The Five Times Henry Tried to Kiss Natalie Goodman
The first time Henry wanted to kiss Natalie Goodman was not the first time he had thought about it. She was, after all, a pretty and intelligent girl that he spent time in close proximity to. He had even thought about it before they ever talked. Sometimes she looked so tense during class he had wondered, in passing, what it would be like to kiss all that stress away. It had been a passing fancy, nothing more.
The first time he had known that he wanted, with absolute certainty, to kiss Natalie Goodman was in the music room. She had been standing behind him as he played. He couldn't even remember what he was playing, or if he had just been playing. She had been engaged in her favorite current pastime of why jazz was a waste of time, and the only way to go was classical. And she had just been so passionate, so alive in that moment, he had stopped playing and turned around.
She had stopped pacing, and talking and stared back at him, and he forever everything and anything at once. Not because he was overcome by her beauty (though she was pretty, even more so when filled with life in addition to her normal sarcasm), but because she could be sofucking intimidating. And right then, he knew he wanted to kiss her but he wasn't sure how to go about it. He could just stand up and kiss her, but she was so damn skittish she would probably just kick him and run away.
Part of the issue was that she was classical music. Rigid and structured, never allowing a note to be out of place. There had to be a right way to do this.
He blinked, he must have zoned out. "Yeah?"
Natalie leaned down, close to him. For a passing moment, he stupidly thought that she just might want to kiss him, too. But, instead, she just tapped him on the shoulder twice, stepped back, and said, "You're being creepy again."
This was obviously not a moment to kiss Natalie Goodman.
The next time, Henry had been sure he absolutely must kiss Natalie Goodman was during their lunch period. Eventually, them hanging out ceased to be him listening in on her practice sessions, or her lingering behind while he played, it expanded to them engaging in conversation during class, and occasionally eating together. Typically, weather permitting, he sat outside under a large oak tree and ate whatever he had thrown in a bag that morning. Whenever Natalie did not join him, she had told him she would be in the library studying.
Contrary to what he had imagined, Natalie's lunch was not an offering of all the food groups, proportioned to the correct amount of servings needed daily. Often it looked thrown together, as though eating was a secondary thought, or she would have something she had bought from the cafeteria.
On this particular day in question, they had both brought their own lunches, but it had been spread out between them, and eating was more of a reach and grab thing rather than keeping to their own food.
He had been talking. Rambling, babbling, something akin to it. When he knew of nothing else to do, words had a disturbing tendency to just fall out of his mouth without any real control on his part.
This time, she had been the one to interrupt him. "This is ridiculous."
The sexual tension between the two of them? Uh, yeah, he'd have to agree. Out loud, he said, "What?"
"You." Oh, that. "You're such a bullshitter." Probably. But, at least, he believed most of what he said. At the moment. "Tell me, when you write papers for class, do you even know how to cite anything?"
Henry had laughed, "Are you telling me you want me to add footnotes to everything I say?"
She had pretended to think about it for a moment. The more time they had spent together, the more a playful side seemed to come out from her. "Yes, that is what I'm requesting."
He had tossed a carrot stick at her, and she had batted it away. "Probably not going to happen."
Then she did that thing she did sometimes, where her lips curled and it wasn't quite a smile but it was so close and it was so Natalie and then the bell rang and she was up and grabbing her books before he could even know what hit him.
The third time, Henry had been absolutely sure it would actually happen. They were in the music room, again, and their conversation had gone down the familiar road of debating jazz versus classical. By this time, he wasn't sure if either of them felt that strongly about either side, or if it was just fun to rile the other up.
He had been sitting on the piano bench, with her standing next to him, and with every fact they kept sprouting (Miles Davis went to Julliard), they seemed to end up closer and closer until (Mozart wrote poems about farts) until, until…
They had made eye contact, and the moment was palpable, but then suddenly she looked away and backed up. Natalie had quickly gathered up her things and left with a mumbled goodbye and excuse.
Now, to anyone else, this may seem like a bad sign. After all, in the same moment he had wanted to kiss her, she had fled from the scene as though she couldn't get away fast enough. But Henry wasn't just anyone else, and neither was Natalie.
Because, Henry now knew for sure that Natalie Goodman wanted to kiss him, too.
The fourth time Henry decided to try and kiss Natalie Goodman (and actually physically did try) was because of a word.
The sentence structured around it (I don't put anything in my mouth that's on fire) didn't matter, because he only heard that one word. Though, he attempted a response to that (I guess that's a good rule), it didn't matter because she had said the word mouth and it was turning around in his brain and her mouth was just so close he couldn't not do it, so he had leaned in and she had frozen up, until he got close and then she turned away.
Her life is a disaster, she had claimed. She always made claims like this, surrounding herself in the darkness. If only she would stop filtering out the light that came along with the darkness, and that they could be good for each other.
So, like they always did, the words came tumbling out of his mouth, and he tripped and sputtered over them until word vomit occurred. (I'm trying to tell you: I love you.) Eventually he got it all together and was able to work past his smoke addled mind to vocalize what he wanted, and the fifth time he tried to kiss Natalie Goodman…
Well, he didn't try, because she tilted her head up, and walked towards him, rather than away from him, and their lips met.