Gale Force Ch. 03byvelvetpie©
Season One, cont.
The days started to melt together after that. Episode One went by, then Two, then Three and I began to notice the difference in the actors. Michelle and Thea tended to order for each other, like an old married couple sans the arguments. Guest stars came and went and most were kind, thanking me for the gourmet food and praising my recipes. As always, Gale remained detached from the group, his dark eyes brooding and his nature restless. I took him his lunch meal every day, briskly striding away until five weeks into the mission, he asked me to stay.
"Stay for what?"
"Stay to talk."
"You don't want to talk, Mr. Harold."
"No, you don't. You just want to peel that plastic wrap back and indulge yourself in the smoked salmon sandwich that I've made you." I watched him look down at the sandwich, then with a sigh, he pushed himself to his feet and began to unwrap the sandwich.
"Tastes even better." I countered and started to turn away.
"My wanting to talk." I stared at him for a long moment, then took a seat across from him on the wooden bench, smiling as I watched him lay into the sandwich, his dreamy eyes closing in salmon rapture. "This is marvelous. You've really outdone yourself."
"This is just my version of a salmon po' boy. This is just the tip of the iceberg."
"Oh, really?" I could barely breathe, shivering at the sexy tone of his voice. He wiped his mouth and took a bite of his kosher dill pickle. "So why haven't you invited me over for dinner?"
"Didn't know you were interested."
"I'm always interested in good food." My heart dropped. I should have known that he wouldn't be interested in me. Who the hell would want a slightly overweight black girl, except for the fact that I could cook like a pro? "And good conversation."
"Sounds like a plan." I stood, nodding to acknowledge Gerry who had been patiently waiting to get my attention. "Let me get back to you on that."
"Don't wait too long. I could starve to death."
I laughed, turning away and I walked over to Gerry, ignoring the look of astonishment on his face. "What's the matter, Gerry? You look as if you've seen a ghost."
"He talked to you?"
"Yes. He is a human being, you know, not a god."
"Sure could have fooled me." He gave me an elbow. "Have you heard about his scenes?"
"Of course. No one's been able to talk about anything else."
"Well, then, you know he's gay."
"Gerry, he's not gay! He's straight just like Hal and ... "
"How can a straight man pretend to have sex with a man so well?"
"It's called being a great actor, Ger."
"No one's that great an actor."
"You're just jealous that he's not gay and that you don't have a chance at him."
That made Gerry angry and he stopped, cocking his fists on his hips. "You don't have a chance, either, dearie."
"Better chance that you do."
"He ain't gonna want no cushion for the pushin'."
"You may be right, Gerry, but at least I know that I have a job when I wake up tomorrow." With the greatest of smiles, I spun around. "You're fired."
* * * * *
The next two days were tough. I couldn't find a replacement right away so I was doing double duty and getting very little sleep. I never complained; it was no one's fault but my own and none of the cast or crew members, especially Ron and Danny seemed to notice it. I was sitting near the trailer, rubbing my aching neck when a strong pair of hands took over, gently kneading the muscles.
"Wow, that feels great."
"You should have asked for one earlier. I'm great at massages." The breath caught in my throat when I realized that it was Gale. "Are you trying to kill yourself or something?"
"Why do you say that?"
"The last two days you've been running around like a chicken trying to escape KFC." I laughed at that. "Is your assistant sick?"
"No. Just fired."
"I see." His hands softened, now rubbing the area. "You could have asked for help."
"No, I couldn't."
"Wouldn't want anyone to know that I needed help."
"Ah, so you're one of those." I nodded. "I don't blame you. I'm kinda like that, too."
"No!" I gasped exaggeratedly and Gale smiled, releasing my neck. I rotated my neck around, sighing at the relief his hands had brought me. "Thanks. Feels much better."
"Great. Now I have a favor to ask of you."
"I want to have a dinner party on Sunday night, a cast dinner party for about 20. Do you think you could cater it for me?"
"That's three days away, Mr. Harold."
"I realize that but if you won't do it, I won't have the party."
"Gee, no pressure, eh?"
Gale grinned. "None whatsoever."
A shiver went through me as I recalled the touch of his hands on my flesh. "All right. I'll get you some dinner choices tonight but I have to have your answer on them before you leave tonight."
"That's easy. The choices are completely up to you. I trust your judgment."
"Wow. That was easy." I stood up. "Well, I have to get back to work. I've got to clean up."
"Give me your cell phone." I unclipped my Motorola at my hip and handed it to him. He flipped it open and fiddled around with it for a few minutes, then handed it back to me. "I gave you my phone number. You've got my apartment and my cell numbers. Give me a call if there's any problem and I'll give you my keys so you can get everything set up. We have a photo shoot that morning so you'll have the place to yourself."
"Cool. I can handle that."
"Great." He gave me one of his trademark smiles. "And by the way, the name is Gale."
I watched him walk away, then turned on my own unsteady legs, wondering if I'd be able to stand being so close the sun. Suddenly, I felt like Icarus, vulnerable and ready to melt away.