Some Good Reasons 13

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Joey lifted the cigarette to his lips and sucked in a huge breath of it.  The wind wasn't very strong so he sat there for a moment in a cloud of smoke as he exhaled.  Perfect for his mood.  Smoky.

Beer came next.  He drank down a fourth of the bottle in one swig and let it cool the inside of his mouth and his throat.  Setting it on the table, he squinted his eyes against the artificial light from the porch light and read the lines, moving his mouth, but making sure that no sound came out.  He wanted to throw his emotion into it, but didn’t want to make it known to the rest of the house what he was doing.

It was a good script.  Roger and Mark are both good parts.  He found himself holding his cigarette and praying to God that he could get through this, get the part, and convince everyone that this was the new direction he wanted his career to head in.  He'd been thinking about it for years, but he'd finally start to make it a reality.  The bit parts were paving the way, but there was only so many times that you could make a cameo in a movie or have a walk on roll in a television show.

ROGER
But who, Mark, are you?
"Mark has got his work"
They say "Mark lives for his work"
And "Mark's in love with his work"
Mark hides in his work

MARK
But from what?

ROGER
From facing your failure, facing your loneliness
Facing the fact you live a lie
Yes, you live a lie -- tell you why
You're always preaching not to be numb
When that's how you thrive
You pretend to create and observe
When you really detach from feeling alive

His eyes scanned the page and he reread the last few lines again.  It caught him funny that these lines would stick out to him especially when his work was such a part of him and was what kept him alive.  He'd never truly felt that he was hiding in his work.  Quite the opposite.  He'd always found himself hiding in his real life.

"There you are."

Her voice and the sound of the door sliding open caught him off guard and he quickly sat up.  He stuffed the cigarette into the ashtray and looked over at her with a guilty look on his face, blowing a breath out to get the smoke away from him.

"Smoking again?" she asked.  Her motherly tone was clearly in practice these days and she was finding it easy to scold him about this just as she would scold Colton for eating another cookie or Brianna for leaving her crayons around.

He smiled and nodded that he wasn't smoking then looked at her.  It wasn't disappointment that he saw on her face, more a bit of laughter around the sides of her mouth at his antics.  She knew him well enough to know that he wasn’t trying to be naughty, but that he sometimes always fell into it, just as their kids seem to do.  "I'll take a shower and brush my teeth before I come to bed."

"I don't care about that Joe and you know it."  She sighed and folded her arms across her chest.  "You're as bad as the kids sometimes."  Her hands nervously moved to her hair as she pulled it back over her shoulders.  "I don't want you to do that to your lungs.  Don't you get enough cigarette smoke when you go out partying?"

“Me?” he joked.  “Out partying?”  He laughed.  “On a school night?”

“You know what I mean,” she replied and her arms went across her chest again.

"I think it's because I've been home and have been out of LA for a while.”  He looked around.  “It’s muggy here, but clear so—“  He tapped his foot.  “I think I miss the smog."

"You hate LA because of the smog," she said rolling her eyes in a funny way, "You've told me that a million times."

He laughed a little.  "I'm sorry.  I was on edge and it seemed better to have a smoke than drink too much."  He held up his beer that was still half full.

She moved out onto the patio from the doorway keeping her eyes on him.  He normally would have liked to have seen her watching him, but in his frame of thought he was suspicious of her watchfulness.  He knew if she did catch him out here reading over the script that he'd have to explain it all to her and he wasn't ready for that conversation just yet.  They'd had peace and quiet and a drama free visit so far and he wasn't about to ruin that.  He swallowed hard as pulled out a chair opposite to his and sat down.

"About what?"

"Nothing really," he said and pushed the script back into its folder.  "I'm reading over some proposals to some new projects--"  His breath caught in his throat.  "Nothing serious, but it makes me nervous."

She reaches across the table towards the folder and Joey brings it back into his lap.  He stares at her with a semi-shocked look on his face.  "Can I see them?"

"Not just yet," he said slowly.  "I want to weed out the real possibilities and I don't want you to get too excited when nothing has been decided yet."

Joey reached up and scratched his forehead trying not to let it show that he was really trying to push back the headache that he'd just gotten.  His words hadn't been chosen carefully and he knew he might insult her by leaving her out of things.  He just wanted to be sure that it was all settled and that he had a good chance at the part before he got her excited about it.  He'd seen her in the past when he'd casually mention something and she took it to be the biggest news ever and if something didn't turn out right she'd get disappointed and he didn't like to see that.

Surprisingly enough she sat back in her chair and nodded.  "Ok."

He glanced at the papers in his lap then up at her.  "So what do you have planned for the next few days?"

She shrugged.  "Nothing much.  Trey has a doctor’s appointment at the end of the week, but other than that my week is free."

"How about I drop the kids off at Mom's tomorrow and you and I have a date."

"Date?"

"Yeah," he said, "I want to take you out to dinner and maybe wine and dine you a little—“  He felt for a moment that he was pulling teeth with this issue.  It shouldn’t be that hard.  “If that's ok."

She shrugged again.  "I guess."

"If it's a hassle we can do it another time."

"No," she said, "That's not it.  I'm just thinking that I might not be able to wait until tomorrow or this week to be wined and dined."

His eyebrows shot up.  "What'd you have in mind?"

"We haven't been in the spa lately," she said turning slightly to look over at the pool, "I know you could use the wind down after the morning you've had and I could keep you company."

He sighed.  "I think I'm just gonna hit a shower then go to bed tonight."

"Oh."

"Don't look so disappointed," Joey said.

"Never mind," Kelly stood up from the table.  "I'm going to bed then."

"Kel?"  Joey reached out a hand when she started to walk by and instead of letting her go cool off he pulled her into his lap.  "I'm sorry.  I'm just tired."  He nuzzled his nose into her neck and kissed her there.  Her pulse was going a mile a minute and it scared him that she was so upset so quickly about whatever seemed to be on her mind.  It wasn’t the sex part either.  That might have been what set her tears off, but it wasn’t

"Really Joey.”  He hated that she wouldn’t look him in the eye.  He’d tried hard since they’d gotten married to not have that become a habit for her, but it seemed as if the patterns of their relationship were coming back despite their work to change them.  “It's ok.  I’m sorry I’m being short tempered.  I’ve had a long day and you have to and I think I just need some rest and I won’t be so sensitive."

"No," he said, "You're upset."

"I'll get over it," she said and started to push away.

Joey didn't like the fact that his wife was so upset so he pulled her back into his lap and smiled against the skin of her neck.  Normally this would tickle her and make her smile or at least let out a half laugh.  Even if she was mad she’d play along, but this time she did nothing.  "Kel?"  She didn't move right away, but when he finally felt her put up a bit a resistance, it was only to shake.  "Baby?"

"What?"

He looked up instantly when he heard the teary voice she used.  "Kelly tell me what's wrong right now."

"I'm sorry."  She said and gave no other explanation before she pushed his hands away.  She wiped her cheeks, gave him her best smile and sighed.  "I'm sorry," she repeated as she left him on the patio.

Moving to get up Joey took the script, ashtray and his beer inside.  He slid the back door open, slipped through, then closed it for the night.  His first thought was to take a deep breath to relax, but Kelly had turned on the air and it was now breezing through the house, causing him to tense up with the cooler air instead of relax.

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Last updated: 07/10/04.