“Todd, I’m flattered you thought of me, but….”

Grace’s attempts at protest were cut to the quick.

“Grace. Grace. Grace! What’s the issue here?? You admire his work, you’ve been looking for a new writing project, and I know you two will get on famously”, Todd interjected impatiently.

“What makes you say that? I barely get on with anyone”, I reminded my ‘matchmaking’ friend.

“Because you are both painstakingly soulful, intense, creative… Trust me on this Grace. You will really like him. AND before you start with any self depreciating mumbo jumbo… he has read your work and very much wants the chance to meet you and work with you”

Sighing deeply, Grace knew when she was beat, and when in truth she was depriving herself of stellar opportunities.

“Ok Todd… set it up. Give him my number and we can go from there.”

Grace hung up the phone shaking her head. Todd just didn’t get it. She truly felt torn in half just about constantly. Sure she was gutsy, knew her worth, and had confidence in her intellect and creativity. On the flip side she was just as certain that she could never make muster… never be good enough to work – or even play – with the ‘real folks’.

Sighing deeply, Grace tried to create and maintain a positive – and gutsy – feeling about this meeting.


A mere 3 days later, and Grace found herself calmly freaking out. It had been a mini-whirlwind of phone calls, texts, and even clever Facebook posts. They had indeed connected - her and this amazing creative genius. Their writing styles were compatible yet not so similar as to be repetitive or stale. Their humor was different at times but of the same caliber. He made her laugh, and that was perhaps the scariest thing of all. His ability to play on words, paraphrase characters he had played, was endearing and clever…and honestly what got her here.


Walking briskly into the Farmer’s Market, long skirt swishing around her ankles, large sunglasses shielding her from the world, Grace tried to locate her new friend in the crowd. One perk of meeting with a well known actor is that anyone with Google search – or a TV for that matter -  knows what they look like.

“Meeting someone?”

Grace jumped as she turned around sharply to face the accented voice behind her.

“Sorry Love, didn't mean to startle you”.

So much for the advantage of Google image search. He had spotted her first.

Gone was the chance to text and bail. Gone was the chance to hide back in her inadequate career with her unfollowed dreams. Grace stood facing the most ruggedly handsome man she had ever met in person. A devilish grin was teamed with true concern in his eyes that he had startled or upset her.

“No worries”, said Grace trying to gain some composure.

“SO…Officially now… Hi, I’m Sean, wonderful to meet you.”

“And I am Grace, wonderful to meet you too”.

“Not to be cliché, but do you come here often?” Sean asked as they made their way through the crowds milling around the vendor booths.

“It’s a habit I am actually trying to develop this year. I love Farmers’ Markets. The fruits and vegetables are fresher and more vibrant, and seeing all of them just gets the creative gears turning”, Grace replied.

“So you like to cook.” It was a statement appreciatively and factually stated.

“Actually I LOVE to cook” Grace countered with a small smile.

As they strolled from vendor to vendor chatting, Grace’s misgivings slipped away. Just as it had by phone and text and email, their conversation ranged over writing, culture, music, pets… everything. It was that exhilarating experience of feeling you had known someone forever and yet just met them and were on a quest for all that there was to know about this intriguing new addition to your life.

So engrossed in conversation and at ease, Grace didn't realize that her guard was down. Sean’s clearly amused expression startled her into silence for a moment… and then asking “What??!!?!”

“You are threatening me with turnip greens”, Sean said through barely repressed laughter.

Glancing down at her hand, Grace saw that indeed she had been ardently emphasizing her point, with leafy vegetables in hand.

“Oh sorry”, she mumbled.

“No problem at all. It isn't often that I get to speak with someone so impassioned about the topic at hand. It’s quite refreshing.”

“Well actually,” said Grace trying to make as painless an exit as possible, “it seems I have done all of my shopping so, I guess we should be in touch soon to actually talk about your script.”

“Nooo. I asked you to coffee, and you said yes….and we have some more talking to do”, countered Sean. “Please?” he asked, extending his hand in invitation.

Perhaps it was his charm. Perhaps it was common sense reigning and reminding her not to be an outright ninny. Grace agreed.

Their lively banter resumed as they went across the street to the coffee shop. It was, as if, when nothing made her surface into the cold reality of her conscious mind, Grace could just be… how she felt, who she was, without any self analysis that made her cringe inward, lash out, and run away.

The script was indeed fabulous. Skimming through it, Grace was drawn into the story, wanting the chance to meet each character in depth.

She looked up to Sean’s expectant look and assured him she was impressed. What inspired this script? How did he develop each character? Grace had question after question, and Sean happily answered.

The busboy politely intruded in a pause in their discussion to ask if they were done with their coffee mugs or needed a refill.

Again as if startled back to reality, Grace glanced around the coffeehouse, taking in the patrons, almost scanning to see who may have noticed them sitting there.

As the busboy went off to get their second round of caffeine, Sean asked Grace what was the matter.

“Nothing. I guess I forgot that we were in public is all”, replied Grace.

“Is that a problem?” Sean looked and sounded confused by her barely concealed anxiety.

“I just… We just… This doesn’t make sense. You really don’t need my help and….” Grace began explaining.

Reaching across the small table, Sean took Grace’s hand.

“What are you so afraid of? And don’t tell me ‘nothing’, because you keep getting that ‘deer in the headlights’ look.” Sean was not going to let this go. From their online chats, Grace knew he could be tenacious, delving into details, unveiling truths. Somehow at that distance it had not seemed real. It had been good conversations fraught with potential but still maybe never becoming this face to face reality. It had held the illusion of still being safe.

Pulling her hand away slowly, Grace tried to explain.

“I get too engrossed in people and projects I believe in. I have done it personally and professionally my entire life and I ALWAYS get burned in some way. It actually safeguards me and what – or whom - I value, by keeping my distance.”

Sean’s frown was hard to interpret, so Grace continued at a near ramble.

“Besides. Look at us – this doesn’t make sense. You are…well ….YOU… your caliber of work, accomplishments, and all of that. Me? I do what I do but it is worlds apart. Besides -  I’m a rigid, far too serious and stodgy earth sign, and you are a creative and magnificently intuitive, and brilliant man.”

"Hmmm, Ok, let's say I am. You don’t like creative or brilliant men?”

“My father was brilliant and he was a tyrant…but no I don’t have anything against men who have those traits. Of course not.”

Sean took a deep breath, paused, and never shifted his intense gaze from Grace’s face.

“Look…I’m not here – in front of you – suddenly in your life – to heal your Daddy issues, or your ex issues…. I am not here to fix you. I don’t see you as broken or whole. I see YOU. I am drawn to YOU. You are not here to trigger my mommy issues or heal old heart wounds of mine either. Who I am now and who you are…are supposed to be right here. What form that takes, or where that goes, or how long it lasts is up to us, what we need and want it to be and become. No one else dictates that and even WE don’t need to know what we will do with all this.”

“All this?” asked Grace, filled with dread at having to face his answer.

“Our compatibility, our chemistry, our connection…….More coffee?”

Grace looked up at him as he stood to presumably gather the coffee refills from the long lost busboy. She tried to avoid eye contact and yet still determine if he was annoyed, serious, or as she feared most, convincingly leading her on.

Sensing her concern, Sean leaned over to nearly whisper in her ear. “I am indeed chivalrous M’Lady… my armor may be dinged and tarnished in spots but the values, the code is very much who I am. With a dash of humor and quirkiness. Hmm… a dash… so does that mean I am dashing? I’ll let you mull that over while I go get us some coffee.”

Grace had to smile. That damned charm. References to a role he played that he knew she was familiar with and liked. That striking smile. The rich accent. The intense deep brown eyes. And strongest of all the sincerity in every word he said.

‘What is my problem!??!?!’ Grace mentally asked herself. ‘It’s not like we are going to be dating or even socializing. This is a project and it is AWESOME to work with great people who are talented and genuine. Damn Grace stop over complicating!’. Assured that she had calmed her inner demons for a bit, Grace glanced up and smiled at Sean as he made his way back to the table.

As Sean sat down they launched right back into discussion about the main character of his screenplay. When Grace offered an idea for an added dimension to the character, Sean was thrilled with her input and said so.

And back came the startled and tense, but very real retreat and withdrawal from the high energy of their conversation.

This time Sean’s frown was clearly serious. “Every time I say something nice you don’t see me, you see someone else”, he began. “Maybe different and varying someones, and you wonder if you can believe this person that you see right now in front of you. Some ‘he’ in the past may have been a lying dog…or a silent fool… but like it or believe it or not I will never lie to you. For example I feel you REALLY should have tried this pastry. It was quite good.” He gave a referencing glance to his now empty plate. His attempt to lighten the intensity of his observation, was noted but didn’t shift Grace’s feelings at all.

“Sean, you are a public figure and are about to become more and more so with your new projects. You have to be careful who people think you are chatting with for work or for any reason. Why feed anyone anything to question?”

The frown returned to Sean’s face. Not an angry frown, just stern, intent, and sincere.

“You are so worried what we look like to others instead of what we look like to each other. That isn't you and what you believe in. You see I don’t care what they think about anything – I don’t care what their politics are, what their favorite color is, if they think my hair is too long, or if I am crazy to be in cowboy boots. Right now the only person – right here, right now, besides myself – that I care what they think is you! Pssttt and little secret… I know that you’re NOT worried about what they think either! You’re worried that I will care what others think, so…here’s truth… I don’t.”

Never – not in business alliances, not in colleague or peer conversations, and certainly not in communications with family or other loved ones – had Grace EVER felt belief course through her at another’s words. She knew he meant all that he said. She still worried that while he didn’t care of others opinions, he really SHOULD….at least for the sake of his career.

But right now – at least in this moment – he was right. They were just a guy and a girl who enjoyed each other’s company, discussing a creative project that she felt honored to have had a pre-peek at.

Grace smiled.



“Yes. Ok.” Grace said as she visibly relaxed and eased back into her comfort zone with him.

“Well would you look at that. I may just have you falling for me yet” Sean teased with a glint in his eye..

As Grace reached for the script to resume their conversation, she thought to herself, ‘Oh My Dear Man….I’ve already fallen….and I just pray that THIS TIME I don’t have to pull myself back up and out of where my heart has led me.’

~ To Be Continued ~