"Romeo and Juliet is the most well known romantic story, but it's also the most over blown story to date."
I was one of three people with this view on Shakespeare's tale. A literature group was in the discussion period after an in-depth paper on a Jane Austen novel, of course, the discussion went towards the innovative playwright born in Stratford-upon-Avon.
"Ah, how refreshing, a cynic, and your name is?"
"Not important. But thank you for reminding me why I do not come to these discussions."
"Oh come on really, you're going to get all touchy over a cynic comment, really?" He did a half smirk with a raised brow. "Why'd you come this time?"
"Coffee and I was meeting someone, kind of got roped into this mess."
I grabbed my bag from around my feet. And I stood to leave.
"I'm Peter, by the way."
I rolled my eyes and pushed out of the coffee house. It was a block from campus. I didn't mind the walk in the salty air. With earbuds in, I walked toward my apartment. It was on the outskirts of the college. After living in the center of Texas my entire life, a California college was my dream location. Berkeley, my personal heaven.
"So what is your favorite romantic tale?"
"Excuse me?" I pulled out one headphone and looked at Peter. "You don't know my name, you insulted me, and now you want to continue a discussion on something you think I'm cynical on?"
"Well, why don't you tell me your name and then one of those things won't be true? And don't you think that's a little redundant?"
"I'm Denise. And no I don't because one fact…" I trailed off. I'd forgotten what I was saying. "What do you want, Mr. Hopeless Romantic?"
"I want to know first off, what your favorite romantic movie is. And then I kind of want to know why you're a cynic."
I raised my brow at him. I wondered why he was being so persistent. I went to the discussion to find a friend that said he was in California for a few days. Shockingly, he didn't show. Mary, my neighbor, was walking in and, almost quite literally, pulled me into a chair at the table where a bunch of our classmates sat with lattes and cappuccinos and double mocha frapps; it was ridiculous.
"This is me. Nice talking to you, Peter."
I left him staring at the door. He probably watched me walk up the stairs. I saw him start to walk away as I rounded the second flight.
I didn't know what to think about Mr. Hopeless Romantic/Peter. He was around six-foot-five; the first guy I've met since sophomore year of high school a good head taller than me. Dirty blonde hair flying wildly about his head, the just rolled out of bed look was slightly natural on him. I locked the door to my apartment and thought about his jade eyes. They accented his slightly pink lips; the tinting made me think of lips in winter air, always dry and bright.
Then I shook my head to quit thinking of Mr. Hopeless Romantic. It was frustrating.
"Ears! Come here, boy." My puppy came bouncing around the corner. A gift from Carter, the guy I was supposed to meet at the coffee house, after I finished my sophomore year at Berkeley. He was my brother practically. He was one of two guys I kept talking to after high school.
Some tried to keep in touch, but trying to hang on to those lives and people we once were got tiring and I stopped trying.
"Hey, Ears. How are you, boy?" He licked my face in response. I couldn't help but smile. The Japanese dog was the best one I'd had so far. Once my Husky and my Labrador had gotten too big I had to give them to my doctor sister, I frowned at Ears and he licked my face again. I made up my mind to call and check on Hershey, the Lab, and Clyde, my Husky.
Ears made a squeaky bark noise, staring down the door. He was still in my arms, partially. "What boy?"
I faced the door myself. My name was scratched on a half folded piece of paper about three centimeters from my closed door.
I am a hopeless romantic. I see no reason not to be.
I stared at it like it was foreign. A part of me wanted to smile, he was passing notes. Like a little kid.
He's hopeless romantic, of course he's gonna do cute stuff.
I hushed my inner voice and stared at the note. I pulled out my phone and plugged in the number. I told myself it was just in case I decided to call him or if he found my number and decided to call me. I saved the information and went to fill up Ears' bowl. I danced to the song I just realized was playing in my ear.
The phone I had set on the counter to put the bowl down for Ears started vibrating, almost moving off the flat surface.
"I am so unbelievably sorry. I feel horrible."
"What the hell happened?" I suddenly was really mad about this. If he had gotten there I wouldn't have been dragged into that discussion. I wouldn't have met Mr. Hopeless Romantic. I wouldn't have gotten back too late to walk Ears.
"I kind of got sidetracked."
"Carter, if you tell me that you hooked up with some chick I swear to God I will murder you. What did you get sidetracked by?"
"The admissions office at Berkeley," he said it in his quiet voice, the one he uses when he's unsure of the reaction.
"What do you mean? Carter don't screw with me, where are you?"
"Right now, I'm outside your apartment building, hoping you'll forgive me. I brought a few movies and ice cream and my transcript." I screamed. Ears jumped.
I ended the call and ran downstairs.
"I'm transferring to Berkeley." He held out his hands in mock surrender movies in one palm and ice cream in the other.
I screamed again, finally a familiar face.