The Light Fantastic

by LA Tucker

Part XXIX:  I'm Too Busy for This to Be the End of the World, We'll Have to Reschedule

For disclaimers see Part I

Let's see, I have ten bucks, with that I can get three hot dogs, or maybe some bratwurst, some oatmeal pies ... a Mountain Dew slushie ...  Nelson was standing outside the Quickie Mart, checking his funds so he could fuel up before Tuesday's rehearsal, which started in less than a half hour. This was the last week of rehearsals before dress rehearsal on Thursday, and opening night the very next night, Friday. He personally felt that the cast and crew was ready to roll right now, but he knew the cautious and exacting director of the musical wasn't quite satisfied with ... How did Chloe put it?  The pacing and flow of it.  She had, numerable times, asked everyone to quit rushing their lines, to think more along the lines of a slow interaction between a major league pitcher facing a .345 hitter.  She pointed out that the cast, without audience, would have to be aware of the emotions contained within the play, and allow the audience time to react with laughter, applause, or just to soak in plot changes. It didn't matter to her that most of the adults in this community had probably seen 'Oklahoma' more times than they could count, either the movie which frequently played on cable, or had seen community presentations of it throughout the years.  No, this was their 'Oklahoma', or rather her 'Oklahoma', and dammit, they had all worked hard, and they were going to make the audience appreciate their labors.  And it didn't matter to her, either, that the community, small as it was, would probably see their 'Oklahoma' during the first three presentations of it, and that other presentations would most likely be performed in front of a repeat audience. Chloe had such attention to detail, she even directed the cast to speak their lines ... louder .. on the Sunday matinees, when a good part of the audience would consist of senior citizens bussed in from local nursing homes. She reminded them that she believed that these good folks were even more of an appreciative audience than one composed of their families and friends. They were knowledgeable about musical theatre, having had a lifetime of school plays under their belts, and perhaps even a Broadway show or two, and the cast needed to concentrate on every nuance in the play, and not just repeat their lines, but believe them, too.

Nelson opened the heavy glass door, and strolled in, noticing right away that the hot dog roller on the checkout counter was filled with elongated, tubed items made up of mostly indiscernible meat and meat by-products. He was not discriminating, he'd heard what hot dogs had in them, and he didn't care. They tasted good, and that was good enough for him. He walked up to the counter, and pulled out the drawer that contained self-serve warmed buns, and extracted ... three. He was just reaching for the tongs to grab his hot dogs ... or bratwurst ... or kielbasa ... or cajun sausage, when he heard a voice greet him from the magazine aisle to his left.

He turned and smiled, keeping one eye on the rolling grill, continuing his mission, and said his hello's to the rotund Quickie Mart manager, Cathy, whom he had known for years.

"Hey Cath."

"Hey Nelson."  Cathy was pulling magazines and tabloids off the shelf, and replacing them with their newer editions. "God, I was wondering if you were coming in here today, the magazines just showed up a half hour ago, and I was paging through them ..." Their was a note of excitement in Cathy's voice, something of an oddity for the usually laid back convenience store manager. She grabbed a few she had set aside, got up from her kneeling position, and made her way towards him.

Nelson finished putting on his third rolled meat product, and looked at her curiously as she stopped in front of him. "Wait a sec, " she said, paging through one of the lurid weekly tabloids that most people never admitted to reading, but read anyway. She found her page in it, glanced at it again, and then turned it open towards him. There was a half page picture of a dark haired woman hugging a smaller platinum blonde. Nelson immediately recognized the dark woman as his aunt, her face was clearly showing, her eyes closed, but she had a graceful smile on her lips.  In the inset was a picture of her alone, a threatening frown and narrowed eyes.  Nelson completely forgot about his hotdogs, and grabbed the paper from Cathy, who was making some remarks about it that he paid no attention to. His eyes stared at the picture again, and then traveled to the headline above. STAR GAZERS ACTRESS MEETS WITH FORMER AGENT, RETURNS FOR SEQUEL?

Nelson grumbled. "She's not hiding." he said distractedly.

Cathy was making more remarks, this time, a few he actually caught. "Wait, there's more ..."  Her hands opened up another tabloid, and found her mark, and handed it to him, opened and ready for his inspection. It was similar to the first, but instead, the picture content was reversed, the larger of the two displayed his aunt's scowling face, and the smaller, her hug with Jennie. Nelson let out a small whistle of surprise, because the headline read, 'MISSING STAR GAZERS ACTRESS TO RETURN TO HOLLYWOOD?'

Cathy finally poked him, because she was irritated that he wasn't paying attention to her commentary. "Nelson, she's in the People, and Entertainment Weekly, too, although those are just pictures, not much of a story ..." She began fumbling through those magazines, and found her pages while he impatiently waited. She wordlessly handed them to him, and let him take a good look. "Who's the blonde woman she's hugging?  She doesn't look like she's from around here, but that looks like your father's parking lot behind them."  Cathy, too, knew the 'rules of couponing', and had gone to visit the course for the $3.00 special.

"Yeah. It is." Nelson shook his head. Oh god, this isn't good. Aunt Sara's going to blow a gasket. No, wait, Chloe's going to blow a gasket. Oh god. There's going to be a huge explosion.  And things between them just seemed to settle down. Nelson took a quick glance at his watch, and saw he had 15 minutes to get to rehearsal, where he knew that two women who had a vested interest in these pictures would be awaiting his arrival. He then looked to the cover prices, and then at the three filled buns on the counter, and gave Cathy a desperate look.

Cathy sighed, but knew what she had to do on his behalf.  "Listen, just take the magazines and stuff. Give me what money you have, you can stop in and pay me later."

Nelson sighed and then his eyes traveled to the stack of magazines still waiting to be put up down the short magazine aisle. "Thanks, Cath. I gotta get to rehearsal and show my aunt these. And could you ..."

Cathy chucked Nelson on the shoulder. "Yeah, no problem. I'll put the extra copies in the back room until I hear from you ..."

Nelson gratefully tucked the copies in his hands under his arm, and stacked the hot dogs one on top of the other, and moved towards the pop coolers, to grab himself a Mountain Dew. This was too important for him to be fussing with the slushie machine. Nelson knew his priorities. He dug in his pocket for his ten dollar bill, and handed it to Cathy. "I'll get more money, and pay later today, I promise. And Cathy, thanks." He saw the manager smile a wan smile at him.

"No problem, Nelson."  She watched as Nelson moved quickly towards the front door. She couldn't let him leave without one more remark. "That poor aunt of yours just can't catch a break, can she?"


Sara was slumped miserably in a backrow seat of the small auditorium.  Four periodicals were tucked under her chair,  and she was itching to take another look at them, especially since Chloe was busy on the small stage, commanding her troops in short, impatient sentences. The orchestra pit was full of students, 8-9 of them, this time being the first time that they would all practice together.  The rehearsal was to consist of nothing but the musical numbers today, so that the small orchestra? band? could get used to playing with people singing along. The cast, used to performing their numbers with a perfect recorded musical accompaniment or that from their accomplished pianist, Ben, were in store for a rude awakening. Chloe knew it, Paul knew it, Marcy knew it, and Doris Raeburn had planned for it, by hiding out in her cluttered office. There was only so much wincing her older face could take in the course of two hours.

Chloe was pacing the stage like an expectant father awaiting the arrival of quintuplets. "All right. OK." She nodded towards the motley crew in the orchestra pit. "These folks here have been practicing this right from the start, just like you.  Let's start by giving the ... orchestra a big round of applause, because without them ... " The show would go off without a hitch. " ...we wouldn't be able to achieve the ... " Mediocrity ... " ... flavor of a true live stage performance.  Her acting crew gave the orchestra pit members a somewhat enthusiastic greeting, tempered by their memories of having to sit through many a crushingly bad half-time show, and holiday recital. Moreen Dean, especially was doubtful, to say the very least, she had heard her younger brother, Aaron, dutifully practicing the score on his violin with the flair of a one armed lumberjack trying to cut down a redwood with a dull ax. "OK. Thank you for thanking them. Remember, we're all in this together ... " And we'll all go down together.  Chloe turned a nervous eye out to the back of the auditorium, seeing Sara sitting there,  and they exchanged weak smiles, although for entirely different reasons.

Nelson, standing not too far from Chloe, had a hard time concentrating on the upcoming rehearsal. He had seen the shock, anger, and then dismay in his aunt's eyes when he had shown her the magazines in a private corner earlier. Oh man. Something is going to hit the fan later, and Chloe's already all worked up, and Aunt Sara is quietly getting herself into a panic, too, I just know it, she's worried about how Chloe's going to react to those pictures. He made eye contact with his aunt, and flashed her an encouraging thumbs up, which Sara hesitantly returned, and then frowned. Chloe was on the return leg of her long pace across the front of the stage, and she didn't catch the interaction between them.

Chloe noticed Paul and Marcy offstage, and grimaced at them.  Marcy was eternally grateful that most of her art duties were now complete, the backdrops looking like cornfields, not marijuana plants, trees actually resembling a known species of trees, and a barn that uncannily resembled one that now housed a John Deere tractor, two electric golf carts, and a cash register nobody knew how to run. The only thing missing was the horse she had lobbied for, and it had been decided, after much grumbling and arguing on everyone's parts, that the horse's first appearance would be put off until dress rehearsal day. Chloe was insistent that if the horse couldn't 'act' on that day, there was no reason to believe it could perform other days, either.  Chloe was dead certain that the horse was still a bad idea, and that Nelson would be ambling across the stage, horseless, on opening night.  Charlie Shemp, accompanied by his dad, would bring the horse on Thursday, prior to the beginning of their last practice.

Charlie Shemp was there today, as he was other days, a helpful and eager shadow to Paul. He was Paul's indispensable Boy Friday, jumping at his every request, and at times providing Paul with items and information before Paul even requested them. More than once, Paul got the same eerie feeling about Charlie Shemp that Colonel Potter got about Radar O'Reilly. But Paul never realized that the true reason Charlie Shemp was so devoted to the success of this little play. It was Charlie's abiding and ever-present overpowering crush on the redheaded director that made him so completely immersed in the process.  He could hardly wait for school to let out, his summer to be over, and his freshman year to begin, so he could join the drama club, and be in her presence for two hours every Thursday afternoon.  Charlie's love was not the misguided and cruel love of a stalker, no, his was a pure and blindingly innocent love of the very young.  Charlie Shemp was a young man of character, not unlike his idol, Nelson D'Amico.

Chloe stopped mid pace, when she saw a grinning young man standing next to Paul, awaiting his instructions. Chloe caught his grin. "Larry, gimmee."

Larry trotted over to her, and gave her what she requested. She put the PORN STAR cap on her head, facing it forward, and turned to everyone, a large teasing smile on her face. "OK, everyone, places. Ben, you're in charge. Start the overture whenever you're ready. I'm going in the back rows, and watch from there. If you screw up, just go on. That's what it will be like for every performance. I'll try ... and not interrupt." I'll try and not head for the nearest bar until this is all over with. Chloe turned and headed down the steps on the far side of the stage, walking back to where Sara was sitting.  She plopped into the seat next to her, patted the taller woman on the knee and then turned her attention front and center.

Two mouths in that back row began audibly grinding molars not seconds after the overture began.  Not long afterwards, two more people came back,  a curly haired art teacher and a sexually confused English teacher, and joined the unrehearsed chorus of teeth being rhythmically ground. It was almost symphonic in nature.  A gray haired school principal paused outside the theatre's doors and then turned and made the long walk back to her office. Her dental work was too expensive to let it be subjected to this kind of torture.


Marcy sighed in her back seat, watching frowning students filing past them, and out the doors. "It could have been worse."

Chloe raised an eyebrow, wishing it could achieve the height that her lover's did. "Really? How so?"

Marcy glanced at her three compadres, and sighed again. "The horse could have here, taking a dump on the stage. Although, I think that might distract the audience from noticing the clarinet player. I've never heard a cat being strangled before, but I imagine that's what it sounds like. Except, more in tune."

Chloe echoed Marcy's sigh. "I'm going to tell Ben to play very loud, and get the other ... orchestra members to tone it down. Like, dead silence."

Sara had her hands folded in her lap, her fingers intertwined. Her feet were propped up on the back of the seat in front of her. "Maybe it would be better if you moved them out of the pit, and out to the parking lot."

"Or maybe we could tell Moreen Dean to sing at full throttle." interjected Marcy.

Paul, as usual, was his optimistic, deluded self. "It wasn't so bad, I mean, Ben's pretty good, and the guy that plays the triangle and stuff, he's not half bad ..."  Paul cringed when he saw the reaction to his remarks, and he decided, prudently, to zip his lip.

Chloe noticed a subdued Larry standing in the aisle, waiting to interrupt. "Oh, yeah." She grinned and took off her cap and tossed it to him. He grinned halfheartedly at her. "I'm going to need that for dress rehearsal ... and opening night, too. It might jinx this thing if I don't wear it ..."

Larry nodded, and said "Sure thing, Ms. Donahue."  He, too, headed for the exit.

"Hell, Chloe, you might need that hat for a future job possibility if this thing turns out to be a disaster ..." Marcy joked, only half meaning her words.

Sara glared at her. "Hey, don't kid about that. This thing isn't going to be a 'disaster'. And for being a porn star, Chloe could do quite well at that, don't let those angelic looks fool ya ..."  Sara grinned and winked at Chloe.

Paul colored, and decided now was as good a time as any to make his own exit. "Well, uh, gotta go, mom's got dinner waiting." He stood up, moved down the aisle, and strode toward the doors.

The three women grinned at each other, they knew their line of conversation had hurried Paul's hasty retreat.

"I'll never figure that guy out." mused Chloe.

"Do you really want to?" Marcy asked, almost seriously.

Chloe and Sara both answered. "No!"

Marcy shifted in her seat, then decided to stand up. "Well, " and she looked at her two seated friends, "I'm going over to Dave's, see what oddities he has planned for dinner, and cry in my non-alchoholic beer for a while. I'm kind of tired."

Sara looked at her, concerned. "Everything OK?  I mean ... baby-wise?"

Marcy patted her on the shoulder. "Just fine, I just need some extra rest is all. Junior D'Amico is just dandy. Not so sure about his mom though ... I mean, that  ... music can't be good for the baby, right?"

Chloe shrugged her shoulders. "Maybe you could swallow some earplugs for it, Marse."

Marcy patted Chloe's shoulder, too. "I'll make sure they're the first course." Marcy gathered up her things, and then gave a rueful grin to her friends, still seated, slouched, really. "See you guys later."

Sara and Chloe were the only ones left in the dimly lit theatre, both staring silently at the stage. The stage was dark and gloomy, matching their spirits. Sara idly scratched at her knee, deciding that it didn't matter, here or at home, Chloe needed to be told about the magazines and the pictures therein. Her heart picked up an almost imperceptible erratic pace, almost like that of the percussion player that had recently been 'playing' in the orchestra pit. She noticed Chloe's sad and defeated demeanor. Well, at least this will get her mind off of the play. She cleared her throat, and reached under the seat, and pulled out the stack of magazines. Nelson had helpfully placed a post-it note bookmark in all of them. He was just that kind of considerate, thinking young man.

Chloe blinked at the small pile of tabloids and magazines in Sara's hands.  Her heart skipped a little, although she didn't know why.

Sara gave her an apologetic nod, and held out the pile to her, which Chloe took. Chloe glanced in Sara's eyes once again, and then opened the top one to the page with the bookmark. Sara watched her anxiously, noticing how Chloe's eyes opened wide, and then narrowed. She didn't look up at Sara.  Sara began nervously pulling on the ends of her long, dark hair, and biting the corner of her lip. Chloe carefully read the contents of the short article, and then frowned. Sara wiped her sweating palms onto her blue jeans. Chloe closed the tabloid, and set it in the seat next to her. She opened the next one, Sara carefully watching her face for any reaction, and her stomach was now doing mini- sambas. Still no reaction, no words from her red-haired lover. Sara glanced at Chloe's hat flattened hair, and resisted the temptation to reach out and fluff it, fearing her arm might come back with bite marks on it. Chloe placed the tabloid on top of the discarded one beside her, and opened the People magazine.  The woman next to her felt the veins in her forehead begin to throb in time with her galloping heart. Chloe quickly perused the picture, and then opened the last one, and silently examined it. When she was done, she sighed and finally looked up at the apprehensive face of the woman sitting next to her.

"Well?"  blurted Sara, sure that this was going to be the end of the world, as she knew it.

"Well ..." sighed Chloe. She narrowed her eyes at Sara. "You didn't tell me you hugged her." she said, her face unreadable, her voice flat like a pancake.

"When she said goodbye, just when she said goodbye." Sara's tongue nearly tripped over itself, trying to get out an explanation.

"Huh." Chloe looked again at the pile next to her before she spoke again. "Well, looks like we have to expect that kind of stuff, huh?"

Sara almost jumped into the smaller woman's lap when she heard that word, 'we'.  She liked the sound of that word so much that she repeated it aloud. "We?"

Chloe reached out a hand, and gently took Sara's into hers. I am not jealous. I am not jealous. Well, yeah, I'm jealous but ... "Yeah. We."

Sara didn't care if there were any stragglers left in the theatre or not. She reached over, and put both arms around Chloe, and squeezed her, her heart rebounding from its former stampeding pace, and mutating into a more assured, quick rhythm of pure relief.

Outside the theatre's doors, Doris Raeburn stood, listening, then smiling, forewarned by a considerate Nelson D'Amico.  Doris nodded slowly to herself, and she turned and stopped momentarily to adjust her rainbonnet, and headed for the front doors of the building, swinging her umbrella with a carefree air.


Nelson and Dave watched a glum and tired looking Marcy come through the kitchen doors.  Nelson had stopped by the ATM machine on his way home, after dropping off a now concerned Jeanette, who demanded that she accompany him to the Quickie Mart to pay for his purchases. She had looked at them, her face almost coursed with what could be called a frown, and then played the reassuring girlfriend to her troubled boyfriend, which Nelson gratefully acknowledged by giving her a very warm kiss and a hug at her front doorstep.

Now Marcy had arrived at the house, and as she was taking her coat off, she noticed that the table was littered with stacks of magazines and periodicals.
"What's that?" she nodded towards the table, as Dave got up and helped her off with her coat. "You need ... that many copies of 'People'?

Dave gave her a peck on the cheek and grumbled. "Nelson bought Quickie Mart out. We were thinking of heading to Shop 'N' Save, and buying those all out too ... but I was thinking, they must have a ton of them ... it could get pricey." Indecision lined his face. "What do ya think?"

Nelson had already helpfully opened a copy of each of them, ready for Marcy's perusal. She sank down in her seat, pulled them towards her, and then began moaning, louder, with each one she looked at. "Oh God, oh God.  I just left them at the school. Does Sara know about this?"

Nelson leaned, and poked his finger at one of the suggestive headlines over his aunt's picture. "Yeah, I told her at practice. She has her own copies there."

Marcy glanced up at him, then at Dave, then back at the scowling face of Sara in the magazine before her. "What about Chloe?"

Nelson shook his head. "Aunt Sara said she was going to wait after play practice to tell her ... you know, save her some stress."

Marcy's vivid imagination took her back to the small theatre, where she pictured a fainted Chloe lying on the floor next to where Sara was hanging by her feet from the rafters. "Oh, boy. Chloe's going to go ballistic."  She saw the pinched frowns on both father and son. "And Sara ... I'm glad I'm not her right now. I mean, this is her former girlfriend! And she's ... hugging her, for Christsakes?"

Dave was determined to remain hopeful, but he wasn't quite sure how to accomplish that small feat. "Should I take out a loan and head down to the grocery store? Or not?"

Marcy blew a raspberry between her lips. "Nah, Dave, what's the point?  The whole town already knows she's here, and the most important member of the town, Chloe, will have to see this sooner or later, right?"

Dave sat down from his fiancee, and folded his hands dejectedly on the tabletop. "Yeah, well, I just wish I could do more for her, Sara, I mean. This stuff has got to bother her, and then Chloe, on top of it all."

Marcy leaned across the table and wrapped her hands around his. "You can't protect her from this kind of stuff, Dave.  She was out there, in the public eye, a TV and movie star for many years.  I don't think you're giving Sara enough credit. This won't bother her ... much.  But Chloe ... well, that's another story, isn't it?" She watched as both D'Amicos nodded a grim agreement. "And this headline ... about Sara returning to Hollywood? Is it true? Has she said anything like that?"  She eyed them both, watching for any sign of collusion, and when they both said 'no',  she wrinkled her brow. "You know what they say, don't you?" She didn't wait for either of them to answer her. "They say there's always a small grain of truth in these articles."

Both elder and younger D'Amico shook their heads, and mouthed many negatives at her. But in the back of their minds, they were not all that sure.


Chloe and Sara were settled into a booth at the diner. Neither had felt like cooking after the long, stressful afternoon,  and wanted to relax together over a warm meal and hopefully, a large piece of pie afterwards.  The waitress had just taken their order, topped off their coffee cups, and had breezed away from the table.

"Chicken again?" teased a grinning Chloe.

Sara gave her a mock frown. "Hey, their chicken is great.  It's fried. We D'Amicos haven't perfected our cooking repertoire to the extent of frying a decent chicken dinner."

"I can fry chicken, not bad, either."

"Oh, there's just another reason to keep you, I guess."  Sara smiled at her, at first jokingly, and then it changed into a sincere one. She leaned forward across the table, wrapping her hands around Chloe's coffee cup. "Seriously, though, Chloe, I would keep you even IF you admitted to a lousy fried chicken." Her smile turned mischievous again.

Chloe reached out, and momentarily let her hands touch with Sara's on the cup, before Sara regretfully withdrew them. "Keep me in Little Debbie's, Sara, and you'll never be able to get rid of me."


Chloe didn't answer, she motioned an emphatic 'cross my heart' instead.

Sara understood that kind of sign language. She settled back into her seat, and held onto her own cup of coffee. "If I could, I'd get that in writing." she said cryptically.

Chloe tilted her still hat flattened head of hair to one side. "You would, huh?"

"Well, yeah, if this great nation of ours would wake up and let us make it ... legal ..."  Sara was verging on the romantic, and it made her stomach clench, but only for a moment, especially when she saw the flash of recognition in Chloe's eyes, and the adorable grin that lit up her face. Sara blushed, embarrassed at her own admission, and glanced out the window. "Quit looking at me like that."

Chloe mightily tried to get a more controlled expression on her face, but it only lasted a millisecond before her face erupted into a wide grin again. She gently kicked Sara's leg under the table. "Like what? Like this?"  Chloe puffed out her cheeks, and crossed her eyes. Sara looked at her, and then let out a laugh, and kicked her in return.

They both looked away from each other, trying to dampen the outright gooey looks they were bestowing on each other. Chloe cleared her throat, and sucked on her front teeth. "So ..."

"Yeah?"  Sara wasn't nearly as successful as Chloe in quashing her warm, toothy grin. Her blue eyes danced under dark bangs that clearly needed a trim.

"Well, we haven't talked much about it ... I mean, I expected the pictures, I really did, not the HUG though ..."  Chloe pursed her lips and then quirked them back into a reassuring smile again, "... but that headline ... the Hollywood thing ..."  Why am I saying this now? Couldn't it wait until after dinner?  After the pie?

This time, Sara didn't hide the fact that her hand was traveling across the table to make contact with Chloe's. She wrapped long fingers around Chloe's hand, and left them there. "You're right.  I was in such a bad mood, I wouldn't even discuss all of this ... me just being in denial again. We just never talked about it ..." Sara sighed, and her eyes met Chloe's. "What do YOU think?"

Chloe was caught by surprise. "You mean ... about the possibility about you ... going back to acting?" Oh god.

Sara shook her head. "No, US going back to acting."  She saw Chloe's eyes widen at that thought.

"I enjoy acting, but what I really want to do is direct ..." Chloe said, half teasing, half serious, hoping this would throw Sara off her line of questioning.

Sara wasn't about to be diverted. She grinned at Chloe's small joke, but then spoke that very important word again. "Us."


"Us." Sara said firmly.

Suddenly, the big booth seat that Chloe was sitting on wasn't nearly big enough for the amount of squirming she wanted to do. "Well, I don't know, Sara ... " and Chloe found something out in the parking lot that seemed to draw her attention away from the penetrating eyes of her lover. "I have my job and ..."

"You could take a leave of absence. You've been there long enough."

Chloe avoided that statement of fact, and her eyes left the parking lot, and fixed on those of her love's. "What about you? Do you want to go back?"  She tried to keep the quaver out of her voice, and it did come out emotionless and steady, to her surprise.

"Not without you." Sara said, and set her jaw.

"Forget about me , what about ..."

Sara cut off anymore words from Chloe's lips by giving her a direct look, and her hand a firm squeeze. "I'll never forget about you, Chloe. What I do, what WE do, from here on out, we do together ... don't you know that by now?"

Chloe used her free hand to get a sip of water from her glass. She let it roll around in her mouth a little before she swallowed. "I know." she said quietly.
She smiled a tiny, hesitant smile at Sara, which brought another toothy smile to the darker woman's face. Chloe blushed, and wished that she could match the older woman's assuredness. "Well ... it's an option ... we could talk about it ... when the time comes, OK?"

Sara saw the waitress approaching with their salads. "OK ... when the time comes ..."

The rest of their meal was spent discussing final preparations for dress rehearsal on Thursday, the impending trauma of opening night, the Sunday afternoon matinee. That was as far into the future as the small redheaded director/librarian wanted to think.

And yes, it should be mentioned that more than one diner patron complained about having to hear Patsy Cline, over and over, during the consumption of their repast.

Concluded in Part XXX

Email me with feedback: LA Tucker

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