He always looked at me fondly, touched me softly, hugged me gently. I always wondered if we'd be together forever. Practicality was never on the top of my favorites list; I always dated for love. Our families had made sure we weren't practical together, but we wanted to defy them with our emotions. Something, though . . . something in me said that we weren't meant to be. And I always followed my intuition.

----------------

A rock hit my window, followed by another and another. It was two in the morning, and I knew that rocks couldn't fly on their own. They had to have an arm behind them. Sighing, somewhat freaked out, I rose groggily from my bed to see what the commotion was. I mean, I knew I was at least fairly pretty, but I never figured I'd have random guys chasing me around at night, banging on my window like cavemen with rocks.

At first, as I peered out my window, I saw nothing. Just the fountains and trees and beautiful gardens I woke up to every day at the famed Capulet mansion. Although the average commoner would have taken a double take at the gorgeous scenery, it was commonplace to me, and I skimmed over all the brilliant colors as my eyes noticed something out-of-the ordinary on the lawn outside of my window. It was a boy. And not just any boy--it was my boyfriend, Romeo.

I gasped at the unexpected sight of my ├╝ber-hot boyfriend and rushed out to my balcony. If my room had been on the first story, I would've gladly let him in to talk things over. But instead, my room was on the second floor, so I bent over the railing and tried to whisper down to him.

"What are you doing here?" I asked first, still bewildered by the unexpected visit. I mean, I was in my pajamas without makeup or tame hair. Although we'd been dating for a whole six months, he'd probably never seen me look less put-together.

Brushing his black hair out of his sky-blue eyes first, Romeo responded sweetly, "I was thinking of you and I wondered why I couldn't see you anytime I wanted to!" He gave me a puppy-dog face in order to make me feel the least bit sorry for him, even though he'd disrupted my sleep.

"Can you get up here?" I asked, a little loudly. "I don't wanna have to keep whispering down to you like this!"

At that, he nodded and told me to get into my room. I took his advice and stood back while somehow, he made his way up the first-story wall silently and stealthily up to my balcony. As he climbed over the railing, he gave me a quick grin, and then made his way into my room.

"Nice place you've got here," he commented. "I've never been in your room before." He studied my room and then looked at me softly.

"I was hoping you wouldn't come here," I responded, a little sharply. "If my parents or my aunt or my uncle found out about you being here . . . I'd be in such trouble, and so would you!" I stood up and began pacing, worried at the situation although nothing was really wrong. I practically had my own apartment in the Capulet mansion. Even if we ended up screaming our lungs out, it was doubtful that anyone would hear us. With a full-size bathroom, master bedroom, my own personal mini-kitchen, and a guest room, it was almost like living on my own in that mansion. Nobody ever checked in on me in the middle of the night, either. I'd had friends over late at night before. Just, I'd never had Romeo over. And Romeo was a very . . . a very different situation, indeed.

"They won't find out," he assured me. "Look, we weren't loud outside and we're not going to be loud in here, are we?" He shook his head in unison with mine. "No! So why worry?" He wrapped his arms around me and enveloped me in a warm hug. "I wouldn't let you get in trouble. I would never hurt you, Rose." He kissed my nose.

I grinned with relief. For some reason, Romeo always made everything seem like it was going to be okay, even in the worst circumstances. He was a truly smart, sweet, and heartfelt guy. The only thing he lacked was witty humor. Then again, witty humor wasn't really necessary, was it?

"I guess you're right," I agreed. "Even if anyone came in, it would just be Juliet. And Juliet wouldn't say a word." Juliet was my younger cousin and one of my best friends. She would never spill any of my secrets, even for revenge. She was always there for me; a true friend when I was in need.

He kissed my mouth and soon enough, we were full-on making out. I won't go into any detail about that, except that it was pure bliss. Soon, though, he became too . . . how should I put it? Too intimate. He became too intimate, and I was forced to pull away. For a second, he was bewildered at being stopped while he was already halfway around the bases.

"Why not?" he asked me.

"You said you would never hurt me," I reminded him.

He sighed. "That wouldn't be hurting you, Rosaline! I thought we were ready. That's why I came tonight."

All of a sudden I felt sick to my stomach. So that was why he'd come. Not because he wanted to see me, but because of a deeper reason. A reason as deep as my pants.

"You wanted to . . . to . . . to essentially own my pants?" I asked, shocked. "They're Levi's, though! Not even designer jeans!" I tried to add some humor to the situation. In fact, I wasn't even wearing jeans at the moment. Poor Romeo, though, didn't pick up on the joke. He was angry.

"We've been dating for six months, and we've gone nowhere," he whined. "I want this to take us somewhere."

I sighed. "It would if you'd be patient and wait it out for maybe three more years or so. When we're eighteen, we'll be adults. When we're adults, our parents' ever-tightening bindings won't matter anymore."

"Meaning . . . what?" he asked. "Meaning we could get married?"

I nodded, glad that he'd caught on.

"What does that have to do with anything?" he asked, shaking his head, not realizing I wasn't going to sell myself to any dude who knocked on my door.

"I won't go there till I'm married," I answered firmly.

"We're dating now, though."

"We might not be in three years, though."

"So?"

I sighed again. "So . . . ever heard of STD's? Or morals? I'm not going to give myself out like a free buffet! Dating means next to nothing in high school! If you're acting like this now, then I probably won't know you when I'm settling down with a nice guy to get married!" I huffed.

It took a moment for Romeo to let all of that to sink in. Once it did, though, he realized exactly what I was saying. "Oh," he said once realization struck him. "So now that I'm springing all of this upon you, you think I'm not the dude you want to marry. And you only date guys you think you could have a future with, right? Don't you ever date for love?"

I nodded and sniffled. "Yes," I reasoned. "And that's why I'm officially dumping you!"

Romeo shook his head rapidly. "You can't dump me!" he protested, still shaking his head.

"Why not?" I asked. "Give me one good reason." I crossed my freckled arms and pushed a strand of red-purple-brown-black hair behind my ear. The strange thing about my hair was that I had dyed it so many times that it wasn't one prominent color anymore. To the passerby, it appeared auburn. However, up close, it had undertones of fire-engine red and plum and even black from the several times I'd dyed it. Even though I'd dyed my hair so many times, it wasn't frizzy or stiff; in fact, my hair was always quite smooth, sleek, and manageably wavy.

"Because we just made out!" Romeo responded. "Plus . . . you're a girl. And I don't typically get dumped."

"Just get out," I said harshly. "You interrupted my sleep for a fight. Get out! Go jump off a balcony or something." And with that, I climbed back into bed and Romeo did, indeed, jump off the balcony.