A not so star-crossed story of Romeo and Juliet from my perspective. Enjoy my tale!
Reading Romeo and Juliet is like watching a television show, where you’re omniscient. You pretty much know everything that’s going to happen, while the characters don’t. You can yell and scream, saying, ‘No! She really likes you!’, but no matter what, your protests are going to have no effect on the outcome. Like Romeo thinks Juliet is dead, so he kills himself? Then Juliet wakes up, finds Romeo dead, and kills herself?
As I finished that god awful story, I felt angry inside. Sure, the story of the star crossed lovers is one everyone knows and finds romantic and true, but I think it’s stupid. Shakespeare should have been a little more realistic when it came to dying. I would never kill myself over a guy.
I closed the book, set it on my bedside table, and looked up at the ceiling. What was Shakespeare thinking when he wrote Romeo and Juliet? Even The Taming of the Shrew? I wouldn’t let some guy tame me. That’s horrible.
“Julie, honey? You’re lesson starts in ten minutes.” My aunt’s soft voice was kind as she knocked faintly on my door.
“Okay. Thanks Aunt Maggie.” I took a deep breath, and let it out with a sigh. What could I do about Shakespeare? Nothing. He’s long been dead and gone. What was I left with? That unfinished, horrible ending.
Sitting up, I rubbed my eyes. I’d been up all night rereading that stupid play. Trying to understand Shakespeare’s meaning, to no avail. There was no understanding why he would end it like that, but hey, it was his story, so he had every right to finish it the way he wanted.
I wondered what it was like to be Juliet, and in love with Romeo. Especially at the age thirteen. How would it feel to have forbidden love, and go against your parents wishes? I wouldn’t know, since I went with my guardian’s wishes all the time. It wasn’t that I did it in spite, but that they deserved it.
My aunt and uncle had taken me in when my parents died in a car crash. Ha, cliché, yes, but sad, immensely. I was young—too young to cry—so Maggie and Robert were practically my real parents. They deserved my obedience and kindness.
I stood up, and got my books ready for my school. Maggie home schooled me—could she be more of a saint?—and was a good teacher. Reading Romeo and Juliet was not part of her lesson, but something about that story had me rereading it. As if the next time I read it, the ending would be different and satisfy me. Which I knew was impossible. But hey, I bet the Capulets though Juliet marrying Romeo was impossible. And that happened despite everyone’s protests.
“Jules… honey? You’re late.” Maggie opened the door, looking so nice and clean that I couldn’t help but give her a smile. I’d lost myself in Romeo and Juliet thoughts again.
“Sorry. I’m just getting my things together.” Maggie gave me an all knowing look, but backed out of my room nevertheless. I frowned, knowing that my thoughts would have to be diverted to schoolwork, but later, when I sat in bed, they’d stray, and once again, I’d pick up that tattered, unrealistic, addicting book.
Have you ever heard the saying ‘All men are either taken or gay?’ Well, me and my friends have heard it one too many times, and every time they’d protest, claiming that it’s impossible, for before someone’s taken, they have to be single.
Well, in almost all cases, that it true. But in mine, things are a bit different. And no, this isn’t one of those, before I was born, I had an arranged marriage, and I hated the guy, cause he was my childhood enemy and part time vampire.
Well, kind of.
When I was born, I was engaged to a guy, who was most definitely not a vampire. Well… I wouldn’t exactly say engaged, because I had a choice. If I didn’t want to marry the guy, I didn’t have to. My parents and his parents were business partners, and they thought it was perfect if we got together. You know, keep the family business. They said that it was completely up to us. On my parents will, their only request for me was to marry him so they could be assured that I could live a happy life. In other words, rich. If I married him, we’d be business partners, own the company, live in a mansion, and have maids and butlers and stuff.
As I grew older and could understand the situation, I realized I wasn’t really interested in falling in love, and most of that was because of Romeo and Juliet. I didn’t want to love someone to the point that I would give my life for them. So I thought, what the hell, why not marry someone for my parents? I didn’t really get to give them anything except the labor of caring for me when I was a stinky, whiny baby.
So to get to the point of all that, I’ve never been single. I’ve always been taken by someone.
The guy I was questionably betrothed to didn’t really care. He wasn’t interested in falling in love either. His love was his parent’s business, Madden&Corbin Co. Actually, it was his business the moment he turned eighteen. And then we’d share it when I turned eighteen.
Ah… what a beautiful, touching story.
Maggie didn’t think it was. She actually didn’t want me to marry the guy my parents set me up with, saying that if I did and ran the company, I’d end up like her sister—my mother—uptight and only interested in making money. I assured her that would never happen.
So saying this was an arranged marriage story is completely untrue, now that I’ve got everything out. My parents wanted—not forced—me to marry a guy, and mostly for good intentions. They wanted me to have a good life. And I agreed to the marriage, for my parents, for Maggie and Robert, and for me. I couldn’t live knowing that I’d gone against my parents one and only request of me.
“Julie! Someone’s here to see you!” Maggie’s voice was faint, letting me know she was calling from down the hall. I looked up from my schoolwork, out the window, recognizing the pink Celica anywhere. Yes. I said pink.
“Mags, I don’t think you can call what’s here a someone!” I yelled back, loud enough for the blonde haired, pencil thin heeled girl to hear, who was probably standing in the doorway. I got up, though, knowing Rome probably sent her. No way would she come here for any other reason.
When I got to the living room, sure enough, Cecilia was standing at the door, her eyes sharp and angry. When she saw me, the anger turned into worse. Pure loathing. Which I gladly returned to her.
“What do you want?” I said, rolling over the back of the couch to lounge on it. Maggie left for the kitchen, and I silently wished she’d come back.
“Ugh… you are such a child.” I rolled my eyes. She’d say this every time she saw me.
“C, you’re only three years older than me. And I’m only one year shy from an adult. You need to get that through your empty head.” Cecilia was in a pencil skirt, heels, and a formal jacket over some surely expensive white shirt.
“Rome sent me.” I stared at the ceiling, waiting for her to continue. “He wanted me to tell you that the Johnson account wasn’t selling.” Did I mention Cecilia was my replacement until I turned eighteen? She was Rome’s partner until I could come to his side and legally run our business with him. Even though I pretty much did already. “He wanted to know your opinion on it.”
“The Johnson’s have to sell. Their income is way lower than their expenses, and no other company has the gut to buy them. The Johnson’s sell boat parts, but when we buy their company, we’ll sell boats too. And once their income shoots up, it’s value will be way more than what the Johnson’s ever wished to have.” I looked over to Cecilia, to find her staring at me and my obvious faith in my opinion. “Just you wait and see.”
“Well I’m not going to be the one to tell him, especially when that plan fails.” I rolled my eyes, reached in the deep pocket of my pants, and pulled out my phone. I called Rome, and when he answered, I told him my view on things. I’d been right so many times before, he didn’t doubt me.
“Rome, wait.” I told him before he hung up. “You have to promise me that we’ll keep all the factory workers.”
“Julie, no. Getting machines to do the work will be faster and more efficient.” He sounded stressed, and I knew he’d come over here later and expect me to rule the world for him, so he wouldn’t have to.
“Rome, I’m not going to watch hundreds of people lose their job, especially when the stock market is so bad. They need their jobs. I’m already doing a bad thing by telling you all this. I should tell the Johnson’s to sell boats too, and then they’d be fine. But no, I have to watch them crash and burn while we—”
“Juliet, calm down. I promise Johnson employees will keep their jobs.” I rolled my eyes at his nickname for me. He thought it was so cool that his name was Rome, which when you add an ‘o’, it’s Romeo. And when you add a ‘t’ to Julie, it’s Juliet. Romeo and Juliet, which happened to be one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever read.
“Romeo, you better keep your promise.” Then I hung up. I looked back over to Cecilia, where smoke was practically come out of her ears in jealousy. Oh, yeah, Cecilia has this major crush on Rome, and I happened to know Rome wanted nothing to do with her.
“How can he agree to marry you? You’re seventeen, and his twenty-first birthday is coming up.” I smirked at her.
“C, you of all people should know that guys like going with younger girls. The only dates you get are with old grandpas.” She tossed her perfectly made up blonde hair over her shoulder, and stormed out of my house. “Good riddance.” I muttered when Maggie walked in.
“Dinner’s almost ready.” I ran my fingers through my unbrushed hair, wondering for a split second if I should take a shower just in case Rome came. But I brushed the thought away, knowing he didn’t care what I looked like. I glanced down at my baggy grey sweats and black cami, shrugged and got up from the couch. As I prepared to help Maggie set the table, I put my hair up in a messy ponytail and washed my hands. “Do you think Rome will be coming for dinner tonight?”
“Yeah. He’s having trouble with Johnson Boat Company.” I said, putting five plates down at the old table we had. I never understood why Rome came over to our house for dinner when he had that huge two story house with chefs to make him gourmet meals. The thought that I would be living like that scared me, but also made me glad, because I would definitely give some money to my aunt and uncle. They weren’t in a perfect financial situation, because my aunt stayed at home, and my uncle’s job didn’t exactly pay well.
As soon as Maggie brought the food to the table, Rome walked in, looking sharp and handsome in his expensive Armani suit. Okay, him dressing all fancy and me dressing like a slob didn’t exactly satisfy me, since that company was just as much mine as it was to him. But I thought, before I turn eighteen, why not dress how I want?
“Tough day?” Maggie asked, helping him take off his expensive jacket. Don’t get me wrong, Maggie loved Rome, but thought that marrying him wasn’t the best for me.
“Yeah…” He sighed, looking at me with raised eyebrows. “It’s hard to believe that the girl who’s a major business women dresses in sweats.” I smiled sweetly, taking it as a compliment. He called me a business women.
“It’s hard to believe a twenty year old needs advice from his seventeen year old fiancée.” He laughed humorlessly, sitting down at his usual spot. I sat down beside him, tucking a loose strand of hair behind my ear.
“The Johnson’s want to have dinner with us tomorrow night.”
“Since when?” I asked, angry Cecilia didn’t tell me.
“When I was on my way here. Mr. Johnson called and said they had a proposal, and I agreed.” I looked over at him and smirked.
“Told you. You shouldn’t worry so much.” Maggie set down plates of spaghetti in front of us, and I immediately started digging in. “When they offer us the company, we’ll take it, then sell complete boats.” I said with a full mouth. Rome looked over at me and shook his head.
“I can’t believe my company is also your company. You’re disgusting.” I watched him as he wrapped the spaghetti around the fork like a pro, and fit it all into his mouth. I slurped mine up, surely getting sauce on my face.
“Whatever. All I’m saying is that once we get it going, and we sell it for way more than we bought it, I get full rights to say I told you so.” We continued to eat, and soon, Robert came in. He sat down and started eating without a word, and finally Maggie joined the table. Rome and I talked about business, and other ones that are in need of help, and soon we’d be buying. If you’re wondering what the hell we do, it’s buy companies in trouble, fix them, then sell them for more than we bought them for.
“Will you be staying here tonight?” Maggie asked Rome as we set out for the back porch.
“I’m not sure, yet.” Rome said, giving her a gorgeous smile, following me the rest of the way to the porch. Finally, we had complete privacy.
“Why do you come here when you have a huge house with a huge, comfortable bed and servants to wait on you hand and foot?” I sat down on the patio swing, and Rome sat down beside me.
“Because sometimes it gets lonely being there. When I come here, it’s like a real home to me.” We swung gently, looking out across the night sky. “Tomorrow, you need to dress professionally, and bring the smart, mature brain of yours.”
“Rome, can’t we talk about something other than business for once?”
“Like what?” He asked, as though I suggested something completely crazy.
“Like how beautiful the sky is. Or how good it feels outside. Anything.” I was desperate for some kind of talk other than stupid business. I didn’t want to end up like Mom was. Like Maggie warned.
“There’d be no point. All we’re getting married for is the business, so what’s the importance of the night sky or temperature?” Rome said, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Excuse me, but I’m not getting married for the business. I’m getting married for my parents, and my aunt and uncle. The money is for Maggie and Robert, and my parents have only asked this one thing of me. I’m not as superficial as you, Rome.” I said, crossing my arms, too.
“My dear Juliet… sometimes you take things too literal.”
“Stop calling me that. My name is Julie, and yours is Rome. We both know the only reason you were named that is because your parents decided to get jiggy in Rome, and nine months later, went back and had you there. And Julie is a common name. We aren’t Romeo and Juliet—thank god—and will never be.”
“That’s a shame… I was thinking of renaming the company Romeo and Juliet.” I stood up abruptly and pointed to the door.
“And that’s your cue to leave. You can’t stay here tonight.” When Rome stared up at me with those chocolate eyes, I narrowed mine. “Are you daft?” He continued to stare, and I finally put my hand down, rolled my eyes, and walked inside, locking the door behind me.
“Has Rome left?” Maggie asked from the kitchen as she washed dishes.
“Uh… yeah. He said he needed to get up early tomorrow.” When Maggie asked me if I wanted dessert, I suddenly felt tired and worn out. Rome tended to do that to me. I went to my room after politely saying no to chocolate ice cream, snuggled myself under my covers, and went to sleep.
When I woke up, I decided to go on my morning jog. I’d been putting it off due to tiredness, but forced myself to get up when my alarm rang at six. I threw on a pair of shorts, a t shirt, and socks, remembering I left my tennis shoes outside to dry when I wore them when it rained. I put up my hair, grabbed my iPod, and went out to the porch to get my shoes.
I grabbed them and started to walk inside when something caught my eye. More like someone.
“Rome? Why the hell are you sleeping out here?” Rome was laying down on the patio swing, looking cramped on the small seat. He slowly sat up, his hair messy and cute, a style I’d never seen.
“I said I was lonely at my house.” His voice was deeper too, and I immediately walked over to him.
“Well you need to go home and get some real sleep. Especially before Maggie sees your car. I told her you left last night.” Rome made no movement to get up, and I groaned, angrily crossing my arms over my chest.
“Can I run with you?” His question surprised me, but I made sure to mask the emotion from my face.
“How do you know I’m going to run?” I didn’t expect him to answer, and he didn’t, giving me a shrug. “Well… yeah, I guess, but you can’t run in that suit. I don’t even know how you slept in it.” Rome finally got up and followed me inside, where I went to the laundry room. “You should be able to fit into a pair of Robert’s basketball shorts, even though he doesn’t wear them anymore. He was a kid when he wore them, not to mention twenty pounds lighter.” I rummaged through Robert’s old laundry, and ended up with black basketball shorts and a plain white t shirt.
“Thanks.” He said, leaving to go to change in the bathroom. While he was gone, I thought about how sorry I felt for him. He was all alone in that big house, and never really had any fun. I’d thought about this at least one million times since I’d met Rome, but knew I couldn’t really do anything about it. He was raised as a rich kid, and will always be wealthy. And when I marry him, if we have kids, I don’t want them to be like that. They needed to experience the world. “Ready?” Rome appeared in the doorway, dressed in the clothes I gave him.
“Whoa there. Hold up.” I said, and grabbed his arm as he turned to leave. “Well look at you. Underneath all that Armani you’re ripped.” His muscles were way larger than I thought the owner of a business could be. Actually, the urge to run my hands over them surprised me.
“I work out…” He shrugged like it was nothing, but it was way more than nothing to me. It meant that he did something other than run our stupid business. “Let’s just go.”
So we did. We ran without a word, and I didn’t even bother listening to my iPod. The silence embracing us was kind of nice. The fog was still settled over everything, and the sun had yet to come out. I must admit Rome was in better shape than me. When my breathing got labored, Rome sped up, as if saying, ‘I’m just getting started.’
It was on the way back that conversation started. Well, bickering actually.
“You look like you’re getting tired there…” Rome teased me, glancing over at my withering form. I immediately lifted my chest and ran with strength I thought was gone two miles ago.
“Nope. I’m not tired at all.” I lied, and we both knew it.
“Oh come on, Jules… I know you’re about to pass out. If you just say it, I’ll slow down.” I glanced at him with raised eyebrows.
“Slow down? I feel great, Rome.”
“Yeah.” I said, my side splitting in two. At least that’s what it felt like. Rome chuckled, slightly speeding up. I sped up with him.
“Then let’s race. Whoever gets there first gets to…” He trailed off, thinking of the stakes.
“Dress the other for the dinner tonight.” I said, grinning mischievously.
Then Rome took off, leaving me in his dust. I picked up my pace, despite my protesting legs and lungs, and evened it out.
“Don’t push yourself to hard, sugar.” Rome said over to me. “I wouldn’t want to have to peel you off this sidewalk and patch up your booboo.” I glared over at him.
“You and Cecilia seriously need to get over this age difference.” I didn’t even bother to try and hide the stress in my voice. “Sugar? That’s a three year old name.” Rome smiled, nodding a little.
“Fine. Don’t push yourself, baby.” Now, baby should have been a blatant defiance to what I said, but the way Rome said the word was… sexy. I groaned, ignoring my pounding heart—that wasn’t caused by the running— , and took off ahead of him. Rome quickly and easily caught up, and as we got closer to the house, we remained neck and neck. I couldn’t go any faster, and I wasn’t sure about Rome. He was breathing hard now, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have a burst of energy left inside him.
“I’m gonna beat you.” I said in a singsong voice. But before he could reply he sped up, inching his way ahead of me. By now I could see the house. We got closer, and I tried my hardest to catch up with him. He ran through the front yard, and in one final attempt to win, I lunged myself at him, sending us both flying to the ground.
We sat there laughing in the dewy grass, laying side by side. Suddenly Rome rolled on top of me, knocking my breath out of me more than it already was.
“I beat you.” He whispered, the tip of his nose touching mine. I rolled my eyes, and he laughed, hopping off me. I got up, stalking inside, even though I was proud of myself. Rome laughed good-naturedly, and actually had some fun.
The rest of that day was filled with going over papers with Rome. After showers of course. But whenever I tried to convince him to go outside and play some basketball with me, or go get some ice cream, he’d smoothly slide the conversation back over to business.
“I dress you for dinner tonight.” Rome said after we’d finished going over some contracts. I sighed, feeling exhausted.
“I don’t wanna go.” I whined, slumping my shoulders in my seat. We were sitting at the table, the fluorescent light making me sick.
“I need you there, Jules. You have the best persuasiveness. Please?” He actually dog pouted at me, and surprised me massively. Not to mention made me think of how cute he was.
“And if I don’t go, Cecilia will go?” He nodded. “Fine.” I acted as though I was upset at the idea, but actually, I was looking forward to the dinner with the Johnsons. They were pretty nice people.
“Thank you!” This would be the moment in the cliché books where he would kiss me, and then we’d get all silent and awkward, but that didn’t happen.
Have I mentioned Rome and I had never kissed before?
Yeah, weird for a soon to be married couple. And I’ve wondered before if Rome’s ever cheated on me. I mean, I have to face it, Rome is gorgeous, and plenty of girls give him flirty looks and write their numbers on his hands, but does he call them back? Does he kiss other people? Somehow, that seemed unfair, since I’d been completely faithful to him my whole life.
Meaning I’d never kissed anyone.
And yes, I want to kiss Rome. Not because I’m secretly in love with him or anything, but because I want to experience it. Everyone else I know has kissed a person, and I’m the loner who chooses to marry someone I don’t even love. Is it awkward? Is it hard? What do you do? I’ll never know unless I try.
“Jules?” Rome snapped his fingers close to my face, brining me back. I smiled at him.
“You’re truly crazy. You know that?” Rome sighed deep and shook his head, running a hand through his brown hair. I faintly heard Maybe by Yiruma playing softly on the stereo.
“Are we dancing at this dinner?” I asked stupidly. I wanted to take it back from the look Rome gave me, but I couldn’t.
“Maybe.” I thought it was ironic he said that, for it was the song playing.
“Do you want to practice?” Yes, I was being a hopeless romantic, in attempt to maybe get my first kiss. Was is wrong I was using Rome for that? I mean, I’d never known guys before, since I’ve been home schooled my whole life. Sure, there’ve been guys on the street who winked and wolf whistled, but I wasn’t about to grab one by the collar and try out kissing.
“Julie, what are you talking about?”
“Do you want to dance? I love this song.” When he didn’t answer, I got up, grabbed his hand, and pulled him out of the chair. The song was pretty romantic, so maybe he’d kiss me. Maybe. Even though he’s had 17 years.
When I felt him wrap his arms around my waist, I took that as a cue to wrap mine around his neck. I’d only danced with Rome once or twice, but that was at weddings we attended, and was only for show. So when he pulled me close, I was surprised. He seemed he knew what he was doing.
We started to sway to the music, and even I, the girl who’s never been kissed, could feel the intense feeling around us. He stared down at me, and I even if I’d wanted to, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from his.
“Has anyone ever told you that you have magnificent eyes? His voice was soft, as if raising it would break the magical feeling around us.
“Maggie has a few times.” I whispered. My eyes were the brightest blue ever, and even though Maggie told me one million times that they were the most dazzling eyes in the world, Rome’s managed to capture me ten times more than my own did.
The rest of the dance was silent, and as I knew the song was coming to and end, I had so many butterflies in my stomach, I wasn’t even disappointed Rome didn’t kiss me. It was after we’d separated and another Yiruma song, Kiss the Rain, came on that I felt unsatisfied. Of course he wouldn’t kiss me, though. He wasn’t the romantic, axiom hero in books or movies. He was Rome Madden, owner of Madden&Corbin Company, and my fiancé. And I was Julie Corbin, the girl who didn’t know how to dance or kiss. Sound like any familiar hero and heroine in a fairytale? …didn’t think so.
We didn’t go sit down, though, after we finished dancing. We kind of stood there, and at first, it was an amiable silence, but as time grew on and Kiss the Rain came to a close, it was very awkward. The pretty ending of the song came, and it nearly brought tears to my eyes. Yiruma was a genius.
“I think we’ll do fine.” Rome said after The River Flows in You started to play. I nodded, swallowing hard, following Rome when he sat down. We kind of sat there in silence, before Rome pulled out another folder and started scribbling on it.
I stared at the concentrated look on his face, and how lucky I was that the guy I was getting married to happen to be gorgeous. Because even if Mr. and Mrs. Madden had a horribly ugly son, I would marry him. I wasn’t marrying Rome because he was cute. I was marrying him because that’s what my parents wanted. And even if I never actually knew them, I loved them.
“Julie? We have to get ready.” Rome said as if he’d been talking for a while. For all I knew, he had been. I was totally zoned out.
Rome then walked to my room, and I dumbly stumbled behind him. Me and my grace…
“I get to choose your outfit.” Rome mentioned for the second time tonight. I rolled my eyes at his amused tone, and watched in amazement as Rome confidently walked into my closet, skimming through the many dressed he’d bought me. Well, I’d used his credit card and bought them myself.
He chose a champagne colored dressed that was slinky and gorgeous in a simple way and clung to my body rather perfectly. I grabbed it, giving him a snooty look before shooing him out.
After I changed, I pondered about Rome’s good taste. How did he know this was the dress that flattered me the most, and made me smile? That was my favorite color? That I bought on my sixteenth birthday, and thanked myself, pretending it was him who gave it to me?
“Wow…” Rome smiled at the dress, nodding. “I knew it’d look great on you.” I blushed stupidly, looking down at the dress to try and hide it. “I’m going to run home and change, and I’ll be back here shortly to pick you up. I’ll be back soon.” Rome smiled, came closer, kissed me quickly on the cheek without thinking, and walked out of my room.
This was normal of him. To kiss me on the cheek without thinking about how it affected me. I’d been kissed on the cheek, but never kissed. I had many mental arguments with myself, saying Rome knew I’d never been kissed, and he did things like kiss me on the cheek to annoy me. Well it most definitely worked.
While I waited for Rome to return to take us to dinner, I fixed my hair and put on make up. It took up more time than it took for Rome to change and return, so when he knocked on my door, I told him to wait in the living room. My shoe choice was a simple three inch silver stiletto heel.
As I walked down the hall to the living room, my heartbeat got faster. What if I looked ugly? What if I looked pretty? Would Rome kiss me?
I felt like a skank, wishing anyone would kiss me. I mean, was I a dog?
“Julie… you look gorgeous.” Even though Rome seemed rather surprised, I blushed. Maybe I would get a kiss tonight.