Author's Note: This is an entry for A Drop of Romeo's Star-Crossed Round VIII writing contest. This round was a one shot. I am not really that much of a romance writer, so I am afraid that it is rather, um, cliché (I think . . . If not, go me.) So, enjoy.
Oh, I did "The Guy."
Here's the rules:
Star-Cross'd Awards is the bi-annual writing contest of ADoR. There will be one from January to June, then another from July to December.
For each round, there is a set of prompts. You may choose from any prompt. For each prompt, there is one winner. Honourable mention will be awarded when there are sufficient submissions.
The requirements are:
Must be the specified story type (either multi-chaptered or one-shot)
Reference to Romeo and Juliet (this does not have to be a MAJOR reference. For example, your narrator could walk past a poster advertising a nearby showing of R&J)
Must have been written after the contest begun
The purpose of Star-Cross'd is to give you enough time to start and finish something you can edit until you're satisfied. I know that when I try writing for a prompt, I tend to not have enough time to finish my response. One month goes by like that. Star-Cross'd gives you five to six months to complete your entry.
All authors who submit their work shall receive a review from me AS LONG AS YOU FULFILL THE REQUIREMENTS! The winner of each round will receive a banner.
Sighing, Jacob sat down on one of the canal's many decks. He could not believe what had just happened. The lovely Katherine was dead, dead at age seventeen. She had put up a long fight with that awful disease called cancer. She had done all she could in her power to defeat that horrid disease, but in the end, like so many others, it took her.
Jacob looked out at the other happy people. There were several couples and families boating, enjoying the lovely day. Their laughter filled the air causing him to wince. He wasn't in the mood to laugh. After all, he had just buried the love of his life.
He looked down at the small letter in his hand. Katherine had known she was dying for several months, but she hadn't told him until a few weeks before it happened. At first, he had been upset about her not telling him, but in the end, he was happy she hadn't. It allowed them more time for happiness. Death was something that hadn't existed in their relationship.
Jacob looked back down at the letter. Katherine's mum had found it in Katherine's journal. His name was written in her elegant script across the plain sheet of paper. He didn't want to open it. Opening it would mean she was truly gone. He did not want to have to face that yet.
He draped his feet over the water and onto the wooden boat accidentally knocking a lone paddle across it. He watched numbly as it rolled across the boat's smooth floor and stopped a few centimetres away.
Jacob stared at the oar for several minutes. He wished that he could be that oar and just paddle away from this life. Okay, he supposed that he could get in the boat, paddle away, and never come back. However, the letter would still be here. These were Katherine's last words. Did he really want to leave without hearing what she had to say?
He sighed. No matter what he did, he couldn't win.
The only reason he had come out here to the canal was to avoid everyone's pity. They acted as if they knew what he was going through, but they didn't. Jacob and Katherine were Romeo and Juliet. They were a love formed out of the stars. Normal people didn't get that. Normal people thought they knew love, but they really didn't.
His family told him that he would find someone else, they said the chances of he and Katherine getting married were slim to none. Jacob didn't listen to them. There wasn't and never would be anyone but Katherine.
Jacob stared back down at the unopened letter. He needed to man up and open it. The reality of it was that he didn't want to cry for Katherine again. He wasn't much of a crier, but the whole Katherine thing had turned him into one.
He looked out at the happy people again. Oh, how, he wished he could be one of them! He and Katherine used to come down here and laugh at all the people who didn't know how to paddle and just went around in circles. They would mock the screaming city girls as they ducks chased them. It was a happy time for all. Now, those days were gone.
Jacob looked down at the letter. How could something so small be so conflicting? He wanted to read it, but he was afraid of what she had to say. Would it be depressing and express her fears of dying? Would it be about the happy times? He wished that there were some way for him to know what the letter said without him actually having to open it.
A mass of birds flew over him. Katherine always loved birds. She always wondered where they were going and what they saw. Plus, she always enjoyed making fun of Jacob's fear of birds. He remembered this one time when she had taken him to a bird zoo; needless to say, he screamed like a little girl when one landed on him. That was a day he would rather not live through again.
It ranked right up there with the day Katherine slipped away. He was holding her hand one minute and the next she was gone. It didn't help to picture her as an Angel of Heaven. No, Heaven couldn't have her yet. She was way too young to die.
Sighing Jacob pulled back the flap of the letter. It was now or never.
The letter covered both sides of four pieces of paper. Jacob just stared at Katherine's lovely handwriting. Oh, how he wished she were here with him!
Jacob blinked hard. He was not going to cry again, not here. Katherine wouldn't want him to be all weepy over her passing. She would want him to enjoy life, but he could not do so without his Juliet.
Jacob looked down at the paper and began to read.
My dearest Jacob (yeah, we're going old school here),
Please don't be sad, be happy. You surely remember that Glad television commercial. That was so stupid, but it's fitting for what you are probably feeling right now. Don't try to deny it-I know your life sucks without me. You can't live like that forever. I don't like my men to be unhappy.
I looked up a term to describe what we are. Wikipedia is my friend. We are twin flames. It's really a fancy term for soul mates. We had a deep love for each other. It is the strongest bond that a pair of lovers can achieve. We are supposed to be together because nature says we are. It's kind of crazy, right?
Anyway, let's get to the good stuff.
Do you remember the first time we met? Of course not, you're a guy and guys never remember things like that. Well, I do.
We were in the school's lunchroom and I had gotten up from my table to get another apple. You were with your dumb jock friends going from the lunch line to a table, not paying attention, and laughing about the freshman you had just stuffed into their locker. I was in plain view, but couldn't get out of the way because tables blocked me in. You and your friends just kept laughing and, then, you walked right into me and dumped your entire tray on me! It was a mess! Then, you yelled at me that I should watch where I was going. I didn't say anything and just took off crying to the bathroom. I could hear you guys laughing at me.
Yeah, it really went down like that and don't try to deny it.
Afterward, you came and found me. You asked if I was okay and said you were sorry. You were smirking and I wanted to punch you. You were probably just making fun of the math geek. Yeah, I know how the brains of jocks work.
Do you remember what comes next? I yelled at you for being in the girls' bathroom. You fell back into the door and tumbled out into the trashcan. Yes, I laughed, but that didn't seem to bother you. You were laughing too. I always liked guys who could laugh at themselves.
You asked me to help you out of the trashcan. I just gathered my things and walked out. After all, I had to get to class and I actually cared about my grades.
I heard you yelling at me clear down the hall, but I didn't pay any attention to you. I'm not even sure how you got out of the trashcan. Are you ready for some honesty? Great! I really don't care how you got out of it. I would've been really happy if you just stayed in there and rotted along with the rubbish.
Yeah, back then I really hated you.
Don't worry, it all changed.
For the next few months, I avoided you at all costs. I sat as far away from you in lessons and the lunchroom. If I saw you coming down the hallway, I walked the other way or ducked into a bathroom. I was still embarrassed over what had happened and did not want to be near you. Jocks enjoy picking on the nerds and I did not want that for me.
Yeah, I guess you could say I was a wimp.
Flash forward seven months...It is Halloween. Yes, we meet again.
I was walking back from Math Club and there you were, leaning against the brick wall of the school, looking at me. I stepped back and started to go the other way. You chased after me and caught me. I kicked your shins hard, but you did not let go.
"What do you want?" I snapped.
You looked at me, but did not say a word.
I tried to pull away from you, but you would not let go. "Let go!" I screamed.
This time you let go, but you were still looking at me. It was rather strange. No boy had ever stared at me that way. It scared me, but, at the same time, it made me feel, well, special. I felt like Elisabeth. You probably have no idea who that is, but she was very beautiful.
I looked away from you. "Please, just leave me alone."
You took my hand gently into yours and looked up at me with those puppy dog eyes. "I can't stop thinking about you."
Oh, great! This is the perfect line for some lame joke. The jock makes the geek feel special, only to stand her up and let her make a fool of herself.
And what did I do?
I bet you remember this part.
I raised my hand and slapped you across the face.
You winced and stepped away from me. "What was that for?"
I didn't answer. I shouldn't have to explain the way my mind works to you. I knew what you were up too.
"Katherine, please, I just wanted to ask you something," you whispered.
I didn't look at you. All I wanted to do was go home. I didn't have time to waste on you.
"Katherine, did you hear me?" you asked.
I gave you a dirty look. You drew back. You must've got the Look before and knew that it meant you were in trouble.
However, that did not scare you off. You just stood there.
"What do you want?" I snapped. There, you had gotten a response out of me.
"I just wanted to ask you something." You seemed kind of shy now. The way you were looking at your feet and the way your voice was shaking reminded me of a child.
I just looked at you. I wasn't going to say anything.
You pulled a flyer out of your back pocket. "Would you go with me to the Halloween dance?"
I eyed you. I knew it! This was a set up. You were going to ask me to this stupid dance, I was going to say yes, and, then you were going to stand me up or let me make a fool of myself. Yeah, you were so cliché, man. Well, this chick had something up her sleeve. If you were serious about this, then you were going to have to show your dedication.
I looked you in the eye. "I'll go with you, but I get to pick our outfits out."
You nodded. You probably figured there was no harm in that. Ha, boy was you wrong!
"Great!" I smiled at you. "I have the perfect ones in mind."
"Can you tell me? I want to get the stuff before all of the good ones are gone." You sounded really excited. Maybe you were serious about this whole dance thing after all.
"We will go as..." Wait for it, wait for it. "Romeo and Juliet! We need to look as real as possible, so that means tights are a must."
You looked at me in pure horror. "You're kidding, right?"
I shook my head. "Nope, this your chance to show me that you actually care about me."
"Don't you trust me?"
I shook my head. "I don't trust without proof."
You kicked at the ground, frowning. You were probably wondering what in the world you had gotten yourself into.
I stared at you. If you said no, the deal was off. Besides, I didn't want to go the dance in the first place.
"Fine, I'll do it. Just tell me what I need," you muttered.
"What? I can't hear you!"
You looked up at me. "I'll go to the dance as Romeo."
"That's more like it." I pulled my notebook and pen out of my bag. "Now, give me your email and I'll send you a picture and what you'll need."
You nodded, but I could tell that you were trying so hard not to groan.
"Great, I'll talk to you soon." I turned and walked away. I was going to find the most tight wearing picture of Romeo there was.
You see, love isn't something that happens over night. You know that, Jacob. In order to win a girl's heart, you need to follow certain steps. If the girl you like wants you to wear tights, you wear tights. Oh, Jacob, we had it good, you know? I just hope that there's someone out there who will treat you as well as I did.
Okay, back to the story.
Halloween rolled around. I was a nervous wreck that night. You see, over the past few weeks, I had grown rather excited about this dance. I was going to be a normal high school girl and dance the night away with a boy, who in ten months would probably be nothing but a distance memory. Tonight was going to be different. Tonight I was going to be special.
I sat in the family room in my Juliet costume. I was wearing a long brown dress with little black criss-crosses in it. My hair was braided so that it resembled a princess's tiara. In my hair, I wore a fake jeweled headband. It wasn't perfect, but it was the best I could do.
I was worried you wouldn't show up and I would sit here like an idiot and feel disappointed when you didn't come. I looked at the clock every thirty seconds. It was getting closer to the time you were supposed to be here. What would it be like if you didn't show up at all? I've seen the movies, but what would it really be like if it actually happened to me?
At seven o'clock, the doorbell rang. I walked to the door. My parents were out that night. I really didn't want them around for this. I wasn't ready for them to make a big deal about a stupid high school dance.
I opened the door and there you stood in full Romeo getup. You wore a purple peasant shirt and white breeches. I looked closely and saw that you were wearing purple tights. They kind of looked like socks, but at least you had made the effort.
"I hope I'm not too late," you said. You looked really uncomfortable.
I shook my head. "Not at all."
You held out your arm. "Are you ready Juliet?"
I took your arm and allowed you to lead me out of the house. "You look nice tonight."
"So do you," you said. "I have more."
"You do?" I wondered where this was going. There was still plenty of time for you to embarrass me.
"Yeah, I did my homework." You shrugged.
I nodded and crossed my arms over my chest. "Well, show it to me."
You cleared your throat dramatically. "But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun."
"Everyone knows that quote," I said.
You flashed me an award-winning smile. "You should feel privileged that I know what play that's from."
I laughed. I couldn't help it. It really wasn't anything funny. "I guess."
You nodded. "It doesn't happen too often."
You led me to your car and opened the door. I climbed in and you shut the door. Then, you ran in front of the car and climbed in. You started the car and we were on our way.
We didn't talk much on the drive. I think we were both afraid we would say the wrong thing. I know I was, at least.
When we arrived at the dance, you stopped the car and opened the door for me again. I know enough about guys to know they don't do this very often. You were treating me like a lady and not someone you planned to hook up with. I knew millions of girls wished for a guy like this and would envy me if they knew.
We entered the dance and a slow song had just started playing. People were pointing and snickering at your tights, but you weren't paying attention. You looked at me and smiled.
Do you remember what comes next?
You held out your hand to me. "Juliet, will you give me the honour of sharing this dance with you?"
I smiled and took your hand. "Why, yes I will give you that honour, Romeo."
You laughed and led me out onto the dance floor. You placed one hand on my shoulder and the other round my waist. We began to sway along to the music. As you looked me in the eyes, my heart began to race.
You were making me feel so strange. I don't know what it was, but I was driven in by something. You were the fire and I was the moth drawn to the flame. I know that's not the best wording, but it's all I can think of. Besides, it's my story and I can do whatever I want.
Suddenly, the dance beat changed. It was no longer slow, but a fast paced song. I looked up at you as the beat picked up.
"What's up with this?" I asked as you twirled me around.
"That's Cascada for you," you said as you spun me around faster.
I didn't really listen to music, so I had to trust you on this one. Really, before you came along, I never got out much. I was the geek without a life.
However, none of that seemed to bother you. I don't know why you were interested in loving me. You could've had any girl, at any time, and you picked me. I always wondered why you picked me, but I could never get up the courage to ask you. I guess now it's too late, huh?
Well, enough of that. I want to finish our story.
We finished the dance and walked off the dance floor. My head was spinning so fast that I could not make sense of anything. I had just shared my first dance ever with a boy. You could've taken me anywhere and I wouldn't have known any better.
The lights shone in my face. I could hear other people talking, but I wasn't paying attention. You were Romeo and I was Juliet. There was nothing in this world that was going to change that.
You led me out to the back of the gym. It was place where the stoners get high at lunch. The only reason I knew what this was because I took a good number of walks back here when I was avoiding you.
When you looked at me, your eyes reminded me of twin flames burning side by side.
I looked away. I didn't want to get burned by you."Why are we out here?"
"I just wanted to get away from everyone," you said.
Alarm bells were going off in my head. That was exactly what every serial killer said in the movies before they killed the girl. I backed up putting you between the gym wall and me. If things got too messy, I could always run and call for help.
You touched my hair. "You look really beautiful tonight."
I stepped back. Okay, you were getting to close for comfort.
Your face softened. "Is there something wrong?"Your voice was full of concern.
"I can't do this," I whispered. "I'm sorry."
"Can't do what?" You stepped forward.
I didn't move. "Us."
A brief look of hurt passed across your face. "Why not?"
I bit my lip. Why couldn't I do it? I didn't want to say it was me and not you. That was too cliché in my book. No, I didn't want to do this because I was afraid to give my heart to someone. I didn't want to get hurt.
You moved your head toward me. "The fact that you're not moving away and still here must mean you don't have a good reason for saying no."
I looked at him. "I'm not like those other girls."
You nodded. "I know."
"I'm not going to be like them."
"I don't want you to." You were dangerously close now. I could make out everything in your shadow now.
"Jacob," I whispered.
"Don't talk, Katherine. Just show me how you really feel." Your voice had dropped.
Our faces were getting closer to each other. A few seconds later, our lips met.
I would be lying if I said our first kiss was one out of the movies. First, there were no fireworks. Sorry, but no such luck. I tried to picture them in my head, but I just couldn't make it happen. My foot didn't pop either. I really didn't believe in foot popping to begin with. I guess I'm really not like Mia from "The Princess Diaries."
So, here comes the real kicker. I've never said this to you before. You drool whenever you kiss. It's not just a little drool either. We're talking massive dog drool. It happened with every kiss we shared.
Guess what, Romeo? It's not very pretty either.
Just thought you'd like to know.
I broke our kiss. "What was that?"
"It was a kiss," you said. "Didn't you like it?"
"I just didn't expect it," I said. Okay, it was nice to be kissed and it wasn't that bad of a first kiss either.
"I know you didn't. That's why I did it."
I looked at you and you smiled. An innocent smile lit up your boyish features and brought out your dimples. I don't know why, but with that smile, I knew you was a keeper. I think it's safe to say that was the moment I fell in love with you.
When I looked at you, I no longer saw the jerk who dumped his tray on me. I saw a young man with a lot of promise. You would grow out of this age and become the man you were meant to be. Boys are jerks; it was the simple fact.
You looked at me. "We should get back before we get in trouble."
I nodded and took your hand.
We walked back to the dance in silence. I wondered what you were thinking, but I didn't ask. I didn't want to ruin the moment.
To be honest, I really don't remember what happened afterword. I'm sure we danced and talked, but I'm not sure. All I know is that night was magical and unforgettable. We were Romeo and Juliet. We were the couple whose love lasted a lifetime.
I don't want you to feel sorry for what's happened to me. I want you to smile and to have an amazing life. Your Juliet will always watch over you. Just because we are no longer in the same world, doesn't mean that our love has to end. No, we can still love each other.
After that night, I started to listen to more music. I heard this song and it reminded me of us. I just hope it can offer you some comfort.
"When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears.
When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears.
And I held your hand through all of these years.
But you still have,
All of me."
Please, don't forget what we had. Our love was a twin flame, it's immortal.
I don't want you be alone, but I want you to remember me. Don't remember me as being sick, remember me as being the strong math geek who you spilled your food on.
Forever and always,
Jacob stared out into the water. His heart was racing. He couldn't breathe. Katherine was alive in these pages. Reading this made him feel like Juliet had come back to Romeo.
A boat with a family in it passed in front of him. The parents were pointing out fish to the children who were laughing in delight. Jacob wondered if he would ever get that.
He knew Katherine would want him to settle down with a nice girl and have a family. He knew that, but he really didn't want anyone but Katherine. There would only ever be Katherine.
He looked back down at the letter. Did he really want to go against the wishes of the dead?
He knew that her humour in here was an attempt to make him feel better, but it didn't. It just opened up a new set of wounds.
A crane landed in the water a few metres away from Jacob. He watched as it stared at him with its knowing eyes. It ducked its head into the water, came back up, and with one beat of its great wings it was gone. Jacob watched as the crane grew smaller until it disappeared from view.
Jacob stood up on the deck to see if he could see the bird. He stood tall, but there was nothing. He sighed. Even though he couldn't see it didn't mean it wasn't there.
Maybe that's how it was with Katherine. She was still with him. Romeo and Juliet's love had lasted a lifetime after all. Just maybe they could be like the real Romeo and Juliet.
Huh, Katherine was smart for coming up with all of this.
Jacob jumped over onto the boat and picked up the oar. He began to paddle out into the canal. He wanted to see where the crane went.
Thanks for reading! Note, I don't own Romeo and Juliet nor I do own the lyrics, "My Immortal" by Evanescence.