Love Saves the Day


Sheyla O'Donnell, Staff Writer


      Valentine’s Day was an overpriced way for capitalism to flourish. That was the excuse Annalise had for not having a valentine, or for that matter, a boyfriend. It was also the argument she had against decorating the halls at her supposedly serious and prestigious school. This establishment was one of the country’s best Ivy League feeder schools, and ,now, she was watching student council members run around to hand valentines out. As a testament to her argument, they were ten dollars each if you wanted it delivered. 

         But, that’s what she got for attending a school with the children of the rich and famous. Overpriced suckers with corny messages on thin paper that every girl around her had. Though, when Annalise opened her locker up, with slight anticipation over the possibility of receiving one, she was disappointed by the proverbial moths flying out. Nothing. Of course, she didn’t get one. She barely talked to anyone besides her one best friend, who was currently getting showered in lollipops and messages of adoration. Why couldn’t some of that adoration flow her way?

        One of the biggest things hidden from Annalise herself was the sadness of being alone. She masked it with anger at all couples or the speech about how she was an independent woman who didn’t need a boy’s validation. 

            But, what if she wanted it? What if she wished to love and have dates and all the things she verbally loathed? Unfortunately, that was a truth Annalise wouldn’t dare to let herself know. However, there was one boy who might’ve been the culprit to her hatred of all things romance: Benjamin Cameron. 

        She should’ve known to never give her heart to someone who had a first name as their last name. It was a tragic love story, really-very Romeo and Juliet-esque. At least, that’s what Annalise told herself when she contemplated everything that went wrong. 

        She was a senior in high school, and it all had occurred over freshman and sophomore years. They were best friends, which would automatically make them star-crossed lovers. Annalise thought about the moments where they would stand close enough to each other where she expected a kiss to transpire, or maybe, a confession of how he loved her “most ardently.” Okay, Annalise could admit that all she did was read romance novels in her limited spare time before her world was kissed by heartbreak. Her life was overrun with seemingly millions of assignments in her difficult courses. 

         She seemed to be the only student at this school that actually enjoyed being busy with studying. Maybe she enjoyed it because she didn’t have to think about how lonely she really was. She knew that if she let herself believe that the only other person who enjoyed her for being her decided that he didn’t, and he left, she would be more heartbroken than she already was. So then, she would be left wondering what was wrong with her.

          Maybe worrying too much was something Ben didn’t enjoy about her, or perhaps, it was the fact that she “ruined everything.” But, don’t worry, HIS words, not hers. Those words had been thrown at her in a fight after she leaned in for a kiss, and he backed away. It had ended a seven-year friendship between the two of them, just like that. One stupid mistake and seven years were thrown down the drain. And it had broken her heart into tiny little pieces. 

         But, Annalise was far too unreliable to be truthful. Especially, since she couldn’t even be true to herself, she and Ben lost touch after they began avoiding each other ever since the awful kiss they almost endured. She was far too different from him for him to chase after, and she spun a story that villainized the poor boy that her heart was too broken to grovel at his feet. They were sophomores and made idiotic mistakes. She enjoyed studying and reading, and while many people can overcome their personality differences, her and Ben couldn’t-at least not then. 

           Tapping on her shoulder broke her out of her stupor, and she turned around to find the student council president grinning at her. When Annalise allowed her gaze to lower, she found a sucker and the infamous love letter attached. Annalise’s heart palpitated with dread. Who in this awful school would play a sick prank on this girl? Who knew that all she wanted was a stupid sucker and a Valentine? And, why would they turn that into the punch line of the joke? 

          “I hope you already know that I’m not touching that. You know, Cassidy, bullying isn’t tolerated here, and once the stupid cameras come out to laugh at me, I’ll be the one laughing. ’Cause you’ll be expelled, and then all your big pl-”

           Luckily, Fiona, Annalise’s best friend, threw a hand over her mouth before grabbing the Valentine from the horrified and humiliated student council president. Nice one, Annalise. When Fiona managed to drag her away, she took her hand off her mouth, only for Annalise to shudder in disgust.

          “I swear, if you didn’t wash your hands fifty times and hand sanitized them before pressing them on my lips, I will send you fifty articles about ger-”

         “I swear on my precious Hermes bag that I had sterilized gloves on before I touched your mouth. Now, can we get back to more pressing matters? Like your FIRST Valentine!” She handed the sucker to Annalise and went on to read the note until the letter was pulled out of her hands by a highly indignant Annalise. 

        “What makes you think that this was my first Valentine today? I could’ve gotten plenty more. You never know-” Her rambling was cut off by a roll of Fiona’s baby blue eyes. 

        “My first piece of evidence, Your Honor, is the picture of a crushed valentine on the floor with three paragraphs of dark statistics about Valentine’s day. The second? That little outburst you just had with our sweet, sweet Cassidy. Now, may I please read the letter?” 

        Realizing she had no room to argue, she handed it over. Fear began creeping into her bones and almost took over when she caught a glimpse of Fiona’s face. When she went to read over her shoulder, she almost fainted. 


          “ I know it’s been a while since we last talked ( that was mainly my fault…sorry), but can we meet at the treehouse? I want to talk



Ben ”


         She began pacing around the hallway, terrified of the conversation they might have. Would she go? Did she want to go? Of course, she did. She hated but, but, oh my gosh; she still loved him. 



           And there he stood, Benjamin Cameron, in his full six foot-five glory. Back when they were best friends who studied in this exact treehouse in her backyard, he was barely past five-nine. Ben was in top physical shape with a swimming scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in BioChemistry. He didn’t need her study guides or pictures of her math homework anymore. He was an independent boy growing into a man which made Annalise feel obsolete. 

          All she ever wanted to do was care for people. So, she tried to do whatever she could for them until she barely existed anymore. And now, he doesn’t need her anymore. So, why did he want to talk to her?

         His brown hair was curling at the ends and brushing against his forehead, and he was smiling at her with his eyes and his mouth. It was a smile that brought back nostalgia and heartbreak. But, don’t worry, it brought back heartbreak for him too. His eyes were a shade of brown that wobbled over the line of green and a beautiful honeyed brown. They had always fascinated her until she found a dress that matched his eyes. She burnt it in a fit of rage, but she wished she had it now. 

         “So Upenn, huh? Congrats, Ben.” She was the first to speak, yet her tongue nearly caught in her throat at the awkwardness of the interaction. His paled cheeks tinged with rosy hues of pink until he cleared his throat and drew a circle with his shoes. 

        “Yeah, but it doesn’t compare to Yale University, Ani.” He grinned at her, and anger suddenly coursed through her. 

          “Don’t call me that,” She nearly spit out before looking at her creased once-white shoes. 

           “Look, I know you’re mad at me, Ani…Annalise, but that’s why I asked you to meet me here. If you didn’t want to talk, you wouldn’t have come.” He began to justify, and she scoffed. 

           “I live here, Benjamin. Did you want me to move out for the night? I didn’t have a choice because you just showed up in my backyard.” 

           He nodded his head along with her words before pulling out a gold leaf etched copy of Pride and Prejudice that had countless colored tabs with a piece of paper sticking out. He walked closer to her before plopping it into her heart-covered gloves. He brushed one of the hearts slightly before she clasped her hands over the book and brought them up to her chest. 

          “I bought that book the next day after our fight. It was a special edition. It was your birthday week, and I had the whole “forgive me” speech all in my head, but you weren’t home. I left it in the treehouse, but when I went to see if you were in there a week later, it was all wet and rained on. I took that as my signal that you were done talking to me. So, I took it and endured reading that book and wrote little notes in it and tabbed the places I thought you would enjoy. I only wrote the letter like a week ago. 

         I’m sorry about the fight and even the kiss. I was scared. You were you, and I was this boy who couldn’t get the grades I got on my own and who could barely look up from my phone. You were so obviously out of my league it completely humiliated me. Yet, you dealt with my odd sense of humor and addiction to video games with so much love that it didn’t feel like you dealt with it. You enjoyed it, and you enjoyed me. Once I saw the book in the treehouse, I realized that I was in love with you. I mean, I had always been in love with you in some way. I guess it took losing you to realize how much I utterly adored you with all of my heart. Read the letter if you want. You have my number if you want to talk, but I’m not going to force you. Happy Valentine’s Day, Ani.”

           With that speech, he left her gaping in shock with the book still tightly tucked to her. She quickly opened the book to find the letter, only for tears to prick at her waterline when she saw a quote scrawled in his strange form of cursive. 

       “You have bewitched me body and soul, and I love, love, love you.”


          They sat together ten years later with the Pride and Prejudice movie playing while she pointed at specific notes he put in the book and squinted at the letter he wrote. He scoffed at his misspelling of absolutely before she pressed a quick kiss to his cheek. 

        “Who knew those stupid valentines would’ve saved the day?” 

          “They didn’t. I did that all on my own. Just how I asked you to marry me on my own, and how I wrote that letter on my own. I’m extremely independent.” He smirked at her before kissing her, bringing her back to their first real kiss on their graduation day. 

        Whether or not Ben thought he did it all independently, Annalise knew the truth. Valentine’s Day ultimately saved the day.