Ricochet Chapter Twelve


Matt stood on the command center set, nervously going over his lines in his head. This was a big scene, with every cast member present, and they had some complicated choreography to do as they searched for a bomb inside the collar crime H.Q..


Rick was last on set, and he stomped over to the red tape on the floor which marked his spot.


“Nice black eye,” Daniel said, but Rick just gave a preoccupied grunt in reply.


Matt exchanged an anxious glance with the twins. Rick wasn’t a lot of fun these days, and they all missed the energy and humor he used to bring to their long working days.


They ran through the scene, and Rick knew his lines back to front, as he had every day for the past three weeks. In fact, he was the model actor in every respect – never late and never unprepared for his scenes. Theoretically, this should have made working with him a pleasure, but it wasn’t. Matt was far more tense when filming now. Rick used to relax him by teasing him before a big scene, which distracted him far more successfully than his usual method of counting. Now that Rick was on his best behavior, the teasing had stopped.


They began filming and had almost finished the take when Estelle screwed up her lines.


“Fuck me sideways with a dildo!” she screeched, and the entire set burst out laughing. Estelle’s salty language had made Matt blush when he first acted with her, but now they were all used to her ‘Estelle-isms’ as they called them, and had even taken to using some of her more insane ones as catchphrases.


Rick got up from where he was crouching with the twins, shielding them from the expected bomb blast. “Let’s go again,” he growled.


“Sorry, my darlings,” Estelle called, as everyone went back to their starting positions.


They had nearly made it all the way through when one of the twins tripped over Daniel’s leg and went crashing into Rick, knocking him into the edge of a computer console.


“For fuck’s sake!” Rick roared, pulling up his tee shirt to reveal a nasty red mark.


“Oh, Rick, I’m so sorry,” the guilty twin said, throwing herself into his arms.


“I’m sorry too, Rick,” her sister said, also throwing herself into his arms, even though it hadn’t been her fault. The twins had a tendency to act as if they were one person, which had startled Matt at first, but he was used to that now, too.


“Sorry, Rick! Sorry!” They smothered his face with little kisses, and old Rick would have lapped up the attention of two pretty, squealing subs throwing themselves at him and making a fuss of him, but now Rick shoved them away.


“Could we just do the scene?” he said stiffly, returning to his mark and offering up his face to Tim the make-up artist, who was hovering nearby.


“Oh, Rick,” Casey sighed.


“Oh, Rick,” Cara echoed.


“What?” he demanded.


“Nothing,” they trilled in unison, turning to Matt with sad eyes.


“Let’s go again,” the director said, and by this time you could cut the atmosphere in the room with a knife.


They managed to get through the scene without anyone screwing up this time, much to everyone’s relief.


“Thank fuck for that,” Rick said, raising his hand to wipe some of the fake blood from his nose.


“We’re sorry, Rick,” Casey said. “Please don’t be mad at us.”


“I’m not mad at you. I screw up enough in scenes, so I’ve got no right getting mad at anyone else for doing it,” Rick replied with a shrug.


“Not anymore. You’re always word perfect these days,” Daniel said.


“Yes, you are, Rick. You never get a line wrong, but…” Casey began. Then she hesitated, blushing.


“But?” Rick raised an eyebrow.


“It’s just… we liked you better before,” Cara said, and then she clapped her hand over her mouth.


“But we did,” Casey continued. “We miss our Rick; the one who gave us hugs, and tickled us, and told us really bad jokes.”


“We do. We miss him,” her sister confirmed. “It’s not the same now. It’s not fun anymore. You’re not fun anymore, Rick.”


Matt held his breath, wondering what would happen next. Rick might explode – or he might slip into the goofy, fun-loving persona that they all preferred.


He did neither. Instead, he stuck his hands into his pockets and gazed at them all moodily. “Look, I’m sorry. I’m not angry with any of you. I guess I can either be the Rick who is always late and goofs off, or I can be the Rick who turns up on time, remembers his lines, stays out of trouble and isn’t much fun. It looks like I can’t be both.”


“But Rick, there must be a way,” Casey said. “We hate seeing you so unhappy.”


“I already told the kid he needs to get laid,” Estelle chimed in from where she was standing between Daniel and Karl.


“It’s not that! Not completely anyway. It’s more complicated than that. It’s this – see these hands?” He held his hands out, waving them around. There was an insane gleam in his eyes, and Matt knew that whatever he said next was either going to be very profound or very ridiculous. As this was Rick, he had a fair idea which it’d be…


“These hands were made for spanking, my friends!” Rick announced dramatically. Matt sighed and buried his face in his hands. “Do you know how long it’s been since I last spanked a beautiful, round, soft ass? Since I put my hand on a sweetly curving butt and took some sub high into subspace?” Rick demanded.


Matt parted his fingers and peeked at Rick through them, wondering just how far into the ridiculous his friend was going to take this and whether he could bear to watch.


“I’m guessing, a few weeks?” Daniel ventured, looking like he was having a hard time not laughing.


“Yes! And it’s driving me nuts. Sex is good – I love sex – but spanking is something else. It’s like telling a pianist he can’t play the piano, or an artist that she can’t paint.”


Matt saw Karl shoving his fist into his mouth and turning away, his shoulders shaking as he tried to control a fit of giggles.


“You could pay someone to… uh… oblige?” Daniel suggested.


“Richard O’Shea has never paid a sub in his life, and he’s not starting now,” Rick snapped.


“Oh, Rick!” Casey threw herself at him.


“Rick!” Cara joined in.


“That’s so sad. It’s the saddest thing I ever heard,” they cooed.


“It’s the funniest thing I ever heard,” Karl muttered to Daniel, who had to pretend he was having a coughing fit in order to hide his snort of laughter. Karl patted him helpfully on the back.


“If we’re done here…” Rick had a pained look on his face. “I have lines to learn,” and he stalked off the set.


“Oh dear,” the twins said mournfully. “Poor Rick.”


“That was classic,” Karl sighed, wiping away little tears of mirth from the corners of his eyes. He held up his hands. “These hands were made for spanking!” he proclaimed dramatically.


“Don’t mock Rick,” Casey said reproachfully. “We love Rick.”


“Yes, my dears, we do,” Estelle said, gathering them in her arms and fixing Karl with a stern glare. “Karl, you’re new here, my love, and you have to understand – Rick is the heart of this show and right now he’s struggling. He’s always been there for us – each and every one of us – and now I think we need to be there for him.”


The smile faded immediately from Karl’s face. “I’m sorry, Estelle,” he said contritely, and Matt noticed him flashing a furtive glance at Daniel, to see whether he’d screwed up with him, too.


“Estelle has a point,” Daniel agreed. “Rick was pretty over the top, but then that’s Rick, and I have to say…” He paused, looking thoughtful. “I can’t speak for all of you, but work hasn’t been as enjoyable for me since Petra put him on his best behavior.”


“I agree,” Matt said quietly. “Rick isn’t Rick unless he’s being annoying. I…” He flushed, as he always did when speaking about anything personal, but then he decided it was worth saying, so he plowed on. “I’m not always very confident during big scenes,” he admitted. “I get really nervous, but that’s never a problem when Rick’s around. He calms me down with his teasing and stupid jokes. I didn’t realize until this happened what a difference he makes to my performance.”


“How very true, my dear Matthew,” Estelle said. “I don’t think any of us realized how much Rick brightens up our lives with his energy and sense of fun. As you all know, I’ve worked on a great many sets with a great many true acting legends, but I can honestly say I’ve never enjoyed a set as much as this one – and Rick is a large part of that.”


“Yes, he is.” Daniel nodded firmly.


“He totally is,” the twins agreed, hanging on to each other, their eyes swimming with tears.


“Then we must find a way to bring him back,” Karl said, stepping forward. All trace of mockery was gone, and there was now a determined look in his brown eyes. Matt had the sudden realization that Karl was the kind of person who instinctively led and whom others instinctively followed.


“What would you suggest, Karl?” Daniel asked.


“I have an idea – I just need to think it through. Meet me in my trailer in half an hour, and I’ll explain it to you then.”



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