• 5.0 ~ There's something new
`STAGE DOOR´ Harry has been staring at the otherwise unremarkable black door for at least two solid minutes now. He knows, right, that he shouldn't be intimidated to open the door and go inside. He's a production crew member, for Christ's sake, he's supposed to open the door and go inside. Telling himself this doesn't seem to be making much of a difference, so far, but Harry has always considered himself an optimist. He keeps staring at the door, willing himself to take the plunge and walk inside. Before he can work up the nerve, a hand darts past him and grabs the door handle assuredly, pulling it out and forcing Harry to jump back in surprise.
"Sorry, mate," the boy attached to the hand says pleasantly. He looks about Harry's age, maybe a bit older, with blond hair that Harry suspects is dyed and an open smile. "Here for Scoundrels, then?"
"Er, yeah, guess so," Harry mumbles. The stranger holds the door open and gestures for Harry to go through, then follows him into the narrow hallway behind the door. Harry can't fucking believe he's actually inside the Savoy Theatre and without having managed to open the door himself. He looks around a bit, somewhat disappointed that it pretty much looks like a hallway.
"First show in the West End?" Harry looks back at his door-opener.
"How could you tell?" The boy laughs.
"I had about the same look on my face my first time. Bit scary, innit."
"A bit, yeah," Harry admits. "Never done anything quite like it before."
"I'm sure you'll get the hang of it," the stranger tells him confidently. "I'm Niall, Niall Horan. One of the Assistant Stage Managers, so if you have trouble getting adjusted or finding anything, just come to me and I'll help you out." He's already proving true, steering Harry adeptly through the passageways of the backstage.
"Thanks, mate. I'm Harry. One of the dressers." Niall's eyes widen a bit.
"Ah, so you'll be working for our lovely Wardrobe Supervisor. Cheers, mate, best of luck to you." Harry can't be bothered to question Niall's reaction, because they've just got to the stage. Like, a proper West End stage. With lights, and seats because in just over two weeks, an audience is going to be in them. Harry's throat feels a bit dry. He cautiously makes his way onto the stage, still feeling rather unworthy and it's not like Harry isn't prepared for this job, right. He didn't slave over his Costume degree from Wimbledon for three years (and get honours) for nothing. But this - this is a big leap from the student productions that he's used to designing for, and even from the smaller, community theatre-esque productions where Harry served as Wardrobe Manager a couple of times. It's the fucking West End, and Harry still just can't quite believe he's there.
"Right, then," an older man at the end of the stage says, clapping his hands twice. The fifty-odd people milling about the stage instantly silence and turn towards him, so Harry follows their lead, trying to stay near to Niall. The man who clapped is broad shouldered, with black hair just beginning to have some salt and pepper streaks in it. Quite fit for an older guy, really. The man clears his throat and continues.
"Hopefully you're all actually here for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels--if you're still hoping to find Let It Be, we've taken over and you're out of luck. For those of you who don't know me, I'm Ben Winston, Technical Director for this production. Meaning that for the duration of your employment here, I am both your visionary and your taskmaster. I'm very pleased with the work that's been done so far by our technicians, so for those of you who are just joining us today, you're joining a stellar team. Just keep up the good work and all should be fine." Well. That sounds a bit intimidating as well, as far as Harry's concerned, but perhaps it will be fine. He saw that Niall started to glow a bit when Winston mentioned the crew being a stellar team, so at least he's praising people.
"Right," Winston continues. "Dressers, you're the largest contingent starting today, so if you could all follow your new supervisor, our lovely Costume Manager, Caroline Watson, she'll sort you out." A woman who must be their new boss stands and makes a beckoning motion at no one in particular. Harry had actually been interviewed by the Stage Manager, a pleasant bloke in his forties called Paul, rather than Caroline, so this is his first time seeing her. She's a slight woman, with dark skin, long hair, and a mouth set in a straight line screaming that she means business. Harry quickly moves to the edge of the stage where she's hovering (stage right, he reminds himself), giving Niall a half wave goodbye. Six or seven other people are also making their way towards Caroline, and Harry feels a bit awed. Like, he knew Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was a fairly major production, but he hadn't realized how many dressers it necessitated. Lots, it seems.
Caroline waits until they've all accumulated into a blob in front of her before saying brusquely.
"Right, onto the costume shop, then." She takes off at a remarkably rapid pace considering her five inch heels, the rest of them following the clacking noise through the narrow corridors. Harry feels as though his heart might beat right out of his chest. A real West End costume shop. Only what he's been training throughout uni to reach. Caroline opens the door, and one by one they walk inside, Harry towards the back of the pack and well. It's a bit disappointing, if Harry's being totally honest with himself. Not really any bigger than the one at school, and no busy hive of people sewing anything. No one’s in there at all, actually. Though that makes sense, he reminds himself, as the costumes really ought to be complete at this point for the cast to put them on starting Monday.
"Gather round, everyone," Caroline says a bit impatiently, gesturing the group into the center of the room.
"As you know, I'm Caroline Watson, costume manager and your direct supervisor. I've developed the tracks for each of the dressers that you'll follow throughout the show in consultation with our stage manager Paul, so we're going to get started on you learning those pretty much straightaway. I'm assuming you've all read the copies of the libretto that were supplied to you?" Everyone nods in unison, but Harry notices that a couple look a bit shifty eyed.
"Good, then. Why don't you all introduce yourselves, then? You, start," she says, pointing shit at Harry.
"Um, hey," Harry draws the words out a bit as he tries to figure out what to say. "I'm Harry Styles. I just finished at Wimbledon, so this is my first proper job. I'm quite looking forward to it?" He finishes with a big smile, hoping that it'll charm her. Caroline seems to be satisfied, since she just moves on to the next person. Harry tries hard to keep everybody's names straight, but he knows even as he's doing it that he's fighting a losing battle. He knows for sure that the bloke with short brown hair and stubble who looks like he frequents the gym is Liam, and that the tiny girl with big eyes is Jade, but beyond that it's all a bit of a blur.
"Excellent, everyone, glad to have you," Caroline tells them once everyone has gone. "So that you all know, Liam's worked for me before and you can consider him a bit of a head dresser. Don't worry, it's not an official role, but definitely make sure to consult him first with any immediate problems, as I probably won't be in the actual wings." Liam stands up a bit straighter and looks distinctly pleased with himself.
"So Liam already knows his track, then, dressing Mr Lindsay, who’s playing Lawrence. Mr Lindsay is a very distinguished actor, so I’m trusting you here, Liam.”
“I won’t let you down,” Liam tells her earnestly. Harry considers himself a pretty earnest person, on the whole, but he’s clearly got nothing on this guy. Caroline looks strongly like she is refraining from rolling her eyes.
“Cheers, Liam. So, tracks for the rest of you. I’ll be letting you know what your role during the show will be now, and then we’re going to spend today and tomorrow walking you through it over and over. You can practice your track on your own this weekend, and by Monday you should have it memorized and ready for the actors to arrive.” The dressers all look at each other a bit nervously. Harry wholeheartedly includes himself in this nervousness. He has to be totally ready by Monday?
“Styles,” Caroline says while Harry’s still lost in thought, causing him to jump a little. “You’ll be dressing the character Freddy, played by Mr Tomlinson.” Harry’s mouth goes completely dry in an instant, causing him to make a weird choking noise that clearly alarms Caroline. “Everything okay, Styles?” she asks. After coughing for a moment he manages to say.
“Uh. Yes. So that’s - that’s Louis Tomlinson, yeah?”
“Yes,” Caroline says slowly, as though Harry’s a bit dim. “Louis Tomlinson. Playing Freddy.”
“He doesn’t - he doesn’t have a personal dresser?” Caroline looks a bit less confused, then.
“Ah. Well, normally he does have someone that he requests, but his previous dresser has just started another job. Paul felt that you’d be a good personality match as a replacement. Don’t worry, I’ll be giving you plenty of additional support, I know it’s your first show, we’re not just going to totally throw you under the bus.” Harry is breathing a bit more easily now and gives Caroline a nod and a smile, though he does feel somewhat lightheaded. Louis Tomlinson. Good god. Like, Harry obviously knew that Louis Tomlinson was working on this production, but he never dreamed that they’d entrust a kid fresh out of uni with dressing him. For Christ’s sake, Tomlinson is only twenty-eight and he’s already won a fucking Olivier award. He’s been in at least five major West End productions already, and gotten positive notices every time, even when the production itself was reviewed poorly. As one review that Harry may or may not have nearly memorized says.
“Louis Tomlinson is definitively the future of the London theatre scene.” Who is Harry to be even in his presence, much less. Oh Christ. As his dresser, it is now literally Harry’s job description to touch Louis Tomlinson. Sometimes in fairly inappropriate places. Harry can’t decide whether this is the best thing that’s ever happened to him or the worst.
By Monday morning, Harry has decided. This is the worst thing that’s ever happened to him. On the bright side, he’s progressed somewhat from the previous week. He’s easily able to make it through the stage door now and say hello to Niall as he goes. The stage door is no problem, and neither is the costume shop where Harry is required to sign in with Caroline to begin his day. It’s just that there’s a new door that he can’t bring himself to go into, now is the dressing room marked with `LOUIS TOMLINSON.´ Loitering outside the door is ridiculous behavior, and Harry knows it, but Harry’s been proper obsessed with Louis Tomlinson for the last three years. He’s seen every fucking production the bloke’s been in since Harry arrived in London. He’s read Louis Tomlinson’s interviews with the arts pages of all the newspapers. He obsessively checked Twitter throughout the 2013 Oliviers ceremony for Louis Tomlinson’s win, and forced all of his friends to be completely silent through the ITV broadcast of the ceremony highlights just in case Louis Tomlinson came back and said something else. He’s also wanked to Louis Tomlinson’s performance of “Wilkommen” from Cabaret (he was the Emcee) at the Olivier Awards multiple times, so, like. There’s that. In short, Harry’s feeling a bit like he’s going to pass out. The letters reading `LOUIS TOMLINSON´ seem to be almost growing, becoming larger as if they’re preparing to claw their way into his brain. Harry shakes his head brusquely, trying to ignore his squirming stomach. Right. This is his job. He has to do it. Louis Tomlinson is just another person. Just another really fucking fit, incredibly talented person.
Harry squares up his shoulders, summons all of his inner strength, turns the door’s handle and flings it open forcefully as he strides into the room.
“Ow!” comes a sharp shout from behind the door, and then Louis Tomlinson emerges. Harry just hit Louis Tomlinson with the door. He freezes, and evidently his brain has frozen as well, since all he can get out of his mouth is a weak.
“Oops?” Louis Tomlinson is in front of him. In the flesh. God, he’s even more attractive in person. Who let him wear such tight trousers? It should be illegal for Harry to have such a clear vision of Louis Tomlinson’s thighs, Jesus.
“Hi,” Louis Fucking Tomlinson says, sounding a bit confused. Harry notices imagines? What is even real right now? Louis slowly checking Harry out, top to bottom.
“Er--are you in the right room?”
“Yes,” Harry mumbles, looking at his feet to avoid looking at Louis and passing out from the way his forehead crinkles a little when he’s confused. This is not a particularly promising start to a new job. “Um. I’m Harry. Harry Styles. I’m your dresser.” And sod it all, the mussed yet perfectly sexy hairstyle that Harry has always assumed was due to some stylist’s genius seems to actually be the natural state of Louis Tomlinson’s hair. How is this fair? There is a short pause before Louis says.
“Ah.” He doesn’t continue. Harry wants to sink into the floor and die.
“Sorry about crashing into you?” he offers weakly.
“No worries, mate,” Louis Tomlinson says, and Harry really needs to stop thinking of him with both names. After another small awkward silence, Harry asks.
“So, is there anything I should know about your personal preferences for your dressers, Mr Tomlinson? Any duties outside of what Caroline would have told me that I’ll be expected to perform?” Louis’s face turns slightly red, though Harry can’t figure out what he said wrong. All of the professors back at uni talked a lot about how personal the dresser actor relationship is, and how much the role depends on what the actor wants from his dresser. Surely Louis knows that?
“Er. Can’t think of anything just now,” Louis says slowly. “And just call me Louis, really. I can’t possibly be older enough than you to warrant you calling me Mr Tomlinson.”
“Seven years,” Harry answers automatically, before turning red himself. Great. Now he doesn’t seem like a stalker at all. The good news is that Louis at least seems to be amused by this, judging by the broadening smile on his face.
“So you know how old I am.”
“Professional research,” Harry says with as much dignity as he can summon. “Standard in the industry.”
“If you’re only twenty-one,” Louis says curiously, “just how much experience do you actually have in the industry?” Harry can feel his blush deepening, but he keeps looking Louis in the eye. The absurdly beautiful, ocean blue, fuck everything eye.
“Well. This is my first proper job, but I was at uni for costume design before this. Wimbledon, at University of the Arts.”
“Impressive,” Louis says. He runs his eyes over Harry in a way that makes Harry feel as though his blush is spreading across his entire body. Get it together, Styles, he tells himself sternly. There’s no way that Louis Tomlinson is checking you out.
“Not as impressive as you,” Harry blurts out suddenly. God, he’s going to be fired for being a stalker by the end of the day at this rate. Louis smile continues to grow, giving him endearing little crinkles by his eyes. Harry, on the other hand, looks like a proper nutter, shifting his weight back and forth a bit and feeling a blush creep its way up the back of his neck.
“Er,” Harry says, hoping to recover, “so, like. Is it okay if I check your costumes, and all?”
“Wouldn’t want to stop you from doing your job,” Louis smirks. Harry moves nervously toward the rack of costumes while Louis takes a seat on the room’s overstuffed sofa. He’d really kind of been hoping that Louis had somewhere else to be, so that Harry wouldn’t have to do this with him here. Or at least, like, something else to do other than sit on the sofa and blatantly stare at Harry. He can see Louis out of the corner of his eye while he runs his hands over the costumes, and Louis isn’t even pretending to do anything other than stare. Mostly, it seems, at Harry’s bum. Well. Harry’s got a nice enough arse, and all, but nothing that warrants staring at in quite that manner. Especially if you are a major figure in the British theatre scene who has never commented one way or another on gender preferences. (Okay, Harry has googled Louis Tomlinson gay??? A time or two.)
“Where are you from, Harry?” Louis asks idly behind him. Harry starts before slowly swiveling to face him.
“Um. Cheshire, originally. Tiny town called Holmes Chapel. It’s quite nice.”
“D’ya miss it?”
“Some parts,” Harry shrugs, before deciding to go for broke. Fuck it, Louis has already been staring at his arse, no need to act shy. “Like, I worked in a bakery, which was fun, but I don’t miss the being closeted part.” Louis lets out an interested hum and sits up a bit straighter.
“Not a very welcoming place, then?” Smiling inwardly, Harry hedges.
“I don’t know that I’d say that, exactly. Just, like I suppose a lot of it was me not feeling ready. Too young, like.” Louis nods sagely.
“Quite scary, I’m sure. Moved here for uni, then?”
“Yeah, costume design, like I said. Not that I’m not hoping to be your dresser forever,” Harry says and risks a cheeky smile.
“Oi, how dare you imagine that there’s anything out there better than being my dresser!” Louis cries. Fortunately, just as Harry is running out of costumes to check over and is getting worried about what to do with his hands next, the PA system announces.
“Overture and beginners, please,” reminding Harry that he is in fact about to begin his first full run of a West End production. His hands feel a bit clammy.
“So, er,” Harry says while moving his hands stiffly between the costumes, “you’re not a beginner, but it’s probably time for you to go ahead and get into your first costume, Mr Tomlinson. That’ll be this one, here.” Louis’s costumes make a neat progression throughout the show, from least tailored to most, which will make Harry’s job quite simple, thankfully. Louis is looking at Harry like he just grew a second head.
“Everything all right there?” he asks, even as he takes the costume from Harry and unceremoniously takes off his shirt. Jesus. If Harry had been all right before, he wasn’t, he certainly wasn’t now that he could see Louis Tomlinson’s bronzed and gorgeous torso, with just a small hint of a tummy sitting over his abs. Harry’s probably never going to stop wanking to images created at work. He’s resigning himself now.
“Er,” he says when he realises Louis is still waiting for a response, “yes.”
“You don’t look all right,” Louis points out, tragically pulling the hideous striped shirt on over his head and removing his chest from Harry’s sight. Probably for the best, though. On the other hand, Louis instead starts removing his trousers, which may well be even more dangerous.
“I’m just, I’m nervous about the run,” Harry confesses. “Ms Watson’s a bit scary, and what if I cock it up? What if I don’t get you the right costume at the right time, or what if something rips and I can’t fix it fast enough?” Louis pauses, then, once he’s got his trousers off, comes over to Harry and puts a comforting hand on his shoulder. Louis Tomlinson is standing right next to Harry in just his pants. While touching him. Louis Tomlinson is touching him while he is very nearly naked. Harry realises suddenly that he may or may not be staring at Louis’s bulge, and quickly rips his gaze up to meet Louis’s. Who now looks more than a bit amused, while still retaining his concern.
“Harry. Nothing is going to be so wrong that you’ll get fired. Or even screamed at, probably. You know what you’re doing, and anyway, the whole reason we have technical rehearsals is to get these kinks worked out. Plus, it’s only our first technical rehearsal, so it’ll be stops and starts all day. Nothing will be fast enough for you to need to be worried.” Oh. Harry knew that. He’d just forgotten, with all that was happening. Like Louis Tomlinson turning out to be a real person, who is also very funny, and quite kind. He manages to take a deep breath, and feels a little calmer.
“Right. Sorry about, you know. Freaking out a bit.”
“No worries, Harry,” Louis tells him cheerfully, pivoting away to pull on the tragically oversize trousers for his first scene. “Part of the job, innit? We’re to calm each other down.”
“That sounds quite nice,” Harry says, a smile spreading over his face again. Louis moves close enough to Harry to pinch his cheek before focusing on his shoes.
“All part of that dresser actor bond, baby.” Harry basks in the glow of having a bond with Louis for a moment before noticing what he’s actually doing.
“Are you serious? You’re not going to wear socks with those shoes? Louis, that’s disgusting!” The ensuing argument and Harry’s ability to convince Louis that yes, socks are mandatory in all costumes and it’s unhygienic to suggest otherwise starts to convince Harry that maybe he’ll be okay at this dressing Louis Tomlinson thing after all.
Stukje 1 van deel 5, wat gaat het toch snel.
Deel 5 heeft maar 4 stukjes, dus tot 5.3.
Ik hoop wel dat jullie het leuk vinden.