11.18.2011

Blog Tour: Guest Post by Liz Reinhardt


I am very excited to be participating in the Double Clutch blog tour hosted by Missy's Reads & Reviews! Be sure to swing by and check out the complete line up: interviews, guest posts, reviews, and giveaways. In fact, you might want to swing back by here next Friday for my own review - and you never know, there just may be a little 'holiday cheer' thrown in the mix. Today, I am handing the blog over to Liz Reinhardt, and she's going to tell us about her First Kiss. Young love...happy sigh...Find some cookies to munch, and read on for Liz's delightful walk down Memory Lane!


First Kiss! How Lurlene McDaniel Helped Me Know
I Should Kiss Aaron T

I recently wrote a YA contemporary romance called Double Clutch, and writing it made me reflect on all of those amazing firsts...first heartbreak, first crush, and, of course, first kiss! My first kiss was fantastic, and I'd like to share the experience with all of you!

If you read about my first crush on Mike A. on http://smmirza.blogspot.com/, you'll know that I came within a hair's breadth of kissing him in order to save our week-long, sitting-by-each-other-at-lunch-and-meeting-at-our-lockers relationship. In the end, I decided to hold out and pursue my studies instead of joining into the kissing drama, and I'm so glad I did! 

I had a few years to read. And read. And read. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. And when I cleaned out all the children's books and classics, I moved up to romance novels for YA. What I read most (and most voraciously) were Lurlene McDaniel's tragic tales of love and terminal illness. If you've never read on, pick one up NOW! They were addictive, romantic, and left me a sobbing, blubbering mess at the conclusion of every single book.

I don't know if I read this specific one, but this is what I remember the covers looking like, and they were wonderful! Me and all my book-loving friends devoured them, and would come to school with red, puffy eyes from crying over them!

But Lurlene McDaniel taught me something essential about love...she taught me that it was important to cherish love, because life could be short. Tragically short!
The summer after seventh grade I went to Danish language camp in Minnesota (I know! Awesome! Oh. Wait. Were you thinking 'nerdy'?). I was dragging my suitcase through the camp to my cabin when a boy with the sweetest drawl I'd ever heard said, "Can I help you?"

It seemed silly not to allow an adorable guy with dreamy hazel eyes to help me out, but this was the first time I was staying away from my parents at a sleep-away camp, and I was determined to prove my independence to everyone. "No! Thanks!" I yelled.

He smiled. And helped me anyway. Aaron T. was a boy Lurlene would have approved of...well, she may not have written him into a story. We were both extremely healthy young people. But she would have liked him because he knew a good thing when it told him to go away. 

Because I did. Over and over. Camp was going to be about learning the ancient, guttural language of my Danish ancestors, not mooning around with some boy.
Denmark, you have my sincere apologies. I meant to take a very active interest in you...but that boy! How could you compete with his drawl, and those long lashes, and those highly kissable lips? I know you understand!

"Wanna go walk by the lake?" Aaron asked as I helped mix a gigantic bowl of almond cookie batter with a group of grimy younger kids.
"No! Thanks!" I yelled over the din. "I want to learn to make traditional Danish almond cookies and eat them."

Aaron raised his eyebrows. "Sven's arms are a different color above the elbow. You sure you wanna eat those cookies?"
I glanced down and young Sven did, in fact, have two-toned arms. The half that were buried deep in the dough were clean and light, right down to his over-long fingernails. The half that weren't in the dough were a dirty, grisly grey. Even my iron stomach blanched. I wiped the flour off of my hands and joined Aaron for a walk around the lake.

He was quiet. He liked to read, too. He was from Tennessee. He didn't want to come to camp. He wanted to work so he could save up money and not have to borrow from his mom. He liked that I was gruff and bookish and knew my own mind. I liked his Soundgarden shirt, his black hair, and the slow way he talked and smiled.

Camp romances work because camp is intrinsically romantic. Walks by the shimmering lake. Rustic cabins. Way more campers than there are counselors to keep an eye on them. 
C'mon! Who could see something that freaking beautiful every evening and not swoon!
Aaron and I spent many afternoons skipping crafts/sports so we could lie around on benches at the boat house, watch the sun in the trees, and talk until we settled into a comfortable silence.

Our easy friendship blossomed on the way back from a campfire, where he pulled me aside in the shadow of a cabin. Everyone else was coming back slowly, so we had a few minutes to ourselves. He brushed his hand over mine. All the air in my lungs locked down.

"I wish we could see the moon," he said with a nervous shuffle of his feet. The thick pines of northern Minnesota kept us from seeing any sign of the moon.
"Why?" I demanded.

"It's romantic." He smiled.

I pressed my eyebrows together. "So?"

"Don't you want to look at the moon with me?" This time his hand didn't just brush mine. He full-on grabbed my hand and locked our fingers together.

Shock sent my adrenaline racing. "But there is no moon! No moon!" 
"Well, there's a romantic-lookin' patch of grass. Kinda looks like the man in the moon," Aaron said, his eyes flicking to the spotty, much-trampled grass by the side of the cabin. He twisted his lips. "Or maybe Colonel Sanders? What do you think?"

My brain was turning to goo, but I managed to say, "Definitely Colonel Sanders."
"I agree." He grinned and leaned in. "We have a lot in common." He tilted his head and leaned closer.

"Are you trying to kiss me?" I asked as panic seared through me.
He backed away and chuckled. "Um, trying. Trying really hard, actually."

"Oh." My heart was hammering all over, so I talked even louder. "I have a hat on. That's why you couldn't get close to my face!"
Aaron's shoulders shook, and he covered his face with his hand, laughing so hard, I thought he'd double over. "I'm sorry. I'm rushin' this. I thought you wanted to..."

"I do!" I panicked. Did I? I did! I liked him! I liked this boy, and I wanted to kiss him! I was going to kiss someone! I was going to kiss Aaron! "But my hat?" 
Obviously, the excitement of the impending kiss rendered me deficient in the problem-solving area.

"You could take it off," Aaron suggested. He reached out and plucked off my very sexy Notre Dame ballcap, pulled me closer, and kissed me.
I still can't pass a Kentucky Fried Chicken without sighing over my first kiss!
It was a fireworks and saliva and beating hearts and screaming nerves kind of kiss, and I almost instantly went from 'never been kissed' to 'want to kiss this boy every second for the rest of my life.'

Then a screen door slammed. I popped my lips off of his, shoved at his chest with both hands and bolted to my cabin. I sat on my bunk and tried to contain the total, impossible, blood-humming, crazy joy coursing through my veins. 

"Liz?"

I knocked my head on my bunk and stifled a scream. Aaron's voice came through the screen.
"Go to bed, Aaron!" I demanded in a whisper, suddenly unsure what to say to this boy-I-had-kissed.

"That was nice. Can we do it again sometime?" His voice was quiet and sweet in the dark.
"Go to bed," I repeated. I heard his feet crunch away. "Aaron!"

The footsteps came back. "Yeah?"

"Yes, we can! Now go to bed!"

I could hear him laughing all the way back to his cabin.
Ah! Young love!

And we did practice kissing. For the rest of camp, we used every spare minute. It was much more fun than painting bird houses or playing soccer. And when the last day of camp rolled around, my gut clenched at the thought of leaving my kissing buddy.

We stayed penpals for two years, writing long, mopey letters back and forth. But Aaron was older, and high school was in full swing for him, so eventually, the letters petered out, and my summer kissing friend existed only in my memories. But what awesome memories they were!

Thank you, Rebecca, for letting me tell my insane first kiss story on your blog! If you'd like to hear about my first real boyfriend, please check out my post on November 22 at alchemyofscrawl.wordpress.com!

7 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for having me on your blog! Austen lovers need to stick together ;)!

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  2. I love that you spent most of this story yelling. I love that you didn't even think of taking your hat off.

    And why do kids always love these ridiculous, overly-dramatic stories? When you're in elementary school it's all about orphans somehow surviving on their own in boxcars or on Prince Edward Island or in Villa Valkulla, and then in middle school it's all terminal illness. But in reality they can't even handle a trip to the Principal's office without a two-week meltdown.

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  3. Camp romances work because of something I call "the Gilligan's Island syndrome."

    As in, "normally I wouldn't find any of you lugs attractive, but since there are only 10 people here, the least unattractive of you is starting to look really, *really* good."

    Generally, the Gilligan's Island syndrome is the reason very cute, lovely, sweet girls end up kissing brutish, hulking, not-so-bright boys.

    In this case, however, I think it is possible that you are the one who benefitted! Aaron T sounds pretty dreamy, and you were not very nice to him. Of course, some guys go for that, even off the island. ;)

    Meanwhile, it has suddenly become very clear to me that Lurlene McDaniel needs to write a book about young castaways in love.

    P.S. I am over-the-Colonel-Sander's-esque-moon that Junk Miles is available!!!!

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  4. Tamar - Hahaha! And diamond mines, secret gardens, wizards, underground cities...it's all amazing and crazy. Maybe because the mundane is the really scary stuff. And of course I wouldn't take my hat off. Where would I put it if it wasn't on my head?

    Alexa - That is SO true! It's like how you can always manage to develop a crush on one guy in your class. Even if you're a women's studies major and there is really only one guy in your class. But Aaron was dreamy! And he introduced me to a lot of late grunge music and really, really was an amazing kisser. Mmmm! I think we should Write Lurlene immediately with your idea!!

    And thank you for your over-the-Colonel-Sander's-esque-moon happiness! I think that phrase might catch on!

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  5. Haha! This is most excellent. But what if Aaron T. stumbles upon this post? What if you THOUGHT you were actually boyfriend/girlfriend, and not just a kissing buddy? You may have broken his heart, right here... :)

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