AN: I doubt that Shakespeare cares, but the original idea, story, blah, blah is all his. I'd like to take this time to say that I've always HATED the story of Romeo and Juliet, but this idea wouldn't let me go until I wrote it down. I'm looking for a Beta, right now all mistakes are mine. Please point them out if you spot them! And give me some feedback on what you think of the idea itself. I may or may not continue the story based on the feedback I get, so if you like it, say so!
The storytellers say that as I saw my love lay dying, poisoned so he would not live without me, I took my dagger and, with one final kiss, ended my own life that I could be with him eternally. What the gossips do not know, or perhaps choose not to tell, is the cowardice that made me hesitate, weak with fear, until Paris burst in—stabbed and bleeding, but alive—not a moment too late, but a moment too soon. Romeo was gone, and I was left with only Paris to cling to.
We were married the next day.
That morning, my mother and nurse attempted to comfort me. They told me that over time I would come to love Paris, that my disquiet over the last few days had been merely a passing fancy. Only my nurse knew of my love for Romeo, and she daren't tell. So my lady mother and my dear sweet nurse spoke of Paris in such glowing terms; of his gentleness, his wit, his riches and good looks, that I nearly believed them, until I saw him that afternoon in the cathedral. I couldn't help comparing his muddy brown eyes to Romeo's clear green, Paris' mousy, thinning hair with his thick black curls. No matter which quality I considered, Paris was always wanting.
A short walk, a few words, and my life was traded away like a prize cow's, to the highest bidder. Still, as Paris kissed me, I promised myself to no longer pine for what was gone forever. I locked my love away in my heart, and vowed to be content with the life left to me.
Nine months later, I was even happy when my daughter was born—not an heir as Paris had hoped, but still satisfactory, he said. He left her to me, and my old nurse, now nursemaid to my daughter, brought her in to me to be named for the christening later. As she pulled back the blanket covering my daughter's face, I was awestruck at her beauty. I pulled my daughter into my arms, and she stirred and opened her eyes. Nearly a year of suppressed emotion left me in one long, strangled cry.
My daughter had his eyes. Not Paris', but Romeo's. This was his child, from that one night we had together. No one else knew of that union, but Nurse guessed. I had sworn her to secrecy many months before, and we vowed to never speak of it again. My child would be raised as a Capulet, with no mention of Montagues. That would be no trouble; all my kin still hated them for Romeo's murder of Tybalt, and for more betrayals besides. Even Paris had joined in persecution of the family he believed had wronged his in-laws. With the death of their son and heir, they seemed to be ruined. My daughter—his daughter—deserved a better fate than that.
I saw her future, in the space of a moment. As my baby, now infinitely more precious, settled down in my arms and slept, I met the eyes of my old nurse. She knew, I could tell, and with that glance, reaffirmed her silence. I looked down to my daughter, noticing anew the shape of her face, the darkness of her wispy hair, all echoes of Romeo's features.
I named her Rosalind, for my favorite cousin Rosaline who had taken a vow of chastity. I hoped my daughter would follow her path, and avoid the heartbreak I had encountered.