Seven: Rehearsals

(To all of those who abhor sappiness and poetic nonsense: BEWARE!)

Amy looked up from her notebook computer at the desk in her room when there was a light tap on her bedroom door.  She turned slightly in her chair to look over her shoulder.  “It’s open.”

Renee opened the door and leaned against the frame.  “I’m heading to work, Aims.  I’ll call in sick if you need to talk or shop, or even just walk in the park.”

Amy smiled.  “Sorry for ignoring you lately, Renee.”

“And moping, and mumbling under your breath, and staring out the window sighing and looking pathetic.”  Renee stepped into the room and sat on Amy’s bed.  Amy turned to look at her.  “I’m kind of worried about you, Aims.  And you won’t talk to me about what’s bugging you.”

“I’m sorry, Ren.”

“You don’t need to be sorry, Aims, just let me know what’s got you down.”

Amy smiled.  “I’m just a little distracted, Ren.  Promise.”

Renee released a deep breath as she gave a shrug of her shoulders.  “Alright, but promise to talk to me if whatever it is gets worse.  Okay?  We’ve been friends too long to stop talking to each other now.”

“I will.”

Renee smiled as she stood.  “Alright, well I better scoot.  Maybe we can see a movie tonight?”

Amy nodded with a smirk.  “Only if I get to choose.”

“Deal.  See ya later, Aims.”

“Bye, Ren.  Have fun at work.”

“No promises.”

And a few seconds later Amy heard the front door close and the deadbolt lock.  Amy didn’t like the feeling that she couldn’t tell Renee about everything going on with Garret – whatever ‘everything’ was – but Renee wouldn’t have understood.  Renee already had a set idea of what Garret was like.

Amy sighed as she saved what little work she’d done on her script.  The phone on her desk twittered.  Amy picked it up as she set to work shutting down the laptop.  “Hello.”

“Hi, Aims.  Did you want to have pizza for dinner tonight?  I could pick up a pie on the way home.”

“How about Chinese instead?”  Amy asked as she closed the laptop.  “We haven’t had Chinese for a long time.”

“You know, that sounds pretty good.  Anything special, or just whatever?”

“Whatever, but can you get pork fried rice instead of chicken?”

“Sure.  See ya later, sweetie.”

“Bye.”  Amy replaced the receiver with a sigh.  It immediately rang again.  “Hello.”

“Sorry, Aims.  Forgot to ask you about the dry cleaning.  Can you pick it up?  I’ll pay you back.  Promise.”

“Sure, Ren,” Amy said with a smile.

“Thanks.  Bye.”

“Bye.”  Amy shook her head with a chuckle as she set the phone down.  It rang and Amy laughed.  “Hello.”

“I swear this is the last time.”

“It’s okay, Ren.  What did you need?”

“Can you drop the bills off at the mailbox?  I meant to grab them, but I completely spaced it.”

“Don’t worry about it, Ren.  I’ll take care of it.”

“Thanks.  I appreciate it.  See ya.”

“Bye, Ren.”  Amy chuckled.

Amy replaced the receiver, waited for it to ring again, and then made her way out of her room.  The phone rang just as she made her way to the couch.  She sat with a quick breath and picked up the phone.  “Hello.”

“Good morning, Amy.  This is Garret.  Have I called too early?”

Amy blinked as she sat up.  “No.  Renee just left for work and I was about to make myself breakfast.  What’s up?”

“I’m afraid I shan’t be available to meet after all.  Something has come up.”

Amy arched an eyebrow.  “That’s alright, Garret.  I completely understand.  I had a few errands to run myself.”

There was a moment or two of silence before Garret spoke again.  “I will call if there is a change in my schedule.”

“Sounds good to me.  I guess I’ll talk to you later.”  Amy waited for the click, but it didn’t come.  “Was there something else?”  Like why you’re giving me the brush off?  Then again, Amy didn’t blame him.  First she’d said ‘no’ to his advances, then she had practically dared him to reveal himself to possible rejection by being true to Garret Harrison and leaving Shakespeare and other poets out of the picture.  “Garret?  Hello?”


Amy looked down at the phone with a raised eyebrow before thoughtfully replacing it on the receiver.  No rehearsals for you this week, I bet.  Amy sighed and went to make breakfast.


Amy was rinsing out her bowl and setting it in the sink when the phone rang.  Amy shook the water off her hands, wiping them on her flannel trousers as she hurried to the phone on the end-table by the couch.  “Hello.”

“Hey you.  How’s it going?”

Amy arched an eyebrow at the male voice.  “It’s going fine.  Thanks.  What can I do for you?”

“I thought maybe we could get together and rehearse some of the scenes.  I’m bored, and I think I’ve got them memorized enough for us to work on timing and stuff.”

Amy sat in the couch with a smirk.  “Mark, how in the world did you get this number?”

“I looked it up in the phone book.  How else?  You think Shepherd’s going to give me the phone number of the best looking girl in the flick?  Hell no!”

Amy shook her head as she pressed a hand up against her forehead.  She released a deep breath.  “Well, as a matter of fact, I was wanting to get some pre-shooting rehearsal in.”

“Great!  Where do you live?”

Amy gave a shrug of her shoulders with an expression of ‘sure, why not’ and gave him her address and apartment number.  “Just don’t forget your script.”

Mark laughed.  “Of course not.  That’s the only reason I’m coming over.”

Amy arched an eyebrow.  “Well, whether that’s the case or not, that’s all we’re going to be doing.”

“Alright.  We’ll see you in a few.”


Amy replaced the receiver very slowly, staring at it as her instinct told her what she’d agreed to was a very bad idea.  Mark was likely just as much – or more of – a wolf than Garret had turned out to be.  Amy sighed and looked away from the phone.  She hated thinking of anyone that way.  Especially when they’re usually always plugged into that category anyway.  So why wouldn’t Mark and Garret and anyone else continue to act that way?  It was expected of them.  And it’s definitely easier than trying to be in a relationship with someone.

Amy sighed again, resting her head back on the couch as she stared at the ceiling.  “‘Love what art thou? A vain thought / In our minds by fant’sy wrought. / Idle smiles did thee beget, / While fond wishes made the net / Which so many fools have caught.’”

Amy shook her head.  Then, refusing to be pathetic and miserable, she stood and went to change.

The knock announcing Mark’s arrival sounded after Amy had finished her shower, changing, and brewing a fresh pot of coffee.  She set her honey-covered spoon into her mug before making her way to the door.  Mark looked very sexy in his black Tommy Hilfiger jeans and same-brand T-shirt with the American flag across the front.

Amy stepped back with a “Come on in” and then closed – but not locked – the door behind him.  She motioned to the couch.  “Have a seat.  Coffee?”

“No, thanks.”  Mark set his script on the coffee table as he looked around.  “Hey.  You’ve got a nice place.  A little small, but nice.”

Amy smirked as she finished making her coffee.  “Thanks.  Ren and I like it.”

“It kind of reminds me of the first apartment I had in L.A..”

Amy returned from the kitchenette with her coffee and sat beside him – not too close – as she set the coffee onto the waiting coaster.  “Yeah, those first apartments hold a lot of memories, don’t they?”

“Sure do.  Good and bad.”  Mark spread his arms along the back of the couch, as Amy knew he would.  “So, how long you been in New York?”

“About five years,” Amy told him as she gathered her script and leaned back.

“Really?  I’ve only been here about 18 months.  You should show me around and tell me what’s what.”

“Oh.  Doesn’t Vanessa have the time to do that?” Amy plugged without looking over at him.

Mark laughed.  “Oh no.  Don’t tell me you believe those gossip rags.  Vanessa and I are… friends.”

“Uh-huh,” Amy said in a tone that clearly said ‘suuuure’.

“Oh come on, Amy.  You know I only have eyes for you.”

Amy shook her head with a chuckle.  “And every other pretty girl that walks just the right way.”

“Ouch.  That hurts.”

Amy laughed as she looked over at his feigned expression of pain.  “Don’t try the smooth works on me, Mark Frasier.  I’ve seen and heard them all, and I’m not moved or in the least bit atwitter.  Let’s just be friends and do the best we can as the roles we have.  Deal?”

Mark’s expression melted to a smile.  “Sure, but you can’t blame a guy for trying, can ya?”

“Sure I can, because you used less than unique material,” Amy teased, laughing.

Mark’s smile vanished as he stared at her, open-mouthed.  “That’s so mean,” he said in a hushed voice.

Amy laughed harder, her eyes watering as she leaned forward with a shake of her head.  “It’s the truth, and you know it,” she accused when she could speak.  She reached for her coffee.  “Now come on.  We’ve got to get some work done.”

Mark crossed his arms with a surprisingly boyish and cute expression of pouting.  “I don’t want to anymore.”

Amy set aside her script and moved back into the corner of the couch, tailor-style.  “Fine.  I’ll just enjoy my coffee and stare at you, all the while making funny faces.”  It was like hanging out with her younger brother.

One of Mark’s lips twitched, and then he changed his gaze to Amy’s, who was performing one of the silly faces promised.  He laughed.  “I wish I had a camera.  I’d post that on the internet and get Bo coup bucks from the tabloids for the story.”

“Fine.  I don’t care in the least.  After all, I’m going home after this.”

Joking and teasing vanished from Mark’s expression.  “Are you serious about that?  I know you said it before but… Why not make the most of the fame and--”

“And do what?” Amy interrupted with a slight wide-eyed expression.  She watched him from over her coffee cup.  “Dread reading the paper and the magazines because of the newest bit of untrue or exaggerated gossip printed about me and a friend?  Put up with the droves of newspaper reporters, photographers, and overzealous fans that’ll track me wherever I go?  Sacrifice my privacy to the fickle world of film and screen?”  Amy shook her head.  “Sorry.  I’m not going to do that.  Sure, all the attention is great at first.  But year after year, month after month?”  She shook her head again.  “I don’t want to lose who I am to that.”

Mark studied her with a thoughtful expression.  “Then why the movie?  Why even start the ball rolling if you weren’t going to pick it up?”

Amy shrugged as she changed her gaze to her coffee.  “I only went to the audition because Ren asked me to.  I figure there’s a reason I got picked, so I might as well follow through.  I’ve never quit anything in my life.”

“So even if you make it big, and win awards, and get instant recognition, you’re still going to go back home to teach?”

Amy smiled and met his gaze again.  “Hey, if I get all that, maybe the kids will actually listen to what I have to say and learn something?  Maybe that’s why I’m here?  Maybe a kid needing purpose and direction will get that when he or she enrolls in my class?”

Mark smiled.  “You know, you and Nessie think a lot alike.”

Amy arched an eyebrow.  “Nessie?”

Mark laughed.  “Whoops.  I wasn’t supposed to say that.  She’s going to kill me.”

Amy’s mouth dropped open.  “You’re talking about Vanessa Heron, aren’t you?  You are more than friends!”

Mark grimaced.  “Stop.  You’re giving me the creeps.”  He sat forward and grabbed his script.  “Let’s just rehearse.”

Amy chuckled as she unfurled herself from the couch and set her coffee on the table.  She took up her own script.  “Okay.  What scene did you want to do?  You want to read through them all, in chronological order?”

“Sure.  Let’s see… Scene 10 is the first one.  No, wait.  The first one’s earlier, in Scene 3 after I bomb the Reactor.”

“You’re right.  There’s only a couple lines, though.”

“We should still make sure they flow.”

And that’s what the two did most of the morning.  They decided to pass the scenes where she only had one or two lines, focusing instead on the bulkier ones that would be more pivotal to the movie.  Amy laughed and teased Mark during the rehearsal of the scene titled ‘Miss Cloud’.  Then Mark was able to get a little back at her when they did their best to rehearse the scene titled ‘Midnight Date’, opting to kiss the non-existent Evil Dragon King rather than her as the Princess.  All in all, they were having a blast.

Amy glanced at her watch as they neared the ‘Temple of the Ancients’ scene.  “Shoot.  It’s already noon.”

“I thought I was getting a little hungry.”  Mark set aside his script.  “Let’s go grab a bite to eat.”

Amy shook her head.  “Sorry, Mark.  I can’t.  I’ve got errands.”

“I’ll drive ya.”

Amy smiled.  “Thanks, but I like having the time to myself.  You’d just be bored to tears anyway.”

Mark and Amy stood, and Amy followed Mark to the door.  She opened it.  “Thanks for the fun, Mark.  It was like hanging out with Geoffrey again.  My brother.”

Mark grimaced.  “Brother?  Damn.  Not a chance in hell, huh?”

Amy laughed.  “Sorry, Mark.  Save that for ‘Nessie’.”

Mark smirked.  “Don’t you dare say that in front of her.  She’ll skin me alive.”  Mark gestured down the hall.  “Why don’t I escort you to the front at least?”

“Okay.”  Amy grabbed her purse and the mail from the knick-knack table beside the front door and then scooped up her keys.  Then she closed and locked the door behind her.

They chatted about the scenes they rehearsed, which lines needed to be changed to make it easier to say, and which ones should be scrapped altogether as they descended in the elevator and proceeded through the lobby to the entry.  Amy dropped her and Renee’s mail off with the desk clerk and then exited the building.  Mark bid her farewell, but only after telling her he’d call her that evening to tell her whether or not they’d be able to rehearse the following day.  Then he jogged across the street, piled into his red Corvette, and squealed away.  Amy watched him with a shake of her head and a slight smirk before exchanging pleasantries with the doorman and turning away toward the dry cleaners.

Rehearsing with Mark had been fun, but she had really looked forward to rehearsals with Garret.  After all, he was only in one or two scenes with her throughout the entire movie.  One of which happened to be the scene where his character killed her.  Amy had even hoped to persuade Garret to rehearse some of his more dramatic scenes for her, with her reading for whatever other character was involved.  At least I’ll be there to see them during shooting.  I guess that’s better than nothing.  Better than nothing, yes.  Better than reciting plays and poetry with Sir Garret Harrison?  Amy sighed.  No.

Amy gave a shrug.  Oh well.  It wasn’t like I was in his league or anything.  Apparently I was just the newest thing.  But she had truly hoped that hadn’t been the case.  In fact, yesterday she had really felt the click.  She had even thought that he had spoken to her with respect.  Now she didn’t know what to think.

Amy released a slow breath.  Well if he calls to bow out of tomorrow’s rehearsal, I’m going to ask him what the problem is.  Honesty and communication was always the best policy in any kind of relationship.  Even in friendship…  Shoot.  Amy knew she needed to tell Renee.  Alright.  I’ll do it tomorrow after I’ve had a chance to talk to Garret.  Amy gave a nod and then turned into the dry cleaners.


Amy checked her pockets for her keys with a frown as she stepped off the elevator, dry cleaning in hand.  “Shoot,” she mumbled.  “Don’t tell me I stuffed them in my purse…”

Amy slung the dry cleaning over her arm and tried to use both hands for the search of her keys as she stepped down the aisle toward her apartment.  When she heard a clearing of the throat, Amy halted with a blink and slowly looked up.  Sir Garret Harrison stood outside her apartment door with a somewhat serious expression on his face.  He was dressed in what must have been the best hanging pair of silk slacks and a pin-striped Perry Ellis dress shirt under a gray cashmere sweater-vest.

Amy started forward again, key search forgotten.  “Well hello,” she greeted with a smile.  She came to stand across from him, he smelled of something wonderfully musky, and held his gaze as she gave a slight chuckle.  Garret silently stared down at her.  “It’s times like these that I really wish I had a cell phone or a pager,” Amy said with a continued smile.  A very welcome feeling of giddiness brought a twinkle to her eyes.  “Then you could have called to tell me you were here and I would have hurried a little faster than I did.”

One side of Garret’s lips slightly twitched upward, but he still didn’t say anything.

Amy was attacked by an unwelcome emotion of uncertainty and anxiety.  “Are you up to rehearsing that scene then?” she asked as she passed him, again searching for her keys.  She found them in the furthest pocket and moved to unlock the door.  “Mark and I read through most of the others this morning, so--”


“Uh-huh,” Amy said, all-the-while very aware of the slightly taut tone of Garret’s voice.  She didn’t turn from her duty of unlocking the front door, though, because she didn’t want him to think there was anything to Mark’s presence there at her apartment but rehearsal.  “We read through the longer scenes, reworking phrases and things here and there so that it flowed better.  It was fun.  Like hanging out with my little brother.”

Amy opened the door and stepped in, placing her keys and purse on the knick-knack chest to her left.  “Please excuse Renee and my breakfast dishes in the sink.  I didn’t have a chance to do those before stepping out on my errands.  Rehearsal with Mark made it kind of impossible, too.”  She faced Garret with a smile, noticed that he had followed her into her apartment, and then motioned behind her to the couch.  “Have a seat.  Coffee?  Or not?”

“No, thank you.”



Amy gave a nod, her face apparently permanently decorated with her slight and very welcoming smile, and made her way to the kitchen.  “Good idea if we’re going to be doing more speaking.  I think I swallowed all my spit this morning with Mark.”

Amy heard the wonderfully relieving sound of Garret’s chuckle as he made his way to the couch.

Amy retrieved a couple tall glasses, filled them from the filtered water in the fridge, and then made her way back to the main room.  Garret looked delightfully comfortable nestled in the corner of the couch with his arms along the back and the arm.  Amy set a glass onto the coaster on the end table to his left with a smiled ‘you’re welcome’ before going around to sit in the middle of the couch beside him.

Amy took a sip of her water as she stared at her script on the coffee table.  Mark had accidentally left his.  Oh well.  At least it will be here for tomorrow’s rehearsal…  Amy cleared her throat before looking over at Garret.  He stared at the glass of water in his hand.  “Why the brush-off this morning?” she asked.

Garret’s expression was serious, yet not.  “I apologize for that.  I suppose I wanted to regain some semblance of control.”  His lips twitched.  “I have always been the instigator of my relationships and their direction.”

“I’m not trying to control you, Garret,” Amy assured softly.

His brow lowered in a very minuscule frown.  “I believe you, yet a part of me feels that in itself is the manipulation.”

Amy nodded, still watching him.  “I can understand that.”

Garret moved his eyes to catch her gaze.  “I believe I would trust you more if you had allowed me to make love to you.”

Amy smirked and looked away.  She traced the rim of her water glass with her index finger.  “Garret, when we recited together yesterday and the day before that… we were making love.  You were captivating every little bit of who I am.  I let you see me.  I don’t do that with just anyone, you know.”

Garret’s expression seemed thoughtful as he examined her profile.  “No, I don’t suppose you would.”

Amy gave a slight shake of her head as she sighed, turning her gaze back to him.  Garret continued to watch her, his expression guarded and withdrawn in the protection of something she didn’t understand.  Maybe…

“‘I look at you across the room and watch,’” Amy began in a soft voice, and she immediately recognized the glint in his eyes as his mind searched for the poet.  “‘You stroke your chin and lip as you think, your mind working wonders which you write on a blank stage.  Soul hidden behind guarded eyes yet brightly shining, through me.  The timbre of your voice sending shivers, splinters through my heart.  I look at you, across the room, and just watch.’”

Garret’s mind gave up the search.  “From what have you quoted?  Its simplicity hides an unexpected depth and… almost a bittersweet agony.”

Amy looked away to set her glass back on the coaster.  “It’s one of mine.”

Garret blinked.  “Yours?”

Amy nodded, and then she turned in the couch to face him.  His eyes held a twinkle of intrigue and surprise.  “That came from here.”  She raised a hand to her heart.  “From Amy Burke and no one else.  Me.  Plain and simple.”  Amy lowered her hand as she continued to hold his gaze.  “Who’s Garret Harrison?” she asked quietly.

Garret didn’t respond, but he didn’t lower his eyes from her gaze, either.

Amy sighed deep.  “That’s what I was talking about yesterday.  What hides in your heart?  What makes you sad?  What makes you angry?  What moves you?  What makes Garret Harrison Garret Harrison?”  He still didn’t respond, so Amy lowered her gaze to her hands.  She lightly rubbed them together.  “That’s what I want to find out about you, Garret, because I really want to know.  I also know that probably scares you to death,” she finished softly.

Amy felt as if she’d confessed to a mouse that she would do her best to eat them.

Garret cleared his throat, drawing Amy’s attention.  He stared at his tight grip on the water glass.  “I find that your complete interest heightens my attraction.”

Surprise colored Amy’s expression, muting the brightness of his confession.  “Hasn’t anyone ever been interested in you before?”

“In my talents as a performer?” Garret responded carefully.  “Yes.  In my fame and title?  In the poetry and plays I recite at will?  Again, yes.”  He finally met her gaze.  “What else matters?”

Amy regarded him intensely, silence her only response.  When Garret looked away, Amy reached out to cover his hand that rested on the back of the couch.  He met her gaze again.  “Garret, your intimate knowledge of literature is definitely your greatest attraction.  The way you submerse yourself so completely into its performance.  The tones and expressions.  I know I’ve never seen anyone else live it the way you do.  That’s why I want to get to know what drives you.”

“Yet how will you discover what even I do not know?”

Amy smiled, her eyes crinkling in the corners as she tightened her clasp on his hand.  “You know.  If you didn’t, you couldn’t draw on that passion and intensity for each performance.  You just don’t look very closely because… well, I think you’re a little afraid of what you’ll find.”

Garret pulled his hand from hers and stood, but he didn’t step away from the couch.  He only stood there with his back to her, staring at the door with his arms at his sides.  Amy stared up at him for a hesitant moment before pushing herself from the couch and moving to stand in front of him.  With his height, he easily stared over her head at the door behind.

Amy examined his blank expression.  She pushed her lips to one side of her mouth as she watched him, and then she took his face in her hands and directed his gaze downward.  It seemed that he met her gaze reluctantly.  “Garret, describe the attraction.”

Garret’s eyes flashed with a touch of anger as he drew her hands from his face.  “Do not patronize me.”

Amy shook her head as she carefully pulled her hands from his.  “I’m not.  I promise.  I’ll prove it.”  She held his face in her hands again and looked straight into his eyes.  “‘I gaze at you with warmth, do you feel me?  I speak to you with smiling tones, can you hear them sing?  Petals of fragrant feelings float about me to wither and die, unshared.  Should you reach out your hand, my delicate petals will soothe the surrender.  My soul will lull your agony.  My gaze will warm your loneliness.’”

Garret stared down at her with bright eyes for a long moment before shaking his head and pulling her hands from his face.  “I cannot.  The words that come are not mine.”

Amy nodded as she refused to let him release her hands.  “I know, Garret, but try.  Push past those words to what you see and then describe how you feel.”  Amy saw the helplessness in his expression…  She raised a hand to cup his jaw.  “The helplessness I see… It chills my heart that I cannot rescue you from that which you fear.  A surrender to self.  An escape from the path you have traveled so often.”

Garret held her gaze in silence, and Amy could see the painstaking search to find the words she so wanted him to say.

Amy caressed his cheek with her thumb and whispered “Come, poetic heart.  Follow me, your muse, and speak from your soul.”

Garret’s expression remained serious and almost pained until, finally, something fell away and his countenance softened.  “This soul has never ventured into the brightness of what I see glimmering in thine eyes,” he said.  “Darkness has been my escape, long since chilling the words of love and creation into the walls of stone and suspicion.”

Amy’s lips lilted upward.  “And yet my brightness beckons you still.  Come and live within the warmth of my gaze to hear the song of my soul.  Come, poet of shadow, into the morning of adventure I so eagerly offer.  Delight in my simplicity and I will rest in your intensity.”

Garret moved his hands to cup her face.  “Such falsely labeled passion, sweet muse, alights my soul with wings.  Your warmth causes me to forget my humble and mortal state, flying as I am on the petals of your emotion to that pedestal which serves as my sun.”

“Then fly higher still,” Amy whispered, tears gathering, “and free this muse from the… from the…”  Amy shook her head as she closed her eyes.

“Open thine eyes that my inspiration might return,” Garret said as he pressed his lips against her cheek.  “Return thy warmth lest this coldness invade my very soul.”

Amy’s laugh merged happiness and tears as she pulled back, her eyes bright and her cheeks glistening in the light of the room.  “Peace, poet, peace that your muse might rest,” she said through the tears.

Garret’s lips rose in a hint of a smile as he brushed stray hairs from her cheeks and forehead.  Amy continued to smile up at him, enjoying the closeness and the simple touch so much more than a passionate embrace.

Then Amy reached up to take his hand from her face, holding it in both of hers.  She changed her gaze to stare at the palm.  “See?  I knew you could do it,” she whispered as she caressed it.  “And now this is where my heart is.  I don’t know how to take it back.  I don’t want to take it back.”  She raised her eyes to meet his gaze again, and her expression was serious and almost pleading as her lips tilted downward.  “Don’t hurt me, Garret.  Please?”

Garret cupped her face in his other hand.  “Such was never my intent, sweet muse.”


Amy looked at her watch.  “Renee should be home soon.”  She looked over at Garret as he sat close beside her on the couch.  “Are you sure you want to stay for dinner?  She can be pretty harsh.”

Garret looked up from where he studied the script to send Amy a reassuring smile.  “If you remember, I also have a tendency toward harshness.”

“I know.  That’s why I think you should go home tonight and then stay for dinner tomorrow.”

Garret’s eyes took in her expression before he spoke.  “If such is what you want, Amy…”

“I want her to like you,” Amy said as she lowered her eyes to the script in her own lap.  “Right now, she doesn’t exactly hold a high opinion of you.  If I can have a chance to talk to her about you…”  Amy met Garret’s gaze again.  “Although she’ll probably still accuse you of trying to get me in your sheets.”

Garret chuckled as he closed the script and placed it on the coffee table.  “Yes, well, that approach has already failed miserably.  I doubt I shall attempt it again.”

“That’s a depressing thought,” Amy complained.  “You just have to wait for the right moment is all.”

Garret raised an eyebrow as he looked over at her.  “And pray tell when is that?”

Amy shook her head.  “Sorry, that’s your problem.  I can’t take away all the mystery.”  Garret laughed and Amy smiled.  “I think you’re the sexiest when you laugh.”

“Yes, such a statement has been mentioned before, I believe.”

Amy’s eyes widened.  “Not by me.”

Garret stood.  “No.”  He offered his hand.  Amy took it this time, accepting his help to stand.  “Yet you are the first I have believed,” he said, still holding her hand.

Amy’s smile twinkled in her eyes as she gave his hand a gentle squeeze.  “Wow.  That makes me feel nice.”

Garret’s eyes traveled her face.  “What is it about you that holds me?”  His blue gaze met her green one.  “Amy, how am I to play a villain bent on your destruction when I find myself falling in love with you?”

Amy blinked, her smile fading.  “What did you say?” she whispered.

Garret’s serious expression remained.  “I have met my match in this role, Amy, and I am at a loss.  This man has lost all hope, and yet I have found it.  He has lost all sense of who he is, and yet you have opened my eyes to who I am.  How can I return to the shadow of my previous life for this role when I want to live in brightness with you?”

Amy continued to blink up at him, speechless.

Garret’s face softened with a smile.  “It seems my muse is silent.  Ah well.  Perhaps that is best.”  He placed a kiss on each of her cheeks.  “Good evening, sweet muse.  I will return tomorrow afternoon with a better understanding of the choreography of the scene.  Be prepared to work hard.”

Garret headed for the door, Amy still silent and unmoving as he unlocked and opened it.  When he had nearly completely passed through, Amy blinked and hurried forward with a whispered “Garret, wait.”

Amy arrived at the door as Garret turned to face her, smiling.  “Yes?”

She blinked up at him.  “Did you just say…”  She motioned behind her.  “Over there.  Did you just say…  Y-You’re falling in love with me?”

Garret chuckled as he leaned against the door frame.  “Wasn’t that your intent when first you tickled my attention?”

Amy’s eyes were slightly wide.  “I just wanted to get to know you better.”

Garret caressed under her chin with a finger.  “Yes, and there will be plenty of time for that now, won’t there?”

Amy absently nodded.

Garret watched her face a moment longer before leaning close, his lips hovering very near to hers.  He closed his eyes.  “Speak here the promise of a kiss, to be taken on the morrow,” he said softly.

When Garret began to pull back, Amy embraced his face with her hands and touched her lips to his.  “I freely give it now, that you might have the promise through the cold night,” she whispered against them.

Garret took the promise, and the second and third that she also gave.  Then he pulled very slowly back, their lips lingering as their eyes slowly opened to meet the others gaze.  “Good evening, sweet muse.”

Amy caressed his face with her hands before lowering them to her side.  “Good evening, poet mine.”


Renee entered to find Amy sitting content on the couch, softly smiling as she twirled a lock of hair around her finger and read her usual novel.  But there was something about the smile that made Renee suspicious.  She put the boxes of Chinese food on the bar counter, relieved herself of her shoes, coat, keys, and purse, and dropped down beside Amy with a deep breath.

“So, who did you kill and where’s the body?”

Amy lowered the novel with wide eyes.  “Kill?  Body?  What are you talking about?”

“Yesterday you were moping.  This morning you were distracted and still moping.  Now?  For lack of a better cliché, you look like the cat that ate the canary.”

Amy closed her book and hugged it against her chest.  “I have.”

Renee arched an eyebrow.  “Okay, I’m severely creeped out now.”

Amy chuckled and leaned forward to place the book on the coffee table.  “Renee, what I’m going to tell you will likely shock you right to death.”

Renee crossed her arms.  “Try me.”

“Sir Garret Harrison is coming for dinner tomorrow.”

Renee’s eyes narrowed.  “Why?”

“For one, we’ve set up rehearsal times all of this week.  For two, I invited him.”


“Because I would like to get to know him better,” Amy said patiently.  “And I think you should too.”


Amy laughed.  “Because believe it or not, he’s a nice man.  I think you two would get along great, if you gave him half a chance.”


Amy gave Renee’s arm a gentle shove.  “If you promise to be nice to him tomorrow, I’ll ask Mark Frasier to stay for dinner too.”

Renee’s arms went fast to her sides as her eyes widened.  The Mark Frasier?  You’re kidding!”

Amy shook her head.  “Nope.”

Renee pulled Amy into a tight embrace.  “Oh my gosh!  Mark Frasier!”

Amy laughed.


Chapter 8

Final Fantasy 6 Fanfic