Actors in the Rain

Studio 10 - Upstairs Apartment

The second floor apartment is open, airy and divided into two distinct areas by a floor to ceiling shelving unit. To one side of the shelves is a kitchen and dining area, on the other is a living room with doors which open onto a roof top patio with a hot-tub. The kitchen has stainless steel appliances, and is separated from the dining room by a high bar with three tall stools. The floor is dark red Spanish tile, and the walls are a complimentary egg-shell white. A window behind the sink has pots of herbs for a touch of green. The dining room is done in warm earth tones, with a carpet to match the tile. Abstract paintings decorate one wall. The table, chairs and china cabinet are black lacquer work giving the room an Oriental feel.

The shelf divider holds books, knickknacks and family photographs. The living room is the reverse of the dining room, with off-white carpet and warm, red walls. A black leather sofa, love-seat and recliner are arranged in front of a lacquered black entertainment center holding a flat-screen television, DvD player, stereo and a vast collection of CDs. A matching coffee table provides a place to set drinks, while hanging plants soften the room with touches of green. Impressionist paintings decorate the walls, while floor to ceiling windows and a sliding glass doors allow for natural lighting. Attractive lighting fixtures provide light at night. Outside, the roof is a jungle of plants around a 10-person spa. Attractive chairs are arranged around a glass-topped patio table.

As Steve promised, the rain has him drowsing a bit, sitting slouched down in a chair with his glass of wine still cradled close to his chest. But his eyelids are drooping a bit and his conversation has dropped off a bit. He's probably at least partially awake, but he's sotpped being very interesting.

Rainfall does different things to different people. Steve, it makes sleepy. Desiree? It makes her mellow, too, but not to the point of slumber. Still, she doesn't talk much after her guest begins to drowse. The rain's no longer hard, just a steady falling that is rather hypnotic in the soft sound of it spattering on the canvas above them. The hiss of traffic on the streets below is a constant, even in this late hour. It's not until Desiree notes a steady drip-drip-drip on the glass table-top that she becomes aware of the danger. "Steve— move!" she calls just as the dry-rotted canvas above them both splits in half, sending a deluge of water down on their heads. No use for it, they're both gonna get wet, though it would seem Desiree gets the worst. A string of expletives explodes from her which makes what Steve said on TV tame by comparison. "Son of a bitch!" is the mildest of them.

here's no /chance/ that Steve could get out of the way of the deluge. He's just barely coming into full wakefulness when they get totally doused. "Jesus Christ!" he yells in surprise, easily outdone by Desiree's more varied and inventive curses. His body language is the universal pose assumed by those just doused: shoulders up, arms spread a little, loking down at his own wet lap. "Well, damn," he sums up.

Her lap isn't all that's wet. She got the worst: hair, dress, everything. "Oh, hell!" she says, turning to Steve as she jumps up. Rain is now actively coming through the gaping hole. "Get the wine and head inside. I'll take care of the awning," she says, heading to the crank. In a few minutes, she has the canvas rolled up, and is heading inside herself, shivering. Presuming Steve's inside, as well, he can see her shiver a bit, considering the rain is /cold/. "I'm /so/ sorry!" Desiree exclaims. "I have a washer/dryer. Please … let me get us some towels and we'll toss your clothes in the wash." She heads to the back of the apartment, emerging a few minutes later with huge, fluffy warm towels. Two she hands to Steve, two she keeps. "Just strip down and I'll take care of it," she tells him.

Steve holds the glasses in one hand, then hangs his cane over the other arm while he grabs the bottle. "So much for the pleasant evening," he murmurs, stepping inside. He puts the bottle and glasses on the table, then grabs a towel. "There anything here I could wear?" he wonders.

Desiree's thoughtful. "Just a couple of my Dad's old shirts," she says, toweling off her hair. "I don't know if you can fit my jeans, but I kind of doubt it. Michael took most of his things out recently. But, I've got some nice, thick blankets. You can wrap up in one of those while your clothes cycle through." She takes off toward the bedroom again, this time being gone for several minutes before emerging in a short, black satin kimono. In her hands are two heavy blankets, one for her, one for him. Hopefully, he has acquired the skill of changing clothes under a blanket, or else doesn't care if he'd seen naked. For her part, Desiree tries to give him privacy by wrapping her own self in the other blanket.

Steve laughs at the idea of putting on her jeans. "There's no way I'm squeezing into your pants," he says. He looks down at his feet. Wet shoes. Still standing near the door, he considers trying to bend down and untie them, but soon gives up on that, instead just pulling them off by stepping on the heels one at a time. "It's no big deal." The socks he leaves on for now, bending over to pull his shirt off over his head.

Desiree has to laugh, as well. "No, I don't suppose there is," she says, grabbing up the wet clothes he discards and heading with them to the laundry closet. "It won't take more than an hour to get them all done," she promises as she returns to the living room. "Need help with the socks?" she asks, glancing to his feet. "I'm really sorry about that, Steve. I didn't know it was that bad off. I'll have to replace it, I guess. Good thing it's not /too/ expensive. Summer's the off season here at the studio." At this point, Desiree settles on the couch, pouring two glasses of wine. "Have some more wine. It'll warm us up."

"I'll grab 'em when I sit down," Steve says. "It's just a pain in the ass to bend all the way over." More like a pain in the knee. "Hey, don't worry about it," he says, pushing his hair straight back so it won't drip on his face. He doesn't seem too shy about shucking his clothes, but he keeps his boxers on. Then he grabs the blanket and wraps it around himself, and unhooks the cane from his arm so he can move back toward the couch with less limping. Once he eases himself onto the couch, he pulls his socks off. "I shouldn't've been going to sleep on you, anyway."

"Can't say you didn't warn me," Desiree says, eyes on the sliding glass doors and window overlooking the patio. Lightning has moved closer, and she gives a shiver. "I love storms," she comments, "just not when I'm soaked." She sips her wine, relaxind as Steve joins her on the couch. "Now's the time I would love to have a fireplace. Stormy weather outside, nice warm fire inside, good company— " She gives him a grin, "toasting" him with the glass. "So, I guess it's my turn to ask a personal question, hm?" her eyes are dancing a little in the dimly lighted room. "Let's see… how's this? Have you ever truly been in love?"

Steve looks out at the patio, watching the rain pour down without the awning in the way. "Fireplaces are pretty good. Don't need 'em much, down here, but when you /do/…" Her question makes him smile, apparently amused. "Nope." He didn't even have to think about it. He lifts his glass toward her, then drinks from it.

"I loved Ryan, but I was very young then. Idealistic. I thought I could make everything better for him." Desiree pauses to drink. "He had a promising football career, but got stupid and was injured in a car wreck." A shake of her head. "It broke him, but I didn't know that at the time. I stupidly thought I could— " She stops talking, instead burying her face in her glass. "Suffice to say, any love I had for him died after the bad times came. He's still in Dallas, but he's remarried. I see his father at church sometimes." A lift of her shoulder. "It's all water under the bridge, now. I'd prefer relationships without strings or rings."

Steve scratches his jaw, nodding slowly. "Well, I reckon you can't really change anybody else, no matter how much you might want to." He grins. "Or maybe you can. I mean, what the hell would /I/ know about it? But you think you'll never be exclusive or whatever again?"

"Depends upon a lot of things," Desiree replies slowly, thoughtfully staring out the glass doors as thunder rumbles. "I guess if I fell for someone, I'd be willing to give it a try, but I'm not looking for anything more than a good time. Not right now, at least. I like who I am, and what I am, and I'd like to stay this way for a while." She smiles. "Ever met anyone who just knocked your socks off and made you consider a long-term relationship?"

"Not really," Steve admits, looking into his wine glass. "Maybe I've just been too busy trying to get ahead. Or else, maybe I'm too picky." He swallows more wine. "I don't really know what it is, but it's never hit me for real."

Desiree nods, sipping her wine in silence for a long time. "Your turn," she finally says, snuggling down into her blanket. "Are you warm, yet? I'm still shivery." The couch is long and wide, comfortable enough for them to share in such a manner. Her hair is still damp, and she pulls the blanket up over her head. "Hopefully, I won't be catching cold. I've a charity auction tomorrow night. Going on the auctioneer's block so some lucky person can spend an evening with me." She grins, wrapping the blanket tighter.

Steve nods a little. "I'm okay," he says. "You can have my blanket if you want," he offers. "Don't get yourself sick. Tell you what, if I had any money, I'd come and bid to help you out." He grins. "But I don't." That said, he leans back. "Huh. What should I ask you? That Michael guy really likes you, you know. Do you think he's okay with no strings because he figures you'll just get old and die anyway?"

"That's always possible," Desiree replies, slightly uncomfortable with the thought of growing old and dying. "I know he likes me, and I like him, but I don't want to be his property." She doesn't immediately explain that, since the washer buzzer goes off about then. "Be right back," she says, climbing off the couch. She returns a couple of minutes later, with another blanket. Re-ensconced on the sofa, she takes a deep breath. "I think he'd like to make our relationship a little more … exclusive, yes, but I'm not ready to belong to anyone. It's too early after Ryan. I sleep with Michael— in all senses of the words— but I'm not his possession." She sips wine. "Don't worry about him, please. He doesn't want to risk what we share, and I can rescind his invitation here if I wish."

Steve shakes his head slowly. "I'm not /worried/ about him," he says. "Just sorta curious. I never met a vampire before, ya know? I tried to ask him some questions about it. He said I ought to go to some place called Mary's, but I said I wasn't into it." He drains his glass and says, "You know, this town has some of the gayest straight bar names I've ever seen."

Desiree's laughter is catching. "Oh, doesn't it?" she comments. "Except for places like Absinthe, which really isn't a pick up bar. But, yes— Bloody Mary's, the Grisly, Holy Water— which you might want to avoid, since that's ultra conservative and holier-than-thou. I don't care for the narrow-minded clientele you find there." She shakes her head. "Mary's isn't all that bad. You can come with me sometime, if you'd like, or Michael can take you. He wouldn't let anything happen to you."

I had to look at the sign like three times before I went in a place called 'Grizzly Bar.' I mean, how did that even /happen/?" Steve wonders, grinning. "I figured I'd be surrounded by giant hairy guys the second I stepped in." On the subject of Mary's, he rolls a shoulder. "I dunno. I mean, what's the point of the place?"

"It's just a vampire hangout's all," Des tells him. "That's where they go to find willing fangbangers, and relax. It's not bad. Decor's a little … campy, to me, but they like it." She shrugs, nodding toward the wine. "More?" An offer or a request? Since it's near him, likely the latter. "Dark reds, purples, black—-typical vampire colors. I didn't meet Michael there, though. We met at a museum function. A Renaissance exhibit. He knew my parents. Probably my grandparents, too. He's been in Dallas a long time."

Steve turns to hand Desiree his glass. "I'm not really into it," he says, making a bit of a face. "I don't want anyone there thinking I came to get bit." A few glasses of wine would loosen most people's grammar.

"Well, not everyone goes there to get bitten," Desiree tells him. "/I/ certainly don't. In that respect, I guess I am a bit exclusive to Michael. He's the only vampire to ever bite me. Don't know if anyone else is even interested." She shrugs. "He's off at some fancy ball for vamps only tonight. Or maybe tomorrow night. Not sure." She shrugs, reaching for the bottle and filling both glasses. "Ah, dead soldier," she sighs as the last drop plops into her glass. "No problem, I've another bottle."

Steve smiles. "That's what I like to hear," he says, reaching down to rub his right knee. He means that there's another bottle of wine, not that Michael has exclusive rights to sink his teeth into her. "So they have their own dances and everything?"

"Apparently," Desiree answers, getting up and fetching another bottle of the claret. She sits on the couch, removing the seal and using a corkscrew to open bottle so it'll breathe. "I don't know all that much about vampire society, Steve. Michael's told me some things, but I'm by no means an expert. I have to be careful, or I'll get myself in trouble." She sits back, covering her long legs with the blanket. She's wearing what appears to be her sleeping clothes, which leaves a long length of leg bare.

"In trouble how?" Steve wonders. "Is it supposed to be a secret, or what? I mean, if they want people to understand them or feel sorry for them or whatever, maybe they shouldn't keep everything to themselves." He has another swallow of the claret once his glass is refilled.

"It's not all that easy to explain," Desiree tells him, a frown creasing her forehead. "There are … protocols, I guess you could call them. Rules of behavior. Unless you want to be misinterpreted— which I have been, at least once. But, most Vampires aren't really all that bad. The older ones tend to lose their humanity, though. Michael's an exception, not a rule." She seems reluctant to continue the discussion. "I'd rather you ask Michael some of this. He can answer better than I can. I barely know how to act myself."

Steve waves a hand. "I'm not trying to grill you," he says. "Just trying to figure stuff out. Now I gotta know a whole new etiquette. seems like I'm always tryin' to catch up on something like this."

"I learned the basics doing commercials for the AVL, and making a few vampire friends in the business. Michael's answered a few of my questions, but there are things vampires don't want known. Safety, I guess. You wouldn't want enemies knowing all your weaknesses, I guess." She shrugs again, drinking. "I think this's beginning to get to my head," she says with a grin. "How about you?"

Steve laughs. "I bet you had to do those commercials after you were on my show," Steve laughs, pausing to drink a little more wine. "Secret weaknesses? Isn't it just the regular Dracula stuff?" he wonders. He is not well educated on the subject of vampires. He's also getting drunk. "How about me, what?" he asks, and then laughs. "Oh. Uh. Evidently."

Desiree likewise laughs. "Well, actually, yeah— but it was just a job, at first. Then I got to know some of the vampires, and liked them. Another nail in the coffin of my marriage. Ryan loathed vampires. Said they were— well, no need to go into that." She nods at his comment. "I don't know of any secret weaknesses, no. I was speculating. Some of the Dracula stuff is real, others not. Michael doesn't seem to have problems crossing moving water, for instance. At least not in a car."

"Oh, yeah," Steve says, nodding. "I forgot about that running water thing." He shrugs. "I just haven't met many of 'em. They don't always seem to have the best outreach program in town. I think they stick together for the most part." He shifts the blanket down more toward his waist. "Not that I'm trying to find out their little secrets, anyway."

Desiree watches the blanket shift. "So, this doesn't look like it's going to be letting up anytime soon," she comments, draining her glass. "I reiterate my invitation to stay the night. It's dry and warm here, at least." She moistens her lips. "And, I don't mean this to sound like a come-on, but my bed's huge and comfortable. Plenty of room for two." Well, it's out there, now. "I wouldn't … I mean, I'm talking sleep here, nothing more."

Steve laughs and shakes his head. "I'm not a genius," he says. "But if there's one thing I've figured out, going to sleep in somebody else's bed with them when you're both drunk is risky business no matter what you say beforehand. Once my pants dry out a little, I'll hit the road. It's not like it's a long drive." He pauses, then thinks to say, "Thanks, though. Really nice of you."

There's a moment where Desiree's expression is slightly disappointed, but she recovers quickly. "I didn't mean for sex," she repeats. "I honestly didn't. I just like … well, I /like/ sleeping next to someone. It makes me feel secure." She smiles, nodding. "But, you're probably right. If that kind of thing happens, both people should be sober." A chuckle. "It'll be a little bit longer. The dryer's not as young as the washer. Takes forever, sometimes. You'll hear it when it goes off."

Steve nods quickly. "Yeah, I know it's not what you mean," he says. "And I'm not saying that would happen, I'm just saying if one of us did something, uh… Well, really, when two people are drunk, either one of them could do something to upset the other. Or just wake up embarrassed or…well, whatever," he says, giving up with a shrug. "It's just…" He smiles and looks over at Desiree. "Look, it's okay to make bad decisions with people you don't like, but I don't want things to get awkward. You're a cool person."

"I understand, Steve, I really do," Desiree says, reaching out to place her hand on his blanket covered knee. "It was just an offer. You can stay on the couch, if you want. I just don't want you to have to feel like you have to leave. If you don't want to." She gives his knee a last pat, then removes her hand. "Oh, I'm not so cool. I just … I get as randy as the next person, and it could be /me/ who starts something." She sips and smiles again. "I like you. I have for a long time, and I really do wish I'd kissed you at least once." She laughs, a soft, almost sultry sound. "And, on /that/ note," she says, "I think I'd best stop drinking. I'm getting a little /too/ open. A girl's gotta have at least /one/ secret."

"Well, I'm not saying it would be either one of us," Steve offers, smile uncertain. "I was just saying…" He grins at his own awkwardness. "And… I mean, thanks. I'm not gonna…take things too seriously when we're both drinking. But I'm flattered."

"I'd have kissed you when I was on the show, but you know that," Desiree says, only now beginning to sound a little drunk. "I'd best get to bed, Steve, before I do something /I/ might regret. I like you, too, but if anything ever does happen between us, I'd rather it be because you want it to, not because we're drunk." She uncovers, revealing those incredibly long legs again. "Please, stay here tonight. The couch is comfortable, and the cats won't bother you. I don't want to think of you driving through that." She nods to the window. "Have some more wine, and I'll fix us a good breakfast in the morning. You're welcome." Desiree stands. "Need a pillow? Or will those do?"

Steve rubs a hand over his forehead, nodding. "All right," he says. "I guess getting nabbed for drunk driving is just about the /last/ thing I need right now. "I'll stay on the couch. And /I'll/ make you breakfast if you want." He smiles. "The sofa cushions are fine. Go on to bed. I'll be asleep in a second, myself. And, uh…thanks for everything."

"Sounds like a plan," Desiree says, climbing a little awkwardly to her feet. "I shall take myself to bed now, kind sir. See you in the morning— with breakfast! It's all in the kitchen." She blows him a kiss, laughs softly, and wanders off toward her bedroom.

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