“I I have a table booked,” stammered Jeremy to the waiter.
“Under what name, sir?”
Jeremy turned towards the exit of the hotel and thought how easy it would be to just walk out.
Jeremy turned back and sighed, “Sorry, I’m just a little nervous. The name’s Carter.”
The waiter smiled as if he’d seen it all before and said,”Please follow me sir, your table’s this way.”
“Thank you,” Jeremy said as he sat down. As he looked round the dining room the formal surroundings made him feel a little awestruck and he wondered, not for the first time that evening if this was a good idea. Looking down Jeremy started to move his knife and fork around the table.
“Would you like something to drink sir?” asked his waiter.
“I’m not sure yet, my um, girlfrie... no friend should be here shortly. I will wait for her to turn up” – if she does turn up he thought. “Can you check to see if she has arrived, she may have gone into the bar.”
Jeremy looked up at the entrance to the dining room and froze. That woman looked so like Jenna he thought. Come on Jeremy, snap out of it, Jenna’s gone. It’s time to get on with your life.
Before Jeremy realised what he was doing he was fidgeting again. A bead of sweat had started to move down his neck soaking into the collar of his shirt. His armpits had already started to feel clammy with sweat.
Jeremy got the waiters attention,” Can you tell me where the toilets are, please?”
“Certainly, sir out into the lobby and straight ahead of you.”
“Thank you, if my friend arrives, please can you show her to the table?”
“Of course, sir,” the waiter said as Jeremy walked hurriedly out of the dining room.
After coming out of the toilets Jeremy hesitantly looked into the dining room and then abruptly turned and ran out of the hotel, almost barging into a couple. As he started to slow to a fast walk he passed an attractive woman walking quickly towards the hotel entrance, glancing at her watch.
As Jeremy dejectedly walked home spots of rain fell from an overcast sky. Mother Nature must be in the same mood as me, he thought. Our theatre needs you suddenly screamed at Jeremy from a poster on a nearby building. On closer inspection Jeremy saw that the theatre in question was the local amateur dramatics group which were auditioning for their next production. Do you want to make new friends and have fun at the same time? the poster asked him. Why not, Jeremy thought, as he noted down the phone number.
As Jeremy anxiously entered the theatre his heart fell as he saw a sea of faces turn in his direction. He almost turned and walked out but a woman came over to him, “Hello, you must be Jeremy. I’m Mary, welcome to our little drama group. Everyone, we have a new member with us this evening. This is Jeremy.” Mary rattled off a few names as she pointed round the room, Elizabeth, Mark, John.
As Jeremy went to sit down, a woman turned to him and said, “Hi Jeremy, I’m Elizabeth.”
Before Jeremy could reply John, sitting next door, touched Elizabeth’s arm saying, “Look Liz, how about it, just a drink and something to eat ok?”
“I’ll think about it – and the name’s Elizabeth.”
“OK, can we have everyone’s attention, please. And that includes you, John,ok? Please pass these scripts round, this is the play we are auditioning for.”
As Jeremy looked through the script he glanced up as he saw Elizabeth looking in his direction, she smiled. Jeremy smiled back and started to feel a little more at ease.
“I wouldn’t get too comfortable here, Jeremy, I usually get cast as the lead,”whispered John as have gave him a playful punch on the arm.
“Let’s start with the scene on page 2 – Jeremy can you read for the part of Simon and Elizabeth for the part of Diane.”
Jeremy’s heart jumped a beat as he thought why me first? He noticed all eyes burning into him as he started to read the script. As Elizabeth started to read in the interaction between both characters came to life and at the end of the reading Mary exclaimed, “An excellent start to the audition, good.”
A smile slowly spread over Jeremy’s face at the praise the director had put in his direction. A warm glow slowly spread through Jeremy as Elizabeth turned to him and smiling mouthed the words, “Well done.”
As the audition progressed Jeremy took time to look round the room and became more at ease. Soon it was time for a break and over coffee one of the other members came up to him ,”Hi my name’s Mark. Welcome to our little theatre and well done for a good first audition.”
“Thanks Mark, I was a little nervous. I have not done anything like this before.”
“That’s OK, there’s a first time for all of us. I noticed that you were talking to Elizabeth earlier. She is quite new here only been with us for a year.”
“Yes I everyone seems very nice.”
“Right, can we get on with the audition please?” shouted Mary.
As the audition progressed Jeremy read for different characters but his favourite was Simon.
Leaving at the end of the evening Elizabeth came up to him saying, “That was a good audition Jeremy, I hope we are both cast in the production.”
“Come on everyone how about a drink? – Are you coming Liz?” shouted John
“Oh all right. Joining us for a drink Jeremy?”
“No, I better get home. See you next week,” stammered Jeremy as he turned away and trudged home.
As the group headed to the nearest pub, Elizabeth turned and glanced back in Jeremy’s direction.
Two days had gone by since the audition and Jeremy was walking through the high street when suddenly his heart missed a beat as he eyed Elizabeth with that John character, Mr Ladies Man, having a coffee. Suddenly a wave of jealousy washed over Jeremy as he watched them both talking together. He turned round abruptly and marched away thinking to himself, maybe I won’t be cast in the stupid play. At least I won’t have to see that John flirting with the lovely Elizabeth again.
Opening his front door the emptiness hit him like a sledgehammer.
It had not always been this way.
Sometimes Jeremy could still hear his Jenna round the flat but not anymore.
Not since the accident.
Jeremy shook his head, if only to dislodge the memories. He felt anger welling inside him as he thought of John and Elizabeth together. Maybe acting is not for me, he thought, as he stared at the wall feeling sorry for himself.
Jeremy was suddenly pulled back into the land of the living with a loud jangling sound as his phone announced its presence. Picking up the receiver absentmindedly Jeremy said “Hello?”
“Hello is that Jeremy?”
“Hi Jeremy, Mary here from the drama group. I was really pleased with your audition and would like you to play the part of Simon in the production.”
After a little silence Mary continued, “I thought that both you and Elizabeth had an excellent rapport and have cast her as the part of Diane. Hello Jeremy, are you there?”
“Yes, yes I am still here,” exclaimed Jeremy unbelievingly. “Thank you so much, Mary.”
“That’s fine dear, can you come round next week for a read through?”
“Yes that would be great.”
“Ok good, see you then.”
As the line went dead at the other end Jeremy just held his receiver, not quite believing his luck. Not only to be cast as the lead but also to be acting with Elizabeth was a dream come true. Well, apart from Casanova John, of course.
Jeremy walked confidently into the theatre the following week feeling that he was meeting everyone as equals this time. Let’s hope John’s not around, he thought.
“Hello Elizabeth,” Jeremy replied coldly , looking round, “John not here yet?”
“Oh, no he wasn’t cast in the play.”
“That’s a shame,” Jeremy said hiding a smile. So much for Mr Know It All, he thought.
“Welcome everyone, can we get started please?” exclaimed Mary, “Let’s start at Act One, Scene 1,ok.”
During the break Jeremy went up to see Mark and asked “Hi Mark, I hear John did not get cast.”
“I know, and he’s not happy about it.”
Trying not to look anxious Jeremy said, “I thought he would have been with Elizabeth being cast as well. Aren’t they going out with each other?”
“You must be joking. Don’t take John too seriously Jeremy, no-one else does. Well done with being cast by the way.”
“Thank you,” mumbled Jeremy as he turned back to look over in Elizabeth’s direction. She looked round and had a confused look on her face. Jeremy suddenly felt a wave of coldness as he realised what a fool he had been.
“OK everyone, can we start Act Two.”
As the group were reading Act Two Jeremy froze mid-sentence as he felt his face go slowly red, as he read the stage directions
Simon leans over to Diane and kisses her on the lips.
“Jeremy, are you OK?” whispered Elizabeth.
“Yes, yes I am,” as he carried on with the reading.
At the end of the play reading Elizabeth came up to Jeremy, “I am worried about the kissing scene as well you know.”
“No, no it’s not that, well ... maybe I am worried a little.”
“Just remember that when we are in the play we are Simon and Diane not Jeremy and Elizabeth.”
“OK thanks, look I’m sorry about earlier.”
“I know, you saw me with John last week. We’re only friends you know.”
“Yes Mark told me. Sorry I’m just being silly.”
“No, of course you’re not. Now are you going to come for a drink with us or not?”
“Yes, yes I think I will,” Jeremy said confidently.
Eventually the kissing scene arrived, the dreaded scene three. Jeremy had been thinking of nothing else for the past week. He was still worried about it.
Questions kept running through his mind,
How could he kiss his lovely Elizabeth with everyone watching?
How would Jenna feel about him kissing another woman?
“OK can we do scene 3 please?”
Jeremy stood up slowly and ambled over to the stage, his legs feeling like lead. Elizabeth was already there looking beautiful as usual. As he looked at her, she gave him an encouraging smile.
Diane : ‘Why don’t you kiss me Simon.’
Simon : ‘I I I I’m not sure.’
Diane : ‘Come on, just a little kiss.’
As Jeremy leant it towards Elizabeth, his heart trying to jump out of this chest, Elizabeth whispered to him ,”Remember Simon and Diane.”
As he moved towards those lovely, . . . red coloured, . . .gorgeous lips, Jeremy thought Simon kissing Diane, Simon kissing Diane, Simon kissing Diane.
Suddenly his lips made contact, and it felt fantastic for a brief moment.
After the play reading Elizabeth came up to Jeremy, “That wasn’t so bad was it?”
“Well I’ve had better,” joked Jeremy.
Elizabeth smiled, “I was only acting, you haven’t seen anything yet.”
Suddenly Jeremy’s mouth felt as dry as the desert as he stammered, “Elizabeth, I I was wondering if you would like to go out for dinner with me, ... maybe, ...sometime.” Where did that come from, Jeremy thought.
Elizabeth teased, “What, just the two of us?”
Jeremy sighed nervously, “Well, if you don’t want to, that’s fine.”
“No, don’t be silly Jeremy. That would be great, really.”
Jeremy could not believe his luck.”Great how about this Saturday at the Italian in town?”
“Sounds good, I’ll see you there at 7 ok?”
“7 O’Clock it is” confirmed Jeremy with a smile on his lips.
As Jeremy walked home, with a long forgotten spring in his step, he looked up at the sky and thought, yes, I think Jenna would approve.