Read on for an excerpt from Crush: 26 Real-lifeTales of First Love by Andrea Richesin and enter to win a copy!

Consequently Yours, by Laurie Stolarz

The first time I spoke to him it was in college. I was sitting in the campus café, working on a last minute assignment for marketing class, when this boy walked in, took a seat across from me at my table, and pushed my books to the side.

“Hey,” he said. “I’m Peter.”

I knew who he was. We were in a writing class together that semester, plus I’d seen him around campus. But since we didn’t have any of the same friends in common, and since we both sat at polar opposite sides of the classroom, we didn’t exactly have the occasion for conversation.

Until that afternoon.

After an exchange of a few paltry pleasantries, Peter looked straight into my eyes, and asked me where I got my inspiration. He was talking about an essay I’d written, one that the professor had asked me to share with the class.

“I’m sort of fascinated by the choices people make,” I told him. “And by how the consequences of those choices play out down the road, even several years later.”

“So does that mean that my decision to come and sit with you just now will have a long and lasting consequence?”

The question made me laugh. After which, there was more talking and laughing. Three whole hours of it. Three hours of us swapping stories about our hometowns (he was from the suburbs; I was more of a city girl); sharing what we wanted out of life (I dreamt of becoming a writer, while he had an interest in pursuing law); and comparing our quirkiest part-time jobs (I once had a job making boob- and penis-shaped mugs at a ceramics studio, while he dressed as a fish to wait tables at an aquarium cafe).

The whole afternoon was sort of surreal. I mean, here was this boy I’d barely even said hello to before, and here we were right now, clicking so well, laughing so hard, relating on all sorts of levels.

And so completely attracted to one another.

It wasn’t one of those love-at-first-sight kinds of attractions. Not like when, in the sixth grade, I saw the movie The Sure Thing with my best friend Lisa DiLorenzo, and made a silent vow to myself – in the third row of the Loews theatre, my mouth packed with popcorn and Juji Fruits– to one day meet and marry John Cusack.

No, it wasn’t like that.

And, no, I never did carry through with that vow, though to this day there isn’t a single Cusack film that makes it past my crush radar.

But I digress.

My conversation with Peter was easy though – fluid, effortless – and at the same time it had a sort of where-have-you-been-all-my-life quality.

As cheesy as that sounds.

It was exactly how I felt.

[amazonify]0373892330[/amazonify]There were moments in the conversation when Peter would look at me – really study me – and shake his head, as if somewhat taken aback. I was taken aback too. I mean, why hadn’t I ever noticed him before? Noticed what an amazing sense of humor he had, or how ice-blue his eyes were, or how his crooked smile could turn my insides to mush?

“Since you’re so fascinated with choices and consequences,” he said, after nearly three-and-a-half hours of uninterrupted talk, “what do you think the consequence will be of us spending so much time together?”

I was hoping the answer was obvious. I mean, it was so completely clear to me that all signs were pointing to the best first date ever. But instead a girl appeared at our table, tearing a page out of what had otherwise been the start of a perfectly good love story.

Her hands placed firmly on her hips, she asked Peter where he’d been all this time. He looked at me as if I had the answer. But the only thing I knew for sure was that somehow I felt cheated.

And obviously so did she.

Peter ended up giving her a lame excuse – something about losing track of time and forgetting about their plans – and she stomped off, both angry and hurt.

I couldn’t say that I blamed her.

“Shouldn’t you go after her?” I asked him.

“Yeah,” he said, “I definitely should.” But his eyes remained fixed on mine, as if he didn’t want to go.

But finally he left anyway.

The following day, after our writing class, we both lingered for a bit. The proverbial elephant in our now-vacant classroom was who that girl was exactly, and why she’d been looking for him.

“My girlfriend and I were supposed to meet for lunch,” he said, unable to even look at me now. “She’d been waiting for me at my apartment, and then had spent the next hour and a half hunting me down all over campus.”

His girlfriend.

Check out Crush for the rest of the story!

I have 5 copies of Crush: 26 Real-lifeTales of First Love to give away, courtesy of Harlequin!

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