French Kissing

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26. Dinner with Gray

Marcy felt nervous getting ready to go to Gray’s that evening. He had offered to pick her up but she felt safer going in her car, in case her parents - or God forbid, Mrs Helberg - saw him outside her house. Mrs Helberg was a bit of a problem, all things considered.

She had already mentioned to Marcy’s mother how they had had "several young people" join the Springdale Players, and that one of them was a teacher at Marcy’s school.

"It’s wonderful to get so much community involvement," she had said, in a pointed remark to Marcy’s mom to try and get her to reconsider joining. Marcy’s mom remained resolute. She had sacrificed her daughter to Mrs Helberg’s theatrical passions, one family member was enough.

For her part Marcy was hugely relieved. While if Revel wasn’t there she would have loved to have done theatre with her mom, as they got on well, the thought of her parents managing to observe her and Gray together was danger beyond compare. If Martin, who didn’t even know Gray or her very well, had guessed, just imagine what her mom might notice.

Marcy also felt a little strange about going to Gray’s because she had just had him teaching her French the past couple of days. Switching from "Mr Grayson" to just "Gray" was a bit of a head trip. In some ways it was kind of a thrill, knowing she was dating her teacher. In another way it was as though she had to snap between worlds which was a bit stressful.

Increasingly she thought of him simply as Gray though, even at school. She just had to be careful she never let it slip in class.

She drove over to his place and parked in a street nearby. She had told her parents she had a date with "a cute guy who came into the café", which wasn’t exactly a lie.

"Is he at high school?" Her mother was starting to ask this, aware that Marcy was getting to an age when college guys might be showing interest.

"He’s also at Springdale," Marcy said. This was actually literally true. Her mother hadn’t asked if he was a student at Springdale, had she? Though that was clearly what she meant, Marcy had to admit to herself. It was a lie in vibe, if not in words.

"I hope Ben doesn’t mind you fraternising with customers."

"He’s cool." Ben had met his boyfriend Jason at a previous café he’d worked at, so he could hardly complain.

Checking her hair and make up looked okay, Marcy rang the bell and Gray ushered her in. There was a truly delicious aroma coming from the kitchen.

"Have a seat. And a drink, it's nearly ready." He offered Marcy wine but she chose water. After all, she was driving and just being here was risk enough.

Marcy noticed Gray's script of Guys & Dolls on the kitchen counter. "How are your lines going?"

"Not great," Gray said. "I was going to ask if you wanted to run through them with me later."

"Sure. I spent the other night doing them with Revel, she said it was easier with another person."

"It is. And more fun, for certain scenes." Gray didn't specify what but Marcy could guess. Not that actual stage kissing was supposed to be sexy, at least she hoped it wouldn't be for him and Mrs Helberg. Sarah and Sky only had one kiss in the music anyway.

Marcy flicked through Gray's script. It was full of notes. She found herself imagining her own play one day, covered with actors' and directors' notes and highlighting.

"So does Revel have her lines down yet?" Gray asked.

"Nearly. It's a lot to memorise, in such a short time."

"She's a natural though, that girl," Gray said. "I assume she plans to do something like this for a living?"

"Yes, she's applying to Juilliard. You know her mother was an actress?" Marcy said.

"It doesn't surprise me. Was she successful?" Gray asked.

"She was Virginia Lake."

Gray was stunned. "The Virginia Lake? As in Broadway star, deceased at the height of her fame?"

'The very same."

"Jesus. That explains a lot. Poor kid, growing up without her parents," Gray said. "She's certainly inherited her mother's talent."

He brought the food to the table. "It's Adobo chicken. My sister-in-law's recipe, she's from the Philippines."

"It smells amazing," Marcy said.

"And tastes even better. It took months of begging to get this exact recipe from her. It's a family secret apparently. Eventually I convinced her that if she and Rob were going to make me an uncle, I would be family."

"They have children?" Marcy asked. She didn't know anyone who was becoming an aunt or uncle yet. Except for a girl in her history class whose father had been married before. She had nephews and nieces only a few years younger than her.

"Just the one, still on the way. My first nephew or niece. He or she is due around Christmas."

Gray's sister-in-law's recipe turned out to be awesome. Marcy had never had the dish before and she really liked it.

Afterwards they sat on the couch, Marcy reading various parts so Gray could test his memory. She had already read Nathan and Sarah before with Revel. Reading the lines in romantic scenes was kind of a trip, though.

Marcy had been reading out the stage directions as well. "Sky exits stage left." "Sarah dances on the bar top." Finally she came to "Sarah and Sky kiss" only to find that Gray wasn't moving on to the next line.

"I need some practice with that direction," he told her.

Marcy looked at him. His gaze held flirtation but also desire.

"So how do we do this?" Marcy asked, deliberately trying to wind him up. "Clever head angles, like in old movies?"

"It's the theatre. There are people watching from all angles. I'm afraid it has to be real."

"How real? Like this?" Marcy leant over and gave him a brief peck on the lips.

Gray had a glint in his eyes. "More convincing than that."

She leant over again and kissed him open mouthed but nothing more, just pressing her lips to his. "Like that?" she asked, breaking off again to try and frustrate him further.

"Like this." He leant over and took her in his arms. His mouth came down on hers, gently forcing her lips apart. His tongue probed her mouth, wet, entwining with hers. His hands gripped her shoulders to show her he meant business. Then he ran them down her body as he pulled her close to him.

After what seemed long enough for the audience to have booed from boredom, left the theatre and got taxis home, Gray finally broke off. "More like that."

Marcy was still giddy and tingling from his embrace. "I'll be interested to see how Mrs Helberg responds to that."

Gray laughed. "She may have to be satisfied with the first version."

"Maybe we should go for some more practice in your bedroom," Mary said.

Gray looked tempted and seemed to be wavering for a moment. "I know where that will lead. And as you've pointed out, it's a school night. If I was going to take you to bed now it would be for hours."

Marcy was turned on just hearing this. She tried to plead one more time but Gray was resolute. "Friday night. If you can say you're staying with Revel again."

Right now Friday night seemed forever away. Marcy tried not to feel disappointed. But she loved the fact that Gray wanted to be with her even if they weren't getting down to it right now. It meant he liked spending time with her, and that meant so much more than a booty call.

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