Centre Of Gravity
Becca pushes through the heavy stage door of the Theatre Royal a half-hour later than she ought to; auburn hair in a messy bun, laden with carrier bags, no time to make small-talk as she hurriedly signs in. The sun streams in through the theatre windows and it’s a warm and stifling June afternoon.
She’s about half way up the stairs when she spots him; Adam, languid and smiling, leaning over the railing. His back is arched and graceful, his head tipped to one side.
‘Good morning.’ His eyes are devilish and bright, and he raises one eyebrow in mischievous delight when she lets out a low groan. That face of his is all cheekbones and charm and she can feel the force of his gravity as she comes closer – there’s a low swell to his presence, like toying with a magnet, and she leans in closer without realising.
‘How late am I?’ she winces, dumping her bags, and Adam rewards her with a soft laugh, scrunching up his face in sympathy.
‘Probably not as late as you think,’ he assures her. His voice is low and lilting, a warm Scottish accent just touching the edges, and there’s nothing hard or unkind in his smile. Becca collapses a little, reassured that he’s not in make-up yet, though a smudge of gold from his cover-run earlier still peeks out from under the sleek curtain of his dark hair, that's falling, unchecked, across his forehead.
‘Says the man who’s last out every Saturday,’ she reminds him and she’s met with a wink and a wide, playful grin that's both lazy and dazzling.
‘It’s a good rule to live by,’ he replies, that captivating face of his catching the light from a whole new angle and seeming to change with it.
He’s only been with the tour a month, she realises then, but it’s like she’s known him a lifetime, already well-used to the crick in her neck from always looking up, his tall form impossible and fluid next to her tiny frame. He belongs draped on the theatre’s back stairs in June, she thinks, full of poise and with no respect for the laws of gravity when he leaps, kicking long, lithe legs up high.
Suddenly he straightens up, pushing himself up from where he’d been leaning, quick and catlike and stretching out like it’s an art from; all elegance and self-control. She notices the way his feet slide instinctively into fifth position – and God, those legs of his must go on forever. ‘Word of warning? Fergus is on the rampage. I’d do your make-up quickly and behind a locked door if I was you,’ he says through a yawn and Becca pulls a face.
‘What happened to not being as late as I think?’
‘If you keep thinking it, then you won’t panic. How else do you think I have the nerve to be last out every Saturday whilst you lot are already in the pub?’
She watches him slink away down the corridor, smiling in fond disbelief. No, she simply can’t imagine what panic would even look like on his calm, charismatic face.