Chapter One: Kicked Out of Bed

It's a problem when a Taylor Swift song comes on and it applies to a relationship.

It's a catastrophe when the relationship relates to an entire album. This was all I could think about as I lay alone in my bed. An hour ago, my life had been a love song.

My parents went out for their typical Thursday night date, in which usually meant date night for my boyfriend, Dean, and I. Everything had been blissful and sweet, until things turned sour. He asked for more than I was ready to give, and in return, I accidentally kicked him out of bed.

My intention had been to roll out of the bed with grace and poise... instead, I sent him tumbling to the floor. The collision of his nose against my oak dresser caused a crunch followed by a stream of blood. Cursing the entire way, Dean went stumbled into my bathroom leaving me alone with my thoughts…and boy were buzzing around like bees in a hive. I was hurt and angry at myself and at Dean. I replayed the moment again and again, different scenarios where things had different endings. I had messed things up, but he had too. And now…

Mortified couldn't even begin to describe how I felt at that moment.

Dean and I had been dating for three years, which is a lifetime in high school. So, it wasn't as if we had just met and decided to jump each other's bones after only a few weeks. We had done most of our firsts together, and I guess, naturally, this was just the next step.

So why had I stopped? Why was I terrified? Why couldn't I just give myself to him? What was wrong with me?

I was fairly sure I wanted to, but every time we reached this point something inside me always triggered me to stop.

Why was I such a prude? Why couldn't I just be like everyone else and love without hesitation?

All of the "whys" floated in my head while I sighed and rolled over so I could face away from the bathroom door to sulk in my shame. In front of me sat my bookshelf, and titles started to pop out at me, like Dickson's Great Expectations and Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors. It felt as if the greatest literary minds were mocking my mistakes.

When had things started to get this bad?

Our dates used to involve romance and dinners, but I couldn't remember that anymore. Lately, it had been that way. Dean had stopped the charm and pulled out of the game. It was as if he had some sort of agenda. I hated feeling that way about our relationship, but I knew I couldn't expect more. He was a guy after all, and I figured if he wasn't getting it from me he'd look elsewhere. If I wanted this to work, I had to give in. We would have to have sex.

I would have to have sex.

I debated it back and forth in my mind. Of one thing I was sure: I loved Dean. He had been my other half for three years, and I couldn't imagine life without him because he was all I knew. Who would I be without him? I didn't want to lose him, which is what I was sure would happen if we didn't do it.

My virginity was a small price to give for our relationship.

By the time I finished convincing myself this was the best decision, Dean appeared out of the bathroom. His nose was starting to show shades of violet and blue.

"Aw, honey, I'm sorry." I apologized as I untangled myself from the sheets. His arm reaching down for his pair of pants when I stopped him. "I have something to tell…"

"Julia, this isn't working." He told me in a tone so cold I shivered. "I just think we want different things, and there is no use in kidding ourselves our senior year. We just don't have time."

Dean backed away from me and started to dress himself from the pile of mismatched clothes that had been carelessly tossed near the door. Everything in my mind vanished except his words that echoed in the newly emptied space. He went on, but I was stuck on his first sentence. I felt dumbstruck.

I was being dumped after three years? Like I was nothing, just like that.

"We want different things?" I asked, surprised to have found my words. He shrugged.

"No use in kidding ourselves?" I shouted. I wanted to say more, but it's hard to speak when you feel like you can't breathe.

"There isn't, Julie." Dean had everything on now but his polo shirt. His once dreamy brown eyes had grown black and bitter with a slight look of resentment. His lips pursed together so tight that one would have never thought they could have once touched mine with passion.

"Don't call me that…" I looked down at my bare legs, remembering I had no pants on.

"We're just at different places."

"Different because I don't want to have sex?" I questioned as I took a step closer. He didn't have to answer because his eyes said it all. When he took those few steps towards the door and his fingers grabbed the handle, the oxygen was sucked from the room. This was truly happening.

My voice broke as I whispered, "I was going to tell you I was ready."

He twisted himself at the hips, took one look, and walked out the door, taking my world with him. I was left there broken, sobbing on the floor without any pants on, which is the way my parents found me when they came home a few hours later.