"Do you want to be an angel?"
"No!" Penny stuck her tongue out at me and giggled as I responded in kind. The teacher sighed. Every year it was the same, persuading teenagers to behave sensibly during the annual school Christmas production. This year we were going to perform a Nativity Play.
"Have you cast Mary yet?" I was cast as Joseph and I would like nothing better than having Penny playing Mary opposite me, not to mention all that extra rehearsal time! The teacher looked at me and shook her head at my obvious clowning. Miss Mellor was nice though - for a teacher that is.
"Do you want to be a star?"
The question caught Penny by surprise; she recovered well though.
"Are you serious? I can be Mary?"
"If it will keep you two from disrupting the rehearsals."
I had the good grace to look sheepish, we never kept our attraction for each other a secret, but in Drama Club we let ourselves go, using every opportunity to indulge ourselves. It hadn't always been like that; Penny grinned and looked at me speculatively.
"Look you two, Mary and Joseph are an unmarried couple, and Mary was most definitely a virgin!"
"Yes Miss." Penny looked downcast, the wink she gave me, however, belied her apparent docility.
Miss Mellor was not deceived and glared at her; her mouth was twitching though, so the effect was muted. Giving us up as a lost cause, she turned to the rest of the group and proceeded to complete the casting. Once the rehearsal schedules were drawn up the Drama Club drifted off in twos and threes.
"Do you want to play some magic on my guitar?" I whispered in Penny's ear. She giggled.
"I thought it was a trombone?" Said she, emphasizing the final syllable with a lascivious leer. The lust in her voice sent a shiver down my spine. Once more I thanked my lucky stars that Penny and I had hooked up. We'd been friends forever before we discovered that our attraction was much more than merely platonic.
"Do you want to be a poet?"
I looked up from my latest magnum opus to see the speaker. Penny moved behind me and began reading over my shoulder. Hurriedly I covered the poem that I'd been working on. Too late.
"Do you want to be my string? You could be anything. Do you want to be the lover of another? Undercover? You could even be the man on the moon." Penny intoned the lines. "Very profound what's it about?"
"It's just something I'm working on."
"Come on, we'll be late for Drama Club."
I collected my papers, stuffed them in my bag and followed her out of the library. Drama Club was our favourite activity.
"Okay get into pairs, boy and girl, for this exercise." Miss Mellor looked around as we paired up. Penny and I were an obvious pair and eventually everyone had someone that they were comfortable with. "I want you to take some time and work up an improvisation based on the following premise: one of you has an unrequited love for the other; something has happened, I'll let you decide what, that has persuaded you to 'bite the bullet' and make your feelings known."
Now this was interesting. I could see several people looking embarrassed at the possibilities presented by this exercise, and then it hit me - I was in love with Penny! I mean I knew I loved her, but as a friend. Now that the seed had been planted I knew that what I felt for her was more, much more than just platonic. I turned to Penny and saw her with new eyes; she blushed at my frank appraisal.
"Look if you'll be the object of my desire, I'll be the unrequited lover."
Penny smiled. "Do you want to rehearse or shall we just wing it?"
I made a decision, "Let's just see where the mood takes us shall we?"
We waited as several couples portrayed various stages of embarrassment ranging from slight to paralysed with fear and then it was our turn.
"Do you want to be the player?" Penny smiled at me as I started to circle around her. "Do you want to be the string?"
"I just want to be me. What do you want Tony?"
"Let me tell you something, it just don't mean a thing." I stopped in front of her and reached for her hands, I stared deep into her eyes; you could hear a proverbial pin drop, so silent were the rest of the group. "You see it really doesn't matter when you're buried in disguise by the dark glass on your eyes, though your flesh has crystallised." I leaned closer and lowered my voice, "Still... you turn me on."
Her eyes opened wide as she realised what I was about to do next. I closed my eyes just as our lips touched. I felt her moan into my mouth as my tongue began a tentative exploration of her lips, her mouth opened wide as she invaded mine. Now it was my turn to groan as she pressed her body against mine. I released her hands so that I could pull her closer and she did likewise. So close were we that I could feel the points of her nipples against my chest. Lack of oxygen made us break our kiss.
"Do you want to be the pillow where I lay my head?" I stage whispered into her ear.
"Do you want to be the feathers lying in my bed?"
"Do you want to be a colour cover magazine; create a scene." We kissed again.
"I've loved you forever, I can't hold it in anymore; it's driving me crazy; please tell me that I'm not alone."
Her eyes blazed and the smile that she gave me was blinding in its intensity.
"You're not alone."
That seemed a reasonable place to stop the improv. I held onto her hand and pulled us into an impromptu bow. The rest of the group erupted into applause and Miss Mellor looked at us appraisingly. We were the last pair to go so we sat down together, Penny sat on my lap as if it were the most natural thing in the world and Miss Mellor started to read the notes that she had made on everyone's performances. Penny and I cuddled and tuned her out; this was all so new and it was all that I could do not to carry her off.
"Now we come to Penny and Tony." We were jerked from our reverie, "I'd like to say that it was, on the face of it, a truly outstanding performance." She paused for dramatic effect; it was Drama Club after all. "But it wasn't a performance was it?" This drew gasps from everyone except Penny and me.
"No, I realised as you were giving us the premise to the improvisation that I was in love with Penny, so I took it and ran with it." I looked at Penny and smiled at the adoration that I saw there. "God knows what would have happened if she hadn't felt the same way about me."
"Oh for Christ's sake Tony! You two have been in love for the last six months, you've just been too stupid to realise it!" This came from Alison, one of the more outspoken members of our group. The rest chimed in with expressions of agreement. I was shocked to see that Miss Mellor was one of them. Penny looked at her accusingly.
"You set us up?"
"You might think that; I couldn't possibly comment."
.... There is more of this story ...