This story is both available in the anthology as well as on its own in ebook.
A little bit of cross dressing action. This excerpt isn’t exactly sexy maybe, but I think it gives a nice idea of the dynamic between Shawn and Roscoe before the true romance starts.
BTW, Shawn is in COLLEGE so he’s old enough to be in one of my stories.
Switch roles? Roscoe may be a brilliant director, but Sean wants no part of this crazy idea. But when Roscoe suggests that Sean and his leading lady swap Beatrice for Benedict in their college’s production of Much Ado About Nothing, everyone else thinks it’s a terrific idea. Trapped by peer pressure and the awareness that Roscoe usually knows what he’s doing, Sean accepts the challenge only to quickly discover that he likes wearing skirts, both on and off stage. Even more than that, he likes the director’s reaction when he flashes a little leg.
©2009 Jet Mykles, all rights reserved
Bonnie held Shawn’s upper arms, staring down into his eyes. “With no sauce that can be devised to it. I protest / I love thee.”
Shawn clutched at her elbows, lowering his gaze and twisting his head to the side, facing the audience. “Why, then, God forgive me!”
Bonnie cupped Shawn’s jaw with her palm, urging his face upward. “What offence, sweet Beatrice?”
“You have stayed me in a happy hour: I was about to / protest I loved you.” Shawn let his voice go breathy just before raising his eyes to meet Bonnie’s.
She put her arms around him, pulling him closer. “And do it with all thy heart.”
He put his arms around her, smiling. “I love you with so much of my heart that none is / left to protest.”
Bonnie leaned down, tilting her head for the kiss.
They both froze at the sound of Roscoe’s voice.
Sighing, Shawn shared a suffering look with Bonnie, then stepped out of her embrace to face Roscoe.
He scowled over the table at them. “Do it again.”
Ted sat behind him but wasn’t paying much attention, his head bent over the student desk, probably doing his homework. No one else was present to witness the incessant tries of the two actors to attain the satisfaction of their director. They’d repeated this particular bit at least seven times so far by Shawn’s count. That was in addition to the emotion exercises Roscoe had put them through for the first hour of rehearsal. The scene was the emotional apex of the play, the moment when Beatrice and Benedick break through years of rivalry to take a chance and bare their souls. Both Bonnie and Shawn were putting their hearts into it, wanting to get it right. But that wasn’t enough for Roscoe.
Shawn grimaced, scrambling for the cool he’d lost about a half hour ago. “You gonna let us finish this time?”
“Are you going to put some feeling into it this time?”
He crushed handfuls of his long blue rehearsal skirt in his fists. “What the hell do you think I was doing?”
Roscoe crossed his arms, pique showing through his usual calm. “That’s a good question. Care to answer it?”
“Fuck you, man. I’m doing my best.”
“Bullshit. I’ve seen you do better when you’re jerking off in class.”
Shawn turned to face the blinded windows to the side of the room rather than face Roscoe. “What the hell am I doing wrong this time?” Because it seemed to be him. Roscoe had a few notes for Bonnie but not nearly the criticism he had for Shawn.
“You haven’t corrected anything so my answer would be the same.”
“I was softer,” Shawn growled around gritted teeth.
“That’s not what I asked for.”
“I didn’t bite her head off.”
“What do you want from me?”
Roscoe’s eyes narrowed. “Are you afraid of him?” He pointed to Bonnie.
Shawn sighed, a hand raised to cover his eyes. “Not this again.”
“Yes. This again.”
“Why would I be afraid?”
“You should be.”
Shawn spun, starting to pace. “What the hell for?”
Bonnie scooted to the back of the open area, watching.
Roscoe stood, rounding the table to stand beside it. “He’s a man.”
Since reason had deserted him an hour ago, Shawn blurted what he really thought. “He’s not much bigger than me. I’ll kick his ass.”
“That’s a man’s argument, not a woman’s.”
“This is Beatrice. She’d totally kick ass.”
“Beatrice talks a good game. Yes, she’d say she’d kick Benedick’s ass but he’s a veteran of wars. He hath done good service, lady, in these wars… a good soldier too… a lord to a lord, a man to a man; stuffed with all honorable virtues.” Words spilled out in that trained voice, impossible to ignore. “But she knows she’s not up to the task. O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart / in the market-place. She knows she can’t do what a man can.”
A chair at the side of the open area rattled away from him. He’d kicked it. He kind of realized that after it happened. “Yeah, I know, but Beatrice isn’t scared of him. He’s never hurt her. As much as he’s done, he’s never hurt her.”
“But he can. Beatrice would deny it, but she is a woman of her times. A woman. And a woman of her times, like it or not, rail against it or not, would be at least a little afraid of a veteran soldier.” Roscoe took off his glasses and set them on the table then turned to approach Shawn. “She would have to respect that he had fought in wars. She would have to respect that he is a soldier and a lord.”
A frustrated cry burst from Shawn’s throat. “I don’t get it.” He kicked at another chair, frustration and confusion flaming behind his eyelids as his fists pulled at the sturdy fabric of his skirt. “You don’t want me to cower, do you?”
“No. I want you to use all that anger you’re feeling right now.”
“Fuck you!” Shawn whirled on him, dropping his handfuls of cloth to curl his fingers into claws. “You told me not to bite her head off.”
Roscoe’s eyes blazed as he faced Shawn from just a few paces away. When had he taken off the glasses? “You’re a woman and she’s a soldier.”
Shawn thumped his own chest. “This is Beatrice. She’s one of Shakespeare’s biggest bitches. Soldier or not, she’d kick him in the balls.”
“Not true.” Roscoe advanced, shoulders hunched slightly like a stalking predator. “She’d kick another man in the balls. She wouldn’t kick Benedick. She loves him. You’re about to say that.”
Shawn set his feet apart, skirt whirling as he snapped his hands up to his head and let out a loud, frustrated scream. “I don’t get what you want!” He tore at his hair. “First you tell me to be softer, then you tell me to be angry, what the fuck…?”
Strong hands gripped his arms. Instinctively, he reared back, lashing out, but Roscoe was a lot quicker than Shawn would have suspected. With humiliating ease, Roscoe spun Shawn around, pinning back to chest, steely arms banded around Shawn’s chest and arms, restraining him. Holy shit, he’d never realized just how big Roscoe was.
“I want you to feel helpless,” Roscoe hissed in his ear, pressing his weight against Shawn’s back, straining the smaller man’s knees.
Shawn froze, staring blindly at the dusty floor beneath his feet, overcome by Roscoe’s heat. The man stood more than a head taller and he was far more muscular than he looked.
“I want you to know deep in your heart that no matter what you do, no matter how hard you fight-” he gave Shawn a hard shake for emphasis, “-no matter how much you rant, you’re never going to win. You’re never going to overcome. You can’t. You’re helpless. You’re physically ineffectual. That’s Beatrice’s tragedy and that’s her burden to bear. She has the will of a lion in the body of a lamb.”
To his horror, Shawn realized he was shaking. He wasn’t scared. Not exactly. But Roscoe had him trapped. It was as exhilarating as it was frightening. He let his body sag a little, making himself heavy. Roscoe tightened his grip, fully supporting Shawn’s weight. Easily supporting him.
Roscoe spoke into his ear, tone harsh as a leather belt closing around Shawn’s neck. “She knows Benedick probably won’t hurt her, but they both know he can. And without much effort on his part. She knows that if he did, he’d probably get away with it.” Leaving one arm around Shawn’s torso to support him, Roscoe slid the other hand up and around to the back of Shawn’s head to grip a handful of hair. Ruthlessly, he tore at it, twisting Shawn’s head around so they were almost face-to-face. The muscles of Shawn’s neck strained. “You. Are. Helpless. And you hate it. You will rail against it. But it’s a fundamental fact that you must accept.”
Shawn swallowed, overwhelmed by Roscoe’s strength, his nearness. The man’s dark, spicy scent surrounded him, as tangible as his arms and grip. Roscoe was all around him, pressed against him.
Black eyes bore into his from underneath half-lowered lids. “You get it now?”