They stood facing each other in Raleigh’s trailer. Chuck folded his arms and glared at him. He had begrudgingly agreed to a private rehearsal session because Pentecost would, as he put it, ‘throw them out on their asses if they didn’t get their act together.’ They both knew that he was a man of his word. Chuck wasn’t about to give up a career changing role because of the arsehole standing in front of him.
“It’s just a kiss.” Chuck reasoned. “We’ve both done it hundreds of times before.”
“Right.” Raleigh nodded in agreement.” “We do this for a living. It’s not hard.”
“Right, no different from any other job.”
“We can do this.”
“Could you stop saying right?”
“Righ– sorry.” Raleigh rubbed the back of his neck. “I have no issue with kissing guys. You’re not my first you know.”
Chuck frowned. He’d seen all of Raleigh’s movies – a fact that he would deny until the day he died – but he couldn’t recall him getting hot and heavy with another man on screen. Oh, he thought, when it finally clicked.
“What? You’re…? But I thought you and Mori were…?”
“Publicity stunt.” Raleigh shrugged. “Gossip magazines eat that shit up. Boosted ticket sales. I never confirmed any of those rumours.”
“You do remember that we pretend to be other people for a living, right?”
“Shut up. Are we doing this or not?”
“Fuck, let’s just get this over with.”
“Don’t worry.” Raleigh smirked. “I’ll be gentle.”
“Do you want me to kiss you or punch you, Becket?”
“Sorry.” Raleigh held his hands up in surrender and exhaled. “Okay, let’s do this.”
Chuck went to take a step forward but stopped himself when he caught Raleigh attempting the same thing. They both stared at each other. When Raleigh raised his eyebrows at him, Chuck surged forward, grabbed a fistful of his shirt and pulled him in close enough that their noses brushed. Damn, Chuck thought, what kind of cologne was that? It smelled good.
Raleigh smirked. “You looking to kiss me or start a fight?”
“Still haven’t quite decided yet, mate.”
“Let me help you out with that.”
Raleigh placed his hands on either side of Chuck’s face and guided him forward until their lips met. The kiss was soft, slow and tender. Chuck’s grip on Raleigh’s shirt tightened.
It was like someone had found a switch on Chuck and flipped it off. The instant their lips connected all insults and smart comments died before they could take form. And just as quickly that switch was flipped back on and he was reeling as his mind rebooted and struggled to process. Raleigh’s lips were so much softer than they looked. Shit, he thought, he was making out with Raleigh Becket.
Chuck had made out with a lot of women who ranged from clumsy beginners to masterful experts, but kissing Raleigh was an experience in itself. He found himself hungrier for more and the kiss became sloppier. It felt as if every kiss in his life so far had been practice and this was the real thing at last; what he’d been waiting for. Raleigh tugged slightly on his bottom lip with his teeth and Chuck fought the urge to moan. Shit, he thought again, he was making out with Raleigh Becket.
When they pulled apart Chuck’s face was red and he took a sharp intake of air he hadn’t realised he had desperately needed. He stared at the hands that still clutched at Raleigh’s shirt. The only sound in the trailer was that of their panting as they fought to regain control of their breathing.
Raleigh cleared his throat. “Well…that was…”
Like a punch in the face the reality of the situation came rushing back. Chuck wasn’t the star struck teenager who hero worshipped the Hollywood legend that was Raleigh Becket anymore. He was the heartthrob bad boy who the media loved and the paparazzi stalked. They were the rival actors pitted against each other for every major role and talked shit about each other in interviews. And Raleigh wasn’t that good of an actor to convince Chuck of anything else.
“You call that a kiss, Becket?” He sneered and released his grip. “We’re gonna need a lot more practice if you have a hope of making that performance look convincing.”
“Is that so?” Raleigh’s voice was low. “Well, I’m all about rehearsing 'till I get it just right.”
Chuck trembled. He could feel Raleigh’s breath on his lips, but when he moved in again Chuck took a step back. The trailer felt so small. Raleigh was too close.
“Woah there, let’s not get ahead of ourselves now.” Chuck eyes darted around the trailer, looking in every direction but Raleigh’s. “Don’t want you falling for my good looks and charm.”
“That’s enough for today.”
He shouldered past Raleigh and practically fell out of the trailer. He didn’t look back. He didn’t see Raleigh watch him go from the doorway. He didn’t see his face fall into hurt and then confusion.