Three Years Later
“Alright, class” Ms. Smith clapped her hands to get her students’ attention, “I know you’re excited for the new semester. Reading and analyzing books, writing reports, pop quizzes… loads of fun!”
Her students began groaning as she had expected. She cackled, “But! We’ll be kicking it off with a bang! So, new project!”
On the first day of their Junior Year, the class erupted in surprise and in complaints. They had expected to do nothing. Normally, teachers would brief about classroom rules and about the coming lessons but after that, they let the students have some free time until the end of the class. Now, here they were about to receive their first project.
Safe to say, no one looked forward to it.
“Oh, shush!” Ms. Smith stomped down any protests and wrote on the board, “I do know a thing or two about teenage classic favorites. So far, the most popular would have to be Romeo and Juliet”
At that, a few girls squealed and gushed about the movie adaptation with Leonardo DiCaprio. Meanwhile, their male counterparts mocked them for being so cheesy.
“You guys are just jealous because you would never be as good as Leo.” A girl scoffed in their direction.
“Who even wants to be like Leo? Didn’t you see how long it took before he won an Oscar?” The boy next to her snickered, “Besides, Romeo? Really? The guy was such a nerd, speaking in poems and crap.”
“Oh, don’t give me that.” Ms. Smith interrupted, “Don’t act like you haven’t used this classic in any way to pick up girls.”
The boy merely rolled his eyes in answer.
“It’s not like that, Ms. Smith. Who needs Romeo when I’m around?” Max, a basketball jock, announced to the room. A few girls laughed and some boys threw paper balls at him. The guy deserved some credit for that confidence but he deserved a knock in the brain more like any other playboy.
“Ah, Max, maybe you could use that to good use in this assignment”
“Oh, yeah? Am I gonna get an A?”
“Sure, if you can pull off playing Juliet”
Ms. Smith ignored him and addressed the whole class, “Now, here’s the project. All of you will be divided into two pairs, one boy and one girl. Each pair would choose a part to role play. Each scene must consist of one female character and one that is male. It doesn’t necessarily have to be Romeo and Juliet unless you have the guts because the catch? The catch is cross-dressing. That’s right. The female would be the male character and the male will be the female one. You have a week to prepare. Props are allowed but make-up and costume is a must. Don’t be cowards, gentleman, this play was created during a time when only men performed in the theater. If you’re a real man, you’d be able to pull this off.”
The class became absolutely silent.
“Wait” The boy from earlier voiced, “I’m gonna be Juliet?”
“And I’m gonna be Romeo?” The girl next to him said.
“Any questions?” Their teacher provoked. Ms. Smith’s smile was friendly but no one spoke up. She had a way with people that made it almost impossible to reject her.
“Sorry for being late, Ms. Smith. Am I in trouble?”
All eyes turned towards the door. Standing with his hair disheveled and a backpack on one shoulder was Logan Parker. Ms. Smith stared at him with calculating eyes. Logan tried to smile but it was only half-achieved.
“Well, well, Logan. I do not tolerate tardiness but there will be no detention for you”
“Whoo, thank you, Ms. Smith” Logan’s sighed in relief.
“But?” The word came out with a hint of fear. Logan could hardly look into his teacher’s eyes, noticing that Ms. Smith had a hidden agenda.
“But you can’t go unpunished. Instead, I’m taking your lateness as your consent to volunteer”
“We have an assignment and it calls for a pair composed of one boy and one girl. Unfortunately, our class’ female and male students aren’t equal. Two boys would have to be one pair.”
The class erupted in laughter, considering the egos men—even blossoming young adults—had plus the idea of two guys forced to act intimate was just plain comical. If Logan was lucky enough, he’d be paired up with a friend and it would be easier for him.
“Ah, gee, Ms. Smith. Do I have to?” Logan scratched the back of his head, his ears tinted pink. He didn’t dare to look at the rest of the class.
“Yes, Logan, but don’t worry. I’ll pick out the best partner for you so don’t be too upset”
“Ooo—pick me, Ms. Smith. Logan and I could do some loving” Max naturally offered. He turned in his seat to fake making out with himself which the back of the class. Logan felt terrified even if he could only see Max’ back.
“Ew, that’s disgusting, Max” Lauren, the girl behind him, said. She sat in the wild zone, Max’s kissy face only inches away from her.
He dropped it immediately and smirked, “So you try to say, baby, but I know you want some”
Lauren gripped the pen in her pocket and aimed it at him, “Want me to skin you alive, pervert?”
“I like to see you try, snookums”
Before anything else could happen, Ms. Smith ceased the fire, “Alright, that’s enough and, no, Max. I already had someone in my mind for Logan’s partner”
Max, bless his drama queen attitude, clutched his wounded heart and asked, “Who?”
Ms. Smith’s eyes scanned the room. She looked at each student. She watched each face she passed on turned pale. It amused her to see how nervous the boys pretended not to be until she made eye contact but... only one student met her interest and that student sat at the very back.
She had only heard rumors before but since she taught juniors, she hadn’t had the chance to meet the student until today.
Cropped black hair hid under a gray hoodie with a pair of gray eyes barely visible beneath the bangs. The student had a small face and fair skin and had worn clothes two sizes bigger. Out of all the students, Ms. Smith looked at, this one didn’t avoid her stare.
They didn’t say anything but they both knew the truth. In actuality, the class had an equal number of male and female students in the class. One of the male students just happened to be a cross-dresser...
... and that was Alex.
Dread filled Alex’s mind. There was no way..., she began to think. When Ms. Smith smiled, Alex’s veins turned into ice, “Alex, you’ll be Logan’s partner.”