Read The Juliet Spell Online

Authors: Douglas Rees

Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Fantasy & Magic, #Performing Arts, #Dance

The Juliet Spell

BOOK: The Juliet Spell
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I set everything out on the kitchen table and said the spell. “Powers that be, harken to me. Send me success in the thing I confess.To the universe proffering, I make this offering. I want to be Juliet. Please, please, please, please, please. Make me Juliet.”

And I lit the match.

There was a quiet whoosh and orange flames licked up all over my little volcano.The red cube burned. It was pretty.Very theatrical.

But it was casting too much light.And for some reason, the light was coming from over my head.

I jerked my head up and saw a bright white glow hanging about three feet over the table, right over my flame.

“Aaah?” I said. Or something like that.

And with the bright light came a sound like a low bass note that turned into a sort of rumbling thrill, something like an earthquake.

Everyone in California knows what you’re supposed to do when a quake hits.You stand in a doorway.And that’s what I did, even though this was no quake and I knew it. I clutched the door frame with both hands while the white light suddenly filled the whole kitchen, so bright I couldn’t see anything.There was a bang, and the light was gone.

My baking dish was shattered. It lay in two exact halves on the floor. Smoke curled up from each one of them, but there was no crust.They were clean as a pair of very clean whistles.

But that was not the main thing I noticed. No, the main thing I noticed was the tall young man standing on the table in the middle of my glass round. He was about my age, and for some reason he was dressed in tights and boots and a big poofy shirt like he was supposed to be in a play like, say, Romeo and Juliet.

He even looked a little like Shakespeare.

Long hair, a bit of a beard…

I screamed.

Also by Douglas Rees

from Harlequin TEEN

Majix: Notes from a Serious Teen Witch


If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”


ISBN-13: 978-0-373-21039-8


Recycling programs THE JULIET SPELL for this product may not exist in your area.

Copyright © 2011 by Douglas Rees

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher, Harlequin Enterprises Limited, 225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada M3B 3K9.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

This edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

For questions and comments about the quality of this book please contact us at [email protected]

® and TM are trademarks of the publisher. Trademarks indicated with ® are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Canadian Trade Marks Office and in other countries.

Printed in U.S.A.

To Carol Wolf


Chapter One

“Miranda Hoberman.”

That was me. My turn. My chance. My audition. Now. With all the cool I could muster, which felt like exactly none, I left my seat and climbed up onto the stage.

Down in the front row, Mr. Gillinger glared at me, looked at my audition sheet and glared at me again.

“You’re reading for Juliet?” he drawled in his deep voice.

“Yes,” I gulped.

“Very well, go ahead.”

Bobby Ruspoli grinned, sizing me up. He was already, and everyone knew it. It just hadn’t been announced, yet. Mr. Gillinger would post his name along with the rest of the cast on the theater office door tomorrow or the next day. But we all knew he was Romeo before the play was ever announced, the way people in drama know who’s to get what, when the fix is in. So with that weight off his mind, handsome Bobby was checking out every girl who might be his Juliet.

As if I wasn’t nervous enough. As if I hadn’t been this part every day since it had been announced that we were doing Romeo and Juliet. As if I hadn’t spent the last week lying awake nights worrying and thinking about how to do this moment better, I had to have Bobby checking out my boobs and butt. As if—

“Begin,” Mr. Gillinger commanded.

Bobby shrugged, inhaled, the way he’d seen real actors do in some of the acting DVDs we’d watched in class, and announced:

“He jests at scars that never felt a wound.”

Then he looked up, like I was hanging from one of the Fresnel lamps that were glaring down on us, instead of right in front of him, shaking.

“But soft! What light is this that through yonder win.

dow breaks?

It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,

Who is already sick and pale with grief

That thou her maid art far more fair than she.…”

He rattled off the next nineteen lines of the speech exactly the way he had done them all afternoon, racing down to:

“O that I were a glove upon thy hand, that I might touch

that cheek.”

My turn. My line: “Ay me!”

I know, it sounds lame. But I said it like I wanted to die. Because that’s how Juliet feels right then. But had it been too much?

Bobby went on, “She speaks.” Out in the auditorium, someone giggled. Bobby continued.

“Oh, speak again, bright angel, for thou art As glorious to this night, being o’er my head, As is a winged messenger of heaven Unto the white upturned wond’ring eyes Of mortals that fall back to gaze on him, When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds And sails upon the bosom of the air.”

Me again. My first real line in the scene. The one every.body knows—usually wrong: “O Romeo, Romeo! Where.fore art thou Romeo?”

You probably thought Juliet was asking where Romeo is, right? Wrong. She has no idea he’s anywhere around. He’s just been thrown out of the party her father was giving. He’s gone. She’s asking why the guy’s name has to be Romeo, and the next lines make that clear.

“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.”

“Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?” Bobby asked the invisible balcony where Juliet was supposed to be


“’Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What’s a Montague?—”

“Thank you,” Mr. Gillinger said. Like he was saying “Thank you for shutting up now, please.”

“Auh?” I said. I was kind of surprised. That was an aw.fully short audition.

“Let’s see. Next. Vivian Brandstedt. Also Juliet, right?” Mr. Gillinger said.

I got down off the stage. I was done. I could leave. But I wanted to see what the rest of my competition looked like.

I went to the far back of the auditorium and moved into a corner seat.

Vivian Brandstedt slithered up onstage and began to play Juliet like she’d been the hottest babe in Verona. It was funny, except that Vivian really was a hot babe, so nobody thought it was funny but me. Certainly Bobby didn’t. He fluffed his lines twice. Of course, it was hard for him to talk with his tongue hanging out of his mouth like that.

Mr. Gillinger let Vivian go on all the way to the end of the scene. He even read the nurse’s offstage lines to keep the thing going to the point where Juliet says,

“Good night, good night. Parting is such sweet sorrow

That I shall say good night till it be morrow.”

And Vivian wasn’t bad. She just read it like she was Romeo down her panties and her room key.

Why, why, why hadn’t Mr. Gillinger let me read the whole scene? Was I that bad, or was I so good that he didn’t need to see any more of me? Or was Juliet pre-cast like

There was a noise down at the end of the row and a shape came toward me. Drew Jenkins.

He sat down beside me and whispered, “You were good. You get it.”

Then he got up and went back down to the front row where he’d been.

I was absurdly grateful. Drew Jenkins, for reasons no.body could understand, was total BF best friends with Bobby Ruspoli, and if Drew liked me, maybe Bobby did, too. And maybe Bobby would say so to Mr. Gillinger and maybe— or maybe Drew had inside information. Maybe “You get it” meant “I just saw Gillinger’s notes. You’ve got the part,” not just “You get who Juliet is in this scene.” Or maybe Drew had some kind of weird hold over Mr. Gillinger and was to make him cast me—Drew was kind of mysterious for a sixteen-year-old geek. He knew all kinds of things. Maybe he had something on Gillinger, like an old arrest for his own ego.

I forced myself to stop thinking like that. I didn’t want the part because Bobby Ruspoli liked me, or even because Mr. Gillinger did (which would be amazing, since Mr. Gillinger thought he should be directing on Broadway and didn’t like anybody). I wanted to play Juliet because I was the best ac.tor who read for it, not because some guy hanging out with some guy thought I was good.

Which is not to say I wouldn’t have taken the part under any conditions. Play Juliet in Swahili? I’ll learn it.

But if I wasn’t going to think about whether Drew’s opin.ion counted with Bobby and Bobby’s opinion counted with Mr. Gillinger, or whatever, what was I going to think about? I was going to think about why I hadn’t been allowed to fin.ish the scene. Of course.

Had I said “Ay me,” too loudly, or not loudly enough? Had I sounded convincing when I said “Wherefore art thou Romeo?” Did I even sound like I knew what it meant? Yes, I had. No, I hadn’t. Yes, I—

He likes me, he likes me not. He likes me, he likes me not. That

was what it came down to, and I couldn’t stop obsessing even though I knew it was all out of my hands.

Two more girls read for Juliet that afternoon. They were both awful. I’m not just saying that. They were awful. One read like she was reciting a recipe: “Take one part Romeo and one part Juliet and stir until done. Then separate and—”

And the other was total emo.


(Which is not the line, right?)

“DENY thy father and REFUSE thy NAME;

Or if thou wilt NOT, be but sworn my LOVE,


When she was done, and the stage was awash in her saliva, Mr. Gillinger stood up. He looked over the fifty or so of us sitting there, people from his drama classes, people from out.side the high school who’d come down to read in the middle of the day—a half-hundred theater junkies, hanging on his every word.

He seemed to be enjoying it. I always thought this mo.ment, when his opinion was the only thing that counted to a roomful of people, was the real reason Gillinger had de.cided to teach drama. Or maybe it was just the only reason he had left, after so many years of doing it. Anyway, I’d been watching him direct for a couple of years now and something about the set of his once-handsome head always said “God, I’m good.” He didn’t even need to open his mouth to be ar.rogant.

Gillinger sighed. “I’m not seeing what I want here. I’m not seeing what I need to see at all. Some of you know I didn’t want to do this play. It was forced on me by the administra.tion when they wouldn’t approve my plans to produce The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus with the nude scenes. They said they’d permit the production only if everyone stayed fully clothed. I said the play had been successfully produced with the roles of Helen of Troy, and the Devil Woman, unclothed any number of times since the 1960s. They said there were children—meaning you high-school students— involved in the play. I said that I had no intention of casting Helen as anything but what she was, a woman of twenty-three to thirty-three. And as for the Devil Woman, she could be any age. She is, after all, a demon. Demons are ageless.

“They said that didn’t matter, everyone would have to stay dressed. I asked if they really thought that the children to whom they alluded had never seen a naked human body, when they could call up images involving every possible con.figuration of lust on the electronic goodies that they carried in their pockets, and study them. They said that didn’t mat.ter, either, as long as they didn’t do it on school grounds. I said I wouldn’t do the play any other way. They said, in that case, I would have to do something else, and I said, in that case, you’ll have to decide what it is. Right now. What play, in your vast wisdom and deep knowledge of classical the.ater will you permit to be staged at this school? They said the first thing that came into their heads, and that thing was Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare’s most overrated piece of hackwork. Probably, it is the only work of Shakespeare’s that they have ever heard of.”

BOOK: The Juliet Spell
3.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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