DISCLAIMER: Um, well, I don't know. I am certainly not claiming ownership. I'm just taking a twist and actually making it do what it says. All rights are to Wren Studio, Melissa Coker, and Tatia Pilieva for coming up with this.
This is MY spin on how the First Kiss Commercial happened. I know this isn't how it worked exactly, and that most of the participants were actors/actresses/models, but what would have happened if you had really and truly taken ORDINARY people, picked them up off the streets? And then forced them to kiss each other? Insanity!
This is their idea, with a little twist. :) Enjoy.
A tale of two lips meeting in the oddest of circumstances. When scatter-brained Nikki went on her daily run, she hadn't expected that her day would result in being recruited for a commercial. Or that this commercial would require her to make-out with a gorgeous stranger. One-shot.
A TALE OF TWO LIPS
I was dying.
Okay. Maybe that was melodramatic.
I hate running. I hate it with a passion that rivals the energy of a thousand solar sons, would condemn it to death if I could. But I'm an addict; I keep coming back for more because I'm a sick sadist. There's always some sense of accomplishment, some sort of gratifying thrill, some sweet satisfaction that lures me to push myself to the brink of passing out.
It keeps me coming back every single time. We have an odd relationship, running and me; he beats me nearly to death but I keep crawling back for more. We're looking into a shrink.
Sweat trickles down my back; I'm drowning, but I'm swimming. Albeit, it's a disjointed rhythm, but I'm going at it all the same. I push myself, one leg in front of the other, eye on my prize.
The lamppost. The milestone; the ending of my seven-mile run from my dorm room.
I can't breathe; I'm sucking in air, but it's ripping an agonizing tear through my chest. My own air is murdering me. Which is slightly redundant.
The moment my hand touches the pole, I clutch it desperately. I will not crumble to the ground in front of these gawking pedestrians. I am strong, I am straight, and I am able to hold myself upright. Just barely, barely hanging onto suavity with my fingertips.
" God. . . damn," I heave. It feels as if every cell in my body is crying, and my vision tilts.
I stand there for a few moments, letting the sun bake my feverish skin and my heart rate to calm from it's erratic pounding. I close my eyes and tilt my head up to the sky. There's a couple of scattered clouds but it's an otherwise perfect day.
Once I've significantly recovered, I straighten and look at the prize in front of me. I always like to keep some reward at the end of my seven-mile run. It gives me incentive, pushes me to the brink, like holding a bone in front of a dog.
On this wonderful Monday midday, the pot of gold at the end of my rainbow is Starbucks. I usually pair my Sociology class with Starbucks, as. . . it's always been part of my routine. On Tuesdays I go one mile more to pair my English class with Eve's Coffeehouse. I alternate between the two, but right now I'm extremely thirsty to continue describing my odd quirks.
The Starbucks logo is glittering brightly from the window display, and the bell is a constant tingling as customers zip in and out bearing sugary drinks. I join them, entering the rush of everyday heaven. I would live in Starbucks if I could, but unfortunately it's not as big as Walmart.
The line is long, and I check my iPod to pass the time. We shuffle like dutiful sheep. A women comes in and looks taken aback by the line. Our eyes meet, and in a rare gesture of comradeship we both smile as if to say this is ridiculous.
I finally order my iced tea from a haggard looking barista. My feet are aching, and I quickly snatch a vacant chair to wait.
" Damn," I mutter in horror as I see all the text messages my mom left me. She's recently discovered technology, and her enthusiasm for asking me every single thing about my life in L.A has . . .well, it's motherly which means it's suffocating. But I love her.
In record time, my name is called for my tea. I gather it gratefully, and then set about the immense task of answering my mother's texts.
" Hello Ma'am," says a forty-something lady who has suddenly appeared in front of me. She's dressed impeccably, with sparkly sequins, dark wash jeans, and several ornate necklaces dangling around her neck. " Excuse me, how are you?"
I swirl my straw in my tea. This is confusing; people don't strike up random conversations. " I'm fine." Smile, Nikki, do it now. I smile. " How are you! And you are dressed rather wonderful. I love your taste."
The lady's red lipsticked mouth breaks into a wide smile. " Why thank you! I do love this getup." Her eyes are a deep brown, and they seem genuinely happy. " My name is Bernice Williams."
I shake her delicate hand, slightly put off edge – who wouldn't if a stranger started up a friendly conversation – but also delighted. " Nikki Emerson. Pleased to make your amazing acquaintance. What can I do for you?"
" I was wondering, ma'am, if you would like to be filmed for a commercial?"
I pause, disbelief stemming through me. " Um. What?"
" Would you like to be filmed for a commercial?"
" Like, a commercial commercial?"
Her hands flutter. " A commercial. For WrenStudio. It's a clothing commercial. Fashion. We want real models – every day people."
I purposely look down at my jogging attire. " Umm. . . I'm not exactly the height of fashion here. Unless you want, like, running attire and shorts. And last I checked it don't think it's the next trend." I squint up at her. " Are you sure you want me?"
" Listen, I know how odd this sounds." Her smile is mega-watt. " But we wanted to get actual people from the streets. Our studio is just two blocks away. It'll just be a two hour block out of your day. Would you like to do it?"
" Are you trying to kidnap me?" I ask before I can filter. Goddammit, way to go, Nikki. Way to make a nice impression on the nice lady. " Because if you're not, and this is legit, than I think it would actually be really, really cool.
She laughs. " No, of course not. And this is legit. You'll get your makeup done, you'll get dressed in our clothes. I was just assigned to come and pick out candidates."
I'm wary, skeptical. Sounds too good to be true. " I've never been a commercial," I say slowly. " I might suck."
" That's the point." She spreads her hands wide. " We want real people. Not models. And you won't suck, I guarantee it."
I am torn. This is like Hollywood shit. Random people asking other random people for random jobs. Last I checked, I'm about three hours away from Hollywood. I mean, it wouldn't hurt. She's smiling at me again, and to be honest, she reminds me of my mother. She's all positive vibes, dressed in black but managing to seem sparkly and preppy at the same time.
I might as well throw caution to the wind.
I mean, life is here, handing me fresh-squeezed lemonade.
" Well, I really don't have anything else to do." Don't lie, you've got your Psych paper to do! " So as long as this is real, then I guess I could do it."
" And if you'll just sign here. . . . and here. . . . and here. . . ."
As I sign my name, I begin to question my sanity. What if I'm signing over my assets, my life insurance, my bank account? I mean, I skim-read through most of the papers and made sure they were correct in every way, but there was always the fine print that I might have missed.
Bernice is seeming very happy as she takes my filled out forms. " Oh, you're just going to have a grand time! This will be wonderful. I just know it will be."
Bernice takes me by the arm and starts dragging me through this building. It really was two blocks away, but I'm still unsure of where I am. She's blubbering about something – have no idea what – and I just smile and nod and pretend I know what's going on.
There's a door to the left; she shoves us into it, and then falters. There's two men in there, and it looks like one of them is a hairdresser. The one sitting in the chair – an insanely hot man – meets my eyes in the mirror and winks.
" Oh, didn't realize Sophia had changed rooms!" Bernice says, hands a fluttering.
I widen my eyes at the man, who's now smirking at my obvious befuddlement. I mouth to him, What is going on?
" She's in number 37," said the hairdresser.
Before I can even utter a word, Bernice grabs my hand and tows me out. We head down several more hallways before Bernice's phone goes off.
She flounders for it, looks at the Caller ID, and pales. " I'm late! Nikki, Room 37 is just at the end of the hall. It's for your makeup."
With that, she's left me in a scurry of clicking heels and excited jabber. I take a deep breath and mutter to myself, " Dear Lord. This is crazy."
I have but no other option but to proceed to Room 37. It's either trudge forward or get lost. I proceed cautiously, looking into the slightly open doors. There seem to be no torture chambers or interrogation furniture, so I'm probably okay.
" Ah, Nikki Emerson!" all but shouts a women as I enter the room marked 37.
I smile; what can I do but smile? " How's it going? Am I supposed to be here?" I check back at the door. " They said number 37 was –"
" Of course, of course you are supposed to be here! I'm the makeup person." She pauses, and her sea-green eyes bore into mine. I imagine she's looking for every little flaw, every little detail that she needs to manipulate to get me to be pretty.
Trust me, that's a miracle in on itself.
She booms a command: " Sit!"
I sit in the black chair offered, and she rises me up. The room is small; hell, it could be a remodeled broom closet for all I know, and it's absolutely littered with posters, bottles, applicators, hair dryers, straighteners, cremes, foundations. . . . everything that you'd ever associate with women's care, I'm betting you would find it among this mess.
This women seems like an energetic sort of person, always fidgeting; within the time that I have entered until now, her smile has never completely gone away. Her hands flutter about her selections, and she looks back at me.
" Are you sure they said for you to come to makeup?" she queries.
" Umm, yes?"
" It's just. . . honey, you're absolutely gorgeous. I mean, honestly, I would just like to send you out there with no makeup because this look is working for you."
I believe it's part of the makeup artists job to butter you up. I bet every single person's ego in this chair has been inflated to the size of a house. I mean, it's nice. But I'm realistic.
" The hot and sweaty look?" I let her know of my skepticism, arching an eyebrow.
" The casual look. The relaxed look. The Sunday look. Honey, you're glowing."
I look at myself in the mirror. My long light brown hair had been pulled back into a ponytail that was now very messy and half-falling out and framing my face. My cheeks still had a rosy tint on the tops of my cheekbones. I look like a shaggy dog. . . . But glowing?
" I'm glowing?" I question, frowning and then sticking my tongue at my reflection. " I honestly don't see it, but I mean, you're the makeup master person, so I'll let you handle the adjectives."
She laughs, and she finally seems to find what she was looking for, because she is now holding several weapons.
" I don't know the difference between a concealer and foundation," I confess as she advances.
My obvious lack of knowledge makes her beam. " It's okay. I'm the expert remember?"
" Umm," I squirm, watching the women descend upon me. If I didn't know better, I would say that this designer has a malicious look in her eye, intent to makeup me to death. " Please don't hurt me."
Sophia smiles – because Sophia is the name on the little pin on her shirt – as if she finds my plea humorous. The soft brush flicks up and down on my cheek teasingly. " Honey, I won't hurt you. Just applying some base."
" Yeah, I know." She continues to work, and I vomit out words like no tomorrow. " But if you can imagine it from my point of view, having someone apply makeup is not a very common occurrence for us normal folk."
" Well, just try to relax honey."
And I do. Eventually, I wholly and utterly relinquish control as this thirty-something woman gushes and awes and paints my face. She darkens my eyes, somehow enhancing and bringing out the blue in my gray irisis with her magical touch. My pale skin is smoothed into cream; hell, I don't know. I just know that as I watch her work and watch my face transform, it's ridiculous how good it feels. Having someone else do all of this is fantabulous; I must find myself one of these.
When she's finished, our eyes meet in the mirror and I smile. " Wow. This looks. . . awesome! You are magical."
She pats my head benignly, her warm eyes glowing. " You look beautiful my dear. Not that you weren't beautiful before; I've just enhanced your best features. I'll go and get your hair stylist."
I squint at myself in the mirror.
Well I'll be.
Consider myself 'buttered'.
After my makeup is done, another happy-go-lucky stylist comes in and switches out for Sophia.
" Hey. . ." I squint at his nametag. His hair is spiked; like, legitly spiked all over his head and he's got a stud in one ear. I like him. He seems expressive, and he hasn't said a word yet." Brad. How's it going?"
" Wonderful, darling. Just absolutely fabulous."
" Cool. I like people that are happy with their lives."
He slaps a can in his hand, cocking his hip out. When he speaks he's slightly concerned. " Gorgeous, why that melancholy tone?"
I stick my tongue out at him, and he laughs. " I'm not melancholy. It's just that happy people make me happy."
" Well, glad to make you happy, princess." He studies me, blue eyes roving over my hair. " What do you say we just tidy this little mess up, so that it's classically messy instead of sweaty messy?"
" You're the magician," I concede.
Brad plays with my hair a while. I'm not exactly certain what he does with it, or even how he did it, but at the end of the session I've got silky locks curled into a high pony that looks like I spent hours curling it. What is it with all these magical people? There's still a few strands of hair artfully framing my face, and even though I'm sure a pound of hairspray was used it still feels light and airy.
" Thanks dude," I say, grinning at him. " You're actually pretty amazing."
" I am, aren't I," he says with flattery.
Brad sends me off to another room. Which happens to be just across the hall. Yet another person is there, but they seem frazzled.
They switch out my old athletic clothes for new semi-athletic clothes. The man dresses me in something called a Hoodie Vest. It's got a V-neck with a hood, and it's sleeveless. It's tight to my body too, and a dark navy color. They also supply me with dark leggings and swap out my trainers for black platforms. He also has me shove ridiculously shiny and silvery hoop earrings in my little-used peircings, and drapes a matching silver necklace over my neck.
Fashion is an odd thing. I'm just glad they didn't make me go out in a cardboard dress.
" Hey, now I'm five inches taller!" I exclaim; the world is much different two inches up. " I'll get my clothes back soon, right?"
" Good good," says the man, distracted and he ushers me out. " You are to hurry to the other room. Room 89."
He did not make me feel happy.
It takes me a while to find room 89. This building is all sharp angles and endless hallways. It's enough to drive one insane. Eventually I find it, and there's a person loitering in front of it, looking ever official with his headset.
" Room 89?"
" Yep, go on in."
There's about twenty other people in the room, kicking their feet nervously, offering shy smiles. Their dress is both classy and casual, kind of like mine. I'm the last one, apparently, and so everyone looks up when I enter.
" Hey everyone. You all were picked up too?" When no one answers with anything except a benign smile from a dude with spiky hair, I feel slightly awkward. Slowly, conversation returns, because I apparently interrupted it. " Ooookay."
" You're Nikki?" says a low voice from the second to last chair.
" You are a stalker?" I say, quirking my eyebrow at the guy.
" Nah, I can just read." He jerks his thumb to the seat, which, lo and behold, has my name scribbled on it in paper. " You've been assigned."
" So very official," I say, sitting next to him. " They've been expecting me."
He's a guy around my age, perhaps twenty-four, twenty-three, and dayam. His dark hair is shadowing his dark eyes, which remind me of milk chocolate. His lips are pink, and twisted into a sardonic smirk.
I notice that people are talking; what are we supposed to do in here? Is this really for a commercial, or will we all be gassed in a couple seconds? The guy next to me is relaxed, seemingly at ease, but he seems friendly so I decide to strike up a conversation.
" So what's your name?"
" Will Cevasco, at your service." He flashes me a smile, blindingly white and cocky. " So. . . Nikki. . . "
He trails off, and I fill in for him, " The name's Emerson, Nikki Emerson."
He nods seriously. " So, Emerson, where did they abduct you?"
As evidence, I hold up my Starbucks tea, nearly down to the last few sips. " Starbucks." In a conversational tone I add, " Horrible place, really, to stage an abduction. Too many witnesses if you ask me. And you?"
" The fountain," he says. He frowns at my drink that I'm still holding up. " Wait, you went to Starbucks to get tea?" He's playfully baffled, brown eyes meeting mine in mirth. "Who goes to Starbucks for tea?"
" I like tea after I run," I say defensively. I offer it to him, but he waves me away with a smirk.
" But aren't you degrading America's culture by going to a renown coffee house and ordering a controversial beverage? It's just not American. "
I like this guy; he's making me laugh, and I decide to play along because Lord knows I need some more happiness in my life.
" Obviously," I counter, half-jokingly, " I'm half-British. . . . I think. Possibly. Either way, I like to remind myself of my heritage."
" Ah," he says like this makes sense. " I don't hear an accent."
" Nor do I hear an Italian one," I quip contentedly. " So if we're going to be basing assumptions on each other, we should at least try and play the part. Ironically, however, I think I may be at a bit of an identity crisis because I believe some of my ancestors lived in Boston."
His grin widens. " Touche." Will gestures to the exposed expanse of his tanned arm. " Was it the color of my skin?"
I shake my head. " Cevasco just sounds Italian, but I'm not going to be bigoted and narrow-minded and ask you when you immigrated. Or why you're here undercover."
He laughs loudly; a real and true laugh, rumbling deep in his chest and spilling out into the air. " I'm part of the Italian mafia, infiltrating commercial ads. We think the Americans are stealing clothing designs from our hardworking fashionistas."
" How very noble of you," I commend him.
" Thank you," he sounds smug. " I thought so myself. It's a dangerous job, but someone's gotta do it."
This time I laugh, tilting my head back. This guy is hilarious. Our chuckles garner some attention from the other folks, who smile in response before turning back to their conversations. I look over at Will; he's nice to be stuck in a room with.
" Don't –"
Will's question is cut off as the door opens, and a dude with a headset walks in. " Brittany and Collin, you guys are up! Come on!"
Two people from opposite sides of the room stand up and look at each other. Brittany is a woman with sandy-blonde hair, ranging in the early to mid-forties. Collin looks just a bit younger; they look at each other, smile, shrug their shoulders, and exit through the door.
" They're calling us out two-by-two," Will whispers to me, his tone horrified. " Good god. This might be it."
Under my breath, I sing, " The ants go marching two-by-two, huzzah, huzzah."
Will chuckles, his brown eyes lighting up. The whole affect. . . damn, this boy is hot.
" You're weird."
" I'm a Psychology major; I have a right to be odd. My brain studies itself all day. How weird is it to think of the brain naming itself. . . ."
I trail off, and I notice that Will's shoulders are shaking, his button-down tee brushing against my bare skin. He's trying not to laugh.
" So I'm sitting next to a shrink. Who also happens to run a lot. And who basically thinks coffee is too mainstream."
I give a playful gasp. " You are a stalker!"
" I was going to ask you a question, fair lady, before we were so rudely interrupted. And that was: don't you just hate running?"
I shoot him a look, pretty certain that my face is a cross between okay, weird, and I'm impressed. " How do you know I run?"
" Because I saw you come in, remember?"
" Ah, right." I do remember; he was the guy Bernice and I had walked in on, the one who had chuckled at my befuddlement. " Well, I guess I do. Sometimes. Not really. But it helps keep me in shape. Look at my muscles." I flex my bicep, loving the feel of muscles contracting and strength. " Feel."
He muffles his laugh, but his warm hand dutifully encloses around my muscle, squeezing. " Yep. You've got muscles."
" Thank you. Do you run?"
" Do I love to torture myself? To burn with every step?" He shoots me a sarcastic grin, telling me that he's playing again. " Of course. I live for that shit."
" Isn't it just wonderful?" I say to myself wistfully.
" And painful."
I mock-glare at him. " But more wonderful."
" We must agree to disagree."
" Saying that you think exercise is painful must be so emasculating for you," I whisper to him.
A challenge alights in his eyes. " Do I look emasculated to you?" In a flash, his ripped, extremely muscular arm is bulging in front of my face, straining against the blue starched fabric. " Feel, my dear lady, and then say to my face that I look emasculated."
" Hmm," I pretend to study his arm with a practiced air, feeling it and poking it. Damn. This boy has some muscles.
" You can't do it." He sounds so sure and smug.
" Just slightly." I hold my fingers about an inch apart.
Will laughs and relaxes his arm. Simultaneously, we both shrink against our seats. Nothing to do but wait, I guess. I cross my legs and fiddle with the strap of my heel.
" So WrenStudio . . . . is what this is all about?" Will says.
" Apparently." Even though doubt is coloring my tone, I shrug. " Real people. Real commercial."
" Why are they doing this in pairs?"
" Beats me. Are we doing this in pairs?"
" Well, those two went in." His voice is lilting. " I do believe that two means a pair."
" But maybe we all won't be like that. Maybe we'll all be called next time." I pause. " What do you think we have to do?"
" Strike some sexy poses. Act like we know what we're doing. Look all happy to be wearing such fancy clothes."
The door opens, and the crewman sticks his head back in. He looks at his clipboard and calls out:
" Will and Nikki, you guys are up!"
Will and I look at each other, startled. Our time has come, and I'm suddenly overcome with nervous jitters. I know it sounds stupid that I'm getting nervous and stressed when all I'll probably be doing is standing there.
But knowing me I'll probably make standing awkward.
As we move towards the crewman, Will murmurs in a low voice, " See, I was right about the pairs. Guy and girl."
" Shhh," I whisper back at him, unable to contain my amusement. " This is serious stuff. We've got to look professional."
The room. . . well, it's huge. There are at least twenty identical crewmen, four large cameras, and a whole table full of delicacies and wonderful food for when they get hungry. My eyes are drawn to two brightly colored women, animatedly talking with their hands; their get up seems out of place in this room of grays and blacks.
We linger by the door, taking in the room. A low " Wow," comes from Will. There's a platform, basically a green expanse of sheets nailed on plywood for us fantabulous models. All cameras are pointing at it, lights dimmed low. .. it looks very official.
For a moment, no one notices us, and Will leans in close, so close that I can feel his breath against my ear. " Okay, I get the dress clothes for the guys." He extends his arm to show the dark-wash jeans and button-down that he's wearing to emphasis nice dress clothes. " But what are you wearing and trying to show? Are you advertising nice gym wear in high heels?"
" I'm showing how sweaty is the new Gucci," I whisper back him, giving him a Cheshire smile.
Then a crooked smile accompanied by a pretend offensive expression. He lays his hand over his heart. " I – I. . . Nikki Emerson, I do so resent that reference."
Rascally, I snip, " You'd better."
Finally, one of the crewmen recognizes us, and he gestures impatiently. " Will! Nikki! Up you go."
We hesitantly make our way – I lead – and ascend the stage of green sheets under the eyes of many crewmen. The two women have stopped talking. They smile at us.
" Hi!" I say, giving an awkward wave. " I'm Nikki. This is weird."
They talk to us for a while, explain how things are going to work, what everyone is doing. The two women introduce themselves – Tatia Pilieva and Melissa Coker – and they just seem like two peas in a pod, even finishing each others sentences.
Apparently, it's Melissa Coker's idea. Being the founder and creative director, she needed to spruce up her advertising, and enlisted her long-time friend, Pllieva, to help her. " Real life, real models" was an expression used, and they assured us it was totally random. Aside from the fact that our pairings were not random. Got that? Selection = random. Pairings = not random. Apparently, according to Pilieva, we had all been paired based on our 'aesthetic' properties. I have no idea what that means, just that I think they were referencing Will and I made a good pair. 'Aesthetically pleasing.' I'm not complaining: he's a hot Italian hunk.
" So if you guys will just get onto the stage," Coker said, gesturing to the green expanse. " We can begin filming." She pauses. " Now, you promise to go through with this? It's quite different being on TV. Are you ready to act?"
Will and I. . . we share a look, and I read the same confusion in his eyes. We haven't been told what to do? Are we going to have smile and look at the camera, with the wind blowing in our hair? Or one of those other cliché like things?
" Sure. C'mon," he says, gesturing.
I follow him up, and then look at the sea of faces. They are expectant, eyes shining, waiting. Wait, why are they waiting? We don't even know what to do?
After a couple moments, Will shifts and clears his throat. " So what do you want us to do?"
" You have to kiss each other."
It was said so bluntly, so matter of fact, that for a second the blatant request shatters my coherent thoughts.
Will is the first to recover.
" What?" he demands, his voice coming out rougher than I've heard it.
" Umm," I say. Was I going deaf? " We have to what?"
" Kiss," comes the muffled voice of the film-person-dude. " You have to kiss."
Will and I share incredulous looks, our eyes locking. In this white-washed and green room the incredible and spontaneous has just happened, and for a moment I can't breathe. It takes my breath away, flooding my body with both panic and pleasure, and the world tilts for just a moment.
" We have to kiss each other." Will sounds dubious, trying to wrap his head around such an inane concept. " Each other?"
" Like, on the lips?" I ask, my voice tilting into hysteria, glancing back desperately at the crewman for confirmation. To Pilieva, Coker. They nod. " On the lip lips?"
" On the lips," he confirms. His mouth twitches, terribly concealed.
" Are you laughing at me?" I demand, laughing with the crewmen. It's obvious he finds this funny, and I kind of do too. . . hell, who wouldn't? " Because people who laugh at me get hurt."
His response is a low chuckle, and he calls out. " Whenever you're ready. You can go ahead."
" For how long?" Will interjects. If I didn't know better, I would say that the waver in his voice would be nervousness. But hell, I don't think Will is the type of guy to get nervous. " Is it just a quick peck or like. . . longer?"
" With tongue, without," says the crewman, uncommonly happy for putting us through such embarrassing situations. What a sick sadist. " Whenever you are ready, however you want to do it. Just kiss each other."
With that, he draws back, and it's just Will and I on this island of extreme embarrassment. This is the Trumen Show. . . but it's not. At least we know we are being filmed.
" Oh Jesus," I mutter, wringing my hands. " Oh my goodness gracious. This is crazy."
Will is struggling to compose himself, his hand rubbing his hair, the other hand in his pocket. He's wearing a small, embarrassed smile, and when our eyes meet we can't help it; we laugh, expelling breath with nervousness, trying to lose inhibitions.
" This is absolutely insane," Will agrees.
" Don't you just hate one-night stands?" I giggle – hell, did I just giggle? – and attempt to infuse humor into the situation. " So impersonal for TV."
" Technically," Will says, stepping just a bit closer. His eyes are swirling, enrapturing with their mirth. " I believe this is a one-kiss stand." He shrugs and leans back, flicking a cocky glare to the crewman. " We've downgraded, given the one-night stand some Nyquil or something."
I laugh and cover my mouth with my hand. " Dang. . . Right." I clear my voice and look at him seriously, but I can't stop my embarrassment from making me giddy. Everything is tilting at this moment; I might just go into cardiac arrest.
" Okay." I breathe in. " All right." I jump up and down. " I've got this." I nod seriously at Will, who is now struggling not to laugh outright in my face. " Tv persona. Superstar!"
His grin is Cheshire, his eyebrow hitching dubiously. " Do you?"
" I do." I bounce on my toes; oh dear Lord Jesus, what the hell did I get into? " One-kiss stand."
" One-kiss stand," murmurs Will, his gaze dropping to my lips. That one look causes a zing of pleasure to flood my body. Something coils behind my naval, dropping lower. " Though it seems like you're trying to warm up for the Olympics or something."
I gasp and daintily shove his shoulder. " How dare you! I'm steeling myself."
We laugh and then simultaneously look over at the filmaker and director people. They're wearing innocent expressions, eager and delighted.
" You can go whenever you want to," Coker says kindly.
Will dips his head, then flashes his eyes back to me.
This stupid situation. . . forcing us into this, making our senses heightened, aware of the possibilities.
" How should I do this?" he asks, and relief breaks like a tidal wave; he'll initiate it.
" Er. . . Keep your hands to yourself," I interject, giving him a meaningful look. " I don't go to first base with strangers. . . I'll be waiting for you to fall asleep."
" Bella," Will mutters, and it's in Italian and it nearly makes me swoon. And bolt at the same time. " My kiss will not make you fall asleep."
Oh, holy hell. He did not just say that. He's taking this way to seriously. And you're not taking it seriously at all, I chide myself. I fight against the blush that rises to my cheeks; I need a desperate distraction.
I look over at the crewman. " So do we just go whenever?" Those big black cameras are intimidating; they don't look on; are they on?
" I think that's the point," Will says in a quiet voice.
I look back at him, at his dark shaggy hair and his warm eyes. " What if we're really bad at kissing, and they have to go and get two more people from the streets to fill our empty voids? Because we were so bad at kissing?"
Will's hands come up to cup my face, and his gesture startles me into submission, quelling my insecurity. " You're fine, Nikki," he says softly. " You're fine. It's just a kiss."
In an instant, the mood changes.
There's nothing but him and me in this gray place, no indecision, no embarrassment, no wariness. I can trust him, his eyes are saying. Those brown eyes, that charming smile. . . I can do this.
" Okay," I breathe out, attempting to calm my racing heart. " Do you want to go first and do this? Or should I initiate it?"
Suddenly he's there, his arm encircling my waist, the other cupping my face up to his. His breath washes over me, intoxicating, wonderful.
I smile. My head instinctively ducks down; he's sheltering me from the cameras, from their scrutiny. We're so close, I can feel the heat of his body. His lips are right at my ear. . .
" You are an incredibly attractive girl," he says, nearly so quiet that I can't hear it. But I do, and it sends me into a frenzy of hormones and giddiness. " I highly doubt you haven't kissed a few guys in your lifetime." He leans closer. " And if you are really and truly terrible at it, I will save us with my magnificent kissing skills."
" You're so egotistical." I adjust; his shirt is made up of smooth fabric. . . is it silk? " I can't believe I'm about to kiss someone who is that confident."
" Well. . . when all you've heard is praise from other girls. . ." he implies, though I can hear laughter in the undercurrent of his tone.
I laugh softly and lean into him a bit more. Flicking my eyes up to his, I bite my lip and say with a challenge, " Why don't you put your money where your mouth is?"
This is way too exciting; an adrenaline fix for a junkie, a sugar rush, a high. I'm light, I'm airy, and I'm so out of tune that I barely hear his promise, " With pleasure," before his warm mouth descends upon mine.
It's a warm, light connection, just the imprint, just the taste of his lips between mine. Our eyes are closed, suspended in a moment. My only focus is trained on the chest brushing mine, the warmth he radiates, the nose brushing along my cheek.
His lips are pillowy soft, cradling mine. It's a union of flesh, no longer than a couple seconds, but it's enough for my body to tingle, my cells to beg for more. Everything in me is on fire, begging for more than just a caress.
He pulls away just barely, our wet lips brushing against each other. " More?" he murmurs.
" It was satisfactory," I whisper. We're so close that our lower lips brush while we talk, and a strong desire courses through me to bite that very lip. I thread my hands in his hair, breathing in his exhale. " Don't know what those other girls are talking about though. . ."
His laugh jostles me a little; I hadn't noticed he had pulled me close, melding my waist to his. I like this position, perhaps more than I should.
" Perhaps some more practice. . ." he breathes. His hands dig into my hips and I reflexively arch into him. " And you'll be perfect."
He shouldn't have said that, but he seems to get a rise out of this, like me. My eyes narrow in challenge, and then our lips collide in hungry desperation in a challenge of wills. Little shivers of panic and pleasure shoot through me, snapping my nerves, and my hands shoot into his hair. He deepens the kiss, parting my lips, pulling, sucking, nipping.
A moan escapes my lips and I can feel him stiffen and then relax. His tongue ghosts over my lower lip, and I whimper. I reciprocate, raking my nails across his scalp and pulling his bottom lip between my teeth.
We kiss hard, slanting to get closer. Everything has disappeared. . . time. . . decorum. . . this fashion thing. It's simply faded into nothingness, paling into comparison in the beautiful, real, and authentic moment we're sharing.
And I completely and totally forget that I'm kissing a stranger. I'm caught up in a whirlwind, a tornado, a fire. I'm being crushed, molded, melted and reconstructed all at the same time. He's gentle and rough and all I need him to be at this moment. His lips are sinful, and I'm addicted.
When we break apart endless seconds later, we stay still. His hand is cupping my cheek, the other securing me to his body. Both of my hands are secured in his dark hair. Our breaths clash in warm currents. . .
It's. . . .
Just like that.
I reluctantly force myself to remove my arms. We shuffle backwards, almost like magnets repelling, but I really just want to flips sides so I can kiss him again. And I can't. . . because I might just go to second base with a stranger. . . and that would be an even more embarrassing circumstance.
Quiet. That's all I hear for the next few moments. Just silence. And it's nearly unbearable, the silence, because it's grating on my nerves, spinning me in another less certain whirlwind. My lips feel swollen, my heart feels swollen, my mind feels swollen. . . hell, my entire body is swollen with emotions and muses and inspiration and embarrassment.
I look over at the spectators. Coker and Pilieva are nodding their heads, smiling. The crewman - what a sadist - is seeming very smug with his raised eyebrows and curled half-smile.
"Er. . . you're welcome?" I stutter, because that's the first thing that comes to my mind. " Wait. . . no -Thank you?"
Will laughs, breaking the silence, and I look over at this man with the dark hair and brown eyes. His pink lips are puffy and there's a line underneath the bottom one from the indention of my teeth. I want to take his mouth again. . . . I am so not normal. Should I be feeling this giddy? This high? Like I'm on LSD or something? Post-kiss bliss. . .
" Do we shake hands after this?" He offers his hand.
" All right." I grasp his extended hand, the same hand that had been anchoring my waist to his, and for a moment I'm back in that whirlwind, that tornado or sensation. An answering thrill zips through my veins, and I break our hands apart before I jump him.
" Thank you," says Coker. Her eyes are warm, kind. " You're free to go now."
Pilieva ushers through the sea of crewman. " Don't forget our complimentary gift bags, and your clothes. They've all been folded and put into bags. You may keep the clothes you're wearing now. It's our 'thank-you' to you. We really appreciate you taking the time out of your day to help us make our commercial. Be prepared to be mini-celebrities!"
What an obvious dismissal. . .
A few more words are said. . . I think I say something, but I'm not quite sure. Everything feels fuzzy, floating, and going much too fast. I only move when Will does. We walk side by side and exit through the door. We don't say anything, but I can feel that he wants to. It's a tangible, desperate feeling, a bubbling up against ones lips that emits an aura, a sensitivity that you just. . . know.
We pick up our bags on the table and then face the front of the lobby. Two glass doors stand like sentries, emboldened in gold and bidding us passage. We stand off to the side; there's a secretary behind a marble desk, busy on her phone. Oblivious to our plight.
Once we pass through those doors. . . everything that happened within this building will be a fragment. Will seems to recognize it, so do I.
" Kind of like ripping off a bandaid," I murmur under my breath.
Will chuckles. " Absolutely right."
" This was. . . kind of incredible."
The glass door is looming closer, our footsteps echoing as harsh as the secretary's voice.
" Slightly odd, too." His voice is a low tenor; I take a moment to memorize it, to remember the deep tremor, the slight inflection. " By the way, you're not a bad kisser."
I laugh and jab my elbow into his side. " You're not to bad yourself."
We exit the building, out into the rush of pedestrian traffic and into the heat. This is it. This is the end. This stranger, who I've known for about thirty minutes, has turned my life upside down and taken just a sliver of my soul with him. It's not love, but it's a memory. It's a connection. . . an imprint that I'll always remember.
I look at him, then grin mischievously. I offer out my hand, like I've seen medieval women do, and say in my most haughty voice. " Goodbye, Will Cevasco."
His brown eyes are twinkling, Will daintily takes my hand and brushes his lips across my skin. Shivers break out across my spine as our eyes stay locked. I attempt to memorize his face. His eyes are most definitely his best feature, almond shaped and full of thick lashes. His lips. . . they're something out of a magazine. His nose is slightly crooked, but that adds to his rugged appeal.
And I just snogged the hell out of him.
Dayam. He's one fine boy.
The lie utters past his beautiful lips - lips that I just kissed. " We shall meet once more, Nikki Emerson."
And we part our separate ways.
And why the hell am I skipping?
Author's Note:And that's the end of that! :) Did you enjoy? It's a rough copy. . . I'll edit it soon enough I think. I hope. :) I hope it felt real and authentic; can YOU imagine being in the same situation as them? It would be other-worldly and slightly uncomfortable. Go and check out the video, by the way. Just go to YouTube and type in " First Kiss Commercial". It's really adorable and cute. :)