I was once a teenager. This may not come as a shock to most, but to my kids, it’s a bit weird to think of their mom as someone not much older than they are now. As I watch my munchkins grow older and taller, it’s a bit weird for me to think they’ll soon be going through puberty and all the lovely stuff that goes with it. Aside from those first glimpses of love (aka. infatuation), there’s nothing truly glamorous about adolescence. Oh, but to be able to experience all the giddiness and wonder of your first crush? That’s something worth remembering.
I remember my first crush back in third grade—yes, I started a bit young, but that might explain how I ended up being a romance author. 😉 Anyhow, my first crush was on a cute Asian boy in my class. I don’t remember his name, but I do remember that I stood next to him in our class photo. Fast forward to high school, and I fixed my sights on a blond football player who played the trumpet in band class. His name I do recall, but I’ll keep it to myself so as not to embarrass anyone. 😉
The great thing about these crushes was how innocent and endearing they were. There was no drama, only moments of daydreaming and hoping.
This is the kind of love I tried to capture in my newest release, Romantically Ever After. Gracie and Brady’s story is just plain sweet and maybe a tad bit naive, but I love how their relationship develops in an organic and genuine way. Not too much drama, but lots of tenderness and blushing. Just the way young love should be.
Here’s an excerpt:
Brady Hansen shook off his puffy winter jacket and fell onto his bed. He covered his eyes with his hands, his palms quickly warming from the heat in his face. Great. If he had a penny for each time he blushed in front of Gracie, he’d have enough money to buy her a couple dozen roses. Not that he ever would do such a thing. Nope, that’d be way too obvious. He was already sure she thought something was up with the way he escaped her company as quickly as possible. He sighed. It was either escape or confess how he felt about her, something he wasn’t ready to do. Not today, tomorrow, or ever.
He dug his phone from his jean pocket and switched it on. He clicked on his photo album and scrolled through the pictures he had saved to a folder titled with a simple letter “G”. G for Gracie, of course. Scrolling through the pictures, he stopped at ones they had taken a few months ago when they happened to both be wearing their green Oregon Ducks hoodies. He remembered that day well. They were sitting together at a cafe off campus and playing around with her new selfie stick. They’d taken a series of photos, each one showcasing a different expression. The faces they made ranged from normal to serious to downright silly. The last photo though was the one he loved the most. Gracie called it his trademark Brady face, also known as his “make a mental note” face. When they took it, with the two of them squeezing one eye shut and twisting their mouths to the side, he’d realized something.
He was in love with his best friend.
Brady loved that Gracie got him. She saw his goofy side and his clumsiness, and she accepted him for who he was. But that was the problem. Everything that she accepted about him was everything she wasn’t looking for in a guy. How did he know? It was obvious from the way she went gaga over the actors in those chick flicks she watched. They were all tall, handsome, and charming. Oh, he had the tall part down, but with it came feet that were too big for his body. Handsome and charming though? He’d need a fairy godmother for that.
That’s how he knew Gracie would never feel the same way about him that he felt about her. And why he couldn’t tell her how he felt. And also why he couldn’t be near her because every time he was, he ended up going gaga and doing something so not cool. Like falling onto her in an elevator and squashing her.
She had smelled so good though. Like fresh strawberries on a stack of homemade pancakes, the fluffy kind his mom used to make for him as a kid. He missed his parents and even his two older brothers living back in California, but not as much as he longed for his best friend down the hall. He missed hanging out with Gracie and studying with her. If only there was a way to turn off his heart, so it’d stop trying to fly out of his chest like those old cartoon characters’ did whenever they saw the girl they liked.
“Brady, open up! I have something to tell you!”
He shot up and almost fell off the bed at the sound of Gracie’s voice outside his door. Whoa. She sounded more excited that he’d ever heard her. Could it be? His heart started pounding as he wondered what she wanted to tell him.
I hope you’ll check out Romantically Ever After! It’ll for sure get you in the mood for Valentine’s Day.
Here’s a sweet song about young love, Kenny Holland’s “Less Than Three” that matches this story perfectly.
Do you remember your first crush?