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Thursday 10 May 2012

MOVIE STAR GIRL - A Short Story by The Kid In The Front Row

Towards the end of December last year I sat down and wrote a short story called 'Movie Star Girl'. I have never considered myself as a story writer in the traditional sense. Screenwriting is my thing, and I'm a good blogger, but I'm no novellist! 

That being said, every now and then I like to write stories in a more traditional form. I wrote 'Movie Star Girl' in one evening and promptly posted it over four days here on the blog. 

Today, randomly, I came across it again. And I felt really proud of it. I have this bad habit of producing work, dishing it out there half-heartedly, and then allowing it to be forgotten. I don't market myself, I don't show off. 

But when I looked at this story again today, I really loved it. I was really happy with what I'd created. And how often does that happen!? So, I decided to post it again, in the hope it might be seen by a few more of you than last time. 

I know that we live in a fast world and me asking you to read a short story on a blog is a big ask. But if you like my work and my style, I am really hopeful that this will resonate with you. Please take the time to read it. It would mean the world to me if you could share your thoughts with me afterwards. Thank you!


Chapter 1

It felt like the beginning of something. They sat in a tiny restaurant on Mulberry Street and Tommy hid the Bolognese sauce stain on his shirt. Nicola knew about the stain but she could also see how desperately he was trying to hide it. Weeks later, they’d joke about it, but on this night it was important business.

When they think of their first meeting, they think of Mulberry Street, but they actually met two hours before, in a run-down office just off Canal Street. Nicola was late and Tommy was pissed about it. Everyone was pissed about it. They’d seen fifteen actresses already and they had no time for a late one.

But then she walked in.

Tommy fell immediately in love and wanted to cast her. He knew it wasn’t professional, but love isn’t about being professional. Luckily, she had talent. It was more than just acting skills, she exuded something. An essence. She was like a Van Morrison song – soft yet surprising; with an unexplainable magic. She dived into the role of Jessica, and the whole room was captured, including Georgia, who usually hated everyone by default. Tommy knew they had to cast her. He was a unique filmmaker, and his debut feature was almost certain to impress. When it came to the female lead, he wanted someone with a simple, elegant beauty and a good heart and soul. It was definitely her. “We’ll let you know," said Georgia, giving nothing away, as Nicola went off into the night.

After a bad audition, Nicola would normally wait to get home before crying her eyes out. This time, she was certain she’d blown it. She disappeared into the night somewhere on the lower East Side and burst into a thousand tears. They flowed like they hadn’t in years. She’d fucked up auditions before, but this time it hurt because she loved the script and everything about the project. She was certain it would be her big break and now she was certain it was broken.

Tommy left the office happy, as did the producers. They’d found the missing ingredient. Tommy was also left with the bittersweet feeling of knowing that he was absolutely doomed. He grew up falling in love with movie star girls and now he was about to employ one that made his heart scream all over the Manhattan night. Georgia and Jay re-capped the afternoon and talked about the location visits coming up the following week, but Tommy’s attention was gone. He wanted to disappear into the night and think and dream and feel. It was insane, he knew; but as a writer and director he lived for those moments when life gives you a spark which makes you want to dance with the New York night all on your own. “Is that okay with you?” asked Georgia, about something. Tommy looked back all confused and made an excuse about feeling sick and wanting to leave. He lied about getting a Taxi, just to get rid of them, and then he took off into the streets with the sole intention of breathing in the New York night on foot.

Tommy didn’t believe in magic, except for when he did believe in magic, which was very rare and usually only lasted for about an evening; which is why he was so pumped up on this particular night, for it was undoubtedly magic.

Should I do it? Or would he think I’m insane? Am I even meant to have the director’s number? These were the thoughts that kept circling in Nicola’s mind. She wanted to call him to apologize for being so terrible and unprepared. I shouldn’t call, figured Nicola, which is probably why she dialed his number while eating a self-pity-deli-sandwich.

He didn’t normally answer numbers he didn’t recognize, but tonight was a night of magic, he’d decided. “Hi, is that Tommy Morrel?” asked the female voice. It’s her, it’s her, oh my God, what if it’s really her, he pondered. “It’s Nicola Pent, I read for you today. I’m an actress. Kind of.”
“Kind of?” asked Tommy.
“Well, based on today I am maybe not an actress.”
“You were great.”
“I think you’re thinking of someone else.”
“We all loved you.”
“I just want you to know that I love your writing, and everything you’re doing with the film and I really think I might be right for it, which I know is insane after what you saw today..”
“Nicola, you’re right, you might well be right for it—“
“You don’t understand. I was not at my best today, I’m embarrassed by it.”
“Are you insane?”
“Sometimes I’m a little insane,” she explained.
Tommy had an idea. It was the type of idea that he’d never attempted in real life but had always attempted in his movie scripts. Fuck it, he figured, tonight is a magic night. “Whereabouts are you right now?”
“Little Italy” she responded.
“Me too! Whereabouts?”
“Just outside Angelo’s.”
“Wait there. I’ll be two minutes.”
“Um, okay.”

Tommy hung up. It was an abrupt hang up, like they do in political thrillers, which he instantly regretted but figured he’d make it up to her when he got to Mulberry Street. The only problem was that he was actually nowhere near Mulberry Street. He hailed a cab and demanded they get there in two minutes.

The Bolognese sauce was, surprisingly, not a result of going to an Italian restaurant. In fact, Tommy didn’t know how the sauce stain came to be. He looked down at his shirt when he got into the cab, and there it was. It was big. Almost enough to make him cancel on Nicola. Luckily, he had a masterplan: arrive on Mulberry Street, run into a restroom, and wash it off before she sees him. Or he could dive into a store and buy a cheap t-shirt of some kind. All of these things could have worked had Nicola not been standing in the exact spot where the yellow cab pulled up. Nicola smiled and waved awkwardly as Tommy stepped out of the car. It suddenly hit Nicola that she was meeting a director who absolutely despised her and was probably meeting her to recommend a career as a receptionist.

“Why would I despise you?” asked Tommy, as they sat down in the restaurant. “Because I’m the worst actress you’ve ever seen,” said Nicola.
“Okay, cut it out. You’re fantastic. We’re considering you for the role.”
“Really?” she asked.
“What do you want to eat?”
“I’m not hungry.”
“Me neither,” added Tommy.
Nicola was all ready to ask ‘then why the hell are we here?’ but instead found herself laughing and smiling. It was a spontaneous moment, that made a bolt of life flow through her body; making her instantly happy. She was comfortable with this director guy. She didn’t know why, but she was. She smiled at him and he smiled at the world and they ordered some wine.

The Bolognese stain was covered by Tommy’s left arm for most of the evening. This made it look like he had a bizarre disability, but for him, that was better than looking like someone who spilled food all over himself. Nicola found it amusing, if only because he was getting in a pickle about the fact the sauce was now all over his arm as well. They talked about the film and then they talked about their favorite songs and then they talked about religion and relationships and their pets and their dreams and four hours quickly rushed by.

They stepped outside somewhere around midnight and decided to get down to serious business: the cupcakes. For reasons not quite known they both had a craving for delicious cupcakes. But from where? Tommy knew a place on the Upper West Side and Nicola knew a cute place in Chelsea but they were both too far away for the craving. “We will walk until the cupcakes present themselves,” announced Tommy, and that they did.

Tommy was extremely aware of the magic. The temperature was just right, the conversation was flowing and for the first time in at least five years his sense of humor seemed to work on another human being. “This is a good night,” said Tommy.
“Indeed it is,” said Nicola, who had forgotten all her madness about being a bad actress.
“I need to tell you something,” said Tommy, in an unexpectedly serious tone. Nicola stopped and turned to him, ready to take in whatever he had to say. She suspected something terrible, like cancer, but hoped it was something sweet, like ‘Can I kiss you?’
“What’s up?” she asked. 
“I have a rather troublesome and somewhat outrageous amount of Bolognese stuck to my shirt and I don’t know how it got there.”
Nicola fell into a fit of laughter that lasted for at least five hours. “I’m serious, I don’t know how it happened” added Tommy.
Nicola tried to talk, tried to say anything sensible, but she was too lost in laughing-breakdown-mode.

Tommy’s phone rang, which surprised him, as he had forgotten there were phones, or buildings, or indeed anything other than Nicola and the Manhattan night. It was Jay, the producer, all excited and loud --- “We’ve got him! We’ve fucking got him!” yelled Jay.

It was good news. Jason Hurl, the movie star, agreed to do Tommy’s small indie film. He slashed his fees, cleared his schedule, and agreed to dedicate himself to “Two People Lost”. This was the moment Tommy had waited all his life for. A giant movie star was agreeing to star in his picture. Amazing. But of course; Tommy realized what it meant --- that Nicola, the new piece of Brooklyn magic that had strolled into his life only hours ago, would have, as her love interest, a Hollywood icon. Jason was married, of course, but then everyone in Hollywood is married right up until the point they’re not married anymore. Tommy immediately regretted the sex scenes he’d written. Maybe they weren’t integral after all. Maybe the film didn’t need to be a romance anymore. He considered making it a gay drama. Nicola looked at him and wondered why he’d been spaced out for about nine minutes.

Nicola playfully mentioned that she desperately wanted a cupcake, and Tommy snapped back at her, “I know. I get it.” She was surprised by his abruptness. Tommy felt he had a right to be angry with her – because he was certain that she was already planning to have an affair with Jason Hurl even though she didn’t know that she would be offered the role, or that Jason would be in it as well.

Tommy could actually see the night’s magic disappearing in front of him. It announced itself with a gust of cold wind and a look of distance in Nicola’s eyes. 

Chapter Two

It was 4am, three Tuesday’s after the night they first met. Tommy and Nicola were all snuggled up in her bed watching Frank Capra films. This was a wonderful time for Nicola. Tommy, however, was in some kind of psychotic breakdown. Does this mean anything? Does she like me? What if she does this with lots of men? What the hell is going on? These were the thoughts scrambling through his brain.

Nicola knew something was up. She felt so close to him yet somehow he was miles away, fighting some kind of battle. She wanted to know why he hadn’t kissed her yet. There was a perfect moment for a kiss, just after 2am, but it was missed.

A missed kiss is no big deal for most people, but Tommy was not most people. He took it as a sign that she was definitely going to sleep with Jason Hurl on the first day of rehearsals. He made it worse by asking her a bunch of ridiculous questions. “What do you think of Jason’s acting?”, “How do you feel about working alongside a sex symbol?”, “Will the sex scenes be weird for you?” Nicola was honest; she was looking forward to the scenes. It would be great to work with such an accomplished actor. She wasn’t fazed by the sex scenes, she knew it was part of the job. The main thing for Nicola was that she was head over both her heels in love with Tommy’s writing, and her feelings for him were following a similar pattern. All signs of this were disregarded by Tommy. He was dreading the first day of rehearsals. He could see it already – one of America’s biggest movie stars, and the young and angelic Nicola, together, in each other’s pockets for the next two months. Tommy would have to sit and witness this, and at times, even encourage it.

The producer, Jay, rented a space on Ditmars Blvd in Queens, where Tommy and the cast would hang out for a week getting to know each other while working on the scenes. Tommy had demanded rehearsal time be worked into the budget so that the actors could get to know each other. Now though, he wished there was no rehearsal time and that the actors not get to know each other at all.

Jason arrived in a casual way, and was completely on time, which upset Tommy who was certain he’d stroll in two hours late. Jason was introduced to people in order of how close they were to the door. Nicola was one of the first. “You must be my girlfriend!” joked Jason.
“That’s me,” replied Nicola, as they embraced in a hug.
This was not enough of a reason for Tommy to shut down the production, but it was close. By the time Jason was introduced to his director, Tommy was ready to retire and emigrate.

Jason Hurl was absolutely lovely. A splendid human being. This made Tommy inconsolable. The cast and crew got to know each other and within a matter of hours there were in-jokes circulating and friendships forming. Tommy was sinking further into himself.

Georgia stepped over to Tommy and whispered in his ear that they should begin doing some work. Tommy agreed and spent the next two days rehearsing a meaningless shopping mall scene.

“Tommy, I think the mall scene is good enough now,” said Jay.
“It’s ready when I say it’s ready,” came Tommy’s response.
“We’re only here for a week and you’ve spent two days on Jessica buying vegetables.”
“We’ll move on soon, I promise.”
“The difficult scenes are the sex scenes. You need to work on them, you said so yourself.”

Tommy had made the decision to NOT work on the sex scenes. They’d just figure them out on the day, when there were lots of crew around and everything was impersonal. It would minimalize the intimacy between Jason and Nicola.

The third day of rehearsals began with five hours of focusing on the ladder scene. In this scene, Jason’s character is struggling to get his ladder to stand up properly against a house, and Nicola walks past and says, “I think you need a different ladder.” This is the whole scene. Tommy wasn’t happy with it and demanded they re-work it again and again.

During the break, Jason took Tommy to one side. “I think we should work on the more intimate scenes, because I’m a bit awkward about them and I’d like to get that out of the way before we shoot.”
“I want to improvise those scenes on the day,” said Tommy.
“I really must demand that we spend the next two days rehearsing them,” said Jason.

Tommy was very aware that a big Hollywood movie star had made a demand. If you ignore their demands, you lose them. Tommy knew that the success of his entire film could rest on this decision. “No,” reiterated Tommy.
“Okay, that’s fine,” said Jason.
Tommy was surprised by how well he took it. “I’m glad you understand.”
“I’ll work on it myself with Nicola,” added Jason.
Tommy’s heart sank. Graphic images raced through his mind. He immediately declared to the room that they would work on the sex scenes.

Nicola was concerned about Tommy. Something didn’t seem right with him but she couldn’t figure out what. He’d been really cold to her, and when that happens, it usually means a guy has lost interest. Add that to the fact that he always skipped past kissing opportunities, and she felt she had her answer. Why doesn’t he like me? Nicola thought about it some more and then sunk into a mini-depression. It wasn’t helped by the fact that she now had to work on a sex scene with a famous film star.

Tommy decided to compartmentalize. To be a professional. He had to put his feelings aside and do what was best for the film. The actors had to be comfortable, and intimate, and he knew it. He cleared everyone out apart from Jason and Nicola.
“Can I make a suggestion?” asked Jason.
“Sure,” said Tommy.
“We should just get naked. Get it over with. This is what I did with Scarlet last year, and once we got the awkwardness out of the way, it made everything easier.”
Tommy hated the idea. “If you are both comfortable with it, then do it.”
They did it. Tommy had imagined Nicola naked many times; yet somehow she was even more beautiful than he had dreamed. Tommy fell immediately into a new level of depression. Nicola was feeling extremely exposed, and shy, and looked to Tommy for support.
“Now you’re both naked, woo, you can go and have lots of sex together,” said Tommy. He had no idea what the comment meant, but Nicola felt hurt and Jason looked at him like he was a ridiculous infant.
“I think we should focus on the hugging scene, it’s the most complex,” said Jason. Tommy looked at him and realized that Jason had seized the authority. He had shown himself to be the adult. He looked at them both and realized that he had no idea how to talk to the actors. “Yeah, um, yeah – I was going to say, we should work on that scene, definitely,” said Tommy.

Gradually, Tommy got some authority back, if only because of his passion and understanding of the film. “It’s a key scene – because nobody has touched her in four years because of how fragile she is. So when you finally hug her, you know it, and the audience know it; that something has changed, that she’s let somebody in.”
Nicola smiled. She loved how passionate Tommy was about the story. He had a way of making a tiny independent feature film seem like the most important thing in the history of the world. It was a passion she craved but seldom found in life. She noticed it when she first met him, how he fixed his eyes on her and made her the center of the world. The only thing that made her sad was that his focus on her had shifted. In fact, whenever they had a personal moment, his eyes glazed over and he appeared disinterested.

“Do I move straight from the hug into kissing her?” asked Jason.
“It has to happen naturally,” said Tommy. “The idea is that it’s unavoidable – that their connection has become so strong that a kiss is inevitable.”
“So I should wait till it feels right?”
“There needs to be eye contact. You need to look at her and feel it.”
Tommy couldn’t believe what he was saying. Only a film director would do something as demented as purposefully making the woman he’s interested in fall for someone else right in front of his own eyes.

Jason and Nicola kissed. It was electric. Tommy could see the movie coming together in front of him. Not only did Jason look like a movie star, but so did Nicola. This would launch her into the A-list and he knew it. He was happy for her, and deeply unhappy for himself. The kiss ended after what seemed like an hour, and something had changed. Jason and Nicola had connected. How could they not? “I think that’s enough for today,” said Tommy. Everyone agreed.

They stepped out into the cold breeze and everyone was ready to go home. Tommy could hear the actors behind him, chatting casually. “So your Mom is from Pennsylvania?” asked Jason.
“Yeah, well, she grew up there,” said Nicola.
They were sharing family history, finding things in common. Tommy wanted to ask her out to dinner, which they’d casually talked about doing earlier but no definite plans had been made.
“Do you want to grab some food?” asked someone, and it wasn’t Tommy. It was Jason, talking to Nicola.
Nicola looked at Tommy. “Oh, well, maybe, I dunno, I think me and Tommy were going to—Tommo, you still want to get some food?”
Tommy turned to face them. If he said yes, they’d be eating as a threesome. If he said no, he’d be setting them off together. He hated both ideas.
“You guys go, I need to get some sleep.”

Nicola was disappointed. Tommy jumped on the subway and the actors went in search of food.

Chapter Three 

The picture first appeared in the New York Post. And then it was all over the internet. ‘JASON HURL & HIS NEW LOVER’. It was an image of Jason, with his hand on Nicola’s arm, in a Chinese restaurant.
This was not what Tommy wanted to wake-up to on the first day of principle photography.

They arrived on set and the awkward atmosphere was palpable. Nicola didn’t look at anyone. Jason was two hours late. His excuse was valid, his wife was going crazy; screaming down the phone and threatening divorce.

Tommy focused on the work. They had twelve different set-ups to ply through. He had three focus points – the camera monitor, the coffee, and the director of photography. He didn’t communicate much with the actors. He got away with it because the scenes were all in the shopping mall and had been rehearsed twenty times over.

“I’m not his new lover,” explained Nicola as they stopped for lunch.
“It’s really none of my business,” said Tommy.
“Well, you’re shooting the movie, and I figured it was your business.”
“If you were fucking him and telling everyone the movie sucked, it would be my business. But if you’re just fucking him then I really couldn’t give a shit.”
Nicola was stunned. But then again, so was Tommy.

Nicola was angry at herself for believing in Tommy. She’d done this ever since she was fifteen, over-romanticized her connections with men. She’d seen their first night after the audition as a poetic and meaningful experience. But everything since then had pointed to a different truth: his refusal to kiss her, his coldness during rehearsals, his not caring about her personal life during shooting. Her Mother was right: she was a drama Queen who lived in the clouds. Nicola decided that things had to change, and she focused on the work.

The process of directing the movie was a difficult one for Tommy. He was troubled by the fact that his actors were putting in astonishing performances. The screenplay was a great one – but it was the actors who were taking it to a new level. The producers felt it, the crew felt it. Everyone involved could sense something special was happening. Somewhere during the production, and it’s hard to pinpoint where, Nicola became a movie star. The magazines wanted pictures of her, everyone on the internet wanted to sleep with her, and the big casting directors wanted to talk to her. Even though she was relatively unproven, and no-one outside of the production had seen the rushes from “Two People Lost”, she was in demand. She found time for meetings with David Fincher and Brett Ratner on her days off, and had fans waiting for her near the set at the end of each day. She kept her head down and eloquently carried on with her work. It was a skill that Tommy loved and detested. He wanted to find her flaws, her problems, anything to make his feelings for her fall away. His feelings grew stronger.

During the last week of shooting, rumors were floating around that she was about to be offered a role in the new Spielberg movie. Tommy wasn’t surprised – she was the most talented young actress in America and it was only a matter of time before everyone knew it.

For a few days, Tommy had been suffering with a feeling he had not experienced since his teens. It was a roaring pain that coursed through his body, numbing all his energy and hope. It was love. Deep, powerful, horrible… love. He had to tell her how he felt. It didn’t help that the last days of shooting would be taken up with the sex scenes. This made him feel completely sick. He dealt with it and dealt with it and dealt with it until 1am on a Tuesday, when he couldn’t deal with it any longer. He knew what he had to do: get in a car and go to Brooklyn.

He’d seen it in the movies a thousand times. He’d even written a similar scene in “Two People Lost”, the go across town to win the girl scene. He was ready. He rang her buzzer and waited on the steps and felt signs of that New York magic appearing again. “Who is it?” asked Nicola’s voice. “It’s Tommy, I need to speak to you.”
“Come up, I need to speak to you!”
She buzzed him in and he buzzed his way up the stairs.
She opened the door and forced him into a giant hug. “I got the role I got the role!”
“What role?” asked Tommy.
“The Spielberg role!”
Tommy expected himself to be disappointed or jealous, but he wasn’t. He was overjoyed. YES YES YES! NICOLA IN A SPIELBERG MOVIE! They were both caught in an enormous wave of excitement. And then he kissed her. She gave him an are you crazy? look and then immediately kissed him back.
“It begins shooting two days after we wrap,” she added.
“Oh really? Didn’t I tell you we’re extending the shoot by two days?” said Tommy, unable to hide the fact he was joking.
“Well screw you, I choose Spielberg.”
“Who is this Spielberg guy anyway? Has he done anything I’d know?”
“Yeah – one of them is called E.V, or something like that? E.D? T.D?”
“Whatever. Sounds overrated.”
They kissed again. The tension and conflict of recent weeks faded away, it was like they were chasing cupcakes in the Manhattan streets all over again.
“It’s going to be crazy, I feel so unprepared,” said Nicola.
“It’s going to be amazing. You deserve it,” said Tommy.
“Jason said I can crash at his place, which will make the whole thing a bit easier.”
Tommy pressed the rewind button in his brain and listened to her words again, just to make sure she’d said what he thought she said. She did.
“You’re staying with Jason?”
“Why would you stay with him?”
“Are you jealous of him or something?”
“I just don’t get why you need to be staying with Jason fucking Hurl.”
“Because he’s a friend, and I don’t know anything about L.A., and it’s free.”
Tommy was aware that this was his own problem, not hers. He tried to think of what to say but every thought and word registered as insane. He decided to leave talking and to leave her apartment.
“Tommy – I kissed you. Not Jason. What’s the problem?”
“My problem is that he’s the biggest movie star in the world and every time you are near him or talk about him it drives me insane.”
“First of all. Biggest movie star in the world? Did you not see “Killer Spider 3?” I mean, c’mon! And secondly, I can’t help but be around him all the time because you put me in a movie with him. And thirdly, get over it.”
“Whatever. I need to go.”

Tommy didn’t sleep that night. He stayed up wondering why he was so ridiculous. It’s something he’d always done – pushed women away. The difference this time was that it really mattered. Nicola was it. It. The one. Yes, she was a beautiful actress, and yes, there would always be people taking pictures of her hanging out with movie stars – but so what? This was the logic that he could see, but not quite believe.

The sex-scenes were no problem. Jason and Nicola were great, and everything was professional. If they were attracted to each other, it didn’t show. You’d think that this would be good news to Tommy, but it wasn’t. Nicola was so near to him, and everything he wanted was a fingertip away yet somehow he couldn’t trust it. He couldn’t quite believe it.

The wrap party was crazy. The sound department got wasted and, ironically, smashed up the nightclub’s sound-system. The make-up girls made out with the camera department and the production assistants made out with the supporting cast members. Jason and Nicola sat in the corner, laughing and chatting, and Tommy stood in the corner talking to the caterers and avoiding everyone else.

Jason and Nicola left together. A cold and heavy rain burst onto the New York City streets and Tommy’s leading actors boarded a plane to sunny L.A.

Chapter Four

Nicola filmed with Spielberg and got famous. Jason and his wife separated and his friendship with Nicola turned into something more. Tommy stayed in New York, finishing the movie. That’s how it went for a while. Tommy began dating some big-breasted French girl who was all excited about meeting a film director, but he soon dumped her because he could never remember her name.

Tommy liked things the way they were. He missed Nicola, but he knew it was impossible. She was a beautiful movie star girl, and he was a small independent film director in New York. They were in different worlds now. He didn’t begrudge Jason either. He understood it. They were friends, they were staying together in L.A, and things developed. That’s just the way it goes. He’d learned to deal with it and handle it, just as long as they stayed in L.A.

But the Premiere of "Two People Lost" was in New York at the Angelika. Jason couldn’t make it, because he was filming with Polanski in Europe. Nicola was scheduled to be working with Jason Reitman, but had managed to find space in the schedule to make the trip down. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to be there; things hadn’t been left on great terms with Tommy. But she wanted to support the film – it meant the world to her and she got her big-break because of it.

Tommy’s phone rang four hours before the Premiere. It was Nicola. “What are your plans tonight?”
“I’m going to a Premiere,” said Tommy.
“I know that. What are you doing before?”
“Getting ready for the Premiere.”
“Let’s meet up. We should talk.”
“Meet me at six, outside the place on Mulberry Street.”

They met up outside the place on Mulberry Street and went to the tiny Italian restaurant. Nicola took off her coat, which revealed her dress and the fact that she was, at that moment, quite possibly the most beautiful woman in the world. Tommy mentioned this fact, which made her smile. It was a strange kind of smile, because she realized she could never figure out what Tommy meant by anything he said. And now, with all that had happened, she couldn’t figure out how she felt about him. “I just wanted to meet up, because things got so weird between us and I wanted to make sure that we’re still friends.”
“What’s this Spielberg guy like?” asked Tommy.
“He’s okay. I had to keep telling him how to take the lens cap off the camera.”
“Yeah I’ve heard that about him.”
“So – are we okay?”
“Yeah. I mean, you’re okay with me – you never did anything wrong. I just liked you and got jealous of Jason.”
“You liked me?”
The question confused him. “Well, obviously.”
“I never knew that.”
“I liked you like crazy.”
“You ignored me for the whole shoot.”
“I was trying my best to kill it.”
“I like seeing my fears come true.”
“What do you mean?”
“I had this big fear that you would end up with Jason Hurl; and if we had got together, I’d have spent the rest of our relationship worrying that you’d get with him. So instead, I figured I’d just worry about you getting with him.”
“..And then I got with him.”
“It’s not like it was destined to happen.”
“It was destined to happen. He’s Jason Hurl, look at the guy; and you were in a movie with him and you moved in with him.”
“You could have just kissed me.”
“I did.”
“And then what happened?”
“You announced you were moving to L.A. with Jason Hurl.”
“As friends!”
“But you got with him!”
“Because I didn’t get with you.”
“Why not?”
“Because I didn’t think you liked me.”
“This is like high school.”
“I just realized something.”
“It’s important.”
“What is it?”
“The Premiere starts in fourteen minutes.”
Tommy looked at his watch. Shit. He looked up at Nicola and her beautiful dress. “Nicola,” said Tommy.
“What?” said Nicola.
“You have Bolognese sauce on your dress.”
Nicola looked down at her dress. Shit. “I can’t go to my first premiere dressed in Bolognese sauce."
“You don’t have a choice,” said Tommy.

They burst out into the New York City night and planned on sprinting to the Angelika until they realized Nicola’s heels were not made for running. “Let’s get a cab,” said Nicola.
“It’s one street away, we can walk.”
“Mulberry Street is a long street.”
“We’re right near West Houston & Lafayette.”
“I don’t think you know New York very well,” said Nicola.
“I don’t think we have time to be talking,” said Tommy.

They walked and walked, thinking they were about to hit East Houston Street but instead they hit Spring Street. “Yeah, this isn’t where I thought we were,” said Tommy.
“You have no idea how to treat a Hollywood movie star do you,” said Nicola.
“I’m sorry, we should have got Jason’s limo,” said Tommy.
Nicola smiled, and took a step closer to Tommy. “I don’t want a limo,” she said, “I just want a cupcake.”
Tommy looked into her eyes. He played the cupcake line back in his head. “I just want a cupcake.” That sounds like a romantic line, he thought. Could it be? How would he know? How did any human being in the history of the world ever know if a line was romantic or not?
“I’ll get you a cupcake,” he said.
“I don’t want an actual cupcake,” she replied.
Tommy’s soul sunk. He didn’t understand this girl. “You said you want a cupcake, so what am I meant to think it means if you don’t actually want a cupcake?”
“I don’t want a cupcake right now. What I’m saying is, I want cupcakes. I want to be running around New York, chasing after cupcakes. That’s our thing.”
“What’s our thing?”
“You really need to get a clue before old age creeps up on you,” said Nicola.
“We’re missing the Premiere,” said Tommy.
“Don’t worry. The only thing worth seeing is happening right here on Mulberry Street,” said Nicola, as she wrapped her arms around Tommy and kissed him under the New York City skyline.

The End


  1. I really like it. The thing that resonated with me was how Tommy got stuck in his own head and nearly ruined everything, and yet the girl accepted him as is even though he was still having communication issues at the end of the last chapter. So true.

    I can imagine the scene the next morning - he's still not sure of himself, and she still is rooming with the other actor because she really needs a place to brush her teeth. So it's just one night with Tommy, the night of the missed premier. It's like he can only sustain a connection for one moment at a time. Sounds right.

  2. Hey i loved this, its what got me hooked to the blog in the first place!

  3. Kid :D
    I read all the four parts earlier itself =)
    You should really do something with this! A movie / a collection of stories maybe??
    And i love the Bolognese sauce references xD

  4. Can we film it ? :-)

    it is is strong

  5. This is a great short story! I love the instant connection between Tommy and Nicola and how Tommy "likes seeing his fears cone true." Despite everything that happens, Tommy and Nicola still have that spark - and probably always will. The question is, will they be able to move past their own insecurities and have a real relationship? Especially Tommy. That's how love works in the real world, though. We all tend to overanalyze love, but the truth is sometimes its as simple as wanting nothing more than to chase cupcakes around the city with that special person. And never missing the opportunity for a kiss. :)