"Wow," I breathed, taking in the sights around me. There was so much to see. The theater was beautiful, the rich red velvet curtains framing the capacious stage, the rows upon rows of plush seats in the house, the swirls of gold and blue that was the ornately painted stars on the cavernous ceiling far overhead.
I had seen many theaters in my life, worked in some of the newest and most modern places to perform, but never anything like this. Those new theaters had never excited me the way this gorgeous old opera house did. I absolutely couldn't believe that I'd been given the chance to work here.
"Lillian Chandler?" came a voice from amidst the chaos of props and set construction onstage. The director emerged from behind the mess and ran to greet me. "Lillian, it's wonderful to see you."
Rod Ouellette, the director of the play, looked like he'd been through the mill. His graying hair was matted against his head and sticking out in all odd directions, his old frayed jeans and tee shirt rumpled and dirty. For a man of fifty-something, however, his face was incredibly smooth, save for the five o'clock shadow, and his blue eyes sparkled behind his out-dated frames.
"Sorry that you have to see the set in this state, it's…well…not great. I'm really stressed, I'm trying to make it perfect."
"Oh, no, Mr. Ouellette, it's beautiful, this entire place is absolutely fantastic. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity."
"No, it's my pleasure, dear," he said, resting a hand on my shoulder. "You have such a wonderful, rare talent, especially at an age as young as yours."
I blushed. "Thank you, Mr. Ouellette."
The corners of his pale blue eyes crinkled into a smile. "Please, Lilly, we're all friends here, call me Rod."
I nodded, ignoring the cheesiness of that statement, and gazed at the massive array of set materials and tools strewn about the theater and covering the stage. There were a handful of crewmembers milling about, supervising construction. A young man appeared amongst the wreckage and approached us.
To Rod he said, "Walter needs some help with that unfinished scene. He asked me to come fetch you."
"Thanks, Gabe, I'll see to that right now. But first, I'd like to introduce you to someone. Gabriel, I'd like you to meet Lillian Chandler, your beautiful Rebekkah. Lillian, dear, this is Gabriel Thomas. He'll be playing your lover, Luke. I'll leave you two to get better acquainted, I need to go help Walt."
"Um, nice to meet you," Gabriel said stiffly, looking uneasy as he held out his hand.
I couldn't believe that I was shaking the hand of Gabriel Thomas, one of the most famous rising stars on Broadway. I'd heard about him, read about him, seen him perform, and now I was actually meeting him, The Gabriel Thomas.
Up close, he looked rather ordinary for a Broadway headliner. He wore nothing flashy, just a pair of blue jeans, and a black tee shirt and white Adidas running shoes. He looked to be only a few years older than me with blonde hair, and—oh, those eyes! They were so incredibly blue. I would have even gone as far as to say that they were beautiful, had they not held me in such an icy, unfeeling gaze.
"So, how old are you?" he asked flatly.
"Nineteen," I replied, trying to conceal the obvious note of pride in my voice.
He frowned even more. "A bit young to be on Broadway, don't you think? What about school?"
I shoved my hands in my jean pockets, feeling for some reason uncomfortable in his presence. "I left college for this job."
He nodded grimly. "I see. You know, my mother always said that an education was a terrible thing to waste." He gave me a condescending, almost hateful smirk. What was his problem?
I clenched my fists. Don't say it, don't start anything, relax Lilly. I couldn't hold back. "Really now? Well my mother always taught me that that passion was a terrible thing to waste. My passion was acting." I could have easily stopped right there, but the words just spilled from my mouth like an unstoppable waterfall. "My mother also taught me not to be so judgmental of people I didn't know, but obviously, your mother was no 'educated' enough to pass that lesson on to you!"
He opened his mouth to speak, but I cut him off. "It was a pleasure meeting you, Gabriel," I spat. Picking up my bag, I turned on my heel and stormed off, leaving him standing there, lips pursed, unsure what to say.