The Only Exception

Ryder Johnson had never been in love. He'd never experienced the nerves, the joy, the unrestrained emotion of giving your entire heart to someone else.....But as soon as Ryder saw Darci Bell in the biology lab, he fell. He fell hard. Ryder fell head over heels in love with her. Except there was one small problem....Darci has sworn never to fall in love!

With the help of his friends, some fiendish ploys of his own, and an incredible song by an incredible band, can Ryder make Darci love him back?

Note: Every chapter in this story will be named after a song, and it will have something to do with the plot line


4. On My Own

It was not easy. Not at all. That night, I enlisted Cory to come to my house and teach me French. Unfortunately, he spoke less than I did. We spent hours listening to Rosetta Stone, continuously putting it on repeat. Eventually, I just flopped down on my bed and groaned,
"What's the point? She hates me, learning her language won't change that."
"She'll appreciate that you're trying."
"I highly doubt it."
Cory pulled me up and positioned me back in front of the computer.
"The Ryder I know doesn't give up that easily. Come on, how do you say hello, it's nice to see you in French?"
"Um- Bonjour, ça fait plaisir de te voir?" I said hesitantly.
"Good." Cory said approvingly.
"Now if you can only learn a couple phrases, just enough to keep a conversation going, we'd be good for tonight."
I sighed and then said,
"Alright- I mean Ça va."
"Bravo!" Cory cried.

At school the next day, I approached Darci at her locker and said,
"Salut Darci. Êtes-vous bien?"
Darci looked up from her bookback and glanced at me, narrowing her eyes.
"Je vais bien. Et vous?" she replied slowly
I bit back a grin and leaned against a locker. I could totally do this.
"Je suis grand."
Darci beamed and I was momentarily stunned by the brilliance of her smile. But not for long. She began chattering rapidly in French, so quickly that I had no hope in hell of decipering what she said. At first I thought she was just happy that maybe somebody could converse with her in her native tounge. But then I realized she had an greater motive. She had called my bluff. Darci knew I'd only learned the barest minimum of French phrases, and was exploiting that weakness. I held my hands up to get her to stop.
"Alright." I said.
"You got me."
Darci raised her eyebrows and then strolled away, chanting in her sing-songy French accent,
"Not good enough, American boy."
I turned around and kicked a locker, hoping to get some of my frustration out. All I got was a sense of stupidity and an aching pain in my foot. Time for Plan B.

Turns out, Darci was also in my sixth period English class. Our English teacher was a wacky woman called Miss. Heart, who was possibly one of the most original indivduals I've ever met in my life. She has strange obsessions with sparkly tiaras, My Little Pony, Wolverine, and Edgar Allen Poe (strange combination, I know). It's impossible to not like her, as a teacher or a person.

Anways, Darci was clearly struggling in English, no surprise. She's still trying to master a langauge that we all grew up speaking. No wonder she found it hard. However, I happen to be quite good an English, by some work of the Baby Jesus. Miss. Heart was busy explaining the concept of passive voice to some other students, so I discreetly got up and walked over to Darci. She was about an inch away from her textbook, poring of the words and flipping frantically through an English-to-French dictionary.
"Need some help?" I asked.
She looked up at me and then sighed deeply.
"Oui- I mean, yes."
I pulled over a chair and sat down beside her, looking at her book. We were reading a story called "The Tell-Tale Heart", by (you guessed it) Edgar Allen Poe. It was disturbing and extremely horrific....exactly the kind of story I like. But Darci obviously had no idea what she was doing. I looked at her and she sighed again,
"I can understand English when it's being said, but I can't read it." she said frustratedly, brushing her blonde hair out of her eyes.
"Then how about I read it to you, and explain things you don't understand?"
Darci nodded reluctantly, not wanting to be in my debt. But I honestly wasn't trying to get her to like me more. She needed help, and I was willing to give it.
"TRUE! — nervous — very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses — not destroyed — not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily — how calmly I can tell you the whole story..." I started.
I stayed there the entire class, slowly reading the story so Darci could understand. I'm pretty sure Miss. Heart noticed what I was up to, but she didn't comment. Another thing about Miss. Heart....She's a matchmaker.

We finished the story a few minutes before the bell was due to ring. I shut the book and looked at Darci. She smiled weakly and then said,
"Thank you, Ryder."
I nodded and then desperately thought of somthing to say to keep the conversation going.
"Do you have any favorite books? In French I mean?"
Darci blushed and then said,
"Don't laugh at me, but my favorite book is the French version of Les Miserables."

She is perfection. That is all I have to say. Don't judge me for this, but I actually adore musical theatre. My parents tried to get me into the arts at a young age. They took me to see Les Miserables when I was eight years old. A lot of it went over my head (ie. the lovely ladies) but I got the concept as a whole. I cried basically the entire night, and have loved it ever since.

I must have been staring at Darci like a gormless idiot, because she looked at me funnily and hesitantly waved a hand in front of my face.
"Um- Ryder?"
I jumped and then said hurriedly,
"Sorry...Just thinking. And I don't judge you at all for loving Les Miserables; it's one of the wonders of the world, in my opinion."
Darci grinned and then said,
"I thank Victor Hugo every day for writing such a beautiful story."
I gulped and then dove straight in, probably pushing my luck,
"You know, there's a Les Miserables film coming out in awhile..."
And with that, the bell rang. Darci raced away and I put my head down on the desk in despair. Not even Les Miserables would help me.

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