William Chester High School's Book Club of Romantically Inclined Literature
By Sam, age 19, Massachusetts
Sweet Designs Staff Intern
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
The two elegantly dressed figures stood on the terrace, their bodies outlined by the beautiful silver light of the full moon.
"But Darien, what about your kingdom?" Cassandra exclaimed. Her eyes shimmered with the onslaught of tears desperately waiting to fall from her eyes. But Cassandra refused to cry now. "What about your people? What about the honor and duty you must uphold as prince of Farina?"
"Oh, Cassandra." Darien replied with a smile, his charming voice soothing away the walls in Cassandra's heart and yet still sending chills down her spine. "Those things, they mean nothing to me if I can't have you alongside them. I have a duty to my heart. And if I've learned anything from the time we've spent together, it's that a love like this can't simply be tossed away by an unfortunate difference of status."
"But ... but, what about everything you can accomplish? You said you wanted to rebuild this kingdom from the ground up. Give the people a king they can depend on. You can't just destroy the hopes of thousands over some small girl from Michigan. You can't."
"And lose you in exchange? Because of some stupid medieval law? Never. No matter how much good I could do in this world, if it costs me the sacrifice of what good I can do for the person I care about most, it isn't worth it."
Cassandra tried to force another argument to sputter from her mouth, but Darien's fingers gently hovering over lips silenced her. She was caught in his gaze. Pulled in by his dark, warm, honey brown eyes. He pulled her towards him, embracing under the glittering curtain of the stars.
Marcy looked up from her copy of Summer at Castle D'amour to glare at whomever had the gall to rudely interrupt her from Darien and Cassandra's heartfelt love confession. Especially since it was just getting good. The interrupter in question turned out to be none other Jared Snerkins, the poorly misplaced nerd who had recently joined William Chester High School's Book Club of Romantically Inclined Literature a few weeks ago.
The William Chester High School's Book Club of Romantically Inclined Literature was a highly popular, respected club Marcy was proud to be president of. The club held the most prestigious collection of dramatic, comedic, and fantasy romance books in the entire state. Girls flooded to the club every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons to read, discuss, and gush over the latest chick lit phenomenon.
"I'm finished with this one," Jared muttered, placing a pink paperback on the table. Mary skimmed the cover, finding it to read Pixie Power, a decent but not very notable book.
Jared joined the book club for reasons of "scientific research". Not that Marcy believed him. There were many instances since the beginning of the Book Club of Romantically Inclined Literature where boys had tried to enter the club in an attempt to pick up chicks by showing "similar interests". These boys were easily turned away, however, when the "50 Minimum Law" was passed.
The 50 Minimum Law stated that all members of the William Chester High School's Book Club of Romantically Inclined Literature were required to read and review at least fifty books within their first semester of joining the club. Most boys, however, barely made it past ten or fifteen readings before abandoning their efforts and returning to sports, fart jokes, beating each other senseless, or whatever else stupid boys did.
Jared, however, had made a remarkable dent in his fifty books. The boy had only been in the club for a few weeks, and he'd already read over thirty books. It made Marcy wonder how much time socially awkward dorks had on their hands.
"Plot summary," Marcy requested, regrettably putting down Summer at Castle D'amour.
Jared sighed, but continued to explain the basics of the story in a rather monotonic voice. "Protagonist is accidently transported into another world, only it isn't accidental at all because she's actually the last of a supposedly extinct race of fairy. After a long journey of finding herself she convinces the dark prince to convert to the light side and to become her love interest, and then they join forces to kill the evil queen. This makes her and the prince rulers of the fairy kingdom, and they live happily ever after."
Marcy ignored Jared's attitude and marked the booked as "Read" in his record.
"If you want you can read the sequel," Marcy suggested. She pointed to a back shelf in the corner. "It's over there somewhere." She then picked up her book and went back to reading.
Where was she? ... Oh yes. He pulled her towards him, embracing under the glittering curtain ...
"Can I ask you something?" Jared interrupted again.
Marcy, now thoroughly annoyed, raised a questioning but angry eyebrow at the question.
"Why do girls like this kind of stuff? I mean, isn't rather ... formulaic?"
It was not surprising that Marcy, esteemed president of the Book Club of Romantically Inclined Literature, was rather offended by this statement.
"What's wrong with formulaic? Everyone bakes a cake using the same formula: eggs, flour, sugar. But not all cakes taste the same. You have chocolate and marble and pumpkin and ... a hundred other flavors. It just takes some time to find the one that tastes right for you."
Feeling she had won the argument, Marcy turned back to her book.
"Okay, but where do I stand?" Jared asked.
"What?" Marcy asked, confused.
"What kind of cake am I?"
Marcy still didn't understand, so she asked again. "What?"
"See, I've put together a basic understanding of the romance genre," Jared explained. "There are three basic love interest troupes. First, there's the narcissistic jerk. He, who through fated circumstances, befriends the protagonist of the story, and through their exchanges and growing relationship, eventually falls in love with her and uses her as inspiration to change his ways.
Then, you have the bad boy with a tortured and pure soul. He doesn't want to be evil. He's just forced into evil through accidental forces or destiny. And through his affections for the protagonist, he is able to overcome his evil handicap and become a very loving, tender boyfriend.
And finally you have the best friend. This usually works in two ways. First, there's the perfect best friend. He, though having a strong bond of friendship with the protagonist, never seems to be physically attracted to her. Only after a novel's worth of botched attempts to get him to notice her and a personal revelation of some kind does he finally realize his latent feelings for the protagonist. Or, you have the invisible best friend. He also shares a strong bond of friendship with the protagonist, but she's in love with someone else, usually one of the guys from the other troupes. She makes various attempts to gain his affection, but after they finally get together, she realizes he's not so perfect and she goes back to the best friend."
"Okay," Marcy said. "But, what does this have to do with you?"
"Exactly! Jared exclaimed. "I don't fit in anywhere in the troupes. I can only compare myself to the obnoxious, nerdy pest who annoys the hell out of the protagonist in some attempt at flirting."
Marcy had to give Jared credit. In her two years as book club president she had never heard such a precise analysis of the romance genre. And, for one of the few times in Marcy's life, she didn't have a response to a romantic literature involved question.
"Well, it's like I said," Marcy attempted to explain. "Everyone has different tastes. You just need to find a girl who likes your kind of cake."
"But no girls like my kind of cake. I'm moldy, week old, gross cake."
Marcy couldn't help it. She laughed. It was funny, in a blunt sort of way. But the look on Jared's face told her he was being sincere about it.
"I'm sorry," Marcy said, trying to save herself. "I'm sure there's some nice, chess club girl who would love to go out with you."
Jared's look, however, only turned from hurt to disbelieving, and Marcy couldn't think of anything else to say to comfort him. A long, awkward moment of silence passed between them.
"It's just ..." Jared began to confess, trying to find the words. "Guys, like me ... obnoxious, nerdy, moldy cake guys, like me ... we want love too. Everyone does. It's just harder for some people to find it, that's all. We can't all be Prince Charming."
Marcy couldn't say anything. The sincerity of Jared's statement struck something in her. Finally finding her voice, the words that spilled were, "And I didn't think you would like girls who liked this kind of stuff."
Jared merely smiled. "All girls like this stuff," he said, and he returned to the back bookshelf of the library.
After a moment, Marcy picked up her forgotten book and attempted to continue finishing it. But her eyes kept finding their way to Jared. Finally deciding, she put the book down and called out to the boy.
"Hey, Jared. What are you doing this weekend?"