Image by Aspen_Aureline @ TDA
I had been kissed three times.
The first time, I was thirteen years old. Michael Morgan had a crush on me. He was in the year above, and had dark blond hair that was just always just a little too scruffy to be cute.
And he liked me. I didn’t know why, and I doubt I ever will. But one night he asked me to sneak out with him after curfew.
And I said yes.
It wasn’t that I particularly liked him. But he liked me, and that was what was important. He said he knew where the kitchens were, but I think he was lying. His dad was an Auror. He’d met the Minister for Magic at a party once. He was a Ravenclaw, and on the Quidditch team, and for all intents and purposes extremely cool. Too cool for me, it turned out.
So it was November, and it was cold, and I’d put on my cutest Muggle clothes with my thick cloak over my shoulders, and he took me up to the West Tower. I remember we rounded one corner and thought we could hear footsteps, and we were scared it was Filch so we hid behind a suit of armour, and I thought, “I can see why bad girls do it”. Because it was exciting, when my heart was pumping and I could get caught at any second. Caught and shamed! Out after hours with a boy! What on earth would my mother say? I thought it might be interesting to find out. However, nobody rounded the corner, so I guess I’ll never know.
We continued, up to the abandoned West Tower. One of the walls had been demolished completely in the war, and although its structural integrity had been restored, the classes once held there had never returned. I wondered why he was taking me there, because it wasn’t interesting, and there was nothing to see. I was a little disappointed that he’d not planned some huge surprise. After the thrill of sneaking out, it seemed anticlimactic.
Then he revealed his true intentions, and kissed me.
That’s essentially where it all went wrong.
Thing is, I could tell he’d done it before. Of course he had; he was older, cooler, more attractive; all these things added up to more experienced. But it was my first kiss and I had no idea what to do. I sort of tried moving my lips about like in films, but I was doing everything at the wrong time and in the wrong way and I was bumping noses and teeth with him, and when he tried to introduce his tongue, I bit it.
That’s right. I bit it.
Which pretty much nipped our romance in the bud.
My second kiss came about a week afterwards. I was very close with my pretty dorm mate, Tally, and though neither of us knew Rose yet I think we could sense a little group in the making. It took a week for me to get over the shame of the non-kiss with Michael. When I could finally describe it without wanting to leap off that very same tower, I described it to Tally.
She, being just generally lovely, assured me the only thing wrong with me was a lack of practise.
And so, somehow, we ended up practising kissing. We sat on her bed and drew the curtains around us and both applied the same cherry chapstick. Then she showed me how to pucker just enough so that I didn’t bump teeth, and how to use just the right amount of tongue, and what felt nice and what felt like snogging a fish.
That kiss was good. Tally was kind, and experienced, and because I knew it didn’t mean anything I didn’t feel awkward. I was never going to want to have sex or a relationship with Tally, so my bad kissing had no consequences.
And that night prepared me for my next kiss, two years later, in the trophy room. During my first and only detention. I’d been passing notes in class with Tally. We’d been lumped in with a bunch of people doing detention the flowing evening. Tally and two others had been sent to scrub cauldrons in the dungeons. The boy who’d done the worst crime – hexing his ex’s new boyfriend so he grew as hairy as a yeti – had been sent to scrub out bedpans in the hospital wing. Which left only me and Craig Finnegan, cleaning trophies, unsupervised because we were generally considered to be quiet and responsible.
So we talked a little, both shy, and we didn’t have much in common so the silences were awkward, but liked each other’s manner and way of thinking. It really wasn’t surprising at all when we kissed. It was sudden, true, but we could both feel it coming. One moment we were polishing a trophy, and then I leaned across him for a new cloth and he intercepted me with his lips.
In a way it was my first proper kiss, because with Michael it had gone so wrong and with Tally it was just for practise, but I always think of it as number three in my kiss history anyway. It was nice. We were old enough to feel like kissing could lead somewhere, though obviously not for a long time. My lessons with Tally, and what I presumed was his actual experience, showed, and the kiss was nice, and we had chemistry, that little spark that makes the difference between a kiss and a snog.
The thing is, I was concentrating too hard on remembering what Tally had told me to do and not to do. He obviously thought it was working, and he told me later that it was the best kiss he’d had, but I wasn’t really into it because I was so preoccupied with not bumping noses and curling my tongue the right way and moving my hands enough but not too much and only to specific places.
We kissed for a long time, and didn’t clean many trophies, but Filch had just retired and the new caretaker didn’t seem to notice, so we got away with it. I assumed that it meant he’d ask me to the Hogsmeade visit that weekend, and then we’d make it official and date for a few months, but we actually didn’t speak again until a few years afterwards. I considered myself heartbroken at the time, but looking back I can see I didn’t even really like him.
And just a few months after that, I discovered Albus Potter, and my obsession began. It was the first time I’d ever really fancied someone for who they were, not because they liked me or because Rose said they were cute. I decided that if Albus Potter didn’t want me, then nobody could have me. I kissed him a million times in my head. In real life he didn’t even wave at me in corridors.
Of my three kisses, the one with Tally was the best. When I pictured Albus Potter kissing me, I pictured him kissing me like she had.