Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

Silver and Black: Act 1: The Play

Title: The Play
Series: Silver and Black
Characters: Chris and David
Genre: Yaoi, modern day romance.
Rating: PG-13 for language
Beta: mysocalledhell Thank you!
Summary: David goes to see Chris in "Shakespeare in Love" and gets a bit more than he bargained for.
Words: 6066
A/N: This is an original story by stark_black and I. She plays Chris and I play David. Hope you enjoy as we had a lot of fun writing it. We don't have any rights to Shakespeare In Love, the screenplay was written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard.

Also, here's a picture of what the two guys might be like in anime form.

Thursday, November 6, 8:44pm

Christopher Stark squinted into the harsh lighting directed at the stage. The theater staff had not yet replaced the color gels and the harsh luminaire was starting to give him a headache.

“Okay!” Jeff Barbon, the effects director shouted from the sound booth. “We’re up!”

Chris turned to his lovely partner, Jill, and smiled reassuringly. Her green eyes sparkled and her freckles laughed at him as she tried to return the gesture. This was Jill’s first time on a big stage and the fast paced rehearsals were overwhelming her more than she wanted to admit out loud. Chris saw it though. He understood how she felt. His first time in a production this big had sent him to the men’s room more than once to toss his cookies, and he hadn’t even had a main part like Jill had now. She was taking it with grace; a poise that some seasoned actresses never acquired. But every so often, Chris could see the panic in her features, and tried to redirect her with questions about blocking and calm her with soft smiles. He had liked her from the first moment they had stood on stage together, which was good, considering they were playing the most intense of lovers.

“Okay! From the top, again!” Matt Jones, the production director, clapped from the front row and sat down. He had a Starbucks gripped tightly in one hand, and a script in the other.

Jill pulled her character back on like a coat and turned to him.

“Master Shakespeare?” She asked, moving towards him, her voice birdsong. “William Shakespeare?”

Chris looked at her quickly, and then at the ground. He stepped to the left, hitting his blocking point. “The same, alas.”

Jill stopped. “Oh, but why ‘alas’?”

Chris started to feel the scene and forgot about his blocking points. He moved comfortably, the way someone actually saying the words would move.

“A lowly player.”

Jill shuffled behind him, and he could hear the smile on her lips. “Alas indeed, for I thought you the highest poet of my esteem and writer of plays that captured my heart.”

Chris turned back to her, surprised.

“Oh—I am him too!”

There were several chuckles from the balcony. A few business executives, and arts and leisure experts had been invited to watch the last rehearsal before the opening night. They had been distracting and sometimes downright rude, but Matt wanted the publicity, so they stayed. Chris tolerated them, but if he found anything, come the Sunday paper, but a raving review on how fantastic the play was, or how Jill Nygren had stolen their hearts in her portrayal of Viola De Lesseps, heads were going to roll.

The next twenty minutes were slow; just blocking to help the techs get their settings back in order. The morning had consisted of a snapped frame on one of the lighting fixtures, and the evening’s run through had been helping them get their placing back together. Chris was usually fine doing these things, but he had a load of homework he needed to finish before tomorrow’s opening show. They really needed to get him a stand in.

Finally, Matt called it a night, and Chris rushed off stage to change. He pulled off the renaissance-style tunic and grabbed a black, long-sleeved Pink Floyd shirt out of his bag. The leggings were replaced by faded jeans and a studded belt, and black, high top Converse slipped over his feet as he made his way out the door. He pulled his leather jacket from the rack, and a cigarette found its way to his lips the moment he stepped outside.

As he stopped to light up, the familiar sound of feminine laughter rang in his ears, and he groaned inwardly. Turning back to the door, he watched three girls pushed their way out and giggle almost hysterically when they saw him.

“Chris!” The blonde said, her shirt barely covering her ample bosom. “You’re still here!”

Right, like you didn’t know I was still here… “Hey, Kali. Christina, Angie.” He nodded politely to the other two and took a long drag. “Good job today.”

The brunette, Angie, almost squealed. “Aw, thank you sweetie! I’ve been working so hard! I don’t know how I find the time with my other job!”

What the hell? Chris thought to himself. You’re a fucking extra… You don’t even have any lines! “Well, your hard work shows. I’m proud of you. You’ll be great tomorrow.”

“You know, Chris,” Kali, the blonde, started up again, “You really should go out with us tonight! There’s a discount at Purr until midnight if you bring more than one girl. I’ll even buy you a drink!”

Chris put on his best fake smile. “I’d love to, ladies, but I have lots of homework. A long essay due Monday and I have to get this power point thing together. I also don’t party the night before a first showing.” Or ever.

“Oh, well then we’ll hang out at the after party tomorrow!” Christina cried, “Drinks are free there!”

Chris shrugged. “If I get that power point thing done. I’m kind of retarded when it comes to computers.”

“Really?” Angie and Kali asked simultaneously.

Chris nodded and sucked on the cigarette. He humored the girls, but he had no intention of going to the after party tomorrow night. He would stick around the theater and meet and greet, but once Matt said he was good to go, he was out. On top of his homework, he also had two lesson plans to put together for his classes on Monday, and he had a private piano lesson on Saturday that he hadn’t prepped for.

“Christopher!” A musical voice called from behind Chris, pulling him from his thoughts. He turned quickly to its owner and a grin spread across his face.

Jill stood across the street, bundled from head to foot in color. Purple and black striped stockings peeked out from underneath capri jeans. A bright green jacket tipped with brown fur almost took the attention from a loud yellow and red scarf, and pink gloves held on tightly to a black messenger bag. Chris felt warm fuzzies curl up in his stomach as he watched her wine-colored hair blow gently in the breeze from beneath her frog beanie hat.

He waved to her and turned to the three by the door.

“I’m sorry, I promised I would walk Jill home since she lives on Capitol Hill, and I really do have to get home and finish my essay.”

Many protests and hugs later, Chris finally jogged over to Jill’s side and took her bag for her. She smiled sweetly and fell into step beside him.

“Thank you for walking me home.” She said quietly, and Chris had to concentrate to keep his knees from buckling at the sound of her voice.

“It’s really no problem,” he answered. “It gets me out of… an uncomfortable situation.”

Jill laughed. “You know you could save yourself a lot of trouble by just telling them that you’re gay.”

Chris smiled and shoved his hands in his pockets. “Yeah, I could. But I haven’t given up the ladies entirely. So imagine I tell them that, and then I find this great girl. Now I’m either a liar, or I’m having some kind of weird identity crisis.”

“You don’t like girls,” Jill snickered as she maneuvered around a large puddle, “You’re in denial. You’re a stage three fag.”

“What the fuck is a stage three fag?” Chris had to laugh.

“Stage one is where you know you’re gay, but you’re exclusive. You believe you’re not slutty and going to find ‘that guy’ who’s also not slutty and get married and live happily ever after. Stage two is when you are comfortable with going out, having fun… screwing around…”

“You said I was stage three,” Chris grinned. “What’s that?”

“Old age.”

“I’m twenty-five!”

“That’s getting old for a gay guy!”

Chris pushed her playfully. “How the hell do you know so much about gay guys anyway?”

Jill’s mouth quirked slightly. There was still humor in her eyes, but it had lost most of its playfulness.

“My ex-fiancé…”

Chris tried not to look at her with sympathy because he knew she didn’t want it. Instead, he pulled her close by her sleeve and slipped her arm through his. She smiled up at him and flicked a stray lock of jet-black hair from his eyes.

They laughed and teased each other as they hopped a bus. Chris sat with his arm around Jill, letting people think she was off limits, for looking only… Maybe not even for looking. He felt so at ease around her, so completely natural. He didn’t have many relationships like he had with Jill and it was strange because he had only known her for a few months.

“So did you ever figure out that computer thing for school?” Jill asked as they stepped off the bus and started down her street.

“Nope,” Chris answered. “I’m totally fucked.”

“I would help you if I knew anything about computers.”

“I know,” Chris smiled and stopped at the bottom of the steps leading to her small townhouse. “I appreciate the thought.”

She smiled and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek as she took her bag. “See you Tuesday for rehearsal?”

Chris nodded, but spoke up as she turned around. “Hey, Jill?”

“Yeah?” She turned back to him.

Chris shuffled his feet. “I know I might screw around a little, but… I think I’m still a stage one…”

Jill tilted her head and looked at him seriously. “You still looking for ‘that guy’?”

“Or that girl,” Chris clarified.

Jill made a face. “Whatever.”

“No really,” Chris beamed at her. “I’d marry you.”

Jill smiled again. He knew that she knew he was only half kidding. “You have too many tattoos. My mother would kill me.”

Chris spread his hands. “I’ll get them lasered off!”

Jill bent to kiss him again softly, this time on the lips. Chris pressed back and gently pulled at the loose strands of her hair with his fingertips. He loved the softness of her mouth, something that was missing when he kissed another man. She pulled away slowly but entirely too soon.

“I hope you find him someday, Chris.” He watched her back as she climbed the steps and slipped into the house.

On the bus, Chris thought about what she had said. He had become something of a stage two, but it was only because he had mostly given up on ever finding someone who wanted the same things as he did. No one wanted exclusivity anymore. It was all about ‘open’ and ‘secondary’ relationships. Was it so much to ask for someone special that he could have all to himself?

Climbing the stairs and unlocking the door to his apartment, Chris felt the heavy loneliness creep up behind him and settle itself on his shoulders. He was coming home to another night alone, with only his work and his studies to keep him company. He barely had any friends, and the only family he had left, he never really made an effort to see. Only his little sister, Marilee ever called him. She made sure he was eating properly and not getting himself into too much trouble.

Chris smiled as he closed the door behind him. The only decoration in his Spartan apartment was a small bamboo plant Marilee had given him a few years ago. It thrived with only a small amount of water and minimal sunlight; the plant equivalent to himself. He just wanted a little water and some sunlight; a quiet room to grow. Funny that he had chosen a profession where he was watched by thousands of people on a nightly basis. But maybe that was the key: he surrounded himself with thousands of people that he would probably never see again. No relationships required. No personalities to clash with. It was hiding in the open.

Chris shed his jacket and sat on the futon. His apartment was a one bedroom, but he used the actual bedroom as a recording studio. The walls were soundproofed, and the space was filled with equalizers, amplifiers, and mic stands. The futon in the living room served as both his couch and his bed. A studio style apartment was easy to maintain for Chris because his cleanliness and organization obsession was born from his four years in the military. There was a little clutter, but it was mostly instruments and textbooks; things that he used on a regular basis. There were no knick knacks decorating his shelves, and no colorful pictures or ornamental hangings on the wall. He only kept things that served a purpose.

Grabbing his lap top, Chris sighed heavily and plunged into the essay about ‘Theater for Social Change’. Theater history… God… He kicked himself all the time for signing up for this class, but it was a seven and a half credit course, and you had to take it in the prerequisites for a masters in theater performance.

Several hours later, Chris kicked off his shoes and rolled onto his back. Sleep found him quickly, and he dreamt about climbing down giant stairs labeled ‘Stage One’ and ‘Stage Two’ and when he reached the bottom, it turned out to be a theater. He stood on the empty stage alone and when he turned to the audience, he found they were all computer screens. They all watched him expectantly with their harsh blue light, but Chris had no idea what to say. He had forgotten his lines and he had no idea where his props or blocking points were.

He woke with a jerk, covered in sweat, and not sure why his dream had bothered him so profoundly. He had experienced similar dreams where he was left on stage knowing nothing and had nothing to work with, but none of those dreams had left such a dark feeling churning in his gut.

Chris looked at the clock before turning to his side, hoping to get a few more hours sleep before the week he was dreading so intensely started.

X x X x X

Friday, November 7, 6:01pm

David Li squinted at the computer screen, as his slender fingers tapped away at a keyboard half under the shelf it was supposed to be lying on. He had the board in his lap, and he watched the code form on the screen. He had on his glasses because allergies had finally worn away his eyes tolerance of his contact lens. His body was fit because he needed it to work, not because he had any particular vanities about himself. It helped that when he was really concentrating the last thing he wanted was food.

His mind flipped a particular sequence, cleaning an algorithm up within one of the class functions, simplifying it so that it only did what it had to and pulling out extra variables someone had put in just so they could track what had to be done. As he thought it, his hands automatically did what was needed to reshape the processing before him.

When he was done he sat back and started the class' test suite. He flicked on the stretching reminder which had been chiming at him for the last few lines, and he followed, faithfully, the little pictures of men and women without faces with their arms and upper body in the correct stretch position. Tendons popped and crackled in his neck, shoulder, and wrists and he sighed. There was a buzz through the fingers and thumb of his right hand, he should ice. Too much mouse work with the word processing he was having to do for the reports for his director on the proposed project.

When he slid open the door to his cubicle, David was only mildly surprised to find the office empty. He hadn't known it was that late, and he glanced at his watch. Hm. He'd have time for a twenty minute ice before he had to leave for the play. Food might get to come out of the vending machine tonight. Luckily or cannily, the company stocked the nicer Japanese quick meals in one of their vending machine kiosks, and he had a hankering for the nice pork ramen.

He meandered through the darkened office and motion-activated lights went on just in the areas he walked through. Friday night. He half supposed he should envy those with a social life or something, but he found himself content, in his mid-40's, to just live his life as he liked.

His Chinese heritage had made for slender wrists, it might also, he thought, be blamed for the work ethic that was gradually destroying his whole upper body. But he could manage it. Keep on top of it with painkillers, ice, and physical therapy.

David found the blue gel ice packs in the freezer, and he pulled the covers and Ace elastic bandages out of the drawer in the kitchen. The company kept those, too, laundering them every week. He decided to eat in the lunch room, so he wouldn't forget to put the covers back where they belonged. He swiped his credit card on the vending machine and pushed D8 to get the pork ramen noodle box, and out it slid.

He read the instructions on the box, and put the noodles, the requisite amount of water, the soup base paste into the bowl and started it cooking. Then he put the covers on the gel packs, and with practiced ease, wound the bandages around the packs and the most pained parts of his wrists and forearms. The tendons always swelled by the end of the week, the ice would bring it down and if he took the weekend off, which he didn't always, he'd be fine by Monday.

The microwave beeped at him. He pulled out the bowl, mixed the cooked noodles with the soup. Then he opened up the vegetable packet, with real green onion slices, carrots, and matchsticks of seaweed and dumped that in, and then he opened the foil packet with the slice of real, fatty pork and slid that rosy, gorgeously moist piece of meat on the bed of noodles. David laughed at himself a little, and realized he must be pretty horny to be so attracted to a bowl of noodles, but hey, one does what one can with what one has.

He put the whole thing back into the microwave for a quick zapping warm through, and flexed his crackling shoulders as he waited.

He thought a bit. David didn't usually think of himself as being middle-aged, single, and gay: he was just himself with code to do, another meeting to get to, people to motivate, and friends to see and take care of as needed. They took care of him, too. Lisa had gotten him the tickets to the play and expected him to be there. Now it was more important to take some time off and let his hands rest.

The noodles steamed in their plastic bowl as he pulled it out again. He rummaged around and found a pair of disposable chopsticks, sat at a table in the break room and ate, quickly, neatly, and without much more thought as he just sank his senses into the hot meal.

He threw stuff away, put the ice packs back, went back to his cube, checked on the results and found that his changes were good. He checked in his work, and then headed for the garage and his little pearl blue Audi TT. It was his one indulgence, that had simply turned into a comfort he couldn't give up, especially in all the stop and go traffic around Seattle. The little roadster responded to his every motion and command like an extension of his own will. The six speed manual transmission was smooth and quick, and the engine powerful enough for his needs without being too greedy for gas.

The music system entertained him as he poked along across the 520 bridge. The dark water always fascinated him. On the far side, in the U-District, he pulled off and wended his way up and down the steep streets on the hills there before finding Lisa's house. She had been an intern when he'd first gotten a job at Silicon Webs, and he'd mentored her the first year she'd been there. She was smart, funny, and married, as were most of the technical woman in the business; and they'd managed to become firm friends. She'd gone on to other jobs within the company and risen to first level management while he'd worked up the engineering track, ending up as one of the three Principle Engineers in the company.

All that meant was that he had no one directly reporting to him, but dozens of groups depending on his ability to do system design and break it up into reasonable projects.

So they were now working in completely different parts of the company, so they'd formed a lunch crew with five or six other folks that they'd worked with over the years, and had lunch every Thursday. Because she knew someone in the production, she'd bought tickets to the play for herself and her husband weeks ago. They'd even been invited to the cast party after Opening Night. Then Sean, her husband, was been called off to a business trip. Rather than waste the babysitter and the tickets, she asked everyone at lunch, on Thursday, if anyone could make it to see Shakespeare in Love.

David had done so, the only one to do so, as most folks had plans for a Friday night that didn't just include a swim, icing, and some Tivo-harvested video entertainment. He'd offered a ride as well, knowing that Lisa hated driving and especially parking in the city, but made her promise she wouldn't make him go to the party afterwards. She'd agreed, saying that the cast member could give her a ride home after anyway.

He pulled up, got out and went to the door to ring the doorbell.

The door opened, but Lisa's back was to him. She was talking to a college age girl, giving last minute instructions, "Remember, the stuffy has to be in bed with Jessie otherwise she will not go to sleep. And Kevin cannot have a drink that last hour before bed. And..."

The girl grinned, "Thanks, Mrs. Kent, we'll do fine. Don't worry about us, we've done this before."

Lisa wrinkled her nose, rolled her eyes and then nodded. "You're right, Kate. Thank you."

Kate peered out at David and gave him an appraising look. "He's way too good looking; does Sean know?"

David laughed and said, "Well, he knows I’m gay, too."

"Jeeze, way to give a girl an instant crush." Kate rolled her eyes and then laughed.

David shrugged, "The power of denial, eh?"

Lisa shook her head, "Come on, before I kill someone, and I don’t really want to kill you because you're going to drive."

"Right. Have fun, Kate," David said as he waved. Kate waved back, giggled, and closed the door gently on them.

"Do you two have to flirt every time?" Lisa asked as she stalked to the car.

David shrugged, "Well, I don't get to do it very often without a lawsuit hanging over my head."

"Well most men wouldn't flirt at work."

"Most men aren't at work 60 hours a week," David said quietly.

Lisa looked at him, "You have to get a life, David." She slid into the car.

"If it were only so easy," he sighed before he even opened his door. But he put his smile back on and slid in.

X x X x X

Friday, November 7, 7:03pm

Chris blinked rapidly as Jill brought the mascara brush close. He had worn makeup in the past for other plays, but no matter how many times the small bristles combed through his lashes, he still felt like he was going to lose an eye.

Jill laughed. “What kind of gay man are you? You can’t even put on makeup!”

“I probably could do it just fine myself,” Chris scoffed, “But someone insisted that she do it. And it has nothing to do with makeup; it’s that there’s a black poky thing coming at my cornea.”

“Wuss,” Jill snickered as she put on the finishing touches. “I insisted because you looked like someone from KISS at the dress rehearsal.”

“Hey,” Chris whined, “KISS is awesome.”

“You’re William Shakespeare, famous poet, and love of my life. Not a demon god of rock.”

Chris beamed at her and took her hand, taking the mascara brush from her fingers and kissing the inside of her palm.

“You’re beautiful.”

Even through the stage makeup, Jill blushed scarlet. She pulled her hand back gently and turned towards the mirror. Checking underneath her eyes, she added foundation and padded it smooth with her middle finger.

“Don’t tease me like that, Chris,” her voice held a tremor.

Chris stood and leaned over the dressing table, close to her side. He brought his mouth close to her ear and teased her skin with his lips.

“He didn’t deserve you…” He whispered softly.

Jill looked down; her perfectly manicured hand covered his own in a silent thank you. Chris kissed her cheek softly and moved away.

“I’ll see you at the end of act one.”

She nodded and Chris slipped out of the room.

X x X x X

Friday, November 7, 7:40pm

David always found himself bemused by the formalities of curtain time at a play. The entire concept of simply not being able to get in past the due date had always escaped him until sometime in the last decade.

Perhaps it was getting into project management, or simply the sheer number of meetings he now had to attend and how much it now irked him to have to wait for people that were late. He'd even instituted a one dollar per hour penalty to their group meetings. But with software engineers, a quarter of them pulling in six digit salaries, it wasn't much of a deterrent. One of the senior engineers actually just gave him a twenty every month and told him to put the rest of it in the donut fund.

Or maybe it was just that oft met hope that the deadline just wasn't actually real. It could almost always be pushed just a little further back.

But after getting stopped at the door by a white gloved usher when he thought he could just sneak in, and being thoroughly embarrassed, he'd never forgotten to be on time for a play.

In a way, it was refreshing to step into a society that actually cared that the time was met.

He offered Lisa his arm as they walked into the quietly murmuring crowds once they were past the ticket takers. But he stopped to buy two of the full-blown programs and he handed one to her, past her protests.

"It's been a long time since I've been to one of these, I wanted something to remember it by," he said, apologetically.

"When was the last time you've been to..." Lisa hesitated.

"... any kind of performance?" David supplied.

She nodded.

"Probably at least a year. I need to do this more often, I think. It's nice to be out."

They came to the usher at the door, and the little old lady with sharp blue eyes smiled at their tickets, "You're in row L, seats 8 and 9, down about two-thirds of the way and towards the center, there. Enjoy your show!" she chirped.

"Thank you," David said.

"You are always polite, aren't you?" Lisa asked, as they walked down the steps to their seats.

"Nearly," David said.

They worked their way into the row, with David saying thank you whenever someone moved for them and apologizing when they didn't. And Lisa shook her head and laughed as they settled in their seats just as the lights dimmed.

X x X x X

Chris moved gracefully. He flowed across the stage, giving the actors their prop scripts with a somber face. He pulled the curtain of hopelessness over himself and ran with the feeling.

“… Romeo is banished... But the friar who married Romeo and Juliet-”

“Is that me, Will?” John Barney as Edward interrupted.

Chris turned to him, sadness filling his eyes as he moved towards the other man. “Yes. You, Edward… the friar who married them, gives Juliet a potion to drink. It is a secret potion. It makes her seeming dead.” Chris turned to the audience, bringing them into the story. “She is placed in the tomb of the Capulets. She will awake to life and love when Romeo comes to her side again.”

Happy murmurs from the other cast members fill the stage, but Chris could feel the tension in the audience. They knew the story. He faced away from the crowd, letting the despair weigh down his shoulders; the anger at his inability to change things flow through him. When he slammed his hand down on the table, silencing the other actors, and he turned to face the audience once again, he was Shakespeare in full. Tears threatened to run from his eyes as he looked into the eyes of as many patrons as he could.

“I have not said all…” Shakespeare said with quiet intensity. “By malign fate the message goes astray which would tell Romeo of the friar’s plan. He hears only that Juliet is dead… and thus he goes to the apothecary…”

“That’s me!” Dan Wilkerson spoke up as Hugh Fennyman.

Shakespeare nodded to him and continued, even quieter, but with intensity straight from his gut. The volume of his words was diminished, but the power of them reached the back of the hall.

“He buys a deadly poison. He enters the tomb to say farewell to Juliet who lies there cold as death.” Chris takes that moment to lock gazes with Jill. He knew the audience would be looking for that chemistry as Shakespeare spoke of the hidden woman before him.

“He drinks the poison… and dies by her side. And then she wakes and sees him dead. So Juliet takes his dagger… and kills herself.”

Chris watched as Jill reacted. Her timing was perfect, her face was beautiful. He heard soft gasps from the audience, and soft sniffles into handkerchiefs.

Chris felt like singing; they had nailed it. The first climax of the play and the audience was riveted. He loved Jill at that moment. He loved his life. He loved everything and everyone, because everything was perfect.

They would definitely get that rave review now…

X x X x X

David felt the chills just run down his spine, his hand tightening on the arm rest beside him. He was falling for Young Will the way he'd always fallen for the leading men of nearly everything he'd seen. The magic of the play itself was wrapping all the way through him, gripping emotions he rarely, if ever, allowed himself to feel anywhere else.

The intensity of the young black-haired man, his energy and beauty was making David's heart ache as it hadn't for a very long time.

When Will started describing the ending to Romeo and Juliet, David felt his breathing go short. When the actors on stage reacted with clapping and cheers at the plan of the friar, he felt like groaning at their stupidity, their lack of knowledge. Instead, he was surprised to feel a tear slip down his cheek.

He frowned, get a grip, he thought to himself. It's only a play.

But his eyes weren't listening to his brain. He watched as the whole of the tragedy unfolded in a few simple words, so softly spoken, and the reaction Violet had, in her boy's makeup and posture. And he was embarrassed to find more tears sliding down his face.

Lisa touched David's elbow, startling him. And in her hand was a tissue. She didn't say a word, and for that, David thanked every god and angel he could name.

David watched the rest of the performance, enthralled and caught up again in being able to be in another reality, another set of lives, and their stories. The ending, bittersweet as it was, with both the reward and the parting baffled David again with tears on his part. He sighed and mopped up with the last tattered remains of the tissue even before the applause started. He clapped with everyone else, and when the lights came up he was glad of his glasses.

At seeing Will taking his bows, he took a deep breath. It was a little like having a crush on an angel, it always was. Stupid, as hopeless and inevitable as Will and Violet loving each other when so many forces in their society pulled them apart. Harmless in a way, as David knew he'd never bother the actual actor with his emotions. He was so out of reach it was safe.

Once again David was safe, and able to hide his swollen eyes behind frames and lenses.

The light touch on his upper arm didn't surprise him and he smiled over at Lisa.

"You okay?" she asked.

He nodded with that smile still plastered on. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just... realizing why I don't do this that often, is all."

"Chris is gorgeous isn't he?" Lisa asked.


"The actor who played Will. His name is Chris Stark."

"Is that so?" David asked carelessly, not really wanting to know, in a way. It impinged too much on the escape, on the other world quality of the play itself.

"He might be at the stage party," Lisa said in equally light tones.

David rolled his eyes. "Great, then I'd come face to face with him and what do I do? You saw him with Violet, there's no way he's my kinda guy. I'd just embarrass the heck out of myself."

"You might be surprised how good an actor he is, perhaps... though, you're right, odds are the girls chasing him have a reason to." Lisa shrugged and stood up, "Suit yourself. I'll head on back, then."

"Okay. See you Monday, have a good weekend," David said, almost mechanically.

"Right." Lisa stopped and startled David by lightly touching him along his jaw line. "You, too, Mr. Li. Try and have a good weekend."

He looked up at her, suddenly feeling more vulnerable than he liked. "I'll try," he said suddenly dry-mouthed.


David simply sat there as she left. He then got out his glossy program and flipped to the section with all the actor profiles and there he was, looking very different without the leggings and renaissance accoutrements. Mr. Stark had piercings, gleaming rings and cores in each ear, and a heavy biker's jacket in glossy black. David felt a shiver run through his gut as he wondered if that many piercings on his ears meant anything about what else might be piercing that sleekly muscled body.

Automatically, David eyed the whole of Chris Stark's resume and the fact that he was twenty-five. Nineteen years between them. Yeesh. It'd be cradle robbing if anything did happen. He could legally be the boy's father if he'd been far too stupid when he was young.

David laughed softly, tucked the program back into the pocket of his long coat, wrapped his scarf around his neck, and got up, stretching old, crackling tendons and shook his head.

"Time to stop fantasizing," he said softly to himself. "Gotta get a coffee before heading back across the bridge, or we'll be asleep at the wheel. Now, where is the nearest coffeehouse?"

He pulled his 3G out of his pocket, and was pretty depressed to only find Starbucks or Tully's within a block around the theater, but then he perked up.

Four blocks out was a cybercafé called Flying Monkeys, looked like they even had a few machines that ran Linux. The walk would do his upper body some good, and he might have fun checking out if this Chris Stark had an Internet presence.

It would be good to get all of it out of his system before he went home.

The Next Chapter
Tags: david_old, original, writing

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  • Bao-zi My Way

    We've been doing a lot of experimental cooking during the pandemic, much as everyone else has been. Some notable highlights have been the TikTok…

  • New Growth

    It's funny how something as simple as a toothbrush working again as it should could be a sign of hope. Small things working as they ought to. The…

  • Still Sad and Observations about the Longmont Police

    I burned Hell Money for Morgan when he died during COVID in an ICU for an infection of the ankle. He was younger than I, and he was a kind man…