Pashin’, or, the Worst Kiss ever

This is a gross first kiss story. If your stomach is weak, I strongly advise you to skip it. Move onto the next story. I’m sure it’s much more sweet and wholesome. You do not want to go where I am about to take you.

This isn’t my first kiss story (to be honest I can’t remember my first kiss). It belongs to a friend. Ordinarily I’d be suspicious of this story, but unlike me, this friend does not lie. She is a truth teller and first told me this story not long after it happened. I have never forgotten. Well, okay, I’ve never forgotten the main bit. I’ve completely forgotten all the bibs and bobs. The core of what follows is true; the rest I made up.

It happened at a party in Sydney, Australia. The first party my friend had been to (that didn’t involve pesky parents). She—let’s call her Gemma—was fifteen and had never been kissed. She had big hopes of achieving kissage that night because the boy she had an enormous crush on—we’ll call him Tom—was going to be there and he had actually spoken to her at school the day before even though he was a year ahead of her. Admittedly, he had only asked if she knew where Ms Leatherbarrow, one of the PE teachers was, but he could have asked anyone and he chose her. Gemma was sure it was a sign.

She and her best friend—picking another random-yet-popular-in-Australia name—Kylie got together hours and hours before the party. They did each other’s make up. Then wiped off the clown faces and started over. (“I can’t believe you drew a moustache on me!” “Why did you make my mouth look ginormous?”) They swapped clothes and lippy and plans and ate violet crumbles and pizza.

They wound up wearing jeans and a nice top (Gemma in one of Kylie’s and Kylie in one of Gemma’s). That way they were dressed up, but not too dressed up. Naturally, when they got to the party, none of they boys were wearing anything that could be described as too dressed up or even dressed up. Not even nice. Most of them were in torn jeans and torn T-shirts. The boys’d skipped the dressed up option all together.

The house the party was in hadn’t though. Despite there being girls and boys hanging off the furniture, the staircases, the balconies, and dropping ash and spilling beer and pizza. Gemma had never seen such a dressed up house. She wondered who lived there.

The ceiling was so high you’d need a crane to change the light bulbs. The back verandah had a view of the Harbour Bridge and Luna Park. There was a grand piano! Gemma had never seen a piano that big. Not up close. Two girls were playing chopsticks and laughing. The piano made even chopsticks sound kind of okay.

But Gemma couldn’t find Tom anywhere. And then Kylie started talking with this other guy and Gemma was on her own and realised that the only people she knew there had either hooked up or were too mean to talk to her.

Music blasted out of nowhere. Gemma couldn’t see any speakers. She put her hands over her ears and slipped out to the back verandah where it wasn’t as ear breaking. Chopsticks was wiped out completely.

Someone handed her a beer from the esky in the corner. The last time she’d tried it, she hadn’t liked beer. She popped off the top and had a sip. Still pretty foul with a nasty bitter aftertaste. But at least drinking gave her something to do. She watched the lights flashing at Luna Park. Her beer was already empty. She fished an alcoholic lemonade out of the esky. It tasted heaps better than the beer.

“Did you see they’ve got a yacht?”

Gemma turned, but the tall boy was talking to Jessica Sutton-Brown, not to her. Jessica never spoke to Gemma at school even though they had pretty much all the same classes. She didn’t think Gemma was cool enough. Or something. That was fine. Gemma didn’t think Jessica was interesting enough.

“See that white thing down behind those trees?” he said, pointing. Gemma looked and saw glimpses of something big and white. She tried to imagine having a yacht moored off your backyard. Her backyard had a hills hoist and her mum’s herb garden.

Fireworks went off and the verandah got more crowded. Gemma liked fireworks. She sipped her drink and oohed and ahhed along with everyone else.

“You finished with that?” someone yelled in her ear.

She turned to see a pimply boy slightly taller than her. He took the now empty lemonade from her, dropped it in a huge garbage bag, handed her an empty plastic cup from a big stack of them, and then poured a reddy brown drink into it.


Things were floating in the liquid. Gemma hoped they were fruit. She took a very tentative sip. It was sweet and spicy and alcoholy and very yummy. The lumps were fruit. “Mmmm,” she said. “This is brilliant.” But the boy was already pouring for someone else.

At the end of her third cup of yummy brown drink with floating fruit bits, Gemma decided it was time to search for Tom again. There were heaps more people than before. She had to hold her cup high and weave between them. The music didn’t seem so loud anymore because the sound of everyone talking and yelling and dancing came close to drowning it out.

She passed Kylie under the stairs wedged so close to her boy that you could hardly tell who was who. It looked like they were trying to gobble up each other’s faces. Gemma shuddered. It did not look like fun. Kylie’s make up was smeared. And the boy’s T-shirt was practically torn off. Though, to be fair, it had been pretty torn to start with.

She did not find Tom. But someone found her. “I’m Davo,” he said. “Wanna pash?” He was staring at her mouth.

Davo was much taller than Gemma. He had no pimples and was blonde and tan. He looked like he knew how to surf.

Gemma said, “Sure.”

Davo led her down the steps from the kitchen into the backyard. There was a rock garden and lots of ferns and flowers everywhere. The house was so bright that Gemma could see pretty well. Everything was a bit wavery though. She wondered how long it took to make a garden like that. Must be really hard. Specially as it was so slopey.

“Nice garden,” she said.

“Yeah. My dad’s really into it.”

“Is this your house?”


“It’s a big house. Is that really a yacht through there?” At the bottom of the garden something large and white bobbed in the harbour. “Are your parents posh?”



“It’s a yacht and they’re posh.”

“Crap!” Gemma slipped and the slopiness made righting herself tricky. Davo grabbed her arm.

“You okay?”

“Yeah,” Gemma said since it was her turn to say it.

“Come here.” Davo still had her arm. He pulled her down to the bottom of the garden past the trees and onto the jetty. Gemma had never been to a house that had a jetty at the end of the garden and a great big yacht moored to that jetty.

“That’s a big yacht,” she said. The jetty wasn’t slopey like the garden, but it made up for it by swaying. Although she couldn’t see the people on the balcony she could hear them talking, yelling, and the thump of the bass. She tried to follow some of what was being said, but the words were fuzzy. Or maybe she was.

“Less of a slope here,” Davo said.

“Yup . It’s a bit wobbly, but.”

“Well, it’s a jetty, isn’t it?”

“Right,” Gemma said, feeling stupid. That’s what a jetty does—it floats.

“Let’s pash then,” Davo said, putting his arm around her waist.

“Righ—” Gemma started to say, but his tongue was already in her mouth. She wasn’t quite sure what to do so she put her tongue next to his. Then they did a kind of tongue fight—sort of like a thumb fight only in your mouth. It was a bit too swirly. Davo pushed his mouth hard into hers. Gemma wondered if she’d get bruised. She also wondered if this was what was meant by lip locked. It wasn’t as romantic as she had imagined.

They kept tongue fighting, and pressing their mouths together. Gemma started to feel dizzy what with having to breathe out of her nose, and the swaying of the jetty, then she had another feeling—a not good feeling. A swirling in parts of her that weren’t her tongue.

She tried to pull away, but Davo just held her tighter, and got more frenetic with his tongue duelling. Gemma wondered how you decided who won a tongue war?

Then the not good feeling pushed into feeling bad. Very bad.

Oh no, she thought, pulling away from Davo harder.

He wouldn’t let her go.

Gemma chucked. She chundered. She let loose the brown fruit drink and the beer and lemonade and pizza and violet crumble and everything else that had been happily hanging out in her belly.

The vomit shot up into her throat and her mouth and because it had no where else to go it shot straight into Davo.

Now, he let go of Gemma.

She staggered back, gasping and wiping her mouth, just in time for Davo to let loose all over the jetty and her shoes and the bottom of her nice jeans.

Davo chucked and chucked and then chucked some more. The sight of it set Gemma off again.

When they were finished, Davo grabbed a hose and washed everything away into the harbour. He handed it to Gemma who aimed it at her shoes and jeans. And then rinsed her mouth.

Without saying a word they walked back into the house.

Gemma found Kylie and said she was leaving. Kylie went home with her, asking a million times if she was okay. Gemma said she was. She did not tell anyone of the horror of her first kiss for several days.

She never saw Davo again.

Gemma didn’t kiss anyone else for more than a year. Her second kiss was not with Tom, but it went a lot better than the first.

Note: Pash is short for passion. In Australia it means kissing someone with tongues and everything. It’s both a verb: “wanna pash?” and a noun: “that was the best pash ever.”


  1. Jonathan S on #

    Thank you so much for making that available Justine. One more reasom I’m glad I spent my teenage ywears in a monastery.

  2. Jonathan S on #

    I meant years, of course, and reason.

  3. JJ on #

    Sadly, my first kiss with my fiancé involved vomit as well. Although I had the presence of mind to say, “I’m going to thrown up” and shove him away. Probably not the most romantic thing to say in the midst of a hot’n’heavy snog session, but at least he didn’t end up with chunks in his mouth. (EW. Ew, ew, ew.)

    To his credit, we’ve been together almost four years now. 🙂

    P.S. My roommate read LIAR and said she loved it. I’m hoping to borrow the galley from her, along with CATCHING FIRE.

  4. summer on #

    haha that was great! Excellently written. Loved the build up.

  5. Karen on #

    This was excellent. The kiss was, errr, gross, but the writing was superb. Thanks so much! (BTW, I found this via your link on twitter!)

  6. Jay-wa on #

    That was absolutely hilarious! And, yay! Australian slang! 😀

  7. Jaya Lakshmi on #

    The trick to not feel nauseous is to not picture the scene and just read it through.
    I like how this story is realistic and not fantasy, although I was half-expecting the worst kiss to have something to do with dwarfs.

  8. Jessica on #

    What a story! But, I have a complaint. It was yet another story with a bitch named Jessica.

    Justine, I’m begging you! It is SO rare to read/see anything with a Jessica who is neither a bitch nor a ditz. Write a story about a decent girl stuck with a stereotyped name. I’m not asking for me, I’m asking for all the little girls named Jessica. Think of their self esteem, Justine!

  9. Justine on #

    Jessica: In my defence the other two times I’ve used Jessica she’s been neither a bitch nor a ditz. I have a Jessica in Magic or Madness who’s neither but she’s a minor character.

    There’s a Jessica in the novel I’m working on right now who also is neither. Minor character, once more, though.

    Have you read Scott’s Midnighters trilogy? The protag’s name is Jessica. She’s the hero of the trilogy!

  10. Jessica on #

    *g* I’m happy to hear that! I haven’t read the Midnighter’s trilogy, but I’ll be sure to look it up.

    Jessica was also the protag of Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels, which I believe was recommended to you in your romance post a month ago. And of course there is Jessica of Sweet Valley High! Well, I suppose she *is* a ditz, but at least she’s a main character and less two dimensional ditz. So there are good characters named Jessica out there. I was speaking mainly to the stereotypes that make so many Jessicas minor characters who ditzy and/or bitchy. I know there are exceptions. 🙂 One of my best friends is Kimberley and she has the same problem!

  11. Kailey on #

    Ick…..but still nicely written! I can only hope that this will never happen to me. Erm….where did the inspiration come from, exactly? 🙂

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