Epigraphs from 'Romeo and Juliet' by The Killers, 'Hey Stephen' by Taylor Swift and 'Crazier' by Taylor Swift

'Juliet, the dice was loaded from the start. I bet and you exploded in my heart.'

"Now that's what you call overdosing."
She giggled and rested her head against his chest as they lay on the swing seat, gently swaying backwards and forwards. 'Guns and Horses' by Ellie Goulding was playing softly on the radio and everything seemed tinted with yellow, glowing, soft, embracing. She stretched her legs a little before cuddling them up to herself while lying next to him.

"I don't think I've ever felt so full in my life."

He sighed with a smile, tucking one hand under his head, the other nursing a cigarette between his lips.

"Sometimes I think that cigarette gets more than I do," she giggled, resting her chin on his chest, looking up at him. He chuckled, raising his head to lean down and kiss her.

"Happy now?"

She laughed and lay back on his chest, looking up at the peach glow of the sky.

"Doesn't that colour look beautiful?"

"That's the colour your skin looks in the firelight."
Wide eyed, she looked up at him and smiled brightly.


He withdrew the cigarette from his lips and chuckled.

"What, you think I'm lying?"
She giggled shyly and he stubbed out his cigarette, taking her by the waist, pulling her to lie down. He moved on top of her and she giggled again, softly stroking his chest as he kissed her. Their kisses soon became beyond passionate. She arched up into him and his unbuttoned shirt was soon abandoned on the floor.

That was until she heard her phone vibrate on the table.

"Leave it," he murmured seductively, nipping at her neck. She smiled a little.

"It might be something important."

"What's that important in the life of a 17 year old?"

She laughed and he let her sit up, reaching for the phone.

"Yeah, Emma, I can't talk right now. I'm kinda…busy…"
She giggled and threw the phone down. Chuckling, Jack pulled her closer.

'The way you walk, way you talk, way you say my name. It's beautiful, wonderful, don't you ever change.'

Elizabeth walked into the garden, smiling as she threw herself down on the picnic blanket, chucking a bag in front of her friends.

"Ice creams, coke, crisps, sandwiches and water for class," she counted off on her fingers as her friends delved in and grasped the goodies.

"Ooh, salmon and cream cheese! My favourite!" grinned Emma, tearing the pack open. Elizabeth smiled as her friends shared around the blanket, but she soon caught sight of Harriet.

"Harry, pull that shirt down, for shame!" she murmured in horror as she yanked the tie undone, attempting to pull the shirt down.

Harriet laughed, wriggling away from her friend's touch.

"I'm going on holiday the first day we break up. I need to get some sort of tan. And don't you start, you've got some sort of freakish natural permanent tan."
Elizabeth sighed and pulled off her own jumper, making sure her shirt was firmly where it should be. She tucked her legs under her and began to lick at her mint and honeycomb ice cream.

"Thornton's is my life," sighed Victoria, licking at her own ice cream.

The girls giggled and talk soon verged into the upcoming Leaver's Ball. It was meant for the year above to celebrate their leaving from college, but the girls in the year below were given the chance to waitress and catch up on all the gossip the night after.

"You waitressing, Lizzie?"

"Yeah. I kind of got talked into it by Harry. Apparently, Mrs Naylor says you get half price off your own ticket next year if you work the whole night and automatically get to be on the Ball Committee."
The girls stared wide eyed.



"I am so going to email Mrs Naylor in the afternoon, see if there are any places left."
Elizabeth smiled and urged the girls to take more from her spoils, tossing her hair behind her.

"So what about our Leaver's Ball? Anyone know who they're going to take?" asked Victoria with a smile.

"It'll have to be James, I guess," moaned Lauren, dramatically throwing her head in her hands.

"Best to be rid of that guy," muttered Eve, sighing.

"Well, I'll be taking Tarquin. What about you, Lizzie?"

Elizabeth choked a little on her ice cream and quickly took a swig of her coke.

"Um…well, I'll just look around, I guess."

Harriet nodded suspiciously while Victoria started up on an intricate plan to introduce Elizabeth to Henry, a male model who worked for her father's company. Elizabeth declined politely.

"Don't worry, we'll soon find someone for you," grinned Eve, whacking her on the arm with her coke bottle. Elizabeth nodded and carried on with her ice cream.

She looked around and considered how lovely the day seemed. The leaves on the trees seemed stationary, stuck in a time lock. There was no breeze and the heat burned everything it touched. They were sitting in the middle of one of the squares of the green grass in the garden. A path ran all around the square, the huge Gothic building of the Hogwarts style library behind them. The more modern sixth form block was to their left, and the Music block was to their left. Just behind it lay the new Art block, made entirely out of glass. It ached her eyes to look at it and she focussed instead on the lush green grass the other side of the path on their right. The lake lay untouched and glimmering softly in the light, benches next to it full of third year girls revising for their non-important exams in distress, Elizabeth thought.

The admin blocks and the English staffroom lay directly in front of her, obscured by the path and the greenery all over it. On the other side of the path, there was another huge square of grass and she could just see some girls lying on their stomachs, picking at the grass.

She turned her focus back to the conversation and realised her ice cream was slowly dripping onto her skirt.

"Shit," she muttered, wiping it with a finger. Charlotte laughed.

"What were you thinking of?"

"Nothing, just looking around," she murmured in annoyance, wiping her skirt.

"You multitasked well," Charlotte grinned.

"Hey, I was born to multitask," laughed Elizabeth, throwing the used tissue away.

"Why don't you multitask that?" murmured Harriet, poking Elizabeth and pointing to the path in front of her.

Elizabeth looked up and caught sight of her boyfriend, walking down the path, one hand tucked into his trouser pocket, the other nursing a cigarette. She couldn't help smiling as he walked, somewhat territorially, down the path.

"Go on, aren't you going to say hi?" teased Harriet.

She shrunk away and Harriet laughed, waving a hand over to her teacher.

"Hey! Mr H! Come on over here!"
Jack looked up and upon catching sight of Elizabeth, smiled and walked over, standing over the girls.

"Hello, girls. We've got a free period, have we?"

The girls all answered in the affirmative.

"Good. If you hadn't, I'd have put you all in detention," he grinned cheerfully.

"We wouldn't have minded detention with you, sir," replied Charlotte in equal cheer.

"Watch it, Miss Fisher. I think we're going to have to do something with that mouth of yours," replied Jack, eyebrows raised, bringing his cigarette to his lips.

"Oh, I can't wait, sir."

Jack made a noise of mild surprise.

"That's quite enough from you. How are you all? Enjoying school?"

"It's alright, I guess," replied Victoria.

"Why don't you come and sit down, Mr Harkness?" came a voice from beneath him.

He looked down and saw Elizabeth making a space for him. He grinned and parked himself down on the blanket, kicking his legs into the centre and leaning back on his hand. Elizabeth tucked her legs under herself and leaned back on one hand, covering his with hers behind their backs. He smiled instantly.

"What's so entertaining?" asked Victoria accusingly.

"Oh…nothing. You girls getting ready to waitress, then?"

"Yeah, we're all doing it, I think."

"Great. It looks like a good one this year. They've got some bands over from Eton—"

"Fucking Eton!" moaned the girls collectively.

He laughed.

"Hey, don't diss, I went to Eton."

"No, sir, you went to Harrow."

"Did my A levels at Eton," he pointed out, cracking open a bottle of coke.

"My ex came from Eton and he's a dick," stated Harriet plaintively.

Jack laughed and took a swig of his coke, relishing the feeling of Elizabeth's hand on his, playing with his fingers. He noticed the girls tracing his biceps at his folded sleeves.

"Well, they've got a few bands over from there, and don't try your annual pranks on them. You've got to learn to be nice. They're the male equivalent of our school, you know. Just like we're the most prestigious all-girls private school, Eton's the most prestigious all-male private school."

"The Cheltenham Ladies' College is not on par with Eton. They, are, like, here, and we….are, like…here!" declared Charlotte, making a diagram with her hands.

Jack laughed again.

"Well, you can resolve that with them. They're doing some duets too. The girls are going to be singing. As in, the girls who can sing, not the girls who can't. How about you do a duet with me, Lizzie? Rude Boy by Rihanna, what do you think?"
Elizabeth flushed hotly.

"Maybe, sir."
The girls stared in delirium at Elizabeth, but Harriet coerced Jack to talk again.

"So they're playing, we might have The Fratellis. Matt—sorry, Mr Chalmers to you, is playing with his band and wants me to do vocals. They're doing a Justin Bieber song. I don't want to sing One Time and Baby, but they're making me."
The girls laughed hysterically in delight and he grinned, shamed.

"But your voice is all gruff and manly. You can't sing like a 16 year old."

"Well, I'll have to channel my inner teenager. Me and him are on better terms over the past few weeks, actually."

"Oh…why's that, sir?"

"Just…getting in touch with some more fun, that's all. And I've got a new girlfriend."
The girls stared and Elizabeth's eyes went wide. She squeezed his hand in a warning gesture behind their backs. He didn't respond and relished the looks on their faces.

"You've got…a…new girlfriend?"

"Yep," he grinned happily, bringing his free hand to his mouth to take a long drag.

"There goes your plan for getting off with him at Leaver's Ball," muttered Harriet spitefully to Victoria. She shuddered in anger and looked away.

"Hey, hey, don't get jealous, girls. I'm way above your age range. And although it's cute that you find me hot…I've kinda found the right girl."
Elizabeth flushed a little and stroked his hand. He intertwined their fingers and she smiled at him. He smiled back.

"Could I have some of that ice cream, Lizzie?"


'I watched from a distance as you made life your own. Every sky was your own kind of blue.'

"That was bad. You are very, very bad! You're bad!"
He grinned as he tucked his arm around her shoulder. They turned the corner and he chuckled.

"So what if I said I've got a new girlfriend? I have!"

"Yeah, but…"

"But what, princess?"

She giggled and relented. They turned the corner and he took her hand, playing with her fingers as he walked backwards in front of her, pulling her around the corner to the street where their house was. She giggled and let him drag her by the hand to the front door. They opened it and fell in together. As soon as they got inside, he slammed her hard against the wall and began to kiss her gently. She giggled and turned her face to the side, biting her lip in happiness.

"What, still shy of kissing me, huh?" he smiled, "no problem, I can deal with that."
He lowered his lips to her exposed neck and she shuddered in pure feeling. His lazy American accent sent sweet shivers down her spine and the feel of his breath between kisses made her feel faint. She attempted to touch him but he grasped her hands and pinned them firmly against the wall at her sides. She smiled and felt like fainting inside. His tongue touched her neck and she knew she was lost.

"You're so good," he whispered, making her shudder again.

"Uh…I think…um…your phone," she managed to say.

He smiled and released her from the wall, slinging an arm around her waist, pulling her close to him with one hand as he took his phone out and began to check it with the other. She smiled and dared to stand on tiptoe, flicking her tongue out to his ear.

"Oh, you cheeky little minx," he grinned as he felt it.

She grinned back and dared to extend her affection a little until he turned to her.

"I've met your friends. You wanna meet mine?"


"The boys from my RAF squadron are getting together tonight. They do it each month and bring their girls along. It's been ages since I've had anyone along," he pouted and she smiled, "so you wanna come with me, kitten?"

"If you want me to."
He smiled and shoved his phone back in his pocket, pulling her close to him.

"I want you to be happy with it too. Don't worry, they're not intimidating. They're really great guys and you might make some new friends with their girlfriends. Yeah?"

She nodded and he could still see the hesitation in her soft brown orbs.

"I'll be with you all the time, if that makes you feel better. I'm not going to leave you, sweetheart."
She felt better then. She needed to have him alongside to feel good about being there. She wasn't sure about meeting his friends, people his age who'd treat her like a little girl, as an anomaly. All their girlfriends would be their age, but if she had Jack with her, she'd feel a bit more comfortable.

"I want to go," she smiled.

"Fantastic! Now, this is your first time going out to see my friends with me as my girlfriend, and I want you to wear something special."

"I've got dresses," she offered, pointing up stairs.

"No, no. It's only a casual thing, a few drinks, but I want to give you a present to wear. You go grab something to eat and I'll make a few calls."
Bewildered, she walked to the kitchen and began to make a quick soup for the couple as Jack pressed a few buttons on his BlackBerry.

"Hello, is this the Armani Privé Warehouse in London? Yes, I'd like to make an order for tonight. The name's William Henry James Frederick Harkness. You may have my Italian name down."
The woman on the phone took a few minutes consulting her computer screen and Jack sighed in annoyance, lighting a cigarette.

"Sorry, could we confirm your—"

"My Italian name?" sighed Jack, "It's Giovanni Giacomo Dante Agostino Alessandro Rossetti. Happy?"

"Oh, terribly sorry, my lord."

"Yeah, that's the Earl of Rochester, thank you. Now, I need the order to arrive tonight, not to my estate in Rochester but…"
Elizabeth couldn't hear anything over the bubble of the soup in the pan. It was Golden Vegetable with fresh crusted bread and she smiled, stirring the chopped vegetables in the pan. She bent down and inspected the creamy pasta in the oven.

"Dinner's ready in ten minutes, sweetheart!" she called to him.

He smiled and winked at her.

"Be right there, honey. Yeah…that's a dress, casual and preferably knee length."