Been a while since I posted a free story. Here’s a contemporary romance short for you.
Out of Line
All they ever did was fight. The world seemed to enjoy that. They ate it up week after week.
As Lawrence stared down at the script with another scene of him and Chelsie arguing yet again, he felt done. He was done. He was tired of spending an hour trying to wind down after they filmed these scenes, exhausted by the emotions of saying one thing when you desperately wanted to say another. Each week during filming, he got his fondest wish—to see Chelsie Peters…followed by his least favorite pastime—an argument.
Oh, the lines were clever. They always were. No one fought as passionately and with so much wit as the two of them. Plus, they were lawyers. Well, not really. They were actors. But they played lawyers on TV. Lawyers who loved to argue.
The audience laughed while they fought.
And it was killing him.
But after last Tuesday’s filming, he’d walked out to see Chelsie standing out in the rain while the sudden shower drenched her. She was leaning against her car with her head bowed as if it all was too much. It made him ache inside.
If only they’d had the sort of relationship where he could have hugged her. Instead, the best he could do was ask if she was okay. Her reply of the filming just taking a lot out of her had resonated with him.
He was done. They were done. Screw the script. He kept repeating that over and over through makeup and as they filmed other scenes. Theirs was the final scene set to be filmed.
The studio audience wasn’t bored, but they weren’t blown away by this episode. Normally, he didn’t pay as much attention, but he was trying to predict how his vast change to the script was about to go over…and it probably wouldn’t. The audience loved to see them argue. They’d come to see a “Derek” and “Amy” clash of wills. Every time, one or the other of them walked on set, he could almost feel the group’s anticipation—only to lose their interest again when it was a humorous scene instead of an argument.
They’d probably hate to see them get along.
Well, hell, they were going to get a scene. He was counting on Chelsie’s great acting abilities to roll with it. If she didn’t, there’d be a different sort of scene.
It was nearly here. It was amazing how long just over twenty minutes of an episode took to film some nights. Tonight, it felt both too fast and like the minutes were crawling. How many times were they going to repeat the porch swing scene with Luke before he’d stop stumbling over his lines? It was strange they’d paired his on-screen brother with Chelsie’s lawyer character last season.
Luke had probably spiked his energy drink with vodka again. How hard was it to say, “Amy, you looked absolutely beautiful in court today?” Complimenting Chelsie was the easiest thing in the world. It was far more difficult to spend several minutes cutting her off at the knees while she went for the jugular. But Luke fumbled the line for the third time, and then laughed it off. The moron couldn’t seem to say “absolutely” to save his life.
Charles was getting that pinched look to his face.
The cameraman looked at his watch for the umpteenth time.
This probably wasn’t the night to get creative, to hold everyone up for another take.
“How about we skip that line?” Charles said, with a forced grin for Luke.
The rest of the scene went well at least.
Maybe it was the lack of chemistry between Luke and Chelsie that was tripping them up. Even Chelsie was much stiffer and nearly, well, wooden in their scenes. A sharp contrast to their bits…which had arrived.
The fight that wasn’t…was about to happen.
He felt the energy from the audience. The guy working up the group even joked that this is what they came here for. Great.
They were out on the front porch too—leaning against the railing. She’d just had her lukewarm talk with Luke. Sometimes, off-screen, they called him Luke-warm because he didn’t add much to the plot.
Okay. That was it.
Chelsie flipped both sides of her hair over shoulders while straightening up. Then, she looked at him…and smiled—a big, gorgeous grin. And her eyes brightened. She liked him. She did. This wasn’t a monumental mistake. Sometimes, you just had to go for it.
“Are you ready for this?” she asked as the camera crew got in place and the boom mic was lowered.
Charles was giving some last minute directions.
“Yes. No. Maybe.” For the first time in one of their scenes, Lawrence was nervous. He was sweaty palms, galloping heart, mouth-as-dry-as-the-desert jittery.
Chelsie tipped her head to the side and wrinkled up her nose—probably trying to figure out what was up with him.
What was up with him?
He couldn’t remember the lines he’d planned let alone the lines he was meant to say. Everyone from the cameraman to the audience member in the very back was about to hate his guts for wasting their time.
Screw it. He was still doing this.
If they fired him, they fired him.
Which would be hell on his ability to pay L.A. rent prices.
He’d have to get a roommate. Maybe two.
He could kiss that dream of a new car goodbye. His twelve year old Honda still ran well enough. Most days. And that’s why public transportation existed, right?
Wait, what if this screwed up Chelsie’s life?
Okay, change of plans. He’d do the scripted lines. Time to start a fight.
And the clapper board clicked as the scene started.
“I’m tired of bailing your brother out,” Chelsie said. “If it’s not actually bailing him out, I’m explaining to one of my friends how him not calling is actually part of his charm. In fact, since this last call came from jail, I’d definitely say him not calling is charming.”
Now, he was supposed to defend his brother, Luke’s character, and then they’d argue.
This is what people wanted.
He couldn’t do it. “I don’t want to talk about my brother. I’m tired of arguing with you.”
Chelsie frowned. He could see her mentally flipping through her script trying to figure out what was going on.
And he stepped forward, cupped her cheek on the side opposite the camera, and kissed her…right on that frown. Her lips were as soft as he’d expected, and they parted in a breathy sigh. It was a short kiss. A kiss that left everyone in stunned silence. Even him. That was…worth whatever it cost.
He only pulled back six inches and left his hand on her face.
“You just kissed me,” she pointed out. She’d instinctively closed her eyes during the kiss, but she opened them now.
Because he’d had to. Because she was beautiful, sweet, tempting, perfect. Because. “Because there’s a reason we’re so good at fighting. All that heat…”
“I’m your brother’s girlfriend.” He couldn’t tell if she was in character or not. Either way, that line played.
“No, you aren’t. You haven’t been for a while. Plus, he’s an idiot.”
She smiled. “What?”
“He broke it off with you. He should have fought for you.” If it’d been his character, he’d have demanded they stay together. There was no way Lawrence would have let her go, on or off-screen.
Outside of their scene, he could sense the anticipation and Charles had decided to leave the camera rolling to see where this went, maybe he was hoping they’d crash and burn. It was hard to say. Maybe he assumed Lawrence had spiked his sports bottle with vodka this time. There was a moment after the kiss, where it’d sounded like the audience had gasped and even catcalled.
“I don’t know what I’m supposed to say,” Chelsie said honestly.
“I wasn’t really looking for words.”
“Is this real?” She was still focused on him, still looking into his eyes.
“The other day when I saw you, standing there, looking so alone,” Lawrence shook his head, “I wanted to be the one with you, not pushing you away day-after-day. I’m done pushing you away.”
She swallowed and blinked. “Maybe I’m done being alone.”
“Maybe I’m done fighting…done fighting this…” And Chelsie grabbed his neck and pulled him down for a real kiss…a long kiss…a kiss that definitely started catcalls and cheering in the audience.
The clapper board came down with a “cut!” and they pulled apart.
“Uh, I need five minutes. We need five minutes,” Lawrence said to Charles as he grabbed Chelsie’s wrist. The lights were bright enough that he couldn’t make out the man’s response, but he pulled her behind the false wall of the scenery.
Chelsie was smiling, though she looked dazed. “What was that? That wasn’t in my script!”
He laughed. “No. I…uhh…made that up.”
He could hear the buzz of the audience and the occasional hoot or clapping. They’d…maybe…not hated that. Lawrence tried to look through the fake scenery window out at them, but Chelsie grabbed his face in both her hands and focused his attention on her.
“Lawrence. Seriously. What was that?”
And the sound outside of them faded. “That was me being real, Chels. I’ve had a crush on you since that first day when you walked in and took one look at my shirt and said…”
“’I don’t think that shirt is going to work. I can’t even look at it without laughing,’” she slapped her forehead lightly, “and you said you hadn’t seen wardrobe yet. I was surprised you ever spoke to me again.”
“Well, I had to…we had a scene together.”
“And all we did was fight.”
“But I’m done with that.”
“You mean, on camera?”
He sighed. “If we have to, I’ll still fight with you on camera, but, only because my Honda is taking about a quart of oil a week…and I finally got rid of the last milk crate in my apartment.”
Her mouth twitched in an almost grin and she dropped her hands while shrugging. “We are passionate and we’re good at fighting.”
“But, only on one condition.”
She raised her eyebrows. “I’ve seen your car; you’re really not in a place to be setting stipulations with Charles.”
“No, it’s with you.” He grabbed her hand and brought it to his mouth to press a kiss to her knuckles. “We spend time making up for our fights off-screen.”
She took a step closer so they were toe-to-toe. “Well, since you did just get rid of that milk crate…” And she rose up on her toes to press another kiss on his mouth. “Deal.”
He wrapped his arms around her, hugging her tight for a second. She smelled as sweet as honey and he couldn’t wait to get out of here. “So, we’ll do this one scene and then…”
“You’ll take me out for pie and we’ll talk…or, you know, whatever.” Tipping her head back, she wiped her thumb across his lower lip. “I think you’ll need to see Mel. You’re wearing more of my lipstick than I am.”
“Probably not the right shade for an argument, huh?” He hated when she pulled back—his arms felt empty. Hopefully, he’d dredge up the right lines and they’d be done quickly.
They walked around the corner and nearly ran into Charles. He was grinning widely. Okay, not the response Lawrence had expected. “Looks like we’re done for the night, but you’ll get a new script tomorrow or as soon as we can crank one out. I think we’ll be playing with the timing of this episode so it comes out around Valentine’s Day.”
Chelsie blinked but then stuttered out, “Wait, you’re keeping that scene?”
“Keeping it? That was gold. I wish I could put a gag order on the audience, but the rumors ought to work in our favor anyway. We’d planned on putting off you two hooking up until next season, but you can’t fake real like that.”
“We were going to hook up?” Lawrence asked, his jaw dropping.
Charles leaned in, clapping him on the shoulders. “Why do you think we had you fighting all the time?” And he walked back towards the camera crew, whistling.
~One Year Later~
INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE SCENES BLOG
Our pick of the week is definitely going to be Amy and Derek’s wedding which is also the season finale for Out of Court. Their romance has left us all feeling like voyeurs this last year as the series seems to trail behind their real life romance. Rumor has it that actress Chelsie Peters will be wearing her actual wedding ring in Out of Court’s ceremony.
In an interview last year, the gorgeous actress fessed up to the truth about that kiss. You know what kiss I’m talking about. Chelsie Peters confirmed that the filmed kiss was their first kiss as a couple, but she refused to say whether it was scripted or not. Her coy looks suggested it might have been the real deal and insiders have suggested the script for that scene was entirely different. When asked, Lawrence Steward merely grinned and said, “If you had Chelsie Peters just a foot away, would you waste time with words?”
Works for us, Lawrence.
This Thursday. Our pick of the week. Don’t miss the wedding of the season as these two tie the knot.
Copyright © 2015 by Wendy Sparrow