Chapter 7: Waiting for Theora

As soon as Bryce heard Mark's car take off, she flopped onto the bed and buried her face in the pillow, unexpectedly laughing. She couldn't believe what had happened! Mark had kissed her. Not a long passionate kiss. Nor had it been a peck on the cheek. He had given her a quick little kiss on the lips. So why did it still tingle? Why had that little half a second of contact sent her heart fluttering and her mind doing somersaults?

She decided to make a cup of tea and get her mind back in order. She set the kettle on to boil and decided on chamomile. That would relax her. She couldn't still couldn't believe she had been kissed. It had only been her first date. It wasn't really proper of him. Was it?

She lie on the bed and thought about it to herself. Did boys kiss girls on the first date? Or was that only the purview of men who wolf-whistled at construction sites like on the shows Theora liked to watch with her. And who was wolf-whistling at her now.

Oh crap! The kettle!

Bryce ran to fetch the kettle, but Theora was already removing it from the stove.

"I'm sorry, Theora!" she exclaimed. "I got sidetrack… I'll buy you another one!"

"It's not ruined, Bryce," Theora assured her as she poured the tea. "Just discolored a little. What was the distraction?"

"Um… nothing really… just… nothing!"

"So did you like that nothing?" Theora asked.

Bryce's cheeks went a rosy pink.

"Don't worry about it," Theora said, setting the chamomile tea on the table. "Come sit with me. And you don't need to look like the cat that ate the canary. Almost every girl has had 'nothing' happen to her at least once."

"Mark and I had a nice time at dinner," Bryce told her. "We really enjoyed the chilli cheese fries they served there."

"The really spicy ones?"

"Yes," Bryce agreed. "We went through those like Scooby and Shaggy, if you know what I mean."

"I can picture it," Theora said with a little laugh to her words. "I'm sure you didn't just have the fries."

"We each had a bison burger," Bryce admitted. "Honestly, during the dinner it just seemed like an evening between friends."

"So what changed it?"

"The beach," Bryce replied. "Mark started talking about how he'd like to have a family with me one day. And a nice house on the beach. All I could think at that point was how gross the idea of making babies was. But now… Why does it suddenly seem appealing to me now, Theora? What did that kiss do to me?"

"When did he kiss you?"

"When we got back here. I told him to take me home as soon as he started talking about families and stuff. Now I almost wish I'd asked him to stay."

"Well, I'm glad you didn't," Theora told Bryce. "And maybe you shouldn't see him anymore if he's going to rush you like that."

"I like him, though," Bryce explained. "And he did apologize for his behavior."

"Before or after he kissed you?"

"Before," Bryce admitted.

"Then the apology wasn't completely honest," Theora told her. "I don't want you to see him anymore. You're sixteen. And while, yes, you're old enough and smart enough to marry and have a family, you're also in a unique situation. You've got to adjust to being a girl. That's going to make you very vulnerable to your hormones. Don't let people take advantage of that."

"You think this is just hormones?" Bryce asked.

"Yes," Theora told her. "I'm sorry. I know it feels exciting and tingly, but that's just because it's something new. Trust me, a better kiss is on the way."

"From whom? Edison already said he won't," Bryce pouted a bit at this point.

"I don't know who it will come from," Theora admitted. "But whoever it is, it's somebody who respects and loves you."

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