Five: Cause and Effect

(tip: in the poetry excerpts you will notice a ‘/’ within lines. This only signifies a hard page break within the poem itself. If you can, ignore them and pay attention only to the punctuation. That will help with the smoothness of the reading. Speaking from experience, you might also try rereading the poem. It will help, too. I promise. ^_^)


The phone on the end table to Amy’s right chirped.  She absently reached over to pick it up, nestling it into her shoulder with a distracted “Hello” as she turned the page of her novel.

“Good day.  Might I speak with Miss Amy Burke?”

“Speaking,” Amy confessed with disinterest.

“Ah, Miss Burke.  Harrison here.”

Amy blinked, the words on the page lost to her as she smiled into the phone.  “Well hello, Mr. Harrison.  How are you?”  Amy closed the novel and set it beside her as she tucked her feet up under her.

“Quite well, thank you.  Yourself?”

“Just relaxing with good ol’ Charles Dickens.”


Amy’s eyes crinkled at the corners.  “What?  You expected Sweet Valley High or something?” she asked with a chuckle.

“To be quite truthful…”

Amy laughed.  “I suppose I deserved that.  I have a tendency of being a little too perky for people to believe I prefer literature to contemporary works.”  Amy thought she detected a slight chuckle, and her eyes twinkled.  She changed her position on the couch, stretching her legs out as she leaned her back against the couch arm.  “So to what do I owe the honor of this call, Mr. Harrison?”

“I’ve spoken to Max regarding the scene.”

Amy’s smile faded to an expression of astonishment.

“It seems that he has already planned a meeting with one of the top stunt companies,” Mr. Harrison continued.  “Max intends to gather different options and opinions on how to best handle the situation before making a decision regarding it.”

“Wow.  Thank you, Mr. Harrison.  I appreciate it.”  Amy started picking at a loose string on the couch.  “I didn’t tell you to manipulate you into doing something about it.”

“Of course not, Miss Burke.  I had already intended to speak with Max regarding the scene, simply at a later date.  Your attention to detail and preparedness - which is much appreciated - simply brought it to the forefront of the conversation earlier than intended.”

Amy’s smile returned.  “Thank you again, Mr. Harrison.  If only all villains and execs could be as helpful… it would definitely be a lot easier to be persuaded to stay in the movie business.”

“You don’t intend to continue on screen?”

Amy wrinkled her nose as she rested her forehead in her left hand, her elbow pressed into the back of the couch.  “Nope.  I went to the audition because my friend asked me to.  I never actually thought I would get a role, especially not a leading one… although I would call Aeris a supporting role more than a lead.  Anyway, my love is the stage, not the screen.  Always has been.”


“‘Indeed’, Mr. Harrison."  Amy chuckled.  "I continue to shock you, don’t I?  I think that’s four times now.  Twice just in this conversation."

Mr. Harrison cleared his throat.  "I do apologize.  I seem to have placed you in an inappropriate category since the first."

Amy waved it away.  "Don't beat yourself up about it, Mr. Harrison.  I did sound pathetically similar to a 'yes-man' that first day at the studio.  As I told Mark and the director, I brown-nose without meaning to."  Mr. Harrison actually laughed.  Amy admitted that it had to be the sexiest sound ever heard from a man.  "Anyway, thanks again.  You didn't need to bother about it, but I'm glad you did."

"Again, you are quite welcome.  Also, If you are so inclined, I could meet with you to choreograph different possibilities."

Amy's smile vanished as the statement 'he'll have you in his sheets in less than a week' hit her upside the head.  True, it had been more than a week, but not if she counted the actual days they had met with each other.  She cleared her throat.  "Mr. Harrison, you're so busy…  I hate to have you bother with something like that."

"It is no bother, Miss Burke, due to the fact we will be working together on that particular scene at a later date.  With that in mind, I would have likely recommended we meet before actual shooting commenced.  It reduces the need for retakes of the scene."

Amy rubbed at her forehead with a single finger.  Suspicion battled with her eagerness to work with a legend in his own time.  Dang it, Renee...  "Well... when did you have in mind?  Your schedule looks pretty wild."  Geez.  Just give him the benefit of the doubt, girl.  "Saturday was my last day at the coffee shop, so I'm free all week."

"Perhaps we could meet today to discuss possibilities of a rehearsal schedule?"

Amy swallowed hard.  "If you're sure it won't completely mess up what you’ve already got planned, that's fine with me."

"What time should I expect you?"

Amy cleared her throat as she turned in the couch to sit with feet flat on the floor, adjusting the phone to her other shoulder.  "Um... well, that depends on the bus schedule.  Probably a couple of hours."

"I see."  Silence.  "Would you be available in forty-five minutes?"

Amy blinked.  "Pardon?"

"I should be able to arrive at your apartment complex by that time."

"Mr. Harrison, you don't have to do that."

"Nonsense.  What is your apartment number?"

"412, but--"

"Right.  Forty-five minutes, then."

"Mr. Harrison," Amy pressed in her most firm tone available, "this is going a little bit beyond the Executive Producer's call of duty."

"Yes, it is," he agreed, "and such is the reason I am not currently wearing my Executive Producer shoes."

Amy reluctantly smiled.  "No Italian loafers today?"


Amy laughed.  "Alright, alright.  No more complaints and whining.  I'll be ready in thirty minutes."

"Excellent.  Barring any quote-unquote emergencies, I shall be there shortly."

"I thought you weren't wearing those shoes?" she ribbed.

Mr. Harrison's smile could almost be heard through the phone.  "Unfortunately, I must always carry them with me."

Amy laughed again.  "Point taken and admitted.  How about I say I'll see you when I see you?"

"Good enough, although for the record I do prefer punctuality or early arrivals."

"I already suspected that," Amy said with a slight sound of a laugh.

"Ah.  Then the warning wasn't necessary."


"Very well, then. I shall see you... when I see you."

Amy smiled wider with a shake of her head.  "Sounds like a plan.  Bye."

Mr. Harrison clicked off without a returned statement, and Amy wondered if he had grown so accustomed to hanging up on people that he didn't even think about saying 'good-bye' or 'toodles'.  Amy laughed.  She couldn't hear him saying 'toodles' or 'ta-ta' or anything else.  A simple click as all she could picture.  I'm sure he doesn't mean to.  And Amy wasn't going to ask, either.

"Okee dokee," she sighed as she pushed herself to her feet.  "A meeting with Sir Garret Harrison.  Wow.  Don't look now, Amy girl, you're on your way to... well... to something."

Amy shook her head with a chuckle as she made her way to her room to change from her flannel loungers and midriff T-shirt to something a little less... provocative?  Amy laughed aloud when she thought of wearing her baggiest and least flattering jeans with her dowdiest sweatshirt.  The guy would pass-out from horror!  Instead, she dressed in her favorite pair of medium blue Levis and the dark blue sweatshirt that said 'Oliver' across the front; one of the many dramas involved with while studying drama at NYU.

Amy washed her face and brushed her teeth, then reapplied her make-up and ran a brush through her waves of brunette.  She put the side and front portions up in a barrette to keep it out of her face, and then she gave it a couple spritzes of Aussie hairspray to keep it from flying every which way and tickling her nose into a sneezing fit.  That would not be very attractive.  Then she left the bathroom while pulling off her socks, leaping on first one foot and then the other on her way to her bedroom.

Amy grabbed a fresh pair of socks from her dresser, scooped up her outlet-store Addidas from the corner by her bedroom door, and then padded to the couch.  She looked at her watch.  Cool.  Fifteen minutes.  Gives me thirty before he shows up.  She slipped into her socks and shoes as she chuckled over their phone conversation.  So he is human after all.  I'll have to tell Renee 'I told you so', which caused another flow of sniggers and shakes of the head.

Deciding to make sure there was juice, freshly filtered water, or soda pop in the fridge ready and waiting for their guest, Amy made her way into the kitchenette and opened the fridge.  Sure enough, there was a half gallon of juice from concentrate, a half pitcher full of filtered water, and a half case of diet cola.  Amy wrinkled her nose.  Mr. Harrison probably doesn't like cola, and definitely not diet.  So, wanting to be the appropriately prepared hostess that her mother had trained, Amy set some water to heating on the stove for tea - herbal and not black - and then brought her grinder down from the cupboard to make coffee.

Amy had just set the coffee to percolating in her trusty Mr. Coffee coffee-maker when there was a firm knock on the door.  Amy glanced down at her watch.  She smiled.  Fifteen minutes early.  Good for you.  Amy tucked the grinder up and away with a shout over her shoulder of "Just a second!" before hurrying to the door.  She unlocked the deadbolt and chain and opened it.

Mr. Harrison was dressed in his same slacks and cable-knit sweater, with a schedule book the size of a notebook in one hand while wearing a somewhat serious expression on his face.  Amy smiled and stepped back as she opened the door wider.  "Come on in."

He did so, taking in a minute scrutiny of the small apartment and the furnishings/decorations therein.

"I didn't know how soon you wanted to scoot out of here, what with traffic and everything," Amy continued, "so I'm making coffee or tea.  Your choice.  If you'd rather a cold drink, I have freshly filtered water, diet cola, and juice.  No alcohol.  Don't drink."  Amy closed the door, refastened the locks, and then made her way back to the kitchen when she heard the teapot begin to sing.  "Go ahead and have a seat," she offered as she passed.

Amy heard the schedule book go onto the couch, but heard his steps on the hardwood floor cross the room toward her collection of books.  Amy smiled as she placed the teapot onto the available hot pad before opening the cupboard above the stove in search of the box of teabags.  She had never been ashamed of her reading preferences, and now she was even a little proud of her selection.  Especially with Sir Garret Harrison looking over it.

Mr. Harrison's loafers click-clicked back over toward the bar and the stools of the kitchenette.  Amy found the wanted box of Earl Gray and Chamomile teas and set them onto the counter without turning around.  "So what's the verdict: tea or coffee?" she asked as she stepped to the left cupboard near the sink for the mugs.

"Coffee.  Thank you."

Amy heard him sit at the counter as she set the tea boxes aside and carried the mugs over to the coffee-maker.  "Honey or sugar?"


"Cream or not?"

"Is it non-dairy?"

"Yep," Amy said as she made her way to the fridge.  "I'm lactose intolerant.  A bummer when I crave ice cream, but what can a person do."  Amy retrieved the creamer from the fridge and turned to show it, vaguely noticing how well Mr. Harrison fit with her decor.  "It's French Vanilla.  I hope you don't mind."

Mr. Harrison's smile was slight and continual.  "It doesn't matter."

Amy made her way back to the coffee-maker.  "I usually put a teaspoon or two of chocolate powder in mine, making it a mocha you know.  Did you want to try it?"

"No.  Thank you."

"Sure."  Amy finished the concoction and turned to place it on the counter with a napkin and a saucer and spoon.  "There ya go."

"Thank you."

"Uh-huh."  And then she went to work with her own coffee.

There was the slight tinkle of spoon on china as he stirred his coffee.  "Quite an impressive library, Miss Burke."

"Thanks.  It was a bit of a chore to get them on a student's limited income, but I shopped garage sales, estate sales, eBay, and who knows where else."  Amy put her mug into the microwave and hit '30 seconds'.  She turned back to Mr. Harrison and gestured to his coffee.  "Is it hot enough?  I could reheat it."

Mr. Harrison set the spoon onto the saucer and took a testing sip.  "It's fine.  Thank you."

The microwave beeped, and Amy retrieved her coffee mug.  Then she gave it a stir with her own spoon before sipping it as she leaned a hip against the bar counter across from Mr. Harrison.  "I love books as much as I love reading.  A person can't have those types of adventures nowadays.  Well, not unless you're on stage or screen.  That's probably why I went into Drama.  I loved the adventure."  Amy smirked.  "The applause is nice too."

"Yes.  I have found the applause to be worth the agony of the performance."

Amy nodded.  "Applause is like a drug.  Maybe that's why actors stay in the biz so long.  They're really addicts," she finished with twinkling eyes as she sipped her coffee.

Mr. Harrison chuckled.  "Yes, I suppose we are."

Amy regarded Mr. Harrison over her coffee cup.  There was something different about him.  Yeah.  He's actually relaxed.  "What made you go on stage?"  Mr. Harrison's relaxed expression tightened, and the smile became forced.  Amy pounced on the obvious warning of dangerous territory with a genuine "I'm sorry, Mr. Harrison.  Forget I said anything.  Just enjoy your coffee."

Mr. Harrison stared into his coffee cup on the bar counter a moment before raising his gaze to meet hers.  "Call me Garret."

Amy smiled to hide the relieved sigh.  "Okay, but you have to stop calling me Miss Burke.  Makes me feel like I should be wearing my hair in a bun with army-issue glasses and a dowdy blazer/skirt combination."

Mr. Harrison-- Garret's expression relaxed into a smile as he chuckled.  "I do apologize."

Amy straightened and headed around the bar to the living room, coffee and saucer in hand.  "Don't worry about it.  Habits die hard."  She set her cup and saucer onto a coaster on the coffee table and sat in the couch.  "Alright.  I guess we should--  Oh wait."  Amy looked over at Garret.  "Were we going somewhere else?"

Garret stood - Amy hadn't realized he was so tall - and made his way to sit beside her.  Hugo Boss clung to each article of clothing he wore.  He set his cup and saucer on a coaster beside hers.  "It isn't necessary.  We should be able to compare schedules as easily here as elsewhere."

"Okay.  Just wanted to make sure."  Amy leaned back in the couch with a fast breath as she crossed her arms.  "Like I said, I'm free all day and all afternoon.  Except for Sunday mornings.  Church, you know."  Garret unzipped his schedule book and opened it to the appropriate week.  Curiosity got the best of Amy, so she leaned slightly over to take a gander at his... life... "Oh my gosh!  How do you stay sane with all that going on?"

Garret looked over at her with an expression of surprise.  "This?" he asked as he motioned to the week.  It was nearly black and blue with all the notes and meetings and places-to-be at certain times.  "This is a mild week, due to the fact I have shooting schedules."

"B-But... You barely have 15 minutes to yourself!" Amy pressed, wide-eyed.  She met his gaze.  "No wonder you escaped to the park last week.  If you hadn't, you probably would have killed someone!"

One side of Garret's lips tilted upward.  "Yes, well, last week was a touch harsher than what is normal.  There were certain critical miscommunications."

Amy scooted closer and tapped on the weekly schedule, motioning to each day and bringing to his attention the fact that there was no free space.  "But look.  Meeting, meeting, scene shooting, luncheon date..."  She looked up to meet his mildly amused expression.  "This isn't healthy.  Do you want to have a stroke?"

"While the doctor has warned my blood pressure is a trifle higher than what he would like, I've grown accustomed to the constant demand for my attention."

Amy shook her head and scooted a little back.  "I'm sorry, but there is no way I'm going to add to that mess.  If you free your schedule at all, you should take the time for yourself and not for me."

"Nonsense.  I enjoy my work."

"Oh, is that what you call snapping people's heads off--"  Amy's eyes widened as she slapped both hands over her mouth.  Garret simply raised an eyebrow as he met her gaze.  "Oh my gosh," she said, muffled by her hands.  She shook her head and lowered her hands.  "I'm sorry.  I can't believe I said that."

His lips twitched with a smile.  “It’s quite all right.  I believe I deserved the reprimand.  To have it vocalized by a lovely lady such as yourself rather than Max is an added bonus.”

Amy let the line slide.  “I still shouldn’t have said it.  Mom brought me up with more tact than that.”

“Yes, well, tact has its place.  I have a tendency of ignoring anything but bluntness.”

Amy smiled.  “I’ve met a few people like that,” she confessed.

Garret motioned to his schedule.  “All right then.  This meeting can be rescheduled to next week… no, I believe I will cancel until after shooting is completed.  I haven’t the time for another project, as you’ve so adeptly pointed out.  And this luncheon… Hmm.  No, I suppose I should keep that appointment.  Charity and whatnot.”

Garret continued on for nearly half an hour as Amy watched in horror and amazement as he completely and totally rearranged his schedule to free 3 hours each day of that week just for rehearsals with her on one scene.  She could hardly believe it possible.  Not that she would be rehearsing with Sir Garret Harrison, but that his schedule would move like that.  But he made phone call after phone call on his tiny cell phone and canceled, rearranged, rescheduled, and shortened meetings and appointments until Amy’s name was penned in every day that week.

When Garret ended the last phone call, Amy leaned back into the couch with an exhalation of breath and a shake of her head.  “I’m exhausted.”

Garret smirked as he tucked the cell phone into the appropriate corner of his schedule book.  “Come, come.  Rearranging my schedule didn’t deserve that quip.”

Amy reluctantly smiled.  “Not from your point of view, but definitely from mine.  I’m of the philosophy that we should have at least an hour or two each day just to ourselves.”

“And what would you do with this treasure trove of availability?” Garret asked as he turned a little more toward her.  One arm draped around the back of the couch as the other rested comfortably on the arm.

“Are you kidding?” Amy asked, wide-eyed.  She brought up a hand to count off the activities on each finger.  “Read, write on that script I’ve been tinkering with, go to the movies, hang out at the coffee shop and just watch people, go watch a play in the park, just take a walk in the park...”  She lowered her hand and met his gaze again.  “There are a million things I could do.”

Garret watched her expression with a continual smile.  “You certainly give it an air of excitement.”

Amy’s lips twitched.  “Life should be exciting.  But it’s important for me to have some down time to relax and rediscover who I am, what I’m doing, and where I’m headed.  If I don’t, I might forget why I want to be on the stage in the first place.”

“And why does Miss Amy Burke want to be on stage?”

He is the smoothest flirter…  “When I was a kid, I loved the idea of performing and making people laugh or cry or whatever.  Something about… providing this alternate reality just appealed to me.  It was fun, to put it simply.  As I grew up, it became more of a…”  Amy pushed her lips to one side of her mouth as her eyes focused on the bar counter behind him.  Then her eyes focused back on his as they intensely scrutinized her expression with that same, continual, and very attractive smile.  “I’m not really sure what to call it.  I just couldn’t think of doing anything else but live these roles and perform these people that had such fascinating stories to tell.  Each time I do, it’s like I discover a new part of myself.”  She smiled, and her eyes twinkled.  “Isn’t that odd?  That we discover parts of ourselves through fictional characters because we’re not afraid to be true to their character?”

“Indeed,” he acknowledged softly.  Garret regarded her a moment.  “What have you discovered of yourself through Aeris Gainsborough?”

Amy began to feel the affect of his gentle gaze and tender tone and cologne and intoxicating… Amy cleared her throat and changed her gaze to her fingernails.  “Actually, she’s a little annoying, but probably only because I would handle situations a little differently than what the writer has.  Who knows, maybe she’s annoying because her personality is very similar to mine?”  Amy chuckled and risked changing her gaze back to Garret.  “Does that mean I’m annoying too?”  He has gorgeous blue eyes.

“Definitely not the word I would have chosen,” Garret intoned in the perfect tone of voice to be a type of…

Amy moved her gaze away, leaning forward to take a sip from her previously forgotten coffee.  “But it does give one cause to wonder, you must admit.”

“I wonder only how you have remained so fresh and cheerful among the usual skepticism of New York City.”

Amy blinked before taking up the spoon and stirring the caramel colored liquid.  Renee wasn’t kidding about the charm.  “My dad says I’m a continual optimist with a humor streak the size of the Mississippi.”

Garret chuckled and crossed his right ankle onto his left knee, which of course caused the sole of his foot to brush Amy’s leg.  Amy couldn’t help but smile.  None of the men in her entire experience of high school and college and every day working at the coffee shop had ever been this smooth.  She rather enjoyed it.

Amy took up her cup and saucer and leaned back into the couch.  “Sometimes I have problems with inappropriate sarcasm, but I’m always quick to apologize.”  She took a sip of coffee and then gave a slight shrug.  “Well, most of the time.  There are those times when they either deserved it, or I was too clueless to realize I was out of line.”

“I find that hard to believe.”

Amy smiled as she kept her eyes from his face, attractive and inviting as it was.  “I guess that means I’m a good actor.”

Garret chuckled as he very smoothly adjusted his seating to move slightly closer to Amy.  The excuse in doing so was, of course, to gain a better position to retrieve his cup and saucer from the coffee table.  I wonder if he’ll try to kiss me?  It wasn’t an unpleasant prospect to say the least, but Amy wasn’t that type of girl.   A bedpost mark?  I don’t think so.  Amy was a prude, and she wasn’t ashamed of it, either.

“I propose a challenge, then.”

Amy blinked and looked over at him.  Garret met her gaze with the same attractive expression of flirtation that wasn’t as painfully obvious as the men in her life before.  “Excuse me?”

Garret leaned forward to place his cup and saucer back onto the coffee table.  “I shall begin a scene with what I believe is the appropriate amount of dialogue lead-in, and you are to continue with the appropriate response.”

Amy arched an eyebrow as she very slowly set her cup and saucer beside his.  “Hmm.  I think I’m in for a humiliating experience.”

Garret chuckled as he stood to move opposite the coffee table.  “Nonsense.”  He gestured her forward.  “Come, come, Amy.”

Amy released a deep breath as she stood.  “Alright, but you better promise not to ridicule me.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.  Of course I shan’t.”

Garret’s blue eyes twinkled as she came to stand opposite him.  Then his expression and entire persona changed.  Amy could see a touch of distress and intensity within the expression and stance.  It rose to a type of fervor as he stepped slightly toward her, lost within the role.

“‘Madam, is there here any armor within your chamber that I might cover my body withal?  And if there be any, give it me, and I shall soon stop their malice, by the grace of God!’”

As he delivered the lines with such complete and total immersion into the character, Amy instantly knew where he quoted from.  In fact, she had chosen this scene as a Final her second year at NYU.  It was a scene from Morte Darthur, from the section known as ‘The Conspiracy against Lancelot and Guinevere’.  Garret, of course, played Sir Lancelot.  In the scene, Sir Lancelot had been caught within Queen Guinevere’s chambers in a less than moral position.  It had all been used as a conspiracy by certain other knights to prove Sir Lancelot traitor.

Amy had always loved the scene because of its passion and intensely emotional dialogue.

Amy, in full character and anguish that her love was in danger, took hold of Garret/Sir Lancelot’s arm. “‘Now, truly I have none armor neither helm, shield, sword, neither spear, wherefore I dread me sore our long love is come to a mischievous end.’”  Amy/Guinevere gestured behind her to the imaginary hall which held the men thirsting for her love’s blood and calling him traitor.  “‘For I hear by their noise there be many noble knights, and well I woot they be securely armed, and against them ye may make no resistance.’”  Her expression became pained as she held his arm with both hands.  “‘Wherefore ye are likely to be slain, and then shall I be burned!  For if ye might escape them I would not doubt but that ye would rescue me in what danger that ever I stood in.’”

“‘Alas!  In all my life thus was I never beset that I should be thus shamefully slain for lack of mine armor.’”  And Sir Lancelot’s aggravation at his apparent helplessness at defending his love as well as his person was masterfully portrayed by Garret’s expression.  “Ah, Jesu mercy!’” Garret/Sir Lancelot continued.  “‘This shameful cry and noise I may not suffer, for better were death at once than thus to endure this pain.’”  Then Garret/Sir Lancelot took Amy/Guinevere into his arms and kissed her.

Amy had been kissed several times throughout her life, but nothing had ever come even remotely close to the complete and total mergence of passion, intensity, and tenderness.  It moved her as nothing else had ever done.

Then Garret/Sir Lancelot raised his head and said, “‘Most noblest Christian queen, I beseech you, as ye have been ever my special good lady, and I at all times your poor knight and true to the utmost of my power, and as I never failed you in right nor in wrong sithen the first day King Arthur made me knight, that ye will pray for my soul if that I be slain.  For well I am assured that Sir Bors, my nephew, and all the remnant of my kin, with Sir Lavain and Sir Urry, that they will not fail you to rescue you from the fire.”  Garret/Sir Lancelot caressed Amy/Guinevere’s face with a tender touch that brought tears to her eyes as her gaze was held so completely by his.  “And therefore, mine own lady, recomfort yourself, whatsoever come of me, that ye go with Sir Bors, my nephew, and Sir Urry and they all will do you all the pleasure that they may, and ye shall live like a queen upon my lands.’”

Amy/Guinevere shook her head.  “‘Nay, Sir Lancelot,’” she said in a cracked and broken voice – amazed all the while that she still remembered the lines, “‘wit thou well that I will not live long after thy days.  But if ye be slain I will take my death as meekly as ever did martyr take his death for Jesu Christ’s sake.’”

Garret/Sir Lancelot’s expression became resigned and tender.  “‘Well, Madam, sith it is so that the day is come that our love must come to an end, wit you well I shall sell my life as dear as I may.’”  His expression held clear anguish.  “‘And a thousandfold I am more grieved for you than for myself!  And now I had rather than to be lord of all Christendom that I had sure armor upon me, that men might speak of my deeds ere ever I were slain.’”

Amy/Guinevere reached up with both hands to caress Garret/Sir Lancelot’s face.  “‘Truly, if it might please God, I would that they would take me and slay me and allow you to escape,’” she said softly, tenderly.

Garret/Sir Lancelot shook his head.  “‘That shall never be.’”  He stepped away from her with a clear expression of purpose and determination.  “‘God defend me from such a shame!  But, Jesu Christ, be Thou my shield and mine armor!’”

Then Sir Lancelot disappeared to that realm of fiction and imagination that existed in all actors.  Amy, though, was still in such a daze from the kiss and the scene and the complete joy to act in such a work of literary wonder, that she barely noticed the transition.

“Well done,” Garret said with a smile in eyes and on lips.  “Your portrayal of Queen Guinevere was… superb.”

“Thank you,” Amy said in a tone that seemed a little lost, but she did have presence of mind enough to offer “I’ve always loved that scene.”

Garret stepped a little closer, but Amy was so intense on the duty of gathering her wits from the edges of her sanity that she didn’t notice.  “Such a statement doesn’t shock in the least,” he said, stepping closer still.  “Especially with your convincing performance of love and tenderness.  Magnificent.  Breathtaking.”  Garret surrounded her with his arms and drew her closer.  “Enchanting,” he whispered.

Amy blinked up at him, her green eyes lost in the depths of his blue ones.  Some part of her mind desperately tried to remind her of something very important, but then he was kissing her and the warning was lost amidst the scene and the characters and the wondrous emotion of attraction.

Reality dropped like a lead weight when the intensity of his kiss heightened, bringing with it a remembered comment of ‘he’ll have you in his sheets in less than a week’.

Amy pulled back, stepping away from Garret’s kiss and cologne and warmth with a slight gasp.  “No,” she said with a shake of her head, eyes wide.

Garret followed with an easy smile, his hands catching hold of hers as he said “‘Oh mistress mine, where are you roaming? / O, stay and hear; your true love’s coming, / that can sing both high and low.’”

Amy shook her head again.  Shakespeare… Oh my gosh.  Sir Garret Harrison is quoting Shakespeare…  “M-Mr. Harrison…” And she took another step back.

Garret followed still.  “‘Trip no further, pretty sweeting; / Journeys end in lovers meeting, / Every wise man’s son doth know.’”  He drew her closer, his gaze holding hers as his smile made Amy unable to say a word.  “‘What is love? ‘tis not hereafter; / Present mirth hath present laughter; / What’s to come is still unsure: / In delay there lies no plenty;’”  Garret very slowly lowered his head, drawing his lips ever closer to hers.  Amy watched in shock and horror as her mind lost control of her body.  “‘Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty, / Youth’s a stuff will not endure,’” he whispered.

Amy closed her eyes as his lips gently met hers.  Oh my gosh… this can’t be happening…  And her mind felt as if she were drowning on a wave of so many things and thoughts and emotions that she was lost among them. ‘he’ll have you in his sheets’--  Amy pulled back with a scowl, shoving Garret away a little more forcefully than she probably should have.

“No,” she said firmly, “I am not going to be another mark on your bedpost!”  Amy scowled up into Garret’s surprised expression.

The easy, attractive, flirtatious smile returned as he enfolded her hands in his.  “Amy--”

“No,” she said again, pulling her hands free.  She put fists on hips.  “Mr. Harrison, this is exactly what Renee warned me about.  You want to know what I told her?  I told her that she shouldn’t believe those gossip columns because they never know the full story.”  Hurt and tears began to glitter in her eyes as Garret’s smile slowly faded.  “I was doing my best, my best, to give you a chance to be yourself.  In fact, these meetings with you have been a lot of fun.”

A tear escaped, but Amy ignored it.  “You had no right to trample all over that in my home and take advantage of a passionate situation.  And I would rather not think you planned it that way.  If you want to start a relationship, Mr. Harrison, then you could at least have the decency to talk to me about it.  I wouldn’t have said no.  You’re a very attractive man, brilliant on stage, and a pleasant human being when given the chance.  In fact, I had begun to like you as a person, and not as what some people would call a meal ticket to the bright lights of New York City’s inner-circle.”

Garret said nothing.  He only straightened, holding her angry, hurt, and tear-filled gaze.

Amy sniffed, and her tone and expression softened as she wiped the tears from her cheeks.  “I’m a person, Mr. Harrison, with feelings and views and thoughts on life and living.  I am not someone or something to be conquered.  It hurts me to think you believed I was.”

This time Garret lowered his gaze.  Then he turned and moved toward the couch, taking up his schedule book before making his way to the door.  He unlocked the deadbolt and slid back the chain.  Once he had opened the door, he turned back and said very softly “I apologize, Miss Burke,” while not meeting her gaze.

Then he closed the door after him.  Amy sniffed and slowly made her way to the couch, where she sat on the very edge and covered her face with her hands.


Chapter 6

Final Fantasy 6 Fanfic