This week, Jeremy's back in the studio and he gets some insight into Ty's past. Plus, I've got a book recommendation for you at the end of the chapter.
I returned to the studio the next day. I wasn’t cleared to dance, but I could do my blocking for the nondance sequences. Meanwhile, one of the swings was getting an in-depth lesson on my part of the show earlier than expected because he was dancing for me.
I hated being sidelined, even though I was in the rehearsal room. It was odd delivering my lines and songs while sitting in a chair with my leg up. It was good being with everyone else, and keeping up with what everyone was learning, but it was difficult not being fully active.
During the last hour of rehearsal, we went through what we’d be doing on TV tomorrow morning. Even though we were still weeks away from our first performance, Good Day New York wanted a song and an interview with Ty. The on-air performance was one of Ty and Leah’s duets, but the entire ensemble would be there because we were in the scene.
I was psyched. I’d never done TV. The one time Wicked performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while I’d been in the show, they just used the actresses playing Elphaba and Glinda so I simply watched my castmates on TV. For tomorrow, we all got to be there. Luckily, while there was some choreographed movement, the performance wouldn’t tax my foot any more than walking.
“Hey, man,” Nate said, joining me for stretches—which I did even though I wasn’t dancing. “A bunch of us are going to grab dinner and then go to 54 Below to catch Aaron Tveit’s late show. You interested?”
“Hum,” I stammered. I didn’t know if Ty and I were going to do anything tonight. We’d been hanging out a lot after rehearsals, but we usually figured it out on the fly. I looked to where Ty was talking with Madi and Leah. Sadly we hadn’t formed a mental link yet so I couldn’t will him to turn around.
Nate clapped me on the back. “It’s okay if you’re busy. It’s last minute, I know. I’ve got a friend at 54, and he offered me cut-price tickets because they had a group cancel.”
A good-looking guy suddenly walked in, and he looked familiar. He saw Ty and his face lit up. As he headed toward Ty, Allie moved to intercept him.
“I’m sorry,” Allie said, loud enough the entire cast heard as she placed herself in the stranger’s path, “this is a closed rehearsal.”
Ty, Madi, and Leah turned at the interruption and, even on profile, I caught the huge smile break across Ty’s face. To my surprise, he went to the intruder and they embraced, frustrating Allie.
“Why do I recognize that guy?” I asked quietly to Nate.
“That’s one of Good Day’s hosts.”
I wasn’t usually up in time for any morning TV, but I’d probably seen him once or twice, and his pictures were no doubt on buses and in the subway. It didn’t explain why he was hugging Ty, though. I wasn’t sure I liked that. I couldn’t hear what they were saying. Once Allie decided he wasn’t a threat, everyone went back to quieter voices.
“Is there a reason daggers are shooting from your eyes?” Nate asked. “You’ve got something against Drew Reynolds?”
Shit. I hadn’t realized I’d fixated that much. Yeah, I was jealous at whatever easy rapport those two had. It was silly. Ty and I were just starting out. I hugged people hello all the time. There was no reason for me to want to walk over and put myself between them like Allie had, yet my insides coiled tight.
I sighed. I didn’t have a suitable response for Nate. “It’s nothing,” I finally said.
I bent over, hoping that staring at the floor would let my mind, and the scene, clear. When I came back up, the two guys were talking animatedly alongside Leah.
Nate raised an eyebrow as he slyly smiled. “Are you and Ty?”
I looked to Nate, cocked my head, and sort of nodded.
He nodded back. I appreciated he didn’t make a bigger scene. Ty and I weren’t necessarily keeping it a secret, but we weren’t shouting it from the rooftops either. At least not yet.
“Good for you,” he said. “It explains why you two have been coming and going together. And why he carried you out for that matter.”
“It’d kinda started right before that, or at least the attraction did.” I lowered my voice before I continued. “He brought me dinner the night of the accident and that cemented it.”
“No wonder you didn’t like Drew hugging on your man.”
I chuckled. “I don’t know if he’s my man quite yet. We haven’t had an official date, just hanging out together so far. The date happens this weekend.”
“Maybe we could double sometime?”
While Nate and I were on the way to being friends, we’d mostly talked about the show and other professional things. We hadn’t really gotten personal. “That’d be cool. I’ll have to ask Ty, but I think that sounds great.”
“I’ll ask Todd. You’ll meet him if you come to 54. He’s catching up with us there.”
“What’s he do?”
“He’s on the tech crew at The Met. They’re in tech rehearsals this week for a new opera, so he’s been crazy busy.” Ty shot me a couple of looks as he was talking to Drew. “You should probably get over there. He either wants to introduce you or use you as an escape. I can’t tell which.”
“Right? I was trying to figure out how to read that.” I carefully stood up while Nate stayed on the floor. “I’ll let you know about 54 in a sec.”
It didn’t look like he wanted an escape because they were still all smiles. Of course, Ty being the actor, he might just be putting up a front too.
“Jeremy!” Ty sounded more enthusiastic than I expected. “I wanted you to meet one of my oldest friends in the world. Drew Reynolds this is Jeremy Steele. I’ve known Drew since first grade. He’s a Southern boy come to the big city just like me. I’ve known Jeremy for a couple weeks, and I’m trying to woo him into being my boyfriend.”
“No way!” Leah slapped Ty on the shoulder.
“Good for you, man,” Drew said, along with one of the most perfect smiles I’d ever seen. Part of why he’s on TV no doubt.
“Yes, good for you.” Leah looked like she’d just heard the best news in the world. “And you too, Jeremy. Might be the first showmance in this cast.”
I winced a little inside. The showmance label scared me. But, I could also name many couples that started in shows and stayed together long after. That’s what I wanted. Ty did too, as far as I knew.
“Nice to meet you,” I said to Drew. “First grade? Really? I can’t tell you anything about first grade.”
“It’s true,” Ty said. “Our families never moved while we were growing up, so we were together through high school. We know stuff about each other no one else does.”
“Like I was the first one he had a crush on.” Drew smirked at Ty.
My heart sped up hearing that. Was there more here? Ty introduced me as his boyfriend, so that was something, but was he an ex? One of Ty’s not-so-serious relationships?
“Yeah, except he always had an eye for girls. I couldn’t even get him to experiment. But he was great when I was figuring it all out, too, even when he found out I was crushing on him.”
“Why not be flattered that the guy that every girl in the school wanted to go out with thought I was the hot one? I was young, but not stupid. Ty became the ultimate wingman for me.”
“I was thinking about grabbing an early dinner with Drew,” Ty said to me. “You want to come along?”
Suddenly there were multiple options on how to spend the evening, and some of them included a former crush.
“Sure.” I squashed the jealous pangs. “I can get the scoop on Ty Beaumont’s past.”
“Like the time you glued yourself to the table in third grade art class?” Drew offered.
“Or what about the time you messed up your locker and got your mullet stuck in there? You freaked out because they had to cut your hair.”
“This is my cue to leave.” Leah barely restrained laughter. “Good to meet you, Drew. I’ll see you in the morning. You boys have fun. Jeremy, make sure they don’t try to one-up each other all night.”
“Can’t promise that. I think the stories might be too funny to pass up.” Leah left us and I focused on Ty. “So Nate invited us to dinner with some of the cast and then a show at 54 Below that he snagged tickets to.”
“If you need to hang with the cast, we can catch dinner another time,” Drew said.
“Or, we go to dinner and catch up with the cast for the show?” I looked between the two friends. I was interested in hearing about Ty’s early years.
“That works,” Ty said. “We can’t keep Drew out too late anyway. He turns into a pumpkin at, like, nine.”
“Maybe nine thirty if I’m lucky. Don’t wanna be cranky on air, after all.”
“So yeah, let’s do that,” Ty said. “We can be ready in, what?”
“Five minutes?” I offered.
“Sounds about right.” Ty nodded in agreement.
“Perfect. I’ll just grab a chair, and when you’re ready we’ll go.”
As Drew headed to the cluster of chairs in front of the mirror, Ty and I retreated to our bags.
“Hope it’s okay Nate knows, and I guess the rest of the cast will after we show up at 54 together.”
“Fine by me.” As we walked, Ty hugged my shoulders. “And there’s no need to be jealous of Drew. He’s happily married. You’ll probably meet Susan at some point. She’s in London right now, teaching at Oxford, but she’ll be here for the opening.”
“I’m not jealous,” I said in a tone that revealed all too clearly that I had been. “Or at least not anymore.”
“I caught the look you gave me when you were talking to Nate,” he said.
“Sorry.” I busied myself packing to leave.
“No, it’s okay. I’m flattered you had that reaction.”
“Big goof.” I knocked my shoulder into his. “Let me go tell Nate we’ll meet him later and we can get going.”
What a day it’d been. Sorta back on my feet and our relationship had become more public just like that. Plus, I’d met someone Ty’s known forever. It was going to be a fun night.
Next Friday: It's date night!
Fun fact: For as long as I can remember, I've spent Thanksgiving morning in front of the TV tuned in to NBC's coverage of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Since I didn't set this story over the holidays, I still wanted to make reference to one of my favorite parts of the parade, which is seeing the Broadway casts perform in front of Macy's. During the years we lived in NYC, I attended the parade in person three times, from various points on the route (although never in front of Macy's itself). In 2011 I got the honor of being one of Ronald McDonald's balloon handlers. That was an epic day (you can see a picture of me dressed and ready to go for that here). While this story doesn't go far enough into the future to see it on the page, you can believe that the entire Love's Crossing cast would get to be on the parade!
Have you read "Roommate?"
I love Sarina Bowen's romances. Her hockey romance The Understatement of the Year is one of my all time favorite books. While Roommate doesn't have any hockey, it’s still going on my shelf of all-time faves. Here's what I said on this week's Big Gay Fiction Podcast: "Sarina Bowen scored big time with Roommate. Kieran and Roderick's enemies-to-lovers romance is exactly what I needed and I suspect this book is going to be part of my Best of 2021 list." You should definitely add this to your TBR.
We're getting near the end of Jeremy's story with just two weeks left to go. See you back here next week!
Take care, Jeff
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