Twenty-Nine Days - A P.o.e.t Who Didn't K.n.o.w. .I.t

Bryce closed his eyes and let his finger trail down the list. He opened them up, finding his finger covering up number 11, "write a poem."

He stared down, incredulous. He had to get the most embarrassing ones out of the way, didn't he? How lucky, to have to serenade her one day and write poetry about her the next? Who was he, Shakespeare, now?

Bryce shook his head and headed into his bathroom, grabbing clean boxers from his drawers on the way. He took a towel from the rack and hung it up inside the shower, then turned on the hot water. He stripped down and hopped in, trying not to focus on the humiliating task ahead of him.

Unfortunately, he'd showered enough times in his life that the act of showering (especially alone) had grown quite dull and routine. His thoughts reluctantly turned to Melina and how he had to write her a poem or else she'd dump him.

He felt a little repetitive, always wondering if she was really worth it. But they'd been together for months… He wasn't sure how many but it'd been a long time. And it'd taken him forever to get up the courage to ask her out. She was so confident, so independent. And he was so awful at asking girls out. Not that he'd stooped to corny pick-up lines (yet), but he was pretty much unoriginal, typically unsuccessful, and almost always, uninteresting. He knew that girls tended to think of him as tongue tied, slow, shy… Turn offs that hardly described the real Bryce. And that's why he'd been so surprised when Melina agreed.

He'd never really said much to his friends about how much he liked her. But after months of jealously watching her flirt with other guys, longingly listening to her speak and hypnotically gazing at her in that awkward-for-everyone kind of way, his friends, especially Chase, began to tease him.

Way too 8th grade for 11th grade, according to Bryce. He admitted he liked her, getting them to get off his case. But soon, the pestering picked back up. Should they tell her for him? Did he need advice on what to say? Would he be completely crushed or just a little disappointed if she turned him down? So Bryce bet them he could ask her out without their help.

And stupidly, he did.

Only, it ended up working.

Bryce went up to her one day and asked if she was into the idea of movie dates. With an all-too-knowing smile, she answered 'yes.' So he asked her if she was into the idea of movie dates with a certain Bryce Riley. And with a laugh, she answered that she was "totally, completely, 100 percent in the idea of movie dates with a certain Bryce Riley." He was pleasantly surprised, "100 percent" relieved.

After a few dates (and hook ups) he asked her to be his girlfriend and Melina enthusiastically agreed.

But was all that work and agony really worth it? Worth the work and agony she'd put him up to? Bryce finished his shower and grabbed the towel, drying off.

He pulled on his stripped white and blue boxers, and then proceeded to get dressed the same way as he did every morning. Grab the first shirt in his drawer, the first pair of shorts in that drawer and then go.

Bryce tossed his schoolwork into his backpack, promising himself to finish it during homeroom. He'd had the whole weekend, sure, but homework really wasn't his thing.

Then he stuffed a piece of paper and a pen into his pocket in case he miraculously found inspiration in his bowl of cereal.

No inspiration of the sort was found floating among his Coco Puffs and he was soon headed off to school in his beaten up truck, nervously anticipating running into his muse.

Bryce made it through first period, homeroom, without seeing her. He managed to knock out half of each of his assignments (a signature Bryce move) and write the first line of his poem.

Roses are pink.

Something about it didn't quite sound right but he figured he just wasn't the poetry type.

XoXAs… you… wish...XoX

Towards the end of 2nd period Literature, he had a literary stroke of genius.

Roses are pink,

Violets are blue,

I love Melina,

And want to take her to prom.

Wasn't it true that all great poems didn't rhyme?

Or maybe that was songs…?

Bryce scratched a line through the poem and pushed it towards the corner of his desk. Like Melina would accept that. It was a piece of crap. It didn't even rhyme. Weren't roses red usually, anyway? And violets were violet, not blue. She'd never buy it.

"Mr. Riley, do you have something you'd like to share with the rest of the class?" Mrs. Nadette asked exasperatedly. She reached down and snatched up his scrap poem, to Bryce's utter horror. He felt his cheeks flame as the bird like woman began.

"Oh, it looks like we've got a poet among us, class. How fortunate for us…" Mrs. Nadette sighed sarcastically. She began reading in a monotone voice.

"'Roses are pink, violets are blue, I love Melina, and want to take her to prom.' Young love at it's finest, Mr. Riley." Mrs. Nadette took his -poem- and crumpled it up, tossing it into the trash bin by her desk.

"Now if you don't mind, Bryce, may we continue discussing the depth of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men?" The elderly, uptight older woman returned to her post by the white board at the front of the classroom, ignoring the various snickers still lingering from the reading of Bryce's poem.

Tommy Callahan leaned forward from behind Bryce and whispered into his bright red ears.

"It didn't even rhyme, Riley."

Bryce answered him through clenched teeth. "All great poems don't rhyme."

"You would know, lover boy," Callahan scoffed, causing Bryce's face to flame up again.

"Melina…" Bryce mumbled, furious. She was definitely not worth it. No one was worth it. He settled into his seat, fuming.

There was no way he'd be writing her a poem about how he "loved her at first glance and wanted to take her to the dance."

Bryce sat up straight. He grabbed his pen and wrote slowly on his hand, "I loved you at very first glance. Please let me take you to the dance."

If that didn't steal her heart, nothing would. After all, he knew her "Melina" taste and hated to think their relationship had been a waste… Bryce jotted that down too. "I know you and your taste. I hope our relationship wasn't a waste."

And who said it was impossible to write good poetry when you're angry? Bryce let the idea of dumping her slip, having too much fun amusing himself with rhymes to remember how it was her fault he'd been humiliated in front of his whole Literature class.

XoXWith a great big hug and a kiss from me to you, won't you say, you love me, too?"XoX

"Melina you have tasks you pick,

Knowing I will do them quick.

You made it pretty easy, too,

To do just what I owe to you.

You're far too good for me, you know,

And lately I sure let that show.

But I've loved you since first glance,

Please let me take you to the dance.

I know you and your taste,

And I hope our relationship wasn't a waste.

Say yes if you love me back

And I'll pick you up at 7 o cl'a'ck."

Melina laughed, holding the "mysterious" note she'd found in her locker. She tucked it into her binder and closed the metal locker, hurrying towards Bryce's locker to find him.

"I got your poem…" she smirked, tapping him on the back.

"What, that old thing? It's really not my best…" He answered, fake modestly coating his response.

"It was really sweet, Bryce. I mean it. And it made me laugh. You're the best." And then she gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and disappeared into the crowd in the hall, off to her next class.

Bryce grinned, too proud of his success to let anything bring him down.

"It's Riley-Frost," Callahan shouted, pointing at Bryce. "The next poet laureate of the world." Bryce groaned at rolled his eyes.

He contented himself with knowing that there was definitely a reason that Tommy Callahan was single and then strode off to class, high of his newfound ability to win people over in verse.

XoxCan you feel the love tonight? The peace the evening brings?XoX

With a pleased smirk, Bryce crossed number 11, "write a poem," off the list. In two days, he'd completed two tasks. Not bad. He considered stepping it up, aiming for two a day, but figured it'd probably defeat the purpose. Plus, he'd had enough embarrassment for one day. He looked down the list. Maybe he'd attempt number seven, "call 'just because,'" or number 4, "open doors," tomorrow. Get a break from the reputation ruining stuff.

However, Bryce never considered there was rain in the forecast for the week. Which would have changed his agenda considerably. And did.

A/N- Okay yeah it's been a while. I just didn't want to write when I was in a real life romantic slump. Haha. I did eventually though. And I think I really like this chapter. Yeah it's a little (A LOT) corny. But I like corny.

Hope you like it too. The next chapter shouldn't take long.

I pinky promise review responses in the next chapter.


The Fourth Fate