So, the 2007 Brava Novella Contest has been announced, with a theme of “Reunited Lovers”. Well, me being me, I had to obsess about that for a while. Then I asked, on the Brava forum if that meant they had to have technically had sex the first time around. Yes, I know. I’m an idiot.
The response, straight from Kate Duffy:
The word is “lovers.” Reunited lovers.
But if you want to handle it some other way, be my guest.
Use your imagination, go crazy. Maybe they played Romeo and Juliet in a play.
(Can I just say that one of the things I like about Miss Duffy is her ability to just answer a question. I was involved for too long with people who didn’t dare give a straight answer without running it through 20 committees and a legal department and even then it was ambiguous at best.) So then there was talk of mocking, leading me to believe perhaps reuniting Romeo and Juliet wasnâ€™t the most viable of premises. Oh darn.
Three things happened: 1) Iâ€™m working on two synopses simultaneously which is horribly cruel and unusual punishment for any writer, leaving me open to procrastination. 2) A line of dialogue popped into my head and stuck there, growing like a virus. And 3) My muse, Ezmerelda, is a total slut who will write anything.
And so, for the sake of very mild amusement (in the name of procrastination), click on the â€œread moreâ€ link to read my scene reuniting two people who were never lovers, but played them on the high school stageâ€¦
It took her a few seconds to notice him in the busy squad room, but his staring finally got her attention. Did she know him? Not somebody sheâ€™d dated because a woman wouldnâ€™t forget drowning in eyes that blue.
Eyes that blueâ€¦and that Puckish smile. Holy shit, it was Antonio Orsino, from high school. Heâ€™d played Romeo to her Juliet in the English Lit production senior year.
â€œHey, Celia,â€ he said when she gave him a wave. â€œWherefore have thou been?â€
So he remembered, too. â€œIâ€™ve been around. What are you doing here?â€
â€œI work here, in the Detective division. Toil, toil, and all that. What about you?â€
She never would have pegged Orsino for a future cop. Other than an inexplicable interest in trying out for the role of Romeo, heâ€™d been an unrepentant bad boy. â€œIâ€™m filing a complaint. My contractor got pissed I back-charged him for a windowpane he smashed with his halogen work lamp and made some threats.â€
â€œSo you want us to investigate what light through yonder window breaks?â€
Celia laughed and Antonio joined in. Had his laugh been that sexy back in high school? The whole package always had beenâ€”and still was. She remembered wishing back then they could jack Shakespeareâ€™s play up to an R rating, but now R just might not be hot enough.
â€œCome on back,â€ he said, â€œand Iâ€™ll take your report. So no husband or boyfriend to kick his ass for you?â€
She followed him back to his office, trying to keep her eyes off how good his ass looked in his jeans. Who knew detectives looked like that? â€œNo,â€ she answered, not sure keeping her eyes on his back was any better. God, his shoulders had gotten broad in the last ten years. â€œHow â€˜bout you?â€
â€œNope. The course of true love never ran that smooth for me.â€ He closed his office door, then rummaged amidst the piles on his desk. When he found the paper he was looking for, he looked up at her. â€œYou know, there should have been more kissing in Romeo and Juliet.â€
Though his words echoed her own thoughts, Celia had absolutely no clue how to respond to that. â€œSuch a tragedy.â€
â€œI only tried out for the lead role because everybody knew youâ€™d be Juliet.â€ He gestured for her to have a seat in a folding chair. â€œI thought there would be more kissing. One of the most famous couples ever, and the guy never made first base? I didn’t even get to cop a feel. I still have a thing for velvet, though.â€
The metal chair was cold, but not nearly cold enough to cool the little flame he was fanning. If sheâ€™d known Antonio felt that way at the time, her Juliet would have let Romeo round second, steal third and make a break for home. â€œMy mother warned me about you Montague types.â€
â€œThe lady doth protest too much,â€ he quoted, making her smile. â€œAnd you thought I wasnâ€™t paying attention in rehearsals.â€
â€œThatâ€™s from Hamlet.â€
â€œHuh. Well, I guess that explains the C+ that shrew, Mrs. Minola, gave me.â€ He skimmed over the form. â€œAnyway, how â€˜bout we skip all these boxes and I just kick the contractorâ€™s ass for you?â€
â€œHow about you take me to dinner and we worry about the contractor tomorrow?â€
He grinned, a naughty grin that made Celia want to get naked with him on a midsummerâ€™s night. Or any night. Hell, morning was good, too.
â€œWe can relive the old stage glory,â€ he said, â€œonly with a little less star-crossed and a lot more kissing.â€
â€œAnd give old Romeo an Extreme Makeover: Home Run Edition?â€
â€œMmmmâ€¦a play by any other name should feel so sweet.â€
(Well, there’s an hour of my life I’ll never get back. But at the least the light breaking through yonder window is out of my head. Back to synopsizing. *weeps*)