12 - Film Night

12 - Film Night

A Chapter by Tertia

Chapter 12

‘I like the shorter one, he’s got nice curly hair,’ Daggs said, twirling her fingers and laughing to herself. She sat low down in the big armchair and in the subdued lighting they blended together.

‘Like?’ Lucas questioned from his high command of the big sofa. He could only see the profile of her head and shoulders.

‘Fancy then,’ she admitted. She looked around at the room, everything was the same as it was three years ago, how they’d agreed, but now they had gone down from the five of them to just two, but had still kept it that way. The luminous orange nylon curtains were drawn, the unshaded side light sat on the floor and the door was shut with only a distant glow beneath from the hall.

‘Everybody likes him,’ he said quickly.

She nodded, detecting his bitterness ‘What’s it about, this film anyway?’

‘It’s a funny film, that’s all I know,’

‘Oh right, only it seems dull and dated,’

‘Give it a chance, it’s nineteen eighties set in the nineteen sixties during really bad weather. It’s supposed to be a classic,’

Two scruffy men are driving along a rainy motorway at night in a beat up old jag MKII S-type with one headlight out. They are both miserable and are not talking. They don’t know where they are going and are half-drunk.

The pact we made. You are such a cold fish, Verrs she thought. She looked at him, was he a cold fish? He wasn’t really, he was a normal person with two arms, two legs, a head and a body and as he was a man was required to have a c**k and balls. He looked over to the flash of the whites of her eyes as he laughed at Withnail telling a farmer they had flagged down in a tractor that they were on holiday by mistake, unaware of her running thoughts. She smiled to go along with it, lost in herself, only half-aware of what was going on in the film.

‘Funny?’ he asked his voice wavering with uncertainty, staring at the screen.

‘A bit, it’s so antiquated though,’ she responded looking the same way. ‘I think you would’ve had to have lived through that time to understand it,’

‘Yeah,’ he murmured. The memory flashed of her standing in the hall earlier on, with a broad smile, holding a half empty bottle of gin and two chipped glasses. ‘Where d’you find that?’ he’d said. ‘Back of the kitchen units’ she’d said. ‘Someone hid it at a party,’ he’d said. ‘Yeah, I’ll get some tonic then,’ he’d said and she handed him an assortment of small dirty coins she had also found. ‘Back of the sofa,’ she’d said. ‘Oh,’ he’d said. ‘We’re supposed to be clearing up, remember?’ she’s said. ‘Yeah,’ he’d said. ‘Because we’re going tomorrow,’ she’d said. ‘This is our last night here,’ he affirmed. He looked at her, widening his eyes for more light. It could’ve been him who had hid that gin bottle, he couldn’t remember.

‘Life seems basic, uncomplicated and so in a way it makes it free. But what did people do all day? There was no internet or phones, no technology,’

‘God knows.’

‘They had hobbies like pigeon fancying and greyhound racing,’ she laughed.

‘Not these two,’ he said pointing at the screen.

‘Building model aeroplanes and collecting stamps,’ she went on

‘Probably,’

‘Playing cards and watching black and white TV,’

‘If they were lucky,’ he said laughing, getting her humour.

‘excuse me could we buy an eel. You’ve got one down your leg’ a drunken Withnail slurred at the poacher in the pub at the bar. ‘You leave them alone. Nothing down there of interest to you’ the poacher replied.

‘Clog dancing and badger racing,’ Lucas said trying to add to her list of ridiculous nineteen sixties hobbies.

‘Yes, Verrs,’ she said, shaking her head. She finished her drink and put it down with enough emphasis to prompt him.

‘You want another?’

‘Yes, please,’ she said handing him her glass. He took it as he got up, but she held it in her grasp momentarily, long enough to say. ‘Thank you,’

‘That’s...uh, OK, let me know what happens,’ he said heading for the kitchen. As he walked down the hall he said. ‘And stop getting so heavy with me,’ he didn’t know if she had heard or not. She had nodded slowly, with a calm smile, her eyes not losing contact with his. In the kitchen his heart beat fast, unnecessarily, like an engine left running. His mind ran confusing thoughts. What was happening to him? Daggs was being nice and helpful, not her usual catty self. She was treating him almost as an equal. Was it because of Lana? (but as far as she was concerned she may as well not exist) or was it the painting and how he had used the forfeit to get her to do it, how he had held his nerve while she was naked and produced a good painting and to top it off he’d got a good likeness of her.

And because he had been his own man she was treating him like he was one. It was a catch-22. He loosely measured out the gins, and put two blocks of ice in each glass. It felt natural with her, and had reached another level, he was going to miss her, but he couldn’t miss her that was stupid, she was leagues above him, she would forget him by tomorrow. The tonic fizzed into each glass, filling them full of bubbles. That new level was now knowing her in every way apart from them being lovers. The tonic had settled down and he re-poured to top up and slowly took the drinks in. At the door he saw the armchair was empty. Oh Crikey, here we go he thought, this is it.

Nervously he crept in to see her sat on the big sofa preening her hair, her eyes were glazed over, she looked far away, deep in thought, not daydreaming, but if anything scheming. ‘Daggs, you’re in my seat,’ he said, his nerves making his tone hard, almost aggressive.

‘Do you want me to move?’ she said sharply, starting to get up. He stood still.

‘No, I don’t, don't be daft,’ he said softly.

‘Because, if you do, I can move,’ she flashed him an angry glare sitting in the edge of the sofa. He had never seen her like that before, this was part of the hidden inner her. A weak side that can be offended.

He saw she was genuinely upset. ‘No, dont,’ he handed her her drink and by a small way of apology without thinking, kissed her on the forehead, it was a dry peck, but to his amazement she lifted her head in response and he found himself automatically kissing her cheek. It was soft and he caught the scent of her. She sat back down.

‘A kiss and a gin, that’s better,’ she whispered taking a sip. He stood by her, hovering, not knowing what to say or do. ‘What are you doing now?’ she said, looking him over as everything about him seemed awkward and wrong. He started to freeze, his mind racing from one possible outcome of failure to another. ‘Just sit down, Lucas, don’t overthink everything,’

He sat next to her, trying to relax. ‘Where are we then?’

‘They’re back from their holiday and are in their horrible flat,’ Daggs explained.

‘Have you wound it on? I was only gone a few minutes,’

‘No,’ Daggs said laughing, holding her glass to her lips to hide her mouth.

‘For Christ’s sakes, Daggs,’ he said. She was infuriating.

She was still laughing. ‘Breaking the rules is it?’

‘Well, yes, but more to the point I wanted to watch it,’

‘Do you always follow the rules, Lucas?’

‘Not always, no,’

‘It’s best not to, they get broken in the end anyway and are only for people with no imagination,’ The film rolled on and showed the closing scenes where ‘I’ was leaving the flat and going back to live with his parents away from London.

‘Good advice, thanks,’ Lucas said, looking into his glass thoughtfully, he had seen the film a couple of times and didn’t need to watch it to follow it. They sat in silence and sipped their gin as the credits rolled up. ‘What do you mean?’

‘Preconceptions, morals and principles. What’s it all about? Religion, culture, society, controlling the masses, controlling our brains,’

‘Yeah, still don’t get it though,’

‘Whereas we can do what we want really, can’t we? There are no boundaries or limits,’

He looked at her frowning, she was deep in concentration. ‘Yeah,’ Lucas said, getting up and taking out the DVD and looking around for Daggs’s. ‘Where’s your film?’ he said holding out his hand to her.

‘I’ll do it,’ she said, getting up and brushing him away.

‘Such a big build up and so secretive. It better be good. Oh yeah, remember now, it’s subtitles. I hate subtitles,’

‘It’s good enough for what I’ve got in mind, you’ll like it, I promise. ‘Sit,’ she pointed to where he had been sitting. From behind the TV she found her film and slotted it in the player and sat back down, eyeing his sulky looks. He looked down at his feet and waggled them and then looked up at the ceiling for something of interest.

The camera eye looks down on a beach house on stilts. It is surrounded by sand and large pools of sea water. Inside a man is cooking a pot of something on the hob. The pot comes to the boil and is taken off the heat. After tasting the man approves and takes a shower. Music plays as the camera eye looks down at a woman walking across the sand to the ramshackle house, she wears dungarees and nothing underneath.

Celia glances at Lucas, his mouth is hanging open, his eyes are wide. The dialog and subtitles begin as the pretty young woman talks to the sweaty man. Lucas’s expression doesn’t change, he looks at Celia, she smiles knowing he likes the film. To music, a montage of situations begin of the couple, including various romantic scenes and love scenes of them in bed. Lucas sinks into the sofa, letting his head fall back. He feels relaxed and calm and then she is with him and it feels right. He kisses her.

He thought of all that had gone on, him and Lana, her and the mysterious married man and he froze again. Her and Porter, him and Lotts. What did it all mean? Nothing he supposed. He was still. ‘Don’t stop this time,’ she said softly, not looking up, but he saw her tears of sorrow.

They looked at each other, his eyes nervous, hers happy and expectant. He thought of the picture she had with the list on the back. If he was the final one on the list and she was starting to have feelings, it would be a twist of fate. ‘I’m…I’m nervous, I don’t know why, it’s...it’s because its you,’ he stuttered.

‘Think of me as anyone, a stranger,’ she said. ‘Pretend you don’t know me, if that helps,’ She held him tightly, pressing her body to his and locking her leg over him. ‘And stop thinking,’

The film rolled on to its end unattended, gin evaporated in glasses and the night closed in wrapping the house in darkness and cold. Beams creaked, timbers twisted and rafters bowed as the night air contracted the house. The moon was full and showed its light through the motile cloud vapours. It stood high in the night sky marking the time of that night that was and did that until time disappeared.













© 2021 Tertia


Author's Note

Tertia
In the next chapter Rex appears

My Review

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Reviews

First, I want to thank you for the read request, and then apologize profusely for waiting so long to actually read said request. I blame everything and everyone but me. You are a damn gifted writer, and though I dived into the story just now as it was well underway, I was able to keep up through your masterful use of subtext and innuendo. The final paragraph, however, should be taught in creative classes! It's measured, balanced, cryptic but obvious. I look forward to the next chapter, and it makes sense that I go back to all the previous chapters, too.

Posted 1 Month Ago


Tertia

1 Month Ago

This is the best review I’ve ever had
Seth Cason

1 Month Ago

That's the best review of a review I'll ever hope to have. But don't nominate me for the Nobel just .. read more
a good chapter,i enjoyed the read

Posted 1 Month Ago


The complicated relationship between Verrs and Daggs moves to a new level in this chapter. They are watching videos, but the real action is taking place within them. Our vantage point is from Verrs' point of view, and he is quite frankly conflicted. I like the way the story shows how the complications are resolved, both his and hers. We see she has many of the same feelings as does he, but she is much more focused on what she wants. The last paragraph suggest what occurs, but in a way that allows us to use our imaginations.

Posted 1 Month Ago


Tertia, amazing chapter(s), btw. and i'll never stop saying it: you were really born to this.
you're an amazing natural sensitive writer and great story teller. sincerely, Amber.

Posted 1 Month Ago



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Added on May 26, 2021
Last Updated on July 2, 2021
Tags: Film night, film, night, TV, gin, love, tradition, pact, linger, desire, natural, nature, beauty, complete, union, level


Author

Tertia
Tertia

United Kingdom



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