My ex-”fiancé” didn’t kiss me till two years and seven months into our dysfunctional, red-flags-littered relationship, in spite of having done everything else well before that. Even after he finally started kissing me, it wasn’t very often, and it wasn’t deep, passionate, or even really good. A kid in junior high wouldn’t even execute a five-second, closed-mouth kiss. (This is the same guy who never gets off from any sort of partnersex.) I felt angry about this the entire time, and knew it wasn’t normal, but stayed way longer than most people would’ve. Hopefully I’ll someday find another guy who sees me as more than a friend and one of the guys, who actually knows how to kiss properly, and does it passionately and often. Anyway.
This is a scene from my WIP, my third Russian historical novel, Journey Through a Dark Forest, Chapter 12, “Release from Misery.” One of my favorite subplots was the love story of Vera and Vsevolod, two people in their upper twenties who were despairing of ever marrying. They met in 1933, when a 28-year-old like Vera was considered an old maid, not a desirable date. But to 26-year-old Vsevolod, she’s his dream woman who was kept single so long because they didn’t get a chance to meet yet, and she was being saved specially for him.
The Fourth of July is their seventh date, and after getting a tour of her basement apartment at the end of the date, Vsevolod presses his luck and asks for a goodnight kiss.
“I suppose you’d like to get home now, instead of talking politics so late at night. Would you like me to walk you to the door, or do you prefer to just walk out yourself? I won’t be offended if you just walk out.” She gets up to shut the light off and then sits back on her bed.
He looks around the room, his heart beating rapidly. “I was actually sort of wondering if, uh, well, you know, if I might be permitted, after seven dates, to, um, be honored with a goodnight kiss.” He immediately looks at the wall. “Sorry if I spoke too boldly or offended you.”
“Look at me, Séva. Do I look like I’m offended? I was wondering when you’d push your luck and ask for that, though I’m also actually very flattered that you waited so long. A lot of men these days expect that on the first date, and think you’re a cold fish if you’re not interested.” She pats the spot next to her. “Have a seat and I’ll give you a little lesson. Of course, I don’t know very much either. I don’t know how to do it passionately like they do in the movies, but at least I know more than you.”
He takes a seat beside her, his whole body trembling.
“Now just close your eyes and try to relax. You never want to have a tight, entirely closed mouth when you romantically kiss someone. And you have to lean your head to the opposite side of the other person, so you don’t bang heads. You never want to jut out your teeth.”
“You’re making me even more nervous,” he complains. “I didn’t think there were so many rules and regulations.”
“You internalize the rules as you get more practice, and don’t even need to consciously think of following them. You just instinctively do them. I’d advise you to just be completely passive and let me do it at first. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s usually better to just follow along. Then you can try to copy what I’m doing, when you feel a little more self-confident.”
Vsevolod closes his eyes, hoping he doesn’t pass out from nerves. Every millisecond seems to last an eternity as he’s waiting. He feels a tingling sensation, like being tickled by butterflies, when Véra kisses him. The huge smile on his face tells her all she needs to know, and she does it again several more times, each time a little longer than the last. When he finally feels emboldened enough to try kissing her back, he puts his arms around her. He isn’t expecting her to pull him down on top of her and to slip her tongue into his mouth. These incredible new sensations increase in intensity when Véra begins moaning softly, the vibrations caressing his mouth like electrical currents.