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!

Ironandme said...
Jun. 5, 2011 at 1:39 pm
Really good story! It feels real, and true.
NKsunshine said...
Jun. 5, 2011 at 1:08 pm
B.E.A.U.T.F.U.L itz as simple as tht;)
youthinkyourecoolerthanme23 said...
Jun. 5, 2011 at 10:06 am
such a beautiful and unique story! great job!!
-DreamForever- said...
Jun. 5, 2011 at 8:57 am
I always fall in love with the stories that don't have happy endings. I wish you would have called him, but you ended the story well.  Good job!
AnonymousOne said...
Jun. 5, 2011 at 12:05 am
I don't know what to say. i fell in love with both of the characters. It was such an odd plot, but a truly captivating one. Wonderful job!
angel 25468 said...
Jun. 1, 2011 at 2:24 pm
i think that  it is a very lovelly story and that  it shoulde keep going make then get mairred
Sierra:D said...
May 25, 2011 at 9:12 pm
i kinda feel like saying this was beatiful. bittersweet things have always been beautiful to me. good job. really, good job.
paigeforeman This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 16, 2011 at 7:41 pm
Cute, but bittersweet at the same time. Good job, I loved it! :-)
allegraconbrio said...
May 14, 2011 at 4:08 pm
Aww, this is good!
cheerfreak25 said...
May 14, 2011 at 1:43 pm
i absolutely love it!!!!
madbunnymonique replied...
May 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm
OMG i started to cry this was sso good i love it!!!!
JustinBieberGirl replied...
May 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm
This is th best story I've ever read
bandi_bandi said...
May 14, 2011 at 1:44 am
I like this story because it's real. Let me tell you why: most high school relationships don't last. And people grow older and get stupid jobs and lose sight of the things they love. (Sorry, didn't mean to rant). Anyway, this is good. Like bitter dark chocolate.
penny-writer said...
Apr. 24, 2011 at 10:07 pm
that was amazing. it was so good but the ending was so sad yet it was kinda perfect. if the ending were happy I wouldnt have realized how much I liked it
Omg-beaver said...
Apr. 23, 2011 at 4:15 am
Yeah I get what you mean and i can see why you left it deliberately ambiguous, but i just don't understand how the two characters are suppose to feel about each other. Like are they meant to be madly in love or is it just a casual thing that they wished had gone further. The whole things is just a bit vague for me, i don't mean to sound offensive by the way it's just how i feel.  
awesomeaugust This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 25, 2011 at 3:09 pm
No, I definitely get that, no offense taken. Reading back I see how it may be a little too vague throughout. I meant to leave their relationship up to interpretation, but I see it as two high schoolers who love each other and have a very hopeful relationship but take their separate ways. Hope this clears some things up, and thanks for your feedback!
massacre said...
Apr. 22, 2011 at 11:47 pm
well, I agree with awesomeaugust. Don't worry, you ended it PERFECTLY! Great job. I like how you portrayed Andrew's laid-back attitude. Nice.
Dancer7 said...
Apr. 22, 2011 at 6:39 pm
what happens next?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
PepperSwirl replied...
Apr. 22, 2011 at 8:25 pm
just finished wiping a tear from my cheek. BEYOND AMAZING writing!, was this based on a true story?
awesomeaugust This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 22, 2011 at 8:31 pm

not at all, actually...and thanks!


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