22. Friday night
Friday night was the first singing rehearsal. Marcy was happy to discover that Gray had a great voice, and matched Mrs Helberg very well in their duet.
Revel of course was the stand out. As Miss Adelaide, she was backed up by several "Hot Box girls". These comprised of Betty and several other women, and they all sounded pretty good. Marcy figured that even with some of them being a little vintage in years, they would look fun as showgirls. Kind of like the Golden Girls.
As it turned out, Betty hadn’t minded too much about losing her role of Miss Adelaide to Revel. Dance was her forte rather than vocals, and she was quite the tap dancer: very agile despite her years.
They were arranging the choreography so she and Revel could do a short tap dance number together during the nightclub scene, for the song A Bushel and a Peck. Revel had brought along some tap shoes - she said she hadn’t had lessons since she was a kid and was very rusty - but they had some fun experimenting on stage.
"You’ve got the advantage of youth," Betty told Revel. "Some practice and you’ll do fine. Be thankful you haven’t got these old bones." She tapped her thigh, which was still very firm and shapely. Marcy guessed Betty was in her sixties. Dancers seemed to keep their figures like that.
There was no real time that Marcy could have spoken with Gray, since everyone was out front. But she got the sense he was keeping his distance. Maybe she was being paranoid, but that’s how it felt.
She didn’t mind though. Because if he was deliberately avoiding her, that meant his feelings towards her weren’t entirely casual.
Marcy herself was increasingly helping out Len, making herself as useful as possible and carving out a role as his assistant. She’d be happy to help Alan backstage during the week the performances were on, but her true love was watching and helping the production take shape from the front.
Sometimes she itched to rewrite a line, or add something. But Len seemed to be sticking to the exact script so she didn’t say anything. She would save her creative energies for her own play instead.
"So I have a gig singing tonight in town," Revel was telling Martin. "Would you like to come? It’s at the bar off Main Street. Ten o’clock."
"Aren’t you too young to be let into a bar?" Martin asked.
"Not as a performer. I’m there to work, not drink. Marcy’s coming too, she helps out with equipment."
This was the first time Marcy had heard of this.
Martin looked intrigued. "A female roadie, hey? This I must see."
"Don’t worry, the guys can always use some help moving crates," Revel told Marcy under her breath as they got ready to leave the theatre. "Now let’s go on ahead, then hopefully Martin can bring Gray for you."
She also called him Gray outside school.
"I don’t need him to be there," Marcy said.
Revel grinned. "You’re crazy about him, and he can’t take his eyes off you. It amuses me to play Cupid. Or chaperone or something."
Marcy thought how incredibly kind Revel was. "Thank you!"
The band Revel played with were only too happy to have another pair of hands, once Revel had assured them that Marcy knew what she was doing.
Marcy didn’t actually know what she was doing, but she was good at taking directions. They were nearly set up anyway by the time Marcy and Revel arrived there from rehearsal.
Keeping busy helping them, while Revel changed her clothes and fixed her makeup in the bathroom, meant that Marcy hadn’t had a chance to see if Martin and Gray had come or not.
"All ready." Revel stepped out, transformed once again. Tonight she was wearing a clinging black top with a line of sequins from the neck over one shoulder. It was cut off at her midriff, and she had a sparkly stone wedged in her navel.
"You should have worn that to rehearsal," Marcy said. "It’s very Miss Adelaide twenty-first century."
There was just time to grab a Coke so Revel could moisten her vocal chords, then it was time for them to play. Marcy found a stool in the corner that was tucked away, where she could watch from without drawing attention to herself.
She was sipping her drink, listening to the music, when she was interrupted by a voice.
"She’s talented, your friend."
It was Martin. And there, just behind him was Gray.
Gray didn’t look surprised to see Marcy though she thought she detected a slight wariness. He didn’t try anything, but then he couldn’t with Martin there.
They watched the band together for a while, the volume making it hard to hold much of a conversation. Finally Martin went off to get them more drinks.
Gray stood next to Marcy. "I should have guessed you would be here."
Marcy felt bold. "You did guess, that’s why you came."
He smiled. "Something like that." He looked at her for a long moment. "I really want to be alone with you."
"Me too." She didn’t know what else to say.
"We need to talk. Properly. It’s been ages."
They clearly couldn’t do that here, their current conversation was only possible because Revel was singing a softer number.
"Can you come back to my place?"
Marcy had been dreaming of something like this. She tried to play it cool so Gray couldn’t see quite how relieved and happy she was. "I could probably manage that." She was sure Revel would cover for her.
"We’ll need to be discreet. Once the band finishes and Revel’s done, I’ll drive you both home."
This shouldn’t look too suspicious to Martin. A teacher driving two students home to make sure they arrived back safely after a musical performance. Besides, it wasn’t like Martin had anything to do with their school.
When Martin came back with the drinks he was standing to the side, with Gray directly behind Marcy’s stool.
Gray was so close to her it felt intoxicating. She started as she felt his hand lightly rest on her hip, his finger tracing up and down. No one else could see that he was touching her which made it all the more thrilling. The two of them had this small connection that nobody else was aware of.
Gray clearly didn’t intend to keep her at arm’s length, whatever he had in mind. Revel had been right about him breaking his resolve. Marcy had thought it would take ages for him to make another move, if ever, and she had assumed he would need to be drunk again to lose his inhibitions.
They stayed there, watching Revel and the musicians. Marcy was alternating between joy that Gray was with her, that they shared this secret connection, and giddiness that Mr Grayson, her French teacher, was currently fondling her waist. His fingers sending a tingling up through her body.
No one in the bar knew he was her teacher of course, except for Martin and Revel. To everyone else they would just look like a regular couple.