We're happy to post the next chapter of Acting the Part.
Hope you will like it :)
Ellie and Hanny
Standing on the steps leading up to his trailer, Kid paused with his hand on the doorknob and took a deep breath. He put his other hand up to his head, and realized he’d run out of Lou’s trailer so fast he’d left Buddy’s hat there. But there was no way he’d go back there tonight. The rehearsal Teaspoon had ordered had gone far enough for one night. He closed his eyes and breathed out slowly, then pasted a calm, indifferent look on his face and opened the door. A sweet, spicy fragrance wafted out and engulfed him.
“Hi honey,” Doritha’s cheerful voice greeted him. “You’re back early.” She rounded the corner of the kitchen. Her hair was piled in a messy bun on top of her head, with some long strands slipping out and sticking to her face. Flour was smeared across her cheek and powdered the front of her apron.
“Hi,” he replied and smiled at her appearance. “You look adorable,” he said sincerely. “Don’t tell me you were trying to cook.”
She looked down at herself and smiled shyly. “I wanted to surprise you. Do something nice for you… So I called and asked Ruby for the recipe for her Brunswick stew, because I know it’s your favorite, but I didn’t have all the ingredients, and I didn’t have time to go into town...and then I decided to try to make a …”
“Honey,” Kid took her floury hands in his. “I’m sure I would love anything you cooked.” He bent to kiss her, but … remembering another kiss, he guiltily pecked her on the cheek. “I’ll just take a real quick shower, alright?” Not waiting for her response he turned towards the bathroom, peeling off his buckskin costume on his way.
He showered quickly. Looking at himself in the mirror as he brushed his teeth he sighed. I must be reading too much into this. Doritha is the only woman I kissed up until now. This is probably just a normal reaction. It doesn’t mean anything. He dressed and returned to the kitchen, where Doritha had set the table for them. She was her collected self again. Her hair was now free of the bun and it cascaded down her back. Her face and hands were clean and her messy apron gone.
He hugged her waist. “So, What’s got into you? What’s the occasion?”
“What? I need an excuse to cook for my fiance?”
“No,” he chuckled, “but you never do. I thought maybe there’s a reason behind it.”
Doritha shrugged and wound her arms around his neck. “I just realized that since you started here we hardly ever do anything romantic. I decided to bring back the romance.”
“Well, I’m glad you did. And I promise to do better at this myself." He squeezed her bottom, pulling her closer to him.
She laughed and pushed him away. “There will be enough time for that later, lover boy. Let’s eat now, while the food is still warm.”
“So, what’s for dinner?” Kid asked as he took his seat.
Kid looked baffled when Doritha started giggling. “What’s so funny?”
“Oh, I just remembered a scene from an old movie. ‘I have decided that for the rest of the day we are going to talk like this’,” she said in a strange accent.
Picking up on the line, Kid cooperated. “Like this?” he asked, mimicking her voice.
She shook her head. “No. Please, to repeat after me. Pepper.”
“Pepper,” he squawked back.
“Pepper,” she sternly demanded.
“Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash.”
Kid repeated the line, chuckling.
“But I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie,” she sing songed, her jaw clenched.
He mirrored her grimace. “But I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie.”
“Pecan pie,” Doritha concluded in the same crowing voice.
They both burst into laughter and Kid pulled her into his lap, laughter tears standing in his eyes.
“So, what’s for dinner?” he asked again. “Paprikash or ‘pecan pie’?”
Doritha bounced up and brought the food to the table. “I made grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup while you were in the shower.” She sat down and looked at him mischievously. “And ‘pecan pie’ for dessert.”
“You’re the best fiancee a guy could ever have,” Kid said, touched by all her efforts. he picked up a golden brown triangle and bit into it.
“I may have an ulterior motive,” Doritha said, looking down and toying with her spoon.
Kid swallowed hard. “What do you mean?”
She looked up at him, meeting his eyes. “I was jealous, Kid. I guess… maybe you’re a really great actor, and maybe Lou is too, but I’m not an actress, so it’s hard for me sometimes to remember it’s just acting, just a job, when I see you kissing someone else and… seeming so into it.”
“No, please, let me finish. Teaspoon came to talk to me, and told me you had to rehearse the scene with Lou because I made you uncomfortable.”
Wincing, Kid protested, “He shouldn’t have said that - -”
She shook her head. “I’m glad he did. He said a lot of things, including pointing out that this is your job, nothing more … and if I can’t trust you, then … why am I engaged to you in the first place? I realized he’s right. I do trust you. And I’m so sorry I ever doubted you.”
There were tears standing in her clear blue eyes, making them even bluer than ever. Kid couldn’t bear to see her cry, especially… well, especially when… he grabbed her hands in his and leaned across the table, kissing her finally. “Don’t be sorry. You… you’re a wonderful fiancee and it’s… it’s okay. No harm done, let’s just forget the whole thing, okay?”
He cupped her face in his hands, and she smiled through sparkling tears. “I think I do need to stay away from the set when… when you’re doing those scenes. I guess I might need something else to keep me busy. I was asking around and I found out Noah Dixon gives riding lessons. I might take that up… I know you love riding and I know I’m hopeless at it… I really want to share that with you. What do you think?”
“You’re afraid of horses, honey … you don’t have to do something that scares you …”
“I’m facing my fears,” she said determinedly. “I’d do anything to keep us close.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Lou stepped out of the shower and tied the towel around herself. The hot water made her a little calmer. She barely had gotten any sleep after she and Kid rehearsed their kiss scene, and had spent last night mostly tossing and turning.
Kid had really kissed her last night. Not timidly and shyly, like the audition kiss. There was something exhilarating and dangerous about it, but more importantly something real, almost as if it meant something beyond acting the scene. The memory of his lips on hers, his hands in her hair, and the look in his eyes when he stepped back, had haunted her.
In the clear light of day she reminded herself that what had happened was just a scene. Kid was acting, even if she wasn’t, and even if she had gotten carried away and lost in the scene. Kid was with Doritha, they were getting married. That shocked, desperate look in his eyes when he pulled away from their kiss and ran away… whatever that meant, it didn’t change the facts. He belonged to someone else. He loved someone else. But despite her mind telling her to stop dreaming, her traitorous heart couldn’t help fantasizing and playing what if. What if there were no Doritha? What if he were free? What if Kid really felt for her what she imagined when they kissed?
What if he kissed her again?
She shook herself out of it with a jolt, staring at herself in the dripping bathroom mirror and forcing herself to use her common sense and shake off such dangerous thoughts. It would do her no good to dwell on her feelings, when they needed to keep working closely together like they did. The fact was that he was engaged to a beautiful woman, and she was nothing but a fool. She scowled into the mirror and flung open the bathroom door, stomping into the bedroom to get dressed for the day’s work.
As she was pulling on Joe’s boots, a knock on the door interrupted her. She stood up and opened the door, surprised to find Sarah standing outside.
“Morning, Louise. I was passing by and wondered if you have your Social Security number for me?”
Lou was puzzled for a second before she remembered what Sarah was talking about. “Oh, yeah. I forgot about that. It’s in my bedroom. Come on in, and I’ll get it for you.”
“Thanks,” Sarah said. As she held the door for Sarah, Lou glanced across the lot and saw Jimmy walking out the door of his trailer, and lighting up a cigarette as he headed toward the hot tub he had installed behind his trailer. She waved and he waved back tiredly.
“I’ll get it for you,” Lou said and headed towards her bedroom. She closed the door and rummaged her underwear drawer for the large manila envelope she’d gotten in the mail yesterday. She ripped it open and spilled the contents on the bed. There was a birth certificate, a social security card and a California driver’s license, all under the name “Louise McCloud”. She scanned them, proof-reading carefully. They looked okay, and she slipped the birth certificate back in the envelope, dropping it on the dresser. Rushing, she shoved the driver’s license into her wallet as she pulled open the bedroom door.
She was surprised when she didn’t see Sarah standing by the door, where she had left her. She stepped farther towards the living room where she found Sarah sitting on the couch, holding Buddy’s hat in her hands..
“So…I take it Kid paid a visit last night?”
Lou blushed and took the hat from Sarah’s hands. “Yes. Teaspoon sent him here so to practice a scene.”
“Really?” Sarah raised an eyebrow. “That’s unorthodox. Usually rehearsals are at the studio… Didn’t you finish shooting late last night? A kissing scene, wasn’t it?”
“What are you trying to say, Sarah?” Lou asked, becoming angry.
“Nothing, really. I’m sure if you say you practiced, that’s all you did. Practice.”
“Here’s my Social Security card, Sarah,” Lou said. She handed her the card. “If there isn’t anything else, I need to finish getting ready now.”
“No, I’m sure it’ll be okay now,” Sarah shrugged.
Lou stood and watched as Sarah closed the door behind her, before she let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
“‘Morning, Noah.” Kid greeted as he entered the stable.
“Hey, Kid. I got the horses ready for you. Where’s Lou?”
“I was late and I thought she’d already be here.”
“Nope.” Noah said and handed Kid the reins. “I hope she’s not sick or something.”
“What?” Kid asked absentmindedly. “No… She probably just overslept.” He looked at Lady and then outside at the open plains. He really wanted to ride, but suddenly the thought of riding alone didn’t seem appealing.
“You know what, Noah, I think I’ll pass today too. Sorry for the trouble.”
“It’s okay,” Noah smiled. “No harm done.”
“Oh, by the way, Doritha told me last night that she’d like to take riding lessons. Are you available?”
“Sure. Going rate is $75 an hour. Is that okay?”
Kid chuckled. “Not too long ago it would’ve been too rich for our blood. That’ll be fine. I’ll text her to come see you today and set up a time.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Jimmy opened his eyes, startled, and saw Sarah’s roguish face looking over the edge of the hot tub. She rested her arms on the side and set her chin on them.
“Looks pretty inviting on a cool morning like this,” she remarked. “I have a while before I have to report to work. Got room for one more?”
“Well - - I don’t have a ladies’ bathing suit handy - -”
“No problem,” she smirked.
Jimmy frowned, glancing around at the lot. There wasn’t a lot of privacy here, he was hungover as hell and he wasn’t really in the mood for a performance first thing in the morning. He’d hoped for a few minutes to collect himself and relax before going to the set. But Sarah had grabbed a towel and was already slipping out of her jeans and blouse underneath it.
He sighed and ran a tired hand over his face as he saw Sarah’s panties and bra hit the ground as she maneuvered them off under the towel. “Ain’t you worried about people seeing us?” he asked.
“Nope. It’s early yet, and Lou’s the only one who can see into your backyard,” Sarah said. She glanced over her shoulder. “And there she goes, off to hair and makeup right on schedule.”
Lou waved again as she passed by, craning her neck at Sarah in her towel. Sarah winked broadly at Lou and watched as she disappeared toward the makeup trailers. “Okay, the coast is clear,” she giggled, climbing the steps up to the hot tub and sitting on the edge. She quickly slipped into the hot, bubbling water with a contented sigh, draping the towel on the railing.
Jimmy looked over at her. She was a beautiful woman. Anybody could see that. But she had lousy timing …
“So what does a lady have to do to get a drink around here?” she asked playfully.
“I’m sober now,” Jimmy said. “And it’s seven o’clock in the morning.”
Sarah cocked an eyebrow at him. “C’mon, Jimmy. This is me.”
Shrugging, he leaned over and opened the mini fridge, pulling out a bottle of beer. “I’m afraid this is all I’ve got on hand.” He passed it over and she took it, tipping it up and taking a long suggestive swallow.
“Aren’t you going to join me?”
He hesitated a moment, then reached behind the hot tub where he had hidden his glass of scotch on seeing her approach.
“That’s my Jimmy,” she said, grinning and moving forward through the water, her eyes sparkling up at him. As she reached him, she put her drink on the side of the tub and started to position herself on his lap.
She kissed him, the taste of beer still on her lips.
“How about a little party … right here, you and me? It’s been a long time,” she whispered, running her mouth down his neck. “You have anything stronger than scotch here? I know that always got you going really good - -“
Jimmy felt a wave of revulsion overtake him so strongly that it nearly overwhelmed him. “Get off me,” he snarled.
“Jimmy - - what - -‘
He took her by her arms and lifted her, bodily, off him and stood up with a splash. He took his drink and threw it to the ground outside the tub. “I said I’m sober now - - or - - I’m trying to be - - I’m - -“
“What the heck are you talking about? You were drinking when I got here!”
He turned and tossed her towel at her. “Get some clothes on, will you? And do me a favor, don’t come around here anymore, got it? I want to be sober, and I don’t need you around trying to set me back.”
“Oh, come on, Jimmy. Don’t act all high-and-mighty,” she spluttered as he splashed his way out of the hot tub. “You’re no fun anymore, you know that!” she shrieked after him, as the door to his trailer slammed behind him.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Lou was biting her nails as she waited for the others to arrive on set. Teaspoon was already there, checking the camera angles. She stopped pacing and sat on her chair, realizing she was making a spectacle out of herself.
“Morning, Lou.” Ike smiled and flopped on the chair beside her. The others followed him, each taking his own seat.
“At least they didn’t send us script changes last night,” Cody remarked. “i had better things to do than re-learn more lines.”
“What? watching your porn collection again?” Jimmy jibed him.
“Were you spying on me, Jimmy?” Cody asked with a wink, his smile never faltering.
“Okay, we’re shooting page number 5 now, so if you could all take your marks.” Teaspoon called and they all scattered into position.
“Kid,” Lou stopped him on his way to his mark. “You forgot Buddy’s hat last night.”
“Yeah… I didn’t notice it until late, and I didn’t want to bother you for it. Thanks.” He put the hat on his head and adjusted the string under his chin. “Why didn’t you come for a ride this morning?”
“I… I didn’t know… I didn’t sleep too well last night. You went riding?”
“Lou, Kid, we’re all waiting for your highnesses.” Teaspoon boomed.
They both blushed and ran to take their marks.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~