By Author's name withheld*
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* We are not publishing the writer’s name to protect her identity because she writes about using drugs. Names have been changed.

Illustration by Michelle Cao, 16, Temple City HS

Until second semester of 10th grade, school and grades always came before my social life and definitely before boys. If I ever dated a guy, I figured it would be someone I met in the library. I never imagined I’d fall for a bad boy and end up skipping class, trying ecstasy and lying to my mom.

It started on a Wednesday in April 2009. I saw the hottest guy coming my way. I stared at his brown eyes, his boyish smirk and his black leather jacket. Then I saw his hands entwined with a gorgeous girl’s. I was crushed.

I told my friend Tina about the guy. “Oh, that’s my friend Adam,” she said. How dare she have a hot friend and not tell me? She offered to introduce me to him but I was too shy and, besides, he had a girlfriend. Tina said she would to put in a good word for me with Adam. I hoped she would tell him good things—like that I was tall and exaggerate my attractiveness.

Tina surprised me by introducing me to Adam after school that day. I was so red with embarrassment while we were talking that I wanted to leave. But then I told myself to look like I was interested, but not too excited. After a couple minutes he said he had to leave for work, but he invited me and Tina to hang out Friday. I was thrilled.

My friends warned me about him

Even though I was so anxious to hang out with Adam that I got distracted in class thinking about him, I didn’t know anything about him. I asked female friends about him and they told me that he was a womanizer and a drug user. They also said that he’d been in rehab and had been kicked out of a college-prep class for disrespecting a teacher. Basically, he was a bad boy. I couldn’t believe it. He looked so sweet when he was holding hands with his girlfriend. I thought that my friends were saying bad things about him because they were jealous.

That Friday after school, Tina, Adam and I went over to his friend Jesse’s house. There was a bag of pot on the floor. My friends were right, at least about the drugs. I was scared, because I had smoked only once before. But I felt like Adam would never want to talk to me again if I refused or if I left.

We started passing the pipe around. When it was my turn to smoke, I inhaled, coughed and passed it on. As we kept passing it around I got high. Things were going well. Adam was playing our requests on his guitar, I didn’t look like a fool trying to smoke and I was talking with Adam and his friend.

Soon we walked to a restaurant. I was high and started feeling nauseous. Once we sat down Tina took me to the bathroom where I threw up. When we got back to our table, Adam and Jesse were laughing at me. I was humiliated. I had wanted to prove that I was mature (Adam was a senior and I was only a sophomore) but I ended up puking. I didn’t expect to hear from him again.

But one day about a week later Adam sent me a text. (Tina had given him my number.) We spent hours texting that day and discovered that we both loved the Canadian band Metric and were Harry Potter nerds. He complimented me on my good taste in music and how cute I was. My cheeks went red as I read his text.

A few days later Adam asked me out on a date. I did my happy dance and texted all my friends. I didn’t care that he was dating someone else. We saw a terrible movie, but it didn’t matter because the hottest guy I knew went to this movie with me! I could have been at a bus stop in the rain and been happy as long as I was with him. As we were walking out of the theater, he smiled, leaned in close and kissed me. My face went hot and my heart was beating fast. When my mom picked me up she asked how my date went. All I said was that the movie was bad but the talking was great. I was too embarrassed to tell her about the kiss.

After that, Adam and I, along with some other friends, hung out every day during lunch and after school. Adam would tell us about the crazy parties and raves he went to where people would overdose on drugs. I smiled nervously, not knowing what to say. I had never heard someone talk about overdoses so casually. I felt like the only one who was shocked.

A few weeks later I was skipping class a couple times a week to be with him, and even worse I was smoking pot with him every other day. I also heard that Adam and his girlfriend had broken up. That day I saw his beautiful ex-girlfriend looking somber as she passed me in the hall. I knew that this was the perfect time to prove myself to be girlfriend-worthy.

Later that day my friend Serena asked me to go with her to an all-ages dance club that night. I said I couldn’t go because my parents wouldn’t let me stay out past 11, let alone go to a club. Eventually she convinced me by saying that she would tell my mom that I was sleeping over at her house. I’d never been to a club or lied to my mom to go somewhere I wasn’t supposed to.

We met Adam there and he introduced me to his friends and held my hand. I could see them look from me to him and nod approvingly. As soon as we got inside, I was overwhelmed by the loud techno and hip-hop, the colored lights and the hundreds of people dancing. I wanted to impress Adam and his friends so I tried to imitate how they acted. They weren’t looking around wide-eyed so neither could I.

When we started dancing I felt so free. A little while later, some of Adam’s friends bought ecstasy. Adam said he didn’t want any but without thinking I blurted out that I wanted to try it. He and his friend looked happy when I said yes.

Suddenly, I felt my pocket vibrating. I took my phone out and saw my mom’s name on the caller ID. I stared at my phone not knowing what to do. Freaking out as it kept ringing, I thought of an excuse to tell her when I called her back. I put my phone back in my pocket. I felt so guilty. I was somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be and I had lied to her to get here.

I calmed myself by thinking that my rebelling was a natural part of being a teen. At 15, pretty much everyone I knew had lied to their parents at least once. I danced with Serena and then Adam took my hand and led us out of the hall where he and I each swallowed an ecstacy pill.

After a few hours of dancing I felt like I was on the drop of a steep roller coaster. This freaked me out and I told Adam I had to sit down. As we sat on the floor, I remembered Adam’s stories of people overdosing and I hoped I wouldn’t make a dumbass of myself. About 30 minutes later, Serena told me I had to act normal because her dad was going to pick us up soon. I had just started feeling the ecstasy and I needed to act like I wasn’t on drugs. When I got to Serena’s around midnight I texted my mom that I hadn’t seen her missed call because cell phone reception at Serena’s house was bad.

When I woke up at Serena’s the next morning I felt guilty about lying to my mom. But I also knew I’d gotten away with it and then I started to slack off even more. Instead of always being on time to class, most mornings I would meet Adam and spend minutes kissing him after the tardy bell rang. My French teacher would get upset when I walked in late and didn’t apologize. Eventually I no longer had the highest grade in class.

My new life with Adam came at a price. A few of my friends stopped speaking to me because I had ditched them for Adam. They also didn’t like that I was smoking pot. I thought, if they were my real friends they wouldn’t care whether I did drugs or judge who I was seeing.

Would he ever make me his girlfriend?

By May, some friends questioned me about my relationship status. I would say that we were just dating, but inside I worried whether Adam would ever make me his girlfriend. I assumed he would since we already acted like a couple. He walked me to my classes, we went on dates and out to parties together. But since we hadn’t had a conversation about our “status” I feared that he would drop me like he did the girl he was dating before me. I never asked him about it though. I was too afraid he would say he didn’t want me as his girlfriend.

A few weeks before school ended, Adam was hospitalized for alcohol poisoning. When I saw him at school he was talking to our group of friends about how he was going to stick to whiskey now. I couldn’t believe him. A night in the hospital would have straightened me out, but he still wanted to drink. It sickened me. So when Adam tried to hug me I shrugged him off and walked away. He didn’t ask me what was wrong.

After that day Adam stopped walking me to my classes, asking me to hang out and he rarely replied to my text messages saying “hi.” I felt rejected but after a few days, I got the hint. A week later, I learned that he had begun seeing an old girlfriend. I spent most of those days at Tina’s house crying, watching Mean Girls and eating ice cream. Thankfully the friends I had ditched were understanding.

When my report card came, I didn’t want to open it. I had blown off a lot of classes since April. I was shocked when I saw that I ended the year with a 3.8 GPA. I was so thankful my teachers were kind but I felt guilty because I didn’t deserve my grades.

That summer I went to summer school, didn’t touch drugs and was boy free. I felt so much happier hanging out with my friends, enjoying evening walks at the park. I didn’t need to lie to my mom to have fun on the weekends. I realized that I was not meant to be with someone who I needed to change so much for.

Even though now I can see that he clearly was a bad boy, at the time I was too infatuated to acknowledge it. I had this image of what I wanted him to be, sweet and loving, and I wasn’t going to let anything taint it, not even reality. The next time I feel a crush building up for someone like Adam, I’ll remember that a bad boy broke my heart.