© hotcheri



I OWN NOTHING YOU RECOGNISE (AND SOME THINGS YOU DON'T.) If you steal my work I will take legal action against you. I mean it. I worked really hard on this story and I don't want to read the exact same story on another site with the names changed. Not cool.

© hotcheri.

"… and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together."

Marilyn Monroe


A/N: I rated this story "M" just in case. There's no sex (yet, mwahaha), but it has a lot of talk about sex and –ahem- various descriptions about certain parts of the male and female anatomy. You know what I mean. So just to be on the safe side.

Also, forgive me for my crappy writing in this story. It's the best I could do under the whole 'writers block' circumstances. I'm officially stuck on The Pull of Destiny. Please don't hate me for it. I can't make myself write or I'll end up hating the story so I've decided to just let it come naturally and write when I feel moved. But because I can't not write, I bring you a gift. Enjoy, if you can. I will alert you when there be lemons.

Now enough with the rambling Author's Notes. Let us begin!


Chapter One- It Started With a Kiss.

Nala was definitely not getting locking lips with anybody today. Forget about it, nuh-uh, no damn way.

It was bad enough that she was stuck in a God-forsaken kissing booth on a beautiful summer day, sweating her buns off instead doing what she had initially planned to do during the fair (buy cotton candy, avoid the fortune teller, dunk people). She wasn't going to totally murder her day by kissing a creeper with a cold sore, even if it was in the name of charity.

What kind of example was her mother showing her by signing up her only daughter to kiss complete strangers all day, anyway? Was she saying that it was alright for Nala to be a shameless attention whore like Deanna La Rue, the original 'kissing booth princess'?

Pffft, kissing booth princess. What a joke. To make matters worse, she had to wear a stupid t-shirt emblazoned with the words 'KISS ME' over her bikini top. Oh, the shame.

Every summer, Hazelwood hosted their very own fair. Clowns, candy apple's, kissing booths and dunk tanks reigned supreme. This year was no different. When Wanda, Nala's mother, had forced Nala to become more involved in her community instead of moping around in her bedroom, spending all her time on FictionPress, Nala had finally agreed to help out at the fair on one condition- she would man the dunk tank.

Wrinkling her nose, Nala supposed it was her own damn fault for entrusting her ditzy mother with such an important task. Even though it hadn't seemed like rocket science at the time, Wanda could always be counted to mess things up with her flakiness. All she had needed to do was go to the town hall, find the dunk tank signup sheet and put Nala's name down. It had all panned out so fluidly in Nala's mind, but she hadn't planned on Wanda getting sidetracked by a huge sign that said 'Be a Kissing Princess!'

When you want something done right…

Obviously, Wanda thought that having her daughter operate a kissing booth was the perfect way to make Nala forget that her almost boyfriend had chosen her best friend over her. Then again, Wanda's attempts to cheer Nala up had been anything but conventional thus far. She didn't understand that all Nala wanted was to be left alone in order to figure out how she had misjudged Aaron so badly.


With a sigh, Nala reluctantly allowed an image of Aaron's ruggedly handsome to flash before her eyes. Tall, gorgeous Aaron transferred from Los Angeles High School to Hazel High and immediately started tongues wagging.

"Have you seen his car? It's a 1968 Camaro! 1968! I love a guy with a vintage car…" A female member of the auto club.

"I heard he was the football captain at his last school, and the homecoming king." A social climbing sophomore.

"He is just so hawt! I love Latino guys!" A cheerleader.

Nala didn't really pay attention to the gossip, knowing that she probably wouldn't ever talk to the guy if he was already so popular after only being a Hazel student for all of five minutes, but to her surprise he sat next to her in Language Arts during his first class and asked to borrow a pencil.

"He what?" her best friend Janelle exclaimed when Nala caught up with her in the bathroom to spill the juiciness. "You lucky skank!"

"It was probably just a fluke," Nala said, excitement bubbling through her body nonetheless.

Or was it? Over the course of his first day at Hazel High, Aaron kept finding excuses to come and talk to Nala. Within a couple of weeks they were really good friends, even though Nala kept pinching herself. Why would a hot guy like Aaron find her company amusing? She wasn't a hot, sporty type like Janelle and she could always be counted on to ruin the punch lines to foolproof jokes. But Aaron didn't seem to mind that her only claim to fame was being a sleeping member of the school yearbook, proven when he asked her to the Spring Formal, where they had their first kiss.

"You guys are dating now?" Janelle shrieked over the phone when Nala called to tell her the good news.

"I think so," Nala said, her voice shaking with glee. She could hardly believe it herself. Way to be living proof of the cliché 'popular boy, quiet, sarcastic girl'!

Her happy ending was not to be, however. At an epic end of the school year party, Nala walked in on Aaron and Janelle intensely making out. Her shock, horror and embarrassment was further exacerbated when Aaron took a brief pause from sucking face with a slightly tipsy Janelle to tell her "I never said we were exclusive, you know."

Dun dun dun dun!

And just like that, Nala's teenage dream was over. By the end of the night, everyone at the party knew that Nala got dumped by a guy who wasn't even technically her boyfriend. She had walked home, tears burning down her cheeks as she replayed the worst five minutes of her life in her head over and over again. Janelle called her up the very next day, horrified at the way everything had gone down.

"He just pulled me into the room and started making out with me! I'm so sorry, Nala! I couldn't resist."

"It's okay, Jan," Nala assured her best friend dully. It obviously wasn't okay, but there was nothing Nala could do but watch as Aaron asked Janelle to Junior Prom in front of their Trig class. She supposed she should have seen it coming- Janelle was one of the prettiest girls at Hazel High, garnering attention for her looks and her athleticism. Who wouldn't choose her over Nala? She just wished Aaron hadn't been so cold about it. And she hated herself for wishing, hoping, that one day Aaron would wake up and realize that he still felt something for her, yet she couldn't stop fantasizing about it.

Aaron invited Janelle to go to Peru with him during the summer holiday and she went after asking Nala about a million times if she was sure it was okay with her. Nala decided to isolate herself in the house until everyone forgot about her humiliation at the hands of Hazel High's hunkiest hunk. Unfortunately, one of the 'perks' of living in a smallish town all of her life was that at the end of the week, everybody knew Nala's business.

She supposed it wouldn't have been so bad if people weren't hell-bent on giving her advice all the time.

"You need to get a makeover. When he comes back from Panama or wherever he's at, he'll take one look at you and keel over. This hairdo ain't helping you at all." The owner of the town beauty salon, running a hand over Nala's kinky curls and sighing.

"Make him jealous by hooking up with another guy." The cashier at the grocery store, winking slyly. "Or better yet, another girl."

"Write a song about him, ala Taylor Swift. 'You tore my heart out and threw it to the ground, in front of my peers. Now you're on vacation and I'm moping about, my eyes filled with tears'." Hazelwood's resident struggling song writer.

Even worse than the people who were forking out cliché advice (none of it worked in books, where EVERYTHING worked! How the hell was it gonna work in Nala's screwed up life?) was the group of well-wishers who had appointed themselves as her designated matchmakers.

And one of them just so happened to be her kissing booth partner.

Deanna was already setting things up at the kissing booth when Nala walked up, dragging her director's chair behind her and groaning. This was where she was doomed to spend her entire day? Trapped in a pink clapboard shack with an airhead cheerleader as her only companion? Not that she had anything against Deanna, the girl was harmless. She just talked way too much, which was why Nala had packed her trusty PSP.

"OMG, you made it! That's so totally awesome!"

Her blonde hair streamed behind her as Deanna bounced over to help Nala lug her gear into the kissing booth. Nala set her chair down on the dry grass as Deanna continued to chitchat. The girl was perky, cheerful and loud, which was pretty much everything Nala hated at the moment. She rubbed her sleepy eyes and yawned behind her hand. It was way too early in the morning for anybody to be so chirpy.

"So let me explain how this works. I always run the booth alone, but last year, business was so good that I needed backup." Nala nodded, letting Deanna's chatter wash over her as she unpacked her supplies. Deanna had been running the kissing booth since she was 13 and she knew all the ins and outs of the business. "Here's the two minute timer that we hit before we start kissing. These are the jars that we put the money in. Last year, I filled three!"

Deanna paused, a big smile on her face, and glanced at Nala expectantly. After an awkward silence, Nala realized that she was supposed to say something. "Oh, wow. Two minutes for a kiss is- kinda long."

"I know right? Now, Sandy says we should charge five dollars per kiss, but I have my own rates. I'm not charging five bucks for a frenchie."

That sentence alone had the power to jolt Nala out of her reverie. Staring wildly at Deanna, she shook her head. "Um- Deanna. I'm not French kissing a dude."

Hell no.

Giggling, Deanna settled herself down in her deckchair and unzipped her toiletry bag. "You just say that now," she said appeasingly, twisting open her vamp red lipstick. "Wait until a super hawt guy comes up. Ten bucks for a frenchie! That's how I raised so much money last year."


That's it. Nala was going to kill her mother as soon as she got home. She sank into her chair, her head in her hands. This was going to be a long ass day.

"Now just relax, smile and wait for your first customer!"


Two hours in, Nala had to respect Deanna's business acumen. The girl knew how to handle her business. She was playing the role of sexy siren to the hilt, tossing her golden locks over her shoulder, batting her eyes and flirting with the passers-by. She'd even managed to modify her 'KISS ME' t-shirt into something sexy, gathering the material of the top in front and tying it into a knot just below her tanned ribcage. All of this was spawning results and bringing all the boys (and several girls) to her yard. If the Dallas Cheerleaders didn't have a spot for her next year, there was always a career in porn. Nala didn't think she'd heard that much moaning during a kiss since- ever. Nor did she want to.

Nala's side of the booth was relatively quiet so far. A couple of poor lost souls had ventured hopefully over earlier but all she'd had to do was shake her head, say "Line up starts over there, boys," and point to Deanna's side. They all took the hint. And as for that one loser who kept checking out her boobs, Nala had threatened to kick him in the 'nads if he didn't stop looking. That got rid of him pretty fast.

After that, word had apparently gotten around that one half of the kissing booth belonged to a prickly black girl who didn't want to messed with. Just how Nala liked it.

"OMG!" By now, Nala was sure that OMG was Deanna's favorite word, which was upsetting, considering it wasn't even a word at all. Reluctantly tearing her eyes from her PSP (Cheaters was getting buck wild) Nala looked up at Deanna expectantly. "Look at all the money I've made so far!"

Deanna had hit a lull in business and was electing to spend her well-earned break stuffing the money in a special safe she kept chained to her chair. She sat cross legged on the ground, her lips moving silently as she counted.

Running a hand over her tied back hair, Nala raised her eyebrows, trying to look as impressed as she could. "Props."

Nosily, Deanna craned her neck to glance over at Nala's side of the booth. "How about you? How much-," she started, stopping in mid-sentence as she stared at Nala's pitifully empty jar. Her eyes wide with disbelief, she whispered "Did you even kiss a single person?"

Despite herself, Nala's cheeks flushed as she squirmed under Deanna's affronted stare. "Nope," she replied, trying to appear as flippant as possible.

It wasn't her fault that she wasn't as vested in this as Deanna seemed to be, was it?

"Nala," Deanna wailed, crossing her arms over her chest and shooting Nala a petulant look.

Shrugging, Nala exclaimed "What? You know I didn't want to do this, Deanna. I wanted to work at the dunk tank."

"The dunk tank is boring!" Deanna rolled her eyes, apparently totally offended that Nala would prefer the childish pull of the dunk tank over her kissing booth. "All the nerds go there!" She spread her arms as she continued, her eyes lighting up. "Here you get a chance to see hot, hot guys!"

"More like walking STD's," Nala grumbled, popping a Cheeto into her mouth and savoring the cheesy flavor. "What kind of normal guy comes to a kissing booth to get some action? I'd rather stick with the nerds. At least they have fun dunking people."

"Guys who come to kissing booths don't have STD's, Nala," Deanna said, pursing up her lips like she had just bitten into a lemon.

"Yeah, well, I just don't want to get herpes. Hence the non-kissing." Pulling at her shirt to get some air flow going, Nala continued, "I just want to watch my- movie- in peace."

Deanna already thought she was lame. There was no way she was going to give her proof of that by telling her that she was watching Cheaters, the cheesiest show on TV.

"You know what?" Deanna said suddenly, shaking a finger in the air.

Warily, keeping a watchful eye on that wagging finger, Nala asked "What?"

"I'm going to help you out." Deanna said this with a big smile on her face. Nala didn't like that smile at all. It was a smile that would have felt right at home in Nalaville, but it was far too conniving to belong on Deanna's face.

"Um, that's okay. Thanks, though." Nala tacked a fake smile onto her face. "I don't need to be helped out."

Deanna's smile widened and her eyes misted over. "I think you do. Here you are, wallowing in your grief when all you need is some eye candy to take your mind off of things."

Nala frowned. That was unexpected. Where in her body language did it show Deanna that she needed eye candy? And all that 'wallowing in your grief' crap? Who had died recently? "Really, I'm fine."

"You're not!" Deanna stood up, hands on her slim hips as she shook her hair back and fixed Nala with a look. Nala let out an inaudible sigh. She knew what that look said- 'let me help you'.

Nala had seen that look many times in her mother's soft brown eyes, right after the incident that had ripped her childhood from her had happened. Way back when, when she was so quiet that nobody risked talking to her, back when she couldn't smile anymore because smiles belonged to happier times, belonged to that time in her life when he was around. And every day, her mother would look up as she plodded into the kitchen and ask her "Are you okay, sweetie?"

Nala would nod and say yes, she was fine, when in fact she had been awake all night just trying to remember what his laugh sounded like. Her mother would sigh and nod and act like everything was fine, but her eyes would have that look.

Let me in. Let me help you.

Nala swallowed hard against the lump in her throat, her body suddenly covered in goose bumps, belying the heat that was making the parched ground shimmer. It definitely wouldn't do to think about that! Where had those sudden memories come from, anyway? Lord knows she had never shared them with anyone, not even Janelle, not even Aaron, and she had told Aaron quite a bit about how much she missed the only man in her life.

And it still hadn't meant a thing to him. All he cared about was using her to get to Janelle, just because Janelle was infinitely more dateable than she was. Nala didn't hate Janelle for it, but she knew she would never be able to trust her best friend ever again.

And also, if she didn't learn to lock her memories away, Nala was going to have a problem.

Obviously taking Nala's momentary journey to the past as a sign that she agreed with her, Deanna continued in her 'What's eating Nala' analysis.

"After the Aaron drama, you need some eye candy." Nala snickered a little at how Deanna whispered the name 'Aaron', like hearing it at full volume would upset Nala. All she felt was a sharp pang after hearing his name, which was good. Directly after all the hoopla had gone down, she couldn't look at his face without wanting to cry. "He did you wrong and you're hurting. Why didn't I notice this before? I'm so stupid!"

Deanna tugged at her hair as Nala stared at her, biting her lip nervously. Uh oh. Was Deanna about to fly off the handle and go ham on her? Because Nala definitely didn't want to stick around for that experience.

"Deanna, I'm so not interested in eye candy right now."

Not because she was still upset over the 'Aaron drama', but because Deanna's taste in men was similar to Snooki's. A juicehead gorilla with 'roid rage was something Nala didn't think she needed.

But once Deanna had made up her mind, she couldn't be swayed. "Don't be silly," she said derisively. One of my friends is gonna come by. You'll love him!"


For all the wrong reasons.

Nala smelt Deanna's friend before she saw him. The pungent stench of 'TMA' (Too Much Axe) wafted down to her and she sniffed, almost choking on the cloying smell. Looking up, her mouth dropped open as she took in the sight before her.

All Ed Hardy everything. Nala's douche bag meter was beeping off the charts. This guy standing in front of her half of the kissing booth was a Grade A goon.

"Yo, what up, ma?"

Fighting to keep the laugh from bubbling up her throat, Nala focused instead on checking out the guy who looked like he had just stepped out of Jersey Shore. He was tall with dark tanned skin, slicked back black hair absolutely drenched in gel and he was wearing a thick gold chain around his neck. And a white Ed Hardy sweat suit. The guy was totally disregarding the heat that made Nala wish she could get away with wearing just her bikini and looking at him made her want to melt into a puddle and disappear.

From behind Ed Hardy Douche, Deanna evidently took Nala's 'LMFAO' face for an impressed one, because she grinned happily and gave her the thumbs up sign.


That was pretty much all Nala could say without bursting into gales of hysterical laughter.

"So, how much for a kiss?" Ed Hardy Douche licked his lips in an attempt to be seductive (gag). He leaned against the booths counter to get a closer look at her. Nala felt his eyes roving over her body and wished she had a blanket to cover her legs. Stupid shorts. "I'm gonna rock your world."

Wow, he got straight to the point. Time for Nala to give him the old heave-ho. Luckily, she was good at that, having being Janelle's wing woman for so long. Douches of all shapes, sizes and ages flocked to Janelle on a regular basis. Poor girl was a jerk magnet.

Forcing her fakest smile on her face, Nala said "Sorry, I've got herpes."

"What?" Ed Hardy Douche cocked his head towards her, a confused look on his face.

"You heard me. Herpes. I has it."

Taking a step back, Ed Hardy Douche's face turned a sallow shade of green. "Oh."

He looked like he was about to throw up onto his pink gator shoes.

Pink. Gator. Shoes.

"Have a little compassion, jeeze," Nala exclaimed, pouting. "It's not like you've never had it before."

"I haven't." Ed Hardy Douche was clearly searching for an escape route, but Nala wasn't done playing with him just yet.

Puckering her lips at him, she said "There's always the first time," in a sultry voice.

"Uh, I'll pass."

"Your loss." Nala winked at him, enjoying making him feel so uncomfortable. "I would have taken you all around the freaking world, baby."

Ed Hardy Douche glanced over at Deanna, hoping she would save him, but she was busy with a customer. "Hey, I gotta go."

He almost tripped over his crocodile skin shoes in his hurry to get away. Nala settled back down onto her comfy chair, snickering evilly. Perfect after lunch entertainment.

"So? Did you like him?" Deanna asked once she had gotten rid of her customer.

Twisting her lips in distaste, Nala gave Deanna the thumbs down sign.

"You're not even trying to meet new guys!" Deanna exclaimed, an exasperated scowl on her pretty face.

"At a kissing booth? You think I'mma meet Mr. Right here? For real?"

What, exactly, was in Deanna's red Styrofoam cup, because it definitely wasn't water if she was thinking that manning a kissing booth was a good way to meet guys.

Blue eyes flashing, Deanna said "Not Mr. Right, silly! Mr. Right now!" Her voice dropped conspiratorially. "My friend met her boyfriend at the Food Court."

"Props to your friend," Nala said disinterestedly. She really couldn't care less where Deanna's friend met her stupid boyfriend. God, couldn't she go anywhere without people trying to hook her up with the nearest Tom, Dick and Harry?

Ignoring the bored vibe Nala was purposely sending out, Deanna continued. "You need to get out there and show these guys what you've got! You're not gonna do that if you keep reading books and watching movies on your PSP."

Nala sighed. She knew that Deanna was speaking out of the goodness of her heart, but she couldn't help feeling attacked on some level. Why couldn't people just let her alone? If a guy came into her life, it wouldn't be due to the fact that Nala went out looking for him! These things were supposed to only happen when you weren't looking, right? "I think I'm good, thanks."

"Aaron's not worth it."

Deanna spoke quietly yet her words echoed in Nala's ears.

"I know that," Nala protested, looking at her hands because she was sure that if she peeked at Deanna's face, that 'let me help you' look would be in her eyes and that was something she didn't need to see again. "I'm not pining over him."

"Good, coz I know he's not thinking about you. He's in Mexico or someplace, soaking up the sun with Janelle. And you're here with me, raising money for a good cause. So try and have fun and for God's sake, kiss somebody!"


As the day wore on, Deanna was on her fourth cash filled jar. Business was so good that she had given up the vamp red lipstick for Chap Stick to soothe her overworked lips. She had also given up on trying to hook Nala up with randoms, for which Nala was eternally grateful. In fact, she had pretty much given up everything since the tall, blond surfing type dude came up to the booth. They had been talking for over ten minutes, with Deanna gushing over his 'hawt' accent (he was from Australia) and his tattooed arms. Nala thought he was a little on the jerk off side, but Deanna seemed to like her jerks (side eye at Ed Hardy Douche), so she didn't say anything.

"Hey, Nala?"

"Yeah?" Nala said, pausing her show to look at Deanna. She was slipping her feet into her jeweled sandals, one hand on Aussie Boys tanned shoulder for balance.

"I'm just going to go grab a corn dog with…. Uh…." she started, giving Aussie Boy an abashed giggle. Nala resisted the urge to roll her eyes to the ceiling. This relationship did not look promising.

Easily, like he was used to this thing happening all the damn time with his hookups, Aussie Boy said "Ian."

"With Ian, okay?"

One thing Nala could say about Deanna, she never missed a beat.

"Alrighty," Nala replied.

"I'll be right back."

As a precaution, Deanna handed Nala the safe. Nala placed it under her handy chair, a huge smile on her face as she waved Deanna and Ian away. "Take your time!"

Alone at last, Nala took a sip of her pink lemonade. She languidly stretched, rolling her neck in a circle to release the stiff feeling in her bones.

A ray of sun found its way through the cracks in the clapboard booth, its light dappling on her skin. It was a waste of a gorgeous day, but then again, it wasn't as though she'd had anything better to do. Reveling in the silence now that Deanna wasn't there, she paused the movie (Finding Nemo) to reapply some of her favorite cherry lip gloss to her lips. Nala had a love-hate relationship with her flavored lip-gloss. It tasted so good that she was always licking it off her lips, which consequently always made her lips dry. Stupid lip gloss.


As soon as Nala was starting to really get into the movie, a shadow fell over her and she groaned silently. Typical. Someone from Deanna's fan base had returned for more. Maybe if she ignored whoever it was, he or she would take the hint and vamoose.

So Nala kept her eyes glued to the PSP screen, even as a slightly husky voice chuckled above her.

"Kissing booth?"

The person, undoubtedly male, (and an immature one at that) snickered loudly. Nala rolled her eyes. Probably a 13 year old kid wanting to try his luck. Well, he wasn't gonna get lucky with her. This cookie jar stayed closed.

"Does the CDC know about this mono spreading contraption?"

Another chuckle. Nala fought to keep a smile off of her face. That was similar to what she had told her mom when Wanda informed her that she would be a part of the kissing booth madness- "I'm gonna call the Public Health Services on them."

"Hey. 'Scuse me?" Nala pressed her lips together. Why was he still here? And being loud, obnoxious and just plain aggravating? Couldn't he read her 'I want nothing to do with you' body language? "Yo, kissing princess? How much for a kiss?" the voice persisted.

No longer able to pretend that she was unaware of his presence, Nala reluctantly paused her movie and glanced up. A tall guy with short, unruly brown hair was staring down at her, an anticipatory grin on his face.

"Sorry, you'll have to wait," Nala said, injecting a false apologetic tone into her voice. "The real Kissing Booth princess will be back in a while."

In other words, just chill out.

Biting his bottom lip, the guy gazed at Nala for a couple of seconds. Nala squinted against the sun, trying to focus on the guys face. Maybe she knew him from somewhere- did his t-shirt really say 'I Piss Excellence'? "Um… your t-shirt- super cute, by the way- says 'kiss me'."

Nala exhaled loudly, looking the guy up and down as he stepped closer. Pretty hilarious t-shirt, black cargo shorts and clean Nike sneakers- everything about him screamed prep. His dark hair was tousled all over the place and he looked to be around her age. There was really no reason for him to be acting so dumb. So what if her t-shirt said 'kiss me'? He didn't really piss excellence, did he? Not that Nala wanted to find out...

"Thank you, Captain Obvious," she retorted smugly, tossing her ponytail.

Excellence blinked at her before his lips parted in the most adorable grin Nala had ever seen. "You're welcome, Lieutenant Sarcasm," he replied, the corners of his eyes crinkling as he chuckled. "And you know I've been waiting for a chance to say that for a while now, so thanks."

"I really don't doubt that." Feeling a breeze around her midriff, Nala tugged her t-shirt down over the waistband of her denim shorts, feeling Excellence's cheery eyes wandering over her body as she did so. That made her feel slightly heated for some bizarre reason and she took a quick sip of her lemonade. "Look, I don't really care what my t-shirt says. I'm not kissing you, or anybody, today."

"But you're sitting behind a kissing booth. Wearing a t-shirt that says 'kiss me'," Excellence pointed out, leaning against the booth counter and looking down at Nala.

"Not by choice, clearly," Nala said, narrowing her eyes. Was he staring at her lips as she spoke?

Starting to feel like he was slowly undressing her with his eyes, his gaze was that intense, Nala stood up, thinking that she might just have the upper hand if she was on her feet. Bad move. His eyes went straight to her legs, long, brown and shapely. Once again, Nala regretted wearing her denim shorts. 'It seemed like a good idea at the time' rang through her head.

"Yeah, I can tell you don't really look that psyched," Excellence remarked, languidly scratching his chin. His tone turned vaguely teasing as he continued, dragging his eyes back up to her face. "What's wrong? Kissed too many frogs today?" He grinned again, biting down on his bottom lip sexily. Nala gulped, almost fanning herself. Perfect white teeth, full lips...That was way hotter than it should have been. "I'll be your prince for the day. I promise."

This wasn't going well. Excellence was doing a pretty good job of flustering Nala and she didn't even know why. Sure, he was cute, in a generic way, but he was nothing special. He could be that random guy she was always sitting next to on the bus, or that dude from the library. He shouldn't be getting to her like this, but something about his smile…. Ugh. It was high time she stopped this ridiculousness in its tracks.

"If you just wait for a few minutes, Deanna will be back. She's the real deal. Been running the kissing booth since she was 13 years old."

The hint was totally missed by Excellence.

"But you're here."

"And I'm queer. Get over it." Nala stepped back, enjoying the suspicious look that flitted over the cute guys face. He was like an open book, did he know that?

Excellence shook his head finally, deciding that Nala was playing games with him. "You don't look queer."

"And you don't look stupid. So I'll repeat myself." She drew herself up to her full height of 5'4 and glowered right into Excellence's eyes. And discovered in the process that Excellence had super gorgeous eyes. Hazel, flecked with green and gold. Yummy. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to be looking into his eyes while she was trying to be stern with him, though. "I'm not kissing anyone today."

A crooked grin. "But I've had all my shots, princess."


"Good for you, Excellence."

Excellence narrowed his eyes in thought, apparently trying to figure out what Nala was getting at with the whole 'Excellence' reference. Finally he looked down at his t-shirt and chuckled. His laugh was something Nala wouldn't have minded hearing every day. Husky, low and sexy. The admission disturbed her to the core and she made up her mind that as soon as Deanna came back, she was going to go straight home and hop into a cold shower. Obviously the heat was getting to her in a major way. It definitely wasn't Excellence who was having that effect on her.

"My name's not Excellence."

Nala widened her eyes in mock surprise, making Excellence laugh even harder. "Wow, no kidding? Well, my name isn't princess."

Tugging on the hem of his t-shirt, Excellence grinned at her and her heart rate sped right up. That's it. Cold shower it was. At least five minutes. The way he was making her feel just wasn't right. "I figured as much. So, what is your name?"


Nala had to grin at the mystified look on Excellence's face. It was pretty cute. She could practically see the cogs turning in his head. "Que?"

"Nunya business!"

Placing a hand over his heart, Excellence sighed dramatically. "Ouch, that hurts. Well, my name is-," he started.

Nala raised her hand to stop him in his tracks. She didn't need to know his name. There was no reason for them to even be having this conversation, yet here they were. And to Nala's surprise, she was enjoying it a little too much, sneaking little glances at him when she was sure he wasn't looking. He had a healthy golden tan which certainly didn't come from a bottle and, from what she could see, nicely muscled arms. Excellence probably worked out. Nala wondered if he had just moved to Hazelwood. He definitely didn't go to Hazel High or else she would have recognized him immediately. Maybe he went to the private school. That would explain why she had never seen him around. The private scholars tended to keep to themselves. Most, if not all of them, lived on Diamond Row, where all the rich people lived.

"Don't say it. Please. Just don't."

Looking slightly upset, Excellence said "Why?" in a small, dejected voice.

As nicely as she could, Nala replied "Because I don't want to know your name."

Why were the cute ones so dumb?

A cunning expression slid on his face. "But if you don't know my name, how are we gonna connect? I wanna Kinect with you. K-i-n-e-c-t."

Nala couldn't stop the laughter from escaping her body. Giggling, she managed to splutter "You obviously failed English."

"It's a play on words, princess," Excellence explained, looking slightly gratified that Nala was laughing nonetheless. Nala decided not to let him know that she was laughing at him, not with him. "You do know about the Xbox Kinect, don't you?" His eyes fell on Nala's PSP, which lay forgotten on her chair. "Or maybe you don't, seeing as you're obviously Team PS." A derisive snort. "Play Station sucks."

"Tell someone who cares," Nala retorted. She didn't care what this goof said; she was a PS lover for life! "Now, shoo, fly, don't bother me."

Excellence grinned indulgently. "That's not nice, princess. All I want is a kiss. From you, preferably. I'm gonna pay, I swear."

"Dude." Nala was ready to pull out her hair in big handfuls over this infuriating guy. "You are not listening to me."

His eyes widened innocently and he gave Nala an endearing look of utmost focus. "I am listening," he protested. Unfortunately, it looked like he was mostly concentrating on not laughing, something which didn't go over well with Nala.

So she decided to regain control over the situation. It was way too hot to stand around arguing with a simple minded prep, even though he did have a sexy smile.

"Just because I'm sitting behind this stupid booth wearing this stupid shirt that says 'kiss me' doesn't mean you're gonna get a chance to kiss me. So why don't you go home and make out with your action figures?"

"You know what this is?" Excellence folded his arms across his chest, eyeing Nala unyieldingly. Nala didn't bother asking 'what', mostly because she had a feeling that he was about to tell her whether she liked it or not. He just seemed like that kind of guy. "False advertisement. This is like clicking on what seems to be porn only to find that you've been Rick rolled. I hate being Rick rolled." He pooched out his bottom lip, actually making the puppy dog face look cute instead of ridiculous. "Not cool."

Nala shrugged, desperately wanting some lemonade to cool herself off but not wanting to bend down because she knew that Excellence was going to check out her butt. Grrr. "It is what it is," she said glibly.

"You want me to call your boss and get you fired for not wanting to kiss me?"

Nala's mouth dropped open. Now he was really playing hardball. All this over a measly kiss? And she thought she wasn't getting any action! If only he knew that getting fired didn't really faze her, since she wasn't even getting paid for this gig.

"Oh my gosh, really? You would do that for me?" she said sarcastically, watching as Excellence pulled out an iPhone (Nala totally called that; he was such an iPhone kind of guy). "Here's the number."

She started to recite a totally random number from the top of her head; her voice trailing off in confusion as Excellence suddenly put his phone on the counter and pulled out a wrinkled five dollar bill from his pocket.

"You know what, screw this," he said conversationally, dropping the bill into Nala's empty jar. Looking up at Nala, he shot her a sunny smile. "My contribution to this awesome charity. 'To Write Love on Her Arms' is really helpful if you're depressed and suicidal. Not that I think you are depressed or suicidal, but- yeah. I dig it."

"Jeeze, thanks," Nala muttered, nonplussed by the sudden change. Suddenly, Excellence didn't want to argue with her? No more 'kinecting'? Or was he trying to con her? "I'm sure they'll appreciate it, coming from a charmer like yourself."

"I've paid the price. Now- I'm thinking I deserve my kiss."

Before Nala could do more than blink, Excellence was right in front of her. Cripes, he was so fast that she hadn't even seen him move! Okay, so maybe she was exaggerating just a tad, but the guy moved quick. And now he was right in front of her, where she could touch him if she wanted to. And to her surprise (and disgust) she did want to touch him. Nala wanted to run her hands across his toned arms and feel his body against hers and- and he was looking into her eyes like he wanted to do the same to her!

"Dude, I told you-," Nala started, her heart thumping faster as she backed herself up against the booth wall. Her irregular pulse was nothing to do with 'what if he's a serial rapist and killer' scenarios that should have been playing through her head. Nope, instead it had everything to do with 'OMG he's so close to me that we're almost touching and he smells soooo damn good'.

He did smell good, a mixture of soap and some absolutely divine cologne.

"I know what you said, princess," Excellence said, his warm breath fanning over her face as he spoke. Nala swallowed hard as, out of the blue, his warm hands came down to rest on her shoulders, running the pads of his fingers lightly over the bare skin around her bikini straps. "But sometimes what you say and what you want are two different things."

It was a miracle that Nala's voice didn't shake as she asked "And you know that because?"

Excellence's hands slid slowly up and down Nala's arms, pushing the baggy sleeves of her t-shirt up over her shoulders. The touch alone was raising goose bumps. She tried not to think about how his warm hands on her arms was making her feel, awakening sensations in her that had been dormant for- well, for her whole life! And she failed. They locked gazes, Excellence holding hers suggestively.

"I'm a guy. Pretty attractive, some people even call me hot." He said that without a trace of arrogance, simply stating facts, his eyes piercing into hers. "You're a really cute girl. And you're sitting behind a kissing booth wearing a t-shirt that says 'kiss me'. And I just dropped five dollars into your jar." His voice was no more than a whisper as he slid his hands back up Nala's arms sensually in a single-minded attempt to turn her on. He moved forward till he had her completely backed up against the clapboard wall, so close that she could feel his body heat through her clothes, and said "Technically, I deserve to get what I paid for. And I paid for a kiss."

Nala's skin was tingling from his soft, searing touch on her arms and the faint whiff of his clean smelling cologne was making her woozy. It was either that or the sun. At this point, Nala was positive that if it wasn't for his hot, hot, sinewy body pressing her up against the wall, she would have slid down to the ground by now, her legs felt that weak. Not that she was complaining. He was so toying with her, lowering his head till their noses were touching, his mouth hovering bare millimeters above hers. The reasonable part of her mind was shutting down fast, especially as she made the dire mistake of glancing at his full, parted lips.

She tried to dredge up her last piece of resistance, futile as it seemed.

"Look, I think you need to back up-," she started, her breathing quickening. Nala could hear his heart beat through his t-shirt; it was racing just as fast as hers. He stared down at her, licking his lips enticingly and her hands, which had been swinging by her sides, spontaneously reached up to grab loose fistfuls of Excellence's t-shirt. So much for resistance.

"Pucker up, princess," he murmured, brushing his lips temptingly over Nala's as he spoke.

When he bent his head for their lips to meet, his clean scent surrounding the air around her, Nala didn't even try to stop him.

His warm lips were as soft as they looked and as they moved leisurely against hers, Nala's eyes slid closed. Deliberately, his hands slipped down her arms to grip her hips, talented fingers sneaking under her ill-fitting t-shirt and stroking her sides as he pulled her closer. Like he was taunting her, he slowly ran the tip of his tongue over her bottom lip, tasting her and making her moan into the kiss. His fingers dug into Nala's skin as she moaned, assuring her that, for whatever reason, he was into this as much as she was.

Kissing this guy, hell, just touching him, was enough to make Nala feel lightheaded and she didn't know why. It just felt so good…

Letting go of Excellence's t-shirt, Nala slipped her hands under it to trace his firm abs with her fingers. His stomach muscles tensed under her touch and she smirked internally, letting her hands roam freely.

The loud chatter of passers-by forcibly reminded her that they were still at the fair, but she was too turned on by Excellence to care.

Usually, Nala shied away from any displays of PDA, but it seemed that the outgoing, sluttish side of her had taken the wheel. And skanky Nala had no qualms in raking her fingers down Excellence's hard stomach as he kissed her.

Her hands rose higher as she grew bolder, his t-shirt rubbing against her overheated skin. They drew in simultaneous breaths as her palm scraped over his nipple and he bit down on her lip gently, groaning ever so sexily into her mouth. He teased her lips with his tongue, sucking, licking and nibbling to get a reaction out of her, sending prickles of pleasure running up and down her spine. And he kissed well. Oh God, he kissed so well, in a way that made Nala's toes curl in her flat's, that had every inch of her skin burning with desire. His mouth slid over hers, sucking on her bottom lip until her lips parted in a moan. Excellence's tongue tantalizingly swept over her lips, licking its way into her mouth, and he groaned when his tongue met hers.

His warm hands slipped up Nala's stomach, gently caressing her belly as he slid his velvety tongue in and out of her mouth, tormenting her. She squirmed against him as his hands traveled higher, his fingers gently, tentatively, brushing against her nipples on the outside of her bikini top. Letting out a surprised whimper at how good that felt, Nala gripped the waistband of his shorts, pulling him closer until his lean body was pressed against hers. Daringly, she let her teeth nip at the fullness of his lower lip, and in response, she was rewarded by a soft, shuddering moan as his hips rocked forward.

Nala gasped as he pushed up against her, gripping her hips as he pressed his growing arousal against her bare thigh. She couldn't help but tremble at the feeling his hot hardness through the thick material of his shorts awakened in her. And, like it or not, she had something to do with that happening and Lord knows, she liked it. She'd never had so much power over any male in her life and just the thought that she was standing here in a crazy busy small-town fair, making out with a complete stranger was amazingly tantalizing to her. His belt buckle chafing against her stomach, Excellence let out a disappointed moan as she slid her hands from under his shirt to tangle her fingers in his soft, messy hair. God, she could get used to kissing him. She could get very used to it. They'd only been doing it for a matter of minutes, but it felt so familiar somehow, so right, like she'd done it before.

Her breath was ragged as she tried to imitate what he was doing, tongue, more tongue, oh damn, he tasted of cotton candy. Nala groaned helplessly against his mouth, and he pulled back, breathing hard as he said, "Fuck."

The sobering realization of what she had just done came flooding in as Nala kept her eyes shut, hoping, nay, praying, that this was just a dream. There was no way she had actually just made out with a complete stranger and let him touch her boobs, was there? Maybe if she kept her eyes shut, he would take the hint and go away.

No such frigging luck.

"Princess? Wake up." Excellence tapped her nose persistently and Nala reluctantly opened her eyes, only to see a seductive and victorious gleam in his gorgeous eyes. Sadist.

Her mind was still so blown by his audacity (it was definitely not the way he kissed that was making her see stars, no way Jose) that Nala grasped the first thing her mind came up with to cut the sexual tension.

"You used tongue," she said, hating her voice for sounding so breathless, so turned on.

Excellence grinned. "Que?" he asked slowly, eyes dropping to her lips like he wanted to kiss her again, God forbid.

"You used tongue," Nala repeated, squirming until she finally managed to worm her way out from against the wall. "That's ten bucks."

Well, she was only following Deanna's rule, after all.

At the thought of Deanna, Nala's cheeks flushed. God, she had totally refused to kiss a guy that Deanna knew and had instead had an intense make out session with a total stranger! What was she going to say? What the hell had she been thinking?

"Wow, look at you, you little haggler," Excellence said, sounding genuinely impressed. He was obviously ignoring Nala's sudden discomfort at what had just happened between them. Reaching into the pocket of his shorts, he pulled out a crumpled twenty dollar bill and leaned forward to tuck it carefully into the visible strap of her bikini top. She flinched as he touched her, her senses still heightened. "It was worth every single cent, princess," he whispered, a cute crooked grin turning up his lips.

And with that parting shot, he sauntered off, not looking back once as he walked away. Leaving Nala standing in the same spot, her knees shaking from the raw lust the mystery guy had awakened in her. Never, in her life, had she expected something like this to happen to her, quiet, sarcastic Nala. And now he was gone, possibly heading to make another girls life a living hell with his persistence and that danged cute smile and- and- was that his phone gleaming on the counter?

Her legs still quaking from that unsettling kiss, Nala stepped forward and stared down at the forgotten iPhone. What was that saying her friend Santana liked to use? Payback is a bitch. A small smile touched the corners of her lips as she picked it up and put it in her pocket.

"This is going to be fun."


A/N: Somebody shoot me. This third person storytelling for me is- an epic #fail. This chapter is a nightmare. And Fictionpress needs to step its game up with the fricking formatting!! But I like 'Excellence'. He's truly the redeeming factor here, at least to me. More soon…. If you actually want more. If not- I'll just sweep this under the rug and we'll pretend it never happened. I just had to post something to reassure you that I'm still alive and still trying to write.


Till next time… deuces.