Performance: second act

Performance: second act

A Story by R J Fuller
"

A moment's hesitation could have had an entirely different outcome. Or would it be a moment of non-thinking?

"
 
The tall, muscular man strided into the room where sat the other fellow, equally handsome in his own way. 

"Mind if I join you?" the standing fellow said in a deep, seductive voice. 

the blonde man seated looked up at him and smiled. 

"I was hoping you would," he replied, patting the cushion beside him. 

The man sat down next to the other and leaned in close, resting his head on the other fellow's broad shoulder. The first man seated brought his hand up to softly caress the other man's burly arm. The firm thigh emerging from the jogging shorts was massaged as both men looked off and inhaled deeply.  

"Sparck, I don't think I've ever been happier than right now," the fair-haired fellow said. 

The other man smiled and brought his hand up the hairy chest and across the pecs to brush the square jaw of his adoration. 

"I want nothing else than for you to be happy, Dryve," he said. They touched foreheads, looking into each other's piercing blue eyes. 

"And you do, Sparck," Dryve whispered. "You make me happier than you will ever know." 

Dryve brought his other arm around to embrace Sparck and hold him as close as possible, to press bare, masculine chests together and become lost with one another. 

"And, . . . . CUT! That's a wrap."

A loud bell sounded as bright overhead lights suddenly illuminated everything and everyone present.  

"Okay, people. Let's get ready for the office scene next. Somebody get Matilda out here. Tell her she's up."

On the couch, the two men who had so lovingly held each other began to part, tho one of them appeared unable to do so. Or unwilling. 

"Will you let go of me, Andy?" the other man said, flustered as he stood from the couch. Andy had a shellshocked expression as he too struggled to stand, revealing to all the impression of his erection in his shorts. 

"Looking good there, Andy," a woman with a clipboard and wearing a headset called out as she walked by. 

"He always gets excited with me," the other guy said as he made his way to his dressing room. "I'm gonna take a shower." 

Andy looked around as tho he had been abandoned. He chased after his co-star. 

"Jim," he called. "Jim!" 

"What is it, Andy?" 

Andy got up next to Jim and seemed exaasperated. 

"Do you want me to join you? In the shower?" Andy asked. 

"No, Andy. We've been through this before."

"You announced it out so everyone would know."

Jim opened the door to his dressing room. 

"Andy," he said as he walked in, "go tend to your hardon," and closed the door in Andy's face. Andy looked around to see one or two persons watching him, then they turned away. He began making his way to his own dressing room to sort out his feelings of rejection. He was basically through for the day, so he decided to get dressed as well and leave the studio. As he too showered, he poured on the cold water, just wishing Jim was there. Just wanting Jim to be there.  He increased the cold water. 

Andy walked out of the dressing room and gave a casual glance to see where Jim might be. He was nowhere to be found, so rather than appear to obviously be hoping to see Jim, Andy made his way to the parking lot. 

How much longer could Andy look at Jim and hear his voice in rehearsals and filming saying how much he loved him? Having them in all sorts of stages of undress. The scene in which Sparck and Dryve took the bubble bath together was difficult enough. Andy didn't think he'd ever manage when Sparck and Dryve were in the pool and took each other's trunks off underwater and tossed them to the side. It was obvious as they entered they had nothing on underneath. Andy was mortified until he realized they'd have a second pair of trunks each waiting for them at the bottom of the pool for the tossing bit. 

Jim was already outside, talking on the phone. Andy wondered who he was talking to. Before he knew it, he was heading toward Jim. Jim saw him coming and continued talking on the phone. As Andy got near, he heard the one-sided conversation. 

"Uh-huh," Jim said, still not looking to Andy. "Uh-huh." 

Andy stood and waited. He wanted to tell Jim he loved him. 

"Yea, okay. Uh-huh. Yea."

Jim shot Andy a look of annoyance. Andy frowned and looked down.  

"Allright, . . . . love you, too, . . . bye." Jim looked off in the distance. 

"What do you want, Andy?" 

"Jim, I just . . . . " Andy stammered. He felt like a jealous wife, but he didn't know how to stop.  "I just don't see . . . . how we can say all those things we do and hold each other as we do and you . . . . "

"It's known as acting, Andy. It's what we do," Jim said, interrupting Andy. 

"Who were you talking to on the phone? Do you have someone in your life, then?" 

"Not that is any of your business, Andy, but I do." 

"Is it a man?"

Jim looked flustered at Andy. 

"You think if I was straight, I'd be able to kiss and rub all over you and smile like we do? Yes, Andy, I have a someone in my life. I already have someone in my life and I am happy."

Andy fished for another inquiry.

"Well," he began, "how do you know I couldn't make you happier? I could, Jim. I really could. You just said you like making out with me and holding me close and all." 

"I doubt that, Andy. Lynn and I have been together for three years now and we're doing fine." 

With that, Jim got in his car and closed the door. He pulled out of his parking lot and drove away. Andy watched him leave, but the obsession had all it needed. A name. 

Len. Or was it Lynn? 

Andy stood alone, looking totally isolated and watched as Jim drove over to the studio door and slowed down to a stop. Andy stood motionless as he watched, as tho it made him undetectable. He watched as a familiar male figure walked out with two women and waved good bye to them, then got in Jim's car. The car sat for a moment without moving. Andy deduced they must be talking, possibly about him. Maybe not. Just to be safe, he turned away, so they wouldn't see him watching. But he continued to listen as the car made its way to the parking lot exit. He turned back to watch them depart. 

Leonard. One of the show's writers. That's who that was, and that was who Jim called Len. Slowly Andy turned and made his way to his car. He got in and sat for a moment to think. He envisioned Jim with Leonard. His mind raced with images of Leonard getting off on writing and watching Jim act out those scenes with Andy. Andy reciting Leonard's words to Jim. Andy cranked up his car and drove away. 

The sun was now setting from the day's events. Jim emerged from the elevator carrying a bag and walked toward the door. Casually, he entered the apartment.

"Len?" he called out as he turned on the light and closed the door behind himself. "Why you got the lights off, babe?" 

No answer. 

"Hey, Len, I got the wine you wanted. I didn't realize we was out. Len?"

The keys fell from Jim's hand as he saw the events unfolding in the living room. A man was sprawled out on the floor, unmoving. There was visible blood at his mouth. 

"Len!" Jim cried out. He waited for Len to come out of another room and answer; to tell Jim what it was he was seeing here. 

"Well, Jim, you didn't want me, but it looks like he won't be having you for certain."

It took a while for the sound to register in Jim's ears, to connect with listening for him to look around to see where Len was and who this was talking. 

"I just wanted it to be you and me, Jim," Andy said, perched on a nearby armchair. He was shaking and crying. 

"Where's Len?" Jim finally croaked out with a dry voice. 

"That's him there," Andy said, motioning to the form on the floor. 

Jim attempted to move toward Len, but he was aware of Andy still being close by. 

"What did you do to him?" 

"Nothing I would have liked to have done." 

Jim pulled out his phone. 

"You calling for help?!" Andy said, standing up and putting his hand out. "You won't need to do that." 

Jim watched as Andy actually took a few steps toward Len. As he suspected, he'd have to get rid of Andy first or get him away from Len. His mouth twisted as he formulated what needed to be said. All the other times he spoke to Andy, it was Len who conceived the words and now, Len was incapacitated.

"Well," Jim started, "Well, Andy, if Len is . . . . is out of the . . . way, that just leaves me and you, . . . to be together." 

Andy all but gave an embarrassed smile. 

"Yea?"

"Of course, Andy," Jim replied, making his way toward him. He wanted to lunge at Andy right then and there as he actually had to step over Len's legs. 

"What we need, Andy," Jim said further, in a calm whisper, "is to just go on into the bedroom and we'll figure out what to do about Len later. For now, it is just me and you, baby." 

Andy stood and became a little flustered. 

"We'll be alone? Just you and me?" 

"Yes, Andy."

"To the bedroom," Andy said, turning to the door and that was all Jim needed. He swung the bag with the bottle of wine still inside as hard as he could. If he could have gripped the mouth of the bottle, he'd have used it as a club, but for now, whatever struck Andy was what struck him. 

Jim could sense it was the round bass of the bottle that found skull. The bottle shattered in the bag as Andy reached out and stumbled forward. Andy sprawled across the floor with wine still pouring from the ripped bag, as the shards of glass cut the plastic even more, sending more liquid over Andy. 

Jim stepped away toward Len, keeping an eye on Andy, to see if he moved just a bit. The hit was good, apparently. Andy's hand moved outward, then stopped. 

Jim had his phone out and was dialing away. Ambulance, police, intruder. That was when he heard the groan. 

"Puh, . . . . . " came the sound. Jim watched with anticipation. 

"Jim?" 

It was Len. 

Jim watched him as he detected Len was breathing. He gasped and tried to sit up. 

"No, baby," Jim said, "I'm here. Just stay where you are. I've called the ambulance."

Len was alive. 

Jim looked to Andy who still had not moved. Len coughed. Jim placed his hand on Len's shoulder and kept an eye on Andy, who still did not move. 

Jim wondered how the show, publicity, everything about them would go out, but only for a moment until he heard the sirens approaching and the elevator door opening along with the clanking of metal on wheels. 

Two officers entered first, followed by a couple of paramedics wheeling a stretcher, immediately followed by a second stretcher. 

"We had a call about an attack."

"That was fast," Jim said. 

The paramedics rolled around to survey the scene. 

"Actually, we were delayed by the traffic."

"I just called you guys not ten minutes ago," Jim replied. 

"A call came in about twenty-five minutes ago. Fella said he walked in on a burglary in process and the guy ran out, then he found the victim."

"Burglary?" Jim parroted. He turned to look at Andy, still unmoving and heard the medic give a diagnosis. 

"This guy is in bad shape. We got to get him to the hospital and quick." 

"He called, . . . " Jim stammered. He looked back to the policeman. "Are you sure he said there was a burglar? That maybe he didn't do it himself?"

The officer checked his phone. "No, uh, gave a description, distinct enough, the fella was caught trying to do some shoplifting at a convenience store not far from here. Owner held him with a gun until police showed up. Had the ID and charge cards for one Leonard Thompson on him. That this guy?" the officer said, motioning to Andy. 

Jim was silent. 

"No," he finally gasped. "That's Andy. This one is Leonard." 

"Well, what exactly happened here, fella?" the officer asked. "How do you fit in here?" 

Jim stared at the stretcher with Andy upon it being wheeled out. Andy was wrapped up, tubed, i.v., the whole works. Even a neck brace. 

Jim spun around to see Len, also being wheeled out. Another policeman approached Jim and the first officer. 

"The second guy is going to be okay, the medics said. Don't know about the first guy yet."

Jim played it in his head. Len was actually the first guy, Andy was the second guy. 

"This fella said the mugger had hit him a couple of times already and he was just about to pass out when the other guy showed up. Must have scared the burglar away. That's when he called 911 and was instructed not to touch the victim." 

Jim looked at the wine saturating the carpeting, mixing with blood. 

"Hey, fella," the officer said behind him. "You were about to tell us what happened. How did the second fellow get injured? What happened?"

Jim began to incoherently explain what happened, but he couldn't make out his own voice. He couldn't hear himself. He couldn't hear his words. He never heard the officer say he needed to go down to the station with them. He was just led as he tried to comprehend his error. How he had misunderstood the situation. 

A complete and total bad reaction to a misunderstanding.   

Letting the details sink in, Jim began to see if Andy hadn't shown up, the mugger would have killed Len. If Andy had wanted Len out of the way, he could have killed Len and blamed the mugger. So why didn't he? 

Then Len sat back in the dark squad car and wondered; why was Andy there to begin with? 

© 2021 R J Fuller


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Added on June 24, 2021
Last Updated on June 24, 2021
Tags: actors, mugger, mistake, police, injured, guilty, innocent, crime, men