Wednesday, September 5, 2018

I Really Don't Want to Share This…

by Fae Rowen

Why would I tell you my most embarrassing high school moment?

I've been thinking about this month's topic here at YA Outside the Lines since the spring, when we got the list of topics. I thought about alternative embarrassments, you know, those of a lesser degree of Oh, no, you didn't! But you would have known no one's life could be that charmed. So I'm going to share the details of something with you that I've told no one. Not even my trusted high school girlfriend who shared everything about her first high school romance with me.

It was my senior year. I didn't have a boyfriend. I'd never been kissed. And it was the beginning of the second semester. The prom started looming in the distance. I needed someone to ask me to that dance. And hopefully not one of the nerdy guys that were my friends and study mates.

I was a chemistry lab assistant. That meant I set up the experiments, explained the procedure to the class that were "my" students, and I graded their lab write-ups. The chem teacher teased me mercilessly. About boys.

Several of the students called me at night for help on their chemistry homework, but also on their math homework, since I had the reputation of a kind of math guru. And I loved spending time on the phone explaining any kind of problem. (My dad frowned on me just talking on the phone for hours, but if it was school related "tutoring" he looked the other way.)

One night, one of my chem students, one who'd never called before, said, "Hi," when I answered the phone. I didn't recognize his voice, so I asked who it was. He told me. The he had been the captain of our CIF championship football team and was the captain of our championship wrestling team at the time. He was a favorite to go to the State finals. I asked him what problem he needed help with.

"I'm not calling for help. I just called to talk to you."

Smooth. I let him go on, sure he'd get around to the lab that was due the next day. We had no other classes in common, but he'd done his homework. On me. He knew what classes I was in, who my friends were, what I did for extra-curricular activities. He asked me if sometime I would play my guitar and sing for him.


"Because I like you. Would you go out with me?"

Oh. My. Goodness. I'd never been on a real date. "Um, where?"

"The drive in?"

My dad would have a fit at that. I knew Mr. Football-and-Wrestling Star drove a VW van. But I couldn't confess that. Besides, you didn't go to the drive-in when you've never even kissed a boy.

"Not on the first date."

"How about the beach? I'm going with Lyle (his best friend) on Saturday. I can pick you up."

Wow. I knew his friend, so that would be a good buffer if I needed one. But, I'd have to wear a bathing suit. "Okay."

We went to the beach. Swimsuit under my shorts and tank top, I told my parents I was going to the library to work on a term paper with a friend. There were more beach trips, bonfires and some-mores. He taught me how to surf. And I got my first kiss. That guy was a good kisser. But then, I knew he'd had experience.

The league wrestling tournament was at our school. He asked me to wait for him outside the gym locker room when it was over. His was the last match. It was a back-and-forth battle, which, at the last minute, he won. His win put our school in first place. The gym went wild. I was giddy. That was my boyfriend.

I'd never waited outside the gym for a guy, but there were plenty of girls sitting on the lunch tables, combing their hair, putting on lipstick, joking with each other. I sat by myself at a far table, on the side that gave me a good view of the exit from the locker room. Some of the regulars called to me to join them, but I shook my head. I was too nervous to listen to anyone.

Guys started walking out. Girls ran up to them, got a hug and kiss, then arm-in-arm they walked to the parking lot. Okay, now I knew the routine. I wasn't good with PDA, but my boyfriend had no trouble with it. My math teacher gave me a bad time when I was escorted to his door, holding hands. The time I got a peck on the check, my teacher teased me during the whole class period. But I digress. Probably because we're getting to the most embarrassing part.

My dreamboat (did I mention he was dropped gorgeous?) walked around the brick wall and spotted me. Before I could extricate myself from the picnic table, a woman ran toward him. She was  older than either of us, in her early twenties at least. She jumped into his arms, wrapped her legs around his waist and started kissing him. Definitely not his older sister.

A couple of the still-waiting girls looked at me and shook their heads. Thank goodness I'd borrowed my dad's car. How I got to the parking lot through my tears is beyond me. I'd known that my boyfriend had dated an "older woman" before me, but he'd told me he broke up with her because she was too controlling.

I felt like a fool. Especially at school on Monday. I walked into my first period class, government, and the whispers started. The teacher was (it couldn't get worse than this) the football and wrestling coach. He commented on seeing me waiting outside the locker room. Could the ground not open and swallow me?

Third period chemistry. How would I walk in there? Well, I did, but I ducked into the stockroom and started pulling chemicals for the next lab. My teacher came in, watched me, then said, "Why don't you just stay in here today?" I was so embarrassed. He obviously knew.

At the end of the period, my ex-boyfriend knocked on the open chem office door. "Can I walk you to math and explain what happened?"

Nope. The red on my face wasn't from sunburn. My chem teacher came to the rescue again. I still love that man.

How do you survive your first break-up? In public, with the most-loved guy on campus?

Just remembering it paints a deep red on my throat and chest.

But I survived. And that never happened to me again.

Fae Rowen discovered the romance genre after years as a science fiction freak. Writing futuristics and medieval paranormals, she jokes  that she can live anywhere but the present. As a mathematician, she knows life’s a lot more fun when you get to define your world and its rules.
Punished, oh-no, that’s published as a co-author of a math textbook, she yearns to hear personal stories about finding love from those who read her books, rather than the horrors of calculus lessons gone wrong.  She is grateful for good friends who remind her to do the practical things in life like grocery shop, show up at the airport for a flight and pay bills.
A “hard” scientist who avoided writing classes like the plague, she now shares her brain with characters who demand that their stories be told.  Amazing, gifted critique partners keep her on the straight and narrow. Feedback from readers keeps her fingers on the keyboard, putting the finishing touches on P.R.I.S.M. Book Two.
P.R.I.S.M., a young adult science fiction romance story of survival, betrayal, resolve, deceit, lies, and love.


  1. Replies
    1. Where were you when I was seventeen, Brian? Thanks!

  2. Something very much like that happened to me in college … but he chose to show up with his OTHER girlfriend at the bar where he and I both worked, when I was on duty, so I couldn't leave. Ugly memories!

    1. I'm with Brian! What a jerk. It's bad enough to find out your boyfriend is cheating on you, but in such a public place?

  3. Aww, Fae! We all seem to be quoting Brian in our comments, but it's apt--what a jerk!

  4. Thanks, Janet. I don't know, though, your experience may top mine for red cheeks. But we're both still standing!

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