“I’m going to die a virgin!” Ray groaned theatrically as he thumped his forehead against the table. “The best years of my life, and I am sitting here practicing my refutes for the hundredth time. Shreya, you will just smile at some guy one day and he will fall instantly in love and adore your giggles forever. But I will never find love because I will never be in the game at all!”
“I don’t giggle,” Shreya replied prosaically, moving the coke can out of danger. “Can we practice the Net Neutrality one again?”
“You are heartless! And I hate the net neutrality debate. It is so boring. No one understands it, really. Shreya, I need to get a date. My friends are having wild monkey sex every weekend, and I’m attending debate tournaments.” Ray grabbed the can back and gulped down a healthy swig.
“No one is having wild monkey sex. Most of them are fumbling around trying to unbutton and unzip pants. The new skinny jeans are the best contraceptive, you know?” Shreya grinned at Ray and waved the debate folder for emphasis.
“It’s a conspiracy by adults!” He looked down at his shoes, bright orange today, his one vanity, limited edition sneakers. “You do know most of them aren’t really unzipping girls’ pants. There are .. other .. options.”
Shreya felt her face heat up, as she struggled to seem indifferent. Of course she knew. The sex ed class had been very explicit, their health teacher so very Indian that she seemed like one of her Mom’s friends. It was hard to imagine she would know anything about sex, that she would really know how it felt for a man to kiss her, or do all those things. She knew her parents still had sex, she had caught Dad groping Mom so many times, it was so gross.
“Shreya? Hullo?” Ray had leaned forward to catch her attention, his face so close to hers she could see her reflection in his intelligent brown eyes. He wasn’t smiling any more, and for a long moment she just looked at the familiar lines of his visage. They had spent so much time practicing for debate together, ever since summer camp. They had been together through all the stress, the times they had lost and then the days they had won.
He had a crooked tooth, and it made his smile lop sided. His hair always stood straight up when he ran his hand through it nervously and she had shown him how to use mousse to smooth them down for a tournament. His ears stuck out, and his nose was enormous! But she loved his eyes, they seemed to laugh all the time, reach out to her and really see her, when she was nervous or sad. Everyone else was fooled by her confidence, but he saw the real her, and knew when to joke and when to be serious.
Her eyelids drifted shut and she tilted her chin upwards slightly, breathing so softly. She felt him lean in and his lips softly touched hers, and they felt familiar somehow, inevitable, as though she had always known how it would feel. He pressed down a little firmer, and she sighed, opening her mouth a little to kiss him back. He cupped her face and angled his mouth, getting up and moving around the table, and pulled her up as well, and she went into his arms, knowing this was where she belonged. He hugged her close, his hands tangling in her hair, following the line of her back, holding her close to him. Her arms crept up and wound around his neck and she lost herself in him.

That first kiss
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