“You want me to kiss him….where?” I stared at my director, hoping I’d somehow misunderstood his last-minute change to the script.
A look of exasperation crossed his face. “On the lips, of course. This is a family show, Kat. Remember?”
“Of course.” I nodded and fought to keep my breathing even as I rephrased my question. “I mean, where in the scene? Beginning, middle, or end? What’s my cue?”
“Oh.” A look of relief passed over Mark Wilson’s face as he sank into his director’s chair. “At the very end of the scene. Right after Jack says, ‘This has been a long time coming, Angie.’ At that point I want the two of you to kiss. On the lips. In a passionate but family-friendly way. PG, not PG-13.”
“Ah.” My gaze darted across the crowded studio to Scott Murphy, my love interest in the sitcom Stars Collide. He raked his fingers through that gorgeous, dark, wavy hair of his and flashed an encouraging smile. Apparently the idea of kissing me on camera hadn’t startled him. Why should I let it make me nervous? We’d both known for months this moment would come. And now that it had arrived, there would be no turning back. Kissing him --- whether it happened at the beginning, middle, or end of the scene --- was something the viewers had anticipated for three seasons. Ironically, I’d spent almost as long waiting, hoping, and praying for it myself.
Over the past two seasons, my off-screen friendship with Scott had morphed into something more, and I knew he felt the same. Still, we’d danced around each other for months, neither of us willing to open up and share our hearts. And now that the opportunity had finally presented itself, I felt like slinking back to my dressing room and diving under the makeup table. Would anyone notice if the show’s leading lady skipped out on the scene?
“Kiss him, Kat! Kiss him!” The voices of the youngest cast members rang out, and my cheeks grew warm as I realized the sitcom’s children had a vested interest in this too. They’d worked for two full seasons to push the characters of Jack and Angie together, after all. A kiss seemed inevitable, even to them.
Only now, it just seemed impossible. How could I kiss Scott, passionately or otherwise, with my heart in my throat? And how --- I gulped in air as I thought about it --- how could I kiss him when my feelings offstage were as strong as those my character Angie faced when the cameras were rolling? My heart did that crazy junior high flip-flop thing, and for a moment I thought I might faint. Squeezing my eyes shut, I invited the opportunity. If I hit the floor, we could probably avoid filming the scene altogether.
Nope. No such luck. After a few seconds of feigning dizziness, I realized I was as steady on my feet as ever. Opening my eyes, I contemplated my options. Now what?
From across the studio, Scott smiled again, offering me a glimmer of hope. Was that a “come hither” look in his eyes? Mm-hmm. A sense of peace flooded over me and I whispered a prayer of thanksgiving.
I can do this. I can do this. With the eyes of the masses watching, I took my place on the set, ready to begin filming. Scott continued to tease me with a smile. Oh yes, this certainly made things easier. His baby blues stared deep down into my soul, giving me the courage I needed.
At this point, everything began to move in slow motion. I heard the director yell, “Action!”
Managed to speak my opening lines, then listened for Scott’s impassioned response.
Watched as the cameras overhead swung near for the big moment.
Felt my heart race when Scott --- as the character of Jack --- took a step in my direction.
Heard him whisper those magic words: “This has been a long time coming, Angie.”
Sensed the studio audience members holding their breath.
Closed my eyes in anticipation.
Then, just as Scott swept me into his arms for that magical moment we’d all been waiting for…the power went out.
Studio B faded to black.
Excerpted from STARS COLLIDE: Backstage Pass, Book 1 © Copyright 2011 by Janice Thompson. Reprinted with permission by Revell. All rights reserved.