Sam Puckett secretly liked Shakespeare.
Whenever they were reading it in English class, she looked like she was sleeping, but really the plays and sonnets were coming alive in her brain. It was a secret not really characteristic of her.
She was at Carly's apartment, notably without Carly, who was actually at school, where Sam would have been, if the teacher hadn't been boring her. She snuck out, and trying to avoid the vexation of her mother, let herself in to Carly's place. She called out to see if anyone was home and heard Spencer's acknowledging yell from his bedroom. He did wonder why Sam wasn't at school, but he dismissed the thought, glad to at least not be spending the afternoon in an empty apartment again.
Sam grabbed a soda out of the fridge, shut the door and started to walk upstairs. She really was just walking by, but the bookshelf in the hall just next to Spencer's door got her attention first. She looked closer and found Macbeth, her possible favorite Hamlet, and hidden in the back, what looked suspiciously like Romeo and Juliet. She couldn't just pass it by. She had to ask.
She stayed in the hallway and yelled into his room. "Hey Spencer? What are these books out here?"
"Oh, you know, books I like, books I haven't read, books that are my favorite, books I hate. Really it's just a bunch of books."
"Which are the ones that are your favorites?"
"Ahh... fifth shelf."
Sam ran her finger along the side of the bookcase, whispering the number each time it passed a ledge. One, two, three, four, five. Shakespeare.
She grabbed the three plays and stuck her head inside the door. She raised an eyebrow. "So you're into these?"
"Ah, Shakespeare. The Bard himself." He stretched out his arm. "Here, let me see those," he told Sam. She brought the books to him. Spencer motioned for her to sit next to him so she climbed up and crossed her legs on top of his comforter. He put the laptop he was using to the side and started flipping through Macbeth. "You know this one's cursed?" he asked her.
"Yeah, so I hear," Sam smiled and answered. "Sometimes I think about acting it out before a math test so the teacher will croak and we won't have to take it.
"I wouldn't be surprised if it worked," he responded, taking the stuff pretty seriously. "One time I was watching it on a date with a girl, and I tried to kiss her, but I accidentally..." he trailed off.
Sam waited for the rest of the sentence. "You accidentally what?"
Spencer sat the book on top of his laptop and picked up Hamlet. "This one's my favorite," he said.
"Yeah. I mean, he goes a little insane, but when he starts out, he's just misunderstood."
"I do kind of like the insane type." She looked up at Spencer and winked. "Since when are you the cute bookish type?" she asked.
"Well since when are you?"
"Hey! I don't want that rumor getting around."
Spencer tossed the book to the side and told her, "Then it can be our secret."
"Well apparently you're the romantic type as well," Sam teased him. "Romeo and Juliet?"
"It's a classic!" he said. "And, well... maybe I am a concealed romantic."
Sam raised her eyebrow again. "Prove it."
"What?" He almost choked.
"I don't believe you," she said. "Act out a scene from this with me and then maybe I will."
Spencer thought it was a good idea, since the secret was out anyway. "Which one?"
"Which one do you think?" Sam asked in a tone that accused him of lying about being romantic. "The balcony scene."
"I don't know. I thought the death scene would be fun."
Sam rolled her eyes. "Only you would put the words 'death' and 'fun' together. Let's go in the living room and do this scene, the balcony scene, right." She bounced off the bed and grabbed his hand, leading him to the bottom of the stairs, then let go before climbing up.
"If you go up there we can't both read from the book," he said.
"I don't need it." Spencer flipped through the pages, impressed. "Act 2, scene 2," she called out.
Spencer found the page, opened his book wide and stood up straight. "But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun."
"Ay me!" Sam yelled.
"What?" Spencer said annoyed. "You just skipped my whole monologue!"
"Yeah, I didn't really want to do that part. Too much of you talking."
He rolled his eyes. "Okay. Say your line again."
Spencer put one foot up on the first stair step. "She speaks! O, speak again, bright angel! For thou art as glorious to this night..." He spoke the words and thought about the person he was saying them to, happy he was acting with such a beautiful Juliet. He finished his line and looked up, looking into Sam's eyes as she said her lines from memory.
"O, Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name," she said, still looking into his eyes, taking a step towards him, "Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I'll no longer be a Capulet."
Spencer looked down again, and took his foot off the step when he realized he was still supposed to be hidden from Juliet. ""Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?"
"Um," Sam almost stuttered. "We skipped your monologue, so we can skip mine."
"Okay..." Spencer flipped a page. "I take thee at thy word..." he spoke the words but he began to notice that what he was doing was less like acting and more like real feelings. As Romeo and Juliet entered conversation, he walked closer to Sam until they met, standing inches away from each other, both on the second to last step. They told each other their lines, with each word getting softer, until near the end of the scene they were both almost at a whisper. And in the play when it was time for Romeo to leave, Sam was sure she was as disappointed as Juliet was as she spoke the words.
"Good night, good night! As sweet repose and rest come to thy heart as that within my breast!"
Spencer was sure an actor had never said the next line so genuinely. "O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?"
"What satisfaction can thou have tonight?" Sam responded.
Spencer looked up from the page and again into Sam's eyes. "The exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine."
Sam knew exactly what words came next, but standing so close to Spencer with locked eyes, she just slowly breathed and didn't say anything.
Spencer looked down at the page. "And now it says you kiss me."
"What? No it doesn't"
His face was totally serious. "Yeah, yeah it does, right here," he said, pointing while keeping the pages facing him.
"Spencer, Romeo and Juliet don't kiss in this scene."
"Uh, I think they do."
"Okay, I don't know if you've noticed, but I pretty much know this play inside out, and-"
He cut her off. "Do you wanna be romantic or not?"
And with that, Sam stopped arguing.
Spencer took one more breath, slowly, in and out, then in the lowest voice possible repeated his last line. "The exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine." He bent down, put his hand on Sam's cheek, and put his lips on hers.
The kiss ended but Sam kept her eyes closed. "That's our little secret too, right? And it's never going to happen again?"
"Nope," Spencer said. "Tonight's when the Montague and the Capulet finally get together." And they resumed the unscripted Rome and Juliet kiss.