Rise of Roxy Ch. 02byEgmontGrigor2011©
Unkindly tagged a bimbo, Roxy Reeves awoke on the first morning of what she already believed was a big change in her life. She knew she'd done the right thing by resigning from the law firm were she'd been employed to break her adulterous link with Jerry Truman, and to avoid the looming possibility of being fired.
Emotionally she felt secure because of the kindness she'd received from Sophie Scott who had invited Roxy into her home as a temporary refuge. Roxy yawned, had a quick shower, dressed carefully to ensure she looked attractive to create a good impression and went down for breakfast with Sophie and husband Robert.
Roxy had no idea what the time was. She was alone in the kitchen and the wall clock indicated 9:30. She sighed, realizing her hosts would be at work. She found a note from Sophie on the kitchen table and called her.
"Hi darling, I'm glad you slept in."
"Thanks for saying that. I was embarrassed I didn't join my hosts for breakfast."
"You can do that at the weekend darling. Breakfast for us during the week is pretty much a pick-up and run affair. I told my mother about you staying with us and she insists on bringing over lunch today and getting to know you. Mom is difficult to stop when she gets going so I hope this unscheduled arrangement is okay?"
"Sure I have no plans for today."
"Oh that's the other thing. Your screen test is at 4:30 today. I'll collect you at 4:00."
"My screen test?"
"Yes and I'm sorry to drop it on you but it only developed during the night. It's Plan C but taking a slice of Plan A as well. I pitched to Robert last night after softening him up with sex. To humor us he's arranged a test for you as a possible replacement for the relief weather girl. Darling it won't be a fun test like I had planned; people who need to be there will be there. Um Robert says stay off alcohol and coffee and be perfectly relaxed, ah as well as you can."
"I know what you are saying. Why are you pushing me like this Sophie?"
"Because I'm treating you like my adopted daughter. Is that so bad?"
Roxy laughed delightedly and said no, not at all. In fact she was delighted.
"Um Roxy please listen, this is so important. My mother is a highly social animal and is very talkative and will be out to fill you with red wine, overly rich food and very strong coffee. Please resist avoiding over-indulging before your big test."
"I will and will do so charmingly because I'm your pretend daughter but never fear, I'll not tell her our secret."
"God no please not a word because I haven't mentioned that to her. Oh my mom is from Italy and despite all the years since she left Italy she still struggles with English and ..."
"No problem Sophie. Just relax and enjoy your day and think carefully before having office sex."
"Go wash your mouth out wicked girl," Sophie laughed and cut the call.
Sophie arrived just before 4:00 to pick up Roxy and to her horror found her mother Maria was still there and half drunk.
"This house guest of yours, she is very good. She says I'm beautiful but left me to drink all the wine. And she talks to me in Italian when you struggle so with my native language."
"Roxy speaks Italian?"
"That's what I said. Why don't you listen?"
"I can't believe this."
"So you call me a liar eh, your own mother?"
"No of course not. But I just wasn't aware that..."
"You must talk to Roxy more. Be polite. She's your house guest. What do you want from Roxy, sex?"
"What's so wrong talking to your mother about your sexual desires? Roxy's sister Clara married an Italian boy, not like you. When they were young girls Clara and Roxy lived one month each summer in the house of their English grandmother near Lucca, in Tuscany. Oh here comes my Roxy now. Doesn't she look so beautiful?"
Sophie turned and gaped. Roxy wore the type of tight dress weather presenters appear to favor that outlines breast and belly curve and her hair was up on Countessa style that Maria used to do with Sophie's hair when she went on dates in her late teens. Roxy with her olive skin and glorious chestnut hair looked absolutely stunning.
Maria and Roxy talked rapidly in Italian and Sophie struggled to keep up.
"Maria says I made her drink too much home and she stayed for you to drop her off and the way to the studio."
"But mom lives in the opposite direction."
"We have plenty of time. That's why I let Maria do my hair."
"My mother allows you to call her Maria?"
"Roxy is a good girl. She may call my anything she wishes but she should change her name."
"Mom, Roxy's name is part of her identify."
"That's exactly what she told me. So you do talk to Roxy?"
"Come on Maria, let's get you home," Roxy said, leading Maria to the door and calling, "Oh darling could you grab the picnic basket from the kitchen table. It's all packed."
"So you call my daughter darling? Are you ready to have sex with her?"
Sophie cringed until she heard Roxy's reply.
"You are drunk and naughty, in fact you are very wicked Maria. I think you need a new husband to kick you into shape."
"You cannot talk to me like that."
"Maria I'm not your daughter who you boss and I'll bite you unless you speak nicely."
"My lovely Roxy. What has happened to you? You were so nice to me."
"Well you behave and nice Roxy will return."
A few minutes later Sophie almost drove off the road when her mother said to Roxy, who was in the back seat with her, "So you think I need a man to keep me in order?"
"Yes I do."
"Well men my age are no longer interested in sex."
"Then marry a much younger guy, one around Sophie's age."
Sophie said after they'd gotten Maria safely inside her unit in the retirement village, "God does my mother love you. Having you two together is a real scream."
"Rarely have I met an older woman with so much character and liveliness as your mother."
"You have to be joking."
There was silence.
Sophie said, "Omigod, sorry. Obviously you were serious."
"Sophie my mother died of a\blockage of the lung artery when I was sixteen and I have no idea where my father is. You might like to think about truly appreciating your mother while you still have her."
"Oh but I do, we get along very well. Truly we do."
"But she wants to be teased and spoken to firmly at times and to FEEL that you love her."
Sophie drove along, feeling the tears coming and then a soft tissue was pressed against her hand on the wheel nearest Roxy.
"Thanks darling," Sophie sniffed, dabbing her eyes. "I don't know how but you've got it."
"It's not something to worry your pretty head about."
"This something you mentioned, does it mean personality?"
"Look it means charm, personality, personal image projection and other things. Just cease thinking about it. It's not necessary to understand it. Just ride with it and accept you are destined to become a person of note because I believe you have your gran's genes and that's not the jeans you wear."
"I know," Roxy laughed and added, "And I know your mother wants you to talk to her like you do to me, on equal footing, not like a dutiful daughter. It's not in your mother's mind to have a dutiful daughter."
Sophie drove on and pondered. How on earth could Roxy know that? But did it matter. And another thing, how the hell did Roxy know how to handle Maria?
At the imposing front to what really was a converted warehouse, Robert came out to greet them, looking worried because they were a little late. But then he looked closed at Roxy and smiled.
"You look great."
"But you guys are late," he growled.
Sophie opened her mouth but too late, Roxy was already purring to Robert, "It's my fault. Sophie arrived on time. Enough said?"
"Yeah well that's okay I can't see make-up being able to do much more with you and that's saved heaps of time. Come I've arranged someone to coach you. I apologize in advance. I'm perhaps guilty of over-selling you because it's been decided to conduct a full screen test. All the execs who need to be here will be here and possible others because word will be out a full screen test will run."
"No worries and thanks for taking an interest in my welfare."
Robert looked more than pleased and said that was okay. Um Roxy was a bit like his protégé.
"Come with me girls," he said, and Sophie 'went with the flow' having realized Roxy had slipped into a different mode to handle Robert, who was almost as difficult to handle as his mother-in-law, but Roxy had managed the transition with ease and Robert wouldn't realize he was being treated with due deference according to his own concept of his self-importance. Omigod, Sophie thought, aware she'd taken some years to learn how to handle her temperamental husband. It was as if Roxy was on permanent all-wheel drive acting mode, fueled by instinct.
They went to make-up and just as Robert had indicated, there was little requiring attention. Augustine dusted both of Roxy's cheeks and retouched the lips.
"Whoever prepared you darling really knows what they're doing. Don 't even bother going to hair-dressing."
Sophie was astonished she'd never recognized her mother had make-up talent because her mom's own make-up appeared to be thrown at her face and neck and her hair was never precise.
Mrs Smith the coach, aged in her early sixties, took one look at Roxy and smiled, "I'm far from being rude to you darling but they are wasting time doing a screen test with you. Providing you possess the fundamental you are through. Well when you go on stage you'll see feet placement marks like this..."
"Face left stage, the far one is face right stage and the center one is face audience."
"Yes dear, substitute profile for stage and camera for audience and you have total understanding with that."
Mrs Smith took Roxy through a series of facial expression calls and then some calls on voice pitch and vocal expressions of joy, anger, sweetness, a snort, a haughty laugh, a cackle and her natural laugh.
As they walked over to Sophie and Robert who were drinking coffee, Mrs Smith said, "You have awesome telegenic image darling."
"Doesn't that require on camera evaluation?"
"So it's said darling but never believe everything you hear."
Mrs Smith said to Robert, "I thought you said Roxy was untrained."
"Yes I did and that's true."
"Ha," said Mrs Smith. "This screen test is not necessary."
As she left Robert said to Roxy, "What did you do to upset Mrs Smith?"
"I don't believe you."
"Robert back off," Sophie said mildly. "Mrs Smith wasn't displaying annoyance. I believe she's made her own evaluation and decided a screen test is redundant."
"I very much doubt it," Robert said. ""No one person is that good against a full production team with all the necessary resources."
"I believe in Mrs Smith," Roxy said coolly.
"And so do I Robert and you told me she's virtually a legend."
"Yes and by that I mean in handling fully professional actors requiring help with accents, voice pitch and projection and adopting things like a stutter or lisp."
"And aren't her skills allowed to expend beyond that range you just mentioned?"
"Oh come on Sophie. You and Roxy are doing what all women tend to do in tight situations and that is to get overly emotional."
"Be nice to your wife please Robert. Your attitude is bordering on personal abuse."
Robert and Sophie looked at Roxy amazed.
Sophie asked, "Who taught you about interpersonal relations?"
"I really don't know what you mean. I was just quoting some lines of a play I was in that seemed appropriate for this situation."
Robert grinned and said well done. "Well let's go into C-Studio. Roxy there will be bright lights, people all over the place and apparent confusion but..."
"I've acted on stage and have assisted to direct stage productions Robert. TV can't be so different. I feel I have won my spurs."
"Well you certainly are showing confidence at this stage," Robert said. "The test comes when you are placed under pressure."
At that point Roxy recalled something Mrs Smith had told her, that when she was on-stage for a screen test she must always remember that at least one camera would be running for the duration.
The director Alice Sands greeted Roxy and outlined what she required from Roxy.
"You have been briefed by Mrs Smith?"
"Yes quite thoroughly I believe. She's easy to work with."
"As easy as working with me?"
Aware she might already be on camera, Roxy said skillfully, "We'll have to find out about that."
"Okay, let's go. Take up your position for left profile filming."
The process went smoothly and Roxy didn't think she'd fouled up along the way.
"That's all from me Roxy."
"Thanks Mrs Sands. You were easy to follow."
"Miss Reeves," boomed a voice over the speakers. "I'm Mal Johns, head of drama. We have a monitor up here and our initial appraisal is you looked satisfactory."
"Miss Reeves, who's running this test?"
"My guess it's been run on your behalf."
"Correct. Actually we decided you looked more than good."
"Thank you Mr Johns. I would hate to waste your time."
"You would save my time if you talked less."
"Oh Mr Johns, but I'm female."
The head of drama led the laughter.
"Miss Reeves, my information is you were not coached in drama at college because you never went on to college. You were involved in drama at lower school and at high school took lead roles and in your senior year under-studied in stage direction. Since then you have not worked in theatre and have worked in company offices. Is that correct?"
"Yes but I'm really here to demonstrate if I have natural ability and for you to assess if I can develop."
"Who's running this test Miss Reeves?"
"Please carry on Mr Johns."
"I'll read you an introduction and would like you to act and ad lib a few lines. Please consider this a real test Miss Reeves. Try to be dramatic and inventive and deliver to send minds soaring and appeal to your audience's emotions. Remember to keep it fairly short and focus on Camera B."
"Yes sir. Call me Roxy."
"Roxy you wake up on the floor of a bare room (Roxy dropped to the floor and ignored Camera B). Your head in reeling, you smell exotic perfumes and outside comes the sound of a carnival-like atmosphere but is it a marketplace? Off you go with your actions and dialogue Roxy."
Roxy remained motionless. Suddenly there was a slight twitch in the region of her posterior. Her butt then lifted about four inches and dropped and she sat up rubbing her eyes.
"Where am I?"
"God you stupid bitch. You popped too many pills last night and now you are in a police cell. Mother told you not to go to any night clubs in Soho when you were in London. Oh god, I'll be deported, sent home in disgrace, disowned by my family and will have to marry a mean old man whose ranch has turned to dust."
"Gee it's hot in here," Roxy said, pulling the top of her dress wide and fanning with it. "I thought I'd wet myself but it's a river of sweat. Omigod I've been captured as a white slave and transported by FedEx overnight courier to a harem in the Middle East. Oh what will my fiancé Bruno Castillo say? He won't like me being plundered by a Sheik and his sons and mother. Bruno regards my vagina as his temple."
"Omigod, I'll do myself in," she wailed horribly and then stopped. "Hey you stupid woman, some of those sons might be quite okay and I've yet to experience female on female sex. I must seize the day."
She screamed, "Come in you lot and have me."
Roxy bowed to the darkened space where she could see some people illuminated softly by the screen of the monitor.
There was applause and Mr Johns said, "Well that certainly wasn't family time TV but then I didn't limit you. Why did you act looking at us instead of the TV camera as directed?"
"Because I assumed there would be a camera up behind you people and you'd position yourself centrally so I decided I should not play to a stage left camera."
"I admire intelligent people Roxy. We'll all meet in the screening room in an hour. That delay is to give our people time to do some editing. Then we'll embarrass you talking about your brilliance."
"Oh I'll be more interested in hearing from experts about my acting inadequacies Mr Johns."
"God you were brilliant," gushed Sophie. "I have well-developed instinct too and that told me to believe in Mrs Smith."
"Thanks Sophie. I love the way in which you encourage me so positively. I must say it really works on me."
They walked over to Robert who was talking to a slim guy in a white Italian-cut suit.
"Sophie and Roxy, this is Mr Robbins, our company chairman. His father is the principal shareholder in the company that owns this TV station. Mr Robbins often drops in to talk to us and came here when told most of us were attending this full screen test. He decided to watch as he'd never seen one done."
"Oh hi Mr Robbins. I'm Robert's wife. Please call me Sophie and I congratulate you on your recent appointment as chairman of this company."
"Thank you Sophie. And is Roxy your daughter?"
"I wish. No she is presently staying with us while she attempts to find a new career direction."
"What are you aiming to do Roxy?"
"Initially I wish to become a weather reader on Channel 8."
"Well I can order that to happen right now."
"Oh Mr Robbins..."
"Please call me Nick."
"Nick please don't proceed with your kind offer. You must understand I'm up against it because I don't have a degree of any kind and not even a diploma in TV drama or anything like that."
"Well how do you expect to break through?"
"By the old fashion way Nick, relying on my ability to exhibit sheer talent."
"But don't you have to get a degree in acting before displaying your talent?"
"No that process is to enhance and develop raw talent. I believe this test you have just seen demonstrates I have already enhanced and developed my talent through embracing it ever since I turned twelve. Please Nick, don't influence anyone at this stage."
"Then will you date me?"
Roxy didn't hesitate although aware Sophie and Robert were listening. "Yes of course when you really are between dates but please don't dump anyone just to get at me?"
Nick held up a hand and smiled. "It's okay Sophie. It's so refreshing to meet someone around my age who's willing to speak to me frankly and to exhibit she possesses some values. Women gather around me like bees around a honey pot because my family is very wealthy. I'll not intervene in this matter Roxy and I'll date you when I am between dates and I'll know where to find you, here at Channel 8."
"But you said you wouldn't intervene?"
"And I won't. I'm confident the people we employ here won't allow you to slip through their fingers and go to a rival TV station. Do you agree with that Robert?"
"Absolutely Nick. I hired Mal Johns and without exerting any influence expect that shortly he'll offer Roxy a contract. Mal is the consummate professional and I trust his judgment."
"And if he flunks will you intervene and give Roxy the start to her TV career?"
"I would talk to Mal about his decision, yes, remembering it really is his call. Will you join us at the bar from a drink Nick?"
"I'd like to but must decline because Roxy might see that as me exercising covert influence on her career to decision-makers who see us together. But shall we dine later tonight? My current girlfriend Sally Brookes is expecting to be taken to dinner tonight and it would help to have you guys with us because she enjoys company."
"You mean Professor Sally Brookes?"
"Yes Sophie, she'd the daughter of one of my mother's friends. "For some years I've been working through... oh I mean dating... the daughters of my mother's friends as well as the daughters of other women I manage to attract by my own efforts."