peterjackson: (Skinny)
[personal profile] peterjackson
Without a doubt, this was the most idiotic venture Pete had ever taken on, and that was saying a lot. He'd stuck his own assets on the line to make offbeat, disgusting movies that showed no promise of payback at the box office, he'd declined offers from Hollywood in order to stick close to his beloved New Zealand, he'd waved a hand at hair salons with a 'no thanks, just browsing'.

But this new venture. How the hell did he ever think this arrangement would be a success? For the first time in years, Pete doubted his own abilities, especially in the face of this most formidable partnership.

But, it was too late. He'd made arrangements. He'd given his word. He had no choice but to make good on it, in spite of the herd (do they come in herds? What's the right word? Pete considered this, at a loss), anyway, the herd of butterflies that had invaded his stomach.

It was showtime. No backing out now.

He rang Alryssa's doorbell, and sucked in a deep breath. And wondered, like a million men before him, if she'd actually open the door.

Ryssa had taken her time getting ready. Several discarded outfits littered the bed from her standard black “wear to anywhere with the right accessories” suit, through a handful of smart but casual ideas to a formal dress. She had finally settled on her favourite long green bias cut skirt with a swirl around her ankles, and the new top she had bought in one of the little stores in Wellington. She checked her reflection in the mirror, admiring again the subtle ethnic beadwork around the neck and wrists of her find.

She heard the doorbell ring exactly on time and smiled to herself. She had somehow known that Pete wouldn’t be a minute late. She slipped her shoes on. Deep green leather with kitten heels that matched her bag and complimented her skirt. Not high enough to be uncomfortable, not flats as they did nothing to show off a girl’s ankles.

That thought stopped her in the bedroom doorway. Was this a date date or a friends going to the theatre date? She wasn’t exactly sure, and she wasn’t exactly sure which she wanted it to be either.

Well Ryssa, she thought to herself, you’re not going to find out if you keep him waiting on the doorstep all night, are you?

She quickly made her way to the door and pulled it open with a smile.

“Hello Pete.” She ushered him through to the living room. “Come on in for a moment while I find my bag.”

Pete nervously smoothed back his hair, again. It had started out perfect, slicked back just so, really made him look like another man. But every time he touched it, it curled up a little more, fell forward just another inch... He really needed to just keep his hands off it!

He took another steadying breath as he waited at the door, which it turned out he'd need. The Ryssa he'd met in the park had been a pretty young thing, but this Ryssa was stunning. Green. Yes, green was officially his new favorite color.

"All right." He slid in the door, darting glances around. A nice place, bit haphazard looking, but she had said she was new in town.

"You look wonderful!" He knew it was a cliche phrase, but it was true, and he said it from the heart. Hopefully that'd count for something. "Your pumpkin awaits, princess, though the prince is a little worse for wear, but at least he's not a mouse. Yet."

“Thank you! And you look very dashing tonight.” Ryssa complimented Pete, smiling widely, and picked up her bag from the table. Soon they were outside and she locked the door behind her. She could tell he was a little nervous, and did her best to put him at his ease. “So, my prince,” She inclined her head towards him in a small mock bow. “Where did you park your pumpkin?”

"It's just outside, so if you'll just take my arm, we'll be off to the ball." Pete carefully led her down the stairs, still incredulous that he'd be escorting this same woman up the stairs into the theatre quite soon. If any of his mates dared make one catcall, he swore hed have their guild membership revoked. Happily, their arrival was catcall free, though Pete did notice some wide eyed admiring glances.

He was beginning to feel a little like a prince, himself.

They had driven to the theatre mostly in a comfortable silence. Ryssa watched her new city go by as she thought on the friends she had made since arriving. Paris was adorable, so laid back and down to earth, Dave, very cute, was definitely the joker of the pack, and Karl was breathtaking and the most incorrigible flirt she’d ever met. And then there was Sweet Pete. As they walked into the foyer his hand closed over hers as it rested on her arm, and she felt like a precious piece of china. To be handled with care and cherished. She smiled. Pete was a true gentleman, in that old fashioned way that was so very rare to find. Here they were, at the start of a simple visit to a small theatre, yet he made her feel as if they were walking down a red carpet on opening night.

It always helped Pete to relax if he could talk about something other than himself. Now that they'd arrived at the theater, he guided Ryssa through a small tour of the BATS, including the backstage area. No one stopped him, or asked what his business back stage was. It was apparent that Pete was a known entity around here, and a welcome one at that.

He introduced Ryssa to the theatre owners, the stage manager, and a few of the props folk. His manners were impeccable, but his eyes were shooting looks that read 'make one joke and I'll step on your throat'. It was the first time Pete had dressed this formally for a performance here, and as everyone who worked at BATS was no doubt noticing... the first time the lady on Pete's arm wasn't named Fran.

Ryssa was pleasantly surprised at the impromptu tour and didn’t miss the way Pete was greeted by everyone. There was warmth and respect in the way he was welcomed. There was curiosity too, no doubt about her, and a couple of backslaps over the success of his recent project, which piqued her curiosity.

She smiled at him shrewdly as they took their seats and leaned closer as the house lights went down. “I’m beginning to think there’s more to you than meets the eye.”

"Oh, there used to be, quite a bit more. But I've been on a diet." Pete winked and smiled, that easy expression on his face hopefully not betraying his nervousness as he reached to take her hand. He held his breath for that small moment just after the audience quiets and before the play begins. Pete loved that moment. It sparkled with energy and endless possible futures. Tonight, that feeling was tripled, and that was due to his companion. Pete dared a glance over, and could swear he saw Ryssa holding her breath, too.
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December 2006

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