The Experimental Chemistry of Falling in Love
We met junior year of high school. Alexander was dark-skinned, slightly over weight, wore red-framed glasses and was ridiculously intelligent. He was first in our class and he didn’t ever say much to anyone. He mostly just kept to himself. We were lab partners. I was beautiful; I had long thick hair, and clear milk chocolate skin tone. I knew I was beautiful and every boy in school was in love with me and I loved it because I never had to do any work in lab or on any other assignments. I had people to “tutor me” in every class. I made ok grades and had an awesome social life. Chemistry lab was going to be like all my other classes, partner up with the smartest guy in class and pretend to flirt with him, but Alexander was different. The first day of lab was the start of a very long and complicated friendship.
“We need 0.5 grams of sodium carbonate.”
I was staring out the window daydreaming, before realizing that he was talking to me.
“Yeah! What?” I flinched.
“I said…. We need 0.5 grams of sodium carbonate.”
“Oh…. Uhhh… ok…” He stares at me wide eyed. I starred at him confused. “Do you want me to get it?”
“Um… Yes! I’m not doing the lab by myself!”
“Oh yeah well, I’m not very good at the lab.”
“You’re just measuring out washing soda!”
I stared to the side.“Uhh… right.”
I measure out the washing soda and pour it into the beaker, which immediately begins to explode. I scream and drop the washing soda. Alexander turns the hot plate down.
“What are you doing? You’re not supposed to put that in yet!”
“WELL WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY THAT!”
“WHY DIDN’T YOU READ THE LAB INSTRUCTIONS?”
“I DON’T KNOW. I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!”
“I can see that!”
I narrow my eyes at him. “Excuse me! You don’t have to be rude.”
“I’m not being rude. I’m observing what I see.”
We finish the lab. Alexander doing most of the work, with occasionally letting me stir the mixtures.
“Sorry for almost killing us when I exploded the mixture.” I giggled.
“Yeah you are a bit of a screw up aren’t you.”
“HEY!” I hit him. He was pretty funny, for a nerdy guy. I hadn’t expected that.
He laughed. “Just kidding.”
“Yeah. Yeah.” He smiled at me. He had a great smile too. Didn’t see that coming either. He wouldn’t be too bad looking if he lost a little bit of weight, did some toning. Cut his hair. He’d look really handsome.
“Are you going to junior prom?”
“Probably not why?” He said focusing on the report.
“Just curious! Why aren’t you?”
“Don’t have a date.” He said blankly
“Why are you going to ask me?”
“The guy is supposed to ask the girl, not the other way around.” I laugh.
“I wouldn’t ask you.”
“Why not!” I looked at him shocked and confused. He was looking down writing our lab report.
“Because you would say no!” He looks up at me. I turn my head to the side, confused. “I’m not stupid! I’m not someone you just use. You’re not going to use me. I’m not going to do all your work in hopes of you liking me because it’s not going to happen. I’m not in love with you and I’m not going to fall in love with you. You’re going to fall in love with me, before I fall in love with you! I don’t have time for that!”
I was shocked by his response and offended, mainly because he figured me out.
“Where is this coming from? I’m not going to fall in love with you. I don’t even know you! I…”
“I know. I know.” He sighs and runs his hands over his face. “I’m sorry! I’m a asshole.”
“Ha. Yeah. You are!”
“Yeah. Sorry. Lets just finish this thing and… maybe you should put in some work. Use your brain!”
“Ugh… You’re unbelievable!” I started on the other part of the lab report and actually try.
Willa and I became great friends. We began to spend more and more time together. First just after school, she would come to my house and I would tutor her in Chemistry and all the other classes she was failing, and I helped her prepare for her ACT. Then we started hanging out on the weekends. We would go and see a movie with a group of her friends or go to a house party. She introduced me to her clique. People I’ve had classes with since middle school that acted like they had no idea who I was. I guess they didn’t though. I started hanging out with some of the guys in my class. They would come over and we would play Halo, watch football, talk about girls, and smoke weed. My house became the hang out spot. I finally got friends and started enjoying life a little more. We would hit the gym every day after school. It was hard for me at first, I felt self-conscious about my weight because I was the fattest guy in the group, and all my other guy friends were super fit and big, and still ate like pigs. I pushed harder than all the others because I needed to make up for the lost time. So I would go to the gym again, late at night. Sometimes at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning. I bought a workout bar, a set of weights, and a training kit, for the nights I couldn’t make it to the gym. I started a juice cleanse, changed my diet to healthy natural foods, and started dropping my weight. Even though I dropped a significant amount of weight, it never felt like enough, but people finally noticed me.
I threw a lot of parties and got a lot of girls, girls that would never talk to me before I lost my weight. Holly Paradise was the hottest girl in our class. She had long blonde hair and big brown eyes and looked like a Victoria Secret angel. I was shocked when she started talking to me at one of my parties. We hooked up and she became my girlfriend within a month. We’d been dating for 6 months now. During lunch she brought up prom.
“So I was planning on getting a cheetah print dress for prom. What do you think?” I was daydreaming and half heard what she said.
“Alex!” She nudged me.
“Yeah. Um uh… yeah I think I have other plans for prom.”
“What? How the heck do you think you have other plans and are you going to eat anything!”
“Oh yeah… I’m not hungry. I’ll eat later.”
“God! You never eat anything! Ugh… Anyway.” She rolled her eyes, waving a fry around. “What do you mean by you have other plans. How can you have other plans? What can be more important than prom right now?”
“Well yeah I know. I’m still going. I just wanted to do something different.” I looked away from her. She looked at me wide eyed and confused waiting for a clearer explanation.
I sighed. “Uhh. I was… planning… on going to prom with… just… friends. You know?”
“Just friends. Which friends?”
“Well one really. She doesn’t have anyone to go with. So I don’t want her to be lonely and…”
“Willa Thompson!” She yelled covering her mouth full of fries.
I shifted in my seat.
“Willa Thompson. God, I know you two are friends and I been good about that. I have! And I trust you, but its Willa Thompson! I’m pretty sure she’s slept with every guy in school. And probably the county!”
“No! You stop! If you want to be with her, then you do that! Don’t act like you like me and care about me because you obviously don’t!”
“That’s not true! Of course I care about you!”
“Obviously not enough! You are always either at the gym with your friends, or hanging with her! You never spent time with me! I’m just like your trophy girl!” She cried. “We’re done! I hope she gives you an STD!” She stormed off.
So Holly and I broke up. I felt bad because she was right about a lot of things. I dated her because she looked good and she made me look good. I needed her for my confidence. After I lose my weight I needed reassurance that I was liked and that I was cool. I didn’t spend much time with her other than when I wanted to hook up with her. I apologized to her about everything. She was still super pissed, but we decided to just be friends. Although my pool of friends increased to the 10th degree, Willa was always the one who brought me back to earth. She knew me better than anyone. I could talk to her about anything.
After that day in Chemistry, Alexander and I begin to spend more and more time together. We were inseparable, the best of friends, and he didn’t change since the first day. He still gave me hell and brought me down to earth. I dated people and he dated people. He actually lost a lot of weight and he turned into a completely new person. Well he was the same for me, but other people began to pay attention to him, and he became less insecure.
“How did you do?”
“I don’t know yet.” I quickly opened the envelope.
“I GOT A 26!”
“Woah! That’s an 8 point increase!”
“Oh my God!” I squealed.
He picked me by my waist and I swirled me around. I hugged him and looked him in the eyes, crying tears of happiness. He put me down and we were staring at each other, smiling and not saying a word for what felt like a long minute. That was the closest we’ve ever gotten. Suddenly Alexander looked away uncomfortably.
“Yeah… so 26, you should have no problem getting into university now.”
“Yup.” He stuffed his hands into his pocket and looked away. I didn’t know what to say. It was an awkward moment, but I felt like he wanted to tell me something. He shuffled his feet nervously. Then he looked at me directly standing still. And he knells down on his knees.
“Willa Viola Thompson. Will you go to prom with me?”
I laughed. People stopped and stared at us. Girls gave me dirty looks, but I didn’t care.
“Sure!” I laughed.
He hops up and lets out a breath.
“Sweet! See ya after school!” He says quickly, slaps my right arm and walks off.
When nasty rumors spread about me, he still stood by my side in spite of my reputation. He even chose to go to senior prom with me instead of his girlfriend because no one would go with me. He accepted me for who I was. He didn’t treat me like an object and he was a true friend. It was prom night when I realized that he needed me more than I needed him.
Prom wasn’t very spectacular to me. It was the same thing every year same DJ, same decorations. I think I’m the only student who has went to the schools prom four times, being asked every year by a senior. My other classmates had a good time but I was hopelessly bored. It was nice for Alexander to take me, so I didn’t feel lonely. We danced together for most of the songs, until another girl asked to dance with him. That was ironic considering that last year guys would cut in to try to dance with me, but it was ok I just couldn’t wait for Alexander’s after party. Call me shallow but if I knew Alexander was this rich I would have befriended him along time ago. His house is far out in the middle of nowhere with acres and acres of land surrounding it. It is a dark red brick mansion with white shutters, long white pillars, a long oval driveway, and a lake in the back. He threw an after prom party at his place. More than half of our class was there. There were caterers and a long dessert table. He turned his whole first floor into a dance club. There were bottles and bottles of white wine and champagne, rum, and vodka served at the bar. Everything was free and everyone was incredibly drunk. The party was decorated in a 20’s theme. I felt like I was in The Great Gatsby 2013 style with weed and pills.
Alexander, his friend Jack, and I got a glass of wine at the bar.
“Dude! This party is legit. Its like another world in here!” Alexander said taking a sip of wine.
“Yeah. How did you pull this off? Where are your parents?” I asked.
“I told them I was throwing a party, and that they should probably get the hell out.” We laughed.
“HAHA DUDE!” Jack slapped Alexander on the back.
“Just kidding man. Couples retreat. Very convenient.” He winked at me.
“Let’s go over to the dessert table. I’m craving something sweet.” Jack skipped over towards the table.
“Yeah!” I followed Jack holding onto Alexander.
We tried every of dessert on the table. There were chocolate frosted brownies, blondies, chocolate chip cookies, frosted sugar cookies, colorful cupcakes, and French macaroons on five tier stands. I fed Alexander a bunch of French macaroons although he tried to reject them. Then we sat down on a brown love seat watching the go-go dancers.
Then Alexander stands up and gets on stage with the go-go dancers to make a toast. I am taken aback with how handsome he looks in his tailored black suit and white bow tie. He looks like the CEO of some huge industry and we are his prestigious guests. Suddenly I feel much older and sophisticated than 18.
He clears his throat. “Can I get everyone’s attention?”
Everyone quiets down.
“Thank you for coming to my post prom party. I hope everyone’s having a good time!”
“Woo!” Everyone cheers and claps.
“Tonight maybe the last night that we all party together! So lets have a FUCKING GOOD NIGHT!”
“WOO!” Everyone cheers.
I’m pretty sure every girl in the room just fell in love with him. I could tell by their sparkling eyes looking up at him and smiling with their bleached teeth. That really pissed me off. Alexander walked off hugging his buddies and girls from our class towards his staircase and to his room. After a minute of dancing by myself, I followed him to his room. His room was very minimalistic, neat, and huge, and always smelt like his cologne, Noir by Tom Ford. Rugged spiciness with hints of floral. Very Sexy. He had a king sized bed, a brown leather couch, a wooden coffee table in front of it, a flat scene TV facing the bed, and a tall bookcase in the corner. He had a huge walk in closet with about 5 suits and 5 dress shoes, a dresser and a bathroom on the other side of the closet.
I didn’t see him when I walked into the room. But I heard him in the bathroom. I hear him open the toilet seat, then puking noises.
“Alex! Are you ok?”
The toilet flushed and the water ran for a second. And he came out.
“Yeah! What’s up?”
“Are you ok? Did you just throw up?”
“Um… yeah … I got kind of sick… Um… I…”
“But you barely drank anything!”
“Yeah I know. I must have eaten too many desserts.”
“You didn’t even look or act like you were sick! Why didn’t you tell me anything?” I moved towards him and felt his head, holding him a bit.
“Um… I’m fine now!” He moved away from me. I could tell he was hiding something.
“Did you make yourself throw up?”
He hesitated and sighed, shaking his head. “No. I just…” He sat down on his bed and puts his head in his hands.
“Oh my gosh! You can’t do that!”
He looked up at me with sad eyes. “I know! It’s not something I do! It’s just hard. I try not to eat… that stuff, but you wanted me too and I just… I had to get it out of me.”
“Alex! You look fine, but you have to be healthy!”
“I look fine now, but I’m still not where I want to be. It’s embarrassing. I’m so behind. I don’t lift enough. I don’t run as long…”
“That’s ok! You shouldn’t hurt yourself!”
We sit for a while in silence. He sighs laying back on his bed. I follow suit. We lay down with out saying a word for about 10 minutes. I curl into his arms and hug him.
“Thanks for caring though.” He says.
“Of course!” That is when I knew for sure that I was in love with him. I cared so much about him. I never cared about anyone that way because no one has ever respected me like he does. I was in love with him so I told him.
“I’m in love with you.” I looked up at him.
“I know.” He looked down at me and smirked, looking away.
“But you don’t love me.”
“Don’t be an idiot!” He sat up.
“What do you mean?” I followed suit.
“Of course I love you. I loved you the first day I met you!” He said defensively.
“In chemistry lab?”
I stared at him confused and shocked. “You hated me then!”
“No I didn’t I was madly in love with you. I just acted like I hated you. Its called reverse psychology.”
“You are crazy!”
He turns and faces me. “I’m a genius! I had a plan and a purpose and it worked. I got everything I ever wanted because I followed my instructions.” He smiled. He leaned in towards me. “Do you feel brain washed?”
“Um… a little.” We laughed. He tackled me back on his bed, lying on top of me. We were still for a moment, smiling.
“I would kiss you but you just threw up so…” I rolled my eyes at him and giggled.
“Haha. Yeah good call!” He laughed.
“I’m gonna brush my teeth. Meet me down stairs in 5!” He gets up quickly, running to the bathroom.
“Ok!” I head out the door when Alexander stops me.
“Oh and Willa!”
“Thanks for falling in love with me. It would have sucked if you didn’t.”
I shook my head. “You’re unbelievable!”