OPENING NIGHT. Nestor held the script of the play he was performing tonight as the lead warrior slash prince. He saw himself as the leader of the play, almost like the director, and he made sure everyone who held their role played it passionately. He was fine with every one of his cast members...all but Marzi, who happened to be his leading lady.

The one he has to kiss tonight.

He barfs at the idea.

Marzi's just...Marzi. His and her friend circles do not rub together, or interact unless forced upon. The drama class that was performing the play had been given their scripts and parts at the beginning of the year. It was December now and only last week did she finally attempt to memorize her lines without the paper in front of her face. He hated that. Marzi obviously didn't take the play as serious as he did. This play was the highlight of his junior year. Why did she have to ruin it?

In the mirror he was practicing in front of he saw many of the female stagehands with disheveled hair and nervous glances while transporting some of the transparent-wrapped costumes around.

"WHERE IS MARZI?" Yelled the student director, Marionette, who often rubbed circles with his own. Nestor didn't speak to her often, though. He was considered a lion on the high school food chain; she was a bear, and since they were not indigenous despite having the same drama and math class, they didn't speak.

"I'm here! I'm here!" panted a voice before a slam! from the back door and the draft from outside caused Nestor to flinch. He relaxed the script to his side as he peered down the hall where medium-sized Marzi stood in a thick snow laden coat. Marionette glared at her and began typing fiercely into the school iPad to alert the others that their female lead has arrived.

"Get in your first costume!" Marionette yelled, pushing her down the hall. Marzi skidded down the hall, coming face to face with her future stage prince. The two shared eye contact. Marzi was nervous, you could just touch it in the air around her. Nestor on the other hand was completely confident.

"...Hi." She looked down, unable to meet his eyes. She was probably thinking about the kiss. They hadn't practiced it, just to capture the natural feeling on stage tonight.

"Are you ready?" He asked.

A fire flickered in her eyes but she didn't let him see it. She broadcasted her expression to the mirror behind him. "I am. I practiced during the carpool here."

He shook his head as she walked away to get dressed. He called after her, "You'll need to break more than a leg to do well tonight."

Thanks for the pep talk, jerk. Marzi thought as she left for the dressing room.

Principal Charity was warming up the crowd with a speech and Nestor peeled back the first layer of the velvet red curtain gently to inspect the crowd. With their school being poor and underfunded, the only stage they could use was the teeny one in the cafeteria. So the whole cafeteria, from the first lunch line all the way to the unplugged vending machines in the back, people of all ages sat and stood. Half of the people he recognized, which could be a headache sometimes. He wasn't nervous. It was just like saying grace at Thanksgiving. Just say your lines, and no one will laugh. Hopefully.

He closed the curtain and checked the set again. The backdrop they borrowed from a neighboring high school had been hung and fake beds of plants were set onto the floor. He hurried off to the side where Marionette was beckoning, although he looked back constantly at the stage to make sure that everything was set up right. He had an itching feeling that something was not in its place.

"UGH" He instantly said in disgust the moment his eyes lay on Marzi.

"Nice to see you too Prince Nestor." She replied with a scowl that could not be taken seriously with the numerous amount of hairy warts stuck onto her face.

"My name is Prince Bruno, actually." He said in a royal British accent while brushing fake dust off his lavish prince-coat with his knuckles. "Hello, hag."

Marzi's lower lip quivered. "You're...really...something, Nestor." She muttered. She pulled the large hood of her cloak over her face and began wiping her eyes.

"I'm just playing the role of Bruno." Nestor shrugged. The lights above them flickered as Principal Charity's speech finally ended and the narrator stepped on the podium in her place.

Marzi replied softly with, "Still sounds like Nestor to me.".

Nestor unsheathed his arm from his side and pointed it at the "hag" that had just crossed him on the stage. "Halt there!" He yelled, using his other arm to hold back the guy behind him playing as a councilor. "You! Why are you on my palace grounds?"

The "hag" turned around, her arms flinching as if in pain. She pulled down her hood, exposing her uglied, wart covered face. Nestor and the council recoiled in disgust.

"Egad! What creature hath crossed your gardens, Prince Bruno?" The councilor said.

"...Creature? I'm a fairy." Protested the "hag".

"HA!" Nestor's laugh nearly cracked the amps caged below the stage. "You call yourself a fairy? Look at you. You're hideous. Fairies are to be beautiful! How are you the exception?"

For a second Marzi went blank and could not remember her lines. His convincing appalled expression had paralyzed her. Was that how he saw her? It was like he was directly speaking at her, Marzi under the cloak and warts. She looked at him in panic, but he couldn't help in any way. He only memorized his own lines. The pause between them was too much already. She knew she had to improvise.

"It's what is under the skin that matters, Prince." She replied with rather snidely. Now it was Nestor's turn to panic. That wasn't the right line. He couldn't reply back with the script now.

"Umm..." He ended up muttering, and his face burned red. "Fairy? You? Where are your wings?"

Marzi gasped inwardly. Now she remembered.

"How dare you insult the queen of the fairies!" She shouted, raising her index finger. "I curse your land and the people of it!"

"OHH!" shouted the councilor, "I am having a heart attack!" He gripped at the wrong side of his chest and fell to the ground. That received a few laughs from the audience.

"War on the humans is now eminent! Be aware Prince Bruno." seethed Marzi, twirling her fingers evilly. She crept off stage left, disappearing behind the curtains. Now it was just Nestor and the fallen councilor on stage. He felt as though a few crucial parts of the argument had been omitted and now the plot of the play was confusing. Nestor stared at the councilor sprawled on the floor and nudged him with the bottom of his foot as if he was something rotting.

"This is 13th century Britain. What is this...heart attack?" Nestor wondered. The curtains drifted shut and the narrator took off again.

3/4ths of the stage was set up for the "ball" scene and the northeast side was reserved for the "office" scene. Both sides were dimmed under the curtains as everyone got into place. Nestor was still backstage, waiting for his queue, while Marzi was at the office desk looking at parts of the script going under the illusion as random papers.

"Queen Fawn of the fairies was plotting for the siege of the kingdom that night." The unseen narrator said.

Marzi's spot lit up, not too bright to light the entire stage, but enough to see her workspace. She kept her head bent down so that the hood covered her face. In-between scenes, her make-up was being done for the final scene—the battle and kissing scene. Her stomach bubbled in anticipation for that part. She wanted to get it over and done with. She shuffled around the papers as the script directed.

"My Queen," said a male voice, coming from the immediate right. He had wings and sparkles and dressed as a knight. "We've got news."

Marzi nodded. "Go on." She said in a gruff voice.

"The humans are having a grand ball to celebrate their future win against us."

"The humans!" She scoffed, lifting up her arms in rage. "Always partying and drinking and carrying on! Have they no sense of danger when it comes to us?"

"Well, ma'am, we are fairies..." He muttered.

"We strike tonight!" Marzi stood, head still facing down. "Get my champion! We're crashing a human ball!" The guy nodded, bowed, and exited where he came in, Marzi following. The lights of their spot faded to black.

"Meanwhile at the ball..." The narrator said.

The lights of the "ball" area lit up, and music that didn't belong in that era started blasting from the speakers under the stage. Extras and other actors and actresses dressed in lavish suits and dresses erupted onto the stage, twirling and waltzing and dancing like in the old eras. Nestor stood on a catwalk about 10 feet from the ground and stepped into the spotlight, a random girl posing as eye candy on his arm. The two walked down the steps to the front of the stage. He bowed and she curtsied, and they vanished into the twirling crowd hand-in-hand.

Marzi stepped onto the catwalk. Face still down, she waves her hands in the air as if she's controlling a wave with psychic powers. A magical sound of chimes jingles from the speakers, and everyone on stage stops dancing to stare up.

"Fawn!" Shouted Nestor, and others parted to the side so the audience could see him looking determined.

"Evening, Prince." Marzi said ominously, upping the ante. "Face the fairies' wrath!" She reaches into her pockets for silver confetti—

"Run!" Nestor says alarmingly, pulling on his Princess's arm and pulling her away. Marzi throws the confetti across stage in handfuls, and the actors getting rained on acted like the "powder" was making them sick and collapsed on the floor one by one. Marzi cackled and dashed off stage from the catwalk. Nestor, who hadn't been hit and at the edge of stage, waved his fists in Marzi's direction and yelled "This isn't over!".

The curtains sweep close and everyone stumbled up and begins moving the set around. The narrator begins setting the scene for the next scene and Marzi and Nestor's eyes lock between all the shifting and moving. She's looking vulnerable and he's looking angry.

Their final scene was coming soon.

And neither of them were ecstatic about it.

The time of battle is upon us." Said Nestor as Prince Bruno.

The final scene was in motion and the west side of the stage was devoted to the prince's strategy chamber. A backdrop of a brick wall with a window showing the night landscape was hanging on the wall. Next to Nestor was his champion, dressed in uncomfortable metal armor sewed together shoddily, so it looked more like the costume of the Tin man.

"When should we deploy?" asked the champion, voice muffled slightly in the helmet.

"Right now." Nestor replied, turning to the window. "No doubt Fawn is fluttering here with her flamboyant fairy sparkles."

"Why do we have to fight them?" the other guy inquired. "Why can't we co-exist without there being an argument? We all think the same. We all look the same."

Nestor turned to an angry face. "Those fairies aren't satisfied with diplomatic things! And we are not the same. If you haven't noticed, we humans do not have wings."

"It would be pretty tight though, right?"

Nestor looked at him in disgust and turned away, words unneeded. "Let's meet at the center of the battlefield. If she has any honor, she won't attack."

The lights dimmed off as Nestor and the champion exited stage left. Marzi was across the stage, her hood still hiding her, but the crystal blue dress peeped out from under her cloak. After the backdrop was switched to the battlefield and the lights turned on, the two began their walk to the middle of the stage. Marzi pulled down her hood. The crowd nearly gasped in awe.

She was covered in glitter, head to toe, with eyes and lips completely lost to mystifying face paint. Gems of red and purple reflected off her cheeks, and her foreboding smile was heart melting. Nestor grimaced. He didn't have to follow the stage directions to kiss her. He already wanted to.

"Let's have a good duel." She said as they met, standing too close for comfort to each other. She had to crane her head up to look into his eyes.

He found himself almost leaning. Wrong time for that! He had to remind himself, keeping himself steady. ...What were my lines again?

Marzi's white-painted lips parted into a thin line. Why wasn't he saying his lines?

"Yes...a—a fair duel." Nestor stuttered out.

That's the wrong line! She wanted to cry out. "You humans are so shallow," She said, ignoring his lines. "You think that we fairies are as competent on the inside as the outside? Just because we can fly and you can't? Just because we're ugly on the outside? Watch us with our magic against your swords."

"We'll see." Nestor scoffed. Marzi turned on her heel and began stomping off stage. He watched after her without noticing, and finally seeing the nervous glances of the people backstage, he hastily turned around and exited stage left.

The hodge-podgy battle scene continued along, with fake swords hitting "fairy" arms, and fairy sparkles "poisoning" clumps of soldiers. Eventually, in less than a minute, everyone that had been fake fighting were now sprawled on the ground and defeated, including the champions of both kingdoms.

Marzi as Fawn and Nestor as Prince Bruno made their way back to the middle of the stage, stepping around strewn ligaments and fallen plastic swords from Toys-R-us. Their faces expressed crestfallen and grievances. Marzi added a crying squeal when she saw her champion's wing torn to look like a lotus flower.

The two met in the middle.

"This is how it had to be?" Marzi whispered. Her headset still caught her voice and the audience felt some of her emotion. "All of our men and woman had to die."

"All of mine were men." Nestor pointed out.

"And they're all dead." She spat. "It's all because of you."

"Me?" He scoffed and backed up a step, almost tripping on a ripped wing. "You're the one who put a "curse" on my kingdom and everyone in it."

"You were rude and had me exiled from your palace because of my looks!" She shouted.

"Not now, though!" He said. "In fact, you'd be the most beautiful creature in the garden if you had shown up with that face!" He didn't have to lie or act. He meant it, and not to Fawn. To Marzi.

"You say that now, after my blemishes and wrinkles are removed!" She retorts with a huff. "Because that's all fairies can be, right? Beautiful?"

He shook his head and stepped closer again. "Maybe..." He sighed and looked away, towards the audience. "Maybe I was wrong then...basing you off of your looks..."

"Maybe I was wrong..." She muttered, casting her own face aside. "I got worked up over something petty..."

"I can't believe we had a war over your appearance." Nestor muttered, rubbing his neck sheepishly.

"We only challenged you to show you that us fairies mean business." She said. "We're tired of being the heathens on the other side of the forest. We're tired of having to sit in the kitchen."

He gently took her chin and pulled her to look at him. She grimaced. The kiss was coming soon.

"We were just afraid..." He sighed. "What if you all took over? You've already proven your intelligence and strength."

"It all begins with trust." She smiled.

This is it. Nestor thought, already on his toes. The pause between them was awkward because everyone was expecting it—Marionette, the fallen actors who had peeped open one eye, and the audience who were all at the edges of their seats.

Nestor looked into Marzi's waiting eyes. Her heart was inaudible, just beating so fast. So was his. He was nervous. This kiss actually might mean something to him.

"Just do it." Marzi whispered outside of her headset. She closed her eyes.

He swooped in, their lips connecting. Shots of electricity surged between them and the audience erupted into whoops and applause, and when the two broke apart, they couldn't look at each other. Their smiles and blushes said enough.

The curtains closed.

Marzi buttoned up her coat and shouldered her bag, folding up the script and stuffing it in there. Her heart was still jumping from earlier, but the makeup and dress and kiss was a thing of the past now. Everyone had given her pats of "Good job" as she walked through the school halls to the exit.

Nestor was waiting at the doorway. She stopped. She didn't think she could face him again, not after that.

"Do you think we could do an encore?" He asked before she turned around. She smiled and passed him, exiting to the parking lot. Nothing needn't be said. The sequel was inevitably already in motion.