"Antonio Fernandez Carriedo!" your friend announced, drawing out the rolled r.
No surprise there. Of course Antonio had gotten the role! He was totally the type, romantic and good-looking and milda perfect Romeo. You'd been friends for years now. And, like every other girl at your school, you were crushing on him.
But lately you'd been wondering if it was more than just a crush. The butterflies you felt in your stomach when Antonio smiled had turned lead with longing, weighing your stomach down. You wanted so desperately to touch him sometimes, run your fingers through his hair or down his back, that you had to stop yourself from reaching out to him. The jealousy you felt when other girls so much as looked at him was staggering. You'd nearly torn apart two girls just a week ago when you heard them avidly discussing his butt in the school library...even though you wholeheartedly agreed with everything they'd said. And, just a month or so ago, when you heard he'd been involved in a car accident, you'd left your homework and family at nine thirty to rush to the hospital to see if he was okay, fighting tears the whole drive. Fortunately he was unharmed, sitting with one of his not-so-lucky friends (Gilbert had only suffered mild whiplash, though). But you still cried and clung to him, horrified that you could have lost him.
Sure, he was your friend. But you felt fairly certain that you were in love with Antonio Fernandez Carriedo.
The excitement and relief you felt at the prospect of playing Juliet with him as Romeo only increased your assurance.
As you walked to class that day, you heard someone call your name. Turning, you saw Antonio approaching, grinning. "Congratulations, Juliet!" he beamed.
You smiled back. "And the same to you, Romeo," you said with a curtsy. As you stood, you added, "It's almost a shame, really."
He cocked his head, shifting his books under his arm. "Why's that?" he asked curiously.
"You'll have to hide your beautiful Spanish accent," you said.
He laughed, and you nearly melted at the melodic sound. "Why thank you, señorita, I'm flattered."
You giggled in reply. "It's true. Ask anyone."
What you really wanted him to say was, "But I don't care what they think...I want to know what you think." But he only smiled.
That week rehearsals started. If there had been any doubt about why Antonio had received the role, it all died when he delivered his lines. His whole face reflected the loving kindness of the moment, and the barest trace of his Spanish accent lingered in his words, adding a touch of spice to his lines. Everyone else picked things up well, lines flowing easily. And you? You did your best to match Antonio's feigned devotion as you sighed and blushed, a perfect Juliet.
Everything came together piece by piece. You watched the sets rise and the costumes stitch together. You laughed at Antonio in his various ruffly, poofy outfits, while he just grinned sheepishly. Of course, he then sent you into the dressing room to try on your own costume. "I need something to laugh at," he told you, shutting the door tightly behind you.
You took a deep breath, then turned around, prepared for whatever period-correct monstrosity you had to wear.
And sucked in another breath.
Your dress, held up by the mother volunteering as seamstress, was anything but a monstrosity. It was substantial, but not overdone. The seamstress smiled. "Ready to put it on?" You nodded, trying not to look too eager, and had quickly stripped to your underclothes and zipped up the dress.
On, it was even more beautiful. The [color] fabric gathered at your middle, creating a waistline, and the loose sleeves grazed your fingertips. Its square neckline was trimmed with gold, and the shoulders even had a slight puff. You turned and twisted in the mirror, admiring the dress from all angles as you gushed your thanks to the smiling mom.
Antonio knocked on the door. "No hiding, ________," he called. "Come out here."
Stepping carefully in the full-length skirt, you opened the door and stepped out, ready for Antonio's laughter.
But it never came. His eyes grew wide at the sight of you in the dress. You couldn't help blushing as his eyes swept up and down. "Whoa...eso es hermoso..." His eyes met your [e/c] ones. "Eres hermosa."
Your blush darkened. You had a pretty good idea of what that meant.
After practice that day, you walked out with Antonio, talking and laughing about the show. "Vash's face is hilarious when he has to be furious!" you said.
"And Katyusha's when she realizes you're 'dead'," Antonio laughed, striding along beside you.
You took a breath, deciding you might as well slip in a touch of what you thought of him. "Really, Antonio, you're so good at playing Romeo," you said. To your surprise, he suddenly looked bashful.
"Thanks," he said, kicking a rock and watching as it skittered away.
"The way you can...create chemistry like that is really fantastic," you continued. Before you could add more, Antonio said something quietly.
"What?" you asked. Despite your insistence that he wasn't going to say anything revolutionary, your heartbeat gained speed. What was he about to say?
"I'm not creating it. It's already there."
Your heart stopped. Before you could say another word, Antonio lifted your face and pressed his lips to yours.
He tasted like tomatoes.
Antonio leaned away. His green eyes held the same softness they did when he was Romeo. "Te amo, ________," he murmured, gently thumbing your hand in his.
You felt a blush creeping up your cheeks in the wake of his Spanish. Oh man, that was...attractive.
"T-te amo, Antonio," you managed.