Improvise

By: Iyana Jenna

Part 1





Tim swept his gaze across the audience, or so he thought. He couldn’t see a thing from the stage. All the lights focused on the stuff up here, even the smallest colorful bulbs that twinkled over the plastic leaves on the cardboard trees. He looked past the trees and caught the sight of Danny at the stage side entrance. Danny, the production director, put on his poker face as usual, but Tim knew how he really felt. Tim’s plays always sold out. One critic said he could play solo and the seats would still fill.

In the middle of the stage, Sean, his fellow actor, slumped down on the floor and Tim ran to catch him. He took off his shirt and folded it under Sean’s head. Sean didn’t breathe and Tim tried to give him CPR, but he failed. His shoulders sagged as he saw how Sean’s eyes stared at him blankly. He’d died. His lover was dead. Tim wailed as he closed Sean’s eyes and showered kisses all over his face.

The theater fell into an eerie silence before it broke into claps and hoots. The lights over the audience went up and warmth filled Tim’s chest as he stood up to welcome the standing ovation. He helped Sean up and hugged him tight. A whiff of Sean’s shaving cream mixed with eau de cologne and his sweat filled up his nostrils. It made him feel heady.

“Do you have any idea what you do to me?” he whispered in Sean’s ear.

“Tim.” Sean blushed.

Tim pulled back and saw how Sean’s eyes sparkled. He laughed and tousled Sean’s hair before he let him go with great reluctance. Tim took Sean’s hand and together they bowed to the audience. A girl gave him a bouquet of flowers. They waved and stepped down the stage as the curtains rolled down. They were on their way to the dressing rooms when someone called out.

“Tim, there are two gentlemen waiting for you,” the assistant stage director told him. Tim frowned and glanced at Sean before he turned to her again.

“Where?”

“In your room.”

Tim gawked at her. “Why did you take them there—oh, never mind.” He turned to Sean. “I’ll see you later?”

“Uh, do you know these people?”

“I don’t think so but…” He snaked an arm around Sean’s neck. His fingers curled on his skin. “It’s going to be all right.”

“How do you know?” All of a sudden Sean’s voice rose. “I’m coming with you. I won’t let you meet two strangers by yourself.”

Tim grabbed Sean’s shoulders as he pulled him closer. Sean staggered and almost fell flat on his face if not for Tim’s grip.

“Listen. I think it had something to do with the break-in last night. It’s my problem, okay? Please clean up and go home. I’ll be there before you know it.”

“It’s your problem? Your problem? Who do you think I am? A mere boy toy? And come to think of it, why didn’t you report it to the police?”

Tim threw his hands up. “Oh, I don’t know. I just think…” He didn’t know what to think or if it was serious. “Come on, Sean. Please. I promise everything will be all right. I’ll tell you when I get home.”

“You swear?”

“I do. And just so you know, no, you’re not just my boy toy.” Tim cupped Sean’s face and kissed his lips gently. “I love you,” he whispered in Sean’s mouth.

Sean gripped Tim’s shirt and pressed their heads together. “I love you.” His hands crawled up Tim’s chest and Tim sucked in a breath when Sean’s palms grazed over his nipples through the fabric. “All right, I’ll go.”

Tim nodded jerkily and glanced at the assistant director. Her eyes fixed on the screen of her cell phone. Tim wondered if she saw what Sean had done just now.





The two men were both taller than him, but one of them towered over him. Tim glanced around his dressing room and flinched before he looked back at the men. He wasn’t the one who caused all the mess in the room but still he felt embarrassed. Torn down costumes pulled out of the drawers, bottles of eye and lip make-up scattered on the floor, powder spilled over the table, and brushes and combs scattered to the corners of the room—they were all over the room. Only the pieces of broken glass had been cleared for fear of hurting someone.

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