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Falling for It
Is it weird to be in love at seventeen? I think so, but my two stepsisters tend to think differently than I do. They keep talking about this new kid at our school “who’s so hot and so rich and so single”.
I don’t know what the big deal is, really.
So, sure, he’s the President’s son, and sure, he’s gorgeous, but that doesn’t mean he’s the best guy to hang out with, let alone stalk. That’s what my stepsisters do. They stalk him, or they might as well. Rachel somehow got his phone number and calls him once every hour, waiting for him to finally pick up while Monica just stares at his Facebook page, waiting for the Pending Friend Request status to turn into Friend.
I just don’t get it. What is it about this guy that makes every girl in school swoon over him whenever he’s near them? I mean, okay, he was nice when I danced with him at his father’s “birthday celebration” that my stepmother dragged me to—apparently being the President’s campaign manager gets you a personal relationship with the President, and you start to get invited to things—and he was actually really funny, but that doesn’t mean I’m in love with him like every other teenage girl out there. No sirree, I’m not that easy.
I didn’t even get a chance to get to know him. Right before midnight, before the President’s birthday actually appeared, before the cheers went off and the birthday song was sung, my stepmother told me I had to leave. I was just having too much fun with the guy my stepsister was supposed to be dancing with. I thought he was too, until I realized that he didn’t run after me when I left without him noticing. Oh.
Unfortunately, I left my Emma book at the party, and now I have to settle for some book I have to read for English class. I only brought the book because I thought I would be sitting in a corner by myself, craving for something to do, and that didn’t even happen. I didn’t even need the book then, because of course the book nerd inside me just had to be pushed aside while I was dancing to the point where I forgot she existed.
It was kind of weird, though, when he all of a sudden decided to enroll at my school right after the party. The rumor is that he came here to find the girl he danced with that night, though I don’t know how anyone at school could have heard about it besides Rachel and Monica. Maybe the newspaper article about it had something to do with it. Well, I doubt that’s why he came here. A rumor is a rumor, not a fact. How would he know what school I went to, anyway?
Plus, it’s not like I was wearing some mysterious costume that prevented him from seeing my face, so if he wants to find me I’m right here. The party did have a masquerade theme, though, so we were all required to wear masks. And I was wearing a dress (thanks to my best friend, Tess, who pretty much did an extreme makeover on me) which I hardly ever do?T-shirts and jeans are kind of my thing—but that wasn’t much of a disguise, right?
It doesn’t matter anyway. If he does somehow find out that it was me, I’ll just tell him to?
“Um, excuse me, are you Rachel’s sister?” I don’t see him at first. I’m too busy trying to stuff the last of my textbook in my backpack as I walk down the hallway, on my way to the school parking lot. So I’m able to say, “Stepsi?” before I actually see who is speaking. But when I do finally look up, I’m not able to finish the word.
James Parker is all that fills my mind; James Parker, the son of the President, the new Golden Boy at my school who has already drawn jealousy from every guy here and the adoration of every girl. Apparently right now, even me, because I’m not even able to speak as his blue eyes peer into my dull brown ones. The way his dirty blonde hair falls over onto his forehead makes my knees weak, and the way his low-rise jeans and Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirt hug his body keeps my eyes open and alert, ready for his hand to caress my cheek, wishing that his luscious, full lips would touch my thin ones.
Oh gosh, what the heck am I thinking? Is this why all these girls are in love with him? Because just one look can turn a person over to the other side, the side of love and affection, of irrational thinking and utter stupidity? Well, I’m not going to fall for it. I’m not going to let him—
“Oh, right, sorry, stepsister.” Dang it, he’s talking again. Why does his voice have to sound so low, so vibrant, so good?
No, no, wake up Steph, reality’s calling for you.
But it’s hard for me to keep my cool when he’s still talking with that beautiful voice. “I was wondering if you’d be able to give this book back to Rachel.” He gestures to his body guard to retrieve a book from his backpack. And what do you know? It’s my Emma book.
I should have known Rachel would do this. She’s been trying to convince everyone that she was the girl at the party who danced with the famous James Parker, so of course she would claim the one thing that gave any indication of who the mystery girl is. He must have noticed my last name written on the side and asked the wrong daughter—stepdaughter—who the book belonged to.
“How come you can’t give it back to her yourself?” I ask, wondering how it’s possible that Rachel’s not attached to him right now, trying to see if her flirting skills really work.
“Well, she’s in the bathroom, and I…” he hesitates before going on. “I have to be somewhere and I just wanted to?” but he’s not able to finish his sentence because Rachel picks that moment to show up.
“There you are,” she shrieks. It actually hurts my ears, the sound of her eagerness.
She grabs his arm and tries to steer him away, but I call out after them. “That’s my book actually.” He stops then, as if he’s not quite sure what I said.
Rachel chooses this time to speak. “No, it’s not. It’s mine.” He ignores her, though, like he never truly believed it was hers to begin with, and walks back toward me.
“This is your book,” he says, and I nod. “So you were the girl at the party?” I nod again, actually smiling because I realize that I want him to know the truth. My heart’s starting to win the war against my brain.
Before Rachel can say anything else, he lifts my chin, his lips meeting mine, and the kiss that ensues is much better than the one I dreamed of just moments before.