ADOR Star-Cross'd Round VIII Entry: 'The Guy' Prompt
The requirements are that it must be the specified story type (either multi-chaptered or one-shot), it must have a reference to Romeo and Juliet, and it must have been written after the contest begun.
I was six when we first met. He was seven, friends with my older brother, Ryan. My mom invited him around for a play date, and the two boys played video games basically all afternoon. I remember I'd wanted to join in too, and I didn't understand why Ryan wouldn't let me. He let me play the same games with him when he wasn't here.
From that moment on, I pretended that I didn't like him. I think I liked the idea of disliking him more than the actual following through with it part. Well, anyway, it didn't work, of course it didn't. He was all cute and kind, with his dark hair and light eyes and that small but incessant dimple on his left cheek. I always felt like the kid sister when he was around, and I hated that. But no matter how hard I tried – and, believe me, I tried – I just couldn't hate him. I liked him too much.
He used to tease me the same amount as Ryan, if not more, sometimes. But when Petey Jackson and his friends were picking on me in the third grade, he pulled them over to the side of the school at lunch and yelled at them. He told them that if they didn't leave me alone then he'd make them. Sure, now it seems a bit stupid, especially seeing as he was probably even shorter than Petey, now that I think about it. But it meant the world to me. He didn't even know that I'd heard him talking to them, but I'd been hiding behind the big oak tree by the wall because I was scared they'd find me and call me names again and, well, you know the rest.
I mostly talked myself out of the possibility of him ever liking me how I liked him. It was just a crush anyway, I'd tell myself, and I thought I'd grow out of it. I didn't. In the fifth grade I got my first boyfriend, Robbie Hillman. It wasn't serious or anything, it was just the kid version of a relationship. Robbie and I didn't even go out anywhere, it was just a label to put on us that made me feel somewhat superior, in a stuck-up sort of way. It wasn't as nice of a feeling as it should have been. I'd only said yes to Robbie in the hopes that he would say something, or give me any sort of inclination that he was jealous. I know, pathetic, but I felt like I had to try. I was too shy and lame to tell him that I liked him out front, so I had to resort to alternate methods.
After about a week of the 'relationship', a boy in our class mentioned to me that he was looking for me. I found him over to the side of the playground with a couple of his friends, and together they told me that Robbie was no good, that I shouldn't be his girlfriend. It all seems so Days Of Our Lives-y, now that I think about it, but back then it made butterflies swarm my stomach and made me so nervous I thought I was going to throw up. Was that the sign? I'd think to myself, does he like me too? Nothing happened, though.
At the end of the sixth grade, my dad got a job in a different state and moved us all three hours away. I thought that that was it in terms of my pathetic crush. I'd never see him again. I had to move on. But then again, maybe I wasn't meant to, because around two years later the company my dad worked for told him about a job that had come up twenty minutes from our old town. He took it. We'd all missed the damn place, anyway.
We couldn't move back into our old house, obviously, there was a family living there with a new-born baby, now. We moved a few roads away, instead. No-one even mentioned him for at least a week after we moved in – things to unpack, people to give our new address to, and all that – but my mom finally brought his name up to my brother, told him that it was a shame they'd lost touch. What they didn't realize was that from the moment I knew we were moving back, all I could think about was that the nervous, nauseous feeling that I got in my stomach would be back. The one that I got just from knowing that I could bump into him anywhere – down the grocery store, in CVS, at school. Anywhere.
I'd never stopped crushing on him. It'd been standing strong for seven-or-so years, and you don't easily get over your first crush. Your first crush represents the first time you realized that there was someone who you liked so much that you desperately wanted them to like you back. It represents the first time you felt so emotionally vulnerable in someone else's presence, and you felt all of this probably before you even knew what 'emotionally vulnerable' meant. It represents the first time you actually noticed that your heart was there and that it could really hurt sometimes.
Ryan sent him a text the next day, and I hoped to God that his number was still the same. At the same time, though, I hoped it wasn't. I wanted to see him, I wanted him to see me. Ideally, I wanted that dramatic, romantic reunion that all thirteen year old girls hoped for – where the boy sees the girl and for that one moment, all he sees is her. But then I thought about the crappiness of puberty and how I looked hideous and I hadn't had that magical, overnight transformation from ugly duckling to swan that all of these teen romance novels promised. I felt let down. I decided that I didn't want him to see me. I didn't feel pretty enough, good enough. I didn't want him to be disappointed with me. It was so pathetic, really, I feel stupid just thinking about it. But I was thirteen and I just wanted that boy to like me. That was all I'd wanted.
I couldn't escape him forever, though. It turned out that his number was the same, and he came round to our house the next day. I made an excuse before he arrived about wanting to go and see some old friends, but instead I just headed over to the old park by the middle school and sat on the swings until I thought it was safe to go home.
I had to start school at some point, though. You know, it was the law and all. I was a freshman, and he was a sophomore. I saw him for the first time when I was walking to my English lesson. He still looked the same, just a lot taller and leaner and, dare I say it, even more attractive. Looks like puberty had been good to one of us. He saw me and put a hand up in a small wave, but I was stunned for a second, and then too much time had passed for me to respond without looking even more pathetic than I already did, so I just ducked my head and pretended that I hadn't seen him.
I hated myself for all of the possible opportunities that I'd thrown away.
The year followed in the same way, really. He came over to our house more and more often, we said odd words to each other, I fangirled relentlessly over him, to the point where I was ashamed of myself.
But last year, when I was a sophomore and he was a junior, we both volunteered to take part in the school production. Our school was known for its mega-awesome shows, and for the last couple of years the productions had even had whole pages dedicated to them in the local paper. Everyone wanted to be a part of them. I'd only wanted to help out backstage or something, maybe be an extra and have a couple of lines. It was something to do, something to say I'd done, been a part of.
I didn't even know he was going to be in it until he brought it up one time at our house, when Ryan had gone to get some drinks from the fridge in the basement. He'd knocked on my bedroom door and poked his head in, asking me flat out if I was going to take part in it. I was shocked to see him, let alone have him see my room, so I just nodded. He smiled and apologized for intruding and left to go downstairs.
But there he was, on that first day of rehearsals, all handsome and perfect, like usual. The show this year was Romeo & Juliet. I'd inwardly cringed when I'd found out – the storyline was too overused, in my opinion. There'd already been about fifty film adaptations and I was pretty sure there was another one being released that month. We all got it – it was meant to be tragic and broken and beautiful. Well done, Shakespeare. A* literature.
Before anyone jumps to conclusions, no, I wasn't cast as Juliet. But you can imagine who was cast as Romeo. I was just bitter because my friend, Elizabeth Riley, was amazingly amazing at everything and had got the coveted female lead.
I got the part of Lady Capulet, Juliet's mother. I had more lines than I'd intended, and so his presence became more and more noticeable at our house, seeing as how he'd keep knocking on my door and asking me to run lines with him. He was nervous, understandably. I thought it was adorable. My heart ached. By now, it was easier to pretend that I didn't like him as much as I did. When you wear a mask for so long, sometimes you forget that you're even wearing it.
Months passed. Months that were full of late nights spent running through lines with him, and hours spent after school trying to perfect the play. He and Elizabeth had a lot of romantic scenes, scenes that made me feel both uncomfortable and annoyed whilst simultaneously wanting to cry.
A couple of weeks before the first show, a boy in my Maths class asked me after the lesson if I wanted to go to the movies with him that weekend. I felt slightly awkward standing there while he waited for a reply, nervous even. I didn't want to, but I felt myself edging towards saying yes. I wasn't really in the position to be fussy when offer's happened to arise.
But then I saw him. He was standing outside my class, waiting for me. Waiting to walk with me to rehearsals. He saw me looking at him and sent a grin my way, that dimple in his left cheek making my heart ache for that six year old girl with the crush that was too heavy for her heart and never seemed to go away.
I told the boy that I was sorry, but I already had plans. I didn't tell him, however, that those 'plans' were that I planned to do nothing.
I'd hurried out of class, eager to see him. It was amazing how I'd gone from going out of my way to hide from him to being able to have an honest conversation without throwing up. After rehearsals that day, he told me that he'd missed having me around while I was gone for those two years. He'd quickly added that he'd missed Ryan too, of course. I was smiling all the way home.
On the night of the first live show, a few minutes before it was set to begin, he asked if he could have a quick word with me.
He told me that when he said he'd missed me, he wasn't lying.
He said that when we were younger, he'd come over to our house to do or play what little boys did with Ryan, but he'd stayed so that he could see me.
He said that when Ryan had told him about Petey Jackson in the third grade, he was so mad that someone had been upsetting me because apparently, only he was allowed to upset me, and that was only under the condition that he apologized afterwards.
He said that Robbie Hillman had lost a game of soccer to him in the fifth grade and wanted to spite him, so he asked me to be his girlfriend. He told me that that was why he'd said he was no good.
He said that when we moved away, he was so angry at me because I didn't say goodbye.
But then he said that when we came back, he didn't know about it for almost a week. His mom had mentioned it to him, and he could barely believe it. He said that he didn't think we were ever gonna' come back. He said that when he saw me in the corridor and he waved at me and all I did was duck my head and walk away, he felt like someone had kicked him in the gut because that girl, me-I-, I'd ignored him and it made him think that I'd changed, that I thought I was too good for that boy that I used to know. But most of all, he said that when he first heard about the play and he asked me if I was gonna be in it, he knew that he had to take that risk, before we drifted apart again. He said that if he never tried, then he'd never know, and that the thought of never knowing was worse than any outcome. He said that he had to kiss the girl he'd been crushing on since he was seven years old.
So he kissed me.
And then the curtains had opened and we'd had to explain to the audience why Romeo wasn't actually having an affair with Juliet's mother.
He thanked me for helping him run through his lines for all those weeks. He said that he meant it when he said that he'd missed me, because I was always like the kid sister he never had.
He said that he'd really wanted to impress Elizabeth because he'd always kinda' liked her and thought she was pretty hot.
He walked over to the side of the stage, and I followed behind him. He stopped by a corner and looked at me for a minute straight before he even opened his mouth.
He thanked me for running lines with him for all those weeks, his voice sincere. He said that when he'd said that he'd missed me, he wasn't kidding. He said he'd missed having someone like me around, someone who he could count on and someone who he really cared about.
He hesitated, on the verge of saying something.
He looked me in the eye and held my stare for what felt like hours. I opened my mouth to tell him something, anything, but then I shut it and looked down to the floor. He said thanks again, gave me a smile. I smiled back and gave him a small nod. We both turned and walked away.
A/N: Pick the ending that you like the most. At first I just had it as the optimist's ending, but I thought it was too much of a fluffy cliché and not actually realistic enough for me to read it through without getting a cavity. I couldn't feel happy leaving it as something that I didn't believe in. I think I read it as the realist's ending, but how their story ends is up to you.
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