* * Joey’s Outtake * *
I was glad Mark’s Sharpie mustache had finally worn off now, two days later, with a little help from some rubbing alcohol and baby oil. I had trouble taking anything he said seriously while he still had that on his face.
He didn’t say anything about what happened at Sean’s. He only mumbled about getting the guys back for the prank.
He had spent the last couple days in the studio, rehearsals. We both had today off. Walking back to the living room, he stubbed his toe on the corner of one of my boxes. One of more than several boxes of my things that we had already moved over from my place.
They hadn’t been unpacked. Mostly, I just rummaged through to find things as I needed them.
“Ouch! I’m sorry. Do you want me to move those?” I asked.
“How about we unpack them?” he mumbled through his teeth.
“What?” I pretended not to hear him.
“Nothing.” he said, taking his place back in the middle of the couch, he was watching football.
I sat sideways, my back against the arm of the couch, with my legs straight out, laying over his. I was flipping through a magazine, but not really concentrating on it.
His arm rested on my leg, his hand between my knees. When he got excited about a call or a play, he would squeeze my knee, or my lower thigh “Did you see that?!” he’d ask.
"Mhmm." I’d nod. I didn’t care much for football. And Mark was too distracting right now anyway.
I turned another page, not even looking down.
When a commercial came on he turned to me and sighed. “I know we’ve already talked about it, but I don’t know why you won’t let me and the guys help you move the rest of your stuff, before we go.”
He was right, we had already talked about it. Was he pushing my button on purpose? I thought he’d given up this argument, but I guess him hurting his toe wasn‘t helping my case right now.
"Like I told you, I appreciate the offer, really! It’ll take me forever to sort through my closet. And it’ll be something to keep me busy, after you’ve gone." I lowered my head slightly and peered up at him. "I don’t know why you won’t let me pay half the rent?"
He had refused to agree to let me pay anything. This was his button. He shifted a little.
"Like I told you, I was already paying to live here. You staying is not costing me any extra. I feel like I’d be ripping you off.” he said.
"I’ll be staying here more than you. I eat. And use water. And electricity." I argued.
"Fine. You can move after I’m gone." he gave in, again.
I bit my lip, trying not to grin at my triumph.
I scooted over and onto his lap and draped my arm around his shoulders. I kissed him on the cheek “Thank you.”
"Mmhmm." he pretended to pout.
"Besides…I’d rather spend time with you doing other things." I said.
He walked his fingers further up my thigh “Yeah? What kind of …things?” he asked.
The sexual tension between us had hit an all time high.
"You know…things." I held his gaze.
“Hey, do you have plans tonight?” he asked abruptly.
He knew I didn’t.
“Well, no.” I cleared my throat “Not ‘plans’ per se, but you know…if something happened…”
He laughed “No, not…that! I mean, I wanna take you out.”
“Ohh!” I blushed. “What about your game?”
“Eh, fourth quarter. It’s all but over anyway.” he said.
“Where we going?!” I asked.
“I don’t know? Nothin’ fancy. It’s kinda last minute. How about a show?” he said.
“Sure.” I didn’t care where, we hadn’t been ‘out’, just us two very often. “I need to go get ready!”
“You’re gorgeous, just as you are.” he said.
“Marrrrk, I cannot wear this out.” I pulled at my t-shirt.
“Then go get ready.” he swatted my behind as I stood.
* * Mark’s Outtake * *
I jumped up and made a call while she was out of earshot.
“Hey, man. Yeah, we’re still on for tonight. We’ll be there in about an hour.” I told my friend. “No, it’s perfect, she has no idea!”
We had passed the movie theater that was closest to the apartment about five minutes ago.
Joey started to fidget.
I looked over at her. She smiled.
A few minutes later, she was twirling the end of a piece of hair.
I knew it was killing her not to ask.
Finally, giving in to her curiosity “Hey, you know you passed the theater about 10 minutes back?”
“I did?” I asked, as if I had no idea. I even played into it by adjusting the mirror and looking back. “Hmm.”
She sighed “I mean, of course you know.”
I tried not to grin.
“It’s just…” she paused. “…you said we were going to a show.”
“Mhmm, that’s right. A show.” I nodded.
“I don’t know what you’re up to Mr. Foster, but I’m going to just sit back, relax and enjoy whatever it is you’ve planned for us.” she said.
I placed my hand on her knee “Good, that’s exactly what I want you to do.”
She placed her hand over mine.
She waited a few more minutes, I was proud, before she crossed her arms “Though I don’t know why you just can’t tell me.”
“You are so cute when you pout.” I grinned.
I didn’t drive around the front, but pulled into the parking garage behind the building. There was a line of people already down the sidewalk and rounding the building, though the show didn‘t start for another hour or so.
“You’re trying to be tricky, but I know this building.“ Joey said.
“Yeah?“ I teased her.
“Yeah. I’ve been the one on the sidewalk plenty of times, vying for the front row.“ she turned to me. “I get it, you said a show. Not a movie show, but a concert? Who are we seeing?!“
Her eyes lit up with excitement.
I took her hand and started to walk up the alley in the back of the venue. A few girls toward the back of the line recognized me and yelled my name as they came toward us.
I looked at Joey, but we were separated before I knew it. Three girls jumping up and down squealing.
“Mark! I always wanted to meet you. Are you here for the show?‘ the first girl asked.
“Yeah, I am actually.” I answered.
“That is SO cool! Hey, will you sign this?” she shoved a piece of paper at me.
“Sure.” I signed my name.
One of the others jumped in “Your music has inspired me SO much!”
“Cool! How?” I asked.
But she didn’t even have a reply. She was already resting her head on my shoulder, her phone out at arm’s length “Mind if I take a picture?”
“Nah.” I posed with her and smiled.
The third girl was more shy “Hi.” she said softly, her eyes wide.
“Hey.” I replied.
“Your band is my favorite. I don’t know where I’d be without…”
She trailed off, looking at the ground, then continued “I‘m just a much better person, your songs just touch points in my life and have helped me through a really tough time. They‘ve become a part of me.”
“That’s rad. I love hearing things like that.” I told her.
“Sorry, I don’t want to keep you.” she looked toward Joey. “But, do you have time for a quick picture, it would mean so much.”
“Yeah, of course! Hey, Joey…would you mind?”
“Not at all.” she took the girl’s phone and snapped a pic.
The girl smiled as she viewed it “I can’t believe this! Thanks so much!”
She ran back to take her place in line with the others.
We really hadn’t ran into any fans out in public up to now, mainly because we hadn’t gone out much, with me being on tour and all. I wasn’t sure how Joey would take it.
“You okay?” I asked her.
“Yeah,” she smiled. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
“I don’t know.” I shrugged. “I didn’t know if that was too weird?”
She shook her head “No, it wasn’t. But that last girl, she about broke my heart. I’m not sure how you do it. Hearing their stories, how you and the band have touched them, affected their lives.”
“Knowing my music touched someone, inspired them creatively, or however, is what it’s about for me. I need them, as much as they need me.” I explained.
She threw her arms around me in a hug. Was she crying?
“Hey.” I placed my hand on her back. “Hey, come on, tonight’s supposed to be fun.”
I was about to knock on the stage door when she stopped me.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
She stood in front of me “Absolutely nothing. I just…I’m not sure who’s playing in there tonight or what the plans are, but I feel like it’s going to be something great! And well in case I forget…thank you, for tonight.”
She kissed me.
I pulled her tight “You’re amazing, you know that?”
She shrugged and smiled shyly, like most other times I compliment her “I’m just me.”
“Well, I love this me.” I kissed her nose.
“I love this me.” she wrapped her arms around my waist.
“We could, go back home and …ya’ know?” I winked.
She lowered her hands and squeezed my ass. I wasn’t expecting that!
“Later.” she whispered in my ear, then pulled back. “But let’s do whatever you have planned first.” she bit her lip.
Shit! She had no idea how it drove me crazy when she did that.
I turned and knocked on the stage door.