French Kissing

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24. Learning lines

Marcy was walking on air all the rest of the weekend, even after Gray dropped her home mid morning. He had a lot of work to do and he wanted to try and take things slowly, however hard that was. It wasn’t like they could just go and hang out openly in Springdale.

She kept herself busy the rest of the day, getting homework done, emailing Addy and putting some work into her own play. It had been a bit neglected recently, but the way she was feeling about Gray inspired her.

Her phone beeped.

Last night was great. I’ll see you Monday.

It made Marcy’s heart leap.

You too. Good luck learning those lines.

The actors were supposed to be learning their lines by next Tuesdays rehearsal, though Marcy imagined scripts would be relied on by some of them for longer. Just so long as she didn’t end up as prompt. It was her primary aim: not to be stuck in the prompter’s box on opening night.

Revel rang later that afternoon. "Are you home?"

Marcy was.

"I wasn’t sure if you’d be out," Revel said. She meant still out with Gray, Marcy guessed.

"No, I’ve been stuck doing assignments the last few hours."

"Want to come over later and run lines with me?" Revel asked. "Grandma is out, but she left cake."

It sounded like fun. "Count me in. What time?"

"Whenever suits."

Marcy felt slightly guilty going over to Revel’s for a girl’s night. She had a twinge about the fact that she was going there rather than Addy’s, though of course she could hardly go to Addy’s any more. An Asian family were now renting her house in Springdale. They seemed like nice tenants according to Addy, although she hadn’t actually met them, but it was strange to think of Addy’s house there, empty of Addy and her mom after all these years.

The other twinge was that Marcy wasn’t sure if going to Revel’s would be as fun as going to Addy’s. Revel was still kind of remote. She didn’t let her hair down in the way that Addy did. In fairness Addy didn’t need to let her hair down, it was always down, figuratively and literally. Marcy felt a pang just thinking about the distance. She still hoped to see Addy around Christmas.

Revel’s grandmother’s house had that strange, foreboding look as Marcy walked up the drive. It was all the shadowy leaves and trees. Dark ivy cascaded over the garden walls while Virginia creeper covered most of the front of the house.

Inside it was bright and airy, and Revel was there wearing jeans and a t-shirt. "Welcome."

They went through to the kitchen where Revel got them sodas and big slices of Rowena’s home-made cake. It was a Hummingbird cake, several layers high. Marcy thought she’d never manage such a huge piece, but after one bite knew she would do so pretty easily.

"Thanks for doing this," Revel said. "It’s easier than memorising them by myself. Song lyrics are no problem, but spoken lines seem that much harder."

At least there were no super long monologues. Most of Revel’s scenes were with Nathan, so Marcy was reading Martin’s lines. Then there was a scene near the end between Miss Adelaide and Sarah where Marcy took Mrs Helberg’s part.

"You read well," Revel told her afterwards. "Even if you don’t like singing you should give a speaking role a go."

It really wasn’t Marcy’s thing. "It’s not that I haven’t done it before, but it just doesn’t do it for me. I’m more stressed than enjoying it. And I itch to be at the front of the stage, in the audience, watching it instead."

Revel laughed. "I guess Cora Helberg needn’t worry about glass in her ballet shoes then."

After they had gone through the lines a second time, with Revel now getting close to word perfect for most of it, they took a break.

"There’s something you should know," Revel said. "it’s Martin. I have a feeling he may have guessed about you and Gray. Maybe not that there’s anything happening, but that Gray is into you."

Marcy’s blood ran cold. "Are you sure? How?"

"It’s not definite. It was just something he said, like a throwaway remark. I didn’t get the sense he disapproved or would say anything to anyone."

But if Martin had guessed or even suspected, others might as well. They really were playing with fire.

"Things are okay, though?" Revel asked.

Just thinking about last night and the answer to this question made Marcy’s body sing.

Revel looked amused. "I can tell from your expression it’s all good. Lucky you. And him, of course."

Addy would have wanted every last detail but Revel didn’t ask. So Marcy volunteered.

"It’s sort of on, but it’s under wraps. We have to be really careful," she said.

"I can imagine. If you ever need cover, you can say you’re staying here."

Marcy wondered if Revel had ever been in the same situation. What excuses did she give to her grandmother?"

"Are you… dating anyone?" She hoped Revel didn’t mind her asking.

"Nothing serious. Nick and I hook up occasionally, but it’s only casual."

"Nick?!" Marcy was a little shocked. The photographer was sexy in a kind of dishevelled way, but he looked as though he must be past thirty.

"He’s a little younger than he looks," Revel said, reading Marcy’s surprise. "He’s twenty-eight. I know it’s a gap, but like I said, it’s just casual. We get on, but we’re on different paths. I’m splitting for New York as soon as I’m done with Springdale High, and he’s a small town boy." She drained her Coke.

"Besides, he’s still hung up on his ex, I think. They married out of college but it didn’t work out."

Marcy was trying to take it all in. No wonder Revel had never cared for high school guys if she dated men like Nick. No wonder, also, that she hadn’t been judgemental about Gray and her.

"I guess you’ll be busy with Juilliard next year," she said.

"Hopefully. What about you? Are you going to study playwriting?" Revel asked.

"I hope so. Or maybe English as an undergraduate degree, then do a Masters in playwriting." Marcy hadn’t completely decided. "I was looking at NYU."

"So then, you’re in the same boat as me. Can’t get serious about a guy if you’re going to love him and leave him for the Big Apple," Revel said.

It was such early days with Gray that Marcy had never considered this. Springdale seemed like forever, she had been there so long. Yet her time there would likely draw to a close in less than a year.

What would happen if she and Gray were still together next summer, as miraculous as that seemed right now? Was it maybe unwise to take such a huge risk if they’d have to split up anyway?

Marcy couldn’t imagine ever not wanting to be with Gray. He was the most amazing thing that had ever happened to her. Suddenly the distance between New York and Springdale cast a dark shadow over her happiness.

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