"Listen to me, I-"
"I do not want to hear it, I want you out."
"I will not, and you will listen to me. I do not know how these thoughts got into your head, but they are wrong! I could not sleep last night and did not get any rest until morning. I have been sleeping all day and you are blowing everything out of proportion!"
It was the final day of shooting episode three. After this, the cast would be given a week to rest and recuperate. Because Richard was still so unused to the London area, Thomas had been so kind as to offer a place to stay, rent free. When they talked about it that morning, it got Richard so excited he could barely focus himself on being mad. For as it was, this episode would end on a cliff hanger. The two lovers would end the show with a fight. It made Richard giddy inside, knowing just how audiences would be hooked, waiting on pins and needles until the next airing.
Currently, the cameras were rolling, and he and Thomas were fighting under the hot stage lights. What ever made Richard's makeup refuse to melt under the scorching lights was beyond him. But that was an inquiry for another time. As Thomas turned away or rather, King Zephyr Richard (as Noreat) reached out to touch him. Zephyr swatted his hand clear away, and Noreat twisted his face into a hurt filled scorn.
"Let's just drop all of your paranoid imaginings and move onto something enjoyable than this." Fruitlessly, he tried to bring back an air of seduction.
"I am not paranoid!" Zephyr shouted, turning to him. Inside, Richard's heart thumped. His cue was coming. If he over acted on this next line, or made it too underwhelming... it could make or break the fight. He needed to hit that note just so, or else the whole scene would be for nothing. "And you are not helping your case! This is all just a fun game to you, isn't it? It means nothing, and especially not what I feel!"
"THIS ISN'T ABOUT FEELINGS!"
Richard could almost feel the tension from the onlooking crew. He focused every inch of him so as not to smile. He had hit that line just right, and a resolving pride welled within him. Of course, being a soap actor, he was used to fights. But this was no melodramatic shit. Hell ho. If anything, he wanted this to be as genuine as possible for Thomas's sake. An actor like that deserved 110% from every co-worker he had. And as he watched Thomas Clayborn's face screw into a shocked pain, before hardening quickly to cover himself, Richard felt even more joyful. Watching him go through such emotional change was like watching a caterpillar change to a butterfly for the first time. For a split second, even he had believed that Thomas was hurt.
"She was right," came the actor's growling response. "You are ferrin-lipped..."
"And what does that mean?"
"It means get out."
Richard waited a beat. He did not respond right away. That extra pause was golden in tense situations like this. After holding it for as long as he could, he turned sharply. "Fine. Good night." With that, he stormed off set, but then quickly turned round to watch the rest of Thomas's performance. Like a child waiting for Santa, he sat in his chair, his eyes glued to the actor before him.
At first, Thomas was silent. Richard didn't even dare to breathe, his toes curling with pure excitement He watched the actor pull out the prop pendant around his neck and feel it with the tips of his fingers. His face alone could have written a novel. There wasn't much that could have stopped Thomas from swooning like some love struck high school girl as he watched the man clench the prop in his fist. His entire body shuddered with agony, his face wrought with terrible emotion. Just like in King Leer, the man's turmoil nearly brought Richard to tears. He jumped, almost, as the actress off set spoke her line. As she was already filmed separately, all they needed now for editing was her line cue.
"Father?" came the sweet voice of Katelyn Sterns, the actress who played Iridesia.
Thomas snapped his head straight up. A sudden fear struck his angry face and he threw his arm up into the air. The prop masters hiding behind him quickly turned on the fans, causing a gust of wind to fly past his silver hair. The sound effects would be added in later. Like a tormented banshee, Thomas wailed: "THE NEXT PERSON WHO WALKS IN HERE IS BEING THROWN INTO THE FARTHEST AND BLACKEST CELL IN ULRI'NOCHT!!" It took Richard a moment to realize how tightly he clutched onto his chair's arms. Even so, it took him even longer to unclench his fingers.
Those eyes followed earnestly as Thomas turned to the prop bottle of alcohol on his desk. Uncorking it, he took a big swallow of the iced tea inside. His features screwed up painfully, and he let out a dry sob, his wrist pushing firmly into his eyes. If Richard was crying by now, he didn't notice. Thomas took another long drink and then turned from the cameras, pushing himself up against the side of the window sill, his free hand gripping his hair tightly. A moment's pause...
"Cut! Print it!"
Donald's voice and a little applause from the crew sent Richard back to reality. Despite this being the third or fourth time Richard had fully seen Zephyr's beak down, it still shook him every time. Not caring how childish it was, he rushed onto the set and practically knocked the fifty two year old to the floor, clutching him tight around the middle in a hug. Thomas let out a cry of surprise, but his character was instantly broken, and he turned his warm smile down to Richard's face. "I guess you're just excited as I am to have a break." With a faint chuckle, he gave the glass bottle to the prop master and turned, forcing Richard to let go of him. "Ugh.." He felt his throat. "I should probably have a spot of tea before bed tonight... I haven't yelled so much since Richard the III"
Richard beamed at him, his hands still managing to touch some part of Thomas's body. "I thought you were great!" he praised. "Absolutely brilliant! I would give anything to act like you, Thomas!"
This provoked another laugh and he put his long fingers atop Richard's head. "Don't sell yourself short, lad. That was a fine job just now. Your best take yet, I think." He paused then, his finger suddenly brushing down Richard's cheek. He pulled back a finger tipped with wet make up. "Sweat?" he asked.
Shame suddenly flew through Richard's head as he realized he must have let a tear slip by. Quickly, he rubbed his eyes and face roughly with the back of his hands. "Y-yeah," he said, trying to cover himself up. "That's it. I was just... These costumes are so damn hot!" He tried to laugh it off, internally cursing himself for letting Thomas see his tears. The older merely smiled.
"Of course." His face clearly told him, however, that he knew better. "Well... I think it's about time we head for home, eh chap?" Joy filled every inch of Richard and he nodded, now eager to get himself out of his costume and into Thomas's car. He had packed everything he'd need the night before. Mainly, it was just clothes and electronic necessities. He doubted he'd have much attention for anything else. The thought of living with Thomas... Thomas Clayborn of all people... It made him giddy all over. With a little spring in his step, he made his way to the makeup artists and allowed them to defrost his face.
"Whew!" A new voice turned his attention to the chair beside him. Smiling, he watched as Katelyn removed her gaudy blond wig. Her own hair was a pale red, and cut so short to the skull it seemed barely there. She grinned at him, running her fingers through her own hair. A cockney girl, she was born in London and hardly ever left it. She had done a few bit parts in television and small movies, before finally making her break in the show.
"Good show out there," she complimented, taking off her fake eyelashes.
"Thanks," said Richard brightly. Despite them being enemies on screen, off it, Richard saw a bit of a sister in Katelyn. She was, after all, the first one to notice the crush he had on his co-star. She was also the one to give him sparse bits of information on his secret love. So far, according to her, Richard knew that Thomas had been married twice, the first died and the second divorced, one son in North Wales, had a sister in Ireland, and parents that moved up to Scotland. Being more exposed to his career than he was, she was the better authority. "So what are you going to do for the break?"
"Heading to me mum's for a few days," she said, fishing around her desk for a pack of cigarettes. Noticing they were under the wig, Richard brought them up for her. "Ah! Cheers." She put them in between her breasts for later and then ran her fingers through her hair. "What about you?" She grinned, her eyes twinkling. "The way I hear it, you'll be bunking with a Mr. Clayborn, eh?" She laughed a bit and gave him a nudge with her elbow as he took off his wig. "Must be exciting, that. Think you'll be up for a bit of fun with the old mister?"
Richard laughed nervously. He still wasn't used to her on-the-nose personality sometimes. "Nah," he said. "I'll probably just hide the whole week." He wouldn't be so bold as to make a move. He quieted as the make up lady removed the paint from his face.
"Bah. You'll get around to it. Or so help me, I'll push you two into a closet." She laughed at herself and then turned, heading to the costume department. "Ta then, love!" With a wave, she vanished into the sea of faces.
Wrapping up seemed to take forever. After he had gotten off his makeup and costume, there was still signing out, a meeting with Donald, a quick look through of the stock to make sure none of them wanted to do anything over, and then finally, nearing midnight, Thomas lead Richard outside the studio and towards his Mercedes Benz. Though it was late, Richard couldn't find it in him to be drowsy. It was as if he had gulped down an entire pot of coffee as he sat himself in the passenger's seat of the luxury car. Everything about it was so up-to-date and fancy, he feared touching anything, lest it break. He kept his bright smile as Thomas got in after him.
"I have to apologize in advance," he explained, pulling into the road. Richard blinked, confused.
"For what?" Was his place messy or something?
"I'm afraid my life isn't as exciting as you'd make it out to be. I'll probably be doing nothing but reading through the next few episodes." This caught Richard off guard and he scrunched up his nose in confusion.
"I'm not expecting it to be exciting," he responded. That wasn't why he was so happy to be going with Thomas. "I'm not really a club guy or anything myself. So I won't expect you to go out every night if that's what you're thinking." In all honesty, he wasn't even sure when the last time it was that he went out to a bar. Probably before he left the states. "To be honest, Thomas, I'm just glad I'll be able to spend time with you - " He stopped himself dead. Had that been too forward? Shit, was Thomas going to start feeling awkward now? He frantically thought of ways to save himself. "I mean... With everything going on... and... and you know... It's so busy it's hard to... concentrate..." Red faced, he stared down at his lap, fiddling with his jeans. "It'll be nice to... y'know... read... without..." He couldn't really finish that sentence. He prayed that something would break the tension quickly. A moment later, it was indeed broken by Thomas's laugh.
"Wonderful," he said pleasantly. "It is hard to find a nice quiet place to rehearse in such a crazy mess of people, after all. I'm sure we'll get along fine." Those mysterious, dark eyes flashed to him, making Richard shiver. "Won't we, my boy?"
"Yes." His response was almost too quick for his liking. He cleared his throat. "I mean uh... Yeah. Of course we will. We already do, right?" He gave him a nervous smile. At least he had gotten out of the awkward silence between them. They fell into a comfortable conversation soon after, and before either of them knew it, they were at Thomas's apartment building. It was nearing one in the morning, but Richard didn't seem the least bit tired. With eager hands, he grabbed his suitcase and backpack and followed obediently behind Thomas as he was lead upstairs. He felt like he was being given some sort of special treat for good behavior. If he had a tail, it would have been wagging frantically.
After reaching the fourth floor, Thomas stepped out. "The flat's this way," he said, motioning to his right. Richard followed him down the hall before stopping to let Thomas open his door. Inside, a luxury apartment sat before them. A kitchen island with high end appliances to the left, doors leading to the bathroom and bedrooms to the right. Though, like most homes in England, it wasn't exactly the biggest apartment Richard had ever seen, it certainly had a sense of elegance to it. It was too fancy to be considered a bachelor pad, though Richard supposed that's what it was.
"Mrow~" came a tiny voice. Blinking, both men looked to their feet. A chubby orange tabby came trotting towards them, its round belly swishing with every pudgy step. Thomas brightened.
"Othello!" he said brightly. Kneeling down, he scratched behind the cat's ears, a loud purr coming from the animal. "Well hello there, my prince. I hope you don't mind, but we'll be having a guest with us. Has Mrs. Kellerson been feeding you every day like she was supposed to?" He glanced over at the half full food dish. "Ah yes. She has. Good." With another pat to the cat's head, he stood and told Richard he needed to make his bed still. Richard said that he'd wait and watched his host vanish into the second door. With a smile, he knelt down in front of the cat as it sniffed his pant leg.
"Hey there, Othello," he said, his voice friendly. "I hope you don't mind me." He held his hand out, and after a moment, the cat pushed his chubby head into Richard's palm, demanding a pet. The actor laughed and gave him a good scratch on the neck. "Can you keep a secret?" The cat's tail flickered. Lowering his voice to a whisper, he leaned forward. "I'm in love with your owner. Crazy, huh?"
"Mrow," came the cat's response.
He laughed again. "Yeah... Don't worry though. I won't steal him from you. You have my word."
"Nurrrow?" Without much warning, the cat jumped onto Richard's thighs and made himself quite comfortable there. He blinked before wrapping his hands gently around the cat's stomach. He tried to pry the animal off, but he had already sunk his claws into the man's jeans. He gave a wry smile.
"Well... at least you like me..."