“Call him, and I’ll try to stall.”
Mac nodded and walked purposefully away to use the phone. Deacon headed out to the vestibule and put on his broadest, most sincere smile, extending his hand.
“Mr…? I’m sorry, I don’t believe we’ve been introduced.”
He laid the Southern accent on thick. Like butter on a hog’s belly, his acting coach at Carnegie-Mellon had told him once.
“Mr. Irving, I’m a city inspector.” The older man looked grumpy and out of sorts.
“Deacon Stewart, I’m the technical director. You already met my foreman I believe?”
“Yeah, we’ve met.”
He sounded so uncongenial, Deacon guessed Mac and he had gone the rounds of hostility.
“He said you had a problem with our shed? I wasn’t aware I needed a permit for something to be erected in the parking lot. That being the case, I’ll certainly apply for one, and stop work on it immediately. Can you issue a temporary permit?”
Taken aback by the friendly attitude, Mr. Irving stopped blustering and thought that through. He was unused to people cooperating with him.
“You’ll still have to apply for the permit. I see no reason why it should be a problem.”
“Again, I apologize. We were unaware of the new rules, and thank you for straightening us out. Are the rest of our permits in order?”
Irving looked annoyed as if he’d dearly love to find a problem with something, but it was all correct. Right about that time Dino pulled up in his SUV. He hopped out of the door in his racquetball outfit, glittering with perspiration. His grin was artificial and insincere, to anyone who knew him well. To Mr. Irving, it was just the opposite.
“Mr. Irving! I’m sorry to keep you waiting, my secretary was a little remiss in passing on your message.”
“I didn’t call, Mr. Sawyer.” Irving looked embarrassed.
“Really?” He feigned puzzlement. “Deacon, were you aware Mr. Irving was coming by, so we could greet him properly?”
“No, sir. Was a surprise to me. I’m afraid we kept him waiting. Mr. Irving, may I get you some coffee?”
“Not to worry,” it was Kacy carrying a China tea service from the props. It had been hastily washed and prepared, Deacon hid a smile. “I just made a fresh pot. Nice and hot, Mr. Irving. That’s a lovely name. My grandpa’s first name was Irving. What’s your first name?” She was being coy and charming. Deacon could have kissed her on the spot.
“William! Oh, la! My daddy’s name is William! Such a fine upstanding name! May I call you William?”
“Oh, silly me! Miss Du Champs, but you may call me Hillary.”
She continued to charm Mr. William Irving for the next fifteen minutes, at the end of which time, he no longer required a permit for the shed, and said he’d be sure to stop by later in the week to see how far they had gotten.
“Do let me know in advance, won’t you? I’ll make more coffee and maybe a few of those lovely tea cakes, my mum taught me to bake, when I was a girl.” She batted her eyelashes and behaved in a most abominable fashion, but it served its purpose, to rid them of William Irving’s presence.
As he was taking his leave, Mr. Irving took her hand gently in his and kissed it. “Delighted to meet you, Hillary. Au revoir.”
“Farewell, parting is such sweet sorrow.” She waved from the door until he was gone and turned around to gauge her performance with the others. “Well?”
Dino raised an eyebrow. “I am not sure how Mr. Irving contained himself, Kacy. That was the most subtly provocative performance, it has ever been my privilege to witness.”
“It sure was! Is your daddy’s name really William?” Deacon asked.
“Of course not,” she giggled. “His name’s Geoffrey. The dog’s name is William.”
Dino was still laughing as he drove away.
Deacon added softly, when Dino had gone. “God, that made me hot, Kacy. I can’t wait to get you home.”
Blushing, she took the coffee things away to clean them.
The rest of the day was predictable chaos, but manageable enough not to be too infuriating. Deacon’s leg was on fire by the end of the day; swollen, the skin drawn tight. Dr. Cooper, who dropped by after auditions, saw him limping and made him sit down in the nearest chair.
“You’re overdoing it, young man. What did I tell you to do?”
“You said take aspirin and keep off it.”
Coop looked at him levelly. He didn’t have to speak his reprimand.
“The aspirin I remembered.” Deacon took a bottle out of his pocket and showed it to the doctor.
“Keeping off it, was also part of the treatment. Aside from wandering around here all day, and doing more than you should, I hesitate to ask what else you’ve been up to.” He winked, with a sidelong glance at Kacy who had just walked in the door. “Fine looking lady, though a bit of a temper.”
©2021 Dellani Oakes