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Fiction: Matchmaking (596 words)

“You love him, don’t you?”

Charlotte snapped back into reality, coughing just slightly on her drink and turning to look at James. “I’m sorry? What?”

James gestured with his drink towards Stephen, where Charlotte had been subconsciously staring. “You love him, don’t you?  Might as well not try to deny it.  I can see it all over your face.”  James smirked and took another swig of his beer.

“I don’t know what you talking about,” Charlotte tried, but she had to admit it was pretty weak, even for her.  James raised an eyebrow, and Charlotte muttered, “Oh, shut up.” And took another long swing of her own drink.  “Just—keep your theories to yourself, okay?”

James tapped the side of his nose and smiled. “Don’t you worry, little angel, I’ll only do what I think is best for you.  Now, if you’ll excuse me.” And James made a bee line straight for Stephen.  Charlotte groaned to herself, downed the rest of her drink, and turned and left the main room of the party.  Charlotte checked in a couple of different dressing rooms and green rooms until she found one that didn’t have half-drunk adults groping at each other like teenagers.  When she was finally, blissfully, alone, Charlotte sank down onto the little couch in the dressing room and said quietly to herself “Well, you’ve gone and fucked that up, haven’t you?”  Before dropping her hands over her eyes and sitting in dark silence.

It was less than ten minutes later when she head “Charlie?  Charlie, are you in there?” It was Stephen. Of course it was Stephen.  It couldn’t possibly be anyone else.

Charlotte took a steadying breath, and sat up.  “Yeah, Steve, I’m here.”  The words were barely out of her mouth when Stephen stuck his smiling head around the door jam.  Charlotte stood up to match him, although she was a good six inches shorter than him, and was never going to actually be able to match him.

“So, I have a quick question for you.”  He reached out and tucked a piece of hair behind Charlotte’s ear.

“What could that be?”

“Well, is what James just told me true? Or is he having a good at my expense?

“Well, I guess that would be depending on precisely what James told you.”

“Well, he said that he’s pretty sure you have some kind of crush on me.”  Charlotte tried to read Stephen’s expression, but it was perfectly neutral, and absolutely no help at all.

With a sigh, she decided to just be honest.  What was the worst that could happen?  Well, he could tear her heart out and stomp on the pieces, but—well, there would be worse things in the world.

“Yeah, S. I’ve got some kind of crush on you.”  His face cracked into a wide grin, which made Charlotte’s knees go weak against her will.

“That’s very, very good.”  Stephen slipped his arm carefully around Charlotte’s waist, and she let herself be pulled in close, “Because I have some kind of crush on you.”  He didn’t kiss her, but he didn’t need to.  He just held her close for a moment, and then stepped away.  “So, dinner.  Tomorrow night, yes?”

“Yes. That’s wonderful.”

“Excellent.  I’ll leave you to do the little excited skip that I know you want to do but don’t want me to see.”

Stephen slipped out of the room just as quickly as he came in.  Charlotte smiled, and in spite of herself, did an excited little skip.  She had a date with Stephen, and that was great.

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2015 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Matchmaker–Her Side (1,001 words)

Scott watched the monitor carefully waiting for the camera down on the stage to come awake.  It beeped on its little recording light with a nice shot of cleavage as Ruth leaned over the camera to adjust some settling on the top of the camera, before she took a couple of steps back and smiled down the lens.  “Working?” she asked, allowing the camera’s build in mic to pick up her voice.

Scott flipped a switch in the booth so that his voice would carry down to the stage. “Yeah. Thanks for all this.  I would have called Billy to help but—“

“Billy is useless at this kind of thing. I get it.  How does it look up there? What do you need me to do?”

“Find Billy’s mark, please.  Stand and talk for a little while, I want to make sure that everything is in order.”

Scott watched through the monitor rather than looking down at the stage as Ruth scanned the floor for the proper little mark and sidestepping to cover the space with her toes.  “Talk huh?” She bounced lightly on the spot, squinting up past the lights as if she might have a chance of seeing Scott hidden in the booth.  “What in the world should I talk about?”

“Well, you are being recorded, so perhaps nothing that you will want to deny later.” Scott suggested, and was rewarded with a warm smile.

“So, what you’re saying is no detailed confessions of my torrid crime spree all across America, then?” She teased.

“I’d advise against it.”

“Well, then, I have nothing at all to talk about,” she sighed with a dramatic shrug of her arms—a habit that she’d picked up from her friendship with Billy.   Scott had always wondered why it was always just a friendship.  From the time he met them, he thought that Billy and Ruth would have been an inevitability, and something spectacular at that.  But—here they were six years on, both clearly attracted to each other, and no one had said anything.

Curiosity might have gotten the better of Scott as he suggested, “I don’t know.  Talk about Billy.  This is his event, after all.”

“Billy, huh? Well, he’s a good man.  Funny. Kind. Tall.  Sweet. The stupidest genius I’ve ever met.  One of my very best friends.  I don’t know.  What you do want to know?”

“Well, Do you like him?” And then feeling extremely childish he added, “Like—like him, like him?”

Ruth laughed openly.  “Scott, are you an eleven year old in a twenty-seven year old body?”

“Yes. I am.  But, you didn’t answer the question, Ruth?”

“I—well—Yes.”  Ruth stopped bouncing on her toes, not looking up towards the booth or to the camera, but down into the empty chairs.  “Yes, of course I do.  I thought it was obvious.”

“Have you ever told him that?”

“No,” she laughed, “Not bluntly.  He never asked and I guess I never thought to volunteer the information. It doesn’t really matter though, does it? He and I—we’re not exactly on even playing ground, are we?”

Scott made a skeptical face before realizing that Ruth still couldn’t see him.  “What in the world is that supposed to mean?”

“Well, he’s tall, he’s fit, he’s funny, and he’s kind.”  She repeated her list blinking up past the lights, the smile back on his face. “He makes plans and get things done, while I am a creature of daydreams and whims.  He was making his dreams come true while I was still living with my parents dreaming of marrying Darren Criss.”  He watched as she gave a little shrug, her own calm shrug instead of Billy’s exaggerated one. “Besides, it’s not like I’m a particularly subtle woman, or been entirely hush-hush about the whole thing.  After all, I’m letting you record this as I literally declare it on a stage. But nothing has ever happened.  So, I’m not going to be in a relationship with William Branson.  I think I’ll find a way to survive.”

Scott almost didn’t realize that she’d finish talking. He been using the remote zoom.  Her mother said she’d survive, and he didn’t doubt that she would, but this close up said she was heartbroken.  That was all the proof Scott needed to feel justified in his new game of matchmaker.

“Scott? Is everything okay up there?” Scott started, and returned the camera back to its defaults.

“Yeah, yeah just saw something on the camera I wanted to take a closer look at,” Scott reassured her.

“All good?”

“Maybe.  Give me a minute.  Keep talking.”

“About what, Scott?  I’m fried a bit.  I can’t think of anything.”

Scott scrambled for a second—he needed her to keep talking about Billy—what could he get her to say that would be the most useful to him on this recording? “Well—I don’t know.  Hypotheticals? What would you do if Billy showed up at your front door tomorrow morning and just kissed you?”

“Well, I’d make sure he was sober—not still reacting to a part from the night before.  Then I’d proably ask exactly what his intentions were because I really don’t do friends with benefits or one night stands.  And then I’d probably ask him if he was really sure he wanted to do this.”

“And if he was sober, wanted a relationship, and was sure?”  Scott pressed.

“Well—Yeah.” She grinned wide, and Scott began to feel a little guilty.  If this didn’t work—he would be breaking her heart twice.   But—it had to work.  “That would be something wouldn’t it?”  Ruth added, before giving herself a little shake and started bouncing on her toes again.  “You fix everything up there?  Camera’s working well?”

“Yep. Yes.  Everything is excellent.  Thanks for all your help.  You can go back to whatever it was Billy roped you into working on here today.”

“Cool,” She gave him a mock salute both towards the booth and towards the camera.  “Let me know if you need anything else, Scott my man.”

“Will do.”

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Matchmaking (425 words)

“I think you guys might very well be idiots.” Even though Jack’s eyes were still focused on the fire, he could see River and David turn to face him.  River’s face would be indignant bristling at the insult.  David would be calmly curious, wondering what led Jack to say that.  “We’re fighting a war here,” Jack continued, “Tomorrow we ride into battle, not a metaphorical battle or a hyperbole, but a literal battle.  We could all die.  The chances of all three of us coming back alive and uninjured are very slim.  If you two go to bed tonight without talking, without laying everything on the line—then you two might very well be idiots.”

“Jack. What?” River managed. She was flustered and possibly murderous, but he just couldn’t take it anymore.

“River won’t make the first move because she still fears that David is holding her refusal of the Order against her even though he knows she was right.  David won’t make the first move because he’s always thought that River was out his league, and he doesn’t want to hear that she never thought of him that way.”  Jack finally turned away from the fire to look at his two gaping friends.  “But—I swear—if you guys could see the way you look at each other when the other can’t see  If you could hear the way you talk about each other when you’re out of earshot.  We could die tomorrow guys.  Lay it on the line. Do what you can, spend your night together. Enjoy tonight. Don’t go into tomorrow with things unsaid.”

Jack had done all he could.  The ball was well and properly in their court now.  He pushed himself up to his feet and started to head back to his tent, hoping they would heed his advice, hoping at the very least they could bond over their anger that he’d just spilled their secrets.   He’d made it a couple of feet before he heard River ask, “Did a former priest just advise us to have premarital sex?” And Jack stopped softly.

David’s laugh was a laugh of relief.  “Oh, I love you.”

It was all Jack could do to not turn around and watch them.  “You do?” River’s voice was quiet, almost bordering on timid. Apparently, they’d found the one topic that seemed to scare River.

“Yeah,” David replied easily, “Yeah, I do.  I thought you knew.”

“Oh—“ She paused, Jack held his breath, “Oh, David. I love you too.”

Jack smiled, stepping forward again.  They’d be fine tomorrow, just fine.

 

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2014 in River's Story

 

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