The Kissing Challenge - Cookie O'Gorman Page 0,1

got pink all over my rug. "Darn it. I thought we agreed not to speak of that aloud. Ever."

She went back to scrolling on her phone. "It's not like you're in love with him or anything. Right?"

My pulse started to pound. To lie or not to lie? That was the question.

"I-I…can't believe you just said that," I finished lamely.

Her eyes snapped to my face. "OMG, you are! Anne, wow, I only thought that maybe you were. That's what my gut was saying. But I was never sure."

Curse Gemma and her good instincts.

"Well," I said, "at least now, you understand why I can't do that challenge."

She was shaking her head before I even finished.

"No, no, no," Gemma said and grabbed my hands. "Don't you see? That's why you totally have to do it."

"But I'm afraid Captain won't feel the same—or worse, that he'll hate me for it."

"One," she said, "that boy could never hate you. He lets you practice putting makeup on him for goodness sake. And yeah, yeah, I know he's a wanna-be-rockstar. But Anne, you have to know that's not normal."

I sniffed. "Captain is very open-minded and said he wants to help me achieve my dreams. Plus, the guy looks amazing in charcoal eyeliner. It really brings out the gray of his eyes."

"Two," she went on as if I hadn't spoken, "what if he loves you, too?"

"He does love me." I shrugged, avoiding her eyes as I tried my best to wipe up the spilled pink polish. It was going to stain, though. I could already tell. "I know he does. Just…not in that way."

Gemma just shook her head. "And three, again, it might help you get over him."

I didn't think that was possible. Captain wasn't just any guy. He was the love of my life. I'd tried so many times to stop loving him, tried to like different guys, but no one could ever compare. He was my penguin.

"It's only a kiss, Anne."

No such thing, I thought.

There was no such thing as only a kiss. Or just a kiss. At least not to me. And there was no way I could make Gemma understand. She was a wonderful girl BF. Gemma supported me like I supported her. We told each other things like real sisters would. Besides Captain, I didn't think I was closer to anyone in my life.

But the way she viewed relationships was so different.

Gemma had dated. She'd kissed a ton of guys. She didn't want to wait around for life to happen to her. She made things happen. This would actually be the perfect challenge for her. I said as much, but she waved me off.

"No one left that comment on my channel," she said.

"But you and Knight," I said and smiled. "Now, that would be a kiss I'd want to see."

She leaned her head side to side as if considering.

"Yeah, it would," she said. "But again, no one challenged me. They sent that message to you, my friend."

I narrowed my gaze on her innocent baby blues. "Gemma. Did you make a fake account just so you could leave that comment?"

"What, moi?" Her hand went to her chest. "I would never."

"Yes, you would," I said.

"Okay, I totally would." We both giggled at that. "I wish it had been me. I'm kind of mad at myself that it wasn't."

I squinted my eyes even harder, watching for any hint of a lie, but Gemma held her hands up.

"Well, whoever"—I checked the username again and nearly laughed—"LonelyHeart1 is, I think they picked the wrong girl."

Gemma sat in front of me and grabbed my hands again, stopping me from wiping the same spot. The stain wasn't coming up. But at least it gave the beige rug a bit of color.

"Listen Anne, maybe this is fate. You just have to let it ride and not be scared."

My fingers tightened around hers, but I didn't say anything.

"At least promise to think about it," she said. "You've never not met a challenge. I'd hate to see you start now—especially when it's something I know you want to do."

She had a good point.

But fear was a very real thing, and it was alive and well inside my chest.

Even long after Gemma had gone, I was still sitting in my room, thinking about it. The sun had set hours ago. My lights were off, but I couldn't stop watching the kissing videos and looking at the comment.

Kiss your best friend.

Could it really be that simple? I'd thought about it before this, of course—only like