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Continuation of my story, with Jake and Heath as actors on a nighttime soap opera.

Chapter Ten

After making love, they lay in bed, reading the next week’s script aloud.  When they reached the part where Ennis kisses Jack, Heath leaned over and kissed Jake.  But the kiss was much more passionate than the one called for in the script.  Sidetracked, it was several minutes before they got back to reading:

“Ennis!  What’d you do that for?”

“I wanted to.”

“You…you shouldn’t have done that.”

“Tell me you didn’t like it.  Tell me you don’t like me.”

“I didn’t.  I don’t.”

“Bull!  You kissed me back.  I felt it.”

“I…Ennis, I have a girlfriend.  I can’t…I can’t be with you like that.”

“Yes, you can.  You’re just scared.”

At that point, Jack makes as if he is going to walk away, but Ennis grabs his arm.

“Ennis, please--”

“You don’t have to be scared, Jack.”

Heath set the script aside.  “So, you think Jack is in denial?” he asked Jake.

“Let’s keep reading and find out,” Jake said.

“I’m hungry,” Heath said suddenly.  “I didn’t have any dinner.”

“You want me to make something?”  Without waiting for an answer, Jake got up and pulled on his jeans and t-shirt.  “What are you in the mood for?”

“I don’t know.  Surprise me.”

Jake made them linguine with clam sauce.  After they ate, they went into the living room and returned to their scripts.  Their next scene had Jack storming away from Ennis, still denying that there was an attraction on his part.

“Boy, they’re really dragging this out,” Jake said with a laugh.

“In real life, they’d probably be in bed by now,” Heath said.

“Speaking of which…why don’t we go back to bed?”

“I really should be heading home,” Heath told him.  “It’s getting late.”

“Tell the paps I said hi,” Jake said.

“I’ll tell ‘em to fuck off.”

“Try not to lose your temper.  They thrive on that stuff.”

“I’ll try,” Heath said, “but I’m not making any promises.”

They walked to the door.  Jake leaned over and kissed Heath firmly on the mouth.  “Be careful, babe,” he said.

“I will,” Heath promised.

He was prepared to use the back exit again, but that, too, was surrounded by photographers.  He decided to bite the bullet and go through the front door.  Flashes started going off even before he’d opened the door.

“Heath!  Over here!”

“Heath, are you going to move in with Jake?”

“Heath, are you and Jake going to get married?”

The doorman took Heath’s arm and led him through the crowd to the curb, then hailed a cab for him.  “Leave him alone,” the doorman told the photographers.  “Ya goddamn parasites.”

The yelling and the flashes continued until the cab was a half a block away.  Heath sunk low in his seat and heaved a sigh.

“Hey, I know you,” the cabbie said.  “You’re on that soap opera my daughter watches all the time.  Boy, does she have a crush on you.  Wait ‘til I tell her that you were in my cab!”

Heath tried his best to smile at the guy, but he was so exhausted that he failed miserably.  All he wanted to do was go home and get into bed.  But first, he had to face the paparazzi outside of his own apartment.  As soon as the cab pulled up to the building, Heath was inundated with more flashes and shouted questions.

“Heath, were you at Jake’s?”

“Heath, how do your parents feel about your being with Jake?”

“Over here, Heath!  Give us a smile!”

The last thing he felt like doing was smiling.  With his hands balled into fists, he walked silently up the stairs to the door.  The moment he got into his apartment, his phone rang.  It was Jake, wanting to know if he’d “made it home in one piece.”

“Yeah, I got through them.  I had a little help from your doorman,” Heath said.  “You should’ve heard some of the questions they asked - like, if you and I were planning on getting married!”

Jake laughed.  “Did you tell them we aren’t ready to make that kind of commitment yet?”

“I didn’t tell them anything.  Same with the ones in front of my place.  I just ignored them.”

“I feel like we ought to release a statement or something,” Jake said.  “You know, through our publicists.”

“What kind of statement?” Heath asked warily.

“Just something like, We want to keep our private lives private.”

“That won’t stop the gossip.”

“Maybe not, but they’re waiting for us to say something.  And if you’re not ready to come out, it’s better than nothing.”

Heath sighed.  Maybe you’re right.  I’ll call my publicist tomorrow.  Just have her tell them what you said, about keeping our lives private.”

“I’ll do the same,” Jake said.  “Now, try to get some sleep, baby.  I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

“Okay.  I love you.”

“I love you, too.”


Heath had been getting fan mail since before his first episode of “Sunset Road” had even aired.  In the weeks since, the amount of cards and letters had increased a hundredfold.  They came to his agent’s office, bags of them, so many that Heath couldn’t have possibly read them all.  Sometimes, fans sent him packages containing homemade items, such as dolls or picture frames with the fan’s picture inside.  A few of them even sent underwear.  Still more sent photographs of themselves, occasionally graphic.  He got such mail from both men and women.  Most of the fan mail was put in a storage closet, but Heath did get to read some of them when he would go to his agent’s office.  After the Party Episode aired, he began to get mail from gay people as well as straight, offering praise and support for his character.  Sure, there were the occasional anti-Ennis letters (“Leave Jack alone!”  “Jack & Lureen 4-ever!”), but those were few and far between.

Now, he was getting letters about his relationship with Jake.  Most were encouraging, but once in awhile there’d be a letter claiming that the two of them were going to burn in Hell.  Heath would just laugh it off - he didn’t even believe in Hell - but a part of him was amazed that a total stranger would hate him.

“It comes with the territory,” Jake told him the next day in their dressing room.

“Do you get hate mail?” Heath asked.

“On occasion.  Mostly from guys saying that I’m ugly and have no talent.”

“Sounds like they’re jealous.  Their girlfriends probably fawn all over you; that’s why they don’t like you.”

“I guess so,” Jake said, smiling.

A tap came at the door.  “Guys, are you coming to reading,” asked Anne, “or are you going to stay in there all day?”

Jake rolled his eyes.  “We’ll be right out,” he told her.  To Heath, he said, “Don’t forget to call your publicist today.”

“Trust me, I won’t,” Heath replied.

He called her at the first break he got.  She agreed to issue a statement on Heath’s behalf, basically saying, “Please respect my privacy.”  It would go out to all the media outlets that afternoon.  Heath doubted it would change anything, but, as Jake had said, they had to say something.

At lunchtime, Heath approached the usual table and noticed Anne, Linda, and Michelle all hovering over Linda’s phone.  “What’s going on?” he asked them.

“The internet has exploded, over this story about you and Jake,” said Anne.

“What story?”

“You want privacy,” Linda said, “and now everyone is speculating what that means.”

“TMZ is saying that the two of you are going to get married,” Michelle added.  She threw him a look that was hard for him to decipher.

Heath rolled his eyes.  “We’re not getting married,” he said.

At that moment, Jake joined them.  “Guess what?” he said.  “I’ve been invited to come on The Ellen Show.  I’ll be taping it on Friday.”

“That’s awesome,” Anne replied.

“She seems like a really cool person,” Heath said.

“She is,” Jake said.  “I’ve been on her show once before.  It was a good time.”

“Do you think she’ll ask you about your relationship with Heath?” Anne asked.

Jake looked over at Heath.  “What should I say if she does?” he asked him.

Heath put down his sandwich.  He suddenly wasn’t hungry anymore.  He was growing weary of the whole situation.  Hiding, evading the press, everything.  “Tell her what you want,” he said, rubbing his eyes.

“Seriously?”

“Yeah, seriously.”

“Okay,” Jake said, shrugging.  “You really won’t care?”

Heath sighed.  “No,” he said, after a moment, “I really won’t care.”  But, he wondered what he had gotten himself into.  Was he prepared to be outed on national television?

“Maybe she won’t ask,” Linda said.

“No, she’ll ask,” Jake told her.  “She asked me last time if I was single; she’ll do it again, I can guarantee.”

“You can just say you’re seeing somebody, and not say who it is,” Anne said.

“If I do that, everybody will know it’s Heath, anyway,” Jake replied.  “I might as well tell the truth.”  He looked over at Heath for confirmation.

Heath nodded.  The time for avoiding the truth was over.

TBC

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
eandj
Dec. 18th, 2013 09:57 pm (UTC)

thanks
Paula
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )