Love and Christmas
Releasing: December 1st
Releasing: December 1st
Publisher: JMS Books
When the theater's director decided produce 'A Christmas Carol' to celebrate the season, not everyone is happy. Galen, company's newest actor, hates Christmas and all he thinks it stands for. Nonetheless, he'll be damned if he won't go after the lead role of Scrooge.
Neal, the company's brand new costume designer, takes his job in stride and, impulsively, offers to help Galen learn his lines for the show. While the two men work together, Neal wonders why Galen is so against Christmas. Will he be able to learn Galen's dark secret? And if he does, will it push the two men apart, or strengthen their slowly developing interest in each other?
"Will you please hold still," Neal grumbled.
"Sorry," Galen replied.
"And bend your arm, hand on your waist."
Galen complied, trying not to grin triumphantly when Ricky came into the costume shop to take his place with the rest of the cast to be measured for costumes.
"Now spread your legs, please," Neal said. "I need an inseam measurement."
"I know what mine is," Galen told him.
"You know what it is for the pants you buy. I need a real one," Neal replied seriously, kneeling, tape measure in hand.
Galen looked down at him, repressing a brief surge of lust. God only knows I've had costumers measure me before, but they were all females. Not a cute man who is probably off-limits. At least he knows how to do this without being touchy-feely. He chuckled under his breath, causing Neal to glance up at him. "Sorry, you hit a ticklish spot."
From behind him, Galen heard Ricky say to someone, "Ticklish spot my ass. He's coming on to Neal."
"Ricky, hush," the woman replied. Galen recognized her from her voice as Merianne. She had been picked to play Mrs Cratchit and the Ghost of Christmas Past—just as Ricky would be doubling as Bob Cratchit and Mr Fezziwig.
"I'm not you know," Galen said quietly to Neal.
"Nothing." Galen was glad Neal hadn't heard Ricky. It would probably have embarrassed him. Though why I care…
Neal stood again, continuing taking Galen's measurements until he'd filled all the lines on the worksheet. "Okay, I'm finished with you," he told Galen.
"Have you come up with sketches for Scrooge's costumes yet?"
"I'm working on them," Neal replied, sounding distracted as he glanced at his list of cast members. "Mr Moore?" He looked at the assembled actors.
"That would be me," Ricky said, coming over. "You got lucky," he murmured to Galen as he passed him.
Galen smirked. "Nope. I'm just a better actor."
"For old man parts," Ricky retorted.
"I'm only, maybe five years your senior."
Ricky lifted an eyebrow. "Is that all? I'd have said—"
"Mr Moore. If you please," Neal broke in blisteringly. "There's a lot of people to measure and the day isn't getting any younger."
Galen grinned as he walked away. I guess Neal has some balls after all. Wouldn't have figured from looking at him. He's cute, but…wispy. Sort of the cliché male costumer. And young. I'm betting he's maybe twenty-five if that. Not that it matters. Like I told Ricky, I'm not looking for anything more than a one-nighter, if that, right now. I'll have my hands full learning my lines, and blocking and… Yeah. With only two weeks until opening I'm going to be too busy to even thing about sex. Not that there's anyone I'd be interested in, despite what Ricky said.
* * * *
Neal looked up when Evan Bowen, his assistant, came into the shop.
"Kids all accounted for and measured," Evan said. "And I survived."
"Oh boy. How bad?"
"They were actually very professional. But then they've been with the children's theater for a while, according to the manager there." He set the sheets on top of the other ones then looked at the sketches Neal had spread across the table. "Only four party guests?"
"Small cast, small party," Neal replied. "Same with the people in the street scenes. It's going to make for some quick changes."
"I like this." Evan tapped the sketch of Christmas Present. "You'll have to pad her, or the costume." He grinned. "Belinda's going to have a cow."
"Yeah. She's a bit of a primadonna. It'll do her good though."
"Will I have problems with Merianne? I want her to look old for Christmas Past."
"Hell no." Evan smile with delight. "She's a sweetheart. But then I'm partial since she and I are going together."
"That could prejudice you a little," Neal agreed. He tapped a finger on the sketches for Scrooge's costumes. "What's he like to work with."
"Galen? Hard to tell. He's new and has only been in one show. Since it was modern, there wasn't much to do for him, or any of them, that caused ripples. From what I understand, Ricky used to be a real pain, but he's mellowed out, thanks to Charlie."
Neal shook his head. "Not from what I saw today. He and Galen got into it verbally. Not badly, but there's no love lost between them."
"Ricky wanted the Scrooge role." Evan chuckled. "It'll do him good to finally have some competition for the leads."
"Typical theater people," Neal muttered. "Okay, let's see what we've got available in fabrics on hand. And costumes from previous shows we can alter to work for this one. The less we need to spend, the happier Steve will be."
Born and bred Cleveland, I earned a degree in technical theater, later switched to costuming, and headed to NYC. Finally seeing the futility of trying to become rich and famous in the Big Apple, I joined VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), ending up in Chicago for three years. Then it was on to Denver where I put down roots and worked as a costume designer until just recently.
I began writing a few years ago after joining an on-line fanfic group. Two friends and I then started a group for writers where they may post any story they wish no matter the genre or content. Since then, for the last four years, I've been writing for publication. Most, but not all, of my work is m/m, either mildly erotic or purely 'romantic', and more often than not it involves a mystery or action/adventure.
‘Shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased, thus do we refute entropy.’ Spider Robinson.
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