This morning Eddie and I sit on stage, making believe there are candles providing a glow around us as we begin the only scene in which Jim, the Gentleman Caller, and Laura Wingfield are alone.
Last night Eddie found me at my corner table and told me to stop following him. I looked beyond him to his entourage who were smirking and shaking their heads at me, except for Arthur whose eyes displayed piteous understanding.
This is why I am an unsheathed nerve, calling on every technique I’ve been taught to focus on being Laura and not the crazy stalker girl. As I begin talking, I let the nerves become part of Laura as she shyly averts her gaze and tries to make Jim understand her.
I’m mesmerized by Eddie, his accomplished American accent, the movement of his body as he portrays Jim, though slight, he seems to physically overwhelm. His smile is vivid, open, so unlike the dark boy in the leather jacket. When he takes Laura in his arms to waltz, he is charm. As he says, “Somebody ought to kiss you, Laura,” my heart hammers. When our lips meet, my fingers clench the collar of his shirt.
“Very nice. I like what you did clutching Eddie’s shirt. Nice touch,” Henry Aldridge says. “Have you two been rehearsing together? That was very polished.”
I feel like I am still Laura as I look everywhere but at Eddie.
“No, sir. We haven’t had the opportunity,” Eddie says. He sounds different when he speaks with the director, not at all the rough boy who hangs out in the pub. I don’t know him. Not even by stalking him online.
When we are alone together, walking toward the exit, Eddie clears his throat. “You’re good.”
“You’re surprised?” My voice sounds breathy.
“Yeah,” he says. “I decided you were superficial.”
Between us it feels as if someone has erected a brittle glass wall. I try to think of words, something to say to explain my behavior, but I don’t understand this girl with her obsession, this stalker girl who covets this boy.
When we step outside, dull sunshine receives us. Eddie shrugs into his leather jacket.
“Look, when you come to the pub tonight, sit with us. Don’t hide in the corner spying,” he says.
I stare up at him. “I don’t know.”
“I do. Right, well, I’m off to work.”
He smirks. “We can’t all have rich mommies and daddies.”
“I don’t,” I whisper.
“You must, Posh.”
“I’m not posh.”
His steel-blue eyes hypnotize me. The smile on his full lips lifts slightly at the corner. He startles me by leaning down and lightly biting my bottom lip. Then he is walking away without glancing back. My fingertips press where his teeth had been, craving more.