"SETTLING DOWN"

A Queer As Folk USA "Folk Lore" FanFic

by Gaedhal

This is the Fifth Story in the "Folk Lore" series.
It is rated "R," mainly for langauge.
Disclaimer: Not Real. Just for Fun. This is MY imagining of what MAY have happened.

Go to the"Folk Lore" main page for the other stories in this series.

"All right, CUT!" yelled the director. "Randy -- if you please?" The man was beginning to sound exasperated. This was the fifth time he'd called for a halt in this vital scene because the youngest member of the main cast couldn't stop laughing.

It was only the second day of shooting and already they were beginning to film some of the explicit scenes that were going to set this new cable series apart from any other show on television, whether network or cable. And the director was trying to keep things light, especially in these early stages of shooting. But there was still a nervous undercurrent on the set. Both of his lead actors were relatively inexperienced to the medium, both having done almost all of their previous acting on stage. And then there was Randy's penchant for giggling.

"I'm sorry, Russell!" the young actor answered. And then he burst out into another fit of violent laughter. "I'm really, really sorry!" he gasped, finally stopping himself. He wiped at his eyes with the back of his hand, causing the make-up woman to rush over and check him for smears.

"Let's take a short break, shall we? Maybe a short breather with give us a little time to focus. Fifteen minutes, people!" the director called.

Gale, who was running his hands through his damp hair nervously, slipped on his robe and turned to go over and get a drink of water. This scene was hard enough as it was, but it seemed that every time he began kissing his young co-star, the guy started cracking up. And then that sent Gale himself into fits of laughter as well. Gale didn't think his romantic technique was THAT humorous!

But then the director motioned Gale over. "I know everyone is a little nervous these first couple of days shooting a new show and I'm trying to keep things upbeat. But I'm on a really tight schedule here, Gale, and we're never going to get through this scene if you two don't settle down a bit," said the director firmly.

"If WE don't settle down?" said Gale. Jesus, he thought. This is my first lead role. I'm nervous as Hell and need a cigarette so badly I'm ready to scream. I'm standing around all morning wet and stark naked in a drafty fucking barn of a studio in Toronto. And now I have to 'settle down' because some KID can't stop laughing? And because now he's making ME laugh, too? That's what Gale wanted to say to the director. What he actually said was, "Yes, I know. Right. We need to settle down."

Shit!

"I mean it, Gale," the director confided. "This is very important. The whole pilot of this series hinges on this relationship -- and this scene in particular. If people don't believe it -- or if they laugh at it -- then we are fucked! Do you understand?"

"Yes, Russell. I understand." Gale ran his hand through his hair again compulsively. In a few minutes they were going to have to drench him with water again. He was going to catch pneumonia his first week on the show!

"Good. Now see what you can do to settle Randy down," the director ordered. "I have no idea what's wrong with him. He's really a professional and he's done scenes like this before on stage where he was nude and having sex. And he's fully dressed in this scene, so I don't understand why he's losing focus this morning. And we have an even harder scene this afternoon, so we HAVE to get this one down and move on."

"It IS only the second day of the shoot, you know," Gale pointed out to the increasingly impatient man. "The two of us hardly know each other... and it's a pretty intense situation. I mean, maybe it's just his natural embarrassment?" Because I know I'm pretty fucking embarrassed, thought Gale, as he pulled his robe a little tighter over his dick. Yeah, they taped that sock thing onto him, but it was still ridiculous! No wonder they both couldn't stop laughing! He might as well be completely naked in the middle of Grand Central Station!

"Please talk to him a little. Put the kid at ease. See what you can do," said the director, patting Gale on the shoulder and then heading over to the catering table to get a donut.

Right, thought Gale, and who is going to put ME at ease? The actor tried hard not to think about what they were going to have to shoot later in the day. About what body parts were going to show and where his face was going to be! He glanced over at his young co-star, sitting in the corner. Sure! And no donuts for ME, either, he also thought, casting his eyes over at the table where the crew were stuffing their faces. Every donut I eat from now on will show up on my ass like a truck tire! And when you are going to be nude in EVERY fucking episode... well....

Gale walked over to the side of the set, where Randy was slumped in a canvas chair, flipping absently through his script.

"Hey," said Gale, smiling shyly at his co-star.

The young actor looked up and smiled. "Hey yourself." He was wearing baggy jeans and a tee shirt with a plaid shirt over it, his blond hair cut short and sticking up in little tufts in the front. And those sneakers like a little kid would wear. He looked about 12 years old.

Gale plopped himself down in the chair next to his co-star and leaned over to him. "So, Randy... what is it about my ass that is so fucking hilarious?"

Randy turned and stared at the other man, his mouth open. "Are you kidding? I'm not laughing AT you, Gale! Really, I'm not!"

"Well, it kind of feels that way," Gale replied. "Especially when I'm, well, buck naked and standing there, my arms open wide in invitation -- and instead of being driven wild with lustful desire for my body, you're laughing your fucking head off! It isn't a big confidence-builder, especially when I'm pretty new at all this shit."

"But I'm NOT!" Randy insisted. "Your body is great. YOU'RE great. It's not you, Gale. It's ME. But I swear to God, I'm not laughing at YOU!"

"I don't see anyone else you're looking at out there on the set," Gale retorted, rolling his eyes. And he pulled the robe around himself again, protectively. He was going to have to get a robe with a better tie. This one was constantly coming undone. "It's a little disconcerting. Especially when I'm a little nervous."

"You're nervous? Really?" Randy replied. "You seem so... I don't know -- secure with yourself."

Now Gale really laughed. "You MUST be kidding! I don't know what I'm doing and I'm fucking terrified. I guess that's why you cracking up is a little distracting. Especially when I'm so... exposed. So, is there a problem?"

"It's just that...." Randy began. But then he stopped, flushing red.

"You can tell me, Randy. What is so fucking funny?"

The young actor looked at his co-star and smiled broadly, stifling yet another giggle. "It's just that this is going to look SO bad on screen, Gale! I look SO young! Doing it with an adult man, it's going to be shocking to people. I mean, it's shocking to ME -- and I'm doing it! Or Justin is doing it."

"And that's not the same thing as YOU doing it, is it?" Gale added.

"No, not at all," Randy admitted. "When I was 17 I had never done ANYTHING! And I sure never did anything like Justin is doing on this show, not ever. So it's hard for me to relate myself to the character that way because it's so far beyond my own experience. It's difficult to get a handle on the whole thing."

"No sense memory, huh?" said Gale.

Randy laughed. "Yeah. Basic Acting 101! But it's really true. It's hard for me to get the sense of what Justin is feeling right at that moment."

"Believe me, Randy, I'm having the same problem. Since I've never kissed another man, either on OR off camera, I don't have any sense memory either. So -- you're SURE it isn't me?" Gale asked again, grinning.

Randy slapped his rolled up script against the older man's arm. "Of course NOT! Don't be a dope!"

Gale thought for a minute. "Justin is an inexperienced kid. And you know what it's like to be inexperienced sexually. I'm sure YOU can remember, because I sure as hell can remember what it was like and I'm a lot older than you are!" Now Gale had to laugh because in a way he was in the exact same position as Randy's character, Justin. Because what he told Randy was true -- he had no experience of sex with another man to draw on to play Brian. And Brian was supposed to be supremely confident and sexually knowledgeable. No, for Gale it was all instinct at this point. Instinct and hoping for the best!

"Yes, you're a really OLD man!" Randy joked. Actually, he thought his new co-star was very sexy -- for a straight guy.

"No, I'm serious! This whole thing could be analogous to that for you," Gale continued. "An unusual and completely bizarre experience. But also one that is going to become pretty fucking familiar to both of us very shortly. I mean, assuming that the Showtime people like the pilot and give the producers the go-ahead."

Randy frowned. "I thought it was a done deal?"

Gale snorted. "Nothing is ever a done deal. If they HATE the pilot, or even the outtakes, then we are ALL screwed. Which is why this scene is so important. Not just to us, but to the whole show."

"I know it is. I'm sorry, Gale," he apologized. "I didn't mean to keep breaking up. It's unprofessional."

"That's okay, Randy. But now we need to be a little more serious. You yourself told me when we first read together that Brian and Justin are the key to this whole series. You and I are the key to whether it works or not. OUR relationship." Gale ran his fingers over his head. His hair was completely dry again, which meant that he'd have to be freshly drenched when they continued shooting. "My God! That was only a little more than a week ago! It seems like years!"

"I know. Everything is happening so fast." Randy closed his eyes. "TOO fast."

"It shouldn't really be that hard for you, Randy. Let your own insecurity work for you. Let the moment take over. That feeling that it's all happening so quickly. That feeling that it's out of your control. Because that's definitely what your character is feeling. But he's brave -- he goes with it!"

"Right," answered Randy. "Then I either go completely with it and do it all the way -- or else I just don't even come close. And we have a lot MORE... hard scenes coming up. I mean, being naked and intimate with... a stranger...."

"And I'm pretty strange," said Gale, making a face. Gale's attitude made Randy smile. He was really beginning to feel much more relaxed with his older co-star. And he could feel that Gale was loosening up as well -- at least when the two were interacting together. "You'll find out soon enough just how strange I am, too! No, as an actor you have to just go there."

The two men heard the director call for another take. They looked at each other awkwardly.

"So -- are we going to do it?" Gale asked Randy seriously as they both stood up. "Because we have an even MORE intense scene this afternoon. Even more... revealing!"

"I know," Randy replied. "The infamous butt lick scene."

"Yeah," Gale said. "And if you laugh when I'm licking your ass I'm just going to have to KICK that ass all over this fucking set!"

His co-star smiled. "I think I'm ready."

And they went and took their places. Someone poured more water over Gale and he shook off the excess. And then Randy went into his embrace and they began kissing with a new intensity. And no one was laughing then. Not the two actors, and certainly not the director, who was thrilled with what he saw coming through the lens of the camera. This kind of chemistry was just what the producers had been hoping for when they paired these two. And now, with Randy's attack of the giggles behind him, these guys were scorching up the set. And they were just kissing! They hadn't even moved over to the bedroom area of the loft set yet. No, thought the director with new excitement. That was for after lunch!

Gaedhal, June 2003.

Send Gaedhal any comments, critiques, suggestions. I welcome all of your feedback!

Posted June 2, 2003