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Topics - Jonathan Granger

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1
Of Gall And Grangers / Happy Anniversary
« on: February 28, 2021, 02:50:17 PM »
Winterfest, Yule, Christmas - whatever you wanted to call it - was over in Rhy'Din, and that meant it was time to get back to work and school. Just in time, too. As much as Jonathan Granger adored his family, he was one of those people who loved his job and needed to work. The first play of the new year was Hamlet, which was one of his favorites, but he was quickly learning that directing was actually a lot more work than acting - something Mataya and Ludo had warned him about when he'd taken on the job - but at least, he didn't come home emotionally drained every night from acting on stage. Today had been dress rehearsal before the play opened on Monday, and while most of the actors had their lines down pat, there was always one problem or other to have to iron out, and today was no exception.

As a former head of department for the Shanachie, an occasional consultant, and the wife of one of the directors, Vicki didn't need a pass to get in on rehearsal days. She and Jon were due a date day, and it had arrived. Thus, she had arrived to pick him up, and was lurking in the stalls of the auditorium, watching him finishing up with the inevitable problems a dress and tech rehearsal could bring.

The last rehearsal before a performance was set to open was always a little bit hectic, and today was no exception, but to his credit, somehow Jon always managed to keep his head and calmly deal with each problem as it arose. Today was no exception, and he'd been so busy, he'd lost all track of time.

"Want me to get him for you?" a familiar voice Vicki would recognize as that of Jon's cousin Miranda came up beside her.

Vicki grinned up at Miranda, comfortable in her seat with her feet up. Very unladylike in her LBD, but she had never really cared about that. "No, I remember how this goes," she assured the older woman. "Has it been hellish today?"

Miranda shrugged and smiled down at the younger woman, who she'd come to think of as another niece. "No more hellish than usual," she said, looking like she could probably go another six hours without breaking a sweat. "Date night or are you planning on seducing him in the Green Room?" she teased, noting how Vicki was dressed.

The redhead laughed. "I was here for the tech rehearsal from hell that ran until after 2am and ended up with the opening night postponed a day so everyone could recover," she said cheerfully. "This is mild." Miranda's question brought a wicked glimmer to her eyes. "Well ... what makes you think we haven't christened every surface in this theater by now?"

"Well, it's not like we've never done Hamlet before," Miranda remarked, easing into a seat beside her cousin's wife. She laughed a little at Vicki's question. "I don't doubt that you have, but I'm not going to bring a black light in here to find out."

"Oh god, please don't ever black light this place!" Vicki's distinctive laugh rang out across the theater as she tossed her head back. "I'm not a germaphobe and I don't want to be!"

"Yeah, I'm not sure I want to know either," Miranda said with a smirk. "I can guarantee you won't find any of Rufio's DNA in here anyway," she said, though whether that was true or not was questionable. She smirked again as she glanced at the stage. "I think he knows you're here," she stage-whispered, though it was hardly necessary, as she nodded her head toward the stage, where Jon had turned to search the seats upon hearing his wife's familiar cackle of laughter.

"Ooh, do you want to bet on that?" Vicki challenged Miranda laughingly. "Don't forget, I'm the one who caught the two of you smooching in a corner at the Christmas shindig." She raised her hand to wave to Jon, her smile softening fondly in greeting.

"Smooching, my dear, is not quite the same thing as shagging," Miranda said, borrowing a word of slang she had picked up from either Austin Powers or present company.

Jon waved back from the stage, before turning to give some final instructions to the cast and crew and dismissing them for the evening.

"Looks like Mr. Perfectionist is finally satisfied," Miranda remarked with another grin. "Good thing you've come to rescue us."

"Don't you play innocent with me, woman, I saw you zip him up," Vicki countered laughingly, dropping her feet down onto the floor to sit up as Jon prepared to release his captive cast for the evening.

Miranda laughed. "Well, he is a bit of a prude, but I'm slowly breaking him. I mean breaking him in," she said, quick to correct herself.

The slip did not go unnoticed, but Vicki chose not to comment, just grinning at Miranda in solidarity. "Tell me about it," she commiserated. "When I first asked Jon out, I practically offered myself on a silver platter and I still thought he might say no."

Miranda laughed again. "Sometimes men just need a good prodding," she said.

"What was that?" Jon asked, only overhearing part of that conversation as he approached the pair.

"Just sharing tips on how to entice our fellas," Vicki assured her husband cheerfully, looking him over. "You're so lucky I pay attention to what you're wearing when you leave for work," she added, lifting a suit bag from the empty seat beside her. "You need to change into something sexier than cable knit and jeans."

Jon arched a brow, his gaze wandering over his wife and her LBD. "It's date night, isn't it?" he asked, having forgotten until this very moment.

"Mmhmm," she confirmed with a knowing smile. "I even put your wash bag in there so you can make yourself pretty for me." She winked at him cheekily, knowing perfectly well that teasing him in front of his family always made him a little awkward.

"I'm not pretty enough already?" he asked, batting his lashes at her.

Beside Vicki, Miranda rolled her eyes and got to her feet. "Why don't you two get a room?" she teased the pair.

"Later on, we will." Rising to her feet as well, Vicki flashed Miranda a warm grin before moving to greet her husband affectionately. "Figured you'd forgotten tonight was for us," she murmured. "Just as well I'm the one who did the organising this week."

"Guilty as charged. Do you want to punish me for it?" Jon asked, as he slid an arm around his wife's waist. If he had become an incorrigible flirt, she only had herself to blame.

2
Of Gall And Grangers / A Quiet Night at Home
« on: September 20, 2020, 01:16:00 PM »
It had just been another day at Maple Grove Manor. Not a birthday or a holiday or a special day of any kind, just a normal day filled with the usual, mundane, everyday tasks - the usual hustle and bustle that surrounded the lives of Jon and Vicki Granger, their small brood of children and pets, and one Old Man who took immense joy in just being part of it. Theirs was a busy life, but a gratifying one; and though they might be exhausted by the end of the day, they always had time left for each other.

This evening found them not at the kitchen table sipping tea and reading the paper, or falling asleep in front of the television set, but sequestered away in their bedroom in hopes of enjoying just a little time alone.

Vicki cuddled happily into Jon's arms, smiling as she relaxed into him. She loved their family, but good grief, the children could be exhausting at times. "Think Cosmo's managed to herd the twins back into their beds permanently yet?"

"If anyone can do it, Cosmo can," Jon remarked of their dog, who seemed to have instinctively taken to herding their children like a herd of sheep. He touched his nose to hers, relaxed and content now that the day was done and they were alone. "Remind me again why we wanted such a big family?" he asked, a teasing smirk on his face, knowing that was entirely his fault.

"I think it was you who wanted a dozen kids," she pointed out in amusement. "I think I got lucky with just the three pregnancies, personally." She grinned up at him, eyes sparkling with the same teasing light. "Wouldn't change anything, though."

"Half dozen," Jon corrected, though he wasn't sure exactly how many he had actually said. Had he said a dozen? Maybe he had, but that was before he'd realized how much work they were. "No regrets?" he asked, as if to ensure she meant what she'd said.

"Not unless you catch me on a bad day, nope," she assured him. One thing he could always rely on his wife for was honesty, even when it didn't make her look good.

"We all have bad days, baby. I'm here to catch you when you fall," he assured her in return, his nose circling hers affectionately. "Do you want me to get snipped?" he asked, perfectly willing to take one for the team, so to speak, if they were sure they were done having children.

She shook her head, smiling. "I'm never going to ask you to do that, and you know it," was her response. "The magic block is working perfectly well, and that means you don't need to go through any kind of surgical procedure for my sake."

"Well, if you ever change your mind," he told her, more than willing to make that small sacrifice for the good of her health and their sanity. Then again, who knew if they'd change their minds about having another child someday?

Vicki laughed, nuzzling closer to kiss him tenderly. "I hear there aren't many new faces in the theater this year," she murmured. "Any changes for you?"

"Not really, but we haven't really lost anyone either," he said. "And Eregor jumped ship from the theater. We'll be okay. I'd go back to acting, but I'm enjoying directing, and honestly, they don't really need me."

"So you've got a full time Eregor stretching his pure acting chops this time around?" she asked, raising her brows curiously. "I did hear that there's a new ballerina in the works, but according to Irina, she's as green as an uncooked pistachio."

"Yep," Jon confirmed with a grin. He was thrilled to add Eregor as a full-time member of the repertory company, but he couldn't take the credit for it. He chuckled at her remark about the ballet. "Irina thinks everyone is green until they've proven themselves otherwise."

"That is true, but she might be right in this case," Vicki mused cheerfully. "A little girl straight from someone else's corps might be taking on more than she can handle as a principal dancer."

Jon shrugged. "Not my place to say, but they could always make her a soloist. I don't think they had as many auditions this year though. Zahan is an apprentice, but she's still too young to join the corps."

"She's getting so much one-on-one training with Merethyl, she's going to be ballerina material as soon as she's old enough to join a company," Vicki predicted.

"From what I've seen, she's got a lot of potential, not to mention talent," he agreed, though he was no expert on the ballet. His area of expertise was dramatic theater, and to a lesser extent, film. "You know who I think might be a natural?" he asked, with the slightest hint of a smile on his lips.

"Surprise me," she dared him, expecting him to name at least one of their children. All five of them had their own talents and merits, but it was fun to imagine careers for them that they might never choose for themselves.

"Bea," he said, without hesitation. "Not as a dancer, but an actress. She has a rare presence on stage, but I don't think she's aware of it." And though she was their daughter, she didn't share their gene pool, as she'd been adopted. A child of choice.

"Have you talked to her about it?" Vicki asked, curious about this. She trusted Jon's instincts when it came to things like this. "If it's something she'd like to pursue, we should probably reserve her a place in 'Taya's school."

"Not yet. I mean, I don't want to single her out or make her feel awkward, but I really do think she has talent," he replied. "Right now, it's fun. It might not be so much fun, if she gets serious about it."

"She has always been very interested in performing," she agreed thoughtfully. "Kaylee says her voice is getting stronger every week, too."

"Thing is," Jon said, frowning a little before he went on, "I don't want her to do it for us. She has plenty of time to decide, but she should do it because she wants to, not because she thinks we want her to."

Vicki nodded in agreement. "I know what you mean," she said. "We just have to hope that she's been paying attention to the way we deal with Emily and Ben changing their minds about their hobbies every other month."

"She's young yet. She has plenty of time. I do think she has talent, but I don't want her to miss out on being a kid," Jon reasoned, in complete agreement with his wife.


3
Of Gall And Grangers / A Royal Birth
« on: February 23, 2020, 12:28:13 PM »
Royal births were important events, not only for the family, but for the nation, its citizens, and all those  connected in any way to the family, including those who didn't call Tirisano home. Across the border, in Rhy'Din proper, there was such a family - an important family in its own right - connected by a blood bond to the Princess Drusilla - as eager for news of the impending birth as were her subjects. It was the event of the year on Tirisano television, and though some of the Grangers might have preferred to witness the event in person, at least they were able to keep tabs on their beloved Drusilla via television. Jon had been pacing the floor for the last hour, nibbling at his fingernails, while the family awaited news from the capital city of Itana.

"Jon, you're going to wear a hole in the carpet," Elle playfully chided her best friend's husband.

"Well, why is it taking so long?" Jon complained, despite knowing from experience that children took their own time being born.

"Just because your wife can pop them out in a matter of hours doesn't mean Drusilla can," Humphrey pointed out with a patient smile.

"The implication that I'm a vending machine aside," Vicki added, "sit down, stud muffin. Anyone would think you were the expectant father."

"And stop chewing your nails before they start bleeding," Elle added.

"I'm not ..." Jon started, before realizing with a frown that he had been doing just that. "Oh," he muttered, dropping into a seat beside Vicki.

Dom chuckled, leaning over to pat his shoulder. "It shouldn't be too much longer," the older cousin commented. "They announced she was in labour before dawn, after all."

Thankfully, they didn't need to answer any awkward questions from the children - Daisy, Bea, and Maisie had the younger ones well in hand in another room.

"I don't know why I'm so nervous," Jon admitted, his brows furrowed in a worried frown.

"It's because she's your sister and this is her first baby," Elle replied, as if that much was obvious.

"You think you're the most nervous in the room?" Jasmin offered from another couch, nodding toward her own husband. Jack was beside himself with worry about the young woman who had all but adopted him as another big brother.

"I don't think it's a contest, Jaz," Jack murmured, his own fingernails practically bitten down to nubs.

"Not one anyone wants to win anyway," Elle remarked, obviously amused to see the men in such a state. "It's a good thing you men don't give birth," she said. "You'd never be able to handle it."

Jon threw Vicki a "Don't you dare" look at what Elle had just said, hoping no one noticed.

Vicki offered her husband an innocent smile, relaxing back against the couch. The television was set to the 24hr news network from Tirisano, which was currently showing a riveting shot of the front gates of Itana Palace. "You know, I never would have expected Tirisano to follow the British tradition."

"Why's that?" Elle was quick to ask, being British herself - English to be exact, as were Vicki and Piper.

"Because this is Rhy'Din," Jon guessed at a reply. The planet anyway. It was about as far from Earth as one could get, and yet, there were an inordinate amount of Earth traditions followed here, probably due to all the people who'd been brought here via the Nexus.

"They are much younger than England," Piper offered from her own seat, setting down her teacup to speak. "But weren't they a principality of Rhy'Din at one point? You would expect them to follow whatever the Rhy'Din tradition might have been, rather than so closely resemble the English one."

"Rhy'Din doesn't have a king. I'm not sure it ever has," Jon remarked, looking to Dom or even Humphrey for confirmation. They knew more about Rhy'Din's history than he did, after all.

Humphrey shrugged.  "I was never taught about a king," he conceded, also looking to Dom, who seemed a little stumped.

"As far as I know, there's never been any royal tradition in Rhy'Din as we know it," the anthropology professor offered, but he wasn't wholly certain, either.

"Well, how'd Tirisano end up adopting a clearly English tradition then?" Elle asked, with a wave of her perfectly-manicured hand toward the TV set.

"A clearly English tradition, but England isn't a principality," Des pointed out. Why they were discussing this he wasn't too sure, but it did seem to be taking Jon's mind off his worries. He wasn't so sure about Jack though.

"England was the seat of an empire, though," Piper said. "Perhaps one of the Earths branched out to Rhy'Din."

"Does it really matter?" Jack asked, speaking at last. Dru was in labor and quite possibly in pain, and they were worried about how Tirisano came to inherit some old Earth traditions. The answer seemed obvious to him anyway, even if it didn't to the rest of them.

Jaz touched his back gently, taking the opportunity to hand him his two month old daughter in the process. "We're just passing the time, baby," she assured him. "It's not like there's anything we can do right now to help or hinder her anyway."

"I know," Jack admitted with a rueful frown. "Sorry," he murmured as he took the baby into his arms and settled her against his lap, so she could see all the goings on around her.

Elle smiled from where she sat beside Dom. "She's adorable," she told the couple of the two-month old. "Almost makes me want to have another," she added with a sigh and a smirk at Dom.

"We've got four, isn't that enough?" Dom asked with a grin, looping his arm around her shoulders. "How about we get at least two of them into their teens before you give me another nine month heart attack?"

"Darling, that won't be for years! Just how long do you think that equipment is going to keep functioning?" Elle countered, letting him wonder if she was referring to her own equipment or his.


4
Of Gall And Grangers / Ringing in the New Year
« on: January 04, 2020, 04:12:45 PM »
New Year had arrived - not just bringing an end to the year, but to the end of the decade. A decade in which life had changed beyond all recognition for one couple on Maple Grove. With promises of good behavior and an injunction to enjoy themselves, Jon and Vicki had been waved off to spend the New Year festivities in Edinburgh, on Earth; a part of their Christmas present from Bea and Humphrey. Hogmanay was a very old tradition in Scotland, and it should always be experienced at least once. Perhaps it wasn't the romantic New Years' Eve they might have planned for themselves, but they could always have a romantic breakfast the next morning. Tonight, they were going to celebrate, Celtic-style.

Despite the chill in the air that necessitated thick coats, hats, and gloves, there was also an air of genial celebration covering the ancient city as the couple stepped out of their hotel and onto the Royal Mile. All around them were gathering crowds of people, stalls set up selling food and drink, music playing live and recorded up and down the street. Vicki laughed cheerfully, looking up at Jon.

"I think Bea might have earned herself an amazing hug for this."

"I still can't figure out how she arranged it," Jon remarked, one gloved hand taking hers as they started their stroll down the crowded city street, filled with food, music, and revelers. Little Bea had obviously had help in arranging for her parents' getaway, and that help had most likely come from Old Man Granger.

"I think she overheard Liv talking about the midnight fireworks and just ran with it," Vicki suggested, though she couldn't be sure Bea hadn't done all the research herself. Their eldest was a resourceful little fiend at times.

"I wouldn't put it past Liv to have lent a hand," Jon remarked, knowing how resourceful the woman was in her own right. "Does it feel strange to be away from home on New Year's Eve?" he asked.

Squeezing his hand as they walked, Vicki smiled absently. "It does, in a way," she admitted. "But it isn't a bad feeling. Just a strange one. Being able to stay up until past midnight without worrying about being woken up at 5am is a novelty these days."

Jon chuckled at his wife's sentiment. "The kids won't stay little forever," he reminded her. It had taken a few days to recover from the madness that always accompanied Christmas at Maple Grove.

"You're not wrong," she laughed, "but it's nice to have you to myself every once in a while. Our family got big." She leaned into him to avoid a group of teenagers muscling past with paper cups of steaming spiced cocoa.

"I don't mind having you all to myself now and then, either, Mrs. Granger," he told her, smooching her lips as she leaned close. He didn't think anyone would mind him kissing his wife in public here on New Year’s Eve.

If anyone noticed, they didn't care; Hogmanay was a night for celebrating the old year gone and the year to come, not for nitpicking the private lives of celebrities in their midst. Vicki grinned against Jon's lips, all too aware of how lucky she was to be able to call him hers. "Shall we investigate the stalls, stud muffin?"

He grinned at the nickname she'd given him when they'd first started dating. Though they might not have as much time or energy to devote to their sex life these days, when they did, the spark was definitely still there. "We should definitely do this more often," he told her. "Where to first?"

She sniffed the air impishly. "I can smell caramelized onions," she informed him. "I bet I can get you a good British street burger, Mr. Refined Palate."

"With a good British ale?" Jon queried. After all, it was New Years Eve. It wouldn't be right not to drink like a native, if he was going to eat like one.

"Scotch whisky on Hogmanay, darling!" she told him, almost scandalized that he would suggest drinking anything else right here in Edinburgh on one of the biggest nights of the year.

"Scotch whisky it is!" he replied, agreeably. "Lead the way, love," he told her, waving her onward. This was familiar territory for her, and it reminded him a little bit of the many festivals and fairs back in Rhy'Din.

There was plenty on hand to entertain and amuse as they wandered toward the enticing smell of onions and meat, passing stalls that sold handmade crafts, hot drinks, alcoholic drinks, hot and cold snacks both sweet and savory. Digging into her pocket as they joined the line outside the truck selling freshly cooked burgers among other things, Vicki grinned at Jon. "All the trimmings?"

"Yes, ma'am!" he confirmed. It was the last night of the old year - there was no point in holding back now. Tomorrow was another story.

It didn't take long before he was holding an enormous burger in its paper, with fixings spilling out the sides whenever he took a bite. Vicki was in a similar position - her vegetarian version was just as over-stuffed as his. But that was part of the fun of street food; you found somewhere to sit or lean out of the way, and you played catch the pickle every time you took a bite.

Jon tugged his gloves off and stuffed them in a coat pocket before taking up his burger, ready to catch any wayward pickles or lick his fingers clean of catsup whenever necessary. He grinned around his burger, moaning in delight at every delicious, juicy bite.

Vicki moaned right along with him. "God, it has been so long since we had proper greasy junk food," she declared about halfway through, grinning at the sight of her always well put together husband gobbling away at the kind of street food she had grown up with.

"I'm not sure the word 'proper' belongs in that sentence," he teased, as he finished up the last few bites of his burger and licked his fingers clean. Now to find a proper glass of scotch, which he assumed meant finding a nearby pub. "That was amazing," he told her, smiling happily.

"This is what I used to eat when I went into town with my friends as a teenager," she told him, swallowing down her last bite happily. "Then we'd grab a bottle of cider and go sit in a park somewhere." She laughed at those memories. "Simple pleasures, you know?"

"Just one bottle between you?" he asked, linking his arm with hers as they started on their way again in search of a "proper" pub. He couldn't very well comment on his own youth, as the memories of that part of his life were lost, but he was content to be making new memories with her - happy memories.

"When you're sixteen in Cornwall, one three quid liter of cider is all you can really afford," she chuckled affectionately, hugging his arm as they walked. It turned out that they didn't need to find a pub - there were stalls selling whisky, hot toddies, spiced wine, and buttered rum. It was simply a case of deciding what they wanted to drink.

5
Of Gall And Grangers / Ye Old OOC Thread
« on: September 22, 2019, 04:03:04 PM »
Because the old OOC thread got kind of messed up with broken links and whatnot, we decided to archive it and put up a new thread. Feel free to use this new OOC thread to post your OOC comments, questions, etc., and sorry for any inconvenience. :)

6
Of Gall And Grangers / Sugar and Spice
« on: June 23, 2019, 01:42:00 PM »
There was a time, not so very long ago, when a large number of men would not be seen dead holding bright pink backpacks or absentmindedly wearing teddy-sized tiaras. Luckily for the little girls growing up on Maple Grove, they were blessed with dads who would do virtually anything to make their daughters smile. And this, of course, explained why Jonathan and Dominic Granger were currently sitting on a pair of plush unicorns in the middle of Rhy'Din's own Build-A-Bear, attempting to keep an eye on Beatrice, Maisie, and Daisy as the three girls giggled and wandered about, chattering happily while constructing for themselves a little trio of cuddlies intended to guard them against nightmares. Dom, in particular, looked very fetching with a tiny tiara balanced on his head and a rainbow tucked precariously on his shoulder.

Jon couldn't help chuckling at the image of his elder cousin looking a little too much like a princess. "I don't think that tiara is quite your style," he remarked with an amused smirk, though he wasn't much better, shouldering a very pink backpack covered in hearts.

"You say that as though you haven't seen me dressed up as Ana to Daisy's Elsa in the past." Dom chuckled, catching the rainbow before it fell off his shoulder. "At least it isn't crowded in here today."

"I've been there, believe me. Emily likes to do my nails, and she always paints them pink!" Jon confessed, though he did not clarify as to whether he was referring to his fingernails or his toenails. At present, his fingernails were thankfully free of any trace of nail polish.

"There's nothing wrong with getting in touch with your feminine side, Jonny boy," Dom teased him. "Means you can please your wife that much bett -"

He was cut off by the thrusting of a pair of pink teddy skins in front of his face - one rabbit and one bear.

"Which one do you think, Mr. Dad?" Maisie asked pointedly. "And Mr. Uncle. Rabbit or bear? Bea is making a dragon."

Jon rolled his eyes at Dom's remark. He didn't know anyone more masculine than his cousin, and yet, there he was wearing a tiara and a rainbow and owning it. What they wouldn't do for their daughters.

"Uh, I'm not sure what a rabbit or bear have to do with a dragon," Jon murmured, uncertainly at Maisie's question. Vicki was usually the one who handled these sorts of trips, so it was no secret that Jon was a little out of his comfort zone.

"Which one do you think is better?" Dom turned the question around on the little girl who was definitely going to be adopted in the near future. "This is going to be your friend, not mine."

Maisie frowned thoughtfully, looking at the shapeless plushies skins in her hands. "I dunno."

"Which do you think you'd rather cuddle with?" Jon asked, finally getting the gist of the question.

Before Maisie had a chance to answer, Daisy came flouncing over with a few possibilities of her own. "Pink or black?" she asked, holding up one of each in the shape of a cat.

"That depends," Dom answered Daisy with ridiculous aplomb for a six foot something man in a decidedly unmanly environment. "I think the black one might startle you in the middle of the night, but that's just my opinion." He flashed her a grin, turning back to deal with Maisie's issue. "And you, little miss, are definitely a bunny kind of girl," he went on. "But maybe not pink or purple. What about that butterfly one over there?"

As Maisie scurried off to look at the multicolored options, it was Bea's turn to accost her father. She was holding a Light Fury, a white dragon skin, and attempting to decide on a dress or pajamas for it.

"Daddy, what looks best?"

"Oh!" Jon said, surprised to find Bea there with a white dragon. "Isn't she cute! It's a she, right?" he asked, presuming the dragon was a she based on the fact that Bea was considering a dress. "Mm, why not both? One outfit for bed and one outfit for daytime?" he suggested.

Beside him, Daisy was frowning thoughtfully as she considered her father's advice.

"I think you're right!" she said at last. "Thanks, Daddy!" she said, touching a kiss to Dom's cheek.

"Anytime, munchkin," was Dom's answer as he took his kiss and watched Daisy skip off in Maisie's direction again. This gave him a moment to watch Jon at work.

Bea bit her lip. "Can I really do both?" she asked Jon, just a little bit worried about her new cuddly costing too much.

"Yes, of course, you can. But if you only want to pick one, then I'd say the pajamas, since she'll be sleeping with you a lot," Jon told her, unaware she was worried about the cost. Money wasn't a problem when one was a Granger, but Vicki had warned him against spoiling her, too.

After a moment's continued thought, Bea brightened and nodded. "Okay, Daddy. Thank you!" She skipped off toward the clothing racks, her decision made.

Dom nudged Jon's shoulder. "And you were worried about making her feel at home," he teased gently.

"I worry about her feeling like part of the family," Jon confessed with a small frown as he watched Bea rejoin her cousins. "She's a sweet girl. She deserves to be happy," he said, as if wishing there was some way he could ensure the little girl's happiness without realizing all she really needed or wanted was a family to call her own.

"She looks pretty happy to me," Dom pointed out. "You worry too much, Jon. Bea's as much your daughter as Emily and Maddie are. You've got this."

"You sound like Vicki. She says the same thing," Jon admitted, with a nod toward his cousin. "What about you? Everything finalized with Maisie yet?" he asked, with interest. Was it just coincidental that both families had decided to adopt or had their wives been in cahoots?

"Court date set for next week, hopefully getting the certificate through a couple of days after that," Dom told his cousin with a wry smile. "I can't believe she's been part of our family for four months already. She fits so well with us."

"Well, if you hadn't adopted her, we might have! Those three are inseparable!" Jon said, chuckling a moment as he turned to watch the girls as they went about choosing their stuffed pets. "Seriously though, now that they're part of the family, it's hard to imagine our lives without them."

7
Of Gall And Grangers / Good News
« on: February 23, 2019, 02:39:54 PM »
Jon and Victoria Granger had come a long way since that first flirtation in his trailer nearly eight years ago and since he'd first dropped into her past when she was little more than a baby. Theirs was a love story with a happy ending, though their lives weren't nearly over yet. Between two busy adults and five children, it took perfect planning to keep all their schedules on track. Today, for example, was Bea's music lesson with Kaylee, and it was Jon's turn to pick her up. It was only a short walk to Lilac Cottage, where Kaylee and Taylor made their home, now that they'd moved back to the Grove, with Cosmo in tow. Thankfully, it was a decent day for a walk, though there was still a cold chill in the air. Winter wasn't finished with Rhy'Din just yet.

Despite the chill in the air, the window to Kaylee's office was open, and as Jon approached, he got to hear Bea's clear tone for the first time. At ten years old, there was no rush for her to be excellent straight out the gate, but one thing she clearly loved was singing and musicals. Hearing her belt out Let It Go with Kaylee accompanying her was a treat - Bea didn't sing at home if she could help it.

Jon came to a halt a few feet from the cottage, just so that he could listen to Bea's singing without her knowing he was listening. She was still a little bit shy with him, still learning where she fit in with the family, but he was glad she was making strides, glad she was starting to become more comfortable with the new life they had given her. He couldn't help but smile and even laugh a little to himself as he recognized that song. How could he not when Emily, like most little girls, had once been addicted to Frozen. It warmed his heart to hear her singing and to know she felt comfortable enough with Kaylee to enjoy her lessons. He waited until the song was ended, before he knocked on the door, Cosmo barking to announce their presence.

An answering bark came from inside, accompanied by a shriek of young laughter. It appeared that doggie Sam and baby Clare had finally resolved their differences. "Come in!" Kaylee called, knowing perfectly well it was Jon. "Nearly done!"

"I'm a little early," Jon called back, as he pushed the door open. "I don't want to interrupt the lesson," he added, knowing he was unlikely to hear Bea sing anytime soon, except by intruding on her lessons and feeling a little guilty about it.

"We're almost done," Kaylee promised him. The door to her office was open, revealing her sat at her keyboard and Bea stood beside her, both of them examining the sheet music propped in front of them. In the living room was Sam the dog, who leapt up to say hello and knock Cosmo over just because he could, and little Clare in a play pen, who looked up at Jon with a big smile.

"Hullo to you, too, Sam!" Jon said, releasing Cosmo from his collar so that the two dogs could visit with each other. "And how's my little Clare today?" he asked, moving over to hoist the toddler from her play pen and smooch her cheek. It was no secret that Jon adored children, not just his own, but that of his littlest cousins, as well.

"Got pemgwim," Clare informed him, waving her new favorite cuddly as he lifted her up. She giggled as Jon kissed her cheek, throwing her arms around his neck. "No Maddie?"

"Yes, I see that. Has Penguin got a name or is he just Penguin?" he asked, unsure if her favorite toy was a boy or a girl. "No, Maddie is at home. Maybe if it's okay with your mom, I'll bring her by for a visit tomorrow, okay?" he asked, balancing her against his hip.

Clare nodded excitedly, distracted for a moment when Kaylee briefly sang a couple of bars for Bea to echo from the other room. She did enjoy her mother's lessons with all the people who came for them. "S'a pemgwim," she told Jon. "S'Russell."

"Well, I'm very pleased to meet you, Russell the Penguin," Jon said, as serious an expression on his face as he could muster, considering he was being introduced to a stuffed animal. "How do you do?" he said, two fingers taking hold of a small stuffed wing to give the penguin a handshake.

"Quack!" Clare giggled, wriggling the penguin around in answer. "Quack, quack, quack!"

A quieter laugh came from the office door as Bea came out to pack her music away in her bag. Kaylee followed with a wide grin.

"Are you making Russell do duck impersonations again, monster?"

"Yes, I thought he was a penguin," Jon echoed Kaylee's question with a grin. "But I'm not quite sure what kind of sound a penguin makes." He seemed in no hurry to hand Clare off to her mother, though he couldn't stay too long or they'd be late for dinner.

Clare looked thoughtfully at the penguin. "S'a bird," she told them. "Birds go quack. O' tweet if they small."

Kaylee chuckled. "Well, I can't argue with logic like that," she conceded, looking over at Bea. "You're sure you want to stay chorus?"

Bea nodded, blushing as she glanced at Jon.

Jon chuckled at Clare's logic, but knew better than to argue with her. He had enough children to know there was no point in arguing with a toddler, unless it was over something important. "Quack it is, then," he said, meeting Bea's glance with a warm smile. "How'd it go, Sweet Bea?" he asked, finding the blush charming.

"I had fun," Bea offered up easily. "I finished the song today."

"She's improving all the time," Kaylee told Jon confidently. "A little more confidence wouldn't hurt, but the skill is growing to match the talent."

"Good! I'm glad you're enjoying it, Bea," Jon said, handing Clare over to Kaylee. "Clare is demanding a visit from Maddie. How's tomorrow morning?" he asked. Now that it was the Ballet's turn at the theater, he had a little extra time to spend with his family.

Taking her own daughter onto her hip, Kaylee's smile only widened. "That works for us," she agreed. "It's been a while since we had a play date sort of thing."

"I'll call after breakfast and we can set a time," he said, turning once again to Bea. "All ready, Bea?" he asked, looking to make sure she had everything and whether she needed any help getting ready to go.

Bea looked up from where she had been struggling with the zipper on her coat. "I think I broke it again," she said reluctantly, that mixture of fear and guilt still lingering whenever she felt she had failed to be the perfect daughter.

"Let's see if I can fix it," he said, going down on one knee so that he could fiddle with her zipper.

8
Of Gall And Grangers / Getting Better Acquainted
« on: September 02, 2018, 07:17:26 PM »
Incredible Edibles was busy today, what with people coming and going from the theater to get something to eat or drink in between auditions. Despite that, there were enough empty tables that the little trio had no trouble finding a place to sit, little Bea seated between Jon and Vicki. It was their third so-called "date" together, and this time they'd vowed to focus on getting to know Bea better. Unsure whether or not Bea could read, Jon was going over the menu with her in an attempt to find something she'd like. The menu wasn't exactly kid-friendly, but he was pretty sure the staff could whip up something off-the-menu, if he asked.

Bea was fascinated, looking around wide-eyed at the people who bustled in and out, and the street outside the window. She just about remembered to pay attention to Jon as he talked her through the menu, unconsciously pointing to the cheapest thing, rather than the thing she wanted.

Jon exchanged a worried glance with Vicki at Bea's lunch choice. "Sweetie, are you sure? You can get anything you want. It doesn't have to be on the menu. What would you like?" he asked, hoping she'd be honest with him.

"Honestly, sweetheart, we're not going to break the bank having lunch," Vicki promised the little girl with a warm smile.

Bea bit her lip, glancing between them as a shy smile made itself known. "Can ... can I have a toastie?" she asked hopefully. "Please?"

"Of course you can have a toastie!" Jon replied, smiling with relief. He didn't think the cook staff would have any trouble putting that together for her. All they really needed was bread and cheese, after all. "What would you like to drink?" he asked further. "Chocolate milk? Juice? Soda?"

Bea's finger pointed hopefully toward the Tuna Melt line of the menu, identifying what kind of toastie she'd like. "Do they have pineapple juice?" she asked, again just as hopeful as before.

Vicki grinned, leaning over to point at the cabinet where all the juices and sodas were displayed. "Looks like it to me."

Jon waved over a waitress to take their order, ordering fish and chips for himself, along with a soda, and whatever Vicki and Bea wanted. Once that was done, they could relax for a while, until their meal arrived.

"So, what do you think?" he asked Bea of her day so far.

"Is this really where all the theater people go for lunch and stuff?" she asked excitedly. At the next table, a pair of familiar half-elves looked up from their toddler, sharing a smile at the girl's question before returning to their own meal.

Vicki chuckled. "A lot of them do, yes."

"Mmhm," Jon echoed Vicki's confirmation, smiling a greeting over at the half-elves at the next table. "Would you like to take a peek at the theater?" he asked, since they were there. Normally, he'd be tied up with auditions himself, but the repertory auditions weren't going on today.

"Oh, can we?" Whatever else Bea was, it seemed as though Jon had found a kindred spirit in a little girl enchanted with the theater. "We won't get in the way?"

"Not if we're careful, but you'll have to stay close. Can you do that?" he asked her, nodding his thanks to the waitress as she dropped off their drinks.

Bea nodded enthusiastically.

Vicki smiled as she sipped her coffee. "We can go up into the flies and watch a couple of the auditions from there," she suggested. "And explore the dressing rooms, and the props rooms."

They'd promised to take her to a show or two, but with auditions going on right now, this was the best they could do; and how many kids could say they'd had a personal tour of the theater from Jonathan Granger himself?

"They're doing theater group auditions right now. Do you have any favorite musicals, Bea?" he asked, curious if she knew of any outside the usual round of Disney shows.

Bea chewed her lip - it was obviously a bad habit she'd developed, unused to being the center of anyone's attention. "I like the one with the lady what doesn't talk proper and the man who teaches her," she volunteered.

"Oh!" Jon exclaimed, smiling again. He knew exactly which one she was talking about, but did she know that particular musical had its origins in a dramatic play? "You mean My Fair Lady," he said. He didn't just want to know which musical she liked, but why. "Why that one?" he asked, curiously. Was it because it was a rags to riches story, or was there some other reason?

"'Cos Liza's just a normal person, and the only reason people don't look at her is because she doesn't talk like they want her to," Bea informed him. "And when she does talk like they want her to, they think she's really special, and it's just because she talks properly. She was always special, they just weren't looking. I don't like the horrible old professor," she added, a little warily.

Vicki bit down on a grin, turning an amused glance to Jon - Higgins was one of his favored roles on the stage.

"Oh?" Jon asked again, arching a single brow upwards at her answer and purposely ignoring his wife's cheeky grin that she was trying so hard to hide. "Why not?" he asked, curious as to her take on the characters. He had his favorite roles, and though Higgins was one of them, he knew the man was not exactly a hero.

"Because he never tells her she done good, and he always shouts at her, and then, at the end, he doesn't want to marry her because he likes her, he wants to marry her because she's going to marry someone else who liked her before she made him look good," Bea explained in a rush of breath. "Also, he is all stuffy and old."

Vicki's grin made itself known. "You know what, Bea? You and I are going to get on just fine," she told the girl. "That is exactly my opinion of Professor Higgins."

Jon wasn't going to defend Higgins' actions. Though he'd played the part many times, he wasn't anything like the professor - or so he hoped. "There's a lesson there, though," he pointed out, wondering if she knew what that lesson was. What was the message of the play - whether it was the musical or non-musical version?

"Don't be a prig." Bea nodded firmly, both hands around her glass as she took a long drink.

Vicki blinked in surprise. "You know, Bea, there's a play of that story as well," she told the girl. "And the professor doesn't marry Eliza at the end of it; she marries Freddie."

Bea lowered the glass in astonishment. "Why'd they change it?" she demanded. "That's much better!"

"Different versions have different endings," Jon explained further. "But I like that version best, too. The professor doesn't deserve her, does he? He's only using her to prove a point, but she is the one who triumphs in the end. We haven't done that one in a while. I'll have to suggest it for next season."

"The play or the musical?" Bea asked intently. "Is it fun being an actor? It looks like fun. You get to wear pretty clothes and wigs and be someone else for a little bit, and people are happy when they go home."

"Either really," Jon replied, though he had more sway with the repertory group than the theater. "Yes, it's fun! But it's hard work, too. The hardest part for me is memorizing all my lines," he confessed, though he hadn't actually acted on stage in some time, having swapped acting for directing as it was less stressful and time-consuming.

"What's memo rising?" Bea asked curiously, her eyes lighting up as three plates were delivered to their table by a merry-faced hobbit with sparkling eyes of her own. "Thank you!"

"Thanks, Mags!" Jon thanked the hobbit, who he was pretty well acquainted with, being a regular here. After all, the place was close to the theater and it was owned by his best friend's sister. "Memorizing means learning all your character's lines, so you don't forget them when you're on stage," Jon explained, as he set Bea's plate in front of her and offered her a bottle of ketchup for her fries.

She shook her head politely. "I don't like ketchup," she told him. "Maisie says I'm weird 'cos I don't like it, but she has ketchup on her eggs. That's weird."

Jon chuckled and offered the ketchup bottle to Vicki instead. "Is Maisie one of your friends at the orphanage?" he asked, presuming that was the case.

Bea nodded, watching as Vicki took the ketchup and dumped a splodge of it on a free space of her plate, rather than all over her fries.

"Maisie and me have the same bedroom, and we like the same stuff," the little girl went on, examining her melt and considering how she was going to eat it without burning her fingers. "Like, she likes dancing, and she would be really good at it if she could get training and stuff, but we dance a lot, and she lets me sing a lot too."

Jon frowned and turned another glance at Vicki, knowing they couldn't possibly adopt Maisie, too, but maybe someone else they knew could. "What kind of dancing?" he asked, as he took the ketchup bottle from Vicki and squeezed some onto his plate for his own fries.

"Just dancing," Bea shrugged. "I don't know all the fancy names for it and stuff. Bouncing around and stuff, you know?"

9
RDI Playables / The Shanachie Repertory Group Presents ...
« on: March 17, 2018, 12:31:13 PM »

Twelve Angry Men
Award-Winning Drama
12th to 24th March 2018


Come join us as we present this award-winning American dramatic classic.

Eleven jurors are convinced of an accused murderer's guilt, but one holdout convinces them to look at their consciences ? and prejudices ? again.

((Click the link for further info: http://rdi.dragonsmark.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=33032. And as always, thanks for reading!))

10
The Shanachie Theater / Twelve Angry Men (Rep)
« on: March 17, 2018, 12:08:36 PM »
Cast

Juror 1 - Eregor T?r Gaird?n
The jury foreman, somewhat preoccupied with his duties; proves to be accommodating to others. An assistant high school football coach. Tends to attempt to prevent heated arguments.

Juror 2 - Marcus Spencer
A meek and unpretentious bank clerk who is at first domineered by others but finds his voice as the discussion goes on.

Juror 3 - Aristotle Kruger Allen
A businessman and distraught father, opinionated and stubborn with a temper; the main antagonist.

Juror 4 - Laurence Hale
A rational stockbroker, unflappable, self-assured, and analytical.

Juror 5 - Dorian Hadley
A soft-spoken young man from a violent slum, in the book a Milwaukee Brewers fan, in the movies and on Broadway, a Baltimore Orioles fan.

Juror 6 - Cary Lyons

A house painter, tough but principled and respectful.

Juror 7 - Asher Price

A salesman, sports fan, superficial and indifferent to the deliberations.

Juror 8 - Jonathan Granger
An architect, the first dissenter and protagonist. Identified as "Davis" at the end.

Juror 9 - Craig Cleric
A wise and observant elderly man. Identified as "McCardle" at the end.

Juror 10 - Byron Warren
A garage owner; a pushy and loudmouthed bigot.

Juror 11 - Brendryck Stormgaard
A thoughtful German watchmaker and naturalized American citizen.

Juror 12 - Yassidy

A wisecracking, indecisive advertising executive.

Judge - Bob

The Accused - Doran Ilnaren

11
RDI Playables / Condo For Sale
« on: August 19, 2017, 11:33:56 AM »
The following ad appears in the local newspaper:
[size=18]
Spacious, luxurious, third-story condo for sale by owner. Two bedrooms. Fully furnished. Must be seen in person. Contact Solomon Spencer for an appointment. Asking price: $255,000 or 10,100 GP.
[/size][/i]
((The condo Jon is putting up for sale is Luks Condos, Apt. #303. He's owned it for about five years now, but is no longer in need of it. I will pass the Luks Condos Keycard icon on to whoever purchases the condo. If no one wants it, then he will simply sell it back to Luks. Go here for more information or to post a reply. Thanks for reading!))

12
Lüks Condos / Condo For Sale
« on: August 19, 2017, 11:21:31 AM »
Now that Jon was living full-time at Maple Grove, and Sol had moved into Juniper Lodge with Brynne, it was time to put the condo at Luks up for sale to the highest bidder, and so Jon placed the following ad in the local newspaper:
[size=18]
Spacious, luxurious, third-story condo for sale by owner. Two bedrooms. Fully furnished. Must be seen in person. Contact Solomon Spencer for an appointment. Asking price: $255,000 or 10,100 GP.
[/size][/i]
Jon was going to lose money on the deal by offering the condo for the going rate, rather than for a profit, but he hoped that someone would realize what a deal they were getting and be more likely to make an offer.

((Just a quick note to let everyone know that Apt. #303 has been sold. Thanks for reading, everyone! :) ))

13
The Shanachie Theater / The Third Act
« on: August 28, 2016, 04:27:10 PM »
It was curtain down for King Lear and Jon's final regular performance with the Shanachie Repertory Group, and he had mixed feelings about it. He knew he was doing the right thing, both for himself and his family, but it hadn't been an easy decision to make. While the prospect of directing was exciting, as any new venture tended to be, it was a little scary, too. Jon was at home on the stage, as he'd been since he was practically a child, but not so much behind it.

The theater was quiet this time of night. The lights had gone down, and everyone had gone home, leaving him alone with an empty stage, empty seats, empty audience. How he had loved the stage, the drama, the applause, but it was time to turn another page and start another chapter, and as Mataya had reminded him, there would always be a place for him as an actor, if he ever needed to scratch that itch or return to the stage.

In the meantime, he was hoping to support the theater in other ways, and by doing so, to support the actors, both experienced and inexperienced so that they could benefit from his knowledge and experience. It seemed somehow fitting that he say goodbye to the stage using the Bard's own words as spoken by Macbeth, though it wasn't a final farewell. "Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

In the darkness of the empty stage, a soft voice answered his, with words written before both their times. "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entraces, and one man in his time plays many parts ... his acts being seven ages." There were no footsteps to betray the arrival of another person onto the stage; just the merest shifting of shadows, until finally the Grey Lady of the Shanachie Theater stood with Jon, looking out over the silent auditorium.

Startled to find he wasn't as alone as he thought, Jon turned to find a shadowy, unfamiliar figure, quoting Shakespeare alongside him. Whoever it was, it was defintely a female and one he didn't recognize, though he suspected who it might be. He'd heard of the Grey Lady of the Shanachie, but he'd always assumed she was little more than a myth ... until now.

Hortense had never taken the time to speak with Jon, because Jon had never needed her to. He was a master in his craft, and though he suffered with low confidence at times, he had friends and family he was happy to talk to about that handicap. He did not need the intervention of the theater's good luck charm. Until tonight.

Smiling, the ghostly woman turned her face toward the actor beside her. "You have played the mewling infant, the whining schoolboy, the lover, and the soldier, Jonathan Granger," she said in her quiet way, her voice at times barely more than a whisper from the stage itself. "It is time for you to be the justice, wise and modern, a man capable of supporting his family in all ways and maintaining the respect of his peers."

One brow ticked upwards in surprise as she addressed him. He might have expected as much from a friend or even an acquaintaince, but not from a stranger such as this. But then, if she really was the theater ghost, she might know more about him than he dared admit, able to watch quietly and unseen as she was. "It seems you have me at a disadvantage, lady," he told her, as she seemed to know who he was, though they had not been properly introduced.

"You are a friend of Mataya De Luca, and you say you do not know me when you see me?" the ghost asked in amusement. "Very well. I am Hortense Docquey, formerly mistress of this house before it was converted, and now known as the Grey Lady of the theater."

"I have heard of you, but ..." He frowned, a little ashamed to admit the truth, especially since he was a native of Rhy'Din, where ghosts and other such phenomena were a fairly commonplace occurence. Nevertheless, he'd never met one personally, as far as he knew, though he'd been told of her existence. "Seeing is believing, I suppose," he said, with a small shrug.

Hortense's smile was gentle as she looked away, her gaze taking in the deep shadows of the auditorium, the hanging curtains above them, the pit at their feet. "A theater does not truly live without ghosts," she said thoughtfully. "They are not all like me, ghosts of people gone before. A theater's ghosts seep into the walls - they are made up characters played with passion, emotions stirred by true performance. This theater is full of ghosts. But I am the only one who speaks."

Jon turned to look at the theater around them, the shadows that darkened the corners, the empty seats, the way their voices echoed through the quiet theater. He stifled a shudder, though there was no chill in the air, and he wasn't really afraid. "Why do you stay here?" he asked. There was no accusation in his words, only curiosity.

"This is my home," she said simply. "It was built for me. I lived here and I died here. But I had no joy in my home until a cheeky little woman bought it and redesigned it, and breathed life back into a place that had not had a heart for many, many years." She paused, looking around once again. "I never had children in life. In death ... every soul that finds something to cherish within these walls is my child."

Who was he to judge her or to tell her she should move on, if she had found some sense of peace and happiness here, though he thought it might be a lonely kind of existence. "Aren't you lonely?" he asked further, unable to see the ghosts she insisted shared her existence. Was she being literal or figurative in her claim that the characters themselves haunted these walls?

"Should I be?" she countered with a smile. "I am not as you are, not any longer. You should not try to judge my existence in comparison with your own." Turning fully to face him, her smile gentled. "You made the right decision, Jonathan. The theater will always be here. Your family will only be young once."

He didn't question how she knew what he'd decided. If she knew the goings on at the theater, then it was easy enough for her to know what everyone else knew by now - that he'd decided to take a break from acting to focus on his growing family and to try his hand at directing instead. "I know. It's not that that worries me," he admitted. He'd already discussed his decision in depth with Vicki and Mataya - the only two people whose opinions really mattered - but he hadn't openly admitted to them his own fears and uncertainties regarding his decision, which was mostly a lack of self-confidence. "I'm not sure I'll be very good at directing," he admitted. He had few doubts about acting, but leading other actors was another matter altogether.

"From what I have observed, the greatest directors allow their actors to help them shape a story," Hortense offered thoughtfully. "They do not hold rigidly to their first plan. The first plan changes when they speak with others - such as your wife, before she decided to leave us - and that changed plan can alter many more times before the curtain goes up on the first night. The essence of the story is all that must remain."

"Yes, of course," Jon agreed. He'd experienced a little of this when he'd directed Rhy'Din Nights, but that had been an original production based on a novel. There had been nothing that had gone before to base their characters or the performances on. "I'm not sure if the other actors will accept me as a director," he explained.

14
The Shanachie Theater / Posters, Posters Everywhere!
« on: April 23, 2016, 05:40:38 PM »
Posters! Posters everywhere, bearing her name and her picture, and Mataya had a very shrewd idea of who was responsible for them. As flattered as she was, with Max and Oscar at home, not to mention the dogs, and the Spring Gala about to begin, Beltane was the furthest thing from her mind right now. That didn't mean she couldn't make her friend sweat about it, though. She had it on good authority that Jon was visiting his wife at the theater to take her out to lunch, and as such, the theater owner was waiting in the foyer when her star turn arrived. "Jonathan Granger, I want a word with you," she said ominously, one of those posters in her hand.

Jon's gaze darted from the look on Mataya's face to the poster she was holding in her hands, and he winced. He knew immediately that he was in trouble, but hopefully, she wasn't too angry. he had his reaasons, after all. "If it's about the posters, I can explain ..." Right there, he had practically admitted his guilt.

"Oh, I hope you can," 'Taya said, her brows rising above what might have been a smile. She was trying very hard to intimidate him, but they knew each other too well. he knew perfectly well that he wasn't in that much trouble. She waved the poster at him. "Explain."

He sighed, sensing her irritation beneath the facade of either amusement or even the hoped for intimidation. "Look, I know it was stupid, but I can't think of anyone else who deserves to be May Queen more than you. You've done so much for the city, 'Tay. I realize this is a business, but you never fail to give back. You're outgoing and welcoming to everyone who comes here, patron or perfomer. You juggle home and family and career and still have time to do charity work." To his credit, he wasn't just sucking up; he really meant everything he said. And sure, there were plenty of people in Rhy'Din who did things for the city, but few who had been as consistently doing it for years the way Mataya had.

She held his gaze for a long moment, the wind taken out of her sails by the remarkably well thought out response she'd been given. "All right, well ..." She cleared her throat. "You virtually described yourself there, too, you know. Maybe I should nominate you for this." No, Jon really wasn't being told off. Mataya had been blindsided by it a little, that was all. "Look, Jon, it's not that I don't appreciate it, or that I'm not flattered by it, but you should have told me."

It wasn't really that well thought out; it was just honest. He rolled his eyes and laughed at her remark. "Please don't. I've been accused of being a queen once too often. Let's not give them more fuel for the fire, shall we?" he asked, linking his arm with hers. "Come on. I'll buy you a cup of coffee to make amends."

"You're supposed to be taking your wife to lunch," she reminded him with a faint smile. "I've withdrawn my name, you know. I might go to the Beltane fires, but I enjoy my quiet time with Max and Oscar too much to say for certain that I'll be anywhere in the evenings."

"It wouldn't have been a surprise if I'd told you, but I understand," he told her, not letting go of her arm as he led her toward the cafe for a quick cup of coffee. "She won't be ready for a little while yet. I'm early, and we don't get enough time to just talk," he told her.

"You're lucky she wouldn't believe for one second you'd cheat on her, Jonathan Granger," Mataya teased him, putting the crumpled poster in the trash as they headed for the cafe. "Especially not with me. I'm sorry, it was a lovely gesture. Just ... not the right timing this year."

"It's the thought that counts, right?" he asked with a hopeful smile. He knew Vicki would never accuse him of cheating, especially not with his best friend. They might have been lovers once, but that had been a very long time ago - another lifetime ago, as far as Jon was concerned, and one he didn't remember. "Anyway, I understand. My time with Vicki and the kids is precious. There's very little I'd give it up for."

"And it was a lovely thought," she assured him, flashing a smile to Elouise behind the counter. Ms. Matsuo knew what they'd order, so there was no need to do it, just find a seat and get comfortable. "I can't believe Oscar's two already," Mataya said, thumping down into a seat. "All that heartache over thinking I'd never have a baby, and I have a ramnbunctious toddler running around, driving his father crazy."

Jon chuckled as he followed her to a seat and claimed one for his own. "I know a couple you can borrow if you're feeling the urge," he told her with a grin. He wasn't sure if she and Max would ever try to have another. As it was, Oscar was her miracle baby, but she was perfectly welcome to borrow his two whenever she wanted.

"Three by the end of the year," Mataya snickered cheerfully. "I nearly predicted it accurately - I should have gone with my instincts and offered you the end of the summer off, not the beginning." She smiled as Elouise slid two coffees off a tray and onto the table between them. "Thank you, Elly ... and don't you dare foist your terrible twosome off on me without warning. I love your children dearly, but they're a pain in the ass."

He laughed at her very honest reaction to his suggestion. "Thanks, I think. I'll be sure to share that with Vicki," he said, regarding their children. He nodded his thanks for the coffee before taking a small sip. "I used to tease Vicki that we'd have six before we were through, but to be honest, I'm a little nervous about this one."

Mataya frowned curiously at her friend as she sipped her coffee. "Why would you be nervous about this one?" she asked, at a loss to even guess his reasons. "You've done it twice already, you'll be pros this time around."

"I don't know," he admitted with a small frown. "Everything's gone so well ..." That wasn't quite true. He'd come a little too close to losing Vicki and Emily to a ghoul a few years ago, but he didn't want to talk about that. "I know it's silly, but I guess I'm just worrying when all my good luck is going to run out."

"Jon ..." Mataya rolled her eyes at him, shaking her head. "You had a run of bad luck that would last anyone a lifetime. Stop waiting for the other shoe to drop - I've been doing that myself, and what's happened? Everyone in my family got married and started popping out babies, that's what happened. Don't expect the absolute worst to happen, because it won't."

"I know. I'm sorry. Bad habit," he explained. "Anyway, we were talking about you. You really do deserve some acknowledgement for everything you do, Mataya, besides your paycheck." She might have think he did a lot for the theater and the community, but he knew for a fact, she did more. But then, it wasn't a competition.

Derailed from reassuring him, she squirmed a little. As much as Mataya De Luca enjoyed the spotlight, it was different when the spotlight was being aimed by a friend. "But I don't do it to be acknowledged, Jon," she said, her familiar smile almost shy for a moment. "When I came here, there was virtually no provision for the stage unless you were a ballerina. I'm proud of the performers who have acted on our stage, and the crew that work behind the scenes. I'm proud that I can give them somewhere to express themselves. Oh, that reminds me ... I really should talk to the Head over at Bristle Crios about that diploma course idea. A qualification in Theater Studies with practical experience here at the Shanachie could take a student a long way."

15
The Shanachie Theater / The Final Word
« on: January 30, 2016, 02:30:02 PM »
"Henry Higgins?!" Jon exclaimed, with a chuckle, as he read the cast list that had been posted at the theater the day he arrived to pick up his script.

"What's wrong with Higgins?" Phyllis Miller, another of the repertory's cast members asked, curiously. "I think you'd make a marvelous Higgins myself. And I get to play your mother," she added with a smirk and a playful nudge against his arm.

"Oh, nothing's wrong with Higgins," Jon replied, blushing faintly with embarrassment. "It's just ... Mataya promised me the role of Alfred Doolittle."

"And since when did Mataya take over as director?" a male voice they both recognized as Ludo Von Eschenbach, the repertory's director, interrupted, gray brows arching upwards, an amused expression on his ruddy face.

"Uh ..." Jon stammered uncertainly, obviously taken aback by both the casting and the director's interruption.

"She does own the theater, Ludo," Phyllis pointed out, helpfully, with a mischievous grin of her own.

"Even so, I am the final word on casting," Ludo explained. "I'm sorry, Jonathan, but the role of Alfred Doolittle is just too small a role for one of our star performers. I believe Mataya originally hired you to headline the group, didn't she?"

"Yes, she did, but ..." Jon replied, trailing off with a frown, knowing he had nothing to complain about and not wanting to earn a reputation as a difficult actor. "It's just ..." he started, looking around to see if anyone else was in earshot - especially Mataya.

Phyllis seemed to sense the actor's reluctance to talk candidly in front of her, and raised a hand to silence him. "It's all right. I'll be on my way so you two can talk in private ... son," she added with a wink and an amused grin before leaving them.

Jon rolled his eyes. The woman was hardly old enough to be his mother, but makeup and a wig would take care of that easily enough.

Ludo took hold of Jon's arm and steered him to a quiet area, away from the thrum of actors and actresses excitedly chatting about the upcoming theater season. "We've known each other a long time, Jonathan. I'd like to think we are more than just colleagues. All of my actors are like my own children. If you are unhappy for any reason, I would like to know about it."

"Oh, no," Jon started, frowning worriedly. "It's not that at all. I love the theater. As a matter of fact, working here is like a dream come true. I'm very happy here. I have no complaints about anything."

"Then, why the frown? And why the surprise at being cast in the lead role? You are a lead actor, after all. You are the most experienced actor in the rep. Why should I give you a small part, when you deserve a much bigger one?" Ludo asked, clearly concerned, as well as curious.

"To be honest, it's a little embarrassing," Jon replied, his face flushing furiously. "Especially after that whole Fifty Shades debacle."

"It's my understanding they paid you an obscene amount of money for that role, yes?" Ludo pressed him further. He had always wondered why a man from a wealthy, prominent family had agreed to taking on the role of Christian Grey when there were so many other opportunities open to him.

"Yes," Jon replied, thinking the word obscene applied to more than his paycheck when it came to that role. His paycheck for Swan Song had been pitiful in comparison, but he'd won an Oscar for that one. He had never really told anyone but those closest to him the real reason he'd signed on the dotted line for the role of Christian Grey. "You see, I sort of bought out most of 21Twelve just before it went bankrupt, with the help of my uncle, and I needed to make a lot of money in a hurry in order to pay him back and remain solvent. We never expected the studio to fold, especially not before Alyson was finished," he explained with a sigh, wondering not for the first time what had happened to Lelah. She had literally taken the money and run.

"Okay, but what does any of that have to do with Henry Higgins?" Ludo pressed further.

"Nothing, really," Jon replied. "Except that I'm now known as the guy who played Christian Grey."

"And the guy who won a Globe and an Oscar and who just made his directorial debut and is our star performer," Ludo pointed out.

"But that's just it," Jon interjected again. "I don't want to be the star performer. I mean, I do, but ... It's not just about me. There's no I in team, and we're a team here at the Shanachie. I want everyone to have a chance at the lead, not just me."

"Jonathan," Ludo started, squeezing his shoulder fondly, like a father might to a son. "You worry too much. The other actors are getting better every day, and it's in part due to your leadership. Experience isn't measured by age, my lad, and you have a lot of experience. You have a lot to offer the theater, not only as an actor, but as a role model for those less experienced than you. You are coaching the children in the STARS program, and you and your family regularly give back to the community. You have a wife and a family. There is more to you than just a lead actor, my friend," Ludo explained, with a smile. "Now, if you are really unhappy with the role of Higgins, you and Laurence can swap, but people come to the theater to see you, Jonathan. Not just you, of course, but what better way to prove that you are more than just a pretty face than by giving each role your all? Besides, you and I both know the role of Christian Grey was probably the hardest role you've ever played, yes? Don't underestimate yourself, lad. Every role you play takes courage - some more than others. Not many actors would have the guts to take on such a role, and no matter what you might think, I, for one, respect you for it."

Jon arched a brow, a little surprised not only by Ludo's honestly, but by his confidence in him. "You don't think I'm hogging the limelight then?"

Ludo laughed. "No, I think you are doing exactly what it was you were hired to do, and you're doing it very well. You make it look easy, Jonathan, and that simply shows what a fine actor you are. Never underestimate yourself. I can't think of anyone who deserves that Oscar more than you do ... except maybe Leonardo DiCaprio, but I think this might be his year."

Jon laughed. He would never dream of comparing himself to someone like Leo. "I don't do this for the accolades, Ludo. I do it because acting is in my blood. It's all I know, and all I've ever wanted." Of course, that wasn't entirely true, but it was as far as his career was concerned.

"Then, I think you just solved your own problem, lad," Ludo replied with a chuckle. "Now, next time Mataya tries to promise you a minor role - however juicy - tell her to see me first."

Jon laughed as he imagined Mataya's reaction to that, knowing her better than almost anyone, save maybe Max and Juno. "Aye, aye, Captain!" he replied, with a mock salute, feeling relieved. Now that Rhy'Din Nights was finished and there were no new film roles in his immediate future, he could focus his attention on what he loved best, and that was the theater. It was, after all, his first love, and the reason he had returned to Rhy'Din in the first place.

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