when he whipped around to pace back across the room. "Pushy? She said I was pushy?"
"No. I said pushy. She said it seemed like you thought kissing was a step to cross off on a how-to-get-into-her-pants checklist."
Jack stopped pacing and gaped. "Ouch." He felt his cheeks heat up like he'd done something wrong. Well, apparently he had been doing something wrong. For years.
David winced. "Yeah."
"Damn." Flashes of kisses he and Sarah had shared played through his mind. He didn't think kissing was just a way to get a girl in bed. Not all the time, anyway. "That's really what she always thought?"
David raised a knowing eyebrow and tilted his chin toward his chest. "Shouldn't you be wondering if that's what Mindy was thinking?"
"Oh. Well, yeah. If that's what Mindy -- Melinda -- thought, then that explains why I'm here with you again."
Jack spotted his baseball on the floor in the corner and stooped to pick up. He resumed pacing, tossing the ball and catching it. Being in motion helped him think. "Do you really think I'm that bad?"
David's laugh cut through the air and Jack's typically thick skin. "Jack, I have absolutely no idea."
"I mean, do you think it's possible?" He frowned as David sunk sideways on the couch, laughing even harder, but refrained from chucking the baseball at his head. "Okay, okay. Enough already."
David made an attempt to sober up. "All right." He giggled then cleared his throat. "I hate to break it to you, Jack, but it is actually possible you are, uh, an overeager kisser."
Jack swung his pitching arm in wide circles, his free hand on his shoulder, feeling the muscles work. "Well, what do I do about it?"
"Be more patient."
David's direct answer stopped Jack in his tracks again. "What do you mean?"
David pulled himself upright and rolled his eyes. "I think I see the problem." Jack gave him his best you-can-shut-up-now glare. "Based on what Sarah said, and Melinda's repeated dismissal of your overtures, it sounds like they think you're trying to move too fast," he held up a hand to ward off Jack's self-defense and Jack snapped his mouth shut, "whether or not you intend it. You've got to work into kissing someone. Take it slow. Don't just plant one on them."
Jack slumped onto the couch next to David and concentrated on the floor. Part of him couldn't believe he was asking dating advice from David. The other part of him wondered when David had become an expert on kissing -- and how. "How do you take a kiss slow if you don't first kiss the girl?"
A sympathetic, slightly condescending expression stole across David's face as he planted a hand on Jack's knee. "Jack, kissing doesn't start with the kiss. It starts with your hands, not your lips." He withdrew his hand and looked at his lap then away quickly.
Jack was getting that same synapse-firing feeling he got when playing poker with Tony and hoped he'd spotted a tell, but he wasn't sure why.
David kept explaining. "It's best to build up the kiss. Let the person know you're there, you're interested. Touch them. Graze fingers. Hold hands. Bump shoulders. Be close."
Yeah, okay. That made sense. He hadn't done that with Mindy -- Melinda -- and maybe not with Sarah until after they were together for a while and holding hands was a regular thing. "And that's it? That's the difference?"
David shook his head and sighed. Jack had always been willing to admit David was much smarter than him, but he couldn't help feeling downright stupid at the moment. "The point is to make the other person want to kiss you back, not just to make it okay to kiss them. Let's say you're holding hands and your date bumps into your shoulder, then looks up and smiles. What do you do?"
Jack thought for a second, imagining David strolling down a lamp-lit path at night, holding hands with . . . "You kiss her."
"No. You don't."
"You don't." Screw sex ed. They should have just taught a class about how to kiss a girl back in ninth grade. "Why the hell not?"
"Because you're being patient. Don't kiss at the first opportunity, do something else. Stroke their cheek. Run fingers through their hair. Build up the anticipation."
Jack jounced the baseball in his hand. "Right. I get it."
"Good." David spread his arms over the arm and back of the couch. He was wearing a t-shirt, not typical David attire, but he looked good in t-shirts -- more relaxed, comfortable. Jack blinked, trying to sort out the jumble David was making of his brain. "So how do you know what the right point is to kiss someone?"
Jack screwed up his face. There were so many factors to think about. How had he ever managed to make out with anyone at all? The influence of alcohol suddenly made itself evident.
"I give up, Dave. How?"
"And watch. But listening is best. You'll see the person turn their face to you, or bend their neck or whatever, but if you listen, especially if you're already close, you'll hear their breathing speed up, or a gasp. Gasps are good." David's smile suddenly seemed far away, and an irrational jealousy streaked through Jack.
Jealousy over the fact that David knew all this and he didn't, of course.
"Is that it?" he asked stiffly.
David's attention snapped back to Jack, and he looked a little startled. "How do you kiss? What do you do first?"
"Seriously? It's this hard and I never knew?"
"It's not hard," David's voice was soft and he slipped his arms back to his sides. "It just happens, if you let it. And it's better." He paused. "So, how do you kiss right at first?"
Jack heaved a sigh. "You start with your mouth closed." He tried not to make it sound like a question.
"See, you already know this part." David reached over and shoved his shoulder playfully. "Where do you start? With the lips?"
As David spoke the word "lips" Jack realized that at some point in the conversation he had begun watching David's as he spoke. "Um, no?"
"Right. Kiss a temple or ear or neck. First kisses don't have to be mouth-to-mouth."
"But they can be, eventually, right?" Jack tried to ignore the fact that he was blushing and his internal temperature had risen a degree or two.
"Yes, Jack. And if the other person seems open to it, you can even use tongue." David's elbow prodded Jack's ribs. "Just don't suck anybody's face off."
Jack laughed nervously, wondering how much tongue was too much. He never slobbered on anyone, had he?
David yawned and stretched again, the muscle definition in his arms sharpening momentarily and his back arching away from the couch. "It's late. I'm going bed."
Something about the way David moved, as he bent to pile his books then stood and walked to and from the kitchen, held Jack's attention. He was so unaffected, like it didn't matter if anyone was watching. Jack didn't like to admit it, but he did occasionally consider how he looked as he moved around. It seemed like the thought had never occurred to David, and that was . . . refreshing?
"You staying up?" David asked, his hand poised on the switch for the lamp.
"Ah, no." Jack pushed off the couch, leaving his baseball on the cushions. David clicked off the light and the room was drenched in darkness. Jack didn't wait for his vision to adjust and in a few steps, he collided with David. "Sorry, Davey."
Faint pinkish-yellow light filtered through the blinds, and Jack could just make out the silhouette of David's curly hair, his neck, his shoulder. "S'okay," David said quietly, and Jack had the sense that if it weren't so dark he would be making heavy eye contact.
For a few seconds they stood together, suspended in the pale darkness.
David shifted away first, toward the hall that led to their bedrooms and bathroom. Jack squeezed his eyes closed and acted on impulse. He reached out, finding David's upper arm and gripping it to keep him from going.
He halted and Jack loosened his hold, allowing his cupped hand to slide down the length of David's arm. A tingling sensation spread over him as his fingertips trailed along the smooth inner skin.
When his hand reached David's, David caught it in his own. Jack opened his eyes, barely believing what he had done, what he was doing.
He was gently pulling David toward him. And David's silhouette was closing the distance.
David's steps were slow, and with each one Jack batted away the questions his brain was trying to ask.
Barely an inch separated them. He felt David's fingers intertwine with his own, felt their chests touch as they drew breath at the same time. Just in case it wasn't close enough, Jack took a final step, pushing the full front of their bodies together, and snuck his free hand to the small of David's back. Instead of the soft, curved spot he was used to, he found a broader, firmer area to press his full palm into. And he found he liked the difference.
David nudged his chin upward, exposing his lips to the streetlight's pastel glow, and although it was more difficult than he could have imagined -- but he never had imagined before tonight, had he? -- Jack ignored David's mouth. Instead, he unthreaded his fingers from David's and let the plane of this thumb drift along David's cheek. New stubble tickled and scratched his tactile sense, though Jack hadn't seen any trace of a shadow on David's face earlier.
There was so much more to know through touch, and wanting to learn it all felt very -- right.
David's hands were on Jack now too, roaming his back and sides. Jack's skin prickled with warmth. He felt a rise in his pulse and a stirring below his belt buckle.
Chest pounding, he eased his head next to David's. As their cheeks brushed, Jack let out a ragged breath close to David's ear and immersed his fingers into his curls. Immediately, David gasped. He leaned his head back into Jack's open hand, rolling it so Jack's fingers worked through his hair.
Jack seized the sign and lightly pressed his lips to the corner of David's jaw, just below his ear. A tremble snaked through David's body and his breaths came as a few fast pants. Sure of himself now, Jack left kisses on his temple, cheek, other jaw.
Then he pulled back slightly, and paused for just the briefest second before slowly and softly skimming his bottom lip along David's.
A light moan passed from David's lips to Jack's, then David pushed upward and their mouths made full, warm contact.