Dress Rehearsal

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Amber Hall sat in the back booth of the small diner, her eyes lost in the black cup of coffee she had been staring at for the last half-hour. The twenty-three year old had a big problem and felt she had to get out of her apartment to think about it.

“Well how’s my favorite television star doing today?” the tall black waitress asked as she walked back to the short-haired blond with a fresh pot of coffee in her hand.

The dark-skinned twenty-one-year-old looked down at the untouched cup of coffee sitting on the table and knew something was wrong. Amber had been coming into the dinner for the last six months, ever since she had gotten her role on the hit show, “Angie O’Neil”. It had been the young woman’s big break, landing the role of Cynthia Pennington, one of Angie’s office girls. She had been almost a total unknown at the time; with only a few guest shots to her credit.

“What’s wrong, girlfriend?” Heather Cox said as she sat down on the opposite side of the booth.

Amber and her had struck up a camaraderie of sorts over the last months. Especially since Heather had aspirations of becoming an actress herself, majoring in drama at the local University. Despite her success, Amber was still a small town girl at heart and welcomed the younger woman’s friendship.

Heather knew her boss wouldn’t complain if she took a little break, it wasn’t busy this time of day. Besides even if old man Robinson had a problem with her talking some time to talk to Amber, he wouldn’t get on Heather’s case about it. Not when Heather knew all there was to know about how he was doing the nasty with Mildred Wilson, the cook he had hired a few months back. No, he’d never take the chance of his wife even getting a suspicion of something like that. Especially when there were all those sharp utensils in the kitchen.

“They didn’t cancel the show, did they?” Heather asked, thinking that might be the cause of Amber’s depression.

If the Network had canceled the show, Heather would’ve been greatly surprised. Angie O’Neil had been the surprise hit of the year. Written off at first as just another office drama, it had burst out of the mold to become a solid top ten show.

“No, but I think they’re going to cancel me.” the dejected girl said.

“Why?” Heather asked, visibly concerned for her friend.

“Because I screwed up at rehearsal today.” Amber said. “And I heard the director say if I did it when we taped it tomorrow, he’d give my part to someone else.”

“He told you that?” the younger girl asked.

“Not directly, but I overheard him telling the producer.”

“Well what was the big screw up?” the drama student asked.

“Well, I guess I’d better start from the beginning.” Amber said, thankful to have someone to talk to about it. “You know how important sweeps weeks are to a Television Show, right?”

Heather nodded her head in understanding. A sweeps week was a benchmark for shows ratings. The viewership numbers they got during sweeps set the amount they could charge for commercial time. And after all, making money for the Network was what television was all about.

“And you know how a lot of shows pull out all the stops to get people to watch. Especially when they are on against another popular show, which of course is doing to same thing to draw the numbers.”

“Sure, I understand all that.” Heather said.

“Well, Angie O’Neil is no different. They found out that two of the other Networks were going to run an all out effort to knock Angie right into last place during sweeps next week. They had a meeting a couple of days ago and decided that our original story for next week wasn’t a big enough rating booster. So instead they announced they were going to have a storyline where Angie kisses one of the girl’s in the office.”

“You have to be kidding.” Heather almost groaned.

The girl/girl kiss was becoming more and more frequent on Network TV. It had made an appearance on both Roseanne and LA Law, and most recently three appearances on Ally McBeal. Almost now a cliché, it was nevertheless almost always a ratings booster. Especially if it was two good-looking women doing the kissing.

The Networks were always saying they put things like that into programs to push the envelope and show how tolerant they were. How they weren’t just appealing to what she considered juvenile male sexual fantasies. Heather would believe the Network boasts when they put two leading men making out on a prime time show.

“No, I’m not kidding,” Amber said. “And guess whose character they picked to have Angie lip lock with.”

Just her asking the question gave Heather the answer. If the producers were going to use a gimmick like that to draw viewers, then picking Amber was the first thing she agreed with them on. Amber Hall was, in her opinion, the most attractive girl on the show.

“And you didn’t want to do the scene?”

“Quite the contrary,” the actress said with an excitement in her voice. “I almost jumped for joy when they told me. Think about it for a moment. I’d be casino oyna the center of attention for almost the entire episode.”

Actual on screen time was something every actor and actress was always conscious of.

“So what happened?” a now confused Heather asked.

“Actual filming for the episode doesn’t really start until tomorrow, but they scheduled a dress rehearsal for today. Just to see how the kiss scene would play out.”

“And the dress rehearsal?” Heather asked.

“Turned into a disaster, at least for me.” Amber said. “Everything was going great, I had my lines down pat and was right on my marks. I have to say, I had some really great scenes too.”

Heather could see in Amber’s eyes how important this all was to her.

“Then came the big moment, Angie and I looked into each other’s eyes, her hand took mine and then … I started laughing.”

“Laughing?” Heather repeated.

“Giggling actually,” the blond said. “Loud, uncontrollable giggling.”

Heather responded by giggling herself.

“I’m sorry, Amber.” she apologized. “I can’t help it. I just never expected you to say that.”

“At first, the director took it in stride, saying that sometimes it happened, especially when you were doing a love scene. But after the fourth and fifth try, I could tell he was getting pretty annoyed.”

“What was the matter?”

“I don’t know. I just couldn’t look at Kate and seriously think, now I’m going to kiss her and not laugh.”

Kate Douglas, an attractive 44 year old, played Angie O’Neil in the series.

“I apologized over and over, but the producer said it had been a long day and we might as well wrap it up. That we’d start fresh in the morning.”

Heather could now see frustration in the older girl’s eyes.

“After everyone else had left, I went back onto the set to think about it. The producer and the director were sitting there talking about my performance, or lack of it. I heard them say they should make some alternate changes in the script to make Monique the girl who winds up kissing Angie – just in case.”

Monique St. George played Virginia Brooks on the series, Cynthia’s main rival in the office.

“I also heard them say if I couldn’t pull off a simple scene like this, then maybe they made a mistake hiring someone with my inexperience.”

“That’s not good.” Heather said.

“No it’s not.” Amber admitted.

“So what are you going to do about it?”

“I don’t know.” the actress said with an air of finality.

The two women sat there in silence for a few moments as each tried to think of something more to say.

“You know, I feel pretty silly offering you advice about acting…” Heather started to say.

“Go ahead, cause I’m at a dead end.” Amber interrupted.

“Well in acting class they said that you should always use what you know to improve your performance.”

“I’ve been told the same thing.” Amber said. “But I don’t get your point.”

“Lets look at it another way,” Heather said. “You remember that movie you were in, what was it called, Sorority Girl’s Pool Party?”

Amber cringed. That B Film had been her first screen credit. A low budget tit and ass film, the kind that played in drive ins and drew teen boys and couples looking for a make out movie.

“I’d rather forget that.” Amber grinned.

“The point is, you had a love scene in that movie.” the waitress said. “As I remember it, a rather hot love scene.”

Amber thought back to when she was making that film. She had been hesitant about doing that scene, especially because the script called for her to appear topless. It wasn’t that she had a bad body, actually the reverse was true. The twenty-year-old was just nervous about showing off her breasts to thousands of moviegoers.

The movie producers were quick to point out that if she didn’t want the role, there were literally a thousand unemployed young actresses that did. The final bit of advice that made her do it came from an older actress on the film.

“Honey,” she’d said. “When you take your bra off, trust me, no one is going to be looking at or going to remember your face.”

“I still don’t get your point?” Amber said.

“Well you didn’t seem to be giggling when you lost your blouse and made out with that guy playing your boyfriend.” Heather noted. “How did you manage that?”

“I made believe I was making out with my real boyfriend at the time.” she answered.

“Bingo, you used what you knew.” Heather smiled.

“But I could hardly make believe Kate is my boyfriend.” Amber insisted.

Heather hadn’t considered that. When she pictured Kate Douglas in her mind, she’d be hard pressed to think of her as a man either.

“Unfortunately I don’t have any experience kissing a woman, got any you could spare?” Amber laughed.

It took a moment for her to realize that Heather wasn’t laughing. She stopped and looked at the expression on her friend’s face.

“You’re kidding.” Amber said.

“No, I’m not.” the younger girl slot oyna said.

“You’ve actually kissed a girl, a real kiss, not one you give a friend.”

“I’ve done a lot more than kiss one.” Heather said, hoping the revelation didn’t shock her too much.

“Maybe you should be the one kissing Angie O’Neil.” Amber grinned, taking the news in stride.

“You think they’d hire me?” Heather asked.

“I’m afraid Kate wouldn’t want to do a scene with someone like you.” Amber confessed.

Heather suddenly became very angry in her tone.

“Don’t tell me she had a problem with sisters.” she said.

“Oh no,” Amber said, realizing that was what she had said made it sound like. “What she has a problem with is appearing with girls who have bigger boobs than she does. Kate feels men wind up looking at them, and not her.”

Heather looked down at her large bosom and laughed. This time Amber joined her.

“So I guess we know now what we have to do about your problem.” Heather said, changing the subject.

“What’s that?” Amber said still laughing, feeling better than she had all afternoon.

“Make you feel more comfortable about kissing a woman.” Heather grinned.

“What?” Amber exclaimed, no longer laughing.

“Unless of course you’d rather see Monique saying your lines.” she smiled.

Amber thought about that for a moment, then smiled back. No, that wasn’t something she wanted to see.

Heather had to get back to work, the dinner rush was starting. She told Amber to go out and have a nice dinner, the food here really isn’t all that good she confided. Then meet her back here at eight when she got off.

“We’ll go out and talk some more,” she’d said as she climbed out of the booth. “Wear something nice.”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Amber had changed into a short-sleeved yellow blouse with a blue denim shirt. She wasn’t sure where they were going and figured this outfit was good for just about anywhere. They’d gone to shows before, a few times to bars. Once, they’d even driven upstate just to get out of the city for a day. When Heather finally showed up, she had changed her white uniform for a plain but form fitting red dress.

“If we were only going to a bar, there were a lot of nice places closer to home.” Amber said as she stood outside the place Heather had brought her for drinks.

“Trust me,” the young black woman said as they stepped inside. “You’ve never been to a place like this before.”

That made Amber stop and look at the neon sign in the bar window a second time. The sign that read Scarlett’s Rose.

“Oh my,” Amber said as they stepped into the lounge and she got a good look around. “You’re right, I’ve never been to anyplace like this.”

As her eyes adjusted to the dim light, she could see there had to be over a hundred women there. The club was a lot bigger than it appeared from the outside.

“Just think of this as field research.” Heather laughed.

Heather caught the barmaid’s attention and ordered two beers. She spent a few moments chatting with the six-foot muscular blond after the two bottles had been deposited on the bar. The conversation was long enough for the older girl to realize that Heather was a regular here.

“Cheers,” Heather said as she handled Amber her bottle and took a long pull from her own.

Amber took a small drink as well, watching as her companion tilted her bottle straight up and drained nearly a third in one long gulp.

“God, I’ve been looking forward to that all day long.” she said as she brought the beer back down. “Come on, let’s find a table.”

Heather took Amber’s hand and led her through the crowds. As they moved, Amber looked right and left at the crowd, confident that Heather knew exactly where they were going.

It was amazing how varied the crowd was, she thought. The woman around her seemed to be of every age, race and description. Some women were middle aged, some looked to be barely in their late teens. Others were somewhere in between.

As they made their way around the edge of the dance floor, Amber watched the pairs of women swaying to the music. The movement of their bodies was almost hypnotic.

“There’s an open table over there.” Heather said as she pulled Amber’s hand to get her attention over the music.

Once they were at the table, Heather ordered another round for the two of them. A girl in a very skimpy costume, highlighted by breasts bigger than Heather’s, brought their drinks.

“Thanks Bonnie,” the dark girl said, smiling at the well-endowed redhead.

She watched Bonnie take an order from another table, then turned her attention back to Amber.

“Bonnie used to work at Hooters,” Heather said. “But she found that Scarlett’s paid a lot better. Besides, she’d rather strut her stuff for the girls here than a bunch of drooling, horny guys.”

Amber didn’t comment, she just took a sip of the iced beer.

“So what do you think of the place?” Heather asked, bringing her own drink to canlı casino siteleri her lips.

“It’s interesting … ” Amber said, as she looked into a corner where two young women were making out.

“Well that’s one word for it I guess.” her companion said as she turned and saw what had caught her attention. “I hope you’re taking notes, she joked. “There’s going to be an oral quiz later.”

Amber really wasn’t paying attention. She was too captivated by the two women back at the corner table. Even in the dim light, she could see them trading tongues. A quick flash of strobe highlighted the couple for a brief moment, just long enough for the actress to recognize them.

“Oh shit,” Amber said under her breath, “I know those two.”

Last season, Amber had done a guest shot on the sitcom, Buddies. The brunette and blond were two of the show’s stars. Evidently, they were better buddies than anyone realized.

“It’s really not polite to stare.” Heather whispered as she brought her face close to Amber’s.

“Do you know who those two are?” Amber whispered back.

“Yes, I know who they are,” Heather replied. “And before the night is over, I’m sure you might see some other familiar faces as well. You have to understand one thing, and understand it well. Whatever or whoever you might see in here, stays here. Understand?”

Amber suddenly remembered Heather showing a card to one of the women at the door when they first came in. At the time, she thought the twenty-one year old was being carded. Now she realized that she was showing some kind of membership card. By bringing Amber here, to what she also now realized was a private club, the younger girl was also vouching for her.

“I understand.” she assured her friend. “Nothing goes outside these walls.”

“Okay, now that we have that out of the way,” Heather grinned. “Let’s dance.”

Before Amber could object, Heather had her out of the chair and on the dance floor. Amber had danced with other girls plenty of times, so it didn’t feel strange to dance with Heather. At least until the live female band switched to a slow, sexy dance and Heather pulled her close.

Amber was very aware of the warmth of Heather’s breasts pressed against her own as they moved around the floor. The fragrant scent of the younger girl’s perfume filled her nostrils as she pressed her dark cheek against her’s. There was one point in the dance when Heather’s lips brushed against Amber’s. A touch so brief as to be almost imperceptible, but one that was uppermost in her thoughts.

“That was fun.” Heather said as they retook their seats.

“Yes it was.” Amber had to agree.

“So no more gloom and doom.” she asked.

“No more doom and gloom.” smiled a now reenergize Amber.

The two women talked for a few more minutes, then took to the dance floor again. This time, no matter the dance, Amber didn’t find it strange at all to hold onto Heather, no matter how close.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Three hours later, Amber and Heather exited the club into the warm evening air, arm in arm. They flagged down a cab, and headed off into the night.

It didn’t take long for the cab to pull up in front of the apartment building Amber lived in. After it dropped her off, it would head uptown to Heather’s parent’s house.

“Thank you for a wonderful adventure.” Amber said to her friend after passing the driver enough to cover both the trips here and uptown.

“So you’re all ready for tomorrow?” Heather asked.

“As ready as I’ll ever be.” Amber laughed. “At least I hope so.” Amber turned to get out of the cab. She got halfway out the door, then paused. Heather was about to ask what was wrong when Amber suddenly whirled about and pulled the younger girl to her. The press of Amber’s lips against her own took Heather unaware, but it was a very pleasant surprise nevertheless. Her lips were as soft as she might have imagined, her tongue containing the merest hint of the passion her body held in check.

“I think you are more than ready for tomorrow.” Heather said breathlessly as their lips parted.

“Come on upstairs with me.” Amber said, holding Heather’s hands in her own.

“Are you sure?” Heather asked, her trembling hands held only in check by the warm hands grasping them. “You might feel different when the sun comes up.”

“The only regret I’d have when the sun rises is if you aren’t there with me to watch it.” Amber said, the deep look in her eyes proclaiming the intensity of her words.

Heather’s surrender came in a sweet kiss. A gesture carrying the secret affection she had carried for the actress, almost since the day they had met.

Both women suddenly became aware of the eyes of the cabbie watching them in the rear view mirror.

“There’s been a change of plans.” Amber said. “We’re not going to need that ride uptown after all.”

The fiftyish man made a little sour face as Amber canceled his fare. He figured that would have just about finished his shift.

“You can keep the fare.” Heather said as she grabbed her purse and followed Amber out the door. She didn’t want to waste a minute getting upstairs.

The now extra large tip changed the cabbie’s frown to a smile. He leaned out the window and said.

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