A Small Question of Revenge

Chapter I:

A Conversation Had

Peter Lewis sat perched at the top of an eight foot ladder, left hand holding a roller tray full of paint and his right hand rolling brown paint onto the flats for "Pajama Game". His short brown hair was covered in a kerchief, and he wore overalls, covered in paint every color of the rainbow. He hummed softly to himself as he worked, something from the show, lost in his thoughts.

The rehearsal that night had gone very well, he mused, as no one had messed up their lines like the night before. That had been a disaster waiting to happen, oh yes. In the middle of the kitchen scene in Act II Prez had frozen, completely forgetting where he was for a solid minute. Tonight though, everyone had remembered everything, and the sets were almost finished, which was his responsibility.

He put the roller in the tray and used his free hand to push his glasses up his nose, and adjust his flannel painting shirt around him. He was almost always cold. Peter applied more paint to the roller, and started on a new section of the flat. It was almost eleven, and he had a test in the morning. The rest of the painting could wait until the afternoon.

"Okay, great work everybody," the director, Sheri told the actors as she finished giving them notes from somewhere behind Peter. "Call is at six, so don't be late. We want to start on-time!" she said with enthusiasm.

"Peter, when are those sets going to be finished?" Sheri called to him from the audience. "Hopefully tomorrow, Sheri," he replied. He had worked all through the rehearsal yesterday, and the day before that as well. He supposed that one person couldn't do it alone, but he had always gotten it done before, even pulling a few all-nighters in the theater building to do it. The two awards from the intercollegiate drama competitions testified to his skill, and so people put up with his work ethic.

"Please Peter," Sheri had walked up below him, "we need to see the final product tomorrow night. We open on Friday, remember?"

"Yeah, I remember," he told her, still coating the flat in gray paint.

"You almost done babe?" Jon Walters strode up out of the stairwell, a vision of masculine beauty. His hair perfect, his rugged face spotless, his body chiseled and defined. He wore the best clothes perfectly, and there was never a hair out of place. A high-school soccer player, he had decided upon entering college that he wanted to do drama, and so he did. And very well, seeing as two of the leads last year were played by him. His parents were a bit confused, as he had been a great soccer player, but as he was their only son, they didn't say anything. Peter's heart skipped a beat every time he saw him, even if Jon wasn't out to many people.

He beamed down at Jon, finished the last bit of gray to be painted, and scampered down the ladder. If anyone was at home on a set, it was he, and it showed. Paint was everywhere on him after many hours on the set, and Jon took one look at him and shook his head. "Will I ever be able to break you of this habit of painting yourself more than the set?" he asked, laughing.

"No, probably not." Sheri quipped, smiling as Peter pulled down for a kiss. Peter slipped his slender arms around the slightly taller man's waist, but Jon just stood there nervously, hoping that no one would see. He pulled off Peter quickly, his eyes darting around, body tense, but he relaxed a little bit when he saw no one was around. "I've told you we can't be together in public like that. Sheri's one thing dude, but what if one of my buddies was to see us?"

Peter stepped away from Jon, going over to the paint tray and picking it up hastily. "I don't care what anyone thinks hon, you know that," he said a little angrily, walking to the slop sink in the shop to clean the roller. Sheri realized that this was a conversation that the two boys should be having by themselves, and quietly exited the room.

"I know you don't, but I do, and--" Jon began to say, before Peter twirled around, his hands paint covered. "Why? What is so bad about being gay Jon? It's who we are," he said, his voice forceful. This was a conversation that they had had a hundred times before, and he was tired of it. And yet...he loved Jon. A lot. It hadn't started out like that though, just two boys hanging out and having fun. When they had both gotten drunk at a party though, Jon had told Peter how cute he was, and one thing had led to another. We've been together a year Friday, Peter thought to himself.

"I know it is, and I love that you can be so out and proud. What would my parents think if they knew that their only son is gay? My friends aren't exactly the most open either, if you hadn't noticed," he said, his voice rising. "It's hard for me to keep seeing you on that ladder, not being able to be open about us, thinking about how hot you look, how much I want to..." his voice trailed off as he pushed into Peter's back and slipped his hand the overalls.

His cell phone began to ring, playing "Macho Man", something his buddies thought would be funny, and he answered it. "Hello? Yeah, I'm here, just got out of rehearsal. Uh huh, sure, I'll come by. Eleven-thirty? Yeah, it's eleven now. See you then." Peter had finished with the roller by the time that the cell phone had flipped off, and was standing with his arms folded.

"Study group," Jon answered the unasked question, and pulled Peter in for a kiss. "Look babe, I love you a lot, and you know it," he said quickly, his voice suddenly business. And I know that this is hard for you. All I'm asking for is you to be patient, okay? I'm not ready to come out."

"Yeah, okay," Peter replied, resigned, wrapping his arms around Jon's strong waist. "You did great tonight, by the way. Looked really good in that shirt and tie."

"I know," came the reply, in-between kisses. "You helped pick it out."

"Call you tomorrow?" Peter asked, and Jon nodded, kissing him one final time before walking out of the shop. Silence reigned over the theater, and Peter began to clean up a little bit, organizing what he was going to paint for tomorrow.

"Care to explain?" Caroline McEdgerton asked him icily as he jumped about five feet into the air and turned around staring at her like a deer caught in the headlights.

A/N: Please review. Thoughts on what is going to happen, etc. are welcome. Constructive criticism only please.