Six: Garret Harrison

(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 with the poem. That will help with the smoothness of the reading. Also, try rereading the poem. Believe me, it helps in the understanding. ^_^)


When Renee had returned from work a couple hours later, Amy had been soaking in the tub while listening to Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman, something Renee knew Amy only did when upset.  Renee of course had pelted Amy with questions, but she hadn’t wanted to add to the already horrendous mountain of gossip stacked against Garret.  As usual for Amy, she wanted to give him another chance.  Like she had said to his face, she was beginning to like him as a person.  If he wanted to start a relationship, she would.

Amy didn’t sleep that night.  She felt bad for Garret.  Not because of what she had said, but because she thought he might have really believed the only way he could get ‘love’ was through his fame.  Amy didn’t ever like reading too much into situations, but she had seen and heard it all too often.

Amy sighed now, sitting as she was on the couch while trying to study her script before her scheduled rehearsal time with him later that afternoon.  I wasn’t too hard on him, was I?  Amy had done her best to be honest, just like her mom and dad had taught her, while being as tactful as possible.  The only problem being that Amy had this inkling no one said ‘no’ to Sir Garret Harrison very often.  Didn’t I have a hard enough time?  Amy sighed again, giving a shake of her head just as there was a knock on the door.


She unfurled herself from the couch, gave the waistband of her flannel loungers a gentle pull upward, and then headed over to the door.  She unlocked the deadbolt but kept the chain.  When she opened the door, Garret stood on the other side dressed in pressed Calvin Klein jeans and yet another Ralph Lauren Polo shirt of dark blue.

Amy blinked.  “Oh.  Hello.  Just a sec.”  Amy slightly closed the door, unfastened the chain, and then opened it the rest of the way.  She motioned inside with an outstretched arm.  “Come on in.”

Garret hesitated a moment before stepping over the threshold and standing quite uncertain in the middle of the living room.

Amy motioned to the couch.  “Have a seat.”  She gathered up her script and set it on the coffee table, then she headed for the kitchen.  “Coffee?”

“Yes.  Thank you.”

“I’ll set it to brewing and then change into something a little more… appropriate.”  Amy had already ground some coffee beans earlier, so she put the appropriate amount into the basket, filled the machine with water, and then turned it on.  “It should only take a couple minutes.  Be right back.”

Amy closed the door to her bedroom and leaned against it with a sigh.  Just don’t try any approach but the right one, Garret.  Please?  Give yourself a chance.  Amy pushed away from the door and changed into her favorite jean/sweatshirt combination.  When she headed out of her bedroom, she heard the clunk and clink of Garret in the kitchenette preparing a mug of coffee.  The idea of Sir Garret Harrison in her kitchen making coffee settled well, but she supposed the idea of any eligible bachelor as good looking as Garret Harrison in her kitchen would have settled well.

Amy sat on the couch tailor-style as she said “the chocolate powder is in a glass container to the left of the coffee-maker.”

A few minutes later, Garret emerged with two cup-and-saucer combinations in hand.  He set both on the waiting coasters on the coffee table and then sat beside her on the couch.  Garret began absently stirring his coffee.  A few moments later, he set the spoon aside and cleared his throat, staring down at his hands before turning to meet her gaze.  He looked about to speak several times, but then he pressed his lips together and faced forward again.

Amy drew her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around her legs.  “I’m not mad, you know,” she said quietly.  “You apologized, and I believe you meant it.  I’m not one to hold a grudge.”  Garret didn’t acknowledge her statement, so Amy smiled and said “‘No more be grieved at that which thou hast done: / Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud.’”  Garret’s lips lifted in a slight smile as Amy continued.  “‘Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun, / And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud. / All men make faults.’”

“‘And even I in this,’” Garret finished.  He looked over at her.  “Yet another bit of proof that you have actually read those books I see rising up behind you.”

Amy examined her knees with a slight smile.  “What else are you supposed to do with books?”

“Many own them to impress the appropriate crowd.”

Amy raised her gaze to meet his.  Her expression was truthful.  “The only people I’ve ever wanted to impress were my parents, and my grades did that.”  Then the smile returned.  “Although I must admit I’m glad you liked my Guinevere performance.”

Garret cleared his throat and looked away.

Amy chuckled.  “I’m sorry.  That was hitting below the belt.”

Garret released a long breath.  “Miss Burke--”

“Amy,” she softly insisted as she watched his profile.

He reached forward to take up the action of stirring his coffee again.  “Amy,” he corrected, “my actions last night have put you into an awkward situation, to say the least.  If you wish to bow out of your role within this movie, I do not blame you in the least.”

Amy retrieved her cup and saucer to take a sip.  Then she simply stared down at the slightly wavering caramel-colored liquid.  “Do you want me to?”  Garret didn’t answer, so Amy changed her gaze to his profile.  “I’ve never run away from anything in my life, Garret, but if you want me to quit… I will.  This is your movie.”

Garret finally turned his head to meet her gaze.  “You’re an odd one, Miss Amy Burke,” he said simply.

Amy slightly smiled as she sipped her coffee.  “And why’s that?”

“You do not take advantage.  You do not chase fame and fortune as a parched man chases mirages for a taste of non-existent water.  You are unlike any young woman previously met.”

Amy chuckled.  “And that’s a bad thing?”

“Intriguing, yes.  Bad?”  Garret shook his head, still gauging her as she sipped her coffee.  “No.  I don’t believe so.”

Amy ran a finger lightly around the rim of her coffee cup, watching its trail around with twinkling eyes.  “Thank you.  I like being intriguing.”

Garret continued to watch her.  “I believe choosing you as Aeris Gainsborough to be the best choice made thus far.”

Amy actually flushed.  “I appreciate that, but I think your Sephiroth will make the movie.  He’s a wonderful character, and you’re just the man to carry the role.”

“Flattery has just earned you a pay-raise.”

Amy laughed, her eyes crinkling at the corners as she looked over at him.  “The only pay-raise I need is to hear you recite more.”

Garret’s lips twitched as he regarded her.  Then, much to Amy’s surprise, he began to softly quote “‘A woman’s face with Nature’s own hand painted / Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion; / A woman’s gentle heart but not acquainted / With shifting change as is false women’s fashion; / An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling, / Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth…’”  Garret continued to watch her face.

Amy sniffed and whispered “Thank you for choosing that one.  It’s one of my favorites.”

Garret faintly smiled.  “Shakespeare.  Always the tool to a woman’s heart.”

Amy chuckled.  “Oh, I don’t know.  Sir Philip Sydney has some wonderful works.  And I know of a poem by Queen Elizabeth that I love to death.”

On Monsieur’s Departure?” Garret asked.

Amy nodded while taking another sip of coffee.  “That’s the one.”

Garret retrieved his coffee with one hand while motioning with the other.  “You must recite it.”

“After your performance of Shakespeare?” she asked, wide-eyed.

Garret chuckled, motioning again for her to recite.  “Come, come.”

Amy set down her cup and saucer and then wiped her palms on her jeans.  “Alright,” she whispered.  “Let’s see.”

Amy cleared her throat before taking in a deep breath to set the inner mood.  Then she softly and intensely quoted “‘I grieve and dare not show my discontent, / I love and yet am forced to seem to hate, / I do, yet dare not say I ever meant, / I seem stark mute but inwardly do prate. / I am and not, I freeze and yet am burned, / Since from myself another self I turned.’”  Amy closed her eyes as her spirit searched out the words, lifting her hands to her chest in movement and mood of the poem.  “‘My care is like my shadow in the sun, / Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it, / Stands and lies by me, doth what I have done. / His too familiar care doth make me rue it. / No means I find to rid him from my breast, / Till by the end of things it be suppressed.’”  Amy shook her head, sadness blanketing her expression.  “‘Some gentler passion slide into my mind, / For I am soft and made of melting snow; / Or be more cruel, love, and so be kind. / Let me or float or sink, be high or low, / Or let me live with some more sweet content, / Or die and so forget what love ere meant.’”

Garret lowered his cup and saucer to the coffee table with a slight clink, making Amy give a startled jump as her eyes focused on his face.  He softly applauded.  “Bravo, Amy.  Bravo.”

Amy flushed and quickly retrieved her coffee.  “Stop.  It wasn’t that good.”

“On the contrary, absolutely wonderful,” he contradicted as he again took up his cup.  “Have you recited in public often?”

Amy shook her head.  “Not recently.  I did when I still studied at NYU.  It was required as part of my grade.”

Garret nodded, and then he suddenly looked to his watch.  “Blast.”  He set down his cup and saucer as he stood.

Amy watched him with wide eyes.  “What’s the matter?”

“I’ve a meeting scheduled for 20 minutes hence.”  Garret made his way to the door, Amy following after him.  “Now I haven’t the time to change,” he mumbled.

“I’m sorry.  You should have told me.”

“Nonsense.  You aren’t to blame.”  Garret opened the door and turned; his expression thoughtful.  “Let us postpone this afternoon’s rehearsal until tomorrow.  Then I shall inform you of my decision.”

Amy nodded, holding his gaze.  “Drive carefully.  It’s getting about the time the crazies are out.”

Garret continued to look down at her with an odd expression.  “‘They that have power to hurt and will do none…’”

One side of his lips twitched upward as the other seemed almost to say ‘Hmm.’  Then he stroked Amy’s cheek with the back of a finger before turning away to stride toward the elevator with long steps, long white hair streaming behind.  Amy stared after him, eyes wide.  When he entered the elevator, he sent her a smile as he slightly bowed.  Then the elevator closed.

Amy closed the front door and leaned against it with a slow breath.  Then she smiled and lowered her gaze to her feet.  A part of her knew his change of heart could only be another avenue taken to get what he wanted – after all, who said ‘no’ to Garret Harrison – but Amy had dedicated herself to thinking the best of people.  She wasn’t going to do any less than that for him.

Knock knock

Amy gave a startled twitch and turned to open the door, which she hadn’t chained or locked yet.  Garret stood on the other side.  Amy blinked and then smiled.  “I seriously doubt you’re back from your meeting already.  And I refuse to let you flake out of it just so we can recite more poetry to each other, fun as it is.”

Garret sent her his usual attractive and inviting smile.  “No, no.  I haven’t become as irresponsible as that.”

Amy leaned against the door jam and crossed her arms, her lips still tickled with a smile.  “Then what can I do for you, Mr. Harrison?”

Garret’s eyes twinkled with what must have been mischief.  One side of his lips twitched slightly higher as he leaned against the same side of the door, barely four inches from her.  “‘Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss: / Her lips sucks forth my soul, see where it flies! / Come Helen, come, give me my soul again. / Here will I dwell, for heaven be in these lips, / And all is dross that is not Helena!’”

Amy could better control her wilting resolve now that she was more prepared for Garret’s charm and flirtation.  Although his aroma of innate passion and intensity was intoxicating.  Dr. Faustus; Scene 13,” she named softly.  “I think I liked the play better than the opera Faust, although the songs are wonderful.”  Amy reached out with a single finger, which she pressed against his chest to push him gently out of her personal space.  “Now, seriously, what can I do for you?”

Garret chuckled as he straightened.  “I have returned with an invitation to accompany.”

Amy arched an eyebrow.  “’Accompany’ you to what?”

“My meeting.”

“Your--”  Amy straightened while her arms went swiftly to her sides.  “What?”  She shook her head.  “I couldn’t.  It’s… That’s… Isn’t it private?”

“I suppose they might construe it as such,” he acknowledge with a slight nod, “but I have enjoyed our conversations too much to wish an end to them.”

Amy flushed at the compliment but continued her protest.  “Garret, I… While I appreciate the offer, I really don’t think that would be a good idea.  I would feel as if I were barging in on not only your private life, but theirs too.  I couldn’t do that.”

Garret leaned against the door jam yet again, arms crossed as he slightly smirked down at her.  “Even though the attendance may mean an assurance of the pinnacle to your career?”

Amy’s eyes widened as her mouth dropped slightly open.  She sputtered less than gracefully before finally saying passionately “Especially then!  I can’t accept special favors from you, Garret.”

“And why is that?” he asked, still smiling.

“If there’s going to be any kind of ‘pinnacle’, I would like to earn it on my own.”

Garret accepted the point with another slight nod.  “Yes, I acknowledge the importance of that, but who is to say you haven’t earned this opportunity?  Amy, I can very easily consider these shared meetings a type of ongoing audition.”

Amy shook her head.  “But they weren’t,” she insisted with a bit more intensity than she wanted.  Amy cleared her throat.  “Garret, I would never use you like that.”

Garret regarded her a moment, the upward lift of his lips a bit more prominent than before.  “No, I don’t suppose you would.  Perhaps there is the attraction?”

Amy blinked as she leaned slightly back.  “What?” she asked carefully.

Garret’s eyes traced her features as he whispered “‘Who will in fairest book of Nature know / How Virtue may best lodged in beauty be, / Let him but learn of Love to read in thee, / Stella, those fair lines, which true goodness show. / There shall he find all vices’ overthrow, / Not by rude force, but sweetest sovereignty / Of reason, from whose light those night-birds fly.’”  He adjusted his crossed arms as his gaze again met hers.  “Yes, Sir Philip Sydney has the appropriate words…  You continue to intrigue and surprise, a surprisingly sensual aspect I had forgotten existed of a woman.”

Amy stared up at him in muted shock and disbelief before a smile blossomed onto her face.  She shook her head with a chuckle, and then she reached out to take both of his upper arms in her hands and push him a step back from her door jam.  “You have a meeting to get to, Mr. Harrison.  Punctuality, remember?”

Garret embraced her face in his hands, Amy’s smile vanishing with the motion, and said “‘But, ah, Desire still cries, give me some food.’”  And then he briefly and tenderly kissed her.

Amy’s heart danced at the gentle passion of it, but she still pulled his hands from her face and her lips from his – much strength drained with the effort – and shook her head slightly.  “Garret…”

Garret gave a bit of a nod with a whispered “‘My lips are sweet, inspired with Stella’s kiss.’”

Amy reluctantly smiled as she pulled her hands free from his.  “You know all the lines – Shakespeare and Sir Philip Sydney both – that make a girl’s heart flutter, don’t you?”

Garret smirked.  “Too many years of practice with gaining a lady’s favor.”

Amy nodded, and then her expression became serious.  “But what does Garret Harrison say to woo a lady?”  She reached out to gently touch his chest where his heart/soul was.  Garret’s gaze lowered to the action.  “What’s in there?” Amy asked softly.

Garret stared at her finger touching his chest for a long moment before lifting a hand to pull her touch away.  “I had best go,” he said as he met her gaze.  “Until tomorrow.”

Amy nodded, submerging her hands deep into her pockets when he released his hold.  “Alright.  Have fun,” she said softly.

Garret turned away and headed slowly for the elevator.

“Garret?” Amy called suddenly.

Garret stopped and turned.  “What is it?”

Amy cleared her throat.  “You can call me whenever you want.  Or stop by… Or… whatever.”

A slight smile lightened Garret’s serious expression.  “While I doubt my schedule will permit, I appreciate the offer.”

Amy nodded as she lowered her gaze to her toes.  She rocked back onto her heels.  “I know, I… I just wanted to… to let you hear the invitation, I guess.”

Garret remained quiet for a moment.  “Thank you, Amy,” he finally said.

She peeked up at him with a slight smile.  “Sure.”

And then Sir Garret Harrison gave a slight bow and turned again for the elevator.  The door closed, sealing away his smile and releasing Amy’s heart.  She let out a slow breath.  “Where’s Garret Harrison?” she whispered.  Then she turned and entered her apartment, closing the door softly behind her.


Chapter 7

Final Fantasy 6 Fanfic