Page uploaded on May 14, 2020.

Author Comments

(Cygnus is holding up Amber's test packet to block the kiss from the players on the field because he knows what a scandal is.)

One trope I really hate in fiction is "women love being pulled into a kiss by surprise" because, NO, definitely not always true!!!

Consent is a complex topic, so in order to avoid oversimplifying things, I just want to speak from my own experience and say that I've been in both situations: the one where I was rather scared that a man I was with was going to kiss me by surprise (I did not want that at all), and the one where I was kissed by TOTAL surprise and was really happy about it (because I did want it!). The key variable here is: did I (or does the other person) actually want a kiss? Figuring that out can be hard, I know, but when in doubt you can just ask!

The situation here with Amber and Cygnus has some extra variables which complicate the situation. For one, Cygnus has taken Amber on an emotional roller coaster of "You're not worth my time" to "I like you but you're still not up to my standards," "If you fail this test, you have no chance with me" to here, where he's very suddenly pushing things into physical territory. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that most people would not appreciate being kissed suddenly in the midst of that tangled web of mixed and still-changing signals. But Amber is still a teenager and still lacks a lot of life experience, so she doesn't have the perspective yet to take issue with something like this.

Another troubling factor here is how Cygnus is holding Amber's head so that it's hard for her to back off from the kiss--something that is probably not cool in most situations! But then it's worth considering that he did just ask her if she still liked him, which shows that he at least tried to gauge whether something like this was going to be welcomed (though, beware: someone saying "I like you" does not automatically imply "I want you to kiss me"). So when you take all of these factors and put them together... well, Amber has a shocked smile in that last panel, which is the key visual here to show you that she did like it! So it worked out well here, but I really want to underline that this is a complex situation and not something that should be taken as a rule, that "women love being pulled into a kiss by surprise."

Sorry for getting on my soapbox there, but I believe it's the duty of a responsible storyteller to be accountable for the implications their work offers to the world, and I don't want my comic to contribute potentially harmful messages about love and romance. Consent is not something to take for granted as always being there when you want it to be. Consider the other person: their wants, their feelings, and how they feel about the situation. And remember, you are not a mind-reader; you can't know for sure unless you ask them!

I'll leave off on a cute note though, and say that the last two panels were basically my face after my husband kissed me for the first time, because--in the minutes leading up to it--I had been internally beating myself up, thinking that he wasn't enjoying our date and that he wasn't into me romantically, so the surprise kiss was sure a needed self-esteem boost!

Also, page 750 mojo; GET WRECKED, SHIPPERS. :P

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