19. Stolen kiss
In the second half Marcy was sent backstage to fetch a script that someone had already managed to lose. She handed it to the actor whose script it was and then decided to watch from the wings for a while. You got a very different perspective on the scenes this way.
It was dark and curtained and had that smell of the theatre that always awoke something in Marcy. It was as though all the emotion and adrenalin from past productions somehow seeped its way into the building. Plus the faint smell of greasepaint and that dusty, slightly mildewy backstage aroma that theatres always seemed to have.
Marcy was watching the scene where the heroine Sarah’s grandfather sings her a song about love - except there wasn’t any singing tonight - and then Sarah and Sky have an argument, with Sarah storming off. The fact that Thaddeus, who played the grandfather, was barely old enough to be Mrs Helberg’s father didn’t seem to matter so much once they were reading the lines. Thaddeus had a really beautiful, resonant voice when he read his lines.
He finally exited stage right, the opposite side to where Marcy was standing, then slipped back out to the front to watch.
Next Gray and Mrs Helberg had their duologue, and then Mrs Helberg also exited stage right.
The scene ended, with Gray exiting Marcy’s side.
He seemed surprised to see her there. "Hey."
She felt embarrassed for a moment, as though she had been spying on him. "Len sent me backstage. I thought I’d watch from another angle."
They were both silent again. Marcy had stepped backwards as Gray exited, and was standing against a piece of set from some former production. Of course it wasn’t anchored down, so when she leant back on it for a moment it moved backward. She nearly lost her balance and Gray managed to catch her and pull her to standing.
In doing so he had pulled her right up against him. He let go of her wrist, but instead of dropping his arm to his side his hand went on her waist.
They stood there, looking at one another.
Then his lips were on hers, gently but firmly, his tongue deepening the embrace.
His hand gripped her body, drawing her even more closely to him.
Marcy felt like she would melt against him. Yet at the same time a little voice in her head was crying out that this was her teacher, what was she thinking?
Knowing that he was her teacher, and supposedly in a position of authority over her, just heightened the intensity. Knowing how wrong this was. Knowing how much he had been fighting it, but still wanted her.
He broke off for a moment and his other hand brushed her hair back from the side of her face. "I’ve missed this." His voice was barely a murmur. "We shouldn’t be doing this, I know. I have to get back out there."
Her mind whirling and her body longing for him, Marcy watched Gray through the next scene. It was with Martin as Nathan. She marvelled how Gray could just get up there and act like normal.
She slipped offstage after the scene to join Len and Alan again. This time Len actually asked her for an opinion on one part of the blocking, which was flattering. Marcy was still desperately hoping she might get a job assisting him rather than doing props or something. She wouldn’t mind doing props during the performance, as it would be all hands on deck, but she wanted something a bit more demanding for now.
Revel slid into the seat next to Marcy after finishing another scene with Martin. The current scene featured nearly all the male characters on stage, save for Thaddeus.
"I think it’s going to be okay," she said.
Revel could say so little and mean so much. In that phrase lay all the doubts that she and Marcy had privately had about whether the entire thing would turn into a farce or not. Even though they hadn’t related their fears to one another. It also held all the reassurance that Marcy needed. Revel seemed to know about this stuff. If she thought a production could work, then it likely would.
After the final scene was blocked everyone got ready to leave. Martin suggested that he, Gray, Marcy and Revel went for some food. Marcy felt weird being included in this invitation, as Martin was so much older, but Revel didn’t seem fazed and accepted. After all, compared to all the others there, they were the youngest four by a mile.
Gray hesitated. "Normally that’d be great, but…" He looked uncomfortable. Marcy could guess the issue.
"You have to be somewhere?" Martin asked.
"It’s these two. I wasn’t sure if you knew, but I’m actually their teacher."
Martin’s look of surprise told them he hadn’t known. "I should have guessed. Cora mentioned you were a teacher, but I didn’t put two and two together."
It was something of a dilemma. On one hand there was nothing wrong with Marcy and Revel going for a burger with Gray and Martin. On the other hand, if someone from school saw them socialising with a teacher and an even older guy, it could look pretty bad all round.
"I can see how that might be awkward," Martin said. The look in his eyes suggested he found it pretty amusing. "A shame, though."
"It’s okay, I have to get back right away anyway," Marcy said. It wasn’t true, but she wanted to let him off the hook. That way Martin and Gray could still go without having to disinvite her and Revel.
"I’ve actually got to be somewhere too," Revel said. "Another time maybe."
Marcy didn’t know if Revel did have somewhere to go, or whether she was just being tactful as well.
Gray shot Marcy a glance, and she could see regret in his expression. "I’ll see you both at school."
Marcy offered Revel a lift and they walked off to the parking lot together, while the two men headed towards the town.
"Can I hook up my phone?" Revel asked Marcy, as they drove back.
Revel fiddled with the Bluetooth settings on the car stereo, and managed to connect it with her iPhone. The music that blared out was Guys and Dolls. Revel flicked forward to "More I Cannot Wish You", the song sung by Sarah’s grandfather.
"I love this one," she told Marcy. "It was cut from the 1955 film. Have you seen it?"
"I have it on DVD. Come round and watch it sometime. Thursday if you like," Revel offered.
Neither of them was working Thursday night so it was settled.
"This teacher thing is a bore," Revel said. "Any other situation and we could just hang out. I’d suggest the bar as no one would see us in there, but your Mr Grayson would probably decline that one as well."
"He’s not my Mr Grayson," Marcy said.
"From the way he was looking at you, he is," Revel told her.
Marcy wanted to ask what Revel meant but didn’t want to sound like she cared. Though she did, desperately. She just wasn’t quite ready yet to admit to Revel that she still liked him.
"I think if it wasn’t for you, he’d probably hang out with us," Revel said.
"How do you mean?" Marcy asked.
"He’s wrestling with his conscience. It’s written all over his face. Anyway, let’s give it time. If word gets round school that we’re all rehearsing the same production, maybe it won’t be such an issue."
Marcy thought this was a great idea, and said so. She wasn’t exactly sure how to spread the word though. Without Addy, who spread any news needed like a public service announcement, they’d have to find another way to announce this one.
She was replaying the kiss in her mind, as well as the way Gray had ended it. "We shouldn’t be doing this, I know." It had kind of sounded like he wanted to keep doing it.
He’d vowed nothing would happen again, twice now, and there he was kissing her, while sober.
Would it happen again? Marcy burned for him. She desperately hoped so.