Reece's Faith, Part 48
For Disclaimers please see Part 1
It had been two weeks since the "Grand Re-Opening" of The Lounge. Business was fantastic and the club owner couldn't have been happier. Reece spent the nights nodding politely and smiling appropriately as the many men and women complimented her on the new look. This night, like most others, she sat on a stool at the end of the bar, dressed impeccably in her tuxedo. Reece argued at first about wearing the stiff outfit, but Faith had insisted. She even managed to rally the dancers on her side and finally Reece relented. If she had to admit it, which she didn't, the tall woman would have to agree that she looked hot in a tux. Besides, she had on her new Harley boots and no one was any wiser.
The new policy of allowing women into the club, unescorted by a man, was another one of Faith's great ideas. In fact, The Lounge now catered exclusively to women, lesbian or otherwise, on Thursday nights. The amount of unescorted women dropped considerably during the rest of the week after that news came out but no one was complaining. The dancers and bartenders noticed that, for whatever reason, the women were better tippers and now practically fought to work on Thursdays; the fact that the women were less likely to grope and cop feels was also great incentive.
Reece let her gaze rest on the small side-stage where Cori and Susan were performing. The two-girl act was another crowd pleaser and Reece had to add more seating around the two new stage areas where the women performed to accommodate.
Money flowed like water these days and Reece spent most of her days shaking her head in shock at the unbelievable turn of events; Faith even threw a small congratulations party in honor of Reece's success last week. It took a while for Reece to acknowledge that it wasn't all going to blow up in her face and when she realized that this was all real, she settled a bit more comfortably in her skin. Faith was so proud of her and told her every chance she got.
The club owner allowed her thoughts to drift to Faith as she stared off in the distance. The actress was having a hard time at work; her character was suffering, due to her personal life. Reece felt responsible and the two had many discussions about the issue. Faith was increasingly frustrated and she would mope around the house, causing Reece to feel even more guilty. Faith didn't enjoy working or acting now and it made the tall woman feel miserable. Reece often hoped that they would just kill off Judith so Faith could get out of her contract and get on with her life. She didn't share the secret with Faith, knowing that it would only cause more moping. The club owner also silently wondered if she should go to the studio and make them a monetary offer to let Faith out of the deal, but she knew it wasn't the right thing to do.
Blinking the disturbing thoughts away, Reece let her gaze settle on the larger table towards the back where several businessmen were assembled, papers strewn all over the table. It amazed her that people made made big, million-dollar business deals in places like this and how important it was for her to make them happy. She decided to take a walk, greet the small crowd and see if they were okay. The tall woman stood up and smoothed her jacket, thinking about how her life had changed so dramatically in such a short time.
When Reece arrived home, she found Faith asleep on the couch. She silently hung up her coat and took off her boots, so her feet wouldn't make any noise. Stopping in front of the couch, she squatted down and kissed Faith lightly on the lips. Apparently, if the amount of balled up Kleenex was any indication, her lover had been crying most of the evening. The tall woman got a stab of pain in her chest. How come it when it's good for me, she is suffering? Is this punishment or something?
Reece slipped upstairs quietly, changed into boxers and a t-shirt and turned down the bed. After clicking on a small lamp, she turned off the main light in the room and went back down to her lover. Standing by the sleeping woman, Reece wondered if it really was such a bad idea to pay off the studio to kill off Judith. Sure, Faith would be out of a job, but will that be so bad? I could well afford to take care of both of us and she's sure to get something else. The tall woman pursed her lips and frowned. Maybe I oughtta talk to Cori or something, but, one way or another, this has to stop.
Reece bent down and slid her arms under Faith's body and lifted her up to cradle her. Faith mumbled and snuggled into her chest. Reece sighed deeply. It hurt her to see Faith so upset and she felt helpless to do anything to make it go away. Standing up to her full height, she spied the script that Faith had been laying on and narrowed her eyes at it, hoping it would burst into flames. While script reading was a no-no, this time Reece could care less. After putting Faith into bed, she returned down to the living room and sat down on the couch to read.
What? Why those stupid...
Reece was livid. Reading this became a very bad idea as she was worked herself into a frenzy of anger within minutes. The powers that be had Judith as Campus' most hated. Every character in the show had reason to despise Judith and poor Faith was constantly under attack. So what if it was "Judith" and not Faith, Reece didn't care. This was her lover and she'd be damned if she was going to let anyone call Faith half the names she'd be called come shooting day by anyone, in-character or not. Reece was steamed and it wasn't too smart; she'd never be able to explain to Faith why she was in this mood. Faith apparently thought she could handle this herself and had sat on this for two weeks, all the while making Reece feel special. So effectively, in fact, that Reece had no idea how bad it really was. The tall woman frowned furiously at herself. How could I not know she was so upset? Now Reece wanted to beat up several people, including herself.
Faith woke up and found herself in bed. Sitting up quickly, she also realized that she was alone and sighed. "Reece must be at the gym," she said sadly. "Okay girl, time to go to work."
Entering the bathroom, the actress noticed a piece of paper on top of the closed toilet seat. It was a yellow sticky with a smiley face on it. She couldn't help but chuckle at Reece's attempt to cheer her up. After taking care of business, she reached in to turn on the shower and was greeted by a huge smiley face drawn on the wall with what appeared to be chocolate syrup. This time she laughed out loud.
Faith was confronted by no fewer than fifteen smiley faces by the time she was ready to walk out the door. Feeling a lot less upset, she stuffed the last smiley in her jeans pocket and closed the door behind her.
The actress slid across the leather seat of the black car, pulling the door closed behind her. Her driver handed her a steaming cup of her favorite coffee, a vanilla latte, and the actress accepted it with a smile. "Barry, if I no longer work at the studio, do you have to go away?"
"Not that I'm aware of Ms..."
"Please, will you stop that and call me Faith!" she complained.
"Okay, okay... habit," he grinned in the rearview mirror. "No, Ms. Corbett pays me, not the studio. Why, if you don't mind me asking?"
"I may not be long for this job, Barry. I hate it and I want out of my contract," Faith stated bluntly.
Barry nodded. He knew Faith was miserable and he heard the phone call she had made to her mother yesterday. If only he could bring himself to tell Reece, he was sure she could fix this. If she knew how sad Faith was, she'd move heaven and earth to change things, of this, he was sure. "Have you told Ms. Corbett about this? I mean, I'm sure she..."
"No. I don't want anything to ruin Reece's moment; she deserves this. She's waited her whole life to be happ. Please, don't tell her anything!!" Faith nearly begged.
Barry nodded and sighed sadly, turning on Faith's favorite radio station. He brightened up a little as she chuckled and started sing with Glen Campbell.
"Like a Rhinestone Cowboy..."
Reece paced back and forth in front of the leg machine. "But, Cori, she's absolutely fucking miserable! Why shouldn't I fix this? I can, for shit's sake! For once, I can do something good! Why would it be so wrong?" she fumed.
"Because it's not a place for you to interfere. If it's so awful, she'll take care of it herself. Faith knows when she's had enough. She's pretty tolerant." Cori eyed her pacing friend wearily. "She stayed with you, didn't she?"
"Oh, that's fucking hilarious, Cor," Reece's scowl threatened to swallow her face.
"Reece, seriously, lighten up. Faith can handle herself. If you go and stick your nose in, she'll be pretty pissed."
"But you haven't told me why," Reece stopped pacing and stood in front of the dancer.
"Because this isn't a schoolyard and you're not the big sister. That's why," Cori sighed in exasperation as her tall friend stared her down. "Look, I'll talk to her today, okay? I'll find out what the deal is and, yes, if it's too much for her then you can play bully. Deal?" she held out her hand.
Reece wavered a little and opened her clenched fist. "Promise to tell me the truth?"
"Okay, deal." Reece nearly crushed Cori's fingers and the dancer grimaced in pain before Reece realized what she was doing. "Oh, sorry, I'm a bit tense."
"I'll say. When's the last time you got laid?" Cori wondered.
"Last week, maybe?" Reece winced at her own admission. "I'm busting, Cor. This thing has to end or I'll spontaneously combust."
"Whassamatter? Are your fingers broken? Do it yourself," Cori shrugged. "Better yet, do it in bed while she's laying next to you. That ought to do the trick."
Both Reece's eyebrows arched high. "You know, that's not such a bad idea."
"Oh, and Reece? You may want to take a shower first," she teased.
"Freak," the club owner winked at her friend and headed towards the locker room.
"Jayme, may I have a word with you, please?"
While the normally stoic producer was ready for this moment, the tone of Faith's voice made her wince. She lifted her hand, waved the actress into her office and made short work of her phone call. Hanging up the receiver, she graced Faith with a guilty smile.
Faith smiled back, a pathetic attempt to hide her disgust. She opened the script and pointed to a particular line. "Scumbag. Can they say this on television?"
"Uh, yeah. It passed the censors," Jayme fidgeted uncomfortably.
"Just checking." Faith leafed through the script some more and came to another page. "Oh, here. You know, I find it hard to believe that on Monday, I slept with Ali's boyfriend, while on that same day, I sabotaged three cars in the parking lot. I'm not sure, but it may be overkill. What if I sleep with him on Monday and on Tuesday, I slash those tires. Cuz, Wednesday, I see I'm pretty busy breaking up Sandy and her fiancÚ. Thursday, however, I managed to get some free time between bitch slapping Barbra and convincing Holly's children of what a slut she is," Faith's smile turned to a sneer and she slammed the script closed.
Jayme nodded, her expression rueful. "Uhm, Faith, I'm sorry..."
"No, don't be silly," Faith stood up and waved the apology away. "I hardly expected you to be understanding. I mean, what else could you do to me? Making my job miserable comes with being a lesbian, does it not? I fully expected to be tortured relentlessly for loving someone with all my heart. Come on now, Jaymeister, every one should be cruelly punished for finding the other half of their soul."
If the venom in Faith's voice had been tangible, Jayme knew that she would have been dead. The producer nodded feebly and licked her dry lips. The tension rolling off the actress was palpable and it made the air heavy. Jayme nervously picked at her desk blotter in a desperate attempt to avoid eye contact.
"That's okay, Jaymes. I'll see myself out."
The producer glanced up and grimaced as the door slammed loudly. "Damn it. It's not my fault," she complained to the empty room.
John reached out and grabbed Faith's arm as she attempted to whiz past make-up. He twirled her around, sat the disoriented actress in the chair and stood before her tapping his foot. "Where do you think you're going?"
Faith attempted to get up but John stopped her by stepping in front of the chair and leaning on the arms, trapping her. "Faith, I love you so much, you're like the sister I never had. Why didn't you talk to me about this? It's horrible. It's because you sleep with Reece that they're doing this to you. Don't you want to fight it?"
Green eyes studied the man who was being so uncharacteristically sober. Faith reached out, laid her hand on his and squeezed. "Look, I'm sorry. I can't fight everyone. As soon as I discuss this with Reece, I'm outta here. I'm no hero. I'm tired and I want to go home."
"Honey, I understand defeat. Let me make a few phone calls and I'll have the biggest, baddest butches and the draggiest of the queens here in a flash. You don't have to fight alone; you got me," he paused to smile brightly, "and one out of every ten people in New York City who would love to stand behind you. They're a lovely bunch," he snickered and kissed her nose.
Faith grinned. What did she have to lose? Reece would agree that she should leave. If her lover knew the half of it, she'd storm in here like a bat out of hell. Oh yeah, maybe I should let her exact my revenge.
"If that evil little chuckle means anything, shall I assume that you agree with me?"
"I do, but that was brought on by just thinking about letting Reece loose in here."
"Oh, Louise! What a wonderfully delicious idea," John snickered conspiratorially.
Faith laughed with him and became serious again, "It would mean a lot to you if I fought this, wouldn't it?"
"Not just me, Faith. A lot of people have been treated a hell of a lot worse that this."
"I'll fight, John, but I'm not willing to stay where I'm not wanted."
"Who says you have to stay? Just make the grandest exit ever known. Let the world know why you're leaving. Narrow minded bigots need to be reminded that we're everywhere." The make up artist sang a rousing chorus of "We're here, we're queer."
"Thank you, John. I love you, too," Faith laughed. "Now, let's doll me up. My public awaits."
Cori was just stepping out of the shower when the phone began ringing. She grabbed a towel and yelled to Violet who was doing paint touch-ups to check the caller ID. Only special people warrant her naked attention.
"It's Reece. I'm full of paint!" the piercer hollered from the kitchen.
Cori ran to answer the phone. "You're special."
"Huh?" Reece was confused at the greeting and thought she may have dialed some religious fanatic by accident. "Cori?" she asked hesitantly.
"Yeah, what's up?"
"There's definitely something wrong with you, you know that?"
"Uh huh. I'm naked. Talk to me while I get dressed. Unless you wanna talk dirty and then I'll stay naked," she offered. "I know you could use some help lately."
"You're an asshole. I'm freaking out and you wanna have phone sex," Reece snorted.
"Okay, okay... I have my panties on and I'm holding my bra. What's wrong?"
"Oh, nothing's wrong, Cor. Everything happens to be right," Reece answered cryptically.
"What the fuck are you talking about, Reece?"
"Just got a call from Brad. Brad Rogers, remember him?"
"How could I forget, Theresa," she teased.
Reece growled, "Anyway, Corrine, guess who's had a part written specifically for her in a big budget movie?"
"No way." Cori plopped down on the bed. "No fucking way! Faith?"
"DING, give that girl a cigar!" Reece laughed, picturing her friend's shocked face.
"Oh, my fucking god. Did you tell her? VIOLET, get in here! Is she going to take it? Of course, she's going to take it! I am an asshole. When is she quitting? Talk to me!"
Reece chuckled. "Okay, I'll give you the excitement, I nearly fell over myself. No, I haven't told her yet; Brad is on the phone with her right now and she'd be a fool not to take it." Reece heard Violet come rushing into the room and Cori explained to her what was going on.
Both women screamed into the phone and Reece feared she lost the ability to hear out of her left ear.
"Whoa, easy girls. I just wanted you to know, Cori. Can I go to the studio now?"
"Yes, Reece, I think you can go to the studio now," Cori said excitedly.
The second Reece put down the receiver, the phone rang. Knowing it would be a barely contained Faith on the other line, she smiled and sat down before answering. "Yellow?"
The club owner sat on the couch with the biggest, proud grin on her face, listening to her hyperactive lover scream and yell her happiness into her ear. After Faith calmed some, Reece asked the question. "Faith, what about your contract? Will they let you out of it?"
"Fuck the contract, Reece. Let them sue me. I hate it here. God, a movie, Reece!"
The club owner chuckled, "I know baby, I know. They wrote the part just for you. I'm so proud of you."
"You are?" Faith squeaked.
"Of course I am. Why shouldn't I be?"
"I love you, Reece," Faith sobbed.
"Why the hell are you crying? Faith! What's the matter?" Reece practically hollered in concern.
"It's good, Reece, it's all good. I miss you right now. I want to hug you. I want you to hug me, really," she admitted.
"Then I'll be right there."
"Where's Judith? Has anyone seen Faith?"
The entire cast shrugged. They knew where Faith was and didn't care how long they waited until she appeared. While the head guys were out to get the actress, the cast and crew didn't feel the same way and backed her one hundred percent. When Reece came sauntering into the lot, they were more than happy to cover Faith's back and give her however long she needed with her partner.
"God, I wish I could have been a fly on that wall when Faith confronted Jayme," Ali whispered to Sandy.
Sandy nodded, "Oh yeah, ten bucks says she didn't curse once and it was still scary."
Ali snickered, "I agree. Oh, here comes Faith now."
"Feeling better, hon?" Sandy asked, rubbing Faith on the back.
"Much, thanks. Reece's hugs are the best medicine, nothing else matters when I'm in her arms."
"I envy you. I hope I find what you have. It must be wonderful," Ali smiled dreamily.
"You will, when you least expect it, too. Love is funny that way," Faith's lips lifted into a cute little grin. The sudden booming of the PA system startled the women.
"Jayme, please come to your office. Thank you."
"What the hell was that?"
Faith's eyes narrowed and she chuckled evilly,
"That, was Reece. In about five minutes, ladies, I'll be a free woman."
"What? Are you kidding?" Ali was shocked.
"Reece is buying out my contract as we speak."
"You mean she's in there with Jayme now? Oh, shit! I want to hear this!"
John flew by and grabbed Ali by the sleeve. "Then follow me, sweetheart!"
If there was one thing in this world that could put the producer's heart in her throat, it was the figure sitting at her desk.
Reece grinned wildly at the gasp Jayme emitted. Draping her leg casually over the arm of the chair, she waved her hand at the chair on the other side of the big desk.
Jayme sat down and prayed that she wouldn't pee in her pants. "Reece."
"Jayme." She rolled her piercing around behind her teeth. "Comfy?"
"You're in my chair."
"I am," Reece nodded and dropped her foot to the floor. She leaned her elbows on the desk and grinned.
Jayme stood up in a huff. If there was one thing she hated, it's being patronized and, boy, was Reece doing that. "Okay, to what do I owe the pleasure of your company?"
"You fucked with Faith and I'm not pleased."
"Look, Reece, I tried to talk to them..."
"Save it," Reece held up a hand. "You're a writer and the producer. You're lucky that you're on that side of the desk right now, because if you were any closer, I'd rip your fucking throat out."
Jayme unconsciously stepped backwards and swallowed loudly.
"Used to be a time, when people caused me grief, directly or indirectly, I showed them my displeasure in a very different way. Do you know how satisfying the feeling of someone's facial structure collapsing under my fist is to me?"
The unbridled glee blaring from the woman in front of her with that statement frightened the producer to no end. She felt her heart beat irregularly and loudly.
"Oh, yeah," Reece purred. "The delicious crunching sound of breaking bones and the warm stickiness of their blood on my hands is most satisfying."
Reece looked away as if lost in a pleasant dream. Jayme was beginning to think that this woman was all-out crazy. She cleared her throat to remind Reece she had company.
"Especially when they hurt Faith. I'd kill for her." Reece shot Jayme a glare that spoke volumes of truth. "So, Jayme, aren't you glad I've found another way to show my displeasure nowadays?"
That would depend entirely on what this new way was. The producer nodded and left her thoughts unspoken. "What do you want, Reece?" she asked as confidently as she could.
"Faith is finished. She quits. Do I make myself clear?"
"But I can't just..." Jayme protested.
"I don't care what the fuck you do, but Faith goes home with me the second I walk out that door."
"But her contract, the studio... I can't just..." Jayme stopped speaking as soon as Reece pulled out her checkbook.
"How much and who do I make it out to?"
"Uhh... I don't know, I have to ask the..."
Reece put away her checkbook, stood and handed Jayme a card instead. "You'll call me. Do we have a deal?"
"Okay. Uh, yeah, we have a deal, but what about today's shoot? It's halfway done!"
"Kill her. We're outta here," the tall woman walked towards the door.
"Reece?" The producer's frustration was evident.
"Pleasure doing business with you. You know, it doesn't feel half bad to do things this way," Reece grinned again and left the office.
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