Aaron had given up on musicals for now - especially after his newest one had flopped. It never made it out of previews, and he didn't care that much. Without his lyricist and wife, he just didn't have inspiration. For the past two months, he had been working on composing background music for straight plays.
While he was attempting to compose a villain theme that didn't sound too melodramatic, the phone rang. He stood up from the piano, stretched, and made his way over to the phone.
"Aaron Fox?" came a familiar female voice on the other end of the line.
"Yes?" he responded. It was his house, who else was likely to answer the phone?
"It's Carmen," she said, unnecessarily, "You busy Aaron?"
"Not at all."
"I'm on my way over. I will be there in ten minutes."
"Alright," he responded slowly. The composer listened to the dial-tone for a moment, and then shook his head.
He shoved his music into a drawer and went to make coffee. Just as soon as the coffee finished brewing enough to make a cup, there was a knock at the door.
Carmen Bernstein stood on his porch, resplendent in her furs as always.
"Hello Carmen," he greeted her, "Come in." She entered and let Aaron take her coat.
"Coffee?" he offered.
"If it's fresh," she responded, sitting down on the couch.
"Of course it is," Aaron got her a cup, and then sat down in a chair across from her, "So what do I owe the pleasure of your company?"
"I've got a proposition for you," she replied, then smiled as she took a sip of the coffee.
"What about?" Aaron asked.
"A show," she replied, as if that were obvious.
"What sort of show?" Aaron asked patiently.
Aaron sighed and leaned back in his chair, gazing into his own mug. "I haven't really been having much luck with those lately…"
"The show is written," she said dismissively, "All that's missing is the music." She smiled sweetly at him (which was a look she couldn't pull off that well) "Of course, it wouldn't be just you working on it."
"No?" he asked.
"I've heard your latest, Aaron," she said bluntly.
Aaron actually laughed, "You're one of the few."
"Not exactly an award winner," she continued.
"Not at all," he agreed willingly enough.
"That's why we'll be getting you a lyricist to work with," Carmen said, as though it were a brilliant idea.
Aaron played with the ring on his left hand, "You know that I don't… typically… work well with other people, right?"
"There is one," she smiled.
"Yes…" he said softly, "who isn't speaking to me."
"You two were compared to Rogers and Hammerstein themselves."
"But Georgia's much more attractive," he responded automatically.
Carmen laughed at that.
"Well I have good news for you then, Aaron Fox," Carmen said, "She is going to be your lyricist."
Aaron blinked, "Pardon?"
"Georgia Hendricks will be your lyricist."
Aaron looked stunned, and then shook his head slowly, "She won't work with me." He sighed, gazing at his coffee, "She won't talk to me, much less work with me."
"But she will work for me," Carmen responded. She leaned forward, "Look Aaron, I wouldn't asked you if I wasn't confident about it."
He considered for a long moment, and then nodded. "Tell you what, if you get Georgia to work on this, then you've got yourself a composer."
"You've got yourself a deal," she agreed, shaking his hand.
Georgia's telephone rang and she picked it up, "Hello?"
"Georgia?" came a female voice on the other end of the line, "It's Carmen Bernstein."
"Carmen!" Georgia smiled, "It's been awhile."
"It has been," Carmen agreed, "I was hoping that I could come by and talk to you."
Georgia blinked, Carmen wasn't one to pay social calls, but it had been quite awhile since she had seen the woman that she agreed without hesitation.
Ten minutes later, Georgia was offering Carmen some coffee.
"We are producing a new show," Carmen said without preamble, "A brand new musical."
"That's exciting," Georgia replied, "Congratulations."
"The script is all written," Carmen said, "But the music still needs some work." She looked Georgia straight in the eye, "And I need a lyricist. So I thought to myself, only the best in the business will do for this show."
"Oh…" Georgia looked down, "Well I don't know…"
"And you are the best," Carmen assured her, "There's no doubt about that."
"Well thank you," Georgia flushed a bit, "But are you sure you want me?"
"Certainly," Carmen said, "There's no music yet, but I figured that once I hired the composer and lyricist, then things would get rolling."
Georgia set her cup down, "That's usually the way it works," she agreed, "But I haven't really worked with too many composers. Only one, really…" she trailed off.
"But you two are the best."
"Thank you Carmen," she said a bit sadly, "But you do realize that we haven't worked with one another for quite some time now."
"I know," Carmen said, "But supposing I hire him, then would you be willing do the lyrics?"
Georgia looked startled. "I don't know if I can work with him again. You and him would be better off with someone with more experience."
"Between you and me, he's nothing without you," Carmen said firmly, "He was a one… alright… three-hit-wonder… before you, but you're the one that made him Great."
"You really believe that?" Georgia was doubtful.
"He has failed without you once already," she pointed out.
"That's true…" Georgia murmured. She had hated hearing about his flop.
"He didn't even try to rewrite after the previews failed like that," Carmen continued, "And do you know why? Because he knows when he's beat."
Georgia gave a very slow nod. Carmen had been around Broadway for quite some time now, and the Bernstein production company had churned out many hits - and they had always stepped up to finance Fox and Hendricks shows. Georgia knew as well as anyone that Carmen was only interested in the best. A smile crossed her face.
"Well, I wouldn't want to leave you in a lurch like this," Georgia said, "I mean, that's what friends are for, right?"
Carmen seemed to light up, "Then you'll do it?"
"I'll do it," Georgia agreed.
Carmen shook Georgia's hand, "It'll be wonderful working with you again." She took out a booklet from her purse, "Here's the script that we've been working with. You can tweak it a bit if needed, but it's all mostly outlined."
"Thanks," Georgia took it, "I'll give it a read through and see what I can come up with."
"It's set in the Wild West," Carmen said.
Georgia tilted her head, "Like Oklahoma?"
"Sort of," Carmen said slowly, "Only better!"
Georgia laughed at that.
Carmen glanced up at the clock, "I must be going, I have a lot more to do, but I'll send a contract by tomorrow, and get you the details some time next week."
Georgia gave a nod.
Four days later, in the same mail bag, two letters came to Carmen Bernstein- they were postmarked within ten minutes of each other.
Georgia's contract had a note that she was excited to be working with Carmen again.
Aaron's contract had a note as well: "I can't believe you did it."
She knew they were both smart enough to thoroughly read anything before they signed it, and she was impressed that they had both agreed to work for such a low budget show.
Carmen leaned back in her seat, mission accomplished.