Gale Force Ch. 24byvelvetpie©
I had six weeks to prepare.
In those six weeks, I worked my ass off at the restaurant, closed on a new house and leased my Toronto place to Stacy. I also went shopping again, overjoyed to see my old friends Michelle and Thea as they'd come up to help me in my search for clothes. I was getting better on being more stylish but I still welcomed their help. I related the plans to them and they were in total agreement with the boys. Thea took me to get my haircut and they headed back, anxious to see me when I arrived.
Finally, the day arrived and I headed back to Toronto, every kilometer making me more and more nervous. I pulled into my parking lot, dragged my luggage up to the flat and rang the doorbell. Stacy answered it and after several loud squeals of welcome, we got down to the business of preparing a master piece for the final season meeting. Allen dropped by an hour later and we made it a merry party, having a few drinks as we stuffed and trussed Cornish hens.
We finished around midnight and Stacy and I went up to bed, giggling in pajamas and head scarves as we slipped off to sleep. Morning greeted us brightly at five and we loaded up the truck, headed over to the studio and had everything set up when Ron and Danny came in. Danny ran to me and we embraced warmly.
"I've missed you!" He bussed my cheeks and passed me on to Ron who happily did the same. "You look fantastic!"
"Quiet. You're not supposed to notice that. She's here with the food."
"Thank you, Ron." I laughed, turning back to my table. "That is my job."
"Are you back permanently?" Danny asked and I quickly answered.
"I could arrange that but I've taken a flat in Vancouver and I'm working with Ilene. So ... "
"I see but it's our last season and you've been here since the beginning."
"I know, Ron, but it's ... " I looked up and caught a glimpse of Gale's face. "It's kind of complicated."
"Isn't life wonderful?" Danny laughed and gave my cheek another kiss. "We'll talk later. Go catch up with everyone."
A chorus of shouts arose when I headed toward the entrance. Michelle launched herself at me, as did Thea, Sharon, Bobby and Hal. Scott and Peter remained back but both offered me kind words and welcoming hugs. I was happy to see Jack as well and he gave me a hard hug. It seemed as if everyone parted to make an aisle and Gale appeared in the center. He was still handsome but his eyes were haunted, his body language stiff and aloof.
"Hi, Gale." I looked around behind him. "Where's Jenifer?"
His eyes quickly left mine. "Around."
"Tell her I said hi." I whirled, giving Michelle and Thea a tenuous smile and headed back to Stacy's side.
The final meeting began and we served everyone, topping off champagne glasses and leaving the sundry details to the wait staff that we'd hired. Stacy and I stood in the back, sucking back the alcohol and giggling. She told me about Gale and things that she'd heard, about how Jenifer wanted to spend his money but not spend time with him. About how Randy was sure that she was either married or had a man already on the side. About how the woman was interfering in everyone's relationships.
Stacy said that no one had said anything to Ron or Danny because they were afraid of repercussions from Gale and that set my drunken mind to working. I had nothing to lose. Allen had made a name for himself as had Stacy so the craft services part of the gig was protected. I decided, with the help of a lot of champagne, that I would speak with them later.
Ron and Danny got up to speak as did Bobby and Peter and somewhere in the dark, Gale ended up next to me while his precious Jenifer read the production notes. "Why'd you come back?"
I looked over, saw who it was and sipped my champagne, giving Stacy a gentle elbow so she could witness our exchange. "Because I can."
"I thought you were done with Queer As Folk."
"Contrary to the belief that the show revolves just around you," I took a long sip. "There are at least nine other people who are a part of the ensemble that forms this show."
"So what?" I turned to him, angry. "Is this Jenifer's doing? Because the Gale Harold I remember would never act like this."
"Maybe you never knew the real Gale Harold."
"Oh, yes, I did." I hissed. "Too bad that you forgot who he was." Stacy touched my elbow and informed me that we had to serve dessert. "See you later, Gale. Hope you have a great last season."