Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Fiction - The Ring Toss Pt. 3

A last-minute change lands Mack in a long white dress, but can she commit?

We're already on week 3 of The Ring Toss. If this is your first time here, you can catch up on Part 1 and Part 2 if you want. But come back, because Mack's got all kinds of trouble this week. 

Mack's been cast to play a bridesmaid in an equity-waiver production of "Something Borrowed, Something Blue", but at the last minute she's upgraded to the role of Brittney, The Bride. It's a tough gig for a woman with a wedding phobia, especially since her boyfriend Joe's not around to talk her off the ledge. Here, the maid of honor - played by Joe's ex-fiancĂ© (which doesn't complicate things AT All) - does her best to manage after Brittney has a near-kiss experience with someone besides the groom...Also, I'm putting the program in to help clarify the names a bit...

The Play – Something Borrowed, Something Blue: A Bachelorette’s Adventure

Director: Dusty Squires
Assistant to the Director: Donald Loudemilk

Brittney (the bride): Mackenzie Reed
Mara (the maid of honor): Geneva Louise
Kenley (the bride’s sister): Dusty Squires
Caitlyn (the bridesmaid): Cheyenne Miller
Salvatore (the stripper): Julio Lorenze
Pete (the groom): Julio Lorenze

I inhaled, letting the breath swirl deep down in my belly, and tried to pull together some ideas for who I thought the character of Brittney should be. In my mind I was outside, leaning against the wall of a nightclub with tears running down my face. Brittney, the bride, was freaking out and her maid of honor, Mara, was trying to talk her down from the ledge. I had to think both Geneva and I got the irony of the situation. We didn't have time to dwell on it, though, because we were supposed to speak the lines like they just popped into our heads.

“Hey, Britt, honey. Don’t cry.”

“I can’t believe I just…” Funny, once I was in the moment, it was easy to feel all choked-up.

“You didn’t really do anything.” Mara leaned forward and laid a hand on my shoulder. Her sincerity  hinted at how I should respond.

I  rubbed the back of her hand with my fingertips. “I should have stayed home.”

“Um, bachelorette party? Wouldn’t have worked as well without you.”

“I’m not supposed to be messing around right before I get married. “

Mara laughed. “You were just having a little fun, is all.”

“Fun.” I pushed her hand off my shoulder and rolled my eyes.

“Hey, no blood, no foul.” Mara grinned, but her eyes said she really wanted to tell me to grow up. She was awfully convincing.

“I just…you know me and commitment.”

Mara laughed again. “Never has been one of your strengths.”

“Pete’s different, you know? I do love him, and the idea of a wedding sounded okay from a distance…”

“From a distance,” she said, mimicking my tone.

“Hey, you're not married yet. Don't make fun of me.”

She raised her hands, asking for peace. “I'm not making fun.”

“What if we get divorced?” I swear my voice cracked on its own.

“Well, you’ll pay a lawyer a lot of money and you’ll probably cry, and after that your life will go on.”

I crossed my arms. “Sounds easy when you say it.”

“Divorce isn’t easy, marriage isn’t easy, hell, staying single isn’t easy either. There is no easy.”

“If I really wanted to back out, could I?”

“Brittney!” Mara sighed.”Do you really want to?”


 Her tight smile and the skepticism in her eyes dared me to tell the truth.
“You're right, I don’t.”

“Okay.” Mara reached over to brush a strand of hair back from my face.

“I’m an idiot.”

“Sure, Bridezilla, whatever you say.”

Geneva and I might have been perched on either side of a canyon only eighteen inches wide. I was tempted to reach across it. The moment passed, and we gazed off in opposite directions. Geneva’s face was likely a mirror of my own—a healthy dose of embarrassment spiked with jealousy and wrapped up in a little relief. We’d made it through our big scene, despite the fact I’d started out with my foot in my mouth. Good for us.

I identified way too easily with Brittney’s fear. The trick to making the dialogue convincing was a complete belief in what I was saying. I had the earlier lines down cold, but Brittney’s change of heart at the end was harder to sell.

Cheyenne had come back to watch the end of the scene. “Dusty wants us ready to go in ten minutes.”

I sat up straighter, ready to end the awkward moment. “So Candi wore the black strapless thing for the party scenes, right?”

“Here.” Cheyenne tossed her coral leather dress over her shoulder and pawed through the rack of clothes until she found the dress I’d be wearing. It was made from the kind of satin that has waves running through it and was about three inches shorter than I'd ever wear off-stage.

Candi and I are both long-legged brunettes, except years of dance training made her willowy while on me the same dimensions come out lanky. She’s a couple years younger than me, which was one of the reasons she got the part of Brittney, the bride, while I had been cast as Kenley, the older sister. Neither of us possessed the right curves to do the dress justice.

I shed my cotton skirt and T-shirts, slipping the dress over my head and turning so Cheyenne could zip up the back. When she was done, I grabbed a big pinch of the top edge of the fabric, hoisting it farther up over my boobs. I wondered how many times I’d have to yank it back up before changing into my other costume—the dreaded wedding dress.

We were all more-or-less ready when Dusty walked in. With him was Donald, his right-hand man. Donald is a balding redheaded elf of a guy who always acts as stage manager for Dusty’s productions. Some of us were suspicious as to the full extent of their relationship. Oh well. In this live-and-let-live world it really wasn’t an issue, though Cheyenne might disagree. Dusty was okay, and Donald was going to be part of his entourage for a lot longer than Cheyenne ever would.

Dusty was in costume to play Kenley, the bride’s older sister, which meant he wore a dark, curly wig and heavy, black eyeliner. He had on my black jeans and a form-fitting sparkly gold top—along with some tasteful figure enhancement. It was strange to see Kenley’s black jeans on someone else. They were only a little baggy through the hips, which spoke more about my figure than Dusty’s. As a look, though, he had it going on.

After comparing notes with Donald, Dusty went around the room, checking in with each of us. It felt a little strange to be getting instructions from someone dressed like a tarted-up party-girl.

When it was my turn, his gaze was sharp. “Mack, can you give me a little bit more hootchie-mama? Maybe in the hair or something?”  

I bent from the waist and scrunched my fingers through my hair, then hit it with the hairspray on the way back up. Instant volume. Cheyenne’s lemon-sucking lips showed she didn’t like us messing up her perfectly straight style. She’d have to get over it. I threw a faux-fur stole around my shoulders and was ready.

Dusty had inspected Geneva and Cheyenne and was back to me. “More lips.”

I shrugged and grabbed a tube of Demon Red lipstick.

He nodded. “Has anyone seen Julio?”

Julio had been hired to play the stripper for the bachelorette party. Because he didn’t come on until the second act, he usually arrived right as the curtain went up on act one. Supposedly he has actual experience as a male stripper, and rumor had it a person could find him in the local adult video store too. I’d been tempted to investigate, because regardless of whether or not the rumors were true, Julio is hot. As in handsome. Very handsome. He isn’t too tall, is buff without being freakish about it, and has blue eyes that are sharper than diamonds. If not for Joe, Julio would be a serious temptation. He wore a blond wig to play Salvatore, going natural to play the groom at the end of the show. I liked either version.

“I think he went out to the Murder Mart to get some smokes,” Donald drawled then glanced down at his watch. “I’m going to go flash the lights in the house. Everybody quiet from here on out.”

Donald’s warning meant we had five minutes ‛til curtain. He was dead serious about the quiet thing. The theater is so small the audience would hear it if one of us belched too loud.
My phone chirped with a text from Joe.

Break a leg, baby. When I get back we can play doctor.

I went to the mirror and carefully put on one more coat of lipstick, trying not to think about how bad I missed him. In the reflection, I could see Geneva, coolly sophisticated in a blue-and-green watercolor silk dress. Cheyenne had amped up her make-up too, ending as a harder, older version of the kid from Nebraska. Dusty slipped on a pair of high-heeled pumps and sauntered around the room, giving us each a fist bump. It was showtime.

It's showtime! You'll have to come back next week to see how things go...Can Mack really wear the long white dress, or will it make her break out in a rash?

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