“Everybody, we’re going to get into partners.”
Fuck. Partners already? I didn’t even know anyone in this class despite my four years at this god-forsaken hell hole; the few I did know just treated me like a joke. My insides internally groaned with fear as I just fiddled with my small ring on my fourth finger and kept my eyes glued on my copy of Romeo and Juliet. I had read the play three times before, now was nothing new to me- besides the fact that class was only fifteen minutes in and I had to be the last resort for some unfortunate soul without a partner.
“I’ll pick them for you.” Yes! I mentally cheered. Scanning around the class, there were few people. My small corner in the right farthest away from the teacher and closest to the door was surrounded by the jocks directly west, the preppy girls in front of them, and the stoners north of my desk. I sighed. My options would be limited- druggie who knew nothing about the play, some dumbass bitch fixing her nails and texting, or a mindless jock who was more concerned with making fun of me than getting a good grade. This class was filled with idiots, idiots who brought a shame to the English language. In any other class, really, I would have let it slide with gratitude, but unfortunately, a grammar Nazi with a book-a-day repertoire can’t simply let the beauty which is Shakespeare slide.
“Aden with Raine, Thomas with Joan, Kelly with…” Mrs. Trap rattled off the names. I sighed, wondering who would be ‘unlucky’ enough to be placed with me. Although it assured them a definite A, I wasn’t exactly what you would call ‘popular’ in class.
“Matt with Dawn, Brynna with Phillip, Elektra with Ethan,” Ethan? I didn’t know much about him, besides the fact that he was one of those ‘all bod and no brain’ jocks. Oh, that and the fact that he brutally terrorizes me with his little group of friends. I groaned internally again and felt my contacts shift as I shut my eyes. He knew nothing about Shakespeare, as far as I could tell. “And Emma with Shayne.”
I turned to him, who seemed to be a bit too preoccupied with his phone beneath the table. Probably wooing over some helpless bimbo.
The phone snapped shut and he shoved it back into his pocket, flipping his hair in my direction and flashing me a grin. He was just the average jock. I rolled my eyes; that was the grin used to win nearly every girl’s heart at this school. Upon realizing it wouldn’t work on me, he fist-bumped his best friend, Aiden (there were two in the class- a girl and a guy), and sauntered over.
“So…Mr. William Shakespeare…” he began to look at the back of his book, which had seemed untouched, while sitting down.
“William Shakespeare, also known as the Bard of Avalon, born on April 26-” I began sarcastically, this amateur didn’t know the first thing about the Elizabethan Age.
“1564, died on April 23, 1616 buried in the same place he was baptized, Stratford,” he finished, closing his book and looking over to me. “Not just the average jock, huh?” Creepy. It was like he read my mind.
“Certainly not, it seems I stand corrected.” How did he know all of that? It wasn’t like he knew that automatically, I mean, it seemed like he spent more time looking at boobs than at books. I fiddled with my small necklace from my brother, Roger, before he ran away. It was filled with a compass. So you’ll always know what direction to go in.
“Open up to Scene Five, keep it bookmarked. We will work on Shakespearean vocabulary before reading on with your partner.” Ugh. The kissing scene. How fitting.
Mrs. Trap passed out papers to each of our conjoined tables and I looked at it: a vocab sheet. I already knew most of the words, so I hid it in my binder and tried to avoid as much eye contact with Ethan as possible.
“Hold a ten minute conversation with the other person next to you. Use at least twenty words on that list if not more. I will monitor the conversations; 20 points apiece,” her monotone voice droned on and on, rattling the insides of my empty head.
“Methinks thine eyes deceive, as occurrences such as these forbid come oft.” I might be wrong, but times like this don’t happen much.
I held back a gasp; he actually did know Shakespeare. He, also, was looking away, his sheet in his binder.
“Occurrences to which? Thou speaks’t fluent in sharp vowels of old past, yet to specify burden thine eyes lie tell.” Times like what? You talk fluent old English, but you’re not specific in your words. The words rolled off my tongue just like regular, modern English; I had read all of Shakespeare’s works- sonnets and all, by the age of eleven. Here I was, four years later, a junior spending time in the mortal world reading Shakespeare.
“Occurrences such partake, as, e’en given circumstance, you pay heavy mark as if it were a foe you partake in discourse.” Just like this, even though you’re talking to me, you don’t like me.
“Perchance a foe would be an ally come morrow once proven that I, privy, art in good faith to trust Sirrah; no good has’t shine my face as no sun seen for morrow.” Maybe I’ll like you once you give me something to like, kid; I can’t assume you’re good if you’ve done nothing good.
“Sirrah?” He turned to me, eyebrow cocked. “Well met, m’lady, but lady thou shalt not prove to be’st as clocks have spun yet nothing kind has crossed my path.” Kid? Excuse me, but you’re being a bitch.
“As your acquaintances have enjoyed nothing but plague crossing my path from years preceding more oft than not thine own brethren hark to the pain embarked on the journey they has’t shoved me upon.” Well, your group seems to enjoy making my life a living hell, they destroy my being.
“Art I my brethren, art I not Ethan, soul solitary to thine own?” Am I them?
“Grammercy shown whence actions turned worthy are wrought.” I’ll be grateful for you when you show me your nice side.
“Thou artless, dizzy-eyed coxcomb.” You foolish girl. I returned his look with my own. He did not just challenge me to a Shakespearean insult clash.
“Thou mangled, hell-hated jolthead!” You stupid, evil dumbass!
“Impertinent, fool-borned harpy!” Impatient hoar, your mum was a fool!
“Rank, villainous ratsbane!” We were nearly shouting now, our insults growing louder and our faces clouded with emotion. Yes, I understood that I was being a bitch, but he did not have to call me out like that.
“Elektra!” Ms. Trap shouted over us; the entire class was now gaping at the three of us shouting.
“Ethan!” Ms. Trap gasped.
“Clasp thine own throat shut preluding interference- pain is a star compared to the galaxy soon born,” I shouted at Ms. Trap, “to this inking, wood-faced, meal-worm!”
“You errant, dread-bolten, death-token!” He shouted at me. I let out a sigh of exasperation. What was with this guy?! I could feel my fingers warming, but I wouldn’t let my hidden side get the best of me.
“That’s it! Both of you!” Ms. Trap gripped onto my wrist so tightly, her nails dug deep into my flesh. She grabbed Ethan’s, too, before thrusting both of us into the front of the class with our books in hand. “I’m done with this! Let’s just act and get this class over with!”
I shot Ethan a death glare as his matched mine. I saw glint of darkness hidden. Sexy. No. No, no, no, not sexy at all. What was I thinking? Maybe the anger was getting the best of me.
“Line: If I profane! And I need your best acting, because your best behavior is unavailable. Anything less, and you’re both getting a failed assignment!” My eyes widened in horror and Ethan snickered. I could not get a 0 on this assignment; I glared back at Ethan, laughing lightly to himself and hissed,
“If I get anything less than a 100 by the end of the quarter, you’re going to feel my pain.” I saw the flare in his eyes dim out and he just rolled his eyes.
Sexy idiot, I realized as my eyes swept over his shining brunette hair, strong cheekbones, and insanely toned biceps.
No, no, no! I had to stop thinking like that. Ethan positioned himself in front of me and I heard Ms. Trap shout again.
“If I profane! Quickly, delinquents!”
If I profane…My jaw dropped as I turned to her. You have got to be kidding me. The kissing scene?! With Ethan?! Acting?!
At least there wasn’t going to be an actual kiss.
Ms. Trap gave me a sarcastic smile and I heard Ethan snicker again. “Bitch…” I muttered under my breath.
“You’ve sure got a dirty mouth; do you kiss boys with that thing?” He whispered as he positioned himself in front of me.
“It’s not like you’re ever going to find out.” I mumbled.
“I beg to differ.” I felt my heart sink as soon as he said that. Was he going to kiss me? Holy shit, I didn’t want my first kiss to be with the guy I had just called a fishknot! Please don’t; please don’t…
My heart sunk again as he started his line. It wasn’t even the fact that it was him that had bothered me. In fact, he was gorgeous, and he knew Shakespeare…that was quite enough for me. Did I actually want to kiss him? My mind spun in circles, worrying about the fact that I had never kissed anyone before; would I suck? Would he laugh? Would he even do it in the first place?
“This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this: My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.”
Jesus, that guy made even Shakespeare sound like a sexy pickup line.
Focus, Elektra, focus!
“Good pilgrim,” I looked up to him, his caramel eyes above me, hair curtaining his heart-thrilling grin, “you do wrong your hands too much, Which mannerly devotion shows in this; For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch, And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.” On the word kiss, he stepped closer to me, placing his hand on my cheek and deliberately tracing my cheekbone with his thumb. I suppressed a shiver tickling my spine, attempting to keep my breath under control.
“Have not saints lips…” his words were softly dancing across my lips, they were so close, “and holy palmers, too?”
“Aye, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer,” I slowly realized that neither of us were reading by the book; we had it memorized.
“O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do,” his gaze was intently on me. I tried to stop from rolling my eyes, but a small sarcastic look escaped. “They pray; grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.” I caught him muttering, “Minnow,” so softly, only I could hear it.
“Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake,” his thumb continued to trace my cheek and I lowered my voice, “you codfish.”
He chuckled and I resisted another shudder. Goddamn, he was sexy. Why was I yelling at him before? “O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;” Oh, yeah, his friends have been making my life hell for ages, “Thus from my lips, by yours,” and he called me a series of bad names for something I didn’t do, embarrassed me, humiliated me multiple times, “my sin is purged,” and even tried to-
My thought process was interrupted by the sheer fact that Ethan had dropped the book and rested his hand gently on my waist, tilting my head ever-so-softly upwards by my chin and straight out kissed me.
This time, I couldn’t hold back my flipping heart; I let out a gasp before closing my eyes and falling into a black hole of nothingness, not even feeling. All I knew was that I was engulfed by his warm, soft lips while his hand pressed me on the small of my back. I heard something, like a laugh or joke or something of that sort escape from Ethan’s throat, and I felt just how soft of a pressure he was giving me. It was so soft, but I made my knees wobble beneath me.
He pulled away and I sharply inhaled, causing him to chuckle, low and deep in my ear. I heard Ms. Trap tap her pen in irritation.
“It’s your line, beautiful,” he whispered in my ear, his warm breath causing me to shiver again. His hand remained on my back, pressing me closer and forcing me to rack my brain for the next line.
“Then have my lips the sin that they have took,” my voice was strong but soft, looking into his deep eyes, seeming to change color with the light. Not from color to color, like mine did, but in a human fashion.
“Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged,” he pulled me closer, if that were even possible, and I found my hand placed on his chest, his heart beating just as fast as mine was: so fast it was as if it were at a complete standstill. “Give me my sin again,” he almost purred in my ear, tilting my chin up again as he cupped my head, giving me more than last time, but still restrained. I didn’t want to think if this was more than just acting, I didn’t want to think at all. I just wanted to focus on the pressure he applied to me and the warmth that had enveloped me, the rapid pace of his heartbeat, and the small murmur of a gasp that had escaped just long enough for me to grip onto his shirt and pull him closer.
He let go, this time out of breath with a wild look in his eyes, letting me be the one speaking with confidence. “You kiss by the book,” I felt a smirk reach my lips, not knowing what the fuck just happened. We stood there for a moment, waiting, just looking into each other’s’ eyes, until we heard the slow clap of applause and the exaggerated ring of the bell. His hand kept on my back until I gathered up the courage to muster another smirk and whispered, “See you later, codfish.”
© Copyright 2016 Kathryn Thorne. All rights reserved.