French Kissing

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31. Backstage behaviour

A subtle but sustained plan of re-seduction was the recommended strategy by both Revel and Addy. "You can’t let this one go!" Addy had shrieked at her down the phone.

Ever since Marcy had finally managed to send Addy a photo of Gray, which she’d found online, Addy had been the relationship’s number one supporter.

Revel also thought that Marcy shouldn’t give up. "Be patient. When he’s high on adrenalin and a few drinks at the first night party, his defences will be down. That’s when you swoop."

Marcy had never swooped in her life so had no clue how she might go about it.

By rehearsal that Friday she was coping much better with Mr Grayson’s newly formal attitude. They didn’t have much occasion to speak to one another on the Tuesday, and he had left straight away, telling Martin he was off to the gym.

On Friday Marcy felt more relaxed, though she still missed him like hell. She spent most of the downtime - there was quite a bit that day, as they were having something of a technical rehearsal - chatting with Martin and Revel.

Martin had just been telling them a very suggestive anecdote about a leading lady in a previous play who sounded uncannily like Mrs Helberg, when Revel excused herself for the bathroom. They had all been laughing, and Martin continued to crack a couple of jokes which Marcy found funny.

She saw Gray glowering over at them from a distance, but didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t like they were making a huge amount of noise or anything, and it was in a break.

Later, Marcy was backstage while Revel and the Hot Box girls were rehearsing A Bushel and a Peck, quite a long scene which involved Martin as Nathan, but not Sarah or Sky.

Marcy was just watching the moves, admiring how it was all coming together so well, and how sprightly many of the older ladies were at dancing. Many of them clearly had many years experience in tap and other dancing. It probably kept them fit, Marcy thought, and vowed to improve her own exercise routine.

She’d also seen how useful it was when a director had some dance knowledge. Len was able to work with the choreographer much more efficiently because he could suggest alternative moves to get them round obstacles, or to get an actor to a certain place on stage to deliver a line at a certain time.

I have so much to learn, Marcy thought. Even if she didn’t plan to write or direct musicals, this stuff would still be really helpful. Her experience with this play had also made her realise that she would like to be a writer-director if possible. It might never happen, but there was no harm in aiming high.

As she thought these things, she was suddenly pushed roughly up against the back of the theatre wall.

Hands gripped her shoulders, pinning her against the bricks.

Then before she could gasp out in shock, lips were on hers. Gray’s lips.

Hot, hard, relentless.

Despite her inner turmoil Marcy wanted to melt. She was stunned but absolutely flipping out, in a good way. She yielded so Gray could take full possession of her mouth - not that he was giving her a lot of choice - wondering what on earth was going on with him.

It was like old times except more urgent. And also like a kind of relief. She had longed for him to kiss her, to make everything ok again.

Gray broke off and swore. His hair was dishevelled, he looked haunted and angry.

"I can’t stand seeing guys flirting with you."

"What…?" Before Marcy could say anything, he was kissing her again. Ravishing her. She breathed in his wonderful male aroma, he was wearing her favourite aftershave. She could picture the bottle now in his bathroom cabinet.

Which made her think of his bathroom. And then his bedroom. And then his bed… if only they could escape there now. She didn’t even care what was going through his head, she just wanted to be alone with him and to shut the world and everyone else out for a while.

Judging by the hunger she felt from him, he felt this even more so.

Then Gray was releasing her, apologising to her.

"I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. This whole situation is driving me insane."

He was looking at her now and she could see the deep tiredness in his eyes.

"I miss you so much," she said.

Now he was gentler with her, brushing hair from her face, gazing into her eyes.

"I don’t know what to do. I can’t get you out of my head, I can’t even stay away from you like I want to."

"Do you want to?" she asked.

She could see the answer in his eyes before he spoke. "Not really. What I want is to be with you. But without having to sneak around and live in fear of the consequences all the time."

Marcy felt the same. "It’s just a few months though. Can’t we just stay careful?"

Gray looked conflicted. "It’s not only getting caught. It’s the fact that it’s not right."

This was exasperating Marcy. "I’m above the age of consent. It’s not like it’s illegal."

"It’s grossly unethical. And legal or not, how do you imagine your parents would react?"

This was something Marcy had thought about but tried not to think too much about. They would be shocked, she knew, and disappointed. Probably angry. She thought in any other circumstances they would really like Gray.

"A year from now, when I’m at college, I think they’d be totally happy."

"But we’re talking about now, Marcy." He was starting to look resolute again and Marcy felt her heart begin to sink once more.

She tried another tactic. "Do you want me?"

He was taken aback for a moment. "Want you?"

"I mean if we were alone. At your place, right now."

Gray half laughed, half frowned. "What do you think? Yes, I want you Marcy. This whole thing might be a lot easier if you looked more like Cora Helberg, and less like…" he tailed off.

"Less like…?" she wasn’t going to let him off the look.

"Less like the most beautiful and intelligent girl I have ever met, with the hottest body, the memory of which drives me wild night and day. Does that answer your question?"

It more than answered Marcy’s question.

"Then I’m coming back to your place tonight?"

"I don’t think so." But he looked undecided. He was wavering.

Marcy didn’t want to beg and plead. "Either way, I’m watching Revel sing later. So maybe I’ll see you in the bar."

Gray was silent for what seemed like ages. "Maybe."

She was sure she’d won. He wouldn’t like the thought of her being chatted up by other, older guys in there if she was by herself. She knew he would come to at least keep an eye on things.

Now she just had to get to the end of rehearsal, and then figure out how to break down his defences just a little bit more.

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