From the beginning, it looked like a fairy tale: the country-pop princess strolling hand in hand with the handsome young scion of an American political dynasty … And now she’s adding another Kennedy notch to her belt. Star has learned that Taylor was caught making out with Patrick Schwarzenegger, Conor’s cousin, at a family event! —Star
If ever there were a story meant to be told, it was how Taylor Swift set out to become a Kennedy. Young and ambitious, she had pulled herself up by white-leather bootstraps and the sweat of her brow. Anointed with acclaim, awards, No. 1 hits, and all the money a girl could ever want, she needed only a suitor worthy of her arm to make the fairy tale complete. She needed a prince, but an American one. She needed a Kennedy.
Yes, Taylor Swift thought to herself, red lips twisting into a mischievous pout. Her days of bearding for Hollywood heartthrobs were over, the mishap of John Mayer long in the past. She would land a gentleman this time, and though a grand Southern mansion with colonnade would better fit her image, she would sojourn into cold New England, would trade her cowboy boots for boat shoes, Nashville plaid for preppy stripes. She would be the Queen of Camelot.
Arriving at the grand Kennedy complex beside the sea in Hyannis Port, Taylor gazed at the strapping young men of marriageable age, gamboling by the sea. How she longed to unlace their ribbon belts, to lean against their sea-salted flesh and meet their chowder-souped lips with hers. But there were so many Kennedys in attendance, at every age and from every branch of the family. Would she choose a young prince? A stately elder?
On the first day, they went boating. Taylor disguised herself in the garments of Ethel Kennedy during the Eisenhower administration, high-waisted trunks in polka-dot print. If years in show business had taught her anything, it was the power of costuming. Taylor Swift would not be ignored. Some members of this family would seek to thwart her. They would expect her to falter. They tried to stump her with quips about politics, but with a bat of thickly painted eyelashes, she tossed the debt-ceiling jokes right back right back. Ha ha ha, Mitt Romney needs an elevator to find it, like the one he has for cars! Her voice may be Nashville, but she’d been raised in Pennsylvania, her father in banks and her mother in mutual funds. Yes, the Kennedys would soon be hers, and Taylor would be one of them.
First, she entertained strapping Schwarzenegger-Kennedy hybrid Patrick. As a spy would later report to Taylor’s foul enemy, Star magazine, “Taylor and and Patrick weren’t kissing out in the open, but she wasn’t being as subtle as she thought.” The next morning, sitting before a filigree mirror in the perfumed Hyannis Port home she had moved into next door, brushing her hair with a silver brush that had once belonged to Rose Kennedy that she’d found in her beau’s attic, she closed her eyes and savored the memory of his face so close to hers, his square jaw and faraway gaze, his dark eyelashes blinking wetly in the Cape’s harbor mist. How she ached to make him hers.
But the next day, her hair done up with jeweled pins she’d found in a box of Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s old things, she had come across Patrick’s young cousin Conor. Only 18 years old, but “a grown man,” she thought to herself. “You can’t kidnap a grown man!” You must seduce him.
And so, “she hooked up with two cousins on consecutive nights!” Star magazine would later report, but “Taylor’s rep denies the claim” would be her response. Her love was deeper than the sea, her passion stronger than a “hookup.” With the intensity of a thousand sparkle-guitars in a sold-out stadium, she wooed him. She would have to work quickly, before back-to-school season, when her young lover would be forced to prioritize homework and getting back to the dorms in time for lights-out.
But as she fought to justify her love, she met obstacles. After that disastrous wedding appearance, Taylor fled back to her high tower room. She had feigned tears for the crowd, but in actuality, she was fuming. The Kennedys would know her revenge for the way they had closed ranks and dared to slight her presence. They would know her rage and their ruin in song and chord. No one embarrassed Taylor Swift and got away with it. Even Kanye West hadn’t fully recovered.
And so she picked up her guitar and winked at herself in the mirror, practicing her stage smile, the glowing white teeth, the saucy pout, and hummed a bar or two from “Dear John” under her breath. She dipped her her head coquettishly and widened her eyes. The words flowed, the melody was catchy. A song of two loves, a song of heartrending choices. A song of boyfriends too young to purchase alcohol or enter an alcohol-serving venue without a guardian. She made the tune extra twangy and mispronounced Hyannis Port on purpose. She used the word ain’t. She would invite famous Republican Kid Rock to guest-sing in the chorus. She would show them, those snobby New Englanders who would not accept her. Her song would be No. 1 worldwide in less than a week.
For there are two ways to become royalty: to marry it and to overthrow it. Taylor Swift tossed her head back and cackled that night. She cackled and cackled until she cried, and then she punched the speed bag she’d had printed with John Mayer’s face for twenty minutes, until she could breathe easy again.
Amelia Casey is a romance novelist. Her most recent book, Taken by the Highwayman, makes Lady Anabel Mayward quiver.