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!

feeling.clueless said...
Sep. 7 at 10:09 am
omg i love that quote that u have on ur profile
itsrainingcats This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 25, 2016 at 8:45 pm
As I was reading this, it felt like I was falling in love with Andrew, too. And then at the end I didn't love him the same way I thought I had earlier. Amazing story!
ShilpaHarryPotter said...
Sept. 25, 2015 at 4:26 pm
I really liked was really good... :) :)
ShilpaHarryPotter said...
Sept. 25, 2015 at 4:17 pm
I felt like crying... It was great, beautiful,Osm and...sad of course... But I luvd it.. :) :)
ShilpaHarryPotter said...
Sept. 25, 2015 at 3:45 pm
Can't describe in words how good it was...:) :)
Hails_Was_Here said...
Jun. 11, 2015 at 11:20 pm
Amazing piece of work ya got there!!!
RationalIdealist said...
Apr. 27, 2015 at 8:37 pm
There's something so real and true and heartbreaking about Emily and Andrew's interaction after college--the bittersweet pain of having someone you loved become a person you no longer love.
Beck-Beck said...
Apr. 26, 2015 at 5:48 pm
I like the simplicity and the uniqueness. Keep up the good work!!
Ray--yoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 27, 2015 at 8:03 pm
Beautiful, honest, simple. I loved it.
aquamarine1745 said...
Jan. 9, 2015 at 10:03 pm
This is a beautiful piece of writing. I love the characters and plot. You did a fantastic job:)
JustAnotherTanLeggedredneck said...
Oct. 29, 2014 at 12:17 pm
WOW! That was amazing!!
crazy.crazy.demon said...
Oct. 3, 2014 at 8:27 am
oh dear jesus that was amazing...
sweetpea1308 said...
Jul. 29, 2014 at 12:49 am
This story was good! I like how the characters where made out. One thing in your writing to watch was when you said, "It wasn't until...". Be careful with this because you said it a few times in the story. Over all I enjoyed it! Please keep writing and reading.
slb126 said...
Jul. 20, 2014 at 4:14 pm
When he said "music." I wanted to cry! This is beautiful.
samwich7 said...
Jun. 16, 2014 at 5:02 pm
I went on here for the first time in years and this was in my favorites so I clicked on it and wow. It's amazing and beautiful and really phenomenal writing. Perfect.
StuartEnglish said...
Apr. 30, 2014 at 2:22 pm
I love that story!! The end was so sad but so beautiful that I wanted to cry! You should definitly do more stories like this!
Promethean said...
Mar. 2, 2014 at 6:06 am
I want to cry, its sos beautifull
LillyZ83This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Feb. 18, 2014 at 9:44 am
I love it!!!!!! It crushed me when he said he didnt play music anymore! I love the bitter-sweet ending, because, after all, what is life with out a tad of bitter sadness?
TheFallenAngel said...
Jan. 27, 2014 at 9:40 am
Wow! This was amazing :) I almost cried!
rosewiththorns said...
Jan. 4, 2014 at 12:39 pm
Yes. yes. yes. This is so good, it was simple in the sweetest most endearing way possible. I like how you ended it in a bitter-sweet manor. Thats usually how highschool relationships end so it made it a lot more realistic!
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