“From the stage that brought you Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre,” Allyn-a-Dale proclaims before the curtain, “here’s Ever On Word’s original talk show, Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell.”
The curtain rises, the studio audience applauds, and Will Scarlet himself walks smiling and waving onto the bright, cozy set.
“Hullo, everyone! Let’s jump right into it, shall we?” Leading by example, he hops into his armchair. “Allyn, who is our guest character today?”
As the guest enters from the other side of the stage, Allyn says, “Author Sarah Foster describers Jordan Palmer thus:
Jordan is fifteen but has felt like an adult for most of his life. He pretty much lives on his own because his mom is too busy to care. His friends call him “pretty boy,” because they’re not only jealous of his good looks, but of his popularity with all of the girls. He of course finds this hilarious because he has zero interest in girls, but telling his friends that he’s gay would only spoil the fun. Manipulating people is probably his favorite pastime. He knows how to cause trouble not only without getting caught, but without even being noticed.
“Welcome, Jordan!” Will greets the boy now seated across from him. “So glad you could join me. First things first, ‘pretty boy’ – you wouldn’t say you’re prettier than me, right?”
“Well…” *looks Will up and down* “How about we just agree that we’re both gorgeous and then we won’t have to fight about it?”
Will points to Jordan, grinning. “I like the way you think. Come to that, we may actually think a lot alike. Word is you like to play the trickster. Right up my alley, that! Of all the cons you’ve pulled, which is your favorite?”
“Oh, that is a tough one. Well, I did seduce a 28-year-old, but let’s face it, he wanted me anyway. My most elaborate plan was taking down my friend Brian at the end of freshman year. I got to kill two birds with one stone with that one because not only did I destroy him, but he outed me in the process. It was long overdue, honestly, but it was nice not having to lift a finger. Everyone hated him for it because he beat me up a few months before (loooooooong story). So I got to play the innocent victim while ruining his reputation, plus finally stop all these girls from hitting on me.”
“Efficient. So wait, absolutely none of your friends except Brian knew before that which team you swing for? What about your mom? Or your father, if he’s in the picture at all?”
“I’m the master of manipulation, baby. They weren’t gonna find out until I wanted them to. Here’s the thing—kissing girls doesn’t make me vomit or anything so I’ve been leading them on since I was about 8. They were all crazy about me so all of my friends just assumed I was a lady killer. And I was just fine with them being dead wrong. Mom doesn’t know the first thing about me because she’s way too busy working or screwing her boss. So she’s barely ever home. She had me when she was 15 so all she cares about is that I don’t follow in her footsteps and knock up a girl. Once again, dead wrong and so very amusing. I’ve never met my dad and don’t really care. Things are fine the way they are, really.”
“Well, given some fathers I’ve met – (*cough* Allyn’s *cough*) – you might well be better off, yeah. Of course, this last question’s been out and proud since the word ‘go’: Tell me, Jordan, what is your author Sarah’s biggest, deepest, darkest, most mortifying and/or hilarious secret?” His grin dazzles. “Or would you rather kiss me?”
“You mean I can’t do both?? Actually, Sarah doesn’t really have any juicy secrets, so I think the answer is pretty obvious. I just hope the audience can handle it. It may just be the hottest thing they’ve ever seen.”
Will laughs. “I’d like to think most of my kisses are face-scorching hot. Any audience members feeling delicate can skip down ’til Allyn comes in for the wrap-up; I won’t judge ‘em. Meanwhile, first onstage man-kiss coming up in three… two…”
Boom, right on the lips. And not entirely without tongue.
“Gotta love a milestone,” Will sighs contentedly, placing a parting peck on Jordan’s forehead. “Allyn, how ‘bout a word from our sponsor?”
“Today’s Kiss & Tell segment,” says Allyn, “was brought to you by ‘Uneven Lines’, the work in progress of Sarah Foster.
Everything is a game to Jordan, whether it’s letting his friends believe he likes girls or failing his geometry class just for the hell of it. That plan backfires when his clueless mother hires a math tutor. It’s not all bad, though—Tom is cute, shy, and easy to manipulate. He’s also nearly twice Jordan’s age, so when the two can’t deny their attraction to one another, he’s convinced nothing can happen. But Jordan is always up for a challenge. He devises a plan where they can both get what they want while still keeping the boundaries in place. For Jordan, it’s just another game. Eventually things get complicated and those boundaries bend until they break, and they don’t know what their relationship is anymore. Figuring out how the game should end may be impossible.
“Thank you, Allyn. Thanks to you as well, pretty boy,” Will says with a wink. “And thank you, my beautiful audience. Remember, authors – if your characters would like to appear on the show, simply follow the guidelines provided here, and we’ll get them on the schedule. ‘Til next time, lovelies: Scarlet out!”