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Lucy Avellino
The Simple Folk
Wed May 11, 2005 03:29

“You mean that a king who fought a dragon, hacked him in two and fixed his wagon, goes to be wed in terror and distress? Yes!”

Lucy watched her lover stroll towards center stage from her place in the wings, already wooing the audience into believing he was Arthur, that engaging grin prompting everyone to hold their collective breath as the king panicked about his approaching fiance. Sean stood behind the brunette, quietly smoothing down the collar of her cloak.

One. Two. Three.

“Where are the simple joys of maidenhood? Where are all those adoring, daring boys? Where's the youth pining so for me he leaps to death in woe for me? Oh, where are a maiden's simple joys?” Things went so quickly that Lucy found herself settled at the base of the tree in what seemed like a span of seconds, blithely unaware her future husband was hiding above her.


And down came the baby, cradle and all.

“It's mad! It's gay! A libelous display! Those dreary vows that ev'ryone takes, ev'ryone breaks. Ev'ryone makes divine mistakes . . . the lusty month of May!” Too fast. So hard to keep up. Phantom had never seemed quite this frenetic, even with all the activity backstage.

Lucy remained regally displayed on one side of the stage as Arthur appeared opposite, dragging along God’s Gift to Frenchman. Sean was playing it to the hilt for opening night, his swagger and empassioned comments on everything from how knights should spend their time to the Queen’s interest in politics being unladylike simply larger than life.

The cast could hear audible giggling from the audience at all the appropriate moments; something that always warmed a performer’s heart. Caleb caught his lover backstage during acts, pressing her against the throne for an attempted shagging in the few minutes of breathing time they had, much to the amusement of everyone else.

“If ever I would leave you it wouldn't be in summer, seeing you in summer I never would go: Your hair streaked with sunlight, your lips red as flame, your face with a lustre that puts gold to shame.” Lancelot pulled the Queen against him tenderly,” But if I'd ever leave you how could it be in autumn? How I'd leave in autumn I never would know.”

Slowly they had turned the audience from laughter to tears, this doomed love between a marriage woman and her own champion. Without implying there had been any real love-making between them, Sean managed to convey the desperation of a man denied what he wanted most: his own heart. How desolate must he have felt, watching the woman he loved across an emotional and legal gulf wider than any physical barrier.

Jenny, eyes sparkling with unshed tears, lifted her head and pressed her mouth against the Knight’s lips, sealing her own doom. It was a silent turning point that cut through the atmosphere like a knife. The Queen, in that simple act, had commited adultery.

“Oh, they found Guenevere with her bold cavalier. And as swords rang through the hall, Lance escaped them one and all. On a day dark and drear came to trial Guenevere. Ruled the jury, for her shame, she be sentenced to the flame.” Red light streaked across the stage now, after the betrayal of Mordred and the turning of the Knights by their own base natures and the King’s son’s treachery.

Lucy stood in the wings once more, clad in the simple dress and cloak she would wear in her final scene, as the soloist and chorus continued to describe the early morning rescue of Jenny from the stake by her lover, taken across the English Channel to Lance’s stronghold of Joyous Garde; it was sobering to realize how strongly she had come to identify with the young Queen, shaking her to the very core.

A few brief minutes on stage, begging Arthur’s forgiveness, her entire appearance so muted that only her features recognizable as the same actress. Then, finally, she and Sean withdrew off stage and watched Caleb give all to his final scene, standing alone in the center of the stage as the boy who played Tom literally leapt into the audience and vanished out the House door. That had been the lead’s idea, and boy did it work.

Standing ovation took five minutes to die down, and then everyone congregated at the Holmes and Avellino house for a party that lasted into the wee hours. Lucy found herself sandwhiched between Hugh and Ben on the couch and ended up falling asleep there. Someone removed her to bed, because Saturday morning found her nude and underneath a certain noble King.

A horny, noble King. What was she to do but give him his deserved tithe?

Bang. Bang. Bang.

A head popped out from beneath warm covers, wondering who the ... would be bothering them at – she eyed the clock briefly – at eight in the morning on a bloody Monday. Caleb grumbled something, attempting to tug her back against him to continue the impromptu game of Doctor and Nurse. It didn’t help that she was already aroused, and by the feel of things, so was he.

Bang. Bang. Bang.

“Scopata! Approvazione, approvazione. Vedrò chi è e minaccerò i loro bambini per intruding sulla nostra vita sessuale. Soggiorno qui, il mio amore.”*

Apparently more sturdy on her limbs than a certain horny old man, Lucy slid out of bed and donned a nightgown and robe before stalking down the stairs to throw open the front door. What she saw on the porch was perhaps the last thing she expected.

“Good morning, Lucy. I need to borrow Caleb for some analysis.” Rob shoved a tray of Starbucks coffee in her hands before slinking past her into the house, followed by an anonymous suit. Homicide warred briefly with the scent of flavored coffee, and the caffeine won out, prompting the lady of the house to step back inside and shut the door.

“Caleb! Rob is here to kidnap you.”

Sure, bellowing up the stairs was unladylike. If you didn’t like it, you could drown yourself in the backyard swimming pool. Or, you could when it was finished. Started just the week before, this project was a life long dream of Lucy’s to have her own pool. And since Caleb hadn’t protested, she would get it later this week.

She was alone twenty minutes later, staring into an empty styrofoam mug and trying not to whine over the lost opportunity for sex. Rob was such an asshole. Maybe she could bitchslap him again. Claim temporary insanity. Something. Anything would be better than sitting here.

Cold shower, wasn’t that a productive idea?

Except that taking a shower turned out to be a magical experience, for when the singer tromped back downstairs, Moira was sitting in the living room armed with a furniture magazine. “Hi! Caleb called on his way into the city. I’m supposed to babysit you and keep you away from people named Gary Oldman.” The look on her freckled face was pure evil. “So let’s go spend my brother’s money.”

Seemed like a reasonable idea to Lucy.

It took three days to find all the right deck chairs and the table, color coded in soothing shades of blue and green. There was a small bathhouse, like the one out of The Philadelphia Story, so guests could change and then hop right into the pool. Above ground, with a locked and gated staircase leading up to a large deck. No expense had been spared, apparently.

Lucy flopped down onto one of the patio chairs and looked around. “I think this calls for a party.” Moira, reclining in another one next to her future sister-in-law, agreed. “No performance on Sunday for the 4th of July, why not have a patriotic pool party?”

“Moira, you are a genius.”

A whole week with no sex. Lucy was going to go insane if she didn’t pin Caleb against a wall and shag him into unconsciousness. She glanced over at the man snoring beside her, and then at the stupid clock. It was ten already, and people were going to start arriving sometime after one. She wanted to wake the ex agent up so badly, but knowing he’d been pushing himself to exhaustion all week was enough of a deterrent. Besides, if she could keep sane, then – then – the brunette slid out of bed quietly, mentally damning herself for good manners and tiptoed into the shower.

By the time she was clean, dressed and mostly awake, help had started to filter in and Caleb was moving around upstairs, to judge by the thumps issuing overhead.

Moira was off purchasing alcohol with Sean and Jane, Marc and the boys were setting up red, white and blue streamers around the back patio, Nigel and Bennett were carting their father’s Wayne collection into the living room, and Lucy was – well, Lucy was chatting amiably with Beth while making raw burgers to be put out on the grill.

Happy Birthday America!

“I swear to God, Dad, if he says ‘Partner’ one more time, I will burn this cd!” Benny sat on the living room floor, his back pressed up against the couch. The party had divided into distinct groups, with Rob, James and most of the men gathered around the large television to worship the Duke.

Lucy, Jane, Beth, Moira, the kids, and Devon, thanks to his lifeguard training, were grouped around the pool. Listening, no less, to the strains of Italian opera while immersing themselves in temperate water or lounging on deck chairs and chatting.

Just after eight in the evening. Another hour and the fireworks would be broken out, for now everything was placid. Comfortable. The resident soprano had been lazily backstroking around her own pool, in a lovely white bikini, with the twins, showing them how to perform everything up to a real cannonball, that last denied on pain of death.

And then the sky opened up, in direct opposition to the forecast for a somewhat cloudy and otherwise clear skies’. The boys got themselves out of the water in a flash, helping to gather up cds, player, towels and get into the house with the others.

Lucy stayed behind, struggling to get the cover over the pool before the wood got itself warped. Who knew canvas was so heavy when soaking wet?! “Here!” Devon’s voice came out of nowhere, hadn’t he gone inside with the others? Grateful for his help, the brunette managed to get everything under protection before the rain began to really come down.

“Dammit! Go inside, Devon!”

It had to be shouted over the downpour, but the big oaf just shook his head and handed over a sopping towel. Well, great. Lucy eyed the wet material before wrapping it around her shivering frame, which just served to collect more cold moisture, and then found herself scooped up into very solid arms and carried inside.

Pandemonium inside. People were doling out dry towels, locating jackets and finding keys. Caleb was nowhere to be seen. Neither was Rob.


The note on the counter was helpful, as was Moira’s explanation. “Rob said to tell you that since the rain wrecked the party, he and Caleb are going to work. They’ll see you – later.” The guilty expression on the redhead’s face said it all. What in the hell could the CIA be working on that needed an analyst this long?

“Yeah. Ok. Thanks.” The note said as much, but it was laced with a whole bunch of X’s and O’ and promises for lots of alone time after the show was finished with its run. Lucy stood there, quietly saying goodbye to her guests until the ringing in her ears told her that silence had descended.

“So. We’re going to stay and keep you company.” Moira’s voice made her jump. Turning around, the brunette eyed the redhead holding up a huge bowl and several packets of microwave popcorn. Devon stood next to her holding up a six pack of beer.

Well, shit. Why not? Lucy fell asleep sometime after midnight, after watching the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy and making up a drinking game with her would-be inlaws. They’d all changed into dry clothing, which amounted to tee shirts and sweatpants. Empty cans and bits of popcorn littered the floor, attesting to the state of inebriation, living room would have been spotless otherwise, thanks to Caleb’s influence.

She woke up to Moira’s cheerful goodbyes, the slamming of a door, and the aroma of bacon. Tousle-haired, sleepy eyed, and barely awake, Lucy rolled off the couch and onto her feet, padding into the kitchen, only to find Devon blithely arranging breakfast.

“Hi ?” A mug of coffee effectively silenced her attempts at morning pleasantries. He gestured for her to pull up a bar stool and turned back to his omelette endeavors. Huh. Apparently aliens had switched this clone for the original sometime during the last fourty-eight hours, because Lucy couldn’t remember him being so congenial.

What was going on?

    • Simpler Than This?Caleb Holmes, Thu May 12 21:55
      “Well, I'll tell you what the King is doing tonight: He's scared! He's scared!” This probably wasn’t the best time to mention that he missed portraying the Opera Ghost, was it? Honestly, it wasn’t... more
      • Or Even This?Caleb Holmes, Thu May 12 23:19
        “I hate shopping. This is why I let Lucy buy everything for the house!” Caleb whined, plucking at one of the nearby clothing racks, grimacing at some of the garments there. Yes, it was late on a... more
        • Mister Holmes' NeighborhoodLucy Avellino, Fri May 13 18:45
          “ . . . until you’ve tried the patented Holmes Omelet.” Huh? Lucy shook her head, trying to clear the cobwebs, and shoveled the first bite of eggs into her mouth. Chew. Chew. One very blissful sigh... more
          • Evening EnchantmentsCaleb Holmes, Fri May 13 22:36
            For the umpteenth time this morning, Devon questioned himself as to why he had even considered going on this insane ‘shopping’ trip. Why did women call it shopping when all they did was wander past a ... more
            • Fruits and VegetablesLucy Avellino, Sat May 14 23:39
              “Take Sean inside, would you?” Sure. Take the varmint inside and keep him under house arrest. Sean glanced towards the locked door, then wisely decided not to press his case. Italian women were very... more
              • Coffee and BreakfastCaleb Holmes, Sun May 15 21:18
                “Take Sean inside, would you?” Caleb had worded it as a request, but John knew better. Oh, he had heard that tone of voice countless times, and never disobeyed. The ones that did were left in... more
                • Hot Cross BunsLuciana Avellino, Mon May 16 15:10
                  He stepped mechanically through the motions, body and mind doing their best to synchronize at the behest of the katas. Muscles once driven to the edge of tension slowly began to loosen up as Sean... more
                  • Star CrossedCaleb Holmes, Tue May 17 02:42
                    It was the first time that John had smiled – truly smiled – in a long time. “I miei genitori sono venuto in America quando ero giovane; tutta la nostra famiglia ha incluso. Spendere i vostri giorni... more
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