Okay, so I’m not really sure what this is. It just sort of fell out (except for finding a play I knew and liked and they might perform in sixth form college). I started writing this to slitherouter‘s brief of a jealous Finn, but it strayed. But he’s passingly jealous in an abstract way, so I hope you like this! Happy Birthday, by the way! (Oh, and the play in question is The Lady’s Not for Burning by Christopher Fry.)
* * * * *
Finn’s heard the phrase “it made his blood boil” before, but never really thought about what it meant, what it might feel like. But right now, at this moment, it actually feels like his essential life force is simmering in his veins. He wouldn’t be surprised if steam started coming out of his ears and nostrils, like in one of those crazy cartoons he used to watch on Saturday afternoons growing up.
“I don’t even know if I’m gonna do it,” Rae says, fingers fiddling nervously with the ends of her sleeves.
Get it together, Finn tells himself as he stubs his cigarette out in the bar ashtray, as he exhales a long, steady stream of smoke from his lungs. “‘Course you should!” he says, trying hard to keep his voice bright, without any edge or falseness in his tone.
Rae furrows her brow and purses her lips as she stares at the photocopied cast list on the table in front of her.
“Rae, it’s one of the main parts, isn’t it? That’s, like, really good.”
Rae unpurses her lips in order to chew on her bottom one. “Yeah,” she says out of the corner of her mouth. “Jus’ dunno why they picked me.”
Finn’s blood is no longer boiling, because the vision he has in his head of Rae snogging some bloke (some smart, tall, drama student), in front of two hundred people is replaced by the vision of Rae right here, right now, anxious as hell and doubting herself.
“‘Cause you’re the best!” he practically shouts. Rae’s eyes dart round the pub to see if anyone was looking at them after Finn’s outburst, and he lowers his voice to continue. “You really are, Rae.” He swigs half his pint and then, after he wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. “I heard ya rehearsin’ th’other day, y’know.” He drops his head to look at his hands, anticipating Rae’s reaction.
“Y’what?!? The fuck, Finn?”
“I know, bu’ your mum sent me up the stairs, and I heard ya talkin’ an’ I jus’ … listened. Didn’t understand a quarter of it, but … I think I still sort of got it, jus’ from how ya said it, ya know?” He lifts his head a bit to peer at her appealingly.
She scoffs and smiles as she swivels in her seat to face away from him. He knows how to look at her to get round her, and she knows he knows and is getting better at getting around his getting around.
“Listen …” he grips the table to swing himself over the seat and lands on the bench next to her. She’s still looking away, apparently fascinated by the flashing lights of the fruit machine. “I won’t lie; a little part o’ me doesn’t want ya to do this.”
Rae’s head swivels to look at him so fast, he’s worried she might have sustained whiplash.
“N-not because I think ya can’t do it, mind, but because … well, it’s daft, but … because of the kissing.” He picks up a loose beer mat and turns it over a few times. “An’, more than that … everyone’s gonna see how amazin’ ya are, an’ mainly … I’ll miss ya when you’re at all them rehearsals.”
Rae huffs a testy sigh, then clucks her tongue like his nan used to do when she didn’t know whether to be angry or chuffed.
“It’s like … one tiny kiss. Well, an’ one I sort o’ … fend off. An’ … to be honest, I’m really nervous about the kissing, meself. That’s why I think someone else should do it. No one’ll believe anyone would fall in love wi’ me after one day.” She looks up and away, now captivated by a water stain in the drop ceiling over the bar.
Finn feels his face getting hot again, blood boiling for another reason now. “Rae, ya know … when ya say stuff like tha’, it makes me feel … well … bad. Like, I mean … I love you. I fell in love wi’ ya.”
“But not the first day!” Rae counters, too quickly. He knows it and she knows it, and she immediately looks down at her hands.
“No, bu’ I were a right grumpy sod, an’ not in the frame o’ mind, if you recall.” He reaches over to grip her nearest hand with his. “But, it didn’t take very long, Rae. Not long at all.”
Rae’s eyes do that sly shifting thing they do, and the merest hint of a smile starts to form in the corner of her mouth. “Oh, yeah?” she asks, voice going high and soft.
Finn squeezes her hand tighter. “Yeah, ya daft lass.”
Without looking around the pub, Rae swoops forward to kiss Finn. The spontaneity makes Finn’s heart flip helplessly in his chest and he doesn’t need another beer because he’s drunk with her. When she pulls back, she looks shy, even though they’ve been together for nearly a year.
Finn picks up the flimsy, worn play script, catching his breath, and leafs through the pages. “What was the speech you were doin’ the other day?” he asks.
Rae squints in thought and flips to the middle of the play, turns a few pages, and points to a hefty block of text. “That one.”
“Fuck,” Finn mutters. “I dunno how anyone can memorize that much.” His eyes scan the page and the bit he heard jumps out at him. He points at it. “This … this is it.”
Rae scans the lines and glances over at Finn, then reads the words aloud.
“What is deep as love is deep, I’ll have
Deeply. What is good as love is good
I’ll have well. Then if time and space
Have any purpose, I shall belong to it.”
Finn stares at Rae as she reads the words, watching her lips and teeth and tongue form the words. He sees love as something deep and blue and good and vast, and he sees them in this thing, whatever it was, together, belonging to each other, if only for a moment. He closes his eyes for a second, then opens them wide and says, “Everyone’s gonna fall in love with you, Rae.”
Rae leans forward again, but this time her lips merely graze his cheek on their way to whisper in his ear, “Probably not … but it doesn’t matter, because the only one I love is you.”