"Morgan!" Max Randolph darted out of the doorway of Stay-a-While and snatched at his arm.
"Nice to see you, too, Max," he said, chuckling. "Where's the fire?"
"Are you busy? Can you sit with us? Just ten minutes?" She pulled on his arm hard enough to dislocate it.
Whatever Max wanted, Daniel could see with one glance that she was excited, not worried or upset or afraid. Whatever she wanted from him meant a lot to her. Besides, he didn't have anything pressing. He wanted to walk down the street to Blooming Miracles and see how soon Lynette was getting off work, so they could go to Lodi for some shopping at the outlet stores, but no hurry for anything. Nodding, Daniel let her lead him into the coffee shop.
Steve Coheny, one of the new technicians at Homespun sat in a booth with Tony Martin. Daniel was a little surprised to see the two young men together. During the production of Shrew, and afterward, Steve's interest in Max had brought out some latent jealousy in Tony. Daniel had approved of the jealousy and hoped it would lead to another step upward in Max and Tony's relationship.
"Morgan, this is... well, you know Steve," Max said as they approached the booth. "And this is--"
"Daniel, it's been a long time," Carlo Vincente said, leaning out from behind Steve. He held out a hand, which Daniel gladly shook.
Carlo Vincente had been a romantic lead in Hollywood thirty years ago. He had starred in half a dozen movies with Emily Keeler-Randolph. One of the elder statesmen of Hollywood, he worked behind the scenes nowadays, promoting education and charitable efforts and bringing dignity to an increasingly hedonistic profession.
"You know each other?" Max, Tony and Steve said almost in unison.
"Yes. Daniel was stage manager when I worked that summer stock production in Long Island... oh, sixteen years ago, wasn't it?" Carlo smiled and nudged Steve. "Get a chair for him, would you? You can stay and talk a while, can't you?"
"I'd love to," Daniel said, and snagged a chair from the table behind him before Steve could get up. "It's been a long time. What are you doing in Tabor? It's great to see you again."
"Now you've gone and spoiled all my fun," Max grumbled.
"Fun?" Daniel looked at the four at the table and felt that odd little shiver up his spine, warning him that he had walked into something extremely interesting.
"Well, it's kind of complicated," she began.
"Tell me about it," Tony grumbled. "I'm in the middle of it, and I'm still twisted around sometimes."
"Okay." She glanced at Carlo, who winked at her. Max blushed, which she didn't do very often. "You know that Dad -- I mean, Joel Randolph isn't my real father. He didn't marry Mom until I was five."
Daniel felt like the entire balcony of Homespun Theater had fallen on his head. He rested his elbows on the end of the table and looked back and forth between Carlo and Max. The idea that burst into his mind made too much sense.
"Carlo is my father and Steve is my brother. I have five brothers all of a sudden. It's just disgusting," Max added with a snort of laughter.
"As soon as things settle down after Our Town is over, and Joel and Emily are both up to full strength, we're trying to talk Max and Tony into coming out for a visit," Carlo said. "Her stepmother and her other two brothers are very eager to get to know her. And her fiancé," he added, nodding to Tony.
"This is a dream, right?" Daniel said. From the grins on Tony and Max's faces, he knew it was too real, but he couldn't resist teasing them. "I thought you two would never figure it out. I even have a bet with the General, to see how many years it'd take you two to wake up.""I hope you lost," Max growled. That earned laughter from Steve and Carlo.