They had finished the last scene for the last show. Dan and the crew had essentially stormed the stage, hugging them, and thanking them for so many years of hard work.
Miranda was morose. This was her family, and while she was prepared for the end, as they all were, the shock of the show finally ending took her aback. Tears streamed from Jeanette's eyes as she embraced her tightly. She still couldn't imagine they wouldn't be seeing each other every single day anymore. Jeanette was going to be moving on to her next project, and Miranda was heading off to college. Her vision blurred as she watched Nathan and Jerry embrace a few feet away. The intense stage lights made their tears sparkle in the light. She had spent so many years with these people and it was all over.
Jeanette disengaged from her embrace as the make up artists, casting director and wardrobe techs came up to her. She stood there for a moment, forlorn, before Nathan and Jerry launched themselves at her. They embraced her tightly, and she opened her mouth, attempting to speak before the intensity of her feelings stole her voice away. Jeanette was reabsorbed from the crew, and they all stood in silence together, faces twisted in various visages of sadness, huddled like so many rehearsals before.
Miranda looked into their faces, remembering the circumstances of her first encounters with each of them. Jerry, despite looking so utterly destroyed, was the first to summon words.
“I'm so proud of you all.”
“I've watched you become incredible people. I'm honored to have known you.”
Nathan broke the huddle to bring his hands to his face. Jeanette sniffled, and buried her head into Miranda's shoulder. The tears that had threatened to spill down her cheeks finally fell.
“I'm going to miss you, but you're all going to go on to do great things.”
Jerry gathered them up in his arms again. Miranda's nose was pressed into his throat. It was wet and salty on her face, but his aftershave was as pleasant smelling as always. Jeanette was crushed awkwardly into her side, and the side of Nathan's leg pressed against hers. He finally let them go, after Dan and part of the crew pulled them away to embrace them individually. Once she had started to cry, the tears wouldn't stop flowing. She was going to miss these people. These beautiful, wonderful people, who helped her improve so many of her skills. Challenged her acting in ways she couldn't imagine.
The sheer intensity of people diminished over the next half hour, as the cast and crew took Dan up on his offer of dinner. As much as they were to miss everyone, many people were excited to celebrate the end of a successful run with free booze and food. He had negotiated carpooling from some of the crew, and groups of people slowly trickled out of the set. She saw Jeanette and Nathan discreetly huddled in some corner, not quite ready to leave, but clearly having some things to say to each other. Jerry was mingling with the less hungry members of the crew, thanking them for working with them for so long.
She watched with somewhat detached interest. It was only over the last few years that she found herself more and more attracted to Jerry. For her, sometimes the lines between who Spencer was and who Jerry was were blurred. She knew of their age difference; she knew that he was unlikely to see her as anything but a kid he felt responsible for, helped raise. He was proud of her; of them. While her initial feelings toward him were platonic, she found that, as she grew older, she found him less paternal. She found herself dreaming of deviating from her scripted lines, and improvising with topics more carnal.
She found herself dreaming of walking in on Jerry in various states of undress, of him throwing her bodily over his shoulder, of him carrying her to bed. Off-hand comments became more calculated. She tried to spend more time with him outside of work, outside of the context of a brother raising his little sister. She wore more revealing clothes, styled her make-up more carefully, and tried to discuss more “adult” topics, like bills and college. She had noticed that he had rebuffed her a little more often. He had come up with reasons to invite other people along when they hung out. She had noticed that while he couldn't really look at her body anymore, he couldn't really look her in the eyes anymore, either.
She spied him shaking hands with some of the set builders a few feet away. While tears weren't actively running from his eyes anymore, she could see the tracks they had left on his face. His face shifted and they sparkled in the wrinkles around his mouth. He smiled, and her vision blurred ever so slightly. More and more people had left for the restaurant, and soon the set builders had made their excuses and were moving to the stage exit. Miranda couldn't see Jeanette and Nathan anymore. She wondered idly if they were still around as Jerry turned and pushed everything else out of her consciousness.
The stage lights had turned off sometime after the finale, and the only illumination came from the dim bulbs that lit the audience and the crew up. Jerry's face looked more lined in this light; more wearied and sad. They came toward each other hesitantly; Jerry like he was sending his daughter off to school or something, and Miranda just wrecked for the end of an era, wrecked for missing her friends.
He opened his arms as they came together, and Miranda pressed herself into his chest gratefully. His chin came to rest on her forehead, and she could feel tears falling onto her scalp. He took deep breaths, trying to calm himself, and Miranda's tears began anew. She felt more than heard his words as he spoke.
“I can't believe it's over. I mean, I knew it was going to end, but I guess I just couldn't prepare myself well enough, you know? I didn't think- I didn't think it was going to feel like this.”
Miranda holds him as tightly as he'll allow her to. She thinks he understand what he means. He had prepared for a job, hadn't even considered it would go on for a couple years, or that he'd form friendships with so many people. He hadn't counted on watching them grow up. She repositions her head on his shoulder, gets her nose right up next to his throat again. She smells sweat and salt. His arms grip her sides, her hips. She finds words to respond to him with.
“I can't believe it either. I feel like I'm just getting to know everyone. And now we all have to move on.”
She closes her eyes and pushes her head further into his shoulder. She wraps an arm around his shoulders, fingers brushing his nape. His tears have mostly stopped, and her head feels fairly soggy. His shirt tells much the same tale. He presses his mouth to the top of her head. They stand like that, in the dim light and near silence, for less than she'd like, but longer than it seems. She shifts her head and considers. Her mouth opens and closes on his neck several times, but she can't get the words out, for all she tries.
Jerry pulls back, hands on her shoulders, holding her at arm's length. He looks into her eyes for the first time in months. Her mouth is open, it flops like a fish. Words fall out.
“I love you.”
It's clear from her tone that she does not mean it platonically. Her hands reach up to his forearms as he lets her go. It's awkward, but she grabs him, holds him steady. His face has become unreadable, but she knows he looks at her when he thinks she's not looking. She's fairly confident.
“No. I helped raise you. You're like my daughter.”
He says this forcefully, but she notes how his eyes dart away as she chases them with her gaze. He pulls away from her contact and backs out of her space.
“You're just confused. I'm too old for you. You have your life ahead of you.”
Miranda snorts softly at this.
“I don't think so. I like your maturity, your wackiness. I think it works pretty well with mine.”
She steps back into his space. He steps out again, and she follows him until he's backed himself up against part of the set. He looks at her anxiously as she stands in front of him. She leans into his space, mouth nearly on his chin, nearly on his throat, as she puts her hand over his collarbone, over his neck. It's not forceful, but he still feels pinned by her gentle pressure. His spine makes contact with a wall, and he can feel her breath on his throat. She tips her head up to look at him more closely. He's caught in her eyes, and doesn't have the wherewithal to look away.
“I think you're attracted to me. I think you have been for a while. I think you love me, too.”
Their mouths are inches apart, her hot breath on his face, then she finally kisses him. It's as earth shattering as he expected, his arousal and his ethical objections warring, threatening to burst from inside him. She pushes her tongue against his teeth, and he lets her slide it in, sucking on his tongue in an incredibly lewd fashion. His lips finally move against hers, changing the direction of the sloppy kiss, and his teeth press into her bottom lip. She pulls away, softly gasping for air.
His arms come up, but he can't decide if he wants to hold her, or push her away. She pushes bodily into him, pinning him further against the set, hand eager on his neck, his collar, his stomach. His arms clasp behind her back unconsciously, and she opens her mouth on his throat. His eyes close and his head tilts back as she presses her teeth into his neck. Her hands play around the top of his jeans, the buckle of his belt. It's pretty clear what she wants.
He doesn't stop her.
She pulls his shirt out of his jeans, fumbles with his belt. He manages to get a hand up her shirt, and another around the back of her neck. He presses kisses to her lips, down her neck. Pauses at her collarbone, and sucks marks into the skin just below it. He does love her; the way his fingers interlock with hers make his fervent affection very clear.
She makes a slight sound, something demanding, almost something Carly would make, and he tries to understand the hint. Driven by his own desire, he turns them, and pushes her back into the set. She's managed to free his cock from his jeans, and he plays with the button of her own jeans. He gets her panties down to her knees before he starts to touch her like she's desperately begging him to. She shudders and draws him as close as she can. She presses her teeth into his shoulder and whimpers with increasing desperation as Jerry finds the right rhythm to bring her close. She clumsily reaches down to palm his erection, squeezing it in her hand for a few minutes before he gets frustrated and lifts her up, like he's done so many times in the past.
She looks at him unabashedly. The love in her eyes clearly shines through all the sorrow she must be feeling at their final wrap. She sinks onto his cock wantonly, moaning and gasping like he's God's gift to women. He uses his weight to pin her more firmly against the set. Her make up is wrecked, her eyes are red and puffy. She's sniffling uncontrollably. There's so much of Jerry that's turned on right now. He tries to steady himself as she looks him in the eyes. She leans up and kisses him; he takes that as a cue, and starts to move inside her.
She gasps into his mouth, whimpering and moaning, as he thrusts himself into her heat. She's like nothing he's ever felt before. He wants to fuck her always, for as long as she'll let him. He'll worship her until she tells him to stop. For lack of anything better to do, he presses kisses into her eyebrows, onto her mouth, into her neck, and sucks a mark just above her breast. She whines louder as he plays with her nipples. A hand reaches down to play with her clit as she tries to wiggle against the set.
“Look at me.” He utters into her ear, and before she knows it, she's coming, looking into his deep brown eyes and crying uncontrollably with the sensations of his hand on her clit, and his cock inside of her.
He comes very shortly after her, gripping her hips tightly, gasping into her neck. He stills deep inside her, and she can feel him twitch as he comes. They slide to the floor as Jerry's legs give up the effort of holding them against the set. Jerry, despite his earlier charisma, pulls out of her space and tucks himself away. He schools his hair into something that looks halfway decent, and tries to look Miranda in the eyes again.
“I'm sorry, I shouldn't have- That was-” He falls silent.
For all her pushing, and for all she feels, she can recognize when Jerry's supremely uncomfortable with something. She can recognize when something he's done has gone outside of what he believes is moral and right. She eyes him wearily, sadly. She holds her elbows.
“Yeah, that was- That was wrong. I'm sorry, too.”
They turn away from each other. Miranda makes a point to check her phone. Her eyebrows rise.
“Oh, crap. Dinner starts in ten minutes. We should go.”
He sighs and stands, leans and offers his hand to her. She pushes down her feelings as she takes his hand, and pulls herself up.