A/N: Alright, so next chapter is ready. I had to move some events to the next only because I thought they'd fit better in the next. Anyway as usual, I don't own Rise, belongs to NBC, don't own Uptown Girls belongs to MGM. Only characters I own are Carrie Jordan, Hazel Jordan-Mazzuchelli and Maxfield Green.
Chapter Four: Six Blocks and Long Stories
Sharing a cab with someone you just met at a party was not uncommon among her friend group, but it was a first for Gwen. She wasn't sure why she agreed. Perhaps it was curiosity in the aftermath of Lilette's story or a desperation to get out of the vicinity. At any rate, she was here and she was doing this.
"2400 5th Avenue." Gwen tells the cab driver her address and Gordy does the same.
"2400?" Gordy turned to her at hearing the address. She recognized the look on his face and it hit Gwen then despite the haze of the night, the aftermath of the club, why she chooses not to make the ride with others she had just met.
"Yeah home sweet home."
"But that's like a hotel isn't it?"
Gwen shook her head. "Nope, just apartments."
"Just?" Gordy scoffed. "Yeah right. Like the Plaza is just a bum motel?"
"Yeah," Gwen replied back. "Exactly right."
"Prove it then," Gordy challenged.
"Okay, see that is not happening." Gwen said. "I don't have to prove a thing to you. Seeing as we met less than twenty-four hours ago. You could be a serial killer." Gwen knew some things about him from the gossip, but that didn't mean she was going to just somehow invite him up.
"We have six blocks. After that, we should know enough about each other to prove I'm not a serial killer."
"Some bizarre twenty questions game?"
"If you like."
Gordy leaned back in the seat. "So, you're Gwen Strickland?"
"That's your first question?" Gwen raised an eyebrow.
"Is that yours?"
"Touche." Gwen shook her head. "I am. So, my question now: How did you find out?"
"My sister was in that show with you tonight. Um...her hair got dyed pink."
"She played Frenchie," Gwen laughed at the simplification.
Gordy nodded. "Yeah, that's it."
"That's it. So, if you knew about the show and your sister was in it, how come you weren't there?"
"My question, you took a second turn." Gordy shook his head. "I answered both of yours already."
"Long story is not an answer."
"Technically it is. Just drop it."
"Cop out." Gwen pouted. "You owe me an answer."
"I don't owe you anything except cab fare. You cheated." Gordy stretched out his arms placing them behind his head. "Now, my question." He nodded toward her dress. "Where did you get your dress?"
"It was a gift."
Gwen frowned as she realized what Gordy was doing. "Fine, fair is fair. No." She grinned. "So what were you doing before you got to the club?"
Gordy shook his head. "Oh, no, you're not going to get that long story out of me. I was trying to feed our dog. So how long have you been acting?"
"Since I was nine. Our dog?"
"My roommate's technically, but unfortunately both of ours. He's letting me stay with him, the dog is an unwelcome third apartment mate."
The remaining blocks breezed past the cab window, and soon they were parked in front of 2400 5th Avenue.
"Well, this is me." Gwen said. She opened the door to get out.
"Wait, so did I pass the not a serial killer test?" Gordy asked.
Gwen rolled her eyes upwards. "I'd...say so." She then went into her purse to grab some money for her portion of the cab fare to find that Gordy was still looking at her, appraisingly. "Like what you see?"
"Admit it, that was the best cab ride you've had."
"Not bad." Gwen shook her head. She then sighed. "Fine, do you want to come up?"
Gordy smirked getting out of the cab.
The cab driver watched the two young people enter the building before pulling away. This is why he never listened to second addresses on Friday nights. It was almost never necessary.
"Hazel's piano lesson is at noon tomorrow." Carrie took her brother's phone and entered the event into the schedule. Maashous glanced up from his notebook. "Mr. and Mrs. Mazzuchelli will be here at 11:45."
"You mean your Mom and Dad, Gail and Lou? Her grandparents? And you know I have to do a maintenance check. The theatre isn't going to fix itself." He stood up and grabbed his phone out of her hand.
Carrie rolled her eyes. "If I could supervise, I would, but the meeting with the investors got moved up."
"Are you sure you're not just avoiding the Mazzus?" Maashous quirked an eyebrow. "Besides without a maintenance check, there won't be any investors. I told you I bought the parts a week ago."
"Someone needs to watch Hazel. Do it Sunday."
Maashous shook his head lowering his voice. "Maybe you should have thought about that before she made you fire Sasha."
"Hazel didn't make me do anything."
Maashous didn't reply walking to the door of his bedroom.
"Where are you going?"
"To say goodnight to my niece. And then take a shower." Do you need my phone to schedule that in too?
Carrie sighed falling backwards onto her brother's bed.
Maashous found Hazel sitting at the small piano stool in her nightgown playing softly. She frowned as she stopped playing and then started the piece over. "I'm messing up. I keep messing up."
"Didn't sound like it to me." Maashous said.
"You need your ears checked." Hazel said. She then began pounding the piano keys with her fists.
"So, what was with the primadonna routine today?"
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"All of upper Manhattan knows what I'm talking about." Maashous perched on the edge of Hazel's bed.
"You're getting the sheets all dirty." Hazel looked over.
"Uh...huh…" Maashous stood up crossing his arms. "Want to talk about it?"
"I want to practice for my twenty minutes before bed."
"And that helps you sleep?"
"Processing new information is most effective after 12 hours of sleep."
"That didn't answer my question."
"Goodnight Uncle Maashous."
Maashous held back a laugh. He'd tried. "Night Hazel."
Gwen entered the elevator hitting the button for the top floor once Gordy was in.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Nothing." Gordy leaned back. "Nothing at all."
"But seriously, that's like penthouse."
"Yeah, by definition." Gwen said. "So what?" She frowned. "Wait, let me guess, nothing?"
Gordy let out nervous laughter. "See, we know each other better already."
Gwen rolled her eyes as the elevator stopped at the top floor. "Come on." She led Gordy down the hall to her door. She unlocked it, opened it a crack and tried the light switch. "Um...actually, can you wait out here for a second? Place is a bit of a mess." She went inside closing the door behind her.
She tried the light switch again. Her chandelier stayed pathetically inactive. "Shit." She hit the switch up and down, jiggling it hoping that would make a difference. "Oh come on, come on!" She grit her teeth. Nothing, no light.
She then got an idea. She went into the kitchen and grabbed a lighter and then ran from room to room grabbing all of the tea candles she could find, and setting them up in an array around the apartment. By the time she was done, she could actually see. She gave a satisfied huff. "Not the best Gwen Strickland, but still not too bad. A little mood lighting never hurt a gal."
She then opened the door smiling as she hid the lighter behind her back. "Do come in."
Gordy looked around as his eyebrows raised to his hairline. "Nice...setup you've got here."
Even through the dim lighting, one could still make out the array of stuff littered around every inch of the place. Several dresses on mannequins made a disinterested, but not disinteresting audience to the going ons in the main space. His family's theatre background made it clear whose designs these were. He turned to her. "Your mother is Denise…"
The other wall was the polar opposite: football paraphernalia lined every inch and a uniform that was familiar to Gordy straight away. Gwen spoke before he could. "My mother is Denise renowned costume designer for the stage, my dad is the Sam Strickland, king of the gridiron. They were killed in a tragic accident when Daddy was on the way home from his latest and greatest recruitment as a newly minted sports agent. The plane went down."
"I...read... the reports when it happened." Gordy blinked surprised by Gwen's candor. "You were…"
"It was a long time ago." Gwen said. She stood in the center of the room in a daze.
"I'm fine." Gwen said. And suddenly she was out of her daze and fluttering around the room. "Now, we need some snacks. Do you object to cheese and crackers?"
"Um…" Gordy blinked. "That's fine." He walked over to the couch moving a piece of paper that had gotten somehow wedged. He looked at it, curious. "Annie? Was this your first show?"
"Wasn't it every little girls?" Gwen replied.
"Somehow, I can't picture you as Orphan Annie."
Gwen brought over the food. "I wasn't. I was Pepper."
Gordy laughed. "The mean one, yeah that fits better."
"Thanks, I guess."
Gwen and Gordy talked for most of the night, and Gordy found himself without an inclination to go home. Eventually, they both fell asleep.
The next morning, Gwen woke up to find the space next to her empty. She checked the time on her phone and saw it was 9AM, and her phone was at 56%.. Gordy must have left early in the morning. She did a cursory scan of the room. Everything was intact including the candles. The first thing she did was try the light switch. There was still no light. A thought then hit her. She tried the phone line. Dead.
Oh god, so this wasn't a nightmare? She quickly called Lilette and Simon. This was not good. This was not good at all.
Hours later, the three sat in the center of her living room.
"Okay, Gwen, did you pay the bill?" Lilette asked.
Gwen shook her head. "I...I have someone that handles that stuff."
"Who?" Simon asked. "Who handles it?"
Gwen thought. "Um...Max...Maxfield Green."
"Then let's go talk to him." Simon said.
A/N: So Gwen and Gordy had a cab ride home and talked a lot, and Gwen did end up inviting Gordy up, but surprise for Gwen, her electricity was cut. She improvised and they still ended up spending the night together. Gordy learned a bit more about Gwen. Meanwhile, we get a glimpse into the Jordanhome as Maashous has to deal with his sister and his niece's brand of crazy. Fortunately or unfortunately the actual piano lesson with the Mazzuchellis coming to see Hazel will happen next chapter along with Gwen finding out just why her electricity was cut and what this means. As always, share your thoughts.