The Show Must Go On Excerpt


The last scene of Act One involved only Allyson and Matt’s characters. They had blocked the scene late one evening just before breaking for the night, but hadn’t had the chance to rehearse it beyond that. The script called for Victoria and James to share their first tentative kiss just before the blackout and intermission. Peter had explained that it would be one of those moments often seen in movies, where the two characters stare at each other for an uncomfortably long period and then draw in agonizingly slowly for the kiss. Allyson and Matt had heard the description, but they hadn’t acted it yet.

Allyson was nervous about it.

She tried hard to just think about the words she said and what they meant. Plus, as much as possible with a script in her hand, she maintained the eye contact Ginny and Clark demonstrated.

“What is it that you want?” was Matt’s final line, then she and Matt stood, three feet apart, gazing into each other’s eyes.

Most of Allyson’s brain forgot that she was playing a part as she looked at him. His blue eyes fixed on hers, and she couldn’t have torn her gaze away if she’d tried.

He took a step toward her, and her heart fluttered with joy.

She took her own step, bringing her close enough now to see the yellow flecks in his irises. They circled his pupils like fire, and when he took another step, she fancied she could feel the flame.

One more step and she forgot to breathe, thinking only of his eyes and of his scent and of the hand that reached out to touch her own.

As their fingers laced, he bent his head down. Her neck stretched back, allowing her to maintain the gaze that linked them tighter than their hands until she felt his breath on her face. Then she focused on his plump, pink lips, which inched closer and closer to her own.

The instant before their lips touched, she closed her eyes, prepared to savor it. And savor she did. At first, their meeting was feather light and sweet, and she relished the soft teasing. But it quickly grew more intense, their mouths pressing hard into each other as if to become one. Warmth radiated from their joining down her back to pour into her arms and legs.

She’d never experienced such delight and such yearning need at the same time. She relaxed into it, hearing a thud that momentarily puzzled her until she realized she’d dropped her script onto the stage. That and the catcalls and whistles from their cast mates in the seats brought her back to her senses. With her cheeks burning, she pulled away from Matt. His face looked red, too, and she thought she saw reluctance in his eyes. She blinked, trying to get her bearings.

“Curtain,” Peter called, joining the two of them on the stage. “End Act One. Take a break, everybody.” The cast in the audience scattered.

Peter cleared his throat and told his leads in a low voice, “Um, guys, that was not tentative. It looked great, but save it for Act Two, okay?” He cleared his throat again. “And those private times.” His eyes sparkled as he ambled away.


©2009 Kim Sheard