Death and Taxes 3



Disclaimers: This story and its characters are mine and mine alone and though they may resemble a certain Warrior Princess and her "side-kick", they are not Xena and Gabrielle. (The big company called MCI/Universal as we all know owns Xena and Gabrielle). This story contains a loving relationship between two consenting adult women if for any reason you find this to be offensive then stop reading now. If you are under the legal age in your state to be reading this material then stop reading now. If you are from a fundamentalist Christian organization whose only mission in life is to read these stories and then send feedback about how we are going to burn in hell, then please I beg you, stop reading this now and go pray for all of us in the sanctity of your own home and leave us all alone. Thank you.

"Okay everyone...line up. Form a straight line. No shoving. You will all get in," the man bellowed as he walked up and down the line.

So here we stood, wondering what was going on. One minute we were doing whatever and now we were in this line. I personally couldn’t believe I was here. Where were the lights and music? Hell, where were the saints you always heard about? Oops, maybe I shouldn’t say that here. That may make someone mad. Oh yeah, I guess I should tell you where I am Heaven. Yes, I am dead. Kicked the bucket, bought the farm, six foot under and all those lovely other metaphors to keep you from just having to say someone died.

Hmm…maybe I should tell you how I died. Now, don’t laugh because it’s quite embarrassing. See, I was being audited by the IRS, blood suckers, and when the nice gentleman, yeah right, who was raking all my deductions over the coals was finished, he told me how much I owed. Well in my shock, I jumped up and went to look at the paper and I tripped over my own feet and hit the corner of the desk. I think I died instantly, but it’s hard to tell. I do remember thinking that old saying about death and taxes. Who knew I would die dealing with my taxes? Oh well, I guess I had the last laugh on them. I am dead and I won’t be paying that debt. Heh. Why isn’t this line moving any faster? I swear you can’t even get good service in Heaven. Sheesh!

"Thank you very much", the tall raven haired women called from the seats of the dimly lit theatre, as the 10th actress of the morning exited the stage. "Is there anyone out there that can read a few paragraphs with any emotion at all?" Sighing to herself as she says this and then looking around for her assistant.

Leroy approached her from behind and before he had a chance to speak she bellowed, "Where is my coffee Leroy?" Stammering...he got the words out finally. "Here it is Katherine". She looked up at him from her seat and saw the look in his eyes and immediately felt remorse. Leroy was a good guy and he worked hard for her. He had been with her nearly two decades almost from the beginning and definitely through the lean years. Why he put up with her she would never understand. From office changes to midnight calls about ex’s and complaints about things not getting done on time that really had nothing to do with poor Leroy; still he listened and had a way about him that calmed Katherine down, that soothed her when things were going wrong and made her happier when things were going right. Katherine smiled up at him, in her heart she knew that she and Leroy were more than employer and employee, more than friends, they had become family. Heck, he cooked nearly all the holiday dinners.

"I’m sorry cookie." Katherine said softly. He responded quickly. "Oh like you never yelled for your coffee before, puh-lease". Laughing as he walked away to his small table near the stage where he always sits taking notes. He sat down and called for the next actress to take the stage and nodded over to Katherine and then grinned at her. She stretched and assumed it was another young thing wanting to break into acting to get away from mom and dad or to meet a famous actor and get married etc. There seemed to be a plethora of them lately and they all seemed to be showing up to audition for her and it was driving her crazy.

Suddenly Katherine sat up straight as the blonde woman took center stage with a presence she has not seen in quite some time. Her green eyes staring out into the audience, not searching for the director like the others but scanning seats, looking for "her" audience; she was focusing. Immediately the tall director ran her fingers through her long dark hair and leaned forward in her seat resting her elbows on her thighs while placing her chin on her hands. She watched the blonde as she spoke. "Good morning my name is Meredith Sipes...shall I begin?" Leroy shot a glance over at Katherine and shook his head and muttered "Oh honey do not even go there!" "Yes please do from the beginning." Katherine responded plainly.

The petite actress barely used the stage but emoted the correct emotion in exactly the right places as though the part had been written for her. Well that is what Katherine was thinking anyway when Meredith finished and her assistant was coughing to signal her to either give the obligatory "thank you" or "we will call you". Something to indicate to the actress that the director was indeed paying attention and not ogling her as was the case in this situation. Katherine had begun to notice Meredith’ s eyes once again but then moved slowly down the small woman’s body now finding every feature delightful. She must be a swimmer Katherine thought to herself smiling as she knew those lines well having dated a swimmer once in her life though that was a very long time ago. Meredith although petite was well proportioned and who wouldn’t want to glance over at the pretty blonde haired, green eyed beauty even if it was just for dinner. It was after all the director’ s job to inform the actress that she was indeed the exact person she was looking for...for the play of course. Shouldn’t she be nice and take the actress out to celebrate the occasion? It was not an uncommon event for Katherine to do however she always took the entire cast out so that everyone could be relaxed and meet each other and sometimes if it were during the warm weather she threw a big cook out at her home. "What am I thinking?" Shaking herself back to life Katherine reminded herself that she never mixed business with pleasure. At least not on an individual basis and she needed to stop thinking about this woman as a potential date. After all, that was how she and that swimmer from years ago split up. It was messy and public and Kat, as her friends called her swore she would never speak of it again.

"Ok, don’t go there she told herself, get a grip on yourself girl."

Leroy sensed the slight tension in his boss and rose to his feet and spoke softly. " Katherine?" The actress’s eyes widened and she nearly jumped up and down and then shrieked. "Katherine Soderbergh, you are the director for this play, they didn’t announce it and my agent said we would only find out who you were if we got the part or bought a ticket!" Quickly Leroy turned and looked at Meredith who was still standing on the stage looking gleeful and stalker like at the same time. "Miss why don’ t you go and wait in the dressing room for now and I will come find you shortly, thank you." He then lead Katherine by the arm to the doors of the theatre and took her outside for a smoke. He found a pack on the inside pocket of her blazer where she always kept them though she says she quit 5 months ago. She took the cigarette gladly, lit it and inhaled it deeply then just as quickly coughed and got a head rush. "Oh my god these things are going to kill me". She said sarcastically. Leroy responded equally sarcastically. "Yes well it’ s either those or the women you chase and frankly I can’ t do both so you pick one and tell me which it’ s going to be". Standing next to the building she put her hand out and reached out to hold onto the side of it to steady herself from the dizziness of only smoking a few cancer sticks a day as Leroy calls them. She was once a pack a day smoker but over the years Leroy wore her down and she was trying but some days she did better than others. This proved to Leroy however that she was indeed cutting down. "Kat, you are doing well look at you, you almost fell over". He almost giggled in response. "Thank you for your support". Katherine responded knowing full well what he meant. After putting out the cigarette and catching her breath again, she smoothed her jeans out sliding her hands down her long lean legs and making sure they were just right over the edges of her boots then straightened herself up and began walking back inside the doors to the theatre, turning to look to make sure Leroy was following her. She smiled and continued when she knew he was and walked all the way to the stage up the side stairs and to the back where the line of actresses were waiting. In a firm but friendly voice she announced."

Ladies the lead has been cast you may return tomorrow if you choose to read for the understudy parts, we will begin at 8am sharp". Leroy was at his table writing down notes and taking last minute head shots and phone numbers of up and coming hopefuls while Katherine was on her way to the dressing room to deliver the good news to Meredith.

Feeling her step quicken as she walked there she consciously slowed her pace and then took in a deep breath outside the door and knocked several times. "Come in."

A voice responded. Katherine opened the door wide and smiled at Meredith and quickly while trying to be nonchalant simply said, "you got the part we start rehearsals in a week and Leroy will give you the details, by the way, congratulations". Unsure if it is her imagination or not Katherine looks toward Meredith once again before turning to leave and she catches the blonde eyeing her in a way that gives her skin goose bumps but then shrugs it off. I must be crazy she thinks to herself as she closes the door and heads back to Leroy and the mountain of work ahead of her this afternoon. "Leroy how about lunch cookie?" Leroy nods while he is filing some papers into folders and Katherine starts to gather some of her things and then tells him their schedule for the rest of the day. The two are ready to depart when Meredith appears as requested by Leroy. He hands her a sheet of paper with the necessary information on it for when they are all to meet next and her schedule of rehearsals for the weeks to follow. The final schedule will be given out soon. She smiles and thanks the both of them and leaves then Katherine and Leroy follow her out of the building a few minutes later. The director and her assistant head for their favorite Mexican spot and sit down in what they consider their booth and spread themselves out while they wait for a waitress to take their order which is always the same. Paula the waitress comes over and greets them. "Hello do you want the usual?"

She asks as she smiles. They respond with a nod both of their heads buried in paperwork. A small giggle and a hello break the silence of the unusually quiet restaurant and Leroy looks up to find Meredith at the next booth. He kicks Katherine under the table and gives her a puzzled look as if to ask if he should invite her to join them. She looks up and stares at him blankly still not noticing the blonde that only a short time ago had her head spinning. Feeling eyes upon her she turns her head and sees those green eyes staring back at her and coughs nervously. "Meredith what a nice surprise, Leroy and I were just doing some paperwork and discussing the play. Would you like to join us?" Her eyes now shinning and growing wider the lithe woman was out of her seat and into their booth in no time chattering away. Katherine just stared at her not knowing how any one human being could speak so much and Leroy rolled his eyes knowing this would not be a working lunch. He cleared the papers out of the way and looked around for the waitress. He caught her eye and motioned for her to come to the table when she had a moment. Leroy was nice like that he was never rude, he never snapped his fingers like some people who frequented that restaurant and Paula appreciated his and Katherine‘ s kindness. "What can I get for you Leroy?" Paula asked. "Well our party has grown to three so if you would please take Meredith ‘ s order as well that would be great so we can all eat together and while you’ re at it could we have an extra order of spicy wings please?" He said softly waiting for a comment from Katherine about his ulcer and those spicy wings. Katherine didn’ t comment but she did look up and smile before shaking her head. The two of them hadn’ t realized that since she joined them Meredith had stopped talking only to quickly look at the menu. Finally before she ordered she paused for a recommendation but before one could be given she had her mind made up. "Okay I’ ll have the chicken and cheese enchilada with no black beans, extra rice thanks." She said a bit too excited over an enchilada Paula thought but hey if she was with Katherine and Leroy she could be as excited, as she wanted.

"Please you have to tell me more about the play I am dying to know the whole story and about why you never reveal more than a few paragraphs during auditions. Isn‘t it helpful to actors and actresses to know what the story is about before they read a particular piece? How can we be expected to give you what you want if we only see 3 or 4 paragraphs?" Meredith asked without criticism.

Katherine closed her eyes briefly and thought about this question she had been asked so many times before by actors, actresses, other directors and producers. She took in a deep breath and let it out slowly and as she did Paula arrived with the food and set each plate down in front of the correct person with the extra wings and extra napkins. Once she was finished Katherine looked at Leroy then at Meredith. It is a different way of auditioning and I admit that wholeheartedly. It has been my experience however that if an actor coming in to read for a part reads an entire piece or knows too much about a director they try too hard to give what they think a director wants and they act less. I want to see what they have inside them, what they can do, can they think on their feet, can they improvise, can they emote, how are they at cold readings? What feelings come out of a particular piece of material and is it what I imagined for that body of work? I don’ t want some actor or actress reciting some memorized version of my work; I prefer to see them actually acting it out. Does that make thing clearer for you?" Katherine responded before beginning her lunch.

Meredith just sat looking at Leroy then back at Katherine as though someone has just revealed the meaning of life to her. Now she understood why the mysterious director Katherine Soderbergh never revealed her material nor announced she was directing until the full cast was in place or until someone who didn’t get a part in one of her always-successful plays leaked it. She treated everyone the same whether they were big Broadway stars or dishwashers from Hell’ s kitchen they all had to take a number and they all had to wait in line. There were a few exceptions and she admitted to them freely of course. She said if Jodi Foster ever phoned or showed up, she could play the lead no matter what the play was and if the play happened to have an all male cast then Katherine would write her a part on the spot. If Nina Simone wanted to she could sing anytime, anywhere all she had to do was call Leroy or just show up and we would find a place for her. Lastly if Katherine Hepburn called or showed up perchance, she could do whatever it was she wanted to do, it didn’ t matter. If she wanted to direct that was fine by Katherine because she worshipped Ms Hepburn. That is no lie.

Katherine continued with her lunch and started to talk about the play, "Death and Taxes." The only person beside her that knew about it was Leroy so he was happy to eat in silence. Meredith on the other hand was totally captivated as Katherine spoke. Basically Katherine said the story is about an IRS man who gets caught up in an affair with a woman who is laundering money for her lover who at the moment is currently in prison. Mr. Hubert Poindexter the sniveling IRS man ends up falling in love with this woman and leaves his wife for her and tries to help her by stealing money from the government. During one of his audits the client thought something was strange about his number crunching and did a little research of her own. Eventually he finds out and tries to convince her not to go public and that he would cut her in on a deal and make her small tax problem go away. She say no and he kills her. Meanwhile back at the prison, Tiny is upset that Mr. Poindexter is sleeping with his lover and now has a hit out on him. It’s all about death and taxes and good versus evil, those with power versus those without it and in this country those who have money have the power.

Meredith listens quietly and nods. "You will be playing the heroine, the part of the client who exposes the whole scam before you get killed." Katherine continues. "I don’ t usually like for the heroine to die it doesn‘t usually sit well with the audience but sometimes life happens that way and I feel as though I need to represent life realistically once in awhile do you know what I mean?" She asks honestly.

Nodding in response Meredith remains quiet and looks deep in thought and softly responds by putting her own hand on top Katherine’ s. "I am very much looking forward to working with you."

A bit uncomfortable with the sudden contact and the unexpected tiny shiver it sent up her spine Katherine slipped her hand from under the blonde’ s smaller hand and picked up her glass and took a sip of water. "Well I think a toast is in order; to Death and Taxes." They all raised their glasses in response. The trio finished their lunch and Katherine settled the bill and thanked Paula for her usual excellent service and as always Paula walked them out; it was her way of thanking them for being so generous to her whenever they came in. Katherine and Leroy said good-bye to Meredith assuring her they would see her in two days when the entire cast would meet and then decided that they would both knock off early today. Leroy was thrilled he could now go home and get some things done and still have time before his date tonight and Katherine just wanted to crawl into bed for a well-needed nap. She turned to raise her hand for taxi but decided to walk the few blocks it was a nice day and she could use the exercise since she missed her workout at the gym for the last few days during auditions. Once she makes it home she lets herself in and kicks off her boots and slides her jeans off and unbuttons her top letting it slip from her shoulders, she is happy to be just in her tank top. She shuffles into the bedroom in her bare feet to find her cats on her pillows, one of the few places in her place they are not allowed. Hands on her hips she tries to be stern with them threatening them with kitty reform school if they do not get off of the bed right now; neither of them move and only one of them bothers to look up and manage a quiet meow. "You know you two are in big trouble and I am not kidding this time." Katherine says firmly while she smiles and sits on the edge of the bed patting the cats. "Maybe Caleb is right it probably doesn’t help to be patting them and rubbing their bellies while I am telling them not to do something." Katherine says out loud to no one. The next time she sees her friend from the gym she thinks she will have to tell him he was correct. Gently she moves her babies to the end of the bed knowing that in about 20 minutes they will have snuck back up but she loves the challenge anyway; and slides in under the sheets and puts her head down to rest. As she closes her eyes she hopes she falls asleep quickly because her body feels tired but immediately she sees those green eyes and her own pop open quickly. "No do not do this to yourself , she is the lead heroine in your next play you cannot date nor sleep with her, fantasizing about her will not help the situation at all!" Katherine tells herself sternly. "Who can I think of...ok...ok... Madeline Albright.... Madeline Albright that’ s it just keep thinking of her and not Meredith Sipes. Oh damn I thought I was fine there for a minute. UGH! Madeline Albright...I mean she is incredibly bright but well compared to Meredith.... Stop this Katherine you’re making yourself are talking to yourself for goodness sake. Just take a nap!"

Putting her hands over her eyes Katherine manages to shut everything out for a short time and before she knows it she falls asleep. She turns over after hearing a noise and is surprised to find Meredith in the doorway. "What are you doing here?" She asks a bit puzzled and frightened at the same time. "I wanted to see you again because I wanted to find out if those glances you gave me were in my imagination or if they were real?" Meredith responded. Sitting up still unsure of Meredith she asks. "What glances are you talking about?" Moving to the side of the bed she lets her legs hang over the edge and places her feet on the floor feeling a bit more in control now that she is upright though just in her panties and tank top she is still feeling a bit vulnerable as Meredith stares at her. Katherine eyes the small blonde and takes in a quick breath knowing exactly what the petite woman is talking about and wanting right then and there to take her but playing some and not admitting to anything. "I’m not sure what you are talking about Ms Sipes but we must have a misunderstanding and I apologize for anything that may have lead to that." Katherine smiled as spoke. The actress walks to the side of the bed where the director sits and bends over and takes her hand in her own and kisses it gently and smiles down at her. Katherine’ s eyes meet the shorter woman’ s and she returns the smile and places her hands around Meredith’ s waist firmly pulling her down to her and letting the limber lady wrap her legs around her and onto the bed. Katherine cups Meredith’ s backside with her hands as she presses her lips along the blonde’ s neck, kissing and licking her way to the other woman’ s waiting mouth. Catching her lower lip between her own and nibbling it then kissing her more passionately now. Her hips feeling a rhythm motion now and suddenly a yank of her hair. Katherine surprised comes to and springs upright , both cats having just pounced on her head at the same time catching some of her hair in their paws as they leap away awakening her from her nap as they escape. She looks around her empty apartment and sigh’ s and grins no Meredith it was just a pleasant dream. She flops back down on the pillow and hollers at the cats. "Can’ t you even let me have a good sex dream?" Laughing as she chastises them and closes her eyes once again hoping this time for some real sleep. Awake now at their meows she gets up and feeds them and sits down at her desk and reworks some of the lines of the play and gets some of the rehearsal schedules ready.

After some Ben & Jerry’ s she takes long hot shower and crawls into bed and turns the TV on hoping to catch a CSI marathon or Law and Order but with 400 channels all she can find is Married by America, Survivor and The Bachelor. She starts rolling her eyes haven’ t these people figured out that if we can’ t figure out how to work a voting machine then do we really want America to pick who our spouse is going to be for the rest of our lives? Secondly most of the places where they host the Survivor show have really really big bugs and lord only knows what kind of virus’ s no thanks if I want to survive something I will go to my family’ s for a major holiday, that is true survival. Lastly the Bachelor ; shaking my head just watch the out takes of the previous Bachelor shows and that is reason enough to never even take a glimpse. Gee no wonder the US has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world. Katherine turns the TV off and picks up a book until she falls asleep and the ice cream coma kicks in. Sleeping through the night she awakens to Leroy’ s voice on her answering machine, "girl, it’ s time to wake up and start a new happy day", she opens one eye and mumbles at the machine and then picks up the phone."

I’ m awake". Katherine responds sleepily. Twenty minutes later there is a knock on the door and Katherine sound asleep hears keys turning the lock in her door, "good morning sunshine" Leroy sings out."I may have to hurt you" She grumbles and reminds him that she is not quite a morning person. Leroy enters and puts a fresh cup of coffee down for her and sips his and then turns on the radio and starts singing along with it. Katherine turns over and pulls the sheet over her head begging for 5 more minutes. She gets up and has a quick shower and returns dressed with her wet hair pulled back, still sleepy but at least presentable. The two leave coffee in hand and head for the theatre. "Thank you cookie." Katherine hugs Leroy from the side. He smiles as they continue on their way.

Upon arriving they get right to work and continue throughout the morning casting the smaller roles and find understudies and also hire two runners for the length of the play. Two college kids who need the money who are eager to work hard and learn a few things along the way, free lunches don’ t hurt either. During the break Leroy goes off on his own today to do a few errands and Katherine goes out for a quick walk. When they return they make their calls and finish up for the day surprised that they wrap up before 5pm. "You know Leroy I was thinking of maybe changing a bit of Meredith’ s part. Maybe the heroine shouldn’ t die. It doesn’ t feel right to me. I will work on it tonight and let you read it over the weekend." The director says in a matter of fact tone.

"I thought you were happy about your realistic tone to the play Kat?" Leroy questioned her. "You aren’ t letting some cute little blonde sway you are you?" He asked. "No." She said flatly. They both gather their things and leave together bidding each other a good night.

Katherine sets out for the market to pick up some food for her little beasts otherwise known as her cats and also something for her to cook for herself and decides to head directly home afterwards. Still tired from the hectic schedule she thinks it a good idea to take advantage of these past early nights and catch up on some sleep. Once she gets home and feeds her babies and cooks up some pasta with some tomato and basil she looks over the script and grabs a fresh tablet and tries a few changes in the dialogue. It would be nice to have Meredith around a bit longer, she is in a large portion of the play but still it would be nice to have her in it throughout she thought. Who says she has to die, it’s my play after all Katherine thought. I don’t have to kill her. She keeps writing until she dozes off and the alarm goes off and she realizes it’s time to get up and head out again. Today is a full cast meeting and Meredith will be there. She showers and pulls out a pair of her favorite well worn jeans her boots and a white tank and a white top to go over it. She brushes her long dark hair and lets it hang loose and checks her earrings in the mirror. Her blue eyes look back at her in the mirror telling her to behave! She adds a bit of color to her cheeks and lips and grabs her bag heading out the door suddenly with a bit of energy.

Arriving before Leroy is a first and she has to wait as he has the key. She leans up against the building and a few minutes later he strides up the street bopping to the sound of his headphones with a surprised look on his face. "Oh my goodness, what are you doing, is everything ok?" He asks. "Yes I just woke up early." She responds a bit nerved at his reaction. "You have make-up on why do you have make-up on, you made that rule about not dating the actresses yourself you are not going to break it are you; because I do not think I can go through that again?" Leroy said in a fatherly but annoyed tone. "Look Leroy I just felt like looking nice today it is after all the first meeting with the entire cast I thought I should look like an adult at least once during this whole thing is that a crime?" Katherine quipped. Leroy stayed silent as he let them both in but he knew they were both heading for trouble if she was falling for Meredith. Leroy was setting up the large table on the stage and muttering to himself. "One of these days I am going to be the director and that day will not come too soon let me tell you then their will be no hanky panky." Katherine looked over at Leroy and chuckled because it was the same line he used every time Katherine so much as looked at a woman whether she was in a play or not. "This could be the one Leroy, she could be my soul mate." Katherine said playfully. "Do you know how many soul mates you potentially had Miss Soderbergh?" Leroy answered laughing. " Too many to count." He said. She just shook her head and turned as she watched the cast start to enter the theatre and take seats she waved to them and urged them to sit down closer to the front. "Welcome everyone, good morning ." Once everyone arrived she introduce herself more formally then she did during auditions. "My name for those of you who don’ t know me is Katherine Soderbergh I am the director and everything you may have heard about me is probably half true. I am demanding, cranky, and a bit strange, I do require a confidentiality signature regarding the material and anything pertaining to my personal life that I may share however I am also fun and I throw one hell of a party. I don’ t care what you do in your private life as long as it only involves other consenting adults and that you take responsibility for whatever consequences that may arise from your actions. I expect you to be at all rehearsals and to be at them on time though life has a funny way of sneaking up on us so just call us if an emergency happens. Please come to rehearsals prepared and ready to work and work hard and also have a bit of fun in the process. That said this is Leroy my assistant and right hand man. If he stops breathing so does this production so don’ t bug him too much however he can answer most things and he will be giving you your schedules, earnings reports, tax forms, etc. To give you fair warning he is the person most likely to know if I am having a good day or a bad day. Does everyone understand? Good. Welcome to Death and Taxes." Katherine finished her welcome speech and let Leroy introduce himself though he hates to and she sat in the back watching Meredith some and then looking the cast over and thinking that she and Leroy had made some good choices. She heard Leroy winding his speech down and laying out the forms on the table so that folks could form a line and take one of each but before that he wanted to let everyone know about the party at my house the following afternoon. It was a chance before we all started working hard for everyone to get to know one another in a casual atmosphere. The meeting went well and ended with everyone shaking hands and smiling. Leroy promised to clean up and lock the theatre on his way out after everyone left. I had lots to do before tomorrow so I scooted out to do my errands and go to a few appointments previously scheduled. I arrived at my house later than expected but thankfully the grocery store hadn’t been there yet. They deliver and I was happy my food wasn’t out on the steps. I cleaned up and started the dishwasher and began the last minute cleaning for tomorrow. Making sure the beer and wine were in the refrigerator. The delivery van pulled up I heard it coming a few blocks away they need a new muffler. I opened the door and waited for Mike the deliveryman to start brining the bags in meeting him halfway to give him a hand. We both smiled and greeted each other as he passed me some of the bags and I started unloading the food. I paid him and he left and I prepared as much as possible and left the rest for tomorrow. I tossed on a pair of boxers and a t shirt and hopped right into bed and fell asleep fast waking later than I wanted but still in plenty of time to finish what I needed. "I need a regular sleep schedule." I said to the cats. Sliding out of bed I had a long shower and made some toast and had some tea and then prepared some veggies and made some dip and then check on the steak tips I left marinating. I wrapped the bacon around the scallops I would put on the grill later and put those back in the refrigerator. I made salads and sandwiches and chili and pasta and sauce. It was all ready. I checked to make sure I had enough drinks with and without alcohol and was satisfied that I had all my bases covered. Now if I could just keep my mind and hands off that little blonde than the afternoon would go well. Leroy arrived with a large tray of meatballs and another pasta salad. "Thank you cookie." I said and hugged him. "You always make too much food Kat." Leroy said as he surveyed the counters and the tables. "I know but my mother always said better to have too much than not enough." I responded laughing. "I can‘ t help it."

The doorbell rang and Leroy opened it and Meredith arrived with dessert. She was smiling and handed me the cake as she walked in and said hello to us. "I didn’t know what to bring and since I don’ t drink I thought a cake might be okay?" She said almost questioning herself. "That is great I responded. Leroy took the cake and was trying to find a space for it while I took Meredith outside to show her the backyard area then I showed her the house. "It’s beautiful here." She said shyly. "Thank you." I said softly. "It’s much more lovely with you here though." Voicing my thoughts out loud before I realized I had actually said them out loud. Meredith blushed and looked at her feet. "I’m sorry I shouldn’t have said that please forgive me." I stuttered. "Are you kidding" Don’t apologize Meredith spoke. "I just can’ t believe you think that in fact I am shocked."

The blonde stammered. "Don’t be I actually had a dream about you the other night and it felt so real." I answered trying to make her feel less self-conscious. "What makes you think it wasn’ t real?"

She responded without missing a beat.

"Leroy, about that directing job you are always talking about, how would you like to direct "Death and Taxes?" He looked over at me and said, "Yeah right don’ t tease a man like that Kat." I took Meredith in my arms and hugged her to me and then kissed her long and hard while he looked on. I lifted my head and turned to Leroy and waited for answer. He didn’t give me one. "Leroy you know my rule about directing and dating a cast member at the same time so you have to direct this one for me because I believe I will be busy for the next few days, months even years. I told you this was the one Leroy. You never listen to me." Leroy stood there with his mouth open and then shrieked himself and nodded like a kid, yes uh huh I will do it. We both smiled and then I took Meredith’s hand and lead her onto the balcony where we could be alone. "Leroy if anyone is looking for us, we will be back shortly." I closed the curtains on the balcony so no one could see out and Meredith and I had a very fine start on what would be a very good relationship. Hand in Hand.

The End.

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