Title: THIS ISN’T SHAKESPEARE
Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 55,000
Seventeen-year-old Stacey wants to believe that Calvin is “the one.” She wants it so much she’s willing to overlook the fact that they don’t share the same beliefs and values. If only she could have a happily ever after with Cal and become a professional ballet dancer, then her life would be perfect. But the ballet company is far away from Cal and it’s already a struggle to be apart. So she prays for a sign from God to show her which path to take: love or dance. When she gets what she believes to be the sign, she makes her choice final by sleeping with Cal—a lifetime commitment in her mind. “…what’s done, is done.” Shakespeare always has a quote that speaks her heart. No regrets.
Then a friend challenges her with the idea that she might be in love with love and not with Cal at all. It can’t be true because she already slept with him. Breaking up now would contradict everything she believes. But staying with him might be the biggest mistake of her life.
We’re sitting on the hood of my Taurus using the windshield as a backrest and gazing at the endless summer sky. Calvin leaves in the morning for a college four hours away and I’ll start my senior year of high school next week. He won’t be home for three weeks. Maybe it wouldn’t seem so awful if we hadn’t spent every spare minute together since we made up in July.
“Make a wish,” I say when the first star of the night blinks on. I wish for him to have a great first week at college and turn my eyes to the pale crescent moon.
I can’t think about that though. I can’t even imagine it. My head rests against his chest as I sit between his legs. My body rises and falls as he breathes and I lose myself in the perfectness of being here in this moment, feeling his heat flood my back. A moment that tastes of forever and happily ever after.
Then I ruin it.
“How can you look at that sky and not believe in God?”
He’s twirling a strand of my long brown hair around his finger. “Stace…” There’s a tiny warning there. He won’t be dragged into that conversation.
The reminder starts to crimp the edges of the perfectness.
Before the frown has time to fully form on my face, he presses his cheek to mine and hums the old Journey song that was playing when we met. A peace offering.