The Kissing Challenge - Cookie O'Gorman


"Have you seen the latest challenge?"

Gemma was playing on her phone as she asked the question, but I looked over at her. She sounded way too pleased about something. It immediately made me suspicious.

"No," I said, "I didn't check my social media yet today."

"Well, you better take a look." She finally lifted her head and gave me a wink. "It's a good one. I think you'll find it…interesting."

Okay, it was official. My curiosity was peaked.

Logging on, I couldn't help but notice I had ten new followers. Sweet. It wasn't like I was social media-obsessed like some people. But if there were viewers out there who appreciated my fun videos and makeup tutorials? Who was I to deny them?

Actually, the main reason I'd even started the account was to 1) showcase my makeup skills and 2) hold myself accountable. I had a dream. And if I was going to one day do makeup for the stars, this was as good a time to start as any.

I mean, I loved being the main makeup artist for our school plays and my best friend's band. It was fun, and besides, again, it was great practice. But gigs like that wouldn't pay the bills when I got older.

And I so wanted to be able to make a living doing something I loved.

With a sigh, I shook myself out of it.

Scrolling through the comments on my latest video, I saw one that jumped right out at me.

I challenge you to kiss your best friend.

There was even a hashtag attached. I clicked it, and up came all of these videos, which I, of course, immediately began watching. Once I started, it was like I couldn't stop. They were more addictive than chocolate, more entertaining than puppy videos. This was like every romance lover's dream.

Speaking of which, I reached over and grabbed a Hershey's kiss and popped it into my mouth.

It was one of my weaknesses.

As well as, apparently watching complete strangers, girls mostly—but some guys, too—kiss their best friends. The reactions were always a mixed bag, too. Sometimes the kiss-ee looked shocked. Other times, they pushed the kisser away or turned their head before the girl's or guy's lips could meet theirs. Those were funny, I thought, but also a little sad.

What if the captions were true, and the girl really had been in love with this guy forever—and that was how he reacted?

How heartbreaking.

Still, other videos showed the kiss-ee and kisser totally going for it and starting a massive make-out session. But most of those were followed by a caption that said something like "JK he's my boyfriend." That earned an eyeroll from me.

And yet…I couldn't stop watching.

It wasn't until Gemma started laughing that I made myself look away.

She had the biggest smile on her face, looking like the cat that caught the canary.

"Well?" she said.

"Well what?" I answered, putting down my phone, and going back to painting my nails. "It's a cool challenge, I guess. Though I bet half of those videos are fake."

"Anne! Seriously? That's all you have to say?"

I shrugged.

"Did you not see the comment?" she asked, holding out her phone. "You've been challenged."

"So?" I gave my pinky nail one last coat, and then moved to my other hand. The pink had looked more pastel and less neon in the bottle. I might have to do these all over. "It's not like I accept every single one that comes my way."

Gemma's jaw dropped. "Um yes, you do."

She was right. Most of the time I did. I mean, it's not like the challenges were that difficult anyway. Some involved dance or makeup, of course. I'd even done the occasional lip sync video. But this was so not up my alley.

I kept concentrating on my nails. "Well, I don't think I need to do this one."

"Is this because of Captain?"

The mention of my BFF's name made my heart flutter.

"Because you know he would let you do it in a heartbeat," she said and waggled her eyebrows. "Who knows? He might even enjoy it."

"As if." I forced a laugh. "Captain only sees me as a friend."

Gemma nodded. "Yeah, Anne, that's the whole point of this challenge. To kiss your best friend. It doesn’t have to be a big deal unless you make it one."

How could kissing Captain not be a big deal, though?

There was no way I could do that challenge.

No way.

"It might even help you get over that gigantic crush you've had on him since second grade."

"Gemma," I hissed. My hand slipped, and I