Her book draft excerpt {M} finds out.

{M } from her book

{what scene?}

{she finds out}

{jenny and I get overheard}  initially the scene is set as retrospective on the months of filming that have gone on

{m} First time singing

Then {jenny} and I are talking, not knowing {m} is there. Secret is out

{m} sees that she needs to try harder, is this real?

The studio building loomed beside as {jenny} and I walked the length of it. I’d lost any sense of the strangeness of this during the months the filming had gone on.  Working together in what were quite tough circumstances had made us very close. We were heading towards a cafe that surely had been there since before the studio was built, it seemed to exist in a little bit of the normal world, surrounded by the studio buildings. These were huge corrugated metal rectangles designed only for their functions, and without any regard for style. Ironically enough given what went on inside.

 

People mostly rode bicycles or electric golf carts, walking was usually something to avoid because of the scale of the place.  {jenny} and I didn’t speak as we walked, it was pleasant just to feel the wind and the warmth of the sun after hours spent inside under artificial lights.   People who noticed us always acknowledged {jenny}, no-one knew who I was, but I was happy to know that I was the one that was walking with her. I could see the questions in their eyes .

We turned a corner and I could see the cafe at the end of one of the steel buildings. It was almost hidden among a group of trees, and the green of its surroundings were always a relief after the stark white of the pavement. We visited this place at the end of most weeks, just to talk to plan and for me the experience more of {jenny’s} company. The windows were made of small rectangles of glass in dark wooden frames. Everything was wood, worn with many years of use. I imagined generations of alcoholic actors sitting at the bar, worn down by drinking, but hiding it easily from their public with charm and a nice smile.  Now the placed served coffee, and had cleaned up. It never seemed to be full of people, but there were always people here. Customers talked quietly or just sat in silence winding down after long stress filled days.

 

We walked in and took a corner table, {m} was due to arrive in about half an hour. We ordered coffee and talked.

 

The filming had been going on for over five months now, and the work had settled into a routine. {m} had begun to sing, and I had even begun to understand how to talk to her and to accept how different she was to my imaginings.  Still in those instances when she was like one of her characters I would just smile. I think she played for those smiles, just to tease me.

 

The band had accepted her now, understanding that behind all the weirdness that fame produces, she was as hardworking as they were, and she was just a person. She had a family to go back. Sometimes she got sick, but she’d always turn up, even when it was obviously very difficult.  When she wore no makeup and dressed without care it was almost possible to forget who she was. She had people she loved, trusted, disliked or just ignored. But then, the sight of her driving up to the studio building in the Ferrari, made you realise exactly who this was, the money she controlled, the true weirdness of the life she existed in. But then each morning she’d come in,  hugging each of us in the innocent way she had.

 

The coffee was always really good here, the waitress didn’t speak as she served us. I just sat looking at {jenny} drawing out the time until I would take my first sip. Often there was nothing said for quite some time. She knew I liked to watch her, and she didn’t mind it.

 

The conversation proceeded in an ordinary way then, we talked about what had gone on in the week, and discussed scenes that would be filmed soon. We also talked about song choices and wondered about marketing things we could do. But then,

 

“so, you haven’t told her, and she hasn’t guessed.”

“well I just don’t think it’s appropriate. what would she do”

“she trusts you absolutely now, I’m sure she’d understand. I don’t see what the problem is, I think she’d love the idea if the new. that she is playing a character that was only written for her, but is her”

 

“what?”

We both looked round at this, {m} was standing there having walked up to us quietly.

“what do you mean written for her, and is her, you’re talking about me right?”

I was silent, I couldn’t think of anything to say other than to tell the truth. I was embarrassed at our indiscretion.  I knew I had to speak now. {jenny} was just smiling at me, and seeing the look on her face I believed she had hoped for this moment.  I felt like poking my tongue out at her.

“well, and please don’t get angry, your character in my book is you. I didn’t just write a character that I thought you might like to play and be suitable to play, but I wrote you into the book as the person I imagined you to really be. so now you are really playing yourself.  Well a kind of combination of that character and you. Does that make sense?”

“and why haven’t you told me this, didn’t you think I’d want to know, surely you know me well enough now?”

“ah, shit, I feel bad, I know I should have, but at first when I didn’t know you I just felt no-one needed to know about my craziness, and I was worried, I admit it. “

“but now you know I wouldn’t do anything, you’ve known it for some time?”

“well, yes , are you angry?”

“no, but I am a little disappointed, you should have mentioned it. but why not?”

“I was worried a little bit that you might think I had some sort of a fixation on you,  I didn’t want you to think I was a creep or anything like that. ”

“oh, but there’s no question of that, surely it’s obvious that I don’t think that way.”

“I know, I know but it is a fear of mine, as an older guy, perhaps a paranoid fear.  what if there’s an evil inside me and I lose control.”

“you say such stupid things sometimes, come on, there’s nothing like that, we know, you’ve just been watching too many movies, {m} and I have known you now for quite some time, and I know that I have never had the slightest doubt about you.  ”

“yes, don’t worry about it, I forgive you, not that there’s anything to forgive, but I’m extremely curious about this. do you think I’m like {her} for instance.”

 

“Ah, I didn’t think of this, how to explain.  There are facets I guess, mannerisms. {she} is kind of pathetic in some ways though and you’re not, not at all.  You’re shyer than I expected, but that just says to me that you’re much braver.”

At this point she leaned over and kissed my cheek, I could feel my face burn at this.

“thankyou, what else”

“well, I was already prepared by meeting {jenny} here, for the realisation there’s going to be a completely other person there, unrelated to any character I’d seen you playing.  Before, I had this weird idea of actors, that they inhabited some strange other world without cares or the worries of the rest of us. I’d seen real estate photos of a house {jenny} was selling and got a sense of this weirdness from that.  But now I see that the fame and the money it only adds things it doesn’t replace them so I see all the normal things going on in your lives, both of you. You’re just like any number of amazingly attractive women.”

They both laughed at this.

“I see that that creates all the normal problems, though don’t worry.  I think the most compelling thing is that I have seen the contrast between the confidence that you both share, but have seen the surprising vulnerability. ”

“surprising?” {jenny} said

“well, not now, but it was originally, when I was ignorant. I imagined the fame would produce a confidence that would mitigate against any negative feelings. How silly was I?”

“with some people it does”, {m} said, “or perhaps it just appears that way, people often ask if the fame has changed me, which of course it has, but they don’t ask the question, ‘has it helped me’?.  And the answer to that is I’m not sure. “

“well, I guess you probably won’t ever have to get a real job.”  I tried to say this with a straight face but failed.

 

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