Luther's Return
Page 5

 Tina Folsom

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His serious expression belied the light tone of his voice.
“Sorry I asked.”
Blake blinked and gave a sigh. “Katie, I don’t mean to—”
She lifted her hand. “You don’t have to explain yourself—”
“I love these people,” Blake interrupted, motioning to the wall. Behind it was the stage and beyond that the audience waiting for the performance to start. “I love the Scanguards family. They’re my family, and I don’t want to leave them. Had I remained human, one day I would have had to. I can’t do that.”
Katie put her hand on his forearm and squeezed.
He met her eyes. “And if you tell any of them about what I just said, I’m going to suck the life out of you,” he warned.
“Don’t wanna come across as a big softy, that it?”
“Because I’m not.”
“No, you’re not. And loving somebody doesn’t make you weak, it makes you strong.”
“Well, let’s go over this.” Blake pointed to the piece of paper in his hand, clearly embarrassed. “I marked at which points in the play Isabelle is going to be on stage and when she’s supposed to be backstage with the other actors. Does that look right?”
Katie skimmed the list of scenes and nodded. “You know your Shakespeare.”
He shrugged. “Rose makes me read all that stuff.”
She grinned. “Sure she does.” The sound of the door opening behind her made her turn her head to see who was leaving the dressing room.
She saw Isabelle freeze as if caught.
“Oh, hey Blake,” Isabelle said quickly and a little too cheerfully. “Are you gonna watch?”
“Like a hawk.”
Isabelle rolled her eyes. “I meant the play.”
“So did I.” He pulled her into a quick hug, placing a kiss on the top of her head, before releasing her. Then his gaze bounced back and forth between Isabelle and Katie. “Oh my, if we stuck you two in the same clothes, I swear you could be confused for twins!”
Katie exchanged a look with Isabelle.
“Twins?” they said in unison.
Blake held up both hands. “Okay, sisters. But, boy, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you two came from the same womb.”
“Okay, enough of that,” Katie said and made a shooing motion. “Don’t you have work to do? Because I sure do.”
Blake grinned and nodded to Isabelle. “Break a leg, okay?”
Isabelle smiled. “Thanks.”
“You, too, Katie. But then you’re an old pro,” he added and turned.
“Hey, who are you calling old?” Katie protested. “I’m still younger than you!”
Without turning back, Blake waved his hand at her and continued walking down the corridor, before marching through a door and disappearing from view.
A suffering sigh came from Isabelle. Instantly, Katie ran her eyes over her. “Something wrong, honey?”
“It’s nothing, it’s just…”
“Stage fright?” Katie prompted. “Don’t worry, we all get it.”
“It’s not that. I’m ready for the play. I know all the lines. Not just mine. I know everybody’s.”
Katie brushed her hand over Isabelle’s hair, pride swelling in her chest. Samson’s daughter had talent. “Well, that’s why I made you understudy for all the major female roles. I’ve never seen anybody who could retain so many lines in such a short time.”
Isabelle smiled unexpectedly and a little of the gloom lifted off her face. “I’m so glad you did. That’s why, you know, I was wondering… I mean… Do you think…”
Katie felt her forehead furrow. Isabelle wasn’t normally somebody to be nervous or tongue-tied. “What’s bothering you?”
Isabelle twiddled the ribbons below her empire waist. “It’s Cameron.”
For a moment, Katie didn’t know who Isabelle was talking about. Then it dawned on her. “Cameron, who’s playing Lysander?”
Isabelle nodded and avoided eye contact when she continued talking. “Yes, who’s in love with Hermia.”
A soft smile tugged at Katie’s lips. “Who’s played by me.”
Isabelle lifted her head. “And in the end you get to kiss Lysander.”
“And Helena, played by you, gets to kiss Demetrius.”
Isabelle nodded, but didn’t comment further.
“I thought you wanted it that way. Isn’t that every girl’s dream, to be pursued by two men? Like in the play how Helena is pursued by both Lysander and Demetrius because of Puck’s love potion?”