JESSE ST. JAMES
Jesse almost laughed at the incredibly stilted way Rachel had managed to say, essentially, “That was good.” Her professonalism was so overdone, Jesse almost wondered if she was hiding something else, like nervousness or embarrassment. The corner of his lips quirked in the suggestion of a smirk as he watched her appraisingly, wondering just exactly what was going through that pretty little head of hers.
“I think you’re right,” he conceded, deciding not to make fun of her for her slightly odd comment. Regardless of how cute it was when she pouted, Jesse really would rather not deal with Rachel in a snit right now, especially since she was attempting to compliment their work.
“We probably didn’t even need practice it before we block it,” Jesse mused, resting a hip against Rachel’s desk since she had yet to offer him a place to sit.
“I’m not saying the extra practice won’t help, but that was better than I expected it to go the first time around. I thought you’d be all stiff and angry,” he teased. He definitely didn’t think she’d let him kiss her unless they were onstage, and he never thought she would willingly kiss him during an informal, private rehearsal when they easily could have skipped over that part.
Jesse continued watching her lazily, wondering if she would take offense to his teasing remark. He probably should have complimented her for being so believabe throughout the scene; even her accent was pitch-perfect to Jesse’s experienced ears. But there would be plenty of time for congratulations and accolades after they opened the show. Until then Jesse was only interested in improving on the progress they’d already made.
It was almost unnerving how easily Jesse was able to switch back to his regular self once the scene was over. No, unnerving wasn’t the right term—it was infuriating. She resented his inimitable poise even as she envied it. Rachel could hold her own in an argument some of the time, but she was much more likely, as Finn would say, to puff up like a blowfish and just get mad. It was a problem, one that Jesse was uniquely qualified to exacerbate.
“More practice is always preferable to less,” Rachel said, settling back on her bed and letting her legs dangle over the side. “You can’t go wrong with being overprepared. Nobody has ever been too dedicated to their role.” Well, maybe that last part wasn’t true; she’d wondered for a bit, before casting notices were out, whether or not Jesse might try to kill someone who got cast as Curly over him. Thank god that hadn’t been a problem.
Stiff and angry? Rachel’s eyebrows shot up at that comment, and she had to bite back an angry retort that would’ve put Jesse in his place for sure. But no, that was exactly what Jesse wanted. It was the only reason why he’d say something like that, because there was no way he could’ve ever actually believed that. “I’m more than capable of getting into character,” she retorted, unable to resist getting in one jab. “I am an actress, after all. My less than favorable feelings towards you cannot be allowed to impede on my professional abilities.”
Jesse sure seemed to want to make that as difficult as possible for her. She shook her head and sighed. Best to move on. “I don’t know if you’re interested in rehearsing any other scenes,” she said, cocking her head to the side as she thought about what else he might want to do. “But I do warn you that my fathers should be coming home sooner or later, and if they find you here, they’ll undoubtedly want to engage you in conversation and extricate details about your life. Daddies are basically the best ever, of course, but I’ve found that other people don’t always quite understand their… effervescence. Just to give you fair warning.”