Jeremy was right. We were on the news.
And so was the mayor.
"The order in Honeyville is being challenged. And it is all occurring within Honeyville High School."
I sat with my mother in the kitchen, as we both watched the evening news together. Though, when the mayor went on and announced the scandal going on in our loving town, I thought it would be a good idea to get up and leave.
"You're not going anywhere."
My mom almost sounded like my dad for a moment, as her voice was stern, controlled. I resumed my position back at the table, watching the nightmare on the television screen.
"During the past three weeks, adolescents of different groups and sub-categories have been interacting with each other, corrupting the well-maintained order of the system. It began from an inter-racial romance between a Noble girl and mixed boy, and the effect has spread throughout the whole school."
I blinked. How did they know these things?
"We will not tolerate this behavior in Honeyville," the mayor spoke. "For years we have been living in harmony, and this diversity will be put to an end before the whole town is influenced by it. We must think of the children."
"Oh please." The words burst out of my mouth before I had the chance to even think of saying them. Though, now I was on a role, as more sentences escaped my throat.
"This is the dumbest crap I've ever heard," I mused, my mother remaining uncannily silent. "They waste time making this headlining news, like murder's being committed or something. This is just insane."
Finally, Mom responded, as she placed her hand on the table firmly, lifting a cold gaze towards me. "I am beginning to get sick of your mouth, Diana," she lectured. "Do you see what you and your little boyfriend are causing in this town? The mayor knows about you two! The town's gathering in a revolt! I really don't want angry neighbors banging on our doors. Why are you being so selfish?"
My lips parted in astonishment, as I could barely believe what she was telling me. "I'm being selfish?" I repeated. "Because I have a boyfriend who isn't completely white? Because I've made friends with people who aren't strictly Noble? God forbid that I don't stick to my own kind, whatever that means."
"I'm tired of explaining myself, Mom," I said, exhaling in a sigh. "And I'm sorry if I'm causing problems, but I have to do what's right. And, you'll see where I'm coming from at the Honeyville Talent Show."
Mother suddenly became strangely quiet when I mentioned the event. She looked away from me for a moment, her gazed fixated on the tiles on the floor. "Honey, your father and I had a discussion about the show, and..."
"I signed up for it, Mother," I argued early. "I can't back out, and I will participate."
"I know that," she clarified, "But..." She paused, her eyes now wet as she bit her lower lip. "Your father and I have decided that we can't come see you perform."
My heart broke the instant she finished her sentence. "What?" I spoke it softly, completely shocked.
She hesitated before continuing, avoiding eye contact with me. "You won't listen to us, you just keep doing what you want and so we are not going to see you. It's not because we don't love you, Diana. But we can't support you with this. We don't want you to think that we believe it's okay."
I could only shake my head at her, as I stood from my chair and began heading towards the stairs. "I'm sorry that I grew up and wanted to find my own way."
I ignored her final plea as I went up to my room, locking the door as I went inside. My own parents weren't going to come see me perform. It was unbelievable. I felt my confidence begin to deteriorate, as the show was tomorrow, and now this news was causing me to become more nervous than I already was.
The school was diversifying. London and I were no longer the only inter-racial couple, as I saw blacks, whites, Asians, and Hispanics begin to explore their intimacy. I witnessed much interaction with all the groups, and table-hopping was no longer just an act done by London and me.
Looking at my watch, I noticed that I needed to meet London at the Honeyville Theatrical Center in twenty minutes to rehearse for the show. I packed my bag and burst out of my bedroom and left through the front door. The walk was cold, but short. Within fifteen minutes I found myself at the entrance, sighing as I pushed my way inside.
I found London backstage, as he was easy to spot. He was the darkest one there. He was looking through the Shakespearean text, waiting for my arrival. I moaned in relief when I finally made it to him, greeting him with a tight embrace that had taken him completely by surprise.
Though, upon seeing me, he eased, returning the hug. Pressing his lips against my mouth, he kissed me gently, and I remained in his embrace, reluctant to detach myself from him.
"Is there something wrong?" he asked me, smoothing his palm against the back of my head. I moaned again, this time pressed my cheek against his chest, my nose wrinkling.
"My parents aren't coming tomorrow," I told him, lifting my face to meet his gaze. "London, I don't know what to do. I mean, we were on the news. What if something happens tomorrow? What if it doesn't turn out the way we're hoping it does?"
"Diana, don't worry," he eased me, grasping my shoulders firmly as his eyes looked directly into my own. "We've got our act down, we know what we're doing. You wanted to shock the town? We've shocked them. And now this act is going to seal the envelope." I tried to look away, but London held my jaw, returning my face back to him.
"You did this, Diana," he told me. "You did all of this. I may have started the change, but you're finishing it, perfecting it. Tomorrow is going to be your night, and it took a lot of courage for you to let go of what you've always known to do what you want. It's your folks' lost if they don't come tomorrow. So please, just don't be sad."
Him telling me not to be sad only made me feel more of it. I guess I had starting crying; I was too numb to feel any tears. London grabbed my hand gently, and began leading me away. He moved past all the other participants who were figuring out their lighting, stage positions. He led me down a hallway, past rows of doors, until he stopped at a specific one. Upon opening it, I saw that it was an empty, small resting room, with a table and chairs. London closed the door behind him, my stare towards him showing signs of confusion.
"They told us to come in here if we needed some quiet," he briefly explained. Neither of us then hesitated, we immediately embraced, holding one another firmly. London kissed the top of my head as I trembled against him, and as I raised my face he pressed his lips against my forehead, and then traveled down until our mouths became one.
He kissed me firmly, compactly. Or, rather, I kissed him. I could feel his warmth generating through me, his body soft, his lips moist. I began to open my mouth wider, inviting him to kiss me deeper, harder. It was then when I lost my breath, when my knees fell weak. My balance caved when his tongue began to dance with my own. Sensing my inability to stand any longer, he lifted my body, his hands on my bottom, as I wrapped my legs around his securely.
He carried me to the table where he delicately placed me down. Our mouths parted for a moment, and we took this time to catch our breaths, as I became lost in the brown hue of his ample eyes. Finally at eye level with me, London leaned forward and planted his lips on my mouth once more, resuming to kiss me, touch me, hold me. His hands traced the curve of my stomach, traveling up until he grasped my breasts firmly. I gasped at the sudden act, as my chest expanded and released from my change of breathing pattern.
I placed my hands over his, pushing them forward, allowing him to hold my covered breasts harder, more securely. His body moved closer against mine, his lips venturing messily along my jaw, his breath hot, his skin smooth against mine.
"Is this the Romeo and Juliet act- OH MY!"
How had we not noticed the sound of the door opening? Instantly, we naturally pulled away from each other, which took a second longer than we hoped, since London's hands seemed literally glued to my breasts.
The person before us was one of the show directors, as he held a clipboard and pen in his grasp. He gawked at us wildly for a moment, and I could feel my cheeks scald from my immense blush.
"So...you two are the Romeo and Juliet act then, I'm assuming?"
Sheepishly, we nodded.
"Okay, you two need to go out in the front stage and figure out your lighting and music."
We nodded quickly, remaining silent, as we rapidly ran out of the room, going to our needed location.
And, of course, before we could actually make it onto the stage, I had to bump into a vaguely familiar face. Though, it was more like she ran into me. Yet, her gathered her composure, glaring at me viciously as if I had just run her over with London's Viper.
"Hello Linda," I managed to say with a straight face.
Smoothing out her dress, the skinny brunette flicked her hair back, her nose pointed towards the ceiling, literally.
"Diana, I am shocked to see you here," she mused, pulling out a mirror from her purse. "And with your mutt, I see. Too cheap to go for the pure breed?"
To both our astonishment, London laughed.
"Honey, I've told better black jokes than that," he told her, flicking his bang the same manner as she had down with her long locks. Linda scoffed at this, zipping her Fendi purse and folding her arms over her chest.
"I don't know what you two think you're planning on doing tomorrow, but I hope you realize that you both will be booed off the stage before you even finish your act." With a tisk, she shook her head at me. "It's a shame, Diana, it really is. You were once noble and sophisticated. I mean, you needed to drop some weight but you still had a lot going for yourself. I hope you don't regret too much about losing my friendship."
London grabbed my hand, urging me to go, but I resisted. This was my chance once and for all to tell the bitch off. I was not going to let an opportunity like this slip by again.
"Linda, there's one thing I've always wanted to tell you since since grade school."
"And what's that?"
"Shut the fuck up."
She gasped at my unexpected cursing, placing a palm over her mouth just like every other Noble in the neighborhood. Utterly, she had become speechless.
"Your always walking around with your nose in the air all the time like your some fucking queen. Well, news flash, bitch: Nobody cares! No one talks about you, thinks about you, wants to be you. You're just another face in the large crowd of snobs. Because you Nobles all look the same! Not the blacks, the Asians, you Nobles! You all look the same, act the same! It's pathetic, sad really. I actually feel sorry for you, because you think you're so special when, really, you're not. Wow, you must feel so embarrassed now."
"Dang..." was what London had to say, as Linda kept blinking at me, her jaw almost hanging to the floor.
"How dare how dare you speak to me that way?" she demanded. "You're a freak, Diana! That's what you are, that's what everyone thinks of you! You and your boyfriend and all your weird friends! You're all freaks!"
All I could do in response was shrug my shoulders, taking London's hand and moving towards the front stage. "Finally, you see things my way."
I had just treated her life.
His cheek rested on my lap, his eyes facing the television screen. Not that they were paying much attention, as he began drifting off while I gently massaged his head.
It was the night of his show, and we were waiting for two hours to pass. I was here at his home, warm and comfortable on his couch, as London lied sleepily using my thighs as a pillow. I knew he had finally knocked out when I began to hear the steady rhythm of his breathing, his body motionless as his chest gently expanded and released with every light breath.
It was adorable, really, and my hand slid from his hair gently to his cheek. Upon my touch, he nestled his head against my lap, almost like an infant.
Less than a minute later, however, his mother walked past us. Though, she made a complete turn back in our direction when she saw the position of her son. Smacking his leg, Mrs. Reeds urged him to rise.
"Boy, get up," she ordered, as London had an instant reaction. "Give your girlfriend a a massage or something, don't just lay on her like some desperate old man."
London groaned as he sat up with me, rubbing his eyes as he began to get adjusted to the light. His mother ruffled his hair before exiting the room, and I couldn't help but giggle as I began to caress his earlobe. Turning to me, he raised a brow.
I froze. "Yes."
A smile took over his boyish features, scooting closer to me and pressing his lips against my warm forehead. I smoothed my palm along his jaw, his breath warming my face, his lips like silk as they touched my skin.
I was in fact nervous, as we'd be on stage performing before the night was over. A part of me just wanted to sit here and not attend, but I knew that I needed to go through with this. But yet, I still could not rid my feeling of unease at the thought that my parents weren't going to be there. Even London's folks were coming, and I felt closer to them than I did with my own mother and father. They had even started calling me their "daughter-in-law."
Just two more hours before London and I would leave...The minutes went by like seconds.
"Do you feel sexy?"
We were both backstage, twenty minutes before we were up, and London had seriously asked me the most random question I had ever heard. "Excuse me?" I proclaimed.
He said it again. "Do you feel sexy?"
"Hmmm..." I tapped my index finger against my chin, sarcasm taking over me. "I'm wearing five inch heels, booty shorts, a tight-ass shirt, and five pounds of make-up. Considering I look like a prostitute...yeah, I do feel pretty sexy."
With a smirk, London rolled his eyes at my remark. "You can't go out there with me if you don't feel it."
"I will feel it," I replied, putting on more blush. "Just let me get over this stage fright and then I'll be good to go."
Removing the blush brush from my grasp, London looked down at me coyly, an apparent flirtatiousness branded in his eyes.
"Don't feel nervous," he advised me, his lips barely brushing against my own. "You need to be desperate." I closed my eyes expecting a kiss, but he instantly pulled away. My lids burst open when I could no longer feel his breath hit me. Opening my mouth to call him back, I quickly shut it, as his intentions clicked in my mind. I needed to be desperate. The whole scene was going to be about a stalled kiss, and the movements and emotions surrounding it.
I was one horny, sensuous Juliet.
As I patiently bided my time, I could hear the other two acts before us occurring. The first was a medley of Disney songs, which gave me the chills, in an eerie way. But the act that followed was none other than teen queen Linda, who stepped onto the stage proudly as she did her Shakespearean monologue. My monologue. The one I had done during drama class when I was clad in ladybug attire. She wasn't even in my class and yet she tried to copy me. Unbelievable. And of course, the audience went wild at her performance. She had even faked a British accent, and as her diction and tone were pretty, I could not feel the emotion of it. Like the rest of Honeyville, it was merely technical.
When Linda returned backstage, she gave me a sinister smirk, her heels clicking on the ground as she walked past me.
"Good luck, Diana," she said, running through her fingers through her flat, straight hair. "And, please don't cry when you don't get the reaction you want. You'll only embarrass yourself even more."
"Aw, thank you. You're so sweet," I beamed, causing Linda to wrinkle her nose in disappointment. "Don't worry, I won't cry. It was nice of you to consider though." With an aggravated grunt, she merely clicked away from me.
"Next is Diana Smith and London Reeds performing Romeo and Juliet."
My heart skipped a beat as the curtains closed, and we were rushed to make it to the stage and prepare our positions as we put on our body microphones. Before going to his beginning designated area, London took my hand and squeezed it gently, throwing a wink my way. Without saying a word, he kneeled down and kissed my cheek, and I blushed from the gesture.
A minute later, the curtains opened.
There was no applause, no music. Silence claimed the whole area, as I took firmly by my lonesome, as London had his back turned to me while standing at the far end of the stage. And once the music started, the spotlight focused on me, as I made a swift move of my body, a thrust of my hip. As the melody became more fluent, my body moved slowly now, in a controlled rhythm that called for the careful and intense movement of my hips. Closing my eyes, I allowed myself to feel more aware of my body, as if I were alone in my room doing this, ignoring all the faces who were watching me with broad, focused eyes.
It was then when a second spotlight focused on London, as he turned to look at me, just like we had practiced. At first, he followed my operation with his eyes, his shoulders shifting slightly. And then, soon after, he began to slide towards me, horizontally, his feet moving strangely as his hands found comfort in the pockets of his pants.
When he stopped, his arm brushed against me, as he grabbed my hand and the music froze. I looked over at him peculiarly, taking a step back as he still delicately held my palm in his grasp.
"If I profane with my unworthiest hand this holy shrine, the gentle fine is this. My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss."
My knees wobbled as the lines flowed sensuously from my mouth, and his lips pressed against my knuckles, wetting my skin. It was at that moment when the music resumed once again.
It happened at this instant when our interpretation took a unique turn. Intertwining my fingers with his, I kept our hands connected as I turned my body, pressing the back of my body against him, my derriere firmly against his groin. Perhaps the audience was too shocked to even gasp, because from a glance I could see their jaws drop immediately the moment I thrusted myself upon him.
"Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much..." My voice was deeper than usual, as we both began to move rhythmically, hands together as his free palm found its way to my exposed high. "Which mannerly devotion shows in this. For saints have hands that pilgrims hands do touch..."
Rapidly, I spun spun my body again, a single spotlight hitting the both of us. Our bodies were nearly compact, our souls seeming to touch. My stomach grazed his, his pelvis against mine. We each extended our fingers, pressing our hands together, making a spiritual connection. With a deep breath, I finished the line. "And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss."
"Have not saints lips and holy palmers too?"
He started to lean forward for a kiss, but I briskly pulled away, beginning to walk away from him, yet he followed me persistently. "Ay, pilgrim. Lips that they must use in prayer." I allowed myself to feel nervous just then, both for the purpose of our act and also in reality. I held my hands together, looking down to the floor of the stage. I gasped when I felt London take hold of my waist from behind, holding me securely, his breath hitting my shoulder. As I closed my eyes, I had almost forgotten he was supposed to do that, as I nearly became immersed in that moment, until he started speaking to me yet again.
"Oh then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do."
Slowly, he turned me around, pulling me closer to him as he placed his hand behind my back, and then raising my knee to press it against his hip. This was it, our most intimate position. It had taken us forever to master it, and even now I felt goose-bumps rise on my arms.
"They pray," he finished, pressing his palm against mine. "Grant thou, lest faith turn to despair."
My lines disappeared from my brain just then, while his lips began to graze along my chest. Gulping, I tried to rid of the knot in my throat, my body near trembling. Slowly, my gaze shifted towards the audience, where faces of so many Nobles watched diligently. I was just about to return to my part, when something caught my eye. Right there, in the second row.
My mother and father sat there, with ample eyes, staring at me. It seemed almost unreal, too good to be true. I wanted to scream with joy, but I then remembered my position and what I was in the middle of doing. With a concealed smile, I resumed to London.
Pressing his forehead with my fingertips, I lifted his face away from my chest, until his eyes met mine. An intense look of the desperateness and longing he told me to posses were now engraved in my expression, as I moved my index finger down his mouth, parting my lips softly.
"Saints do not move, thought grant for prayers' sake."
"Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take."
His mouth slowly moved closer to mine, and at this point I allowed my eyes to close, awaiting to stalled touched between us. He finished his line softly. "Thus, from my lips, by thine, my sin is purged."
It felt too long before he kissed me. It was soft, smooth. His lips glided against mine gently; it was a light touch between our mouths. After a moment, he parted from me, and then I quickly detached myself from him, placing my hands over my lips, walking away from his backwards.
"Then have my lips the sin that they have took!"
His eyes widened as realization hit his character. "Sin from my lips! Oh, trespass sweetly urged!" Running to me, he grabbed my shoulders firmly, the both of us now almost in a hysterical, emotional state. "Give me my sin again!" he ordered.
He kissed me once more, harder this time, fiercely, with greater force. My arms wrapped around his shoulders, my mouth widening. And soon, the music began to dull, slowly quieting until no sound remained, and we stood there in our lip-lock. At last, it was I who pulled away from him. Taking a step back, I allowed a good two feet distance between us, as I teasingly cupped his chin and his body limped in a defeated state.
My brow raised. "You kiss by the book."
And that was it. We were finished.
We remained in that same position, struggling not to move as we waited for a reaction from the audience. However, the silence persisted, and my heartbeat became rapid as trepidation took over me. I turned my head, looking towards the back of the stage, and saw Linda peaking out behind the curtains, grinning coyly as she started towards the crowd.
My gaze refocused on London, who bit his lower lip in response. I wanted to cry just then, wanted to scream. I thought that this was a sure fire act, but all that it did was shock the people even more. While others performed innocent skits, we debuted with by sexualizing Shakespeare's famous sonnet. And still, they couldn't see it. Only we could.
I let go of London's chin, as I turned away from him, beginning to exit. He grabbed my hand, but that wasn't what made me stop from leaving.
There was the sound of distant clapping that caused both London and I to gaze at the crowd aimlessly. It was quick and vivid, a small applause. And we saw the two of them stand up, clapping away, as if they had just seen the greatest performance of their lives.
Everyone turned to gander at the zealous, clapping couple. It was Mr. And Mrs. Reeds, standing exclusively, the stares seeming inexistent to them as they relentlessly clapped their hands in admiration.
It wasn't long before a few more people rose from their seats, joining the small applause. And then more Nobles followed, their blank expressions evolving into grins, allowing the sound of hands smacking to grow. Astounded, London and I watched as each and every person began to stand, some one by one, others in groups. Teachers, parents, business men and women. Every Noble in the house was standing now, and even the mayor who sat right in the front row stood up and applauded madly, whistling at the performance.
Everyone stood, that is, except for my parents. The two of them remained seated, looking around at the rest of the crowd uncomfortably, unsure of what to do with themselves. They both caught my gaze, as my eyes expressed such a hope in them that they would only rise and clap for me. My lips were pressed together firmly as I stared them down.
At last, my mother just shook her head, letting go of my father's hand and standing up from her seat, as she, too, started to clap intensely, calling out to me in triumph. I felt my heart melt just then, a smile spread on my lips. But I was still troubled as I gazed at my father, who continued to sit firmly in his chair, looking down at his lap awkwardly.
Though, he soon raised his face back up towards the stage, and our eyes locked. I bit my lower lip in anxiousness, nodding my head towards him softly as I clasped my hands together. Just then, I felt like a small child again, wanting to reach out to her father, to get him to understand me, accept me. Every feeling and emotion welled up inside of me was released and expressed through my eyes, and I knew that I hit a soft spot on him, as the muscles of his face relaxed, and his eyes began to glisten.
Slowly, he hesitated a bit, but at last stood as well. A few seconds went by, as he glanced towards my mother timidly, as I observed her mouth moving and speaking to him. And it was at that moment that he had begun to press his hands together, clapping slowly at first, but then being influenced by the contagious roar surrounding him, until he was applauding as loudly as the rest of them.
Extreme joy claimed my entire body, as I shrieked in delight, embracing London tightly. He held me back firmly, as we both grinned and laughed from sheer excitement, relief, and pride. I glanced over at the far end of the stage once more, and still saw Linda. Yet, she wasn't laughing anymore, but gawked towards the audience with the most shocked and horrified expression I had ever seen on her face.
I knew, then, that things in Honeyville would never be the same again. Everything wasn't going to drastically change right away, but soon the cliques were going to disappear, I just knew it. They already were. It was almost hard to believe the change that was taking place, the diversity that was beginning to form.
Lifting my head away from his chest, I looked up at London with a shy smile, fluttering my eyelashes in victory of the success of our performance. But we could not exit the stage without a final encore.
We sealed the act as our mouths locked once more for a final kiss. Our embrace was firm, secure, as we kissed compactly, broadly. The applause grew louder then, and I wasn't even sure when it began to fade. Detaching our lips, I held his hand, as we faced the crowd before us. We bowed gracefully, as the curtain closed over us. The star-crossed lovers were no longer doomed.
I was white, he was biracial. And we liked each other. That was it.