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The Romantics
Author:Leah Konen

The Romantics by Leah Konen



this book is dedicated to all the

romantics out there, you know who you are.



never stop believing.

(the rest of us depend on your optimism.)





Love’s notes


No, not love notes. Love in the possessive. I.e., notes from me.

I am Love. Your trusty narrator. Frequently referenced, usually misunderstood. Often imitated, never duplicated—that kind of thing.

That’s why I’m here—ditching my cloak of mystery, talking to you straight—to tell you a love story. A real love story—one that actually involves me.

Before we get started, a few guidelines. A handbook, if you will—to the ways of Love.

Rule Number One:

I will never ask you to ingest poison, fall on your lover’s sword, become a subhuman species, wage war, or generally cause yourself or others bodily harm. That’s the stuff of books and stories, not the real deal.

Rule Number Two:

I may not give much warning. It is quite possible that I’m right around the corner and you have no idea. Sometimes even I don’t know where I’ll be next—I’m Love, not some all-knowing god.

Rule Number Three:

I cannot prevent you from going after the wrong person. In fact, it is quite possible that you think you’ve found me when you haven’t.

People manage to see me in the most ridiculous of places: in a stolen kiss with your best friend’s boyfriend; in the soft words of the model-esque boy asking you to lose it on his basement couch. But this is True Love, you say—cue the music, soften the lighting, slap on a filter that makes you both look all dreamy and romantic!

Sorry to disappoint, but a lot of the time, that’s not really me.

I refer you back to Rule Number One. Romeo and Juliet; Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere; Marc Antony and Cleopatra; Bella and Edward—history and literature are full of examples of people who have made bad decisions in the name of, well, me.

Look, humans make a lot of mistakes. I don’t. Just trust me on this one.

I’m asking you to forget everything you know about True Love. The real kind doesn’t make you selfish and shortsighted. Real love makes you better than you ever knew you could be.

So, how do you find me? Well, I’m actually the one who finds you. See below.

Rule Number Four:

I will be in your life at one point or another.

This is my promise to you, no matter if you have sparkling green eyes or a face full of acne. No matter if you live in a Paris apartment overlooking the Seine or in rural Indiana overlooking cows. When it’s your turn, I’ll be there. And I will help you, if you let me.

Rule Number Five:

I cannot control you—or the Harry Styles lookalike in your calculus class. When it comes to the important stuff, it’s all on you.

That said, I’ve been known to give little, yet effective, nudges.

Rule Number Six:

Sometimes my timing is tricky.

Take Gael Brennan. He’s a serious type, a kid with a plan. A Romeo, convinced he’s found his Juliet. A high school senior in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, who has no earthly idea what’s in store for him.

He’s about to lose his faith in me. And what I hate to admit is that said faith-losing is at least partially my fault, if you can believe it. I know, I know, I said I don’t make mistakes.

And I don’t.

Well, I didn’t.

But I’m going to do everything in my power to make this right.

Because there’s a reason dear Gael needs me in his life. A big one. And let’s just say it’s not so he’ll have someone to take to prom.

Of course, half the fun of my job is the challenge. Which brings me to— Rule Number Seven:

I am allowed to get creative.

Before you protest, let me assure you that, as promised in Rule Number Five, human free will remains intact. I can’t force people to do anything. I don’t have a pouch full of arrows or a curio full of potions.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t have my ways . . .





throwback to the first “i love you”


Gael bit at his thumb as Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds ended in a shot of a landscape awash with feathers.

“Did you like it?” he asked Anika nervously. It was entirely possible—likely, even—that she hadn’t. Sure, they’d already rented Vertigo, which she’d enjoyed. And she’d seen Psycho on her own, but he’d always thought those were easier to like. The Birds was just so much weirder. Of course, Anika was pretty weird herself. But still.