Wherefore Art Thou Juliet
A wise person once told me that you can understand a child all that much better after you have met their parents. For the most part, I suppose this is true. Most children emulate their parents in one way or another, either sharing their beliefs or their mannerisms.
Unfortunately, I can't say the same for myself.
My parents have always been distant. Affectionate, but distant.
In theory, I should have been completely content. They hired me a nanny, a cheerful woman by the name of Sam, threw money at the pair of us, then threw themselves into work. I was by no means alone; Sam and I were fast friends and, although I had no siblings, I had plenty of cousins who lived in the near, but…
There was something missing from all this. I didn't know what, but something was out of place.
Everything changed on my thirteenth birthday.
I went to sleep the night before entirely certain who I was and twelve years old. I awoke thirteen and confused as hell.
I should just be blunt with this, shouldn't I? I went to sleep with my mind perfectly ordered and one hundred per cent my own. I awoke sharing my mind with the memories of one Juliet Capulet.
You think I'm crazy, don't you? Trust me, I'm not. I would know; I have the certificate and everything to prove it.
Where does that put me now? Well, I'm years older than I was back then, two years wiser and twice as confused. I still have no idea who the hell I am, why I have Little Miss Forbidden Love's memories hanging around my head and no clue whatsoever what I am supposed to do with the information.
On the good side, however, my parents have started taking an active part in my life, even if it is only for the hour each week we have family therapy with my personal psychologist.
My psychologist… How to put it? Kevin is strange. Not just strange, freaky, weird and any other synonyms you care to add.
For the first five sessions, all we did was chat about ourselves, during which I found out a lot of useless information about Kevin all of which I will probably never need again. Kevin's favourite food is lasagne and he has a secret recipe for this which he makes using herbs from his garden. His interests include the obvious gardening, stargazing and, strangely enough, an unhealthy obsession with watching Gossip Girl. In his words: "when forty per cent of your patients are teenage girls, you start to learn to like it."
I get on alright with Kevin – I have steadfastly refused to call him "Kev" – but I wouldn't trust him with any of my deepest, darkest secrets. Those I tell to Sam.
Sam is the closest thing I have to a mother figure in my life and so much more. She's not just the person who taught me to read, to walk and to speak, she's the person who gossips to me about her love life, makes crass jokes that I have to laugh at and looks after me when I'm sick. She's the type of person who goes into your school for parents' evening and comes back with your maths teacher pining after her. So, no, she's not just my substitute mother, she's my best friend.
But this story's not about Sam, the Nurse, or Kevin, the Friar. This story's about him. It's about my transfer to a new school and, lastly, it's about how I spent my fifteenth year of life learning an important lesson.
This story's about Romeo and Juliet and me, Maddie-Lynn Jameson.
I was woken up by someone throwing a bucket of water in my face.
For a second, I froze, completely thrown by the sudden turn of events. The next, I was throwing the covers off me and charging down the ornate hallways after a giggling Sam.
It all started when I was ten and Sam declared that I was impossible to get out of bed. I, being the smart-ass that I was, told her that it was entirely possible, but she just hadn't found the correct motivation. That was one of the stupidest things I've ever done.
So far, she's played punk music loudly in my room until I've moved out of bed – which eventually failed when I started to like the music – threatened to photograph me sleeping and put the pictures online – which failed when I told her my father would sue – and a whole host of other outrageous things, all of which have eventually failed. It seemed that today, she'd decided to go for the tried and true option of freezing cold water in the face. Nice.
It took me all but ten minutes to catch Sam, by which time she was laughing so hard she could no longer run.
"You look like a drowned monkey," she said as she began to set the table for breakfast.
"Really?" I asked irritably, plonking myself down in a chair. "What clued you in?"
She grinned before biting down the obvious comeback.
At the tender age of thirty five – though she'll never admit it – Sam was exactly twenty years older than me. Which put her at twenty years less mature than most other women her age.
Sam stands at just shorter than me and has a figure that causes most men to gape shamelessly at her. Hanging around her heart-shaped face are dark brown tresses, which curl prettily into ringlets. In her eyes, her appearance is irritating. She's too short, her hair won't straighten and the attention is annoying. I think she's lucky to still look so young.
"So," Sam said after setting the places. "What shall we have for breakfast?"
"Cereal?" I tried. Obviously, that was the wrong answer.
"Cereal?" Sam was in shock. "It's your first day at your new school and you want to eat cereal?"
"What's wrong with cereal?" I asked, getting down from the table as I spoke and opening the fridge.
"Cereal's just so everyday," Sam said, sounding exasperated. "Don't you understand? If you eat cereal today, which is not an everyday day, you're condemning your entire experience at this new school to be everyday!"
I sighed, closing the fridge door and resting my head against it.
"You lost me at 'everyday'," I mumbled before turning back to Sam. "What do you suggest we have for breakfast, then?"
Sam stumbled for a second.
"I dunno," she said. "Omelette, maybe?"
I smiled, taking a seat again.
"Omelette's good," I said.
As Sam pottered about the spacious kitchen making omelette, I wondered where the household staff were. Surely they would have heard my shrieking from the water and the ensuing chase. I snorted. Of course I hadn't seen them. They were paid not to be seen.
A thought hit me.
"Sam, why did you throw the water at me?" I asked as Sam fiddled with the dials on the hob. "The staff are going to have to change my bed linen now."
Sam fished out a frying pan from the draw before she smiled at me.
"Your bed linen needed to be changed today, anyway," she explained. "Besides, it was imperative that you got out of bed on time and that option seemed like the most likely one to succeed."
"You just wanted to see my reaction," I grumbled.
"True," Sam conceded.
Sensing that line of conversation was a dud, I tried a new topic.
"What do you think this school's going to be like?" I asked. "Better than the last one?"
"Well, seeing the amount of money your parents are forking out for it, I suppose it better be," Sam agreed.
"Really?" I was curious now. "Give me a hint."
"Let's just say that it makes that three grand a term from your last school look like peanuts in comparison."
"That much, eh?"
"Well, I'd be damned if their Royal Highnesses Lady and Lord Jameson didn't want the best and only the best for their dearest daughter, darling Maddie-Lynn," Sam commented. I giggled. "Wait, don't tell your parents I said that," she added. I laughed harder.
Once I'd stopped laughing, I scowled.
"Don't call me that," I said.
Sam, who had long since forgotten what she'd said, paused.
"Maddie-Lynn," I said. "It was my parents' idea of a joke."
"Really? I didn't know they had a sense of humour," Sam shot back.
"They were young," I countered. "And very drunk. Anyone in those circumstances would have a sense of humour."
"Sweetie," Sam said with a sigh. "I think you're mixing up the time you were born and the time you were concei—"
I cut her off by throwing a tea towel at her.
"Shut up! That stuff's gross! No kid wants you to explain to them that sort of stuff in vivid detail!"
"I wouldn't call the detail vivid…" Sam trailed off as I reached for another tea towel. "But hey! At least I know where your cut-off point is now," she added quickly.
I smiled. It was the small victories that counted.
"Right," Sam said as we pulled up in front of the gaudy building ten minutes early. "Aren't I supposed to give you advice, or something now?"
"Well, from my experience," Sam said after a few moment's consideration. "Don't flirt with your teachers in front of your boyfriends, don't get drunk too early in the week and don't arrive more than an hour or two late for a lesson."
I stared dumbly at Sam.
"I hate to think what you did do," I said dryly.
Sam merely smiled.
"Have you got your bag?" she asked.
"Adorably cute uniform?"
I motioned to my blue and white outfit.
I shot her a strange look.
"What? It can happen," she defended.
I rolled my eyes.
"Check," I said.
"Baseball bat in case there's a zombie apocalypse whilst I'm not there?"
"No, but I can get one from the sports store," I compromised.
"Well, then, you're good to go," she pushed open the door on my side. "Be good, do your homework and don't let your boyfriends find out about each other."
"Right," I said, rolling my eyes again and preparing to get out the car.
"Your cousin's at this school, so you can ask him if anything is wrong!" she called after me. "See you at four!"
I waved Sam goodbye over my shoulder and heard her drive off behind me. Fiddling nervously with the hem of my skirt, I took a deep breath.
It was time to face the new school: Verona Academy.
Wait, I recognised that name. Verona, Verona…
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene…
Suddenly, I had a very bad feeling about this school.
© 2012 Mari Thomas. All Rights Reserved
A/N: Hello! I'm alive! This is an experiment. I decided to venture into the entirely clichéd romance genre this holiday. I've decided to post more stuff on fictionpress, just for laughs, so many of my terribly bad stories will make their way onto this site.
This was just a random idea I had to write a story about a teenage girl with Juliet's memories from Romeo and Juliet hanging around her head. I'm not expecting any sort of special response for it, but some reviews would be nice.
This story is going to be based in England, because I live there and know none of the customs etc. of Italy, where it should be based. And by the way, that wise person was my English teacher who, if she is reading this, will no doubt be angry at me for writing something so completely and utterly clichéd as a story about a teenage girl falling in love at school. Sorry.
So yeah, review please. Tell me what you think.
A very much not dead Rebel Maru