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A nosy neighbor gets her licks in.
They decided to put the food aside for now and get to work. Eve listened as David described his story, a coming-of-age tale of a boy's rebellion and self-discovery. She offered astute advice and David seemed to appreciate it.
When it came time to discuss Eve's story, she was feeling a little tipsy from the wine. She was also unsure how to even talk about her story, and the assignment, given her choice to make it so explicitly sexual. Rather than try to make something up, she decided to come clean and tell the truth. She relayed the basic outline of the story: Cyn, a young dancer cast as Juliet falls for Romeo but lacks the courage to tell him. Instead, she loses him to another dancer, who happens to be her roommate. She rehearses passionate scenes with him day after day, longing to be with him, but cannot act on her feelings.
"So, Professor Michaels has been on me about deepening Cyn's character. You know, make her three-dimensional, show her inner life. He thinks I'm timid as a writer. A prude."
"No," she said, a little louder than she'd wanted. "I mean, maybe. But I don't want to be. Anyway, the assignment he gave me was to take one sentence from my story and use it as a starting point to expand on Eve's inner life."
"What's the sentence?"
"She sought refuge in solitude, and in solitary pleasures," she said with a flourish.
David thought a moment.
"Interesting. What's it mean?"
"Well, that's the point. Michaels says it's too ambiguous. That I need to dramatize it."
"Well, what did you mean when you wrote it?"
Eve looked out the window.
"That's the problem. It's hard to explain. Well, not hard to explain but ... hard for me to explain."
"Well...just say it."
"It means she retreats to a fantasy life and imagines the two of them making love while she ... gets herself off."
David stared into space.
"See, I told you."
"No, no. It's good. I mean, it's realistic. It's what might really happen."
Eve turned to him.
"Yeah, that's what I thought. I mean that's what I did...or that's what a lot of people do."
David cocked his head slightly. Eve wondered if he'd noticed her slip.
"So you started to ... expand on it?"
"Yeah, this afternoon."
"Can I read it?"
Eve felt her face reddening.
"Only if you're comfortable. I mean, I just want to help you."
"I don't have much. I mean, I wrote something but it's not finished. I haven't even printed it out yet."
"So print it out."
"It's kind of...personal."
"Listen, Eve, you can trust me. I'm nothing if not discreet."
She looked at him intently.
"You promise not to breathe a word?"
"I promise. Really."
He looked at her sincerely.
"OK," she said, finally. "I'll read it to you."
She got up from the bed and went to her desk, sitting on a stool in front of her laptop. She wiggled her index finger on the trackpad and the screen came to life.
She read the passage to him. Word for word. From beginning to end. He listened without a sound.
Cyn lay in the bed, staring at the ceiling. She replayed the rehearsal over and over in her mind. The director was urging her to let go. "This scene is all about passion!" he'd shouted. She was standing on the stage, covered only in a sheet; Kyle stood next to her, bare-chested, dressed only in tights. Exasperated, the director ended the rehearsal for the night and left the two dancers on their own. Kyle turned to her, sympathetically. "Don't worry," he said softly. "We'll just keep practicing until we work it out."
Then, they were alone, bathed in a single spotlight. "If this scene is all about passion," Kyle said simply, "then let's find the passion." He smiled at her and looked so beautiful, illuminated in the light. She felt heat building deep inside her body.
He moved behind her.