Narrator: Juliet Flanagan
The possibility that the reason for his absence from school was what had happened at Joshua's party annoyed me immensely. It was like an itchy spot constantly needing attention, although instead of with the up-and-down of my fingernails, with words like 'he's just sick' or 'his dog died'. Not that I know if he even had a dog for that matter, but I could not imagine Edward calling out 'fetch Rover!' and petting him affectionately as the furry animal came running back with a stick in his mouth.
I entered the Drama Studio after lingering nervously around Edward's locker a little while after the bell. Ms. Donahue was in the room, her glasses propped on her head. Her hair was tied in a messy bun as always, and her green Monday shirt was in need of a stroke from a hot iron. Her faded black leather flats made a squirmy sound as she got herself on the other side of the desk. Unlike many teachers, she followed the much ignored school policy of taking attendance first thing.
Edward was always annoyed at how she said their full names, missing not a name out. I was relieved my mothers hadn't given me a rather embarrassing middle name, such as Maude or Wilhemina. I liked my name - like Romeo and Juliet.
"Edward Dixon McCulloch Fisher?" Ms. Donahue announced, indifferent to the sniggers that sounded from some of the students who were still much too immature to be incapable of getting over the first syllable of his second name. Technically, though, 'Dix' rather than 'Dick' was how it should be said; Edward made sure I was aware of this after having chuckled with the others the first time I heard it.
"Absent," I said and she called out my name. Unnecessary, but it seemed repeating our full names gave her an odd rush of adrenaline or feeling of high authority. I replied with a 'here' and she moved down the list.
I had presumed Edward knew better than to expect me to act up in front of him over his obvious rejection. It was nothing new that my feelings were unreturned. That was often the case for me; it was as though the opposite sex saw me as just. Just another girl, with an odd affinity for frogs.
I wanted to be angry at Edward. I wished that I possessed the courage to march out of the classroom, turn up at his doorstep and scream at him for being like every other guy. For seeing me like every other guy saw me. But that was the bizarre thing about offering your heart to someone; it disabled you from getting truly infuriated at the person you were saying, "You can have it. It's for free! Just don't lose it," to. And even if they didn't accept it, you would wait there, with your hands open.
"Listening," she ordered and we faced her lazily, "These are your new duologue scripts from 'Much Ado About Nothing'. Pair up, annotate, and it's Shakespeare - so, please - have some care with the words. And remember it's a thrust stage setting."
People scrambled across the floor, delightedly facing their chosen partners as I found myself alone with a limp piece of paper in my hands. Edward was good at Shakespeare - he understood and he felt the words. He took care with Shakespeare's genius words and I didn't. I couldn't. I needed him to explain to me what the line meant, if it was sarcastic or not.
"Excuse me, Ms. Donahue. Sorry I'm late. Traffic," a breathless Edward spun into the room.
"Fine. We're going into your area of expertise Mr. Fisher. Shakespeare," Ms. Donahue said as she handed him a script. "I suggest you work with Ms. Flanagan over there, she seems to be lacking a Signor Benedick."