"You look like you're ready to scratch some eyes out," Kerry commented as he held the back door of the theater open for Marcia.
She took a deep breath, thanked him, and then said, "Someone broke into the Galleria last night. Casey says they only took a few items but they were all antique and very expensive."
"Damn. Is he insured?"
"Of course," she replied tartly, apologizing seconds later for her tone of voice. "He's upset so of course I am too."
"You could always put on your detective hat and find the thief." Kerry knew she ran her own small private investigation agency during the day.
Marcia rolled her eyes. "The police are handling it," she told him, mimicking the voice of the detective in charge perfectly.
"So? That doesn't mean you can't do your own sleuthing."
"Casey would kill me," she said, but her face lit up at that idea.
They were at the dressing room doors as he said, "I can be Watson to your Holmes."
Looking up at him she asked, "Since when do you know anything about crime investigation?"
"I don't," he admitted, "but I'm a quick study, easily trainable, and since I'm between day jobs I'm bored."
Marcia laughed. "So if I say 'heel' you'll heel, and if I tell you to roll over you will?"
Kerry snorted in amusement. "What's with you women? I had another one say about the same thing to me a few days ago."
"It's your puppy-dog look," she replied, patting his arm. "I'll think about it but right now we've got a show to prepare for."
He nodded before entering the men's dressing room, his thoughts flying to his brief encounter with the woman called Pia. He decided to go back to the bar where he'd met her, on the off-chance that she'd be there again.
* * * *
"Pia, il mio caro," the bouncer at the club's door said, literally sweeping her up into a big hug. "You need to grow taller," he said with a laugh as he put her down again.
"You say that every time," she replied, laughing as well. "Anything exciting happening?"
"You secret admirer is here." He nodded towards the end of the long bar.
"He's not so secret if you know he's an admirer, although I doubt he really is."
"You sure, Sweetness?" The bouncer grinned as she flipped him off before heading to only vacant seat left at the bar, which just happened to be right next to the man in question.
"Saving this for me?" she asked as she sat down, noting he pulled his feet off the rungs as soon as she had.
Kerry shrugged with a surprisingly shy smile. "I was hoping you might show up. May I buy you a drink?"
After studying him for a second, she nodded, asking for her usual when the bartender came over. Then she turned back to Kerry. "You really were waiting for me?"
"But shouldn't you be on stage emoting profound words for an admiring audience?"
"It's Monday, we're dark."
"Ah ha, that explains why I haven't seen you in a week. And here I thought you were immune to my charms."
"How could any man—" Kerry took a long pull on his beer, wondering if he looked as stupid and embarrassed as he was feeling at the moment.
"What happened to the brash actor who was playing knight errant just a week ago?" Pia asked with a smile.
"He spent the last few days hoping he didn't make an ass of himself if he saw you again," Kerry replied honestly. "It's been a long time since I had the time or the inclination to be interested in a woman and that sounds strange doesn't it."
"A little. May I ask a question?" When he nodded, she did. "Are you bi? I don't think under the circumstances that you're gay."
"No. Straight up straight, just lacking in social skills on the male/female front."
"With your looks and body I'm surprised. Have you ever tried being a—a character I guess you could say, to make things easier for you?" She sipped her drink as she watched his face, which had turned red at her compliment.
He nodded slightly. "I tried that a couple of times but the moment I stopped being the bash, forward man and showed the true 'me' the women decided they didn't want a phony and moved on."
"You're doing very well with being yourself tonight, other than that you're wound up tighter than a spring. So relax, Kerry, I promise I won't bite."
He chuckled. "To which I'm supposed to reply, 'Even if I ask you to'."
"If you're a pickup artist on the make, like you were trying to be last Monday, then yes. But I think you've moved past that now."
"That was rather stupid, wasn't it?"
"Let's just say my friend watching the door is still teasing me about the 'Sweetness' thing. So yeah, it was." Pia smiled, adding, "Quite honestly I like the real you better."