The Oklahoma! Rehearsal
This scene was removed from Chapter 4, while Elle, Davy, and John were having their emergency rehearsal for Oklahoma! I took it out because the scene felt too long, and a little redundant, but you get a nice little glimpse of Elle’s indecision.
They walked through the scenes, Anthony and Tommy playing their way through the songs in an interesting acoustic rendition of the show. Elle didn’t bother to put much into emoting yet, focusing instead on her blocking, and Davy’s opposite her. It was an awkward, disjointed display, jumping from scene to scene. Haley came out in half costume to run her scenes with Elle, and to help practice the change during Elle’s solo.
The duet with Davy was pretty weird without an audience. They sang it in the empty dining room, winding their way between the tables to meet in the center of the house. Elle marked her blocking, both of them mumbling their way through the lyrics while Davy herded her around the tables to the right places at the right times. The whole thing was so emotionless and professional, she didn’t even register that they were singing a love song.
Working with him wasn’t that bad, she realized. He was gentle, professional, and focused. He didn’t seem to be thinking about what they’d talked about earlier, and Elle only found herself thinking about it whenever she looked at John.
Strange, she realized. She should be thinking about her date with Davy while looking at Davy.
Actually, she shouldn’t be thinking about it at all.
Logan and Haley filled in wherever else they could— and seeing Logan pretend to be Aunt Eller was a damn riot, so clumsy and overdone that Elle lost it halfway through running lines with him.
“Keep going,” she sputtered, waving at him from the front porch of the house set piece. “I’m fine!” She ended up laughing her way through one of the more serious scenes with him, then left the stage sputtering. “Twirl, dress, hoop-dee-doo, lights down. I know.”
Haley helped her pull on her party dress just off stage. “How do you feel, sweet pea?”
“Juiced,” Elle told her, holding her wig out of the way while Haley zipped. “I’ve been marking everything, but my body wants me to just do it.”
“Well, you’re about to run— what, eleven lifts?” Haley gave Elle’s shoulder the double-tap they’d both picked up from the resident costuming lady to let her know she was zipped. Elle faced her with a frown.
“There aren’t—” She paused, running through the choreography in her head. She had choreographed this number, and the first number of act two, and the big Kansas City dance. There was a lot of partner work in Farmer and the Cowman, and the dream ballet had a whole kick line section, but— “Oh my god, you’re right.” There were close to eleven lifts just for Laurey alone. “I’d never even thought about it.”
“Well, they weren’t lifting you.” Haley shrugged. “None of you weigh much of anything. I’m sure they don’t mind. Plus,” she winked, “They’re both pretty strong.”
Elle rolled her eyes. “Yeah, yeah.” With that, she strolled back onstage, dance shoes in hand. “Hey, Greg? Can we run those lifts before we run the whole scene?”
“Sure thing, Elle. Davy? John?”
“Afraid I’m gonna drop you?” Davy stepped up beside her with that faint, boyish smile of his, and Elle laughed.
“No, nothing like that.” Fluttering her eyelashes, she said, “I’m sure you’re strong enough to carry me around.”
“Not that hard when each of us outweighs three of you combined,” John muttered from the wings.
Elle stuck her tongue out at him. “At least I know how to do a lift— and don’t tell Sarah or Bridget I said that.” She faced Davy again and grimaced. “I don’t know how to waltz, though. That could be a challenge.”
“We’ll figure it out,” Davy said. He put a hand on her shoulder and gave her a gentle, sweet smile.
Ah. Yeah, Elle could get behind dating Davy, if he was going to be this sweet. She might— gasp— actually enjoy dating him.
By the time she and Davy finished running the lifts— and, essentially, half the actual choreography— Greg was shaking his head in the pit. Elle’s heart sank at the sight of him. “Do you… want us to run the lifts again?” She hedged, wringing her hands in front of her. Davy had been gentle and sure with each new lift, each transition. Things had been going so smoothly, it felt like she’d been in the show the whole run, just doing a brush up.
When Greg finally looked up, he glared at her, though it was surprisingly without heat. “Why can’t you just audition for shows, so that I don’t have to pull you during emergencies?”
Elle’s shoulders dropped, and she huffed something between a relieved sigh and a laugh. “Greg, you’re gonna give me heart palpitations. Ask me about my life’s choices when we’re not cramming for a musical.”
“I’m just saying, my life would be so much easier if I didn’t have to twist your arm to be on stage.”
Elle snorted. “No, it wouldn’t. Think of the paperwork. Think of the AEA.”
“You are worth the equity headache,” Greg told her, jabbing an accusational finger at her. “John, come on out.”
Sweet, Elle thought to herself, ducking her head to hide her touched smile. As she faced John, nerves set off in her belly like someone had trapped a frantic bird inside it. Strange— she hadn’t felt a lick of anxiety for Davy’s half of this.
Ridiculous, she told herself firmly, and pasted on a smile. “Ready to manhandle me?”
John snorted. “Isn’t that usually Logan’s job?”
Elle tried to stifle her wry smile, with mixed results. “It’s how he shows he cares.”
“By poking people with his long, skinny fingers—”
“I can hear you, you big lug,” came Logan’s voice from backstage. Elle covered her face to hide her laughter, just in time for Greg to start the musicians up again.
She should have known that John would be patient and careful with her. He rarely touched her at home, sometimes barely looked at her, but ever since she’d moved in, he’d been somewhat present in her routine. Handing her coffee in the morning, taking the dishes from her after dinner and insisting that he’d clean since she cooked. This was just a more physical extension of that, with him talking her thorough what he was doing along with the music, marking it, running the lifts so that she knew how to prep and when. He even warned her when he was going to grab her from behind during one of the sequences.
“I think you’re good,” Greg said, once they talked their way through the end of the first act. “Take a break while I fill in the rest of the cast, and then we’ll go through act two.”
Elle nodded, her heart pounding with adrenaline. “Ten-four.” She turned toward John with a smile, brushing the curls of her wig over her shoulder. “Thanks for talking me through that. It’s different being in it, than it is to watch.”
“Sure,” he said, shrugging. “I wouldn’t want you to feel unsafe. It only gets worse from here.”
“Oof.” He was right— the whole Jud/Laurey dynamic was a tense, sometimes downright frightening one. “We’ll get through it. I trust you.” She smiled up at him, and caught the flicker of something in his eyes, before he smiled back.
“I’ll be right back,” he said, and, with a quick pat on Elle’s shoulder, strolled off the stage and out toward the dressing rooms.
“Don’t get lost,” She called after him, receiving a dry laugh in response. She glanced down at the pit, fully intent on chatting with Tommy and Anthony, when someone caught her elbow.
“Hey,” Davy said quietly, “can we talk about act two right quick?” It was pretty clear from his hesitation, and from the tight line of his shoulders, that he’d finally stumbled over the same realization she’d had earlier. This is fine, Elle reminded herself. It could be— practice, maybe, for whatever might happen on, or after, their date next week. This was, in a roundabout sort of way, perfectly normal for a potential couple. It might even help her settle her nerves, a little. “Sure.”