SEAN Glenn bolted out of the fire door, hiked his gleaming white toga above his knees, and sprinted hell-for-leather down the narrow street separating the Olympus soundstage from the neighboring building. He blew past a trolley carrying a load of passengers who had paid for a behind-the-scenes studio tour, and waved at the tourists. “Sorry, can’t stop. Gotta run!”
He heard a couple people say, “Hey, that was Eros,” before the sound of a heavy metal door clanking against the wall echoed down the passage. Sean slowed slightly and brushed a lock of red hair out of his eyes as he chanced a look over his shoulder. Damn, Dionysus was fast.
A tall black man in a pink toga stood in the doorway and pointed at him. “You’re a dead man, Glenn.” Sean expected Mike Mosley to be a little perturbed about his new costume. What he’d forgotten about Mike was that the man was faster than he looked. Sean had been a state-champion basketball player back in college. Mike had run track.
Sean made it to the corner before he caught a glimpse of his second victim. Caitlin Kelly, who played his love interest Psyche on the show, looked ready to kill him.
It had been a little more than a year since the first time Sean laid eyes on Caitlin. He and some friends were watching a charity volleyball match when she walked onto the court and caught his eye. Sean had promptly been warned off by Caitlin’s pseudo-big brother, as well as by his own friends. For her part, his playboy history had immediately put him out of the running for the good girl.
There was no doubt she was gorgeous; every man in the stands hoped she was as hot as her dark, sultry looks promised. Sean didn’t think about her brain until he learned she’d been struggling for a break in show business for the better part of a decade. It took strength and determination not to quit in this business. Caitlin’s stubbornness in going after what she wanted only made her more attractive to him.
Sean was thrilled to have another shot with her a few weeks later when Caitlin appeared on the set of Olympus in a limited three-episode appearance. Even better, she’d been cast as his character’s love interest, and he got to spend nearly a month working with her. Unfortunately, she didn’t seem to return his infatuation. Halfway into the show’s break between seasons three and four, the studio announced that Caitlin would be returning. Sean had used the time to come up with a new plan of attack. This stunt was his opening move to get her attention.
He stumbled when the sunlight hit her black hair, giving her a halo effect. She looked stunning in cotton-candy pink, and the incredible vision of her meant Sean couldn’t regret the prank, no matter how risky it was. That didn’t mean he was stupid enough to hang around. When he heard Caitlin shout, “Get him, Mike!” he took off again and headed for the soundstage’s main doors on the other side of the building. His co-conspirators were supposed to be ready to spring part two of their welcome.
Sean loved his job. He had never intended to get into show business. He considered it to be a fortunate life detour. His plan in college was to get into coaching, preferably basketball or another sport at any level. He’d needed the drama credit for his degree, which had led to a couple local commercials, which had later turned into a handful of national commercials, and a move out to Los Angeles from Wyoming. He did a few guest appearances and suddenly he was Eros, the Greek god of love. Nobody expected a cable drama like Olympus to hit as big as it did. Sean was stunned they’d made it to their fourth season. Now he got to do stuff like this and get paid for it.
Maybe not like this, exactly. He, Chris Peck and Nick Thurston, Zeus and Ares respectively, caused most of the trouble on set. Fortunately for the rest of the cast, they went after each other more often than they targeted anyone else. Today was special; they were initiating the two most recent additions to the cast. He had set up the joke. Everybody else was waiting for him at the main entrance for the punch line.
The entire cast and crew burst into applause as Mike and Caitlin caught him. “Welcome to Olympus! Watch your backs.”
Mike shook his fist good-naturedly at them. “Can I have my real wardrobe now? This is not my color,” he said.
Caitlin’s response shocked him to silence. She gave hugs to everybody, whatever she whispered into their ears making each of them smile or laugh. She left him for last.
She was a good six inches shorter than him, but she was taller than he expected. He glanced down and saw she’d made her sprint in sandals with two-inch heels, putting her at 5’10”. Her shoulder length black hair was wild after her run; the strands stuck to her face highlighted her cheekbones. The ruby-red lipstick she wore guaranteed he was paying attention to her lips when she grabbed his shoulders and pulled him down for a fast, hard kiss on his mouth. “Game on, cowboy,” she said.
* * * *
She’d been expecting something. After the stories her friend Sydney Richardson had shared about her boyfriend Chris’s pranks on the set, Caitlin Kelly knew she wouldn’t get away unscathed. Truth be told, she was impressed. The toga stunt was a pretty good joke.
She and Mike Mosley had both had guest roles on Olympus in previous years, but they were starting as permanent members this season. She’d been on guard at the table read where they went over the script for the first episode. Sean, Chris, Nick, and the rest of them had been utterly professional. They’d lulled her into a false sense of security. Then her wardrobe arrived and she was certain something was up.
She took the outfit to the trailer beside hers and knocked on the door. “What on earth is this?” she asked Glinda Crawford, who played Aphrodite.
The blonde opened the door to invite her in, dressed in her own pink toga. “Aren’t they hideous?” Glinda replied with a laugh.
“What was wrong with good old white?” Caitlin asked.
“Apparently they’re tired of having to deal with the color problem in post-production editing. I heard the material they used for the togas last year didn’t come out well on camera so they want to try this instead.”
Granted, while Glinda’s explanation had sounded weird, it wasn’t completely unbelievable. Depending on lighting and other factors, blue could look white on screen, purple showed up as red, and green turned invisible.
Besides, the two of them weren’t the only ones with the new wardrobe. Caitlin turned when Glinda waved out the window to Chris, who was holding a similar outfit at arm’s length. She couldn’t hear him, but it looked like he was cursing up a storm. “I guess I’d better get changed then. We’re due on set in ten minutes,” Caitlin said.
“I need to finish getting ready too. See you there.”
Glinda smiled when she kicked her out. Caitlin thought nothing of it since the actress was always smiling. Caitlin buttoned herself into the costume and headed to the soundstage. She ran into Mike on the way. They snickered when they saw each other. She and Mike ignored the stares from the crew as they walked in. They had no idea they’d been thoroughly punked until they arrived at the set of Olympus’s banquet hall and found the rest of the cast decked out in regular white togas.
Sean stepped forward. Caitlin should have known. His reputation as a prankster was only beaten by his history as a ladies’ man. It was a shame because he was a good-looking man. Caitlin couldn’t understand why some women dismissed gingers; redheads were sexy as hell, even if one of them did set her up as part of a public spectacle. “Did you guys fall into a vat of Pepto Bismol or what?” he asked, not even trying to keep a straight face.
And that’s, as they say, when the fight started.