Hollywood After Dark Ch. 03bycarnagejackson©
The storyline is becoming quite complex now, so I hope everyone can follow it. If you are new to the series, please read the first two chapters here to catch up and understand everything, as recounting it all here would take too long. Heh. Many thanks to KMB for letting me reference his great series in this chapter. Feedback and suggestions always welcome. ____________________________________________
You must be 18 to read this story, be able to read erotica in your community, not be offended by the contents of it...blah blah, you know the rest.
This story may be distributed freely, for commercial or non-commercial use, but PLEASE leave my email/name on it! That's all I ask!
This work is complete fiction, all made up in my head. Yes I know the celebs don't act like this in real life, but this is a fantasy after all.
This is Part 3 of an ongoing series.
I have arrived and this time you should believe the hype I listened to everyone now I know that everyone was right I'll be there for you as long as it works for me I play a game It's called insincerity - Nine Inch Nails
I slugged down my fourth shot in about 10 minutes, the bourbon going down hard and fiery down my throat. The stale smell of cigarette smoke and spilled beer wafting into my nostrils, I rubbed my hand through my hair. What a day it had been. Setting my glass down, I motioned for the bartender to fill it up again. He walked hesitantly over to me, the question of if I had had enough hanging on his lips and yet no words coming as he was about to say it. I watched him refill the glass and then picked it up in my hand, examining its brownish qualities, the liquor sloshing around slightly in the smudged glass. It looked small and frail in my hand, and I could crush it if I wanted to I suppose, but that would just bring on startled glances and questions from the other patrons of this dank bar, and questions were the one thing I was very much looking to avoid today if at all possible.
After my experience in the Starry Dreams strip club the night before, wherein I witnessed three of Hollywood's most beautiful women essentially becomes whores and sex slaves for a room full of powerful men, the most plaguing thought on my mind was not about what had happened but why. Things were not making sense, no matter how much I replayed them in my mind. Why were these women being so used like this and perhaps more importantly, why did they allow themselves to be? There had to be a reasonable explanation; there always was, at least if movies had taught me anything at all. And here I was smack dab in the middle of the place of dreams, getting my OWN movie made. Strangely though, life felt more bizarre than any piece of fiction I had ever seen on screen.
It didn't help matters that I was on the outs with Petty, my girlfriend. She had caught a great break for her singing career while waiting for me at my office, and how did I show her my joy for her? By going off about the evilness I was starting to understand of the record label/movie studio both of us suddenly found ourselves in the good graces of. It wasn't that I wasn't happy for her, it was simply that I thought that Antamount, the studio who bought my script and wanted to sign her to a record deal, had suddenly become inherently polluted in my mind, the luster losing it's sheen, following the events of last night.
So fuck it, I deserved these drinks, bartender be damned. Things were going to get worse before they got better, that much my gut already told me. What happened this morning certainly didn't help matters at all.
I had went into the studio the same as I had the day before, only this time armed with more knowledge than I probably wanted. Whereas before, everything seemed magical and like a dream, now it was as if everything was cast in a darker light. Secretaries seemed more snotty, set crews seemed more surly and the executives and people involved in Antamount's production of my movie, "Amerikan Family", seemed to be in on some kind of joke that I was the punch line of.
After spending a mostly sleepless night on the couch, I was groggy and yet still decidedly firm in the decision I had come to last night, lying there awake, staring at the ceiling. I had to know what was going on, or at least find out as much more as I could, without seeming too nosy or obvious. The likely source for this had at first seemed to be Gordon Hapsboro, studio owner Wilton Willis' head assistant, but chances are he probably knew too much and would get suspicious if I started questioning. So I crossed off names mentally down the Antamount food chain and had landed on Jack Furrow and Brandon Shuman, the two guys who were overseeing the script and producing my film for Antamount. They might not know everything that was going on behind the scenes at the studio, but they could at least help in putting a lot of my fears to rest and convince me that I was just imagining things.
I walked into the casting lot, opening the door quietly to avoid making too much noise if there were script readings still going on. To my surprise however, the place was empty except for Furrow and Shuman, both of which were standing over the table they were at yesterday, looking down into a speaker phone. Jack had his hands splayed out across the table as he leaned against it, his head down as he listened intently to the other end, while Brandon stood idly by the table, his arms crossed, looking bored. As I drew closer to them, I could begin to hear the conversation in full.
"So then first it's Virginia for the end scene, followed by the lot here for the rioting and climax and the rest will be shot in France. Is that what your notes say too Mr. Willis?" Furrow said into the speaker phone. I stood still, barely even breathing as I listened. Just the mention of Willis' name now sent chills down my back.
"Yes Jack, that's the shooting schedule. And casting is complete, at least with the principal players?" I heard Willis' voice say. It sounded tinny and far away, or at the very least to be coming from a cell phone.
"Yes sir. Two weeks more of final script prep and then we will be ready to start shooting," Furrow said.
"I assume Brandon has everything in order then?" Willis asked.
Brandon unfolded his arms and leaned in over the speaker. "Yes Mr. Willis, the revisions are going to be slight. Hilt gave us something decent to work with so that's a good thing. Although I still think changing the name might be in order," Brandon said.
"Nonsense. What with all this flag waving and patriotic mumbo jumbo going on, anything with the word 'America' in it will sell tickets like crazy. Even if it is misspelled. Now, I must be going gentlemen, is there anything else?" Willis said.
"No sir. Have a safe flight," Jack said. There was an audible click on the other end, followed by a soft beep as Jack hung up the phone. He stepped back from the table and stretched, his arms rising high above his head. I took this as a cue to continue on into the room.
Brandon saw me first. "Hey Alex, what's up?"
"Just back on the job," I replied.
"Glad to hear it. You feeling better?"
"Yes, thank you. First day jitters I guess," I said, obviously not letting in on the fact that I had left early yesterday more out of confusion and worry than any sort of actual sickness.
"Well, we finished up casting without you. Here's a list," Brandon said, handing me a sheet of paper from the table. I took it and glanced down, scanning. It was written in a neat but slightly erratic hand, almost as if it was done in haste. A lot of the names I had never heard of, but a few stood out.
In the role of the mistress, they had cast Monica Bellucci. This was no surprise, given how well she had played the role yesterday during an audition. There were a few actual surprises though. For the teenage daughter, they had cast Eliza Dushku and for the youngest daughter, Mila Kunis (there were three kids, two girls and a younger boy). I raised my eyebrows at the casting of Kunis, as she had never struck me as much of a dramatic actress. Furrow must have picked up on my puzzlement, because he was quick to jump in.
"The studio wanted her for the daughter role to draw in the teen crowd. You know, the under 17 set," Furrow said.
I glanced up at him, still a bit puzzled. "But the movie is incredibly violent and is more than likely going to end up with an 'R' rating. What good does it do to cast a teen favorite into an 'R' rated movie?"
"Hey, we don't make the rules. We just hear from the studio 'cast this girl' every now and then and we are very much obliged to do it," Brandon said.
Looking over the rest of the list, none of the other names caught my eye, but I figured that the list was likely to change in the future, especially since they were wanting to apparently wait two weeks before filming began. I handed the paper back to Brandon.
"It looks ok, I guess. No huge stars but hey, this is my first movie right?" I said, forcing a smile.
"How true. Don't worry though. If the movie goes over well, you'll gain some creed and your next film could have an all star cast," Jack said, standing over the desk with his head down again, putting some papers into a folder. He picked it up and looked at me.
"We were just taking a conference call with Mr. Willis, but since that's done, there isn't much left to do today. I'm afraid you got here a little too late Alex," Jack said.
"If you had told me that there was going to be a conference call, I would have been here sooner," I replied, a little irked at what he was insinuating.
"Hey, easy there big guy. We didn't know about it either. In fact, we had just sat down when the secretary buzzed us and told us that he was on the phone. You'll learn that pretty quick here: Willis likes to make surprise calls to see what is going on. He's neurotic like that," Brandon said.
I sighed in frustration, but the anger passed quickly. I had more important things to worry about.
The three of us began to walk out of the room, Jack moving surprisingly spry for someone his age (probably mid to late 40s), with Brandon slouching behind him as I brought up the rear. I quickly scanned the two of them, trying to figure out who might be the most approachable. I decided on Brandon, as his Generation X slacker attitude simply vibed that not very much could irritate or get to him, even a line of questioning out of left field. I caught up to him and grabbed his arm, pulling him slightly back towards me.
Brandon spun on his heels, his eyes still locked on watching Jack leave the room. Furrow didn't notice either of us, lost in his own world as his long legs took big strides out of the room, the folder of documents under his arm.
"What?" Brandon said, a little startled by the feel of my hand on his arm.
"I wanted to talk to you about something," I replied, my voice a little soft in my throat. Brandon looked at me for a moment, but I watched over his head as Jack disappeared out the door, the heavy metal of it closing behind him with a slam.
"Alex, I'm late for a..."
"It will only take a moment,"
"Fine. What is it?"
I had to think carefully over every word as it came out of my mouth, although this wasn't too big of a problem. I had rehearsed the lines in my head the entire way over. I took a deep breath and started, my eyes watching Brandon's own.
"When you first started working here, did you notice anything weird?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, like little perks or something around the office, that sort of thing,"
Brandon thought for only a split second. "No. Why?"
I was a bit puzzled - I hadn't expected this response.
"You know, invitations to parties, special treatment, that sort of thing?"
"Alex, what the hell are you talking about? I mean yeah, I go to parties and all but..."
"No, I mean parties thrown by Mr. Willis,"
It was very brief and just for a split second, but I saw it wash over him like a wave cresting across rocks. His body stiffened for a second, but his mind was too quick for even this subtle body language.
"Nope. I have only talked to the guy once in person, and when I did it was just a handshake and hello. Are you getting cut in on something I'm not? Because if so, I better speak to my agent,"
"No no, nothing like that. It's just...I heard things from some people, that's all. I was just curious I guess,"
Brandon shuffled on his feet, obviously anxious to leave.
"Yeah, well whatever Alex. I really gotta go. Have fun at your parties," he said, turning to leave. I grabbed onto his arm tighter now, though I could never remember exactly why. Maybe it was that he served as a life vest in this growing sea of turbulence I was in; maybe it was for no reason in particular.
"I'm thinking of taking some time off," I said, the words surprisingly hoarse in my throat. This caught Brandon by surprise.
"What? The movie just got going!"
"I know, but I'm still having to adjust to this lifestyle I guess," I lied. "Besides, do you really need me around here?"
"No, not really. But shit man, if I had a movie being made, I certainly would want to be here to watch it,"
"I know, and I might do that. But only when I'm needed. Even though I'm excited about the movie, I feel like a fifth wheel around here,"
"Well, it's up to you. Hapsboro and Furrow would be pissed off, but I guess that's cool. Maybe it will help you become a better writer or something. You know, take a sabbatical of some sort. I hate to see you leave though, just as we were getting to know one another. Maybe you'll change your mind?"
I smiled at this seemingly genuine show of friendship, of affection.
"I might. I just need time to think, to get my life back in order. That's all,"
Brandon moved his arm from my hand, which I allowed with no resistance.
"Yeah, all right. Well, gotta go Alex. See ya when I see ya,"
I stood there in the middle of the floor, watching him go. He hustled out the same way Furrow did and I couldn't help but think that in some alternate universe, they could have been father and son.
The door slammed behind Brandon as it had behind Jack and only when it settled in it's frame did I move again, walking towards it and out, passing the same secretary again and going to my office. This new information had thrown a kink into the ideas I was forming, but there must be something there that I can work with.
Settling down into my office, the quiet sound of an air conditioning unit outside the only noise in an otherwise quiet, I ran my hands through my hair and stared at the empty blotter on my desk. Looking into it, I saw scenes play out before me in my mind: the first meeting with Hapsboro and the subsequent party that night; the encounter with Katherine at the club; Petty signing a record deal, possibly in this very office. What did it all mean? Why had Brandon flinched like that when I questioned him about it?
The way things played out in my mind, I had two choices. I could leave this behind, take the money I had gotten for my script and not look back, simply smiling to myself when the film finally opened that I had written it and that I was the one who had brought it to life. Or I could try and stick around longer and see where things led, see if there was a way to operate in this system without selling myself short, especially that screaming, nagging voice in the back of my mind that I knew was my conscience. Both choices had pros and cons to them, but I had to reach some sort of conclusion about this, and soon. Otherwise, the problems were likely to consume me almost completely.
Laying my head down on my desk, the soft leather of the blotter pleasingly cool against my cheek, I closed my eyes and ran through all the scenarios, from innocent to extreme. I was now in the middle of all this, but did I want to really see how deep the rabbit hole went, or did I want to claw my way back out while I still had the person I knew as me still intact, while I still quite possibly controlled my soul?
I must have dozed off at some point, because when I was startled awake by a knock on the door, the air of the afternoon had seemed to have changed, indicating the slow dawning of another night in Los Angeles. I lifted my head from the desk, wiping my cheek of a light sheen of sweat that had collected against the side of my face as I cleared my throat.
"Come in," I said groggily.
The door opened slowly and Monica Bellucci appeared before me, almost like an angel in a dream. She wore a pair of low cut jeans and a purple top, the dark skin of her stomach barely visible beneath the material. Her long black hair hung over her shoulder loosely as she opened the door wider and walked into the office, glancing around herself as she stepped through the door. She smiled at me as she drew closer, the light scene of her perfume wafting in like an aura around her. She held a small dish in her right hand and clutched a pair of knives and forks tightly against the dish with her fingers.
"Hello Alex. I hope you don't mind me coming by," she said softly.
"No, it's fine," I said, leaning back in my chair as I stretched my legs out underneath the desk. Monica took a seat across from me in one of the office chairs, her eyes glimmering in the white light of the fluorescent bulb above.
"I came by to thank you," she said, setting the dish and silverware close to her on the desk.
"What for?" I asked.
"For getting me the part in your film," she said, smiling softly. Even though Monica seemed to ooze sexuality with every movement of her body, she could still be incredibly shy and graceful as she conducted herself in such banalities of everyday life as setting down a dish and carrying on a conversation.
"I didn't do anything Monica, I have to be honest with you," I replied.
"Yes," she said, pondering this for a moment. "But I think you actually did. You see, I believe it was my reading with you of the script that helped convince them to give me the part, to give me my big American break,"
I blushed slightly at this, remembering our normal screen kiss that had quickly evolved into something more, something passionate. It had been incredibly hot, without a doubt, but whether or not it was what got her the part, I didn't really know. She played the character very well, and I had read my lines the same way I had always envisioned them to be read when I wrote the script. Still though, there had been, undeniably, some sort of spark or kinetic energy between us from the scene.
"I just read the script Monica," I said, looking away from her eyes, eyes that a man could lose himself forever in. "You did all the convincing,"
Monica shook her head lightly from side to side. "I don't believe that and I don't think you do either. WE sold them the scene, WE sold them the part. It was your script and perhaps my acting that won me the role, but we couldn't have done it without the other," she said. I could feel her eyes scanning over me, reading my reaction.
I sighed, accepting her compliment as gracefully as I could. "I'm just happy you got it. I can't think of a better person to have won the role, quite honestly,"
Monica smiled at me, scooting herself closer towards me at the desk. Her breasts jostled slightly in her shirt, which was tighter than I had first noticed. She smiled at me over the desk, her chin held in her palm as she pushed the dish towards me.
"I brought you something," she said with a grin.
I pulled the dish towards me. It was a ceramic thing with a light flower stencil around the outside and a plastic top holding it's contents inside. Beneath the top I could see a myriad of colors - greens and browns and reds and yellows and oranges. Lifting off the top, the air around me was immediately filled with the scent of Italian food - garlic, fresh pasta, rich cheese. It smelled wonderful.