It was her first kiss. Even in that moment she was aware of it, her vague shame that it had taken her almost eighteen years to be kissed. But the shame melted away, replaced by heat and want and was that his tongue? They weren’t supposed to be doing that, she was sure, well, they weren’t supposed to be doing any of this but nothing was going to stop her, not after that conversation, the kind of conversation she’d wanted to have for so long, not threat of damnation or haunting passages from For the Strength of Youth floating through her head in President Packer’s voice, not even—yep, they were falling out of the tree.
Thud. “Aagh,” Justin grunted. He rolled over on the leaves. “Geez, my elbow.”
Lissa pushed herself off the ground. Her butt hurt like no other. She’d landed almost squarely on her tailbone. Thankfully they’d only been about eight feet in the air. She crawled over to Justin. “You ok?”
He smiled up at her, rubbing his left elbow. “Yeah. We’ll have to compare bruises tomorrow. This one’s gonna be legendary, I think.”
Lissa briefly considered the idea of showing Justin her bruise, which she knew would appear exactly between her buttcheeks, and discarded this bad idea in favor of a slightly less bad one. She leaned down and kissed him again. They sank into the leaves and for once no thought of scorpions or fire ants or poison oak entered Lissa’s head. His mouth was soft and she could smell him, boy-sweat and shampoo from their hair-washings earlier and dusty soil, an intoxicating perfume in the heady night. His wonderful cellist’s fingers were on her back, pulling her close. She sighed and wound her fingers in his hair. She felt warm all over, a slow spread of heat from every point of contact.
Something thunked onto her head and dampness burst out over her hair. Lissa sat up abruptly. “What--?”
The A&W soda can rolled to one side. It had toppled off the tree branch where she’d left it. She rubbed her head, scowling. Next to her Justin sat up as well. He didn’t look at her. After a moment they both stood, Lissa gathering the soda can and the crumpled Starbursts wrapper. She hated people who littered.
Neither said anything as they walked back toward the camp. At the first possible moment Justin split away from her, going to join a group of guys jostling one another at the water fountain. Lissa rubbed her arms and walked back to her Family’s camp. The night had grown oddly chilly and she snuggled down into her sleeping bag, pulling the fabric over her head so that no one could see her cry.