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A History in Kisses

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The first person Bill Potts kissed was called Danny Parker and it was the most disappointing kiss she ever had. No lie, no exaggeration, ten years later she would still remember it as the biggest anti-climax of her life.

He probably wasn't actually that bad, maybe, but they were in year nine, hiding behind the bike sheds, and when it was over, Bill couldn't work out what all the fuss was about. Kissing was just kind of...boring. And a little bit moist and gross, if she was honest.

When the other girls talked about it, they got all giggly and silly. The only time Bill felt giggly and silly was when Mandy Johnson in year eleven smiled at her. They got the same bus to school, stood at the same bus stop, so Mandy smiled at her approximately 0.87 times a day (average taken over three weeks of careful counting and recording) and Bill treasured them all.

She didn't tell the other girls about Mandy's smiles.

She tried again with Danny, though. Hannah Beauchamp and Becky Marks both rated Danny as the best kisser in year nine, and they'd snogged a lot of the boys in their form. Becky even had a boyfriend from year ten, so if anyone knew a good kisser, it was them. Maybe she hadn't given it a real chance.

Her second attempt with Danny wasn't any better. It wasn't as disappointing, because she hadn't built it up in her head as this amazing thing this time, but it wasn't fireworks and tingles the way everyone said it was. She didn't get the urge to giggle.

She got the urge to brush her teeth.

Bill concluded, based on empirical evidence, that kissing boys was not going to be her thing.

The second person Bill Potts kissed was called Felicity Thompson and they did it in a secluded corner of the school library. Felicity was in her GCSE chemistry lessons and Bill had been crushing on her for at least six months by the time she finally got up the courage to say anything. Felicity tilted her head and looked at her for a moment, which felt like the longest year of Bill's life, before she finally said yes and led Bill to the library.

The kissing wasn't bad. Bill could almost see why everyone got so silly about it.

But she didn't get to kiss Felicity again, to find out whether it got better with practice. Felicity changed seats in the chemistry lab and never looked at her again. They took their GCSE exams a couple of months later and that was that.

Bill concluded, based on empirical evidence, that kissing girls was probably her thing, but girls were complicated.

The third person Bill Potts kissed was called Rachel Henderson and she finally got why everyone was so giggly and silly over it. They were seventeen and Rachel was in her A-level physics course at college. After the Felicity Thompson thing, Bill was a bit worried about kissing a girl she had to share a lab bench with, but Rachel asked her out first so she figured that at least there would be no embarrassed regrets after.

Rachel had lovely brown skin and tiny braids in her hair that would have driven Bill nuts to maintain, but she was a really, really good kisser. Such a good kisser, actually, that it was a miracle Bill did any homework for the first month they were together.

She got better at maintaining a good college-kissing balance after that. Mostly because her foster mum blew her top when she saw the "D" on one of Bill's essays and it shocked Bill out of the happy love bubble she'd been floating in.

Kissing--and other stuff--was great, but having decent A-levels was even better. If she wanted to live her authentic life--Rachel had given her some books on being a lesbian and living her authentic life felt very important then--she needed to have options.

She needed to have good enough results to get into university.

The problem was that living her authentic life and having a good kissing-college balance was all fine and good, but when your girlfriend cheats on you when you're supposed to be writing your UCAS statement and picking universities, it all falls apart. Bill told her foster mum she hadn't made her mind up about where she wanted to go and she'd apply next year, but next year never came.

She got to university, but only as far as the canteen.

For a while, she sort of lost count of the people she kissed. None of them were that memorable. They weren't bad, like Danny, or filled with regret, like Felicity, or life-changing, like Rachel. They were fun and some of them made Bill feel giggly and she totally got why everyone thought kissing was so great.

The person Bill Potts most wanted to kiss was the person she never got to. Heather made Bill's heart stutter every time she smiled. That moment in the club would always be imprinted in Bill's memory as the moment when they almost kissed.

When they should have kissed, if she'd been better at reading the signals.

That was the problem with wanting to kiss girls you really liked. When they were just randos you met in a club, it was easy. It didn't matter. When they were the beautiful girl in the Doctor's lectures, the girl with a star in her eye and a sad smile, it was complicated.

Bill imagined their kiss, the sweet perfection of the moment, until it was almost real enough to believe in. Maybe in another dimension, there was a version of her that did kiss Heather. Maybe that was enough to stop Heather getting eaten by the shape-shifting space oil.

Bill asked the Doctor once, and he gave her a long lecture that she only understood bits of, but she got the gist.

Somewhere out there, in the multiverse, the last person a version of Bill Potts kissed was called Heather and she had a star in her eye, and they were happy.