And My Brother's Keeper had to come first. I promised and that's just all there is. I still got some writing done. And the book is coming along. I'm rather surprised, actually, with the ease of this one. When I sit down to write, I sit down and I write.
And who'd have thought such a thing -- that I can slip into the pages of a romance novel as easily as I can slip into my own clothes. I'll have to apologize to my Mom -- when I see her again, on the other side. She was the one that said, "You could write one of those in a month." I fought it and here I think I may do just that. Maybe not the month of November, but with the ease that this is coming, it very well could be within a month. I'll let you know.
In the meantime, I did promise a teaser and a teaser you shall have. From the first chapter of Splendor, I give you Tony's audition for the role of Bud.
"Thank you, that'll do fine. Thanks."
A flash of movement caught Tony's attention and he glanced up to see that Davy had turned around and was talking to the couple sitting behind him. They were deep in discussion when Davy caught sight of him sitting a few rows back. Davy grinned as he pointed over their shoulder to him. The couple turned to look at him, appraising him intensely, before they turned back to Davy. The conversation got intense for a few moments before Davy stood up again and waved at him.
"Tony, go on up on the stage, please. Will, would you get his audition form for me? And…." Davy surveyed the seats, looking for someone and smiling when he found the guy. "Brandon Hayes, would you go up and read with Tony, please?"
The young man named Will took the clipboard from him as he had walked down the aisle, and handed him a small binder to replace it. Tony walked up the stairway to the far left of the stage, brushing the dust off the seat of his trousers and the elbows of his tweed jacket, and made his way to the center. This place was obscenely dirty; someone needed to do a good and thorough cleaning, because the dust was going to aggravate his allergies. He was very glad that he'd taken an allergy pill before he'd come.
He was only mildly conscious of the figure walking through the theater toward the stage, but as soon as he was standing in the hot lights, he did take notice. And felt the fluttering in his chest as that man came up the steps to join him. The closer he got to Tony, the more Tony felt the air filling his lungs until he thought he would burst. The dust disappeared as his head both cleared of the allergens and filled with God only knew what but it wasn't a brain.
In one of those Hollywood movie moments, it was as if the entire theater had gone pitch black as midnight except for the spotlight on that magnificent being walking up the steps, daintily picking his way across the stage. There was no one else within the four walls. There was no other sound but his breathing and the slow, steady beat of his own heart. Time had stopped in one glorious rush of wonderment that such a creature could exist.
The man walking toward him was thin, but not in an unhealthy way; he was toned but lithe. A shock of blond hair spilled across his forehead, framing impossibly blue eyes that were focused only on the manuscript that he held in his slender hands. His face was angular with prominent cheekbones under the pale skin. His lips were full and pink, slightly parted in concentration. When he stopped in front of Tony, he smiled with the sweet look of an angel on a Hallmark card.
Tony stupidly smiled back, totally absorbed in thoughts of kissing that sumptuous mouth and running his fingers in the man's hair. The very idea of this creature on his back in Tony's bed—
Tony jerked around to face Davy and the couple sitting there, all three sporting Cheshire Cat grins. He felt the heat in his cheeks and coughed to clear his throat. "Yeah?"
Davy sat back down, still grinning. "You two turn to page thirty-five. Tony, you read Bud and Brandon, you read Deanie. Start with Bud's line at the top of the page there. And, Tony, make sure you're cheating out to the house, okay?"
Tony's head rose, one brow up.
"Don't face each other," Davy elaborated. "Just read the lines and face out to me."
Tony nodded his understanding, and started reading. "I don't know, Deanie. I mean, my dad just has this idea about the rest of my life."
The most melodious voice sang to him from his right side and Tony turned his head to watch the lips form the words.
"Oh, Bud, he's your dad. He loves you. Of course he wants the best for you. But it's your life; you have to do what you want."
Without even knowing he'd done it, he was turned slightly towards the angel at his side. He snuck looks in between reading his lines, hoping against hope that the other would look up at him or meet his eyes at least. But the angel was focused on his lines, reading from the script. Somehow, he'd become Bud and the words were his truth as he swore his love, gave his heart to that beautiful face.
They finished the scene to a wash of applause by the other actors in the house. Tony got the feeling that was a rare thing, given Brandon's smile of embarrassment. He felt it too, the electricity of the reading; Tony could tell by the flush on the angel's cheeks. The both froze as it rolled over them, Brandon watching out into the house and Tony watching Brandon. Time seemed to spin out ahead of him as Tony waited for someone to say something to break the spell he was under. He hoped it would be Brandon.
"Good, good," Davy exulted. "That was great, you two. Thank you. That's all I need. Give your scripts to Will."
Davy turned back to the couple and there was a hushed discussion between them.
"Hi, I'm Brandon. Brandon Hayes."
For a split second, he'd forgotten how to breathe. Then, the air rushed into his lungs again and he felt the tightness in his chest start to ease a little. "Tony Carpenter. I take it you're an actor?"
Brandon grinned, shaking his head so that the blond hair flew in a halo around his head. "Oh, I've never done anything like this before. I usually take care of the wigs and hair for the company."
"Yeah?" Tony asked. "What made you decide to audition for this?"
"Um, I love the movie. And Davy said he thought I'd be perfect." Brandon licked his lips, making the pink skin shine in the stage lighting. "I'm kinda nervous. Does it show?"
The only thing that showed on that beautiful face was …. "No, it doesn't. I thought you did great."
The blue eyes met his and Tony thought his heart would bang straight out through his ribs.
"You think so? I don't know. I thought you were terrific, though."
Tony smiled at him. "I know Davy pretty well to know that you're exactly what he's looking for. I bet you get cast for this."
The shy smile returned. "I hope so."
Davy interrupted them, speaking a little louder than before. "Okay, that's it then. I want to thank you all for coming out tonight. You've all given me a lot of tough decisions to make; you're all really good and I wish I could cast you all. But....Well, you know how it goes."
A sea of nods told Tony that they all really did know.
"So," Davy continued, "we'll be making our decision tonight and we'll start making calls tomorrow. Make sure your contact phone number is on your audition form. Cast will have first read through this Sunday at my house and we'll be giving you the address and information at the time of the call. Also, if you agreed to do stage work, we'll let you know the schedule for stage or costume construction. Again, thanks, everyone. And if you'll go ahead and head out to the lobby, we can get started on those casting decisions."
Tony and Brandon handed their scripts to Will and made their way down into the theater. Tony felt the pang of watching that angel walk away and felt the stab in his chest. Suddenly he really did want to be cast in this show. He hadn't lied about Brandon being Davy's type for the character. Hell, he'd cast the guy. But his own casting was now in doubt. He waited until Brandon had walked out of the theater before turning back to glance at Davy.
Tony caught his friend's eye; he saw the grin on Davy's face and the nod. He went home to wait for his call.