It won't work

It won't work

A Story by Evita
"

A love affair between a movie star and a screen play writer ends when the writer decides that future heartbreak is inevitable and must be prevented by breaking things off herself.

"

"I don't understand Rey!  What are you talking about?  Where is all this suddenly coming from?" James demanded through clenched teeth, his hands balled into fists at his side.

Audrey didn't answer.  The blood was pounding in her head, her body was shaking.  Whether from the morning chill or because she hadn't slept well, she didn't know.  

* * *

Just this morning, she had been huddled under the covers staring at James' sleeping face.  Memorizing his angular features, the lines of his strong jaw, the roman nose, generous mouth and those enviously long eyelashes.  His brown waves formed curls at his temple and that combined with his day old stubble made him look a bit like a wayward angel.  


It was hard to take her eyes off of him.  He really was that good looking. Being voted into People's most beautiful a few years in a a row was no fluke. Once again she felt herself being lured in, a wispy fog replacing the clarity that had prompted her earlier decision to leave him.

  

Even after all these months, sometimes his beauty still managed to disorient her.  Especially when he appeared in the mornings without a shirt and she was forced to look at his perfect abs, and those muscular arms pouring her coffee.  It was like watching a hot guy in a movie, but without a screen to buffer the effect.  It was really too much, and it made her temporarily insane. She couldn't quite recall why she had to end anything.  Wasn't she perfectly happy basking in the sun of his beauty?  Did she really need to think about tomorrow's clouds, when today was so blindingly bright?  God damn it, could she for once just lose the metaphors? 


Sometimes it felt like she was narrating her life in her head.  Being a writer did that, important moments were transferred into words.  Her emotions became adjectives and sentences whispered under her breath.  She couldn't help it.  She was the main character in her life story.  And right now the genre was a tragedy.

         

She looked again at James and then shook her head hard, almost falling out of the bed in her haste to get away from him.  Away from his encompassing, mind-controlling presence.  How could a person have so much power over her, especially when they weren't even conscious?  

She was a logical person, but this relationship wasn't.  A-list movie stars should really only date each other.  Not some average looking, nerdy script writer who couldn't get used to their good looks.  At that thought, she decided that there was no way she was going to leave today without telling him.  She had put it off long enough.  She couldn't keep telling herself that tomorrow or next week would be a better time to spill the news. Every day she put this break-up off, made the fantasy seep that much further into her heart, like water into stone, to crumble her carefully constructed walls of logic.

   

Realizing that his presence made her lose focus, she decided she would have to write down what she was going to tell him.  And as the clock chimed two, she sunk into his living room couch to compose what she would say.  The exact words she would use.  She knew the arguments that had been ricocheting in her head for the past two weeks were solid.  They were the cold water that she had used to douse her own "flames of passion".  But if she was honest with herself, James had managed to burrow himself in a little deeper than just passion  Maybe even a lot deeper.  He had really gotten to her.  And damn it, but that wasn't supposed to happen.  


Growing up in Hollywood, she had been well aware that relationships did not last here.  People started off strong and heavy and ended things within a few months when the passion was a little less consuming and the real world problems started pressing in.  No one here seemed to value commitment.  And those who did, ended up hurt.  In the end, they all changed.  Superficial friendships, superficial love lives.  It was a great game, the best high, as long as you had a seat with the high-ballers.  But, eventually you would get old and before you knew it the pickings were slim, you wanted someone real and there wasn't anyone around who would have you.  


She had explored the idea in great depth emotionally after making it one of her college one act plays.  An aging starlet who had been divorced too many times to count and couldn't attract the usual lookers anymore.  The starlet, having never been particularly successful, had little of value other than her fading good looks.  And, now without all the attention, she was lonely.  Neither acting on screen or in real life.  Just a spectator looking into a world she had been a part of.  Not even sure if her once glittery life wasn't worth the price of a sure companion now.  


The play had only received a lukewarm reception.  She had consoled herself with the idea that maybe it had hit a little too close to home.


Suddenly, she laughed out loud.  For a while she couldn't stop.  It was all so funny.  It could end just like that for her.  And she didn't want it to.  She wanted a real happily ever after.  She wanted a marriage that lasted to death, two kids, a large house and a Golden Retriever.  She was a planner.  She had to stick to her life plan.  

It had been last month's errant thought of abandoning the life plan that had jolted her.  She knew she was losing control.  Of her feelings, and subsequently her whole life.  This relationship had become dangerous.  It had only supposed to have been a fling.  A delicious fling.  All that fun had been replaced with fear.


And the same fear propelled her now.  In only a couple of hours the notepad she had grabbed from the coffee table had a five page essay of meticulously drafted scribbles.  Although maybe the count would be better at four, since the last page detailing her conclusion, was a mosaic of streaks and blurs between blue ink.  


There had been no stopping her tears after she actually allowed herself to think about what she was doing.  About how she would never see him again.  How he would probably hate her.  And once that train of thought started, the tears boarded soon after and kept coming until the fatigue was too much to bear and she drifted off from sheer exhaustion.  


* * *


The sunlight filtering through the shades to claim the room woke her around six.  It wasn't until she caught sight of the notepad that everything came rolling back.  She stood up too quickly, and the floor became unsteady underneath her feet, her head swam and she hurried to the bathroom before her queasy stomach could release its contents.  Resting her fevered forehead on the cool marble of the bathtub she managed to not throw up the free flowing champagne she had consumed at last night's gala. 


It had been a great night.  She had made it a sort of last hurrah.  She had drank freely so that she could be less of a tight-a*s.  Usually, she thought about what she would say and how she would say it for so long that the time to say it would long pass.  Without the lubrication of alcohol, her social anxiety was almost crippling.  She would just look at people and imagine all the ways in which they did not approve of her.  That imaginary spotlight had grown brighter when she became linked to James.  She hated going out into public with him.  


The tabloids had published articles and mentioned her.  There hadn't been much said about her.  Good or bad.  Which was a relief.  For the most part, she had done her best to not be caught with James.  It was not easy.  They had spent a lot of time together for the past few  

The sight of herself in the mirror caused her to cringe.  She stared for a couple of minutes at her swollen red rimmed eyes and deathly pale face, then at her wrinkled cocktail dress and thoroughly dismantled chignon.  To say she was a mess was indefinitely kind. Too exhausted to put much effort in trying to make herself presentable, she decided maybe it would make things easier if she looked awful.  Who wanted the queen of the dead anyway?    

***

James was an early riser and Audrey knew it was only a matter of time before he woke up.   And sure enough, around seven his eyes opened just enough to peek playfully through his lashes at her.  His full mouth had slowly turned up in a cat like grin as he reached out to pull her closer.  But she jumped out of the way before he could grab her.  Then she practically ran out of the room, telling him to join her in the kitchen for coffee.  She couldn't help but smile ruefully as she heard him growl an obscenity behind her.  

When James arrived a little later, she handed him his cup of coffee without looking at him or his naked torso, and quickly before she lost her nerve, began to read her essay from the pad she had placed next to her.


James had been silent throughout, no interruptions.  There was a long silence afterward where she had feared the hard set of his mouth, the glinting anger in his eyes, and the death grip on his coffee mug.

It was a long time before he said anything.  I don't understand Rey!  What are you talking about?  Where is all this suddenly coming from?

 

And, now he was telling her to say something.  But she was frozen.  What more could she say?  She had composed a whole essay.  She had read it to him.  Should she repeat her bullet points?  

James moved closer to her, and she stepped back a few paces clasping her hands awkwardly in front of her.

James sighed and tried again in a calmer voice, "Okay, so what?  So what if I am "rich and famous?"  

Running his hands through his hair, he gave her a sheepish smile, "God that sounds pretentious." 

He moved a step towards her.   "Your words though Rey, not mine." 

He held out his hand, and whispered so softly that she barely heard him. "Come on...please...let’s just go back..."  He stared at her intently, and when she didn't say anything he winked and offered, "...to bed?"  


Audrey almost lost her resolve as she looked from his proffered hand to those pleading eyes.  She stared into them, thinking again how they were the exact color of a glass of cognac held up to the light.

He had laughed long and hard when she had told him that.  It had been the first night she had met him. 

"Babe,” he had said.  “They are just plain brown, maybe I’ll give you light brown...but seriously brown all the same.  Who says someone's eyes are the color of cognac?  How much have you had to drink darling?"  And then he had started laughing again.  She hadn’t been able to help herself from joining him, his mirth had been contagious.  Bubbling forth like a child’s, not at all self-conscious.

There was no laughter in his face now though.  Only an uncertain sadness around his mouth and a burning question in his eyes.  God, how she longed to run into his arms, and forget this "smart" idea that was supposed to keep her from getting hurt.  Wasn't she a goner already?   Hadn't she succumbed to his good looks?  His kind warmth?  His easy wit?  And the kind of shared interests that kept them talking long into the night, even so many months later?   

She thought back to to their vacation to Samantha's Vineyard last week. It had been warmSurely she couldn't fall more?  More in love?  


No! No. No. No. No!!!  She was most assuredly not in love.  Love was what would happen if she kept this affair up.  She was getting out just in time.  She shook her head, no, she was definitely not in love!

James' face fell at her unspoken rejection and he slowly let the hand fall to his side.  Grimacing, he turned and walked towards the large bay window on the far side of the room.  There was silence again as he stared outside and Audrey stared at his back.

He was only wearing the bottoms of a pair of flannel pajamas and Audrey couldn't help but trace the outline of his tanned muscular back with her eyes.  Girls across the country want this, she thought, for the millionth time.  But she had to let him go.  Well, it wasn't like she was some fan girl.  At least not since after their second date.  She wasn't in love with his movie star image.  Damn it, there was that love word again.  She closed her eyes trying to firm her resolve.  She was making the right decision.  She wasn't going to end up...  End up in his arms, her mind teased viciously.  She opened her eyes again.  Should she leave?  She had said what she had wanted to say.  There was no point in sticking around.  She didn't have to worry about James, he'd find some model or something in a week or so.  

She was about to back away, when he turned around, the look on his face was determined.  He moved towards her purposefully, not allowing her the chance to get away before he had her cornered against the wall.

"Its my turn to talk.  Now you listen!"  He paused looking at her intently.  She nodded.  

"First, what the hell does my job have to do with us?  I have spent almost every day with you for the past year.  All that time together, and you can't tell that I love you?  Can't you...can't you see that from the way I can't stop looking at you?  There's no one else in the room when you're there... 

 

Can't you feel the way my heart beats faster when you touch me?" He breathed, bringing her trembling hand up to rest on his warm chest.  She swallowed hard, feeling its hammering under her palm.  Her heartbeat sped up in response, and she quickly pulled her hand away from him.

He spoke again, his voice hoarse, "At least can't you tell from the way you have me spouting off junk from some romcom?  I have become a sap for you, Rey.  Because of you.  I don't know why you don't believe me."

He paused for a minute watching her downcast eyes, the skittish expression.  "I know that you think that I have said all this before...the 'I love you's'...'your gorgeous'...'I can't imagine life without you'...etc...etc...to dozens of women.  I admit it.  I have.  But not like this Rey.  I FEEL this.  You.  Us."

He stopped again when he saw no response and sighed.  He reached out and lifted her chin so that she finally looked up at him.  "Rey, listen to me.  I'm telling you the truth.  I...I think about you all the time, I swear I do.  Since the day I met you.    I think about what you would say about something.  What you would do somewhere.  I think about how much better someplace would be if you only you were with me.

 

He stepped even closer searching her eyes.  When he didn’t see any change, he slammed his fist on the wall next to her head.   When he spoke again, his voice was frusterated, “I seriously haven't felt this way before.  God damn it, but there just isn't any other way to describe how I feel without using all these damned cliches.”

 

Giving her a half grin, he added, “ I'm not the writer here..."

 

Audrey tried to smile too, but faltered.  The effort it was taking to keep from crying at his words and admitting her defeat was taking a toll.  She was breathing harder because he was standing so close.  She had to get out of here, she hadn’t expected him to fight so hard for her.  

James had his eyes closed, he was searching for the right words.  But before he could say anything, Audrey broke in, " I am sorry Jamie,  I really am.  Its not that I don't believe that you have...strong feelings for me now.  But they are going to flee just as quickly as they started. "

 

She laughed sardonically.  "You know what they say...artists feel deeply."  She choked on the last few words and bit her lip trying to keep the tears in. 

"I don't get it!  I don’t GET IT, AUDREY.  What the hell are you talking about?  I love you, damn it, I f*****g love you.  And I mean it.  I don’t plan to let you go.  I want you today, tomorrow and all the days after.  I want you!  For god's sake, I can’t live without you!"  He grabbed her shoulders and stared into her eyes willing her to believe him. 

Audrey swallowed hard.  His nearness was making her dizzy.  Her thoughts were all jumbled.  She tried to recall the points from her essay.  She should repeat her conclusion.  She closed her eyes turning her face away from him.

Her voice shaking, she began, "That...that's what I mean...I mean that's exactly whats wrong.  The '...every day after...', oh God James, do you even realize how unlikely a lasting relationship between us is?  Nothing lasts in Hollywood, the magic fades.   It always fades.  You don’t live a regular life anymore James.  Here, if you don't succeed the first time you can just try again and again, as many times as you want...  There is always another temptation.  Maybe not now, but there will be...it’s not like I can hate you down the road when you leave me.  I wouldn't want you to stay if you didn't want to.  It wouldn't be what I wanted out of a relationship.  I couldn't make you love me, when later you found you had these same feelings for someone else. “

 

She paused, cupping her hand around his cheek.  “I won’t be able to handle it later.  I’m not that strong of a person.  If I let you in, and you leave me, you'll break me Jamie."

 

James pulled her closer to him in a fierce hug.  “Oh God, Rey, you won’t have to handle anything.  That day will never come!”

 

Audrey let herself melt into his arms, breathing in his earthy scent and savoring the moment.  Finally, gathering the last of her strength, she pulled herself away.

 

“If you really love me Jamie, you'll be honest with yourself...and me.  Can you trulypromise me that you won’t hurt me later?  If you can, I’ll stay.” Audrey could no longer control the tears, they were falling freely.

 

James looked like he was about to speak, but he stopped himself.  His face became white, and he dug his hands through his hair as he looked at her.  A couple of excruciating seconds passed, but he didn't answer. 

Audrey looked at him sadly, and walked quickly out the door of his apartment. 


© 2014 Evita



Author's Note

Evita
I am currently working on this piece. Adding and editing. No need to point out minute grammar errors, but a bigger review of my style or story is very welcome. I would like to make my writing flow well, and avoid sounding amateur. I am willing to go through a couple of edits, and I would very much appreciate any criticism that will help clean my piece up.

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Featured Review

Oh. My. Gosh. I LOVED this story! I love everything about it! It's so real. The way you describe the characters, not with their looks but with their actions, had me hooked right away. Audrey's emotional reactions are so relatable. I love how she keeps thinking about her essay. Hysterical! It totally reminds me of me. I also love the way you allow the characters to stumble through their dialogue. It made it much more believable than if they had said everything perfectly. It even made the cliches okay because it didn't feel like it was wrapped up in a bow. And such a brave ending. I wouldn't have it any other way.

My only suggestion to make this story better (and it's a small one at that) would be to clean up your simple past and past perfect tenses in the middle where you began to flash back to the night before so there aren't so many "had"s. Other than that, this is one of the best stories I've ever read on this site.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Moulin Rouge inspired? Screenwriter and actor falling in love sounds like Moulin Rouge. The narrative was great. I most thouroughly enjoyed it!

Posted 5 Years Ago


Awwww, that is so sad. I loved how well you conveyed the emotions so well, of both of them. I seriously thought she was going to change her mind and it would all be happy, but you're endings better, a lot better.
The one thing I wasn't fond of was how she called him 'Jamie.' I just don't know why I didn't like it, maybe because it was a different name, I don't know. But that's a simple thing, and didn't really take away from this at all.
Anyway, a really nice story, so sad.

Posted 5 Years Ago


The concept of a dubious long-lasting relationship between a movie star and script writer is really enthralling. How can an actor feel earnestly for an existing person when he/she portrays the facade of convincing earnestness on the screen?

despite James social status with which others self-aggrandize themselves, i pitied me when he confessed his love for Audrey. One could detect the solemnity with which he spoke and behaved. However, he loses his dignity at the end by his pantomime confession that he might hurt her. Then, it hits the reader that he is like a 'drama-king', reacting in a way that would evoke sympathy for him. It is his profession after all to enamor others. Yet, it can be argued that an actor's superficial interactions with others cannot always pervade. He has to be a solid, honest individual accepted by others who needs to trust him.

I'm certainly impressed by your narrative skills, Anita. This should be published in popular reading materials (that is pure books made out of wood pulp) for the majority. I fancy books more than Ipads or Androids, btw.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Oh. My. Gosh. I LOVED this story! I love everything about it! It's so real. The way you describe the characters, not with their looks but with their actions, had me hooked right away. Audrey's emotional reactions are so relatable. I love how she keeps thinking about her essay. Hysterical! It totally reminds me of me. I also love the way you allow the characters to stumble through their dialogue. It made it much more believable than if they had said everything perfectly. It even made the cliches okay because it didn't feel like it was wrapped up in a bow. And such a brave ending. I wouldn't have it any other way.

My only suggestion to make this story better (and it's a small one at that) would be to clean up your simple past and past perfect tenses in the middle where you began to flash back to the night before so there aren't so many "had"s. Other than that, this is one of the best stories I've ever read on this site.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on January 24, 2012
Last Updated on February 18, 2014
Tags: Love, break-up, celebrity, romance

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Evita
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