Title: “Back Stage: Act II, Chapter 1”
Rating: M, for later adult content.
Spoilers/Disclaimers: Torchwood belongs to the BBC and RTD- I’m just borrowing the characters. I own nothing here, nor do I make any money- so please don’t prosecute!
Synopsis: Torchwood characters in a story set in the world of UK Theatre/ Entertainment.
A/N: We’ve reached Act II and hopefully this is the last of the wordy chapters, but start of the reunion that readers have been waiting for!
Chapter List: http://wanda1969.livejournal.com/23796.html
Sitting at the small dining table, Jack looked out of the window of his temporary home and across the blue-grey of Cardiff Bay and sipped at a cup of distinctly average cup of instant coffee. Setting out in the early hours, he had driven up from London the day before in his ‘good as new’ Audi TT, a recent (and rather extravagant, Jack thought) purchase that he’d been cajoled into buying by Martha, who was of the opinion that a car would be handy for the occasional overnight gig and would also save a fortune in taxis and trains. She was only right about the car’s handiness; so far it had seemed to have cost him at least twice as much in parking permits and fees, insurance and road tax. Still, he had to agree it made life easier- he had been able to pack more than twice as much luggage and possessions into the car as he would usually take on a long job like the Torchwood musical, and he’d been able to nip out as soon as he’d unloaded the boot, to buy in some essentials- like the God awful coffee he was currently drinking.
As he tucked into a slice of toast and hummous (it had seemed like a good idea at the time) and thought about his schedule for the day: finish breakfast, read through a few e-mails on his laptop, have another quick practice of a few of the songs and then make his way to the Cardiff Grand for his one o’clock production meeting for ‘Torchwood: The Musical’.
The last year had flown by. In between a dizzying number of guest appearances on the TV, he’d been gigging around the country to packed houses with Ruthie Henderson with the Hartman production “The Greatest Hits of the West End”. Whenever he had a free moment, he was to be found meeting with Steve Morgan and Matthias Goldman, the composer and Musical director for the show, thrashing out the script and whittling away at the large list of songs, both original and popular hits. Some time in the late Summer, Adam Smith was appointed the Stage Manager for the show, so smoothly had the previous year’s Pantomime run, and he started to join the trio for their gatherings whenever his work allowed.
Throughout the process of refining Steve’s script and Matthias’ music, Jack steadfastly fought the urge to check on whether Ianto would still be at the Grand by the time he arrived for the rehearsals and première of the musical. By the Autumn, when Steve and Matt returned from a production meeting in Cardiff, Jack could not help but ask how everything had gone. He had been surprised to hear that the Tech Manager would be designing the lighting- he remembered meeting Archie, and really didn’t think that the older man would have the required enthusiasm and Technical expertise for the task and was quick to express his concern. He was even more surprised- as well as relieved- to find out that the Technical Manager was one Ianto Jones. At least the lighting was going to be in good hands. And he looked forward to seeing the other man, and not just because he fancied him; Jack had long since realised that he didn’t stand a chance with Ianto and he hoped they could renew their friendship in spite of his behaviour at that party. Over the last year he’d escorted more than his fair share of fellow celebrities to first night openings and ‘A list’ parties, and he had more offers of everything from dinner out to no strings attached sex than he could remember, but, still, he couldn’t get Ianto out of his head, and as each potential suitress or suitor fell by the wayside, he told himself that he was simply focussing on his increasingly successful career.
Waiting behind the young, and rather flustered, work experience girl who had insisted on showing him up to the meeting room from the Stage Door, even when he’d told her he was fairly sure that he remembered the way- he really hadn’t wanted her to be any more agitated than she already was- Jack composed himself for the inevitable meeting with Ianto. She knocked at the door before hurriedly announcing the new arrival and scuttling away, a blush on her cheeks.
Jack looked into the room and realised that he was the last arrival; all seats around the table, neatly set out with a steaming pot of coffee and a jug of water, complete with cups, a few glasses and milk and sugar, were full save for one in between Steve and Adam Smith. As he made for the empty seat and Adam and the rest of the attendees greeted him with ‘hellos’.
“Hi guys...Sorry, I seem to be a bit late,” he said looking at his watch uncertainly. It was quite definitely five to one. He flashed the assembled faces one of his best celebrity grins. Although Ianto appeared slightly nervous, he was pleased to see that the young man didn’t avert his eyes as they met Jack’s briefly.
“Don’t worry, Jack, it’s just that we’re all early,” Adam smiled. “Go on, take a seat and grab a drink, before we start.”
As Jack poured himself a glass of water, Adam continued. “I think most of us know each other, but let’s have some introductions anyway. I’m Adam Smith and I’m going to be the Stage Manager on this show.” They continued around the table clockwise and as soon as he’d introduced himself, Jack took an opportunity to properly take in his Cardiff colleagues: Toshiko, still pretty but reserved as ever, Owen and his barbed but laid back persona- until he had to order the performers around. Lastly he focussed on Ianto. The last year had changed him, and for the better. In only twelve months or so gone was the skinny Technician; he’d filled out a little and seemed to exude more confidence, although Jack saw that confidence waver a little as Ianto looked up and briefly met his eyes with a hesitant smile. Ianto looked away, and Jack couldn’t help but stare at the man as discreetly as possible. A suit jacket was slung over the back of his chair, and Ianto/ the Welshman wore a matching waistcoat and a dark blue shirt, which only emphasised the man’s pale Cambrian skin and the lighter blue of his eyes, sleeves rolled up showing off the muscles and sinews of his forearms, and revealing a light covering of dark hairs. Jack’s gaze settled on the elegant fingers- strong but slender- which played with the edges of the note papers in front of him. No wedding ring- well, that seemed to imply that he hadn’t yet tied the knot with Lisa. Not that that meant anything if Ianto wasn’t the type to wear such a symbol of matrimony. And he was at work. A ring could be a hazard in this business, catching on the rigging or lantern clamps and other equipment... Not that Jack needed to worry about Ianto’s marital status; after the last time they had met, it was plain that the young man had no interest in him that way.
Nevertheless, Ianto was delectable, and possibly even more so since their last meeting.
“...Ianto Jones, Lighting Engineer for the production and Cardiff Grand’s Technical Manager...”
Just when Jack didn’t think that Ianto could be any more appealing, the other man’s accent, full of those beautiful vowels, raised his attraction to an even higher level, sending an involuntary shiver through his body. Although Ianto had been in Jack’s thoughts on many an occasion throughout the long months since they had last seen each other, he had forgotten just how much the other man’s accent could affect him This production was going to be more difficult than he had thought.
Adam was launching into the meeting’s agendum, and Jack hurriedly grabbed his show notes from the small bag that he’d brought. He knew it was time to concentrate on the job at hand, rather than thinking over his past mistakes or ‘what could have beens’.
He tried to give his full attention to the meeting, every now and again letting his gaze wander towards the young Welshman across the table.
The meeting had gone surprisingly well. The Hartman team were unexpectedly well prepared, and they had loved Ianto’s final Lighting designs, Owen’s staging solutions and Tosh’s ideas for the Sound. Seeing Jack again had been a bit of a worry, but the actor had behaved as professionally as Ianto had known he would. And he hadn’t even seemed to have noticed that the young Manager had been unable to stop his eyes straying towards the other man when he knew that he wasn’t looking. Since they’d last seen each other, Jack had become an almost unreal and fantastical figure in Ianto’s imagination; in the flesh, he was clearly real, and better looking than he had recollected, or looked on television. And seeing him in person his stomach churned and his heart sped up just like- he cursed himself and prayed it wasn’t noticeable- a lovesick teenager with a crush on their favourite Hollywood star.
At five o’clock, after a lengthy and exhausting afternoon, Adam checked his watch and declared that they must all be thirsty. “How about a pint to wind down? Just the one, remember the rest of the cast are arriving tonight and rehearsals start tomorrow.”
Owen was the first to agree, swiftly followed by the Ianto and the rest. Ianto had to work with Jack, and he figured he might as well start with a pint- that should at least ease them into their reacquaintance, and with other people around it wouldn’t be too uncomfortable.
They actually had two pints before they left the pub and the visit hadn’t been at all stressful; the conversation had been all about the production ahead and Jack hadn’t said anything remotely untoward or embarrassing. In fact, on the two occasions that Ianto had been outside for a cigarette (he was cutting down- he was- but certain situations, like meeting the celebrity he’d snogged last year, just called for a smoke), he’d felt peculiarly bereft and disappointed when Jack hadn’t joined him for some ‘fresh air’. That was, after all, how their friendship had begun, and how, with that kiss, it had ended. The poor man was probably too embarrassed to come out for a chat, if he’d noticed Ianto leave the pub at all.
To Be Continued...