Say No to This - Actress!Reader x Owen Patrick joyner
Inspired by Say No to This from Hamilton.
Warnings: Swearing, sexual tension, allusions to sex and cheating.
Words: 3615 (PHEW this is hefty for me)
Summary: Being cast as Mariah Reynolds means you’ve got your work cut out for you, and to add to the pressure, your Alexander is exuding a sexual tension you’ve never seen before. Hopefully, no one notices.
A/N: This piece is just something I was gonna write for myself, but I figured why not share it bc I’m sure some of y’all are theatre kids™ too. DISCLAIMER: I know hamilton roles are reserved for non-white actors for representational purposes. This isn’t me trying to take away from that wonderful decision, I simply wanted to write an Owen piece, while uplifting my fellow POC theatre nerds in the community through fanfiction.
I know a Norman, Oklahoma regional theatre revue isn’t Broadway level big, but it’s still a step toward a career in acting, and I’ll take anything I can get. I still remember the excitement I got from receiving the call that I would be playing the role of Mariah Reynolds. It was an unrivaled excitement. I never imagined I’d be good enough for the part, let alone for performing it for actual audiences. The revue is going to be so much fun, and now that I’m no longer what our director would call a “youngster”, Dina’s decided to challenge me with a more mature role. This year’s theme is “push and pull”, and instead of singing Your Fault from Into the Woods with the rest of the youngsters, she’s put me in an intimate number with someone I’ve never even met. Say No to This from Hamilton.
Miss Dina likes to go big or go home when it comes to a challenge, I guess.
The first time I saw my Alexander, I think I stopped breathing for a second. Owen is so beautiful, and faking an affair with him onstage would be a challenge, just not the kind Miss Dina was after. I was hoping I wouldn’t fall for him.
Today is our last rehearsal before opening, and to say I’m nervous would be an enormous understatement. The agenda for today? Run the entire Say No to This sequence from start to finish, no hiccups, in costume, under the lights, and with the entire revue cast watching. With this being the final dress rehearsal and all, the atmosphere is far more tense than it has ever been before. Tensions are especially high between myself and Owen.
There were some nights in the rehearsal space where Dina had released the ensemble, Burr, and James early, to work with me and Owen alone. The vacancy made him exponentially shyer and, despite her best efforts, Dina couldn’t seem to iron out the modest creases.
We’re both professional about our performances. Owen has always been a gentleman during rehearsals, making sure whatever acting choices he’s made are okay with me. But other than those interactions, we haven’t gotten very close platonically or otherwise. Maybe it’s for the better that I don’t get to know him. That way our relationship remains superficial.
Standing in the wings of the proscenium stage, I shake out my nerves, and puff through a scale to keep my voice warm, while Dina runs through lighting cues. I’ve styled my hair to perfection, I’m wearing a stunning red lip as well as the most dazzling, ruby red colonial gown. This is the first and last rehearsal with lights, a makeshift audience, and costumes. I feel like a million bucks. Something about all these elements coming together really brings the scene to life. I feel different, dare I say, better with them. And I’m not the only one.
“Hey,” I hear a soft voice from behind me. Turning over my left shoulder, I find Owen in full costume. His blonde hair is gelled back out of his face with the exception of a single strand that broke loose. He’s wearing a cream colored shirt with a puffy collar and sleeves under a black, satin vest. And to top it all off, he’s wearing black capri pants tucked into a pair of what appear to be riding boots.
“Hi. You look good,” I say, examining the full look.
“Thanks,” he sighs nervously, “you look good, too. Dina really knows your shade of red.”
“I guess there’s a shade for everyone. Did you need something?”
“Oh, I just wanted to tell my Mariah to break a leg.” My Mariah.
“Okay, is everyone in place?” Dina calls from the booth.
“Yes,” we all holler back to which she gives us a small ‘beautiful’ and drops the lights to a blue-out.
“Merde, Alexander,” I say as he and Burr enter for the beginning of the song. He sends me a closed-mouth smile and a thumbs up before walking out onto the stage. Okay, Y/n. You’re sultry, sexy, seductive, and sensual!
“There’s nothing like summer in the city.” The heavy instrumentals resonate through the theatre, and I take my cue to step out onto the stage.
“Someone under stress meets someone lookin’ pretty.” I walk a menage down the apron of the stage before taking my place by the lamppost on stage left. My heart is pounding against my ribcage as if it’s trying to escape. Everything feels different for some reason and I can’t figure out why.
“There’s trouble in the air, you can smell it. And Alexander’s by himself, I’ll let him tell it.” My gaze shoots to where Owen is pushing out to stand from the prop desk. There’s no tinge of Owen’s uncertainty in his eyes like the runs before. The only uncertainty is in Alexander’s eyes. As he sings through the verse, his movements are noticeably confident. Noticeably assured. I can tell he feels different too.
On his last line, he looks left, giving the audience his full profile, and connecting his eyes to mine.
“That’s when Miss Mariah Reynolds walked into my life, she said:”
“I know you are a man of honor,” I take a small step back so as to convey her worry.
“I’m so sorry to bother you at home, but I don’t know where to go, and I came here all alone” I place both hands on my chest, trailing them down my torso to hint at her ulterior motive.
Into the rest of my verse, Owen takes note of the action. It seems he finally understands the movement, and though his expression never falters, I can tell it encourages him in his performance.
“I don’t have the means to go on.” For the first time since our characters entered their dialogue, Owen’s eyes tear away from mine to speak to the audience. He moves downstage for his verse as choreographed, cueing me to come down behind him. As if I’m hunting him.
“You’re too kind sir,” I come to stand by his side, and sensually trail my fingertips down his arm to hold his hand in mine. I lead him to the next lamppost, dropping his hand on my line.
“This one’s mine sir.” Owen plays flustered very well. His eyes are back to being locked with mine, timidly this time. The hesitant but measured breaths that escape his lips fuel my performance. His expressions make me feel powerful: exactly the dynamic Mariah and Alexander are supposed to have.
“Stay?” I toy with the frills on the corset of my dress.
“Hey,” Owen eyes fill to the brim with lust.
“Hey,” I mirror his expression with a small smile.
“That’s when I began to pray ‘Lord, show me how to say no to this’ I-” Leaving the lamppost that indicates the Reynolds’ home, I slowly strut to where Owen is standing.
“-don’t know how to say no to this.” We’re standing face to face, only a foot of room between us.
“But, my god, she looks so helpless.” As Alexander ‘snaps out’ of his trance and turns back to face the audience, I step closer to him.
“And her body’s saying ‘hell yes’.” I can feel the eyes of our entire ensemble on the two of us. I sing my run before sensually wrapping my left arm around Owen’s broad chest. Then I use my right hand to trace his jawline, and promptly turn his face to mine for his next line. His lips ghost over mine.
“No, show me how to say no to this.” I duck around the front of his taller frame to cross stage left.
“I don’t know how to say no to this. In my mind, I’m trying to go.” Facing off stage, I impulsively turn back around to face Owen.
“Then her mouth is on mine and I don’t say-” The ensemble joins in at a compelling volume, and I briskly walk back to Owen. Placing one hand on his shoulder, and the other on the side of his face, we lean in for the first of two stage kisses Dina had choreographed.
We’d tried the kisses before, and though they were comfortable, they were always void of passion. Void of the fire that fuels a heinous affair. That is…
The heat of the kiss turns us on our shared axis, and Owen meets me halfway with one arm pulling my body into his at my hips, and the other at my shoulder blade. Once we’re completely profile, back to the position we’d started in, Owen deepens the kiss. His lips move in sync with mine while the chorus plays out.
Then, as choreographed, he abruptly pushes me away at the start of the second verse. Mariah and Alexander marinate in their shame. Our characters come to their senses in realizing what’s just happened; I exit stage right in a storm of indignity, and pass ‘James’ on the way out.
Once off stage, I need a moment to ask myself what the hell actually just happened. My friend Eden, dressed as Cinderella due to being cast in Your Fault, is waiting off stage for me with my room temperature water bottle.
“Girl, what was that?!” She whispers in complete disbelief.
“Talk less, smile more,” she ushers me to take a quick sip, registering the second verse was almost through.
“And hey, you can keep seeing my whore wife-” I hand Eden the bottle before turning back around, ready to enter for the climax of the song. I step out in a frenzy as Owen’s line lands.
“Screamed, ‘how could you?’ in her face, she said:”
“No sir!” I grip his forearms for my character’s stability, staring at him with pleading eyes.
“Half-dressed, apologetic: a mess. She looked pathetic, she cried:” Falling to the floor in distress, I maintain my hold on his arms. The fire in Owen’s eyes is hauntingly impressive.
“Please don’t go sir!”
“So was your whole story a setup?” He rips his arms from my grasp, stepping back, and staring at me with contempt. Alexander’s shame turned to hatred feels too real to decipher what’s really Owen anymore.
“I don’t know about any letter!” I fight back with the same menacing gaze.
“Stop crying, goddammit, get up!” Owen stalks back to my spot on the floor to tower over me, exaggerated gestures angrily accusing me of treachery.
“I didn’t know any better!”
“I am ruined!”
“Please, don’t leave me with him, helpless,” I lean forward to lay the crown of my head on his legs in a final reach of desperation.
“How could I do this?”
“Just give him what he wants and you can have me!” I look up to meet his eyes, but right as he sings, Owen pushes me off of him again. I land palms down, in agony.
“I don’t want you!”
Standing from my position on the floor, “Whatever you want-”
“I don’t want you!” I brace myself for the show stopping belt, I’d been marking for weeks. This is your moment, Y/n.
“If you pay, you can stay!” The riff goes smoother than I’d ever hoped for, and I do everything I can to bite back the smile of satisfaction I so desperately want to sport.
“Lord, show me how to say no to this,” Owen’s spiraling downstage left in Alexander’s whirlwind of upset. He’s so inwardly focused, I’m afraid touching him as choreographed will make him jump out of his skin.
We continue singing with the ensemble’s polyphony whilst throwing ourselves into the steps Dina had choreographed. The intricacy of the movement is seamlessly delivered because of how in sync Owen and I are at this moment. Turn under his arm, slide through, around, touch, out, back in, I repeat in my mind to ensure the performance’s success. The dance positions us face to face once more, holding each other close as we harmonize on,
“How can I say no to this?”
He pushes me away once more, and the pursuit through dance continues. The ensemble shifts the scene around one last time, removing the lampposts from the stage. Alexander’s chair is long gone, and all that remains is the surface of his empty desk. Dina said it was stable but we’ll see about that.
Alexander and I lustfully connect eyes as I lead him back to the desk. My slow, seductive steps are followed by his hesitant, anticipatory ones. Once I reach the desk, I sit down with both legs on either side of the table’s rounded corner.
I start my last riffs as Alexander has his last moment of weakness. His internal conflict is mapped out with a final fourth wall break, and then, he’s drawn back toward where I’m sitting. Owen closes the gap between us, and places one hand on my lower back to pull me in. The second kiss is far more chaste than the first, but it’s just as passionate as before.
As the ensemble begins to close out the song, Owen breaks the kiss, and releases me from being trapped on the desk. Sliding off the edge of the desk, I make my exit to stage right, sparing him one last vixen-esque glance. Owen watches me leave until I’ve disappeared into the wings,
“There is nowhere I can go.” James reappears, and I watch the end of the song from the wings.
“So?” Owen spares one last wistful glance into the wings; we lock eyes once more before he breaks away in false guilt.
“Nobody needs to know,” Alexander pays James, cueing him to exit stage left. And as the violin crescendos, Owen cards a frustrated hand through his hair while making his way to stand behind the desk. He places both hands on the edge, wider than his shoulder width, and hangs his head in defeat.
The theatre is silent. This causes me to panic. Surely, it wasn’t that bad.
“Ho-ly SHIT!” I hear Dina curse from the booth. “Where was that the first time we did a run through?” The positive reaction elicits a sigh from me, and I laugh to cope with the suspense. The entire revue cast and crew begin applauding louder than they have for any of the other numbers.
“Everyone come back out onto the stage for notes,” our stage manager calls into the house. My friends Eden playing Cinderella, Rebecca playing Velma Kelly, and Dawn playing Zoe Murphy all come find me and we sit together for notes. Rebecca hands me my phone and I open it to write down Dina’s critiques.
She reads through her notepad, going through the entire show song by song until she finally reaches Say No to This.
“To my ensemble: the lampposts were just a hair late if they could be on before Mariah rather than with her that’ll be so much cleaner. The ripple was sloppy but we can work that tomorrow. Devin you did something weird for the first choreo section?” Devin responds,
“You told me to wait for the light cue-”
“That’s right, we were just having some cue issues. Thank you,” Dina marks off a few notes and I get antsier for my notes. “Speaking of cue issues,” the company laughs at what we assumed to be a pointed note, but it’s not.
“Mariah and Alexander… This is why you guys are the final number. My showstopping couple was so good, my lighting crew hit a few cues late because of how interesting you two were to watch.”
Her compliment makes me blush, and I reduce the intensity with which I was preparing to write notes.
“Y/n, your last ‘yeeaasss’ before the second kiss,” she sings, “fell a little flat, just make sure you’re taking a good enough breath before, I know it’s hard sitting down.” I nod before furiously typing into my phone. I could’ve easily written “breathe” but I needed a distraction from all the prying eyes.
“Alexander, where are you?” Owen raises his hand to grab Dina’s attention before she gives him his notes. “When Y/n’s on the ground at the end, and she’s got you by the arms, make sure she has room to cheat out a bit, right now we’re getting her profile, but we’re on the verge of losing her face, so just be careful.”
Once Dina skims the rest of the list and sees they’re all tech related notes, she releases us to go change out of our costumes; the overlapping chatter of all the actors fills the theatre, and carries us to the dressing rooms. My dressing room is composed of my three best friends, who were all cast in vastly different roles, resulting in vastly different looks. The Chicago, Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, and Into the Woods costumes are all comically different. However, the three don’t corner me to talk about costumes.
“Dawn, close the door,” Eden begs and she complies. “What the fuck?” her exclamation catches me off guard.
“What do you mean ‘what’, are you kidding? That’s the most sexual tension I’ve ever seen in my entire life!”
“Well, good. Because they’re having an affair,” I reply cluelessly, putting my earrings in my makeup case.
“Not the characters, you and Owen!”
“Shhh! Eden, we share a wall with them.”
“They can’t hear us, they’re probably interrogating Owen as we speak.”
“Seriously, Y/n. What happened?” Rebecca pleads.
“I don’t know! I just felt different because costumes and lights really bring everything together, you know?”
“Y/n, this is bigger than costumes and lights. After you got off stage Owen did not stop with the bedroom eyes!”
“Shhh!” Harshly quieting my friends for the second time, we hear the four guys in dressing room B all laugh heartily. Hopefully not because they could hear what we said. “Maybe his expression didn’t change because he wasn’t out of character yet.”
“Would you stop being such a Debbie-downer and consider the fact that Owen might actually like you?”
“We’re just friends, Rebecca.”
“‘Just friends’ don’t kiss like that, Y/n.” I scoff a laugh before slipping off my character shoes.
“Can someone unzip me so I can get my notes, and get away from you delusional optimists?”
“Optimists? So, does that mean looking on the bright side means hoping Owen has a crush on you? And does that mean you have a crush on him!”
“Shhh! Even if Owen did have a crush on me, I don’t know what I’d say to him. How does that conversation go? ‘Hey nice job acting like we fucked, you’re an exceptional kisser, wanna do it again some time?’ Like?” I slip off my red gown, and hop into my most favorite pair of jeans. “Are we still getting food after?”
“Yes, but you’re only invited if you shoot your shot,” Eden says sincerely while cleaning up her vanity area.
“No one will be shooting any shots. We open tomorrow, and I don’t wanna make things weird between us just in case.”
“Do you want us to wait for you?” Dawn asks which leads me to realize she and Rebecca are already dressed.
“No, go ahead, we’ll catch up,” I speak on behalf of Eden as well. She’s already dressed but she’s packing her bag, and pulling out her phone with a devious smile.
“What are we eating?”
“I don’t know,” Eden says dismissively. Looking up from tying my shoe, I see she’s only half paying attention. She’s rapidly typing away, doing lord knows what. “Hey, I’ll meet you on the stage with Becca and Dawn.”
That’s suspicious… That’s weird…
Eden is never cryptic, so I can’t help but think she’s up to something. Regardless, I’m alone in the dressing room, under the fluorescent bulbs of the mirror. Shoes are in their box, dress is on it’s hanger, makeup case is neat, no residue on the counter, my bag is packed, I think I’m good to go. One last sweep of the room confirms my preparedness, and I pick up my bag off the old floor.
I flick the dressing room light off, and prop the door to air out the hairspray-filled room. When I look up from propping the door, I see Owen turn off the lights to his adjacent dressing room. Upon seeing me, his eyes widen a little bit,
“Hey,” I respond coolly to his nervous greeting.
“That was a really good rehearsal, you did amazing.”
“Oh, well, I can’t take all the credit. Your acting gave me the confidence I needed.” As I begin to walk out to the stage, Owen calls me back.
“Did tonight feel… different to you?” Just what is he getting at?
“I mean, costumes and lights really help me bring the character to life, so in a way, yes.”
“Oh. Okay.” I don’t know what kind of reaction that was but I’m hoping it’s okay. We then start making our way back to the stage in silence. The magic of the performance is gone, and Owen and I are back to our awkward selves.
“Owen! Becca and I were just talking about you!” Dawn says upon seeing the two of us enter the backstage area. “We were wondering if you wanted to join dressing rooms A and B for sushi right now?”
“We’re getting sushi in a land-locked state?” I ask incredulously. Owen laughs before glancing at me sweetly.
“Is it alright if I tag along?” I nod ‘yes’ as I try and suppress my confusion for why he’s asking for approval.
“Let’s eat some raw fish,” Dawn says, as we all head for the exit.
A/N: I really thought this was gonna be short but I just could NOT stop writing. It’s been 5 (???) hours I think but it’s done and slightly proofread and I love it. Btw if you want off the taglist or have exclusive requests, please let me know. I won’t be offended, I just don’t have an Owen list and figured better safe than sorry.
JATP Taglist: @caitsymichelle13 @kaitlyn2907 @itz-jas @crybabyddl @kcd15 @kinda-really-lost @calamitykaty @morganayennefertyrell @n0wornever @yikesgillespie
Luke/Charlie taglist: @thesweetestsinner @imsydneywalker @lovesanimals @thebloodthirstyvampress @bumbleberry-pie @losers-club6
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