I know I've got plenty on my plate already, but this is a short addition to "The Fringe" [S02E06]

I don't own SMASH!


What an arrogant little prick. He'll fit right in with the rest of the Broadway pack, Derek chuckled inwardly. Too bad his naïve protégée couldn't see straight when she was in his close vicinity.

At least, Collins was not gay. Strike that this instant! You're in deep already with one minority group, no need to unleash the wrath of another.

Why this clown had her wrapped around his little finger from the get go was a total mystery to him. Her genuine candour never ceased to amaze him. She was talented, she was beautiful, she could be quite funny, unintentionally though, and for crying out loud he kind of discovered her in the first place. She was his! He realized that he had to resist snapping his fingers to awake her and put her out of her misery.

He understood perfectly where Collins was coming from. The guy was good looking, generally unpleasant, and broody enough to attract any woman he'd want. He knew the type. He basically invented it for god's sake! But he would hesitate to make his move when it came to Karen, because she could be the real deal. Until it was too late.

Yes, he knew the type. He spent the best part of the last year toying with the idea she wouldn't reject him a second time around. He almost kissed her but decided to be the gentleman for once and missed his window of opportunity. His timing was ridiculous. How was he supposed to guess that she would meet Jimmy? And now he was stuck in the friend slash mentor zone for the remaining of times, or the rest of his human life. He shouldn't have to work so hard to make her see the light. For all intent and purposes, they were the prefect match. But it seemed that every time he was on the verge of showing her his cards, some random imbecile was in the way. And to put it bluntly, he'd had enough of her sad puppy look and frightened Bambi behaviour. He knew the real Karen, and she shouldn't have to act this way around him. She knew that much.

To be perfectly honest, he was not ready to accept that his ship had sailed. Why would she choose an imitation when she could have the real thing?

He watched her passed him. For all he knew, she didn't notice him. No shoes? That was just brilliant! There was as much talent in the prick's partner as in a dog's tail. He knew he should stop Karen right now unless she was willing to ruin her present shot at Broadway. Karen wasn't Tom's muse, as she liked to say. His majesty would get rid of her the first chance he got and snatch Ivy from that ludicrous Liaisons revival with Jerry's blessing and probably Eileen's. They would go for a very professional crew, and they would be in their right mind to go down that path. Bombshell was a very expensive sinking ship.

He set his eyes on the improvised stage. God, he hated the Fringe! He crossed his arms in front of him and listened. They were singing their hearts out. They were good. Very good. And he had to admit that Karen was right. The song was great. He soon forgot the crappy place, Karen's awful dress and the scarce audience to concentrate on their duet. He could see the scene in his head already and it was magnificent.

In a way, it was a relief to be over with the wreck that had become Bombshell. There was something quite enticing about the musical those two idiots were trying to put on track. Once he got rid of the absurd play, worked on the book, and excavated the jewels hidden beneath all the nonsense, this musical could be quite the sensation. But Karen had to be on board. He wouldn't put on with her "boyfriend" alone for one second. He would go as much as tolerate him. Hey, the guy was a prick, but he had some merit. And, he wouldn't mind teaching him a lesson. It wouldn't be the first time he had to work with a brand new insufferable composer.

When they were done, he finally decided to stay. He hated to admit he was somewhat expecting to kidnap Karen for a late dinner. Maybe not, it was her night, not theirs yet. She finally spotted him and ran towards him, still excited, invigorated by her performance. He played the scene in slow motion. Close-medium shot. Dimmed lights. Then a close shot of her face. The rosy cheeks, her dark eyes sparkling, her glossy mouth…

He snapped out of it when she kissed him lightly on the cheek. If the idiot had seen that, he'd know I'm not with her. Or else why wouldn't he sleep with her already? The prick didn't want to prey on the girlfriend of the great director. He suspected that much. But their moment was cut short. He turned around to hide his irritation. Now was not the right time either to be his temperamental self.

Better let the genius Karen was so in awe of show his true colours.

Fortunately for him, Scott Nichols saved the day. He knew Nichols from way back. He also knew that he had had some setbacks and wanted back into the game. Don't we all, he shrugged inside. He felt he had to step up. He was done with Bombshell, why not try something new? His ego wriggled in anticipation. Tom could have Ivy, for all he cared. Karen was his. And she'll tag along, if only for Collins. He winced at the prospect. He was probably in for the long run.

It's only once they sat at their table that he realized that Karen was not with them. He turned to Collins with a frown. The composer muttered some inconsistencies. Well done, prick. If you wanted to impress me, breaking her heart wasn't the right thing to do. So, you're eager to become a member of the pack? Well, let me show you who's the alpha male now.

He gulped his scotch with a wolfish grin. It was going to be fun.