Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday Fiction - The Ring Toss Pt 8

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

Only one post after this one! If you're just stumbling over my blog, you can read the earlier installments here: Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 -  Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

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. And who knew dancing with a stripper could cause such angst?

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

And then came the scene Geneva and I had rehearsed in the dressing room, the one where Brittney starts out crying. Funny thing about those tears. This time they were real. I managed to tamp them down enough to get through the lines at the end, but when I hit the wings it was Niagara Falls time. I ran through the backstage area, dodging people and equipment like some high school running back. I didn’t stop until I hit the back door.

Outside in the dark humidity, I pressed my knuckles up against my eye sockets as I fought for control. I tried hard not to rub so I wouldn’t smear my mascara too badly. The big eyes of the dark-skinned cartoon lady stared down at me from the brick wall. I loved Joe. I really did. I just didn’t know how to let him know I was ready to get married. I was such a loser.

I’d only been sitting a couple minutes when the door behind me swung open. I bit my lower lip hard and swallowed. “I’ll be back in a minute.”

“It’s okay, Mack. You’ve got time. There’s still the big catfight between Kenley and Caitlyn to get through.”

Geneva. Crap. Like she was going to help a lot. “I always enjoyed that one.”

“Probably because you got to beat on Cheyenne.” Geneva came and stood next to me, her silk skirt swirling around our feet like a puddle of rain.

“Having Dusty out there as Kenley adds a layer of complexity, you know?”

“Yeah, I can’t even think about it too hard.”

I laughed despite myself.

“That was pretty intense,” Geneva said.

Part of me wanted to ask what she thought she was doing, and the other part wanted to get back to crying. “I wasn’t sure how to play it.”

“Honesty’s usually good.”

“Maybe next time, though, I’ll try to keep from bleeding all over the stage.” I carefully ran a fingertip under my eyelashes, wiping away the tears.

Now it was Geneva’s turn to laugh. “You’re fun to play off of, you know?”

“Thanks. Back atcha.”

“And I hope you and Joe get married some day.”

What? Was she psychic too? “Um…yeah…well…”

“Sorry, kitten. I don’t mean to get all weird on you.” She stopped and sighed. “I was in love with him too, and I still want him to be happy. He deserves the kind of thing I have with Mike, and if he wants it with you, well, do the math.”

I shifted my weight so we were facing each other. The headlights of a passing car illuminated her perfect silhouette. “You’re awfully generous.”

She put a hand on my shoulder. “Joe’s a great guy.”

“He’s the best and I’m an idiot. He’s already asked me twice. He says he’s not going to ask me again.” The words sounded even stupider out loud than in my head.

“So ask him.” Geneva, Queen of Simplicity.

“I don’t know how.” I might have been wailing.

Geneva pulled me gently into a hug. “Just ask.”

The door popped open and Donald stuck out his head sweaty, bald head. “You girls need to get into your dresses.”

Geneva smiled. Okay, so she was gorgeous and talented and nice. And I couldn’t hate her. Somehow saying the words out loud had shaken something loose. As I went back into the theater, I knew I could “just ask” Joe the very next time I saw him.

A minute later I was back in the dressing room. The strapless black dress was in a heap on the floor and the other girls were pulling on their fluffy, fuchsia bridesmaids’ dresses. As I reached for my costume, a polyester lace bridal gown someone had found at a second-hand store, Julio walked in. He'd pulled off the blond wig and his dark curls were damp with sweat.

We still couldn't speak because the audience would hear us. He bowed his head in my direction, giving me a smile with enough embarrassment in it I was relieved rather than angry. I picked up the apology in his body language and smiled to show him it was accepted and returned. Julio nodded again then headed toward the back of the room. He looked better with brown hair. The blond wig made him dangerous.

And it was just as well Joe hadn’t seen our near-miss-kiss. As actors, this kind of thing went with the territory so it shouldn't be an issue.


There was a new text message on my phone.

You're going to look lovely in white.

I didn't know how to respond. Joe must have been keeping track somehow and guessed we were getting ready for the final scene. I pulled the tacky white dress over my head and Geneva came around behind me to zip it up. She grinned at me and headed out to the wings with the rest of the bridal party. Everyone else would be onstage as I processed in through the audience.

I stuck the “real” costume veil on my head and scurried around to the back of the theater. 

Can she do it? Even for the purposes of her "art"? Can Mackenzie really play the bride? Jump HERE to find out...

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