I was not planning to be an actor.

Changing my mind was Arthur Miller's fault. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. Back in the first part of my senior year, when I was still the lighting technician.

It wasn't as if they needed me at rehearsal. It wasn't even that they wanted me at rehearsal - a Mexican-American kid in a straight-WASP school. But Mrs. Sandoval, who taught English and Drama, encouraged me to go, to get the feel for the play, and so I was there, as regularly as the actors.

"Death of a Salesman" became so much second nature to me that when Charles Linton O'Brien III (he always insisted on all three names), who played Willy Loman, failed to show, I offered to read his part. Mrs. Sandoval agreed, and in fact I didn't have to read the words; I knew them better than O'Brien did.

Mrs. Sandoval claimed to be thrilled with my performance. She expressed disappointment that I hadn't auditioned for a part beforehand; now the show was cast she wouldn't change anything, but she insisted that I audition for the next school play.

O'Brien was less thrilled. He had heard that I was a better Willy than him, and wasn't happy. With a few friends, he demonstrated his unhappiness at being upstaged by the "token Mexican", as he put it, and I was fortunate not to suffer any broken bones.

If he had been trying to discourage me, though, he failed. I ran the lighting for "Death of a Salesman", watching Charles Linton O'Brien, and realizing that Mrs. Sandoval had been right, I could do that.

So I made a point of auditioning for the next play. It was to be "Romeo and Juliet", and would be the final play of our senior year.

My grades had been consistently good, and I was planning to study physics in college. Perhaps there I'd meet a nice Hispanic girl, because it was a truism that these high-school Anglo women didn't want me within fifty feet of them. Hell, they didn't want me at the same school. But other than having few friends (fortunately, not all of the boys were as bigoted or self-important as Charles Linton), I still enjoyed school, and the play would, I thought, be a wonderful way to end my time there.

So I read for the part of Romeo. As did all of the boys who were interested in the play. Mrs. Sandoval said it made it easier to compare if we all read the same lines. Charles Linton O'Brien was the obvious shoe-in for the part, and his girlfriend Sandra Douglas was the perfect Juliet. I figured if they cast me it would be as one of the attendants.

When the cast list was posted on the noticeboard, I was stunned. Figuratively at the time, and literally later, when Charles Linton and his cronies took me out back to explain the error. Again, no broken bones. God, there were some things about school I wouldn't miss.

I have to admit, I almost quit. But this was my one chance to do something worthwhile at school, something besides acing tests and getting good grades. Something that was for me, now, not for my future. So I resigned myself to more beatings, and became the first Latino to star in a school play.

Which, it turned out, caused more problems than even Mrs. Sandoval had anticipated, but once she had made up her mind, nothing was going to make her back down. Not even the delegation, led by the principal's friend, and patron of the arts, Charles Linton O'Brien II.

I wasn't privy to the discussion, but I heard some of the details from reliable sources.

"How can you consider casting a Mexican as Romeo? He's completely wrong for the part."

"And your son looks more Italian than Julio?" countered Mrs. Sandoval. Which is slightly unfair, there are blond, blue-eyed Italians, but her point was good, there was certainly nothing about my appearance that would preclude me from being cast as Romeo.

Another of O'Brien's party chimed in. It seems the O'Brien style of bullying, father and son, is always to have strength of numbers. "I'm dismayed that you would countenance a play about teenage sex in these times of immorality."

"I countenance it, Mr. Hamilton, exactly as I would countenance Macbeth, Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, or any other play of Shakespeare, whether or not it is currently in political vogue. As long as I am here, I will not limit these children's access to the most powerful dramas in theatre. My graduates will never have cause to look back on their time here and feel that they were not allowed to excel."


And so it was that the play went ahead, the school's only Latino senior playing opposite Sandra - Alexandra - Douglas, of the smoldering green eyes and long red curls. If ever there were an actress born, it was Sandra Douglas.

Charles Linton was in the play, of course, cast as Benvolio, and he was convincing as Romeo's - my - friend. On stage, at least. Off stage, it appears that he was biding his time.

Sandra was lovely, both on stage and off. Her model's looks and superb acting skills led me to imagine that she would be a complete snob. In fact, she was friendly and down-to-earth. Even towards me. I had become so used to high school girls looking down their noses at me that I didn't know how to respond when she treated me as a normal person. As an equal, in fact; she seemed to recognize in me a spirit similar to her own, and talked about her own ambitions to be an actress, expecting that I was also planning to make acting my future.

She was a little disconcerted to find that I had chosen science for my college path, but that did not dissuade her from being friendly towards me, and in fact she chided me occasionally for wasting my talent. Unfortunately, as pleasant as she was, we never spoke for long, as Charles Linton would interrupt and escort her away.

It wasn't until the first dress rehearsal that I realized that I was feeling more for Sandra Douglas than was called for as an actor. She was Juliet, and I, as Romeo, was wooing her... when I realized how out of place I was, the outcast, doubly rejected as a nerd and a Mexican, speaking words of love to this red-headed beauty. I immediately felt angry with myself for the reaction, because I am not embarrassed by my heritage, but standing among all of these Anglo insiders, I felt that they didn't want me being a part of this, and I started to flub my lines.

Charles Linton laughed at me, which hurt, and Sandra's face was sympathetic, which hurt even more. I stopped, and apologized to Mrs. Sandoval.

"Do you need a break?" she asked.

"No. No, I'm ready," I replied. I closed my eyes for a moment; when I opened them I was no longer Julio, I was Romeo, Italian noble, courting the lovely Juliet, whose eyes widened at the change, then smiled in recognition as I discovered the art of an actor.


Sandra Douglas wasn't the only one to see the change in me. Her boyfriend was suddenly threatened. Or perhaps he had been planning this all along, waiting until too close to opening night for me to recover. He and his friends took me out behind the school and started to beat me senseless.

I hate to think how badly things would have gone for me. They would not have stopped before breaking bones this time, I'm certain of that. But my savior arrived in the form of Juliet. Mainly Juliet; Sandra ran through the yard holding her skirts out of the way, but wearing tennis shoes.

"Get your hands off him, you idiot!" she yelled.

"Stay out of this, Sandy."

"No way. You let him go now, or I'm going straight to the principal. You think you'll be able to get into your fancy college with this on your record?"

"Sandra, it's the Mex. Who's gonna care?"

"Then tell me how you will explain what you did to me when I tried to pull you off him?"

Charles looked as confused as I felt. "We didn't do anything to you."

"Then what do you call this?" She grabbed her blouse and ripped it, exposing her nicely-filled-out halter.

"Oh, God, Sandy," exclaimed Charles.

"I'm outta here, man, she's crazy," said one of his friends, and the other left with him.

"You too," said Sandra, "or I swear, I'm reporting you for assault and attempted rape. By the time the papers and the police are through, it won't matter who they believe."

Charles Linton looked indecisive for a moment, then he swore and walked away. Sandra helped me to my feet, and walked me back to the school, her arm around me. Halfway back, I gently pushed her away. "I can manage. I think you need to use your hands to stay covered." I glanced involuntarily down at her breasts, quivering in the halter, and she colored and pulled her blouse together.

"You're right," she said. "Let's split up now, I'd hate for anyone to think you did this. I'll fix it tonight." She started walking away.


She turned.


She walked back to where I stood, gave me a quick kiss on the lips, then flushed and turned back to the school.

I dreamed of her breasts for days.


Opening night was a huge success. I was still in pain, and needed more makeup around the eyes to hide the blackening, but it did not affect my acting. At the curtain call, Sandra and I stood in the center of the line as we all held hands. She did not release mine when the curtain fell for the last time, but swung me around and kissed me hard, to whistles from the cast and black looks from Charles Linton O'Brien, though by then he must have known that his days as the boyfriend of Sandra Douglas were over.

And I dreamed of more than her breasts. I dreamed of soft lips, and just a touch of a tongue against mine.


Closing night, and the now-familiar curtain call. As we walked off the stage, I suddenly knew that it was over, and slumped back against the wall.

"What is it?" Sandra asked in concern.

"I just realized that we're done."

"There's still the party."

I knew that. I had been to the cast parties before, though as a lighting tech I had felt out of place. "That's not what I mean," I said. "The play. Everything we worked for. It's all gone now."

"This is your first final night, isn't it?" she asked, sympathetically. "It gets easier when you know you can do it again."

"But can you? The play will be different, the people will be different. I feel like there's a connection between all of us who have worked on this, and it's all going to go away."

"Yeah, that's true," she said. "That's why we have the big party. No, you'll never get the same feeling, but there will always be more, with different people, and a whole new set of connections to make."

I nodded, though I wasn't sure how much I really believed her.

"Did you feel connected to me?" she asked.

I nodded again. I couldn't look at her, I thought she'd see the tears in the corner of my eyes. "Yeah," I said. "Especially to you."

"Good," she said, brightly. "Then escort me to the party, Romeo." She took my hand and led me away.


As the leading actors, we were cheered when we entered the party room, and treated to hugs, kisses and handshakes from the rest of the cast, and even hugs from a misty-eyed Mrs. Sandoval. After a while, though, as the merriment faded, Sandra sat beside me and took my hand. She told me of all the plays she had been in, from junior high school until now, and how each one had seemed to let her down at the end... but that each new play recovered the feeling she'd had and improved on it. So in the end it was worthwhile.

I was only partly listening, so turned on just by the feel of her hand in mine that I couldn't concentrate. I was disappointed when she had to leave to change out of her costume, and took the opportunity to change back into my jeans and tee shirt. She returned in a peach blouse and short skirt, looking as stunning a twentieth-century girl as she had a fifteenth. She took my hand and led me outside, saying an emotion-filled goodbye to Mrs. Sandoval.

"I thought you said you were used to this," I said, as she wiped her eyes.

"Yeah, but this is the last play I'll be in here," she said huskily. "No more Mrs. Sandoval."

"No more you," I whispered, "that's my problem."

She looked into my eyes, still holding my hand. Then, "There could be," she said.

"Oh, I wish," I replied, and slipped my arms around her back. Her lips met mine. Moments later her hands snaked behind my head, holding me firmly to her as her tongue explored.

"God, I wish we could go somewhere," she said, as she pushed me away.

"Go somewhere?" I asked, confused.

"Yeah, you know... somewhere without parents or teachers. Or any other kids."

"Umm..." I began, "my mother works nights. There's no-one in our house."

"Really?" She looked a little scared, then, "Wait here," she said.

She returned a few minutes later. "I told my dad I was with a friend. I didn't know what time I'd be home. He's okay with that, as long as I tell him beforehand."

God, what was I getting into?

"Kiss me again," she said, "let me know this is worth the risk." When we broke for breath she said, "I'll be a few minutes behind you. I need to run an errand on the way."

I gave her my address, and we headed to our respective cars, my old reliable Honda, bought for my part-time job, and her new Camaro, no doubt a gift from Daddy.


True to her word, she arrived about five minutes behind me. She glanced around the house as I let her in. Definitely not what she was used to, but she made no disparaging remarks, and I didn't see any trace of disdain or pity in her expressive eyes. The place is small, but my mom and I work hard to keep it clean and comfortable.

We went to my room, and sat together on the bed. I was very self-conscious, out of the public eye, alone with this lovely girl. She had made it clear that she liked me, and I knew I liked her, but I had no idea what to do next. Sandra was the first girl at school to seem to be comfortable with me - though by the time of the play, most of the other actresses would joke with me, as though my background had ceased to matter when they realized I had some talent.

"Why don't you try out for an acting scholarship?" she asked. A slight reference, perhaps, to the difficulties I would have paying my way through college, but not one that was at all offensive.

"I'm studying physics."

"I know. But you could minor in drama. You shouldn't let it drop, Julio, you have a gift. And if you don't act again, you'll never know that opening night high, the camaraderie, the emotion..."

"It means a lot to you, doesn't it?" I asked.

She nodded. "It does to you, too. I can see it in you. You were magnificent tonight. You're a natural, Julio. The look in your eyes..."

I looked away from her. My cheeks felt hot. "That may not have been all acting."

My heart was in my throat as she took my hand. "Good," she said. "I hoped we'd get back to that."

"Can I get you a drink?" I said, starting to panic. "Coke? Tea?"

"Later," she said, pulling me close.


Red lips in that porcelain face, drawing me to taste. As my lips met hers, those eyes of green fire held mine, then slowly closed, as her tongue felt for mine, no longer needing any communication but that of the movement of our lips. She taught me the language of desire expressed in a kiss.

Her hands explored my back, while mine gripped her waist, feeling her smooth skin beneath the thin silk blouse. She pulled my tee shirt from my pants, and ran her hands over my bare back. Slowly teasing the blouse from her skirt, I stroked the skin at her waist, and as she pulled me down onto the bed, kicking off her shoes, I gently rubbed her lower back.

When I touched her bra strap, she tensed, and I moved my hands away. Oh, I wanted to feel the wonderful softness that I had glimpsed on the day she rescued me, but I would not press the issue. She relaxed and kissed me with greater intensity, making my erection painfully hard in my pants.

She pushed me onto my back, lying partly along me, her hands squeezing my ribs and my waist. Then she hooked her fingers through my waistband, gently scratching my hips, getting so close to my shaft, not quite touching... pulling back again, rolling onto her side dragging me to face her.

She put her hands down to my belt, popping the buckle and opening the front of my pants. God, she was going to... she stroked my shaft with her fingernail through my underwear, and a delicious, incredible pressure flowed from her fingertips into my cock. I gasped as the thrilling sensation wound its way straight into my brain, and I grabbed for her bra strap, and fumbled it open. She tensed again, but didn't stop touching me, and as I lifted the bra away from her, wrapping my hands around the firm mounds, she slipped her fingers inside my underwear and slowly scratched my shaft.

Her nipples hardened as I played with them. Her eyes were emerald gateways, passion glowing deep within. Still squeezing her breasts, I forced myself to break away from her lips. "You need to stop, or things are going to get messy."

With the fire in my belly, I wasn't even sure whether it was already too late, but she smiled wickedly, grabbed my shaft with her fingertips and rubbed. I groaned as I lost control, spurting into her hand. She kept playing with me, waves of exquisite contact, until I had to ask her to stop. Then she freed herself, ran to the bathroom for a towel, wiping her hand and my still-sensitive cock.


Lying alongside me, she took my hand and pressed it between her legs. I squeezed her pussy through her panties while those intense green eyes bored into mine. When I pulled my hand back and slid it back inside her underwear, she parted her legs slightly, then, her eyes still fixed to mine, she reached down and pulled off her underwear and hose.

I had no idea what I was doing, feeling around for the opening I knew had to be there, slowly finding a depression, dry skin, then moist as I felt my way further in. I watched her face for responses, seeing her eyes widen as I stroked and pressed against her. Still watching me, she unfastened her blouse, removing it with difficulty, then, pulling her bra straps down her arms she exposed those wonderful objects I had felt but wanted so to see.

I felt myself start to respond as I gazed at her beautiful breasts. Even paler than her light skin, with deep ruby nipples, they floated just before my face... I moved to take one in my mouth, sucking and gently chewing. She cradled my head in her arms, stroking my hair, letting me know that this felt good.

Well, it felt good to me, too.

Sliding my fingers around inside her, I felt her getting increasingly wet, and tensing herself around me. Her breathing was getting ragged. When I looked up, her eyes were still fastened to my face, but seemed somehow unfocused. Her light skin had taken on a pink hue, and her lips were parted. She was gasping gently, and as I slowed the movements of my fingers, pressing more firmly, she closed her eyes and sighed.

I found the small hard point that seemed to be bringing her the most intense feelings, and pressed against it. She gasped. "Ohhhh!" she said, quietly, "Oh, God." Then I felt her pushing against my hand, and accommodated her movement, pressing rhythmically.

Her face had a thin sheen of sweat. Her lips were parted in a sensuous expression, and I wanted them. I pushed myself higher, locking my lips to hers, and as I grabbed her breast with my free hand, she wrapped her arms around me, panting against me, our lips doing battle, holding my tongue in her teeth as she moved her face against mine.

I stroked her firmly with my fingers, and her whole body shuddered. She squealed without releasing my lips, gasping for breath through her nose, trying to devour me as I kept up her passion with my fingers against her.

Finally, shaking, she pushed me away, stripping off her skirt, and pointing at my jeans, indicating that I shouldn't be wearing them anymore. When I removed them, I was surprised at how hard my erection had become. I didn't think I would recover so quickly. I pulled off my tee shirt while she opened her purse.

"My errand," she said, unsteadily, as she pulled out a small brown paper bag. Inside was a box of condoms. "I hoped we'd need these."


Oh, God, I couldn't believe what was happening. From not having kissed a girl since puberty to making love to the prettiest seventeen-year-old in creation? Well, perhaps that was slight hyperbolae, but those beautiful long red tresses, dark red nipples and fine aureole, the slender body and firm, large breasts, I couldn't in a wet dream have imagined losing my virginity to such a vision of loveliness.

"You'll have to help me out, I don't really know what I'm doing," I said, quietly.

"You think I do?" she asked, softly.

Oh, Jesus.

She unwrapped a condom, studied it for a moment before unrolling it over my now-hard shaft.

"I'd assumed that you and Charles..."

"God, no," she said, examining my cock critically.

She straddled me, using her fingers to push my cock into her, then slowly lowered herself. Drawing back when she couldn't proceed, she it seemed that the action lubricated us allowing her to take more of me into her, so she started sliding up and down, taking in more of me each time, while I watched her breasts slowly bouncing.

She leaned forwards. I held her upper arms as she maneuvered her legs behind her... and suddenly we were one, her face resting on my shoulder, her breasts squashed against my chest, my cock alive in an enveloping warmth.

Our lips met as we merged, without moving but still stimulated over the entire lengths of our bodies, slow drift of tongue against tongue, tingling in our connected sex. I started to move slowly, just pressing into her and relaxing, and soon she did the same. She broke our kiss, settling her face into my shoulder, holding my upper arms in her hands as she pushed against me, willing me more deeply inside her. I held her butt, to press into her more firmly.

"Ohhhh..." she began to sigh with each slow movement. Her fingers tightened on my arms, nails digging into me, but it felt good. "Ohhhh..." She kissed my shoulder, then on the next squeeze she bit me.

"Ouch," I said, involuntarily.

"Ohhh... sorry... OHHHH..."

She nibbled my ear gently, then lifted herself, her breasts hanging by my chin, two perfect white soft icicles. "Kiss my breast," she whispered.

I didn't need a second invitation. Releasing her butt, I fastened hands and mouth on her breasts, squeezing and sucking.

"OHHHHH!" she cried, "OH! GOD! OHHHHH!" She stopped moving for a second, then as she cried out again, "AHHHHHHHH!" I felt a strange sensation as her pussy pulsed around me. I pressed myself firmly against her, still sucking, until she finally collapsed on me, her eager mouth seeking mine.

We lay there for a while, then she started moving again. This time I felt my own passion build, and I started moving more forcefully. She responded eagerly, wrapping her arms around my head while we kissed. We rolled around a little, almost sliding off the edge of my narrow bed, but then we were both ready, the excitement shining in her face as she gasped, turning me on, helping me reach my own climax. She stopped moving, her body almost rigid, and as I pushed on, she shivered and moaned. Then she moved against me again, pushing me into pleasure.


I wished we could stay connected, but I had to dispose of the condom. I returned to the glorious sight of her pale, naked, slightly sweaty body, and I snuggled up against her. We kissed, lazily but with feeling until she felt she needed to leave.

"I want to see you again," I said, as she dressed. It seemed weak, but with the play being over... I didn't want this to be over, too. She turned and kissed me. "You will," she said. "Just don't go committing suicide, like your alter-ego."

"He isn't my alter-ego anymore," I said, a little sadly. "Though you're still my Juliet, Sandra."

She kissed me again, straightened her hair, and left.


I didn't see her or hear from her for a couple of days. I was concerned, but not yet worried. I had taken her advice and contacted the school I was going to about acting scholarships. Though there was nothing available immediately, they would be very happy for me to minor in acting. Perhaps even switch, later, if I chose to do, and I could apply for other scholarships during my time.

Sandra called a couple of days later. "Sorry I haven't been in touch. I wanted to talk to my father about something before I spoke to you again."


"Yeah, I was a little concerned that he might have a hang-up about your... background."

It was the first time she had made any reference to my heritage or status, and I could tell she didn't like the idea that anyone would have a problem with it.

"Well," she continued, "I asked him how he would feel about a Latino taking me to the prom."

"Ah." God, the prom. I hadn't even thought about that.

"His precise words were: 'Anything's better than that stiff O'Brien.' Then he asked if I meant you."

"Oh, he knows who I am?"

"Julio, did you read the reviews in the local paper? Everyone knows who we are. And Daddy says he's very happy for both of us. He liked the way you stood up to what he called the PTA fascists, and thinks you have a great future... but you're to come over for dinner as soon as possible."

My heart leapt. The one serious impediment I saw to my dating my Juliet was her family, and they had already decided in my favor. Things were looking up.

I told her about college, and the possibility of switching tracks.

"You'll do it," she said. "It's in your blood. You were born to be an actor, my Romeo."

I hung up the phone with a warm glow in my heart, and a feeling that she just might be right.