Defying Love This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

May 24, 2009
I didn't want to like him. He was just so charming.

This might sound like every other love story, and it may be, but it may not. If you don't read on, you'll never know.

My name is Emily Brown, which I've always been quite happy with. I think it makes me sound pleasant but ordinary, and I prefer to blend in. Now, I suppose it's only polite to tell you a bit about myself before I jump into my story. I am five feet, two inches, have brown hair that comes to my shoulders, and I am not talented in any special way. These are the basic facts of me, and I think these are all I ought to tell you.

His name was Andrew Rivers and he was perfectly wonderful in every way. When he first came to my school in twelfth grade, he was a bit eccentric and didn't fit in right away. He was into music and played the drums and the guitar, although he wasn't good at either. What he was good at was singing, and when he did, you wanted to cry and laugh and sing along with him all at once.

My name is Emily Brown and his was Andrew Rivers and I loved him.

About two months into my last year of high school, Andrew asked me out. I was surprised since I had hardly ever talked to him, but I didn't have a boyfriend, and I didn't know how to say no.

It may help you to know that at my school there were couples that were simply together for the name, and some that were together only to have a date for dances and for kissing and other such things. When Andrew asked me out I had no idea what his intentions were, and I didn't like having no idea. I'm by no means a confrontational person, but I was starting to feel offended that after I had said that I would date him, he hadn't said another word to me. So I went up to him and we had a little talk.

Me: “Hey, Andrew.”

Andrew: “Hey.”

Me: “So …”

Andrew: (annoyingly, nothing)

Me: “You asked me out.”

Andrew: (nothing again)

Me: “Why?”

Andrew: “Why'd I ask you out?”

Me: “Right.”

Andrew: “I felt like it.”

Me: (irritated) “You felt like it?”

Andrew: “That's what I said, isn't it?”

Me: (infuriated) “I'm sorry. Actually I'm not. I didn't realize you were such a jerk, and I don't want to go out with you anymore.” (I'd never dumped someone before, okay?)

Andrew: “Are you dumping me?”

Me: “What do you think?”

Andrew: “Why?”

Me: “I feel like it.”

Andrew: (smiling) “Do you like Chinese food?”

Me: “I hate it.”

Andrew: “You've never had it.”

Me: “How do you know?”

Andrew: (laughing) “I'm good at reading people.”

Me: “Well, obviously you suck, because I've had Chinese food a million times and I hated it every time.”

Andrew: “Would you like to go out with me tonight?”

Me: “You're asking me on a date?”

Andrew: “Yes.”

Me: “Read my answer.”

Andrew: “Wonderful! I'll see you tonight. Be ready by six. Ish. Sixish.”

I hated this strange boy who I'd only really talked to twice. He made me infuriated. The only problem was, I couldn't figure out if I liked that or not.

That night at sixish sharp, Andrew showed up at my doorstep. My parents have never been into meeting my boyfriends, but as I was stepping out, he stepped in. He walked right into the living room where my parents sat watching the baseball game.

When he came back out I asked, “What'd you say?”

“I told them I'd have you back by eight.”


He laughed. “Nope. Just eight.”

We didn't talk much on the car ride. He had a CD playing that sounded kind of like Bob Marley, but I'd never heard the song before. It wasn't until we got there that I realized I didn't know where we were going. A small sign stood in front of the building but the name was too peeled away for me to be able to read it. What I could read was the sign beneath where the name should be, and it said, “The best Chinese cuisine for miles.”

“Chinese, huh?”

He smirked.

We walked inside and it was only then that I realized exactly how small the building was. There were little tables in the center of the room, about five of them, and a couch against one wall for sitting while you waited. As if. There was no waiting; we were the only customers. A sign read “PLEASE SEAT YOURSELF,” but I guess because of the lack of business, a waiter came over to seat us. He tried to show us to a table, but Andrew said, “Oh, no, thank you. We'll be sitting down here.”

He strolled over to the couch and at first I thought he wanted us to sit there, but then he grabbed two pillows and placed them on the ground a little way away from the tables.

I looked at him, baffled.

“Authenticity,” he said, smiling. He was always smiling.

I, personally, couldn't see how sitting on the floor was authentic.


There were many other dates, all very unusual. I was used to dances and movies, but with Andrew I got sunsets and local concerts. Once he took me to a bingo night that his aunt was hosting. Oddly enough, that was the night we first kissed.

I remember so clearly the day of graduation, the day I realized that Andrew and I wouldn't always be together. After we threw our hats and got our diplomas, he found me.

“End of high school, huh?” he said.


“What do you want to do, Emily?”

“With my life?”


“Be with you.”

He didn't smile like I wanted him to.

“Don't you want to go to college?”

I sighed. “Want to, or have to?”

Now he smiled. “You choose.”

“I should. Go to college, I mean. I found one that'll accept me.”

There was a long pause before I said, “Andrew, what about you?”

“What about me?”

“What are you gonna do?”

“I dunno. Do what I do best, I guess. Play my music.”

“Oh. Yeah. That's cool. See you later?”

“When would I see you?”

“I see what you mean.”

“Bye, Emily.”


Thinking back, I wish I had said something better than bye. I wish I had told him that I loved him more than words could describe and that when he sang to me I felt like I was all that mattered in the world. I wanted to tell him that if he had just asked, I wouldn't have gone to college. I would have played his music with him.

I'm sitting at my computer right now, looking at a name on the screen on a website called “peoplefinder.” I want to call him and hear his voice, but I'm afraid. I'm afraid that he won't be my same Andrew.

I get a glass of cold water and sit on my couch. I picture myself having one last conversation with him.

Me: “Hey, Andrew.” (I say it so casually, just like old times.)

Andrew: “Hey, Emily.”

Me: “Why are you wearing a tie?”

Andrew: “Why shouldn't I be?”

Me: “I don't know.”

Andrew: “I have a job.”

Me: “Good.”

Andrew: “I'm a lawyer, Emily.”

Me: “That's great.”

Andrew: “You don't sound like that's great.”

Me: “Don't I?”

Andrew: “I live in an apartment in the city. I talk on the phone with other businesspeople.”

Me: “I'm proud of you.”

Andrew: “I have a diploma hanging up on the wall of my office. My office.”

Me: “Do you play music anymore, Andrew?”

Andrew: “Music.”

He looks at me as if he doesn't remember the word.

Andrew: “No, I don't play my music anymore.”

Me: “Oh.”

Me: “I loved you, Andrew.”

Andrew: “Loved? Past tense?”

Me: “I think so.”

Andrew: “I love you.”

Me: “Why'd you ask me out?”

Andrew: “I thought you were beautiful and smart, and I loved how shiny your dark brown hair was. I liked how you weren't too loud, and you didn't wear low-cut shirts like most other girls.”

Me: “I wish you'd said, ‘Because I felt like it.'”

Andrew: “Sorry.”

Me: “Me too.”

Andrew: “I have to be going.”

Me: “Yeah.”

Me: “Wait!”

Andrew: “Yes?”

Me: “I'd never had Chinese food before.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 536 comments. Post your own now! said...
Apr. 16, 2012 at 11:13 am



M@dH@TT3R replied...
May 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm
>.> and u sir ish a rude person...
SilverSun said...
Apr. 15, 2012 at 12:26 am
Ahh!! I loved this!! I loved the whole infuriating thing and all, nd how it was just so... Good! Sorry... My words are kind of failing right now :) but I did hope that you could check out my favorite piece: I'd love to get feedback from you. THANKS FOR WRITING AND OR READING MY PIECE!!
CautionwetPaint said...
Apr. 8, 2012 at 10:18 pm
I usually don't go for the romantic stuff but this is great! It wasn't too cheesy, or over dramatic, yet still managed to be cute and sweet at the same time. Awesome job! :)
Lindsey31 said...
Apr. 8, 2012 at 6:36 pm
This is SO cute! Can you please make like a sequel or something?! You are an amazing writer! Maybe make one from Andrew's perspective! Aww! I hate the ending (but love it at the same time of course.) This is awesome!!
StephanieMorrissa said...
Mar. 29, 2012 at 8:50 am

Awhh, such a sweet story! I love it! Is this a true story or based on real events?

p.s. If you could go read some of my stuff and leave comments, I would be very grateful! I really need some feedback! THANKS! :)


TaurusGal This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 28, 2012 at 1:48 am
Aww... That's sad, but that's so true how cruel the world is sometimes.
Mary2016 said...
Mar. 24, 2012 at 7:49 pm
totally adorable but kind of sad
TheCaptainObvious said...
Mar. 17, 2012 at 7:30 pm
yay awkward high school romace
writeforlife said...
Mar. 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm
wow.! This story is amazing! it definetly as the effect of happiness with a pinch of lonliness. I love this! you definetly have a gift!
Missy1999 said...
Mar. 17, 2012 at 1:59 pm
This is the best romance article I have EVER read:)!!! U have an amazing talent
Black_Tiara said...
Mar. 16, 2012 at 9:34 am
This is just so real! I luv it... I luv d way u write!!! :)
Nooneknowsme said...
Mar. 7, 2012 at 1:00 am
Its really superb!!
JulianneV said...
Mar. 1, 2012 at 11:47 am
I read this over and over again it's just so good.
firecleansed said...
Feb. 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm
It was great. The open ending created just enough finality to make it good but gave the air of ANYTHING can happen.
mammothfrk said...
Feb. 24, 2012 at 12:24 am
sooooo good
AskingAlexandria1 said...
Feb. 19, 2012 at 10:37 am
this was really sweet. You guys were in love..obviosly
aem312 said...
Feb. 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm
I liked this. The scene where Emily and Andrew part ways was very subtle but in a good way.
Katlynfisher101 said...
Feb. 8, 2012 at 6:49 pm
This is a great poem
irishlass317 said...
Feb. 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm
Oh mi gosh!!!!!!!!!!! I absolutely love this!!!!!! Great job!!!! :D
musicgirl300 said...
Feb. 3, 2012 at 12:00 am
I just finished the book "Roadside Assistance" (great book btw) the love story was so sad but uplifting. This article reminds me of it a lot. Nice job!! 
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