Title: She Can It Play In G (Strings) Too
Category:PG-13 (references to stripping)
Notes: Missing moment right before 2x03, "Some Good News, Some Bad News". Written for the lj "smallfandomfest"
Legs that go on for days- that's what Scott notices when the blonde pulls a lighter from her garters. Bottle-blonde, gotta be. Some might call it trashy, but that's the point- it makes her seems more experienced. No Sunday School teacher dyes her hair blonde.
There are a lot of things a Sunday School teacher wouldn't do. But a girl like this?
"That's some safekeeping," he remarks, tipping back his hat.
A girl like this will know what's going on.
"Yeah, it is," she throws back at him, not even bothering to look him over, as she crosses towards the dressing rooms. She very pointedly doesn't offer a light.
"Hey, I'm looking for someone-"
"I ain't seen them."
Scott takes his hat in hand.
"I haven't said who I'm looking –"
"I ain't seen them," the blonde repeats. It takes Scott a minute to place her, but once he's got her, he's got her. She was one of the big headliners; she was on the poster out front. She looked a lot nicer on the poster; she'd been smiling then. Younger too. But then, the girls always seem nicer and younger than they were where Maple worked. "Do I need to get Big Mikey over here to talk to you?"
"Ah-" He's not sure who Big Mikey is, but if there is one thing he's learned (and Scott prides himself that he's learned a lot of things) it's that no good ever comes of meeting someone with the word Big in his name. Luck is a lady tonight though, because right at that instant a voice calls out from across the backstage.
"Scotty!" High heels clatter across wood flooring, then Maple's flinging her arms around him, giving exaggerated but well-meaning kisses on each cheek. "Oh, don't worry Doreen! He's with me."
And with that Maple takes her arm in his and he's just got time to see the blonde's lips twitch before Maple's got him hauled halfway across the stage. "Oh, don't mind Doreen. She's just sore cause her boy's run off and married someone else. But is this great timing, or what? You in Pittsburgh right when the show's in Pittsburgh. How you been keep yourself?"
"I been keeping myself all right," he says as she leads him through a door to her dressing room. Not a big room, he notes with satisfaction. That'll make his job here easier.
"I thought you were across the pond?" There's just a hint of worry in that statement- Jolly Old England was not so jolly, or safe, right now.
A grin curves up his face. "Not anymore, Mapes. A business opportunity came up that I just couldn't pass by."
"A business opportunity, huh," Maple quirks an eyebrow up at him through the mirror, where she's started taking out pins and rearranging things into one of those complicated up-dos women make that he's never understood. But it looks good, especially now that her hairs back to its original color. No offense intended to Miss Doreen of the hennaed persuasion, but the red looked good and Scott tells her so.
"Thanks, but don't think you're worming out telling me what really brought you here, Scotty."
"A good business opportunity will draw me almost anywhere."
"I'm sure it will," she replies and dives back behind a screen. Modesty from a burlesque dancer- a headliner even- it always cracks him up just a bit. He's never really been sure if it was for his benefit or hers. Any Joe with a couple of quarters could see all that if they wanted to, and have a side of popcorn with it. Which is why he never sees her show anymore. They weren't that type of friends, and Maple's a peach, but he could tell Doreen just why her guy ran off. Those girl-next-door, His Girl Friday types have got a charm all their own. They don't need to get it from a can.
Or so he heard from a Mr. Comstock, patron saint of radio, especially of a one Miss Betty Roberts, several months back. And she's a pill, but that Comstock had it right. Which why he needs Maple's help now.
"So what is this opportunity and what does it have to do with you coming to see me?" Maple's voice is a little muffled as if by cloth- which is probably the case, since she is changing.
"I," he says, not quite able to keep the cat-that-ate -he-canary-grin off his face. "Am the acting head of a radio station. W.E.N.N. right on the bottom of your radio dial."
"Radio? Since when do you know anything about radio?"
"Don't forget who you're talkin' to, Mapes."
And she must remember because there's no more questioning from her, only silence and the occasional rustle of clothing. When Maple finally emerges from behind the screen, she's tugging at her hem and smoothing down wrinkles that aren't there.
"My lines look straight to you?" she asks turning around. Scott looks down those legs. He wonders if any other pair of legs have ever caused him more trouble.
"You're looking fine," he drawls, his eyes trailing the perfectly straight seam line traveling up her leg and under the hem of her dress. No, Maple's assets have probably landed him in more hot water than any other's, but it didn't mean that was always going to be the case. He was already noticing how much fun it was to wind Betty up, to save the day when things went belly-up, to watch her save the day for him. Trouble definitely spelled its name B-E-T-T-Y these days.
Or, well- not these days exactly, he amended, thinking of that awful face she'd worn when he'd walked in on the silence that had been crackling out over the airwaves for days without his knowledge, thinking of her fury and her grief.
Maple gives herself one last, quick once-over in the mirror and walks to the radio, sitting on the shelf.
"Let's give this W.E.N.N. a listen, then."
The radio cracks to life, in buzzing, hissing sounds that have become only-too-familiar to him in these last few months, and suddenly the noise resolves itself into the also-familar sounds of an organ.
"Oooh! We're in for a long night, aren't we?" The radio pipes in a tinny, but cheerful voice. "Thank goodness, I have some Agitato- one cup and I'm always brimming to go, go, go! So let's-"
Scott walks over and flips the dial off. "That's our organist. She's doing a late night show."
"She sounds nice. That's not the girl you're doing all this for, is it?"
He laughs at the thought. Maple's wrong, of course, and she probably knew it even as she asked, but she's hitting closer to home than he'd like. A Sherwood should never be so transparent after all. But, then again, when a girl's right, she's right.
"That's not her," he admits. "Besides, I don't always do things for a girl."
"No, you don't, " she agrees. "But you do only ask favors if it's about a girl."
Scott concedes the point, "There is a girl, Betty, but it's not just that. It's everybody there. They're good people and I was just doing this for a lark- you know how that goes-"
"I know how you go," Maple corrects, her red lips carelessly turning up in a fond smile and smudging lipstick on her teeth. Scott debates not telling her. Betty's not the only girl he knows who can be a pill. Still, how'd that saying go? Never bite the hand that's feeding you. At least not until you got your bone- or your favor.
"You got a little something right there," he gestures and she turns for something to wipe it off. "Anyway, as I was saying, this was just suppose to be temporary, but their real boss was a man I met in London, and now he's dead, and they all need me, and-"
"Scotty," Maple's voice is soft as she looks up from her compact mirror and stares him in the eye, "What do you want?"
Some girls might be mean when they say something like that, but a girl like Maple- she has your back.
"Come play the organ."
Well, she usually has your back, if she's not thrown a curve ball. But it can't be that much of a curve ball; he's pretty sure she plays the organ for the burlesque show sometimes, when she's not on stage. Or, at least, she did, and Scott had to face facts. They were going to need a new organist, and, Eugenia Bremer aside, he didn't exactly get the impression Pittsburgh was a cornucopia of organists. At least, not ones you'd want to hire.
Of course, hiring was Betty's territory, and who knew if she'd agree with him. Still, it was worth a go and it'd be nice to have someone one his side once in awhile.
"You know you want to Mapes! You'd make, well- what do you make here a week?"
She raises an eyebrow
"Forty a week."
Forty? Clearly he was in the wrong profession.
"Well, okay, I can't give you that, but you'd get to act too!" You'd get to keep your clothes on, he thinks, but knows better than to say. "And, um, there's less travel and more- ah, friends. It's like a family, this place, I swear."
A family that was in grieving, but a family, complete with the hydra of an older sister in their local diva and the funny, old grandfather in Mr. Elderidge whose job description he'd carefully never looked too closely at.
Maple's giving him a good, hard stare now, so he tries his best not to squirm, and wonders what she sees, because after a moment, her face breaks out into a smile.
"You betcha, sugar."
He starts, just a little, and claps her on the shoulder. "Really?"
"Well," she says, grabbing the coat slung over the back of her chair. "I owe you after what happened with Pinky, don't I? "
No, she doesn't, but a girl like Maple- she doesn't keep track of things like that. There's no tally-book in her head and that's what he likes best about her. That and the fact she's always up for a good joke.
"You just give me a call when I need to come."
"There might, ah, be auditions."
"So I figured."
"But I'm sure you'll get hired."
"So I figured. You're the boss, ain't ya?"
"Well- sort of. Betty runs the show."
"Betty's her name, huh?" she teases. "Listen, don't worry about it. If I get; I get it. Then I quit this. I don't get the job and- well, the next stop is D.C. and can you believe it? I've never been? I'll be like Jimmy Stewart and see all the sights."
"You sure you wouldn't want that anyway?" Scott asks as they walk out her dressing room and she locks the door.
"You can't be a showgirl forever. At least- you can't and not turn into Doreen, you know? My sister wants me to do something more 'respectable,' whatever that means. Hey," she turns to him. "You gonna walk me to the trolley, right?"
He offers her his arm. "My pleasure Miss LaMarsh, my pleasure."
And with that they walk out the stage door and into the night.