The Show Must Go On by: Tessa

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Author’s note: This one has some excerpts from “Romeo & Juliet”. I’ve tried not to put in anything that might be confusing, but if there’s something you don’t understand, I got two words for you: Cliffs Notes

Disclaimer: I don’t anything except the story, and I probably don’t need to tell you guys I don’t own “Romeo & Juliet” It was written by the greatest playwright of all time, William Shakespeare. Duh. (Well, I own a copy of it. Although I seem to have misplaced it.)


“Joey, shouldn’t you be practicing your lines for the play?” Tatum asked.

“What lines?” Joey replied “I’m Lady Montague. I have, like, what? Two lines?”

“Good point.” Tatum agreed.

“Ok, people gather ‘round.” said Miss Defoe, the drama teacher “Now listen, opening night is in two days, and I just wanted to say how proud I am of all of you. And I also want to remind you that things may go wrong, someone may forget a line, that’s ok, that’s theater. The show must go on. I don’t want to see any of you crying or panicking or falling apart. That’s my job.”

Tatum raised her hand “If we see someone we know in the audience, is it ok to wave?”

* * * *

“Tatum, we want details!” Abby insisted in the bookstore later that afternoon.

“What details?” Tatum giggled “I already told you everything about last night.”

“You know, this hasn’t been easy for me.” Abby told her “You guys have been screwing around for three weeks, and I haven’t told a single person yet.”

“Well I do appreciate it.” Tatum said.

“No one else knows, right?” Andie asked.

“I haven’t told anyone.” Tatum replied “And Pacey had better be keeping his mouth shut.”

“Why? You sure didn’t.” Abby pointed out.

“Yeah, I know.” Tatum said “But when girls do it, it’s just bonding or something. When guys do it, it’s bragging.”

* * * *

“So, know one else knows, right?” Dawson said.

Pacey nodded “Unless Tatum’s been telling all her friends, which she better not be doing.”

“Why?” Jack asked “You did.”

“Yeah.” Pacey replied “But when guys do it, it’s male bonding. When girls do it, it’s gossip.”

* * * *

“Can you guys believe opening night is two days away?” Joey said the next day, “I’ve started to have those nightmares where I go out on stage and I’m in my underwear.”

“You know what I can’t believe?” Abby said “These rumors about Helen Brown being pregnant!”

“I can believe it.” Tatum added “She’s a total tramp.”

“Yeah, what is it with girls like that?” Joey asked “What happened to morals? It seems like no one waits any more.”

“Well, I think that f you know you’ve found the right person, you should only wait as long as you want.” Andie said.

“Yeah, definitely.” Abby and Jen agreed.

Joey rolled her eyes “Excuse me? What? Am I suddenly the only virgin in this room? Tatum, back me up here.”

Tatum looked like a deer caught in the headlights “Well, I think that, uh, people should only wait as long as they want to.”

“What, you mean like you?” Jack asked, snickering.

“Jack! Shut up!” Andie hissed.

Joey looked surprised “Is that so, Tatum? Gee, I had no idea.” she stood up “Pacey, could I talk to you in the other room? Like, *now*?” she dragged Pacey out of the room.

“She’s gonna kill him, isn’t she?” Abby said.

“Probably.” Andie replied.

Jack shrugged “If anything happens to him, I’m going after Tatum.”

Tatum looked disgusted. Andie slapped her brother on the arm “Shut up, Jackass!”

* * * *

“What is your problem, Joey?” Pacey asked.

“My problem? *My* problem?” Joey repeated “Excuse me? Who’s the one who has been screwing their friend’s younger sister and lying about it?”

“Well, gee, I kind of hope it’s not you.” Pacey replied “And wait just a minute! When have I ever lied to you about this? What is your definition of lying because it’s obviously different from mine?”

“Ok, that’s enough of that, Bill Clinton!” Joey snapped.

“Now if you had asked me if I’d slept with Tatum and I said no, then I would be lying like a rug.” Pacey said “And why are you upset about this? Tatum and I are in love.”

Joey scoffed “Love? She’s too young to know what love is.”

Pacey rolled his eyes “She’s only four months younger than you! What is the matter with you? You’re her sister. You’re supposed to be her friend. She you should be glad that she’s happy.”

“Get out.” Joey muttered.

“You know what? Fine.” Pacey said “God, what is up your ass?”

“I said get out.” Joey repeated “And stay the hell away from my sister!"

Pacey opened his mouth to say something, but then thought the better of it and walked out.

* * * *

“It’s kind of quiet.” Andie observed “I wonder what they’re doing.”

“Maybe they’ve killed each other.” Abby suggested.

“Maybe they’re making out.” Jack chuckled.

Andie slapped him again “Jack, Go home.”

“But I thought we were going to practice our lines.” Jack said.

“So we’ll practice all the scenes without Lord Montague, ok?” Andie told him “Now vamoose!”

Joey stormed into the room “Ok, everyone out!”

“Where’s Pacey?” Tatum demanded.

“He left.” Joey replied “Now everyone else is leaving.”

“What?” Dawson asked “Jo, I thought we were going to-”

“Not tonight!” Joey interrupted “I’ll call you later, now go!”

As soon as everyone was gone, Tatum turned around and headed for the stairs “I don’t know what your problem is, but whatever it is, I don’t want to hear it right now!”

“Well that’s too fucking bad!” Joey told her “You’re going to hear it.”

Tatum turned around “No! You know what? *You* are going to hear *me*! Why can’t you just back off and let me live my life? I never had a mother, but that doesn’t mean I need you nagging me and being overprotective of me! I don’t need you acting like my mother. I need you to act like my sister, and my friend. And I don’t know why you’re so pissed about me and Pacey, but what we do together is our business. And if you even think about telling Bessie, just forget about ever speaking to me again.” she turned around and walked up the stairs.

* * * *

“Ok, let’s try the death scene one more time before lunch.” Dawson said the next day “Jo, where are Pacey and Tatum?”

“I don’t know.” Joey sighed “Neither of them are speaking to me.”

“Dawson,” Tatum said as she and Pacey walked over “since we’re not talking to Joey, could you please ask her if I could borrow her script for this scene?”

Dawson rolled his eyes “Joey, could Tatum borrow your script?”

“Dawson, you can tell my dear sister that I will only lend her my script if she promises not to lose it the way she lost hers.” Joey replied coldly.

“You gonna be careful with that script, Tate?” Dawson asked.

“Pacey, tell Dawson I only need the script for ten minutes.” Tatum muttered.

“Why don’t you tell him? It’s Joey you’re not speaking to, not him.”

“Dawson, thank Pacey for pointing that out.” Tatum said.

“You’re not not talking to Pacey, either.” Dawson reminded her.

“Joey, tell Dawson to shut the hell up.” Tatum sighed.

“She’s the one you’re not talking to!” Dawson yelled.

Tatum threw her hands in the air and screamed as she stormed off.

Pacey glared at Joey “Now she what you’ve done?” he followed after Tatum “Tate? Come on, wait up!”

Tatum turned around “What is wrong with her?”

“Actually, I’ve been thinking about that.” Pacey said, putting his arms around her “Maybe she has a right to be upset. I mean, you guys are supposed to be friends. Friends tell each other these things. You told Andie and Abby, I told Dawson and Jack. Maybe it’s not that Joey’s angry because we slept together. Maybe it’s because she feels left out of the loop.”

Tatum shook her head “I can’t believe I’m hearing this. You’re taking *her* side?”

“Who said anything about sides?” Pacey asked “I’m just saying that maybe we-”

“You know what?” Tatum interrupted “I don’t want to hear it! Just leave me alone!”

“What has been up with you lately?” Pacey said “Is it stress, or are you mad at me?”

“Maybe I just want you to leave me alone!” Tatum screamed “Just get out of my face, I can’t even look at you right now!” she stormed off.

“Tatum,” Dawson called after her as she headed for the door “where are you going? We need to work on the last scene.”

“Oh, fuck the damn play!” Tatum yelled over her shoulder.

* * * *

Joey screamed as she stormed into the house and slammed the door behind her. “Go ahead!” she said to Bessie “Ask me how my day was!”

Bessie took a step back “Ok, before you say anything, just remember: I’m unarmed.”

Joey sat down at the table and buried her face in her hands “The play is going to hell. It’s completely ruined.”

“Oh, Joey, stop being so melodramatic. It couldn’t possibly be that bad.” Bessie said.

“No?” Joey asked “Our Romeo and our Juliet aren’t speaking to each other, I’m not speaking to our Romeo, and and neither of them are speaking to me!”

“Ok,” Bessie said “you know what? You went left, and I went right, so why don’t I just meet up with you at the end of the conversation.”

“That’s very funny.” Joey sighed “I just don’t know what happened, one day everything’s fine, and the next...ugh. Talk about this play being a tragedy.”

“I’m sure everything will be just fine.” Bessie told her.

“Well.” Joey said as she stood up “I do think I know a way I could at least start to make things better.”

* * * *

“Tatum? Can I come in?” Joey called, knocking on the door.

“Go away!” Came the choked reply.

Joey opened the door and walked in. Tatum was sprawled out face down on the bed, sobbing into her pillow.

“Did I or did I not tell you to go away?” Tatum asked, sitting up.

“Not until we talk about this.” Joey insisted as she sat down on the bed.

“What’s to talk about?” Tatum snapped “How about just how much you’ve ruined my life?”

“Would it help if I apologized for being such a bitch?” Joey asked.

“It might.” Tatum admitted grudgingly.

“I’m really sorry.” Joey said.

Tatum sighed and wiped her eyes “Ok, that did help a little.”

“I mean that, too.” Joey said “I guess that the whole reason I got really upset about you and Pacey sleeping together was because you guys are two of my best friends. I mean, I guess I just freaked out because I thought that you guys were just going to go off together and leave me and Dawson alone to keep Jen and Abby from strangling each other.”

“They probably would if we left them alone long enough, huh?” Tatum agreed, laughing a little.

“But enough about my rampant insecurities.” Joey said “What happened with you and Pacey this afternoon?”

Tatum sighed “We had a fight. I don’t even know why I got so angry at him. I’ve just been so stressed lately with the play and everything. I guess I just took it out on him.”

“Then maybe you should talk to him.” Joey suggested as she stood up “Listen, I’m really glad we had this chat, but I gotta get to bed. You should get some rest, too.”

Tatum nodded “Yeah. Thanks, Jo.”

A few minutes after Joey left, the phone rang. Tatum picked it up “Hello?”

“Tatum? It’s Andie.”

“Oh, hey, Andie.” Tatum said “What’s up?”

“I just wanted to make sure you’re ok.” Andie replied.

Tatum stood up and walked over to shut her window “Oh, well, you know, I’m-”

“But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?” a voice from outside interrupted “It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!”

Tatum looked out the window “Oh my God!” she giggled quietly “Andie, you are not going to believe what Pacey is doing!”

“Ok, listen, whatever cornball stunt he’s pulling to win your forgiveness, just give in to it!” Andie told her “If you don’t, he’s going to keep it up until you snap. Trust me, I know.”

“I’m gonna have to call you back.” Tatum said. She hung up the phone and walked over to the window.

“Arise, fair sun,” Pacey continued “and kill the envious moon.”

Tatum struggled to hold back her laughter as she recited her lines “Ay, me. Oh, 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 take thee at thy word.” Pacey said softly.

Tatum pretended to be surprised “What man art thou, that so stumblest upon my counsel?”

“My name, I know not how to tell thee, dear saint. My name is hateful to myself, for it is an enemy to thee. Had I it written, I would tear the word.”

Tatum felt herself getting more and more into the character “How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore? The orchard walls are high, and hard to climb. And the place death, considering who thou art, if any of my kinsmen find thee here.”

“With love’s light wings did I o’er-perch these walls.” Pacey replied “For stony limits cannot hold love out, and what love can do, and....uh, line?”

Tatum laughed “And what dares love attempt!” she rolled her eyes and continued “If they do see thee, they will murder thee.”

“Uh, listen.” Pacey said “You mind if I come in? I don’t think your neighbors really appreciate this little performance.”

“Oh, who cares?” Tatum giggled “You’re doing such a wonderful job!”

“Hey, shut up, kid!” someone yelled.

“Oh, blow it out your ass!” Tatum hollered. She smiled at Pacey “Maybe you should go. Bessie will kill us if she catches you here.”

“Screw her.” Pacey said “I had to see you. I wanted to apologize.”

“No, I’m the one who should apologize.” Tatum insisted “I never should have taken out all that stress on you. I’m a screw up.”

“No way.” Pacey told her “I’m the screw up.”

“You know what?” Tatum said “We’re both screw ups. We deserve each other.”

Pacey nodded “I couldn’t agree more.”

“Tatum?” Bessie called from her room “Is everything ok?”

“Uh, yeah, everything’s fine, Bessie.” Tatum replied.

“Shouldn’t you get to bed?”

“Uh, by and by-I mean, yeah, I’m going to bed right now. Good night!” Tatum called. She turned back to the window “You better go.”

“Ok. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Pacey said “I love you.”

“I love you too.” Tatum whispered “A thousand times good night!”

“A thousand times the worst to want thy light.” Pacey replied.

Tatum smiled “Good night, good night. Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say good night till it be morrow.”

* * * *

“So,” Abby said the following evening as she helped Tatum with her hair “everything’s ok now?”

Tatum nodded “Yeah. And just in time, too.”

Pacey walked in “Hey, gorgeous. Just wanted to wish you luck, not that you’ll need it.”

Tatum laughed “Flattery will get you nowhere.”

“Damn straight.” Abby agreed “With you, it’ll get him everywhere. Could you hold still please?”

“Oh, and by the way,” Pacey added “I also wanted to thank you girls for making sure we got modern costumes. Because let me tell you, there’s no way I would go out on that stage in tights.”

“Don’t worry about that.” Abby said “We knew from the beginning there would be no tights. Most of the guys in this place would look better in tights than the girls.”

Dawson came rushing in “Abby, what the hell re you doing? We need you out there now, you’re the narrator, the curtains going up, get going!”

“Dawson!” Abby moaned as she walked past him “Chill!”

“I will not chill until I see you out on that stage!” Dawson told her.

Abby rolled her eyes “You are so...oh forget it! I’m not going to argue with you, it’s a lost cause!” She walked down the small hallway and onto the stage. She took a deep breath, stepped into the spotlight, and began to recite her line; “Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona, where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, a pair of star- cross’d lovers take their life. Whose misadventured piteous overthrows, doth with their death bury their parents’ strife. The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love, and the continuance of their parents’ rage -which, but their childrens’ end naught could remove- is now he two hours’ traffic of our stage. The which if you with patient ears attend, what here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.”

Abby then joined one of the two crowds of extras gathered on each side of the stage. On one side Andie and Kevin Lane stood at the front of the crowd. On the other side, Joey and Jack were in front.

“Down with the Capulets!” one group yelled.

“Down with the Montagues!” cried the other group.

Kevin took a step forward, and Andie moved to hold him back. Kevin shook her off “What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho!”

“A crutch, a crutch!” Andie cried “Why call you for a sword?”

“My sword, I say! Old Montague is come, and flourishes his blade in spite of me!”

Jack stepped forward, with Joey clinging to his arm “Thou villain Capulet!” he turned to Joey “Hold me not! Let me go!

“Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe!” Joey said firmly.

Behind the curtains, Tatum and Pacey joined several classmates to watch “So far, so good.” Tatum whispered.

* * * *

Dawson stumbled to the center of the stage and collapsed “I am hurt. A plague o’er both your houses!” he moaned “I am sped. Is he gone, and hath nothing?”

“Courage, man, the hurt cannot be much.” Pacey said.

“Ay, ay, ‘tis a scratch.” Dawson replied “But ‘tis enough. Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man. Why, the devil, came you between us? I was hurt under your arm.”

Pacey looked at the floor “I thought it all for the best.”

“I am spent. They have made worms’ meat of me! A plague o’er both your houses!” Dawson cried.

* * * *

Backstage, Tatum looked around frantically for her sister “Joey?” she whispered “Joey?!”

“I’m right here, what’s up?” Joey whispered.

“Jen twisted her ankle in the dressing room, and she can’t go back on, but she’s supposed to be in the next scene!” Tatum replied.

Joey moaned “Ok, Tate, I need you to find someone who can play the nurse in the next scene. I have to be on stage in, like, one minute.”

“But, Jo-”

“No buts!” Joey interrupted “Just find anyone!”

Tatum looked around “Abby! Abby, we need someone to play the nurse in the next scene. Do you know the lines?”

Abby nodded “Every word.”

“Whew.” Tatum sighed “Ok, that’s one crisis narrowly averted. Just go find Jen, she’s in the dressing room, get the costume from her and for God’s sake, hurry!”

* * * *

“Dawson, would you relax?” Joey whispered “Everything is going fine!”

“You don’t know that.” Dawson replied “It’s the death scene, Joey, the one scene they managed to flub almost every single time we went through it.”

“They’ll be fine, now shh!” Joey hissed.

On the stage, Pacey approached the alter that Tatum was lying on slowly. He knelt beside her and touched her face gently.

“Oh, my love! My wife!” he whispered “Death that hath suckt the honey of thy breath hath no power yet upon they beauty. Thou art not conquer’d. Beauty’s ensign yet is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks. Ah, dear Juliet, why art thou yet so fair? Shall I believe that unsubstantial death is amorous, and that the lean abhorred monster keeps thee here in the dark to be his paramour? For fear of that, I still will stay with thee, and never again from this palace of dim night depart again.” he paused and wiped a tear from his eye “Here, oh, here will I set up my everlasting rest, and shake the yoke of inauspicious stars from this world weary flesh! Eyes, look your last! Arms, take your last embrace! And lips, oh you the doors to breath, seal with a righteous kiss.” he bent down and kissed Tatum on the lips “A dateless bargain to engrossing death. Here’s to my love! Oh true apothecary! Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.” Pacey collapsed beside Tatum. After a moment of eerie silence, Tatum sat up.

“Where is my lord, where is my Romeo?” Tatum said “Oh, what’s here? A cup closed in my true love’s hands? Poison, i see, hath been his timeless end? Oh, churl. Drunk all, and left no friendly drop to help me after? I shall kiss thy lips. Haply some poison yet doth hang on them, to make me die with a restorative!” she kissed Pacey on the lips and sobbed softly “Thy lips are warm” she wept bitterly for a moment “I’ll be brief. Oh happy dagger! This is thy sheath!” she stabbed herself with the fake dagger “There rust, and let me die!” she collapsed on Pacey and lay silent.

Chris Wolfe entered with several extras “Bring forth these enemies Capulet and Montague!” he demanded.

Andie and Kevin entered from on side of the stage “The people in the street cry ‘Romeo’ and some ‘Juliet’” Andie said breathlessly “And all run, with open outcry, toward our monument!”

“What should it be, that they so shriek abroad?” Kevin asked “Oh heaven! Oh wife, look how our daughter bleeds! This dagger hath mistaken, for, lo, his house is empty on the back of Montague, and it mis-sheathed in my daughter’s bosom!”

“Oh me!” Andie wailed “This sight of death is as a bell, that warns my old age to a sepulchre!”

From the other side of the stage, Jack and Joey entered.

“Come, Montague.” Chris said “For thou art early up, to see thy son and heir more early down!”

“Alas, my liege!” Joey moaned “Grief of my son’s exile doth stop my breath! What further woe conspires against mine age?”

“Look,” Chris replied “and thou shalt see.”

“Oh thou untaught!” Jack cried, falling to his knees “What manner is in this, to press before thy father to a grave?”

“See what a scourge is laid upon your hate?” Chris said “That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love! And I, for winking at your discords too, have lost a brace of kinsmen. All are punish’d!”

Kevin stepped forward, extending his hand to Jack “Oh brother Montague, give me your hand. This is my daughter’s jointure, for no more can I demand.”

The lights dimmed so only one spotlight was left. The spotlight focused on Abby, who stepped forward from the crowd to the front of the stage.

“A glooming peace this morning with it brings.” Abby said “The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head. Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things. Some shall be pardoned and some punish’d. For never was a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”

The audience burst into wild applause as the cast came forward to take a bow.

As Tatum and Pacey came to the front of the stage, the applause increased.

Smiling, they bowed and waved to the audience. Then they turned to each other and kissed passionately.

* * * *

Part 17 coming soon!

© Copyright 1999 Femme Fatale (FFFF) productions

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