He thinks she’s shallow, she thinks he’s a nerd. What happens when they are forced to work together?
Willow Rysen is the ‘It’ girl at Bethel Private School, the one every girl wants to be and the girl every guy wishes he could have. Beautiful and popular she rules the school. She doesn’t care about college but needs a good grade in science to pass the course.
Christian Blythe is the boy who is overly enthusiastic about college. He feels high school is one more step to his dreams of greater things. When partnered with Willow his hopes of a great grade seem to fizzle faster than a piece of calcium carbonate in a bottle of hydrochloric acid.
When these two social opposites are forced to co-operate their ideas of each other quickly begin to change.
Will Willow see Christian for who he is or will the appeal of popularity be her downfall?
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I was inspired to write this book from years of teaching high school students and talking to them about their struggles and choices in life.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My characters represent the two obvious factions in high school those that are accepted and those that are not. Both are represented here.
Science was always my favorite thing.
In science most things are predictable. Put hydrogen and chlorine together and you get hydrochloric acid. Simple, predictable, easy. However, if you put the wrong two chemicals together. You get an explosion!
Science led me to Willow.
Mrs. Wilson our senior science teacher called the class to order Monday morning. We bustled around getting settled, talking about a great baseball game that weekend. Our home team had taught the team across town, a baseball lesson and everyone was excited they would be in the State championships.
I didn’t know what the big deal was, football had never been my favorite thing. Give me a Star Trek Marathon or the latest Star Wars movie and I was as happy as Jabba the Hutt in a mud pit. My tastes ran more along the lines of Science today or Robotics this quarter. I was a class A, cliché nerd and proud of it. I didn’t need all the drama and angst of high school. Quite honestly it had never bothered me that I didn’t go to things like pep rallies, didn’t care how our football team was doing and didn’t know what the latest baseball stats were. I was quite content in the small world of college dreams and future discoveries my friends and I had made.
I took my seat quietly ribbing Jack Anson, my best friend, about his new Star Wars ring tone when Mrs. Wilson began to speak. “All right everyone, settle down. Today you get your final assignment as seniors. I am going to partner you up and together you will do a project that will count fifty percent of your final mark.”
I looked over at Jack, giving him a thumbs up. We so had this in the bag!
We’d been working on a project for weeks now. Most of the hard work had been done so it was a matter of presenting and we were all set to go. For the past few projects, we had always been put together. Why would this time be any different?
Mrs. Wilson began to announce the names, and she got through the first few kids of our class. She announced Jack would be going with Laura Flynn in the other senior class and then… the death knell, she announced, “Christian Blythe and Willow Rysen.”
What! Willow Rysen! The Willow Rysen?
As in the most popular girl in school, more looks than brains and an attitude to match, that Willow Rysen?
I had never interacted with Willow in any situation. Her world and mine hemispheres apart. And although we passed each other in the hallways every day, I doubted she knew who I was.
Mrs. Wilson continued to pair up the seniors as I sat dumbstruck.
How much am I going to have to do? How much of Willow’s work do I have to do to get a passing grade? I wondered.
How could this be happening to me?
Jack looked over at me with shock and awe on his face and mouthed “Willow Rysen!” I shook my head at him in disgust. This was not cool!
Mrs. Wilson continued having finished partnering everyone up for the project.
“This assignment is very controversial and has many people talking. Here at Bethel Private School, we hold to Christian ideologies and truths. However, it is a known fact that in secular circles that science and Christian ideology can in no way complement each other. We are going to look at this subject and discuss it from a Christian point of view as well as a secular point of view. You and your partner will each take a viewpoint. One of you will argue for Christianity and the other of you will argue against it. Your discussion will be presented to the class in a debate. In one month, you and your partner will discuss your findings with the rest of the class.” She went on to tell us about the various sources of information we could use and which we could not as I phased out.
Well, there went the idea that I could do it all. It had to be done together from opposite ends of the table.
I sighed loudly.
I would have to meet Willow Rysen.
The idea terrified me!
I was a confident guy secure in myself, but every guy had that one girl that scared the life out of him. For me, that was Willow Rysen. The stories I had heard after a gym class could freeze even the toughest soldier’s blood. Call it revenge Willow style. I hadn’t thought about the assignment, past the fact that I was partnered with the queen witch of Bethel.
Sure, Willow was beautiful, but she was so beautiful that she knew it. Long legs, brown hair and baby blue eyes. I wouldn’t be a red-blooded male if I hadn’t noticed but that was as far as it went. I didn’t need to be a mean girl groupie like most of the boys in our school. High school was a necessary waste of my time. I would get through it and move on.
Jack and I walked out of science. Disbelief still overrode every other emotion I felt.
Why me? Why Willow Rysen?
“Dude, you’re so lucky. Willow Rysen!”
I could tell by the way he said her name that he was crushing on her big time. My inner Christian sadly shook his head at Jack, Jack had joined the long, sad line of Willow Rysen worshipers at Bethel.
Willow was the glaring opposite of girls that I was interested in. I liked girls with more than air in their heads and a bit more personality. A girl who hadn’t, according to rumor, been with the entire football team. I rolled my eyes at Jack and continued walking down the hallway to our next class.
Jack jerked his gaze and an expression of pure devotion crossed his features. I followed his stare down the hallway to where Willow and her friends were talking to some of the football guys. Willow leaned forward flirtatiously and whispered something into Jeff Thorn’s ear as she tugged his hand toward the gym. Jeff leaned down and kissed her deeply and then, smiling wolfishly, led her in.
I could guess what they were going to do behind the bleachers. Like I’d said Willow was not the kind of girl a guy like me would be interested in. My thoughts were interrupted by a low whistle. “Man, that was hot!” Jack declared. He didn’t mind the rumors about Willow. Even when they happened right in front of his face. I grabbed his arm and dragged him into our next class.
Science was not my strongest subject. I was what my mother would say more artfully inclined than logic inclined but for college, I would need to fulfill a science requirement, and this was it. Despite numerous tutors throughout my high school career. Science and I were still not on talking terms, especially today.
My second period Science class turned into the site of a cataclysmic disaster when Mrs. Wilson announced my assignment partner.
Who was Christian Blythe?
I had no idea. Hopefully, he was an athlete who had moved to Bethel and not one of the nerdy Star Trek types who were always in the science lab at recess thinking up some new concoction. I had better things to do this year than worry about this course and hanging out with a social disaster waiting to happen.
Senior year was almost over, and I had parties to go to and football matches to attend. I looked around my class to see if there were any new students named Christian. All I could see were my usual classmates. Jeff and his group of friends talking football, Felicia and the girls sitting in the corner and the social misfits trying not to make themselves to obvious to the rest of us. Maybe this Christian was in the other senior class.
Mrs. Wilson finished pairing us up and gave us a bit of time to decide which side of the argument we wanted. I wasn’t sure. I didn’t believe anything really and didn’t care how science and Christianity could be compatible. My dad always said Christians were the reason the world has so many problems. I didn’t understand what the big deal was. The church was a topic that never came up in my house, and God was never said in a good way where I came from. I had everything I needed and wanted. I didn’t need God.
I walked out of science still thinking about the assignment. How could I get it done as soon as possible and forget about it? I was so involved in thinking that I didn’t see the person in front of me. I stumbled over black Vans sneakers and felt gentle hands steady me. Annoyed, I lifted my head and looked into the softest pair of brown eyes I had ever seen.
“Hi,” the boy said shyly. “I am Christian, and you’re Willow, my science partner.” The boy swallowed nervously, letting go of my arms and moving back. The shock of the incident hadn’t entirely worn off as I looked at him, nodded my head, and walked away.
Wow! so that was Christian.
He was gorgeous, with a face that belonged on a magazine cover. Black hair curled around a face, with eyes that could melt your heart and lips made for kissing. As I turned to look at him, my attraction came to a grinding halt. I noticed what he was wearing: floppy pants that didn’t fit well, and glasses that could have been trendy. He had on a button-up blue-checked shirt that hung open over an orange “I learned to speak Klingon, did you?” t-shirt.
Christian was one of those science guys I dreaded getting partnered with. He had nerd stamped on him like a neon sign. I shook my head in disgust. Not worth my time. Well, simple solution: Charm him into doing all the work and get a great grade off his work. I turned around, smiling as I made my way to the lunchroom. Maybe this wouldn’t be such a disaster. Nobody could resist the Willow Rysen charm.
Michelle is a busy working Mom who married her best friend many years ago and has two busy boys who always keep her on her toes. She is a Special Education teacher and loves to read and write books about romance, compassion and love. She was born in South Africa and currently lives in Canada. When she not writing you can find her running on the road or settled in with a good book.
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