Isn't She Lovely Page 1

Chapter One


So, it’s like this … in movies, there’s this thing called the meet-cute.

The meet-cute is that moment when the romantic couple meets for the first time, and it’s supposed to be amusing or ironic or charming, or some shit like that.

You know, like that scene where the sarcastic, ball-busting female character mistakes her handsome new lawyer for the janitor? Or where the impossibly cute secretary rear-ends the BMW of the guy who turns out to be her new boss?

Then, of course, true love abounds, and everyone conveniently forgets that the entire thing is completely contrived.

And here’s what you don’t learn in Film 101: in real life, the meet-cute isn’t the least bit cute. It’s more like a meet-awkward. Sometimes even a meet-shoot-me-now.

And another thing they don’t tell you in film class?

It takes a hell of a lot longer than that brief moment to know that this other person is something other than a ginormous wart on your soul.

Basically, the meet-cute is this big, fat delusion created in the fantasyland of Hollywood.

Except sometimes … sometimes it’s real.

My mom always used to tell me that I wouldn’t really know myself until I turned thirty. I’m pretty sure that’s crap.

I’m twenty-one, and I already have a pretty good list of things I know about myself. The smell of roses makes me nauseous, I look sallow in green, small talk makes me queasy, and I’ve got a thing for old movies.

Oh, and I hate being late.

But it must be some sort of cosmic requirement that on the first day of a new semester you’ll sleep through your alarm, misplace your backpack, and naturally the subway will be running way behind schedule.

Not that being late to my Classic Film Narratives class is something to get worked up about, since it’s just an elective, but it’s like I said: I hate being late.

On the plus side, I’ve been at NYU for three years now and know my way around campus. At least I’m not lost, on top of having to do that awkward boob-jiggling half-run/half-walk thing as I make my way toward the classroom.

I’m digging around in my ancient black backpack for a granola bar since I skipped breakfast when I run smack into a wall of, well … beefcake, for a lack of a better word.

I’ve never done the whole round-the-corner-run-into-someone thing, but I always imagined it happening kind of slo-mo.

It doesn’t.

It’s more of a split-second flash of surprise and teeth-jolting discomfort followed by stinging humiliation.

I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that my shit’s now all over the ground or the fact that I’m gaping at the guy I just slammed into. He’s obnoxiously good-looking in a clean-cut, star-quarterback kind of way. Dark blond hair, strong chin, golden brown eyes, and yummy shoulders …

Totally not my type. I prefer the wiry artist type with soulful eyes. But still, he’s pretty if you like ’em tall, muscly, and hair-gelled.

Instead of apologizing like a good little plastic doll, he lets out the smallest of sighs, like he’s the one inconvenienced, even though he’s not the one who has tampons and notebooks scattered all over the floor.

“Awesome,” I mutter, bending down to pick up the mess.

He leans down at the same moment and I jerk my head back to avoid bumping skulls like in a B-movie scene. Unfortunately, my movement causes my chest to thrust up toward his face, and we both leap back just in time to avoid him face-planting into my boobs. Basically I just replaced a slightly awkward moment with the motherlode of awkwardness. Could this day get any better?

“Sorry ’bout that,” Pretty Boy says with a crooked grin. I don’t know whether he’s apologizing for our initial collision or for the humiliating near-miss of an inadvertent motorboat situation. Since he looks like he’s ready to bust out laughing, I’m pretty sure it’s the latter.


I keep my eyes locked on the mess of books and papers, because my face feels like it’s on fire. Of course I had to go with a skimpy tank top today. I’m not usually one to show a lot of skin, but it’s blazing hot, with the humidity at like 400 percent, and my usual collection of dark T-shirts seemed oppressive.

This is what I get for being practical.

The guy starts to help me gather my stuff, and I discreetly study him. His crisp white polo shirt and wrinkle-free plaid shorts are majorly out of place in the Tisch School of the Arts. Most of the students in my program look more like me: dark hair, dark clothes, three more swipes of eyeliner than necessary.

My eyes lock on his espresso-colored messenger bag, where there’s a discreet Prada logo.

“Are you lost or something?” I blurt out.

The guy gives a little laugh. “Just because I don’t come barreling around corners doesn’t mean I’m lost.”

“I wasn’t barreling,” I snap. “I’m just in a hurry.”

He picks up a tampon and hands it to me with an innocent smile. I try to look unfazed as I grab it and stuff it into the bottom of my bag. Really, of all the things to pick up, he goes for that one?

I snatch up the rest of my things and jam them into the bag, standing as I yank the zipper closed. “Whatever. I just thought I could point you in the right direction.”

“I’ll be a senior starting in September. I know my way around the campus,” he says, standing to tower over me.

“A senior here?” I gape. “Because you look like you walked off a Harvard admissions brochure.”