SUMMARY: When Samuel Griffin, a famous business man almost lost his fortune to the government, he calls for his friend for help. They agreed to a decision: an arranged marriage with their eldest children. Irma Knox despises Alexander Griffin with all her heart, but can a ring change that hatred to love?


How Can I not Love You?

CHAPTER 1: COLLISION

The idea is preposterous! Even the thought of it makes my stomach lunch an attack of bile. I don't want to do anything with the matter, but it seems the idea is already wrapping me around, coiling me like a prey in my predator's clutches. I have a voice. I can state my decision to this matter, but I can't do anything right now. I remained speechless. Who wouldn't be?

"You are going to be engaged to Alexander Griffin. You know him, right?" my father's voice is like an echo; distant and unreachable. He looked at me worriedly, it seems my stunned expression made that change of expression on his face. "You are schoolmates, right Irma?"

I swallowed my saliva down my throat. I turned to my mother who is standing behind my father at the back of our red couch, her hands squeezing tight my father's broad shoulders. My mother looked me in the eyes, observing my reaction. She knows me too well. She knows how dumbstruck I am at the revelation that I am going to be engaged to a boy that I can't deal with.

I looked away and thought of Alexander Griffin. He is the same age as I am; we are both sixteen years old, both studying in the same prestigious school in Upton. He is the only child of Samuel Griffin and Alexandra Griffin; rich business class couple who are the employers of my father. My father is their loyal friend, not to mention their confidant in their business. My father works as their secretary and lawyer. My family knows the Griffin as much at the other party knows about us. We are connected by an invincible bond.

I tried to recall events that led to this matter. Two weeks ago, the stock market had an embarrassing demise. The Griffin's business lowered down to half of its stock. Of course they don't want to lose their business which is a mining to the government. They had the mining location for almost a century now. They won't give up that easily. And knowing that our family is an enough back-up for their demise, Samuel Griffin came into terms with my father. They both agreed to a decision that if both families merge into a union, the Griffin business will not fall down. The result of such agreement is the engagement process between their eldest children, which happens to be me and Alexander.

"You need to understand that the Griffin is doing us a favor." My mother locked her emerald eyes to mine. She walked over to the other couch of which I was sitting on and wrapped her protective-motherly arms around my lower torso, stroking my long auburn hair with her long silky fingers. "This will mean a lot to your father." She added, placing a soft kiss on top of my head.

I turned to my father. He was smiling at me, his deep brown orbs twinkling as if anticipating my agreement to the engagement matter. I smiled at him and turned to look at my mother. She looked me in the eyes and I could see myself in them. My mother and I looked like sisters; both of us have auburn colored hair and deep emerald eyes. It was a blessing for my mother to be always compared to me.

I heaved out a deep sigh and nodded my head. "But I cannot promise you that Alexander and I would be in good terms about this." I told them.

I thought of Alexander at that time. What could be his reaction with regards to this matter? Is he celebrating? I bet not. I know Alexander pretty well despite the fact that we are not really close, not even friends at school. I always observed him from afar. He must be disappointed with his father's decision. Alexander is not the right person for me and vice-versa.

He is a playboy. He is infamous for dating four girls at the same time without these girls' knowledge. He is a cheater, arrogant and rude, not to mention that he is far too superior and dominating. I can't deal with someone like him. I am not the same as him. We are both different in our own terms. I prefer to be called a book worm or a nerd. I would rather spend time reading books than flirting with boys. I prefer to be left alone rather than mingling with socialites and backstabbing them. I would rather be nice than to be rude. I would rather be different than a robot.

Alexander Griffin and Irma Knox are not meant for each other. We are not meant for each other. A ring will not change anything. It will only make things worst.

The next morning at school, the news of Alexander and I getting engaged is like forest fire. Everyone looked at me like I've been dumped with mud on my head. There were gossips of course. And every corner I walked into, whispers and sympathetic glares are sent to me like arrows in fire.

Berthie, my bestfriend rushed to my side when she learned about my engagement to the popular rich boy in the whole school. Berthie's freckles on her nose seem to dance when she observed me. I gave her a disapproving look. I can deal with people looking at me like I am different and weird, but I cannot fathom being looked like this by my only friend in the entire student body.

"Are the gossips, true?" Berthie asked. I looked to her white colored bow at the side of her dark brown curly hair. It was my gift to her on her fifteenth birthday last year. Since then, she never goes to school without wearing the bow on her head.

"What gossip would that be?" I stopped before my locker. I opened my locker and found it filled with letters and trash. I am not surprised this thing will happen so fast, especially to me.

Bullies are indeed everywhere.

Berthie looked into my locker. She looked petrified at the sight. One day ago, we are outcasts in this school. No one bothered us. We are like invisible people trying to get into our classes unnoticed by the public. We had no attention and we didn't dream of having that. We are all right being ignored like that, until now.

"Are those?" Berthie snatched a red colored paper marked with black ink. She curled her lip to the side and shook her head. "They are assholes!" she crumpled the paper and threw it to the garbage can next to my locker.

I unfolded a green colored paper and saw it marked with a red ink. In bold capital letters the word "Social climber" is written like blood. I closed my eyes to calm every nerve in my body. Berthie took every letters and trash from my locker and into the trash can. I threw the green paper also at the trash.

"Don't mind them! They are just jealous and insecure people!" Berthie rubbed my back. "Don't let them get into you!"

I looked at my bestfriend with a sympathetic look before we went to our first class which is Homeroom. On our way to class, a cheerleader threw a red colored balloon to my face. It popped from the impact on me and I found myself being powdered with white dust, which came from the popped balloon. Berthie uttered a word of mockery to the cheerleader but the girl just rolled her teal eyes at my bestfriend and laughed maniacally with her air head friends.

I wiped my face with the sleeves of my brown colored sweater. Berthie helped me dust the white powder from my auburn hair. I looked at my face in the surface of a glass wall of the faculty and found my emerald eyes tearing up. Berthie saw the tears and she immediately wiped them out. I am glad I still have a friend in her. I don't want to be alone in this situation. I need someone to conceal my fear, my vulnerability, my defeat.

I am becoming weak in this situation.

"Let's go!" Berthie pulled my hand with her, almost dragging me to our Homeroom class. I passed by the hallways receiving mocks, glares and whispers of 'bitch' and 'whore'. At that moment, I wanted to melt in the ground and disappear.

If I am not engaged to Alexander, that would be the time that I can still rejoice my freedom and pride.

I am the target of everyone in school. A once outcast cannot be a part of their circle. Alexander is part of that circle. Many people adore him, even praise him like a god. He is very superior than I am. I am like a prey, the one in the lower food chain and he is the predator who would destroy me in a snap of fingers.

Berthie unknowingly stopped on her tracks and my face bumped unto her back. I touched my nose and turned to look at my friend, who seems to be motionless. I looked pass her and to the door of our Homeroom class. At the doorway, leaning on the wall is Alexander Griffin and beside him is his well-known bestfriend, the quarterback Troy Falcon.

Alexander found my gaze to his. Why is he here? He looked unpleased when he saw my face. He hated girls like me. I heard from Berthie that he used to dump Spaghetti sauce on Lisa Malcomn's head when she confessed she liked Alexander at the cafeteria. Lisa is a band nerd who is known of playing the tuba. With her messy red hair, green eyes and freckles all over her face, she was also an outcast just like me. And Alexander doesn't like people like her. So he made the poor girl suffer. Lisa Malcomn never returned to our school after that incident.

"Is that her?" Troy stepped out from Alexander's shadow and walked passed Berthie and then towards me.

I felt terror when he stopped before me. He was taller than me and I found myself looking up to his brown eyes. He looked down to me and he cupped my chin with his finger. He ruffled his already messy black hair. "She's an outcast, dude!" Troy motioned to Alexander, who just stared into my face, observing me with his icy-blue eyes.

Berthie slapped Troy's hand from my chin and pushed him away from me. Troy looked shunned and he glared at Berthie. "Don't touch her!" Berthie exploded.

Troy snapped. He raised his hand in the air into a tight fist. My eyes widened. He is going to punch Berthie. I pushed Berthie out of the way and I felt Troy's fist made contact with my right cheek. I fell to the side and into the wall, wincing. My lip cracked and I could taste iron in my tongue. I looked at Troy and he looked uneasy, his hand still in a clenched fist.

Students stopped with what they were doing. The hallways are silent only mumbles and whispers filled my ears. Berthie looked flabbergasted then she found her way to me. She wiped the blood from my lip and turned to look at Troy with flaring eyes.

"You coward!" she pointed her finger to Troy's face, but the quarterback looked unmoved with her move.

"That's enough." Alexander pushed his back from the wall and walked towards Troy. He patted Troy's broad shoulder and I saw the quarterback's tensed muscle relaxing with Alexander's touch. "Move on, people!" Alexander told everyone who are still idle at the hallways. With his command, everyone began to move like nothing happened.

He is controlling, much like a dictator.

I licked my cracked lip and stood up from the floor. I noticed that during my fall, my books are now all over the floor. Berthie helped me pick up my books. Alexander told Troy to move along and he followed like a good puppy that he was.

Alexander backcombed his blonde hair and turned to look at me in the eyes again. Blue eyes now meet my quivering green eyes. He crouched on the floor and picked up a piece of paper on the floor. It belonged to me. It was my literature paper, the one with the A+. He looked at my writing then looked towards my direction. He handed the paper to Berthie and Berthie placed the paper inside my binder.

He stood up and walked towards me. I remained motionless. Berthie immediately placed herself between him and me.

"Not a single step Griffin!" Berthie exclaimed.

Alexander didn't stop and he pushed Berthie aside lightly. Berthie was stunned. I looked at Alexander's reserved face. He stopped when we are almost face to face with each other.

"What is it?" I asked, eyes narrowed, my guard up.

He grinned. "You are the ugliest girl I have ever seen!"

Something drops in my stomach. I flinched with his words. This just proves that Alexander Griffin and Irma Knox were never meant for each other. We will never be meant for each other.

I walked closer to him and punched him right on his nose. I glared at him. "You have no right to judge me, Griffin!" I blurted out, blood boiling hot inside of me. That served him right! It felt good punching him right on his nose. I smiled triumphantly. It felt good.

"And you, Alexander Griffin is nothing compared to me!"


AUTHOR'S NOTE: So what do you think? Should I continue? I better. So please do review. :D