I’m so excited to share the prologue to my upcoming book, Queen of First Dates, which will be released under my new name, Jaimie Case. Enjoy!
“Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?” The words tripped off of my lips in a scared fashion and I looked over at Betsy to see her reaction.
“Not bad.” She said, giving me an eager smile. “You’re a really good actress, Jules.”
“No, I’m not.” I shook my head and sunk onto the floor and leaned back against her bedroom door. “I don’t know how I got this part…” My voice trailed off as I thought about the part that most worried me.
“What’s wrong?” Betsy asked me, her curly blonde hair framing her face in a totally cute way. A way that made me so jealous because my straight dark brown hair never hung around my face in a cute way.
“Nothing.” I mumbled and looked down.
“Don’t lie to me, Jules.” She said, jumping off of her bed and walking towards me. “Tell me what’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” I shook my head as she sat next to me on the ground, her red cheerleading skirt riding up slightly.
“Julia Gilbert, tell me what’s wrong.”
“I don’t know how to kiss.” I whined as I waited for her to laugh at me, but
“Can we get some ice cream first?” I offered her a quick smile and she just laughed.
“Come on then.” She jumped up and grabbed my arm and pulled me up. “I don’t know what flavors we have though. Grandma Elsie did the shopping this week because my folks are in England on a second honeymoon and she just doesn’t get the need for good ice cream flavors.”
“That’s okay, any ice cream is okay.” I laughed as we walked out of her bedroom and headed towards the kitchen. I could hear loud rock music blasting from her brother Nolan’s room as we walked by it. “How’s Nolan?” I asked her lightly, as if I didn’t care that he hadn’t joined us at dinner because he’d had to stay late for a baseball match.
“As annoying as ever.” She rolled her eyes as we made it to the kitchen and she opened the freezer. “You would think he’s the only guy that’s ever been a Senior in High School, with a Freshman sister. I’m ruining his life and all that good stuff. Okay, we have two different types to choose from.” She held up two tubs of ice cream. One was plain vanilla and the other was plain strawberry.
“No, Dulce de leche?” I asked hopefully and she laughed as she shook her head.
“Vanilla or Strawberry?” She asked me as she cocked her head to the side. “I think we have some whipped cream though, so we can add some of that to the top.”
“Whipped cream?” Nolan’s voice sounded from behind me and I turned around and gave him a huge grin.
“Hi nerd.” He said as he walked past me and rubbed the top of my head. “How you doing?”
“Not bad.” I said, my heart racing as I stared at him. He was still in his Canyon Beach Varsity Baseball team uniform and he looked hotter than ever. His dark hair was close to the top of his head and his blue eyes sparkled as he studied my face. “I’m staying over tonight. Betsy is helping me learn lines.”
“Jules got the lead in the school play.” Betsy said proudly. “She’s awesome.”
“I’m not awesome.” I shook my head. “I think I impressed Mr. Duncan because I knew all the lines but that’s only because I love Shakespeare. I’ve read all of his plays.”
“That’s because you and Stella are book nerds.” Betsy laughed as she mentioned my younger cousin. It was true of course. Betsy and I both loved books and had spent many sleepovers discussing our favorite authors and novels. However, just because I loved Shakespeare’s writing didn’t mean I was a good actress. I knew Betsy was trying to be nice because she was my best friend, but I knew my acting ability was mediocre at best.
“So you’re Juliet?” Nolan’s eyes lit up as he looked me up and down. “I can see that.”
“Thank you.” I said, even though what he said couldn’t really be construed as a compliment.
“I’ll be at the shows taking photos of the cast at the opening.” Nolan grinned before he turned around and opened the fridge and pulled out a carton of milk. Nolan was the school photographer. He took photos for the school paper and the Yearbook and everybody could see how talented he was. He wanted to attend photography school, but his parents had said no way, so instead he was going to school in New York City, at NYU, in fact and I was positive I was going to miss him more than anything. Nolan was the perfect guy. He was handsome, sporty and artistic. It was a pity that he had no idea that I existed. Well, he knew I existed as Betsy’s best friend. But he didn’t see me as a woman. Unfortunately.
“That’s so cool.” I said to his back as Betsy started scooping out ice cream. “Will you stay to watch the play?”
“Of course.” He turned around and gave me a boyish grin. “I wouldn’t want to miss that.”
“If Jules can work up the courage to kiss Romeo that is.” Betsy laughed and I could feel my face growing red.
“Betsy!” I chided her for letting out my secret.
“Oh, oops.” She wrinkled her nose and then rolled her eyes. “It’s only Nolan and he doesn’t care.”
“Care about what?” Nolan asked curiously, his eyes staring at me with interest.
“Jules has to kiss Romeo and she’s nervous because she’s never kissed before and…” Her voice trailed off as I gave her a death-stare. “Maybe I do have a big mouth…” She shook her head and I watched as her blonde curls bounced as sighed slightly. “Sorry, Jules, I suck.”
“You’ve never kissed a guy before?” Nolan walked over to me and stopped directly in front of me. “That surprises me.” He said, his green eyes twinkling. I stared into his eyes, unable to breathe. He was just so handsome. It always surprised me that Nolan had green eyes and Betsy had blue. I thought as siblings they’d have the same color eyes and hair, but they totally different. You wouldn’t even know they were siblings from afar, but from up close you could see they had the same nose, the same teeth, and the same widespread smile that made you feel like a million dollars when it was directed at you.
“Don’t tease her, Nolan. We all can’t be horndogs like you.” Betsy teased her brother and I blushed at her use of the word horndog.
“Do you kiss a lot of girls then?” I asked him innocently, not sure I wanted to know the answer.
“I do.” He grinned. “I’m a bit of a kissing expert. Do you need some help?” He winked at me and I could feel my face heating up. I couldn’t believe he’d asked me that. Did he mean it or was he just teasing me?
“What would your girlfriend say?” I asked wondering if he was dating Britney, the head cheerleader on Betsy’s squad.
“I don’t have a girlfriend. Why tie myself down?” He laughed as he opened the cupboard and took out a bag of Oreo’s. “Anyway, I’m going back to playing X-box, have a good night nerds.”
“You’re a nerd.” Betsy said but she laughed when he rubbed the top of her head. “Brothers.” She said as she rolled her eyes and handed me a bowl of ice cream. “Ready to go back and continue practicing?”
“Let’s do it.” I said as I grabbed a spoon and followed her down the corridor and back to her room. I could hear her mumbling something as we walked, but all I could think about was what Nolan had said when he’d offered me some kissing help. Did he like me then? Did he really want to kiss me? What did it mean? My brain was about to blow up with questions, but I didn’t want to ask Betsy what she thought. For some reason, I was embarrassed for her to find out I had a small crush on her brother.
Betsy had fallen into an ice cream coma about an hour after we’d gotten back to her room and was snoring on her bed. I looked down at the script in my hands and bit down on my lower lip. Everything seemed so much more insurmountable when Betsy wasn’t awake to boost my spirits. I picked up the ice cream bowls and walked them to the kitchen before going to brush my teeth. I placed them in the sink to rinse out before placing them in the dishwasher.
“Oh deary, there’s no need to do the dishes.” Betsy’s grandma Elsie rubbed my shoulder as she came up behind me with a slight yawn.
“Oh, it’s okay. I don’t want them to dry out.” I said with a small smile.
“You’re a good girl.” She said, her blue eyes shining tenderly at me. “How have you been, Julia?”
“Good, Grandma Elsie. I’m just learning my lines for the school play.” I made a face. “It’s hard.”
“Ooh, I do remember loving acting as a little girl. I was a natural.” She turned the kettle on and smiled to herself. “Though, if I’m honest I was a better dancer than an actress. I just loved the Vienna Waltz.”
“Oh yeah?” I asked. I had no idea what the Vienna Waltz was.
“And the Tango.” She smiled. “Betsy’s grandad was a good dancer. We took ballroom classes when we were younger.”
“Oh I didn’t know that.” I smiled at her. “That’s cool.”
“So let me hear some of your lines then, dear.”
“Oh?” I made a face. “I don’t know many off the top of my heart.”
“Well let me hear what you know.” She gave me a loving smile and so I cleared my throat and started to recite the lines I could remember.
“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.” I stopped then because I could feel someone behind me. I turned around slowly and lo and behold, there stood Nolan.
“Lady, by yonder blessed moon I vow,
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops—” He said with a grin and I heard Grandma Elsie clapping.
“That’s not the next line.” I said as I gazed at him in a daze. He could quote Shakespeare?
“Well you would know better than me.” He said. “You sounded good, nerd.”
“Oh, thank you.” I smiled at him, grateful in the knowledge that I hadn’t known that he’d been listening when I’d started.
“Now you two are so sweet.” Grandma Elsie said and I looked over at her. She was still beaming and nodding her head slightly. “Well, I’m off to bed now. I’ll see you both in the morning. Blueberry pancakes sound good?”
“Yummy.” I nodded.
“They sound good, but I’m sure Betsy’s going to add some weird ingredient to them.” Nolan groaned. “She always experiments with food.”
“Your sister is a good cook, Nolan.” Grandma Elsie said. “You’re lucky she loves to cook for you so much.”
“I’m so lucky.” He rolled his eyes, but I knew that he appreciated her food. “Night gran.” There was silence for a few seconds as Grandma Elsie headed off to bed and then he cleared his throat. “So.” He said and he was grinning.
“So what?” I asked him confused.
“You’re up late.”
“Was just returning the bowls.”
“Uh huh.” He had a knowing look on his face. “So want to take me up on my offer?”
“What offer?” I said and then my jaw dropped as he realized what he was saying. “You want to kiss me?”
“You’re a little kid, I don’t want to kiss you. I want to teach you how not to mess up your scene.”
“I’m not a little kid. We’re both in High School.”
“You’re a freshman and I’m a senior.” He gave me a haughty look. “In my eyes, you’re a kid.”
“Because you’re so old and mature.”
“Feisty.” He said with a little laugh as he stepped closer to me. “Your eyes spark little brown daggers at me when you’re angry.”
“I’m not angry.” I said and blushed as he grabbed my hand. “What are you doing?” I swallowed hard.
“Holding your hand.” He smiled and then he leaned forward, his eyes staring into mine the whole time and he kissed me, his lips pressed against mine for a few seconds before I started kissing him back. I could see his eyes widen as I pushed my tongue into his mouth. In all the movies I’d seen, a kiss didn’t mean anything if there wasn’t tongue involved. Then he reached his hand to the back of my head and cradled my neck as he kissed me back and I melted against him. My whole body was on fire and I could feel butterflies in my stomach. When he moved back a minute later, I felt like I was flying. I smiled at him shyly, wondering if he had felt the same thing I had. His expression was confused as he gazed at me, his eyes on my lips for a few seconds.
“Wow.” I said with a bright smile. “Just wow.” He looked down at my pajamas and I groaned inwardly as I realized I was wearing the Frozen pajamas my parents had gotten me for Christmas because they still thought I was a little kid.
“Not bad. Keep practicing, nerd.” And then he rubbed the top of my head. “Seeya.” He then headed back to his room as I continued standing there in the middle of the corridor watching after him, feeling embarrassed. It was only when he got to his bedroom door, that he turned around and looked at me again. He stared at me for a few seconds and I wondered what he was thinking. He gave me a small wave and entered his room. I wanted to run to his room and beg him to kiss me again, but I didn’t. Instead I just stood there and rubbed my lips softly. I’d just had my first ever kiss and it had been amazing. Absolutely amazing. Nolan Montgomery was the most popular guy at Canyon Beach High School and my best friend’s brother and I didn’t know if it would ever happen again. I only hoped that in some universe he would somehow turn into my Prince Charming because I needed to experience another kiss like that again in my life.
What did you think of the teaser? Leave a comment below and let me know! 🙂
Don’t forget to join my mailing list here!