"Mr. Sorrell," Mel nudged his shoulder, indicating that he should stand. A lady had just entered the room. Buddy rolled his eyes, hoping Mel hadn't seen this, and made sure his hands were firm at his sides, as if tied there. He had the horrible habit of ruining things, and, seeing that this was his first week at work for The Alan Brady Show, he decided to try a little harder.
"This is Ms. Rogers, the other half of your writing team. Ms. Rogers, this is Mr. Sorrell..."
"Buddy." He said flatly, doing a bad job already.
The lady tugged at a bow in her hair. His eyes didn't move. Mel shoved them closer, until they finally settled on shaking hands.
"D...Delighted to meet you..." Buddy sighed at his own attempts immediately.
Sally glanced vaguely to Mel, who stood behind her, inching toward the door as each awkward second passed.
"This is a comedy show, right?"
He nodded and slammed the door, reminding them that Alan still required a script at the end of the week, and was more than happy to try out a different set of writers should this latest recipe fail.
"What?" Sally set his hand down, back near his side, "Do I have food on my face or something?"
A silence eased into the space between them; the only thing that successfully distanced Buddy and Sally from each other.
"You wanna get started then, Mr. Sorrell?"
"Buddy. Please call me Buddy. I don't like all that formal stuff."
They shook hands again, after they'd properly introduced themselves.
She found a ream of paper and a pen on what she deemed her desk, looking comically desperate as her hand hovered. She wanted to at least look like she could work.
"So, do you wanna get some work done? I mean, if he needs the script by Thursday for rehearsal, we should probably..."
"Oh who am I kidding..." Sally didn't ask, but exhaled this, tossing down the pen and moving to sit on the couch beside Buddy, "What do I need to know about you before I work with you?"
"I figured you'd be a bit... shyer than that. What's to know?"
"Well," Sally glanced at his hands, folded nervously over one armrest, "If you're single, where you're from, if you've written anything for...?" She leaned casually onto his shoulder.
He relaxed. Sally seemed approachable, and her frequent smile assured him that she wasn't joking around. But there was a script still waiting to be composed.
"Long story, that first one."
"I got time."
"I guess I'm engaged."
She waited for more as they took turns breathing.
"Right. Is that the whole story?"
"Just the summary."
"Come on." she tapped on his shoulder until he continued.
"Maybe that's all of it. I don't know. She wants me to get a better job so we can afford to get married and live somewhere nicer... seems like nothing's good enough for her anymore."
"How long you been together?"
"No worse than me, honest."
"Let's talk about you." With a fake bit of drama, Buddy turned to face her. She played along, took her hand off of his shoulder, and commenced:
"Never married anybody." She clasped her hands and let them drift up and down to accompany her tone, "Never even dated a fella, if that's what you wanna call it."
"The date or the fella?"
"That's funny." She shook her finger and smiled, "But it's true. And that's sad."
"And here we are writing a comedy show."
"Yeah, we'll get to it." She took a long breath, "I just was so excited about working in show biz when I was a girl. Wanted to sing and dance and all that, but I did so well in a typing class. I've been working wherever needs me just to get the bills paid. And finally, here I am on the bottom step of show business."
She tilted her head and huffed.
"Hey, at least you can type." He promised her, gently returning a nudge of her shoulder, "I'm lucky to get in O.K.C."
"One keystroke a century."
Slight laughter gripped her face.
"That's good." Again, her finger shook in his direction. He copied this gesture and they both laughed.
After a bit of silence, she looked to find a clock on the wall. She checked it against Buddy's watch (he studied her as she leaned over to do so) and offered a muffled gasp.
"There goes a whole work day."
"It's barely five."
They looked at each other's eyes until they understood what they saw. Never would this be forgotten. From this point on, they were able to communicate strictly though blinks, glances, and swift motions of their brows.
"Where you going?" Buddy asked, failing to look away, "Have a date?"
"I was hoping so."
She saw the worry on his face before he was able to form a vocal answer. Which, after a minute's arrangement, was a snappy rendition of: "What?"
"Well, we wasted a day of working on talking. So the least we can do is work on it over dinner... I'll buy."
"Can't argue with that." He stood and made a complete fool of himself as he rushed to open the door. She stared as she passed by, fingernails tapping an antsy rhythm on her clutch purse. Her teeth crept barely out from beneath her glossy lips, and her hair glimmered when the streetlights managed to grasp it from through the window-shades.
"I'll, uhh, drive."
"So I can spend my cab-fare too?"
This phrase, combined with the genial fluttering of her eyelids, conveyed; "You're driving me home, too, y'know."
Marveling at their silent understanding of one another, they nodded all the way to the parking lot.
Author's Note: So what do you think? How are the characterizations? Dialogue okay? What will happen next? Also, if you're one to listen to music while reading, I fully intend to provide a playlist for the complete story. This chapter, in my opinion, is most thoroughly enjoyed while listening to "All For You" by Sister Hazel. Carry on, now. Enjoy your day!