When Cassie heard Bryan’s email address for the first time she had told him that B Tiernan up daisies was morbid, an opinion she held until learning that he was a Great Gatsby fan. Their conversation about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work had reminded her that she wanted to see the show at a local community theater and asked if he’d like to go too. “Well, what do you think? Want to see Daisy up on stage?”
“That sounds great!” Bryan exclaimed. “When?”
“This weekend or never so far as TCR is concerned. This is the final weekend and it’s had tremendous reviews! I love who they’ve cast as Nick, and Jay and Jordan. And Daisy is to die for! Do you know Hannah Spina?”
“Name doesn’t ring a bell, should I?”
“Well I’d say yes because she’s adorable inside and out but what I meant was she’s about your age. You went to Fitzgerald High; right?”
“Yes?” Bryan asked picking up the bottle of wine off of the computer table where Sandy had left it. “Shall I open this?” he asked.
“Please. That would be great,” she answered, sitting in the center of the over-stuffed couch. “I think she went to Wayles High, pretty sure she didn’t go to Dandridge. She grew up here though, that’s for sure.”
Bryan handed Sandy her glass of wine and sat next to her on the couch. “Dinners ready so we can eat whenever you’d like,” he said checking the wall clock. “I’ve got to be at work, inside and ready to go, at 8:50 so we’ve got like an hour twenty total. Max,” he added with a grin. “Where do you know this girl from? Daisy?”
“Okay, clock watcher,” she answered pecking his cheek. Bryan started to protest but she stopped him, “Relax, I’m just teasing. Here, I’ll set my alarm for 8:30,” she said, grabbing her phone. “That way we can get your bike loaded and get you over there and ready to go no problemo. Hannah. Wine’s good, isn’t it?”
“Delicious. Thanks. Hannah?”
“Daisy’s name is Hannah. I’ve been in a few shows with her and just love her work. And yes, you absolutely should know her! I’ll see if we get an opportunity to introduce you to her this weekend. Which day’s better? Friday or Saturday?”
“Sounds like you’re trying to set us up,” he said looking down and peering at her from the tops of his eyes.
“Nope, definitely not sick of you yet. Besides, she’s just about married to Jesus,” Sandy retorted.
“Oh. One of those?”
“No,” Sandy said, laughing so hard she almost spilled her wine. “No, not, ‘one of those,’ just a theatre joke.”
“Guess I’m out of the loop then. What shows have you been in? I went to some TCR stuff with my folks and we had a school trip down there to see ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest;’ that was wild!”
“Well, the last show I did at TCR was ‘A Christmas Carol.’ There are other little theatres around too. You ever been down to Sinclair? I was Miss Maudie there a few summers back. Oh! There’s a new theatre that just opened in Francisville, The Giving Tree, owned by a lovely couple! And have you been in TCR’s basement?”
“For what? Like a tour?”
“Oh, no!” she squealed, laughing. “After the flood they put in a little black box theatre in what used to be a basement storage room, The Grandon. Seats about a hundred. And next month they’re doing a show called ‘The Burnt Part Boys’ down there! A lovely young man I met in Christmas Carol is hoping to be in it. They’re running auditions as we speak.”
“Wow. Do you know this much about everything around here?”
“Ha! Not even close! I did a lot of shows until George died, haven’t done any since. Last show I auditioned for was ‘A Miracle on 34th Street,’ but I didn’t get cast. That’s what was playing when George died.”
“I think my folks saw that. In fact I know they did because they told me this guy I knew from school’s dad was in it. Said they had no idea he did that sort of thing. Guy named Mister Kenel, he was my substitute teacher a lot at Millhouse Elementary.”
“Wait, you know Keith Kenel? I was in ‘A Christmas Carol’ with him. Small world.”
“Yeah, small Cedro Rapida. His kids were in Venture Crew too. We all went to Millhouse, Gamaliel and Fitz together. You want more wine?”
“Please, but not yet,” she replied putting her wine glass on the floor. “May I see your glass for a minute?” she asked reaching for it.
“Sure, but it’s empty,” he answered, handing it to her. “What’s up?”
She sat to his right and could easily have taken the glass from him with her left hand but instead she got up off the couch, nearly stood, reached over him and took the glass in her right. Then, rather than sitting back down she straddled him, her short skirt sidling up her legs and showing even more of her firm, well-shaped thighs. She looked him in the eye for a moment, smiled, raised her eyebrows in question and when Bryan smiled back she kissed him ferociously.
It didn’t take him long to answer back and he felt heat rising inside of him when she sidled off and then, grabbing the two glasses, got up from the couch and walked over and poured more wine. “Sorry,” she said. “I’ve been wanting to do that since last night and I couldn’t wait any longer. I promise I’ll be good now.”