They come and go every year just like the seasons. Children spend hundreds of dollars of their parent's hard-earned money to relish in a couple hours of unabashed stupidity. Yes, you know what I'm talking about.


When we're young and innocent, birthdays were 'the shit' until they became shit and served as constant reminders that we're not getting any younger. Granted, I'm still in high school, but I can now identify with mother when she lies to her gardening club claiming that her prom in '92 was 'off the hook'.

Why the pessimistic attitude, you ask? Let's just say my birthdays have always eventful, and not always in a good way.

It all started the day my mother gave birth to me in the back of taxicab on her way to the hospital from the airport. Why she was at the airport in the first place is something I do not want to know. That day alone was an omen as to what would happen in coming years.

In first grade, the clown at my party got a heart attack. Ms. Buttons is okay, but needless to say she's not in the business anymore.

In fifth grade, everyone at my party got chicken pox because some dumb ass kid snuck out of his quarantined room for some free cake.

There are worse stories but I'll save you the mild-to-severe side effects that come with them.

"BRONTE! WAKE UP!" My mother yelled from the kitchen below. Now, I know what you're thinking. Bronte? You mean the famous female authors?

Why yes, the very same. When I was born, my parents had this weird obsession with young women going against societal values and revolutionizing literature. Hoping to instill some of these ideas in me, my parents decided to name their precious baby girl Bronte.

"I'm up, I'm up," instantly reminding me of those pesky acne commercials I see during my marathon Jeopardy binges.

Damn, those things are annoying (the acne commercials, not Jeopardy. Who can't resist a show with a kick-ass theme song and brain-busting questions?) .

I quickly got up and headed straight to the bathroom. Being late to school has happened one to many times and I have a feeling that if I'm late today then Senora Fehris will have my ass. I swear, that old women is determined to make sure I don't graduate high school.

Which is a shame, because I really do not want to end up like my Uncle John who dropped out of high school to pursue a music career and ended up working as a garbage man.

After I finished my business, I started on the bird nest atop my head, formally known as my hair. It was very, very black and had curly waves in it, coming about three inches past my shoulders when straightened. On most days it was presentable, but seeing how today is not an ordinary day, my hair decided to look more beastly than usual.

Once out of the shower, I inspected my features in the mirror. It was quite unfortunate, actually. While everyone in my family is attractive, I was stuck looking pretty damn average. I had poop-colored eyes that were really large and don't seem to fit on my small head. At the height of five foot nine inches, I was also awkwardly tall. Along with the tallness, I had zero curves and no fat.

Basically, I was a really long toothpick with shit for eyes and a rat nest for hair.

I did, however, like my lips and nose. They were the only features I got from my mother that add to my looks. My lips were plump and pink. Jules, my best friend, calls them kissable. My nose was also very small and cute accentuating my tiny, heart-shaped face.

"Hurry the hell up, Bronte. The bus is coming in eight minutes!" Ah, my lovely, older brother. What would I do without his constant badgering?

"I'm going, Art. Don't get your panties in a twist," I replied.

Some minutes of intense scrutinizing later, I stepped out of the house wearing dark purple skinny jeans, a striped t-shirt that says "OH SNAP!" with a cute black vest and my trusty black Converse. I guess you could call me a punk, but truthfully, the skaters in my school scare the hell out of me.

"Hey Jules!" You could say Jules is the polar opposite of me. While I'm tall, she's short. I have dark features while Jules is your typical blonde hair, blue-eyed beauty.

"Your hair is wet," she said. Well, that was not what I was expecting.

"Don't you have something you want to say? Eh, eh?" I egged on.

"Er…I like your shoes?"

Looking down at my fairly dirty and old Converse,"Ugh, never mind," I grumbled under my breath.

Before I even got to my locker to retrieve my Spanish book, I knew this was going to be a depressing day. But I didn't know how depressing, because at that very moment a certain Emerson Richards came walking up to me.

"Oh, look here," he said mockingly, "You're looking stunning, as per usual."

"What do you want, Richards? I have shit to do without you bugging the hell out of my poor soul," I replied monotonously.

"I was just here to wish my favorite person happy birthday! What's so wrong with that?" Emerson asked.

I just stood there with my back stiff. How did he remember that when my own mother forgot this over-hyped rite of passage?

I stared speechlessly at the bane of my existence, who is, admittedly, quite nice to look at.

With his full-head of light blond locks, piercing greenish-blue eyes, chiseled jaw, and amazing six foot two build, it was pretty obvious Emerson Richards had the entire world eating out of the palm of his hand. Not only was he hot, he had a perfect four point zero GPA and was on every sports team our school has to offer.

But being the stubborn ass I am, I would never let him know I maybe harbored the smallest of crushes on him.

You might be wondering how this golden-haired Adonis has come to know me personally.

Basically, our mothers were best friends in high school and have kept in touch over the years. He's also my brother's best friend. Both Art and Emerson are considered major players in my school, mostly attributed to their 'hawtness', as most girls in my school would say. I, unfortunately, attest to this because I'm not going to call my brother hot.

That's just awkward…

The Richards also happen to live right across from us, too. Emerson, however, is a senior while I am a junior. Therefore, he's allowed to drive his super cool red Mustang to school.

I guess I must've zoned out for quite some time because Emerson said, "Thinking naughty thoughts about me, Bronte?"

"Ew, don't make me regurgitate my breakfast all over you this early in the morning." I said bitingly, "Anyway, don't you have another girl to molest? Your overwhelming cologne is starting to kill off my brain cells."

"Well, we wouldn't want that. God knows how many of those you have left. Anyway, I already filled my 'molest-a-girl quota' for today," he replied.

"Can you just leave? Your ugly face is giving me a headache."

"Aw, don't say that, B. I know you think I'm beautiful just as much as I think you're beautiful." He said dramatically, fluttering his eyelashes.

Over the years I've perfected the act of ignoring his backhanded compliments. I've also learned to ignore that damned fluttering feeling when he says said backhanded compliments.

I scoffed at his reply. "I never said you were beautiful. In fact, I'm pretty sure I said the exact opposite." Noticing his lack of movement I asked, "Aren't you leaving yet?"

Ignoring what I said, he went on asking, "So what does the bitter birthday girl plan to do on her sixteenth birthday? I remember when I turned sixteen; I got so smashed I don't even remember how I got on the opposite side of town in some random chic's bed… Damn, those were the days, " He said with a reminiscing smile on his face. Looking back at me he said, "Anyway, you should go out. It'll be fun."

"Thanks for the advice, but I don't plan on becoming an alcoholic or walking STD anytime soon." I said smartly.

Right then, one of Emerson's whores, he likes to call them friends, came up to him looking like she was auditioning for a porno or something, complete with lots of boobage. Which, I noticed, Emerson was taking much note of.

"Hey Emerson! Oh my gawd, what are you, like, doing here?" the bimbo asked whilst completely ignoring my existence.

The Emerson groupies of our school either completely ignore my existence or act like bitches to me. Jealousy you say? To be honest, I have no idea why they act the way they do, but let's just say it has cost me many detentions and a couple of Saturday schools.

"Ashley, babe! I'm not doing anything right now, just wishing Bronte here a happy birthday." He said, nodding in my direction. At the mention of my name, Ashley both glared and snickered in my direction. Being the mature person I am, I happily returned it with a funny face of my own.

As my good, 'ole Gramps says, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

"C'mon, Ash. I'll walk you to your class," Emerson said.

Just like that, my soul-mate-in-denial ditched me for Ashley, who can't even spell the long list of STDs she has contracted, on my birthday. I always knew my birthdays were evil, but never once had I felt heartbroken.

Not only did I have to face Emerson's taunts in the morning, but I also had to see him during calculus, especially since he sits right behind me.

Emerson plus math equals big distraction slash zero productivity.

I have calculus at the end of the day, during ninth period and so far, no one other than the obvious has wished me happy birthday, I failed a pop quiz in physics, got hit in the head with a football twice, and spilt chocolate milk all over myself during lunch.

"Hey, Bronte. Ready to admit your undying devotion to my sexy body?" the pest asked me. Even though I knew it was in a joking manner, I was not in the mood to deal with his crap.

"Richards, I'm not in the mood to play your stupid games. So just do me a favor and shut the hell up," I replied icily.

"The longer you deny it the worse it's gonna get," he said in a sing-song voice.

"Why don't you just get your bitch from this morning to worship you? And I can just sit on the side and pretend like I actually care about what's happening," I shot back.

At this point, most of the class was listening to our argument because it involved Emerson, the attention-whore. Damn, we still had three minutes left in the passing period.

"Why don't you just admit that you want me already? Everyone knows about that crush you have on me. I don't blame you either, who wouldn't want a piece of this?" he said, quite egotistically.

"Why don't you stop being such a fucking man-whore and keep it in your pants?" I said, mimicking his tone. "Can you leave me the fuck alone, Emerson? I'm not in the mood to listen to you try and give yourself another damn ego-boost 'cause God knows how big it already is," I said in a rush.

Oohs and aahs were passed around the classroom. Someone even called me a bitch. As Food Network taught me, if you can't handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen!

"Fuck, Bronte. It was just a joke. You don't have to act like a bitch. No need to verbally assault my ass," he replied with something akin to hurt in his eyes, but was quickly masked with laughter.

But I didn't catch that seeing as I turned away in humiliation. Everyone was laughing me. And it definitely wasn't the we're-laughing-with-you-not-at-you laughter. They were full out laughing like hyenas at me. Sure, I've had people laugh at me when I trip and shit, but when the person you really, really like instigates the hyena-like laughter…it hurts.

By the time class was over, I rushed out of the room. The weird part is that I felt Emerson's eyes on the back of my head the entire class period. I faintly heard someone call my name, but I was too humiliated to turn around and see whom it was. It was probably some idiot from my class, trying to embarrass me.

On the bus I retold my story to Jules.

Unfortunately, Jules is not anti-Emerson, like yours truly. Her reply to everything? "God, Bronte. It's so obvious that he has the hots for you."

Did I mention that Jules is the only person that knows about my tiny fascination?

"Don't be ridiculous. Richards would never like me. I'm like the annoying little sister he likes to pester. He already has so many prettier girls after him. Why would he want me?" I said, making me sound like I had some type of inferiority complex. Which I do, but that's beside the point.

"Oh please, you don't give yourself nearly enough credit. Bronte, you need to get over this weird complex of yours. You're number eight in our class, you're really funny and way gorgeous. Did you know Trent thinks you're hot?" Jules was referring to her very attractive older brother Trent who is a sophomore in college.

"Sure, and I'm the Queen of Sheba," I said dryly. Just then the bus reached my stop and I started the four-block trek back to my house.

Right as I entered the house, my mother yelled, "Honey! Get ready fast! We have to go to Arianna's dance recital!" Referring to my little sisters ballet showcase.

"Isn't there something your forgetting to wish me?" I ask.

"What?" My mom says, genuinely perplexed.

At this point I start a little countdown in my head. A technique I learned in my anger management classes.


"Bronte, we need to go soon!" She says.

Screw this! I am officially pissed. How could my own mother forget my birthday? But being the master of facial expressions, I showed no emotions and kept a blank face. Well there was a little bit (okay, a lot) of bitterness.

"No thanks, Mother," I spat, "I think I'll go spend my birthday by myself."

"Oh…hun! You have birthdays every year! This is your sisters third dance recital!" That is how she rationalizes it? This is Arianna's third dance recital this month! My birthdays come around once a year.

Instead of saying something to her, I stormed out of the house. Feeling super pissed, a little sad, and kind of cold.

Once at the park, and sat under my favorite oak tree.

"Hey! Bronte! Wait up!"

I turned and saw Emerson running towards me and finally sitting at a spot next to me.

"Ugh, what do you want Richards? I am so not in the mood," I mumble tiredly.

"Listen, I just wanted to apologize for calling a bitch back there. That was a real douche bag move and I wanted to say sorry." The last part seemed rather forced, but if your Emerson Richards, apologies are something always received and rarely given.

"You're forgiven," I say quickly. The longer Emerson is here, the less my brain will function.

"Good," he says, relief filling his voice. "What are you doing out here anyway? Aren't you going to celebrate your birthday?"

"Yeah right. Tell that to my mother. She seems to think that Arianna's dance recital is more important," I said bitterly.

"What? You're mom forgot that it's your birthday?" At my nod, his face turns apologetic, "Did anyone remember, other than me?" I shake my head. We lapsed into a comfortable silence, neither of us were saying anything until I broke the quite atmosphere with a question.

"Why do you annoy me so much?"

"Isn't it obvious?" He says, raising his eyebrows. Lucky bastard. If I tried doing that, it would look like my eyes were having weird spasms.

"No…not really…" I say questioningly.

Sighing he goes, "Bronte, it's pretty obvious why I bother you all the time. And please, for the sake of my pride, don't make me say why."

Still confused, I ask, "I really have no idea what you're talking about, Richards. Don't make you say what?"

Taking a deep breath, he looked directly in my eyes and said, "I like you. A lot. Maybe even love you. And I have for a really long time."

I sat there shocked, for a couple of seconds letting this information sink in. Emerson actually likes me! Whoa, I never thought that would happen. I almost got up and did a little happy dance until I registered the rest of what he said. Love? That's a strong word…

Holy shit! He's looking right at me! What do I do? What do I say? Oh my god, I think I'm going to have a panic attack! What if he's playing with my feelings? Why does he even like me?

"Well…er…um…Emerson, you see…I…er…" I said awkwardly, not really knowing what to say.

"You know this is the first time I've ever told a girl I liked her? Damn, this is embarrassing. But I get it. You don't have to say anything," he said with downcast eyes.

"What? No! Emerson, it's not like that! I just don't understand why you like me is all," I said quickly as he was getting up.

Coming back to sit next to me, "What's not to like about you, B? I mean, you're probably one of the smartest people I know, you have a great sense of humor, cool fashion sense, and you're beautiful," he finishes with complete sincerity.

Looking right into his eyes, my voice barely above a whisper, "Do you mean all that?"

Without breaking eye contact, he says, "Every single word."

Holy mother chucker! That is the sweetest thing anyone has EVER said to me!

Taking my silence for rejection, Emerson looked away saying, "But I understand if you don't want anything to do with me. I am a player and I haven't always been…" But he couldn't finish his sentence due to the fact that my lips perfectly captured his. He immediately reacted to my lips. His were soft and warm and that was by far the best kiss I've ever had.

I had to show I liked him some way, right?

Far too quickly he pulled away looking me straight in the eye, Emerson said, "Bronte, you do realize that you just kissed me, right?"

"Is that what it was? I didn't know they had a name for it," I replied, trying to act oblivious. I mean, of course I realized that we had just kissed! It only stopped my heart for a couple of seconds… "And in case you're wondering, I do like you. A lot. Maybe even love," imitating his voice from earlier.

"Well then, in order to officialize this relationship, why don't we go out somewhere?"

Right when I was about to agree, my idiot brother decided to make his presence known. "Bronte! Where the hell have you been? We've been looking everywhere for you!" Art said, glaring at me then turning to Emerson, "Oh, hey dude. What are you doing here with my sister? Finally told her how you feel? Like a pussy?"

Ah, what a typical male.

"As a matter a fact, he did Art. And I told him I liked him back," I said triumphantly.

"No shit you liked him back. Jeez, you guys were just to damn oblivious to each others feelings. Anyway Bronte, mom wants you home soon. And bro, I know you're my best friend and shit," he said turning to Emerson, "but break her heart, and I'll break your face. Understood?"

"Dude, don't even worry about it," Emerson replied coolly.

"I'm not joking. Anyway, I gotta head back. Someone has to tell them you weren't kidnapped. Later," Art, ever the articulate one, said as he walked back to the house.

"So, now that we have that taken care of, anything else you would like to do now that we're alone?" I asked out of politeness.

"Well, I have many things that I would like to happen…But seriously Bronte. I need you to know that this is not a joke to me. I really want this relationship to work," Emerson said with complete seriousness.

"And I feel the same way, so you have nothing to worry about," I replied. After that we feel into another comfortable silence huddled next to each other.

"I love you."

"I love you too."

I know, a bunch of fluff. But please tell me what you think!

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