Tabasco Is The Color of Lust (ML Ad.) AN 26Jul[WIP]

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Tabasco Is The Color of Lust (ML Ad.) AN 26Jul[WIP]

Post by LairaBehr4 » Sat Jul 29, 2006 12:45 pm

Title: 'Tabasco is the Color of Lust'

By: Behrsgirl1230 & LairaBehr4

Rating: Mature

Disclaimer: We don't own a damn thing. No infringement meant on "Ketchup is the Color of Love" - honestly, Behrsgirl1230 came up with this title a long, long time ago!

Summary: Max is a small-town boy trying to break into Hollywood. Liz is one of the biggest and most cynical agents in Hollywood. When they get together, will it be a Hollywood ending or will the business tear them apart?


Updates will be every Saturday – hope you all enjoy!



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This beautiful banner was done by Behrsgirl77! Thank you, Tanya! From: Kris and Laura





Prologue

Max POV



I. Ache. Everywhere.

I wouldn't have thought it possible to hurt so badly after doing nothing but sitting for the last – hold on, let me look at my watch – going on twenty hours now. Remind me never to take a 1,000 mile journey by bus ever again.

God, if my dad could hear me now. He wasn't too happy when I told him I was doing this. He made this big speech when I graduated college six weeks ago in front of the whole family, even my aunt and uncle who came from Philadelphia. He talked about how I was going to do great things, how I was going to go on to law school and become the best lawyer New Mexico had ever seen, how I was going to make the cover of the Northwestern Alumni magazine before I was 35.

I think he could be right about his first and third points; you know, the great things and the alumni magazine. But I just don't think being a lawyer is for me. It requires too much … being out there, I guess. You have to be able to talk, to argue, to not back down. I'd much rather just stay quiet and live in my own head. I live in my head a lot. Heck, I'm doing it right now.

The point is, I just don’t think I’m cut out to be a lawyer. I actually want to try to be an actor. I was kind of forced by various parties (namely my parents and my high school guidance counselor) into joining the Drama club when I was fifteen. They kept saying I wasn’t confident enough and I needed to learn how to take risks and speak up and stuff like that. I actually didn’t think I was going to like it very much – you know, being on stage, everybody looking at you, judging you, that kind of thing. Plus, have you ever seriously looked at a stage? They’re purposefully designed so that the audience can see every inch. In other words, no place to hide. I was terrified.

Until the teacher had me actually read a scene from ‘West Side Story’ as Riff. Riff is a gang leader, who talks a lot without really ever saying too much. Kind of the opposite of me. But I’ve never really been too comfortable in my own skin, whereas Riff wears the mantle of leader without even really thinking about it. In fact, Riff doesn’t think too much at all, but that’s really only one facet of his personality. He’s tough and he can be a jerk, but he’s loyal. And when I thought this as I was reading the lines, suddenly I found it really fun to be Riff, even if it was only for a few minutes. From there, there wasn’t a character anywhere who was safe from me.

I stayed in the drama club all through high school, and I even minored in drama at Northwestern. I majored in Philosophy and I got into UNM Albuquerque law school, but until I graduated last month, I still thought of law school as this thing that wasn’t going to happen for a long, long time yet. It just wasn’t something I had to worry about right now.

Graduation was kind of a wake-up call for me – it was like, ‘here’s your life, now go on and get to it.’ I spent the first few weeks at home in Roswell, New Mexico, helping out at my old job at the UFO Museum (don’t laugh). But the longer I was there and the more people would talk about law school, it started to feel like I was just approaching this big dead end that could never make me happy.

So I did the one thing I could think of: I bought a bus ticket, packed up my army duffel with some clothes, and told my parents I was moving to Los Angeles. Needless to say, they didn’t take the news too well. My dad yelled, screamed, argued, begged, and just about every other similar verb you can think of. He even tried bribery (boy, if his clients knew about that one …). He is convinced that within two weeks, I’ll be right back on another bus heading home again.

My mom’s not too happy, either. I think she’s more disappointed than anything. But at least she refrained from metaphorically pounding me into the dirt the way my dad did.

My twin sister, Isabel, has been more supportive of this than anyone else. Even though she was never as introverted as I was, she understands me perfectly. She gets that being a lawyer just isn’t in the cards for me, and that trying to force myself into that role (if you’ll pardon the expression) would only make me miserable in the end. She drove me to the bus depot at midnight last night so I could catch the cheapest bus. She even said that if I needed money and didn’t want to ask my parents, I could call her first instead. We both got around $1,000 each in gifts from our family and friends when we graduated. Isabel majored in art history at the University of Chicago, and has a pretty good job offer from the Art Institute there, but like me, she wanted to spend some time at home before going on to the next phase of her life.

So here I am, inside the Los Angeles county limits. I can see the downtown buildings looming everywhere. We’ve passed more billboards in the last half mile than I think there is in all of Chaves county. It’s past eight o’clock at night and the sun has only just gone down, but you wouldn’t be able to tell for all the bright lights.

As kind of a gimmick, the bus driver took a huge detour before heading to the bus station near Union Station. Instead of heading straight there, he drove through Glendale and into the Hollywood and Santa Monica area, past the Hollywood sign. It was totally worth the extra hour that we were stuck in traffic. Because as soon as I saw that sign, even though I knew it was silly and corny and that hundreds of thousands of people come to Los Angeles every year telling themselves the exact same thing, the moment I looked at that sign I knew I was going to be one of the success stories. I knew I was going to be one of the guys to make it.

The bus finally pulls in at the depot, and as soon as I hop off the steps I stretch properly for the first time all day. It feels so good to be able to stand up straight again.

I wait for the crowd of impatient people to get their luggage from the carrier, and even help one old lady carry her suitcase to her car. I know there are a few hotels near here, nothing too classy, but I need to save money anyway until I find a job. Isabel gave me a couple of City Guide books for L.A. as a going-away present, and pretty much all I’ve done is study addresses of restaurants, movie studios, hotels, apartment buildings, the freeways, and pretty much any other information that I thought I might need. Tomorrow I’ll try to find a job and maybe an apartment somewhere. For now, all I want is a place to sleep.





~~~
TBC[/img]
Last edited by LairaBehr4 on Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:03 pm, edited 17 times in total.
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Post by Behrsgirl1230 » Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:15 pm

okay, I'm posting a little early because I'll be at the beach all day tomorrow. 8) Also, just so there is no confusion, the rest of the story will be told in third person POV

Laira and I are so excited that you all love what we have so far!
Thanks so much to the feedbackers...
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--I'm glad you like the title...I've been dying to use it for a really really long time haha.
Morning Dreamgirl
Michelle in Yonkers
and all the lurkers as well!




Chapter 1

“He wants to what?!” Liz Parker screamed into her phone. “I don’t know if that’s going to fly with Nicole. I’ll have to call her and give you a call back… Okay…Thanks, bye.” Liz hung up her phone and ran her hands through her hair. She then took a deep breath and got up to exit her office.

Liz Parker was one of the biggest agents in Hollywood. She along with one of her best friends, Maria DeLuca, owned Looker Agencies, one of the most popular agencies in the United States. Frustrated with the phone call she just received, she went into Maria’s office to talk to her about it.

Looking up from the papers she was staring at, Maria smiled when she saw Liz. “Hey babe, what’s up?”

“Well I just got an interesting phone call from Letterman’s agent.” Liz said walking into the office and sitting down.

“Yeah, and?” Maria said wanting more information.

“Apparently David wants to have a show to reconcile Paris and Nicole’s friendship.”

Maria’s eyes bugged out of her head. “Is he fucking crazy?! The two of them will never agree to that.”

Liz just laughed. “Yeah, that’s what I said. So now I have to call Nicole and try to convince her, but let’s face it, she’s not gonna go for this.”

“That’s for sure. Good luck with that one.” Just then, Maria’s phone rang. “I better get this. Let me know how Nicole handles the news.”

“Oh I will.” Liz said standing up and walking to the door. “Later.” With that, Liz went back into her office and picked up her phone to call up one of her clients…Nicole Richie.

“Hello?” Nicole said picking up the phone.

“Hey Nicole it’s Liz.”

“What’s up bitch?” Nicole said smiling.

“Uhm, well I have a possible gig for you, but you might want to sit down for this one.” Liz said apprehensively.

“Oh no, what now?” she asked dreading what she was about to hear.

“Well, David Letterman wants to have you on his show…” Liz started but was interrupted by Nicole.

“Okay, and how is that in any way bad?” Nicole asked confused.

“Well, he wants to have you on the show…with Paris….to reconcile your friendship.” Liz said squeezing her eyes shut waiting for the blow to come.

“What the fuck?! Why can’t anyone realize that maybe Paris and I just grew apart. It’s none of their goddamn business whether or not we speak to each other….Jesus Christ.” Nicole said very frustrated.

“I know. I told them you most likely wouldn’t do it, but they didn’t believe me.” After what seemed like a really long bout of silence, Liz added, “If you really think about it babe, it will be a lot of great press for you.” After another bout of silence, Liz was about to tell Nicole that she’d call Letterman’s people and tell them no, but Nicole shocked her by what she said next.

“What did Paris say about this?

“Well, um...actually, she said yes.”

“Wow, who knew she had it in her to do something decent.”

Liz just laughed at her and said, “Yeah go figure. So what about you…you in or out?”

“Eh, I’ll do it. Like you said, it will give me some good press. We don’t have to be friends after this, just act civil towards each other.”

“There’s a way to think about it. So I’ll call up Letterman’s people and say yes?”

“Yep. Thanks, bitch.”

“No problem babe. I’ll talk to you soon. “

“Alright, bye gorgeous.

“Bye.” Liz hung up the phone and let out a huge sigh of relief. This will be awesome if all goes well. She then picked up her phone to call up Letterman and tell them that Nicole was willing to go through with this.

When she got off the phone, she heard a knock on her door and yelled for the person to come in. Her assistant and best friend since childhood, Kayelle walked in.

“Hey there, you look a bit stressed out.” Kayelle said walking up to Liz.

“A bit? I’m so fucking stressed it’s not even funny. At least Nicole agreed to appear on Letterman with Paris. That sure is gonna be fucking fun to watch.” Liz said sitting back in her chair to relax a little bit.

“So what happened that’s making you so stressed?” Kayelle asked her.

“Well this morning I got a phone call from one of my clients. Apparently because of all his partying, the director is threatening to replace him since he keeps showing up late on set. It’s not my fucking fault he’s showing up late. What the hell does he want me to do about it? My job is to get him a job, and I did that. I don’t know what he expects me to do about this.” Liz said shaking her head. “Then on top of that, my favorite pair of Manolo’s broke last night when I went to Hyde. I was so fucking pissed! How do fucking Manolo’s break?! So I’m taking them to the store and they better give me a new pair or all hell is going to break loose.”

“Jesus Liz, it sounds like you need a drink or something. Do you want me to run over to the Coffee Bean for you?”

“That would be great, thanks Kay.” Kayelle began to walk out of Liz’s office when Liz thought of something else. “Oh! Can you make me an appointment at Frederic Fekkai too?”

Kayelle laughed and said, “You got it, Biff.” She then turned around and continued to head out.

Liz laughed at the childhood name Kayelle had given her all those years ago. Kayelle and Liz grew up in central Jersey, and had been best friends since they were two. Kayelle always had a problem with pronouncing “Elizabeth”, it would always come out “Elizabiff”. As a joke, to this day she still calls her Biff sometimes.

Shaking her head to get back to reality, Liz sat back up and continued to do her work.

***

Max had been in LA for three months now, and he still hadn’t gotten any acting work. After he found a small one-bedroom apartment in the Hollywood Hills, he headed over to some popular restaurants to try to get a job as a waiter. He ended up getting a job at Koi, one of the best Japanese restaurants in the country…well maybe not the country, but it sure was the best damn Japanese restaurant he’d ever been to.

Luckily, Max had some waiting experience, so Koi hired him right away. Before he got a job at the UFO museum, Max was a waiter at a popular restaurant in Roswell called The Crashdown Café. Fortunately, he didn’t have to wear the uniforms that the girls did, but he secretly loved working along side those girls.

Koi was definitely a huge change from the Crashdown. He had to wear a white dress shirt and tie with black dress pants. He was also given a long black apron to wear at his waist. At the Crashdown, he would usually be in either khakis or jeans and a Crashdown t-shirt. He never had to look so nice and professional just to wait tables, but that’s the difference between LA and Roswell.

Koi was a very popular restaurant with celebrities, so Max was hoping to make some connections with this job. It was a Friday night, so most likely Max would make a lot in tips, as well as see some celebrities, which secretly had him excited.

It was around eight o’clock, and Max was on his way over to a new table.

“Hello and welcome to Koi. My name is Max and I’ll be your waiter for tonight. Have you been here before?” Max said as he greeted the two people at the table.

“Yes we have.” The man answered.

“Wonderful, so you know that our meals are portioned in family size rather than individual portions?” Max asked and they both nodded.

“Okay, can I start you off with anything to drink?”

“Yes, we’ll both just have a glass of your best red wine please.” The man ordered.

“Okay, I’ll be right back with that for you.” Max said as he went to get them their wine, as well as check up on his other tables.

Meanwhile, the couple at his table started talking. “He’s pretty cute, do you think he’s an actor?” the woman asked her boyfriend.

“I don’t know. Why? Are you looking to get a new client?” He responded while perusing the menu.

“Hey, you can never have too many clients.” She said smiling.

Her boyfriend simply laughed at her and continued looking at his menu.

When Max came back with their wine, he asked them if they were ready to order, which they were.

“I’ll just have the dragon roll please.” The girl told Max.

“Excellent choice. That’s one of my favorites here.” Max said before turning towards the man. “And for you sir?”

“I’ll have the crispy rice with spicy tuna, and the rock shrimp tempura.” He said as he handed Max their menus.

“Okay, coming right up.” Max took their menus and headed off to put in their order.

When Max came by a while later to take their empty plates, he asked them if there was anything else he could get for them.

“Ya know you’re really hot.” The girl blurted out. Her boyfriend nearly spit out his wine he was so caught off guard by her bluntness.

Max’s cheeks began to turn a light shade of red as he scratched his eyebrow feeling a little uncomfortable. “Uh…thanks?” he said awkwardly.

“Maria don’t you think it’s inappropriate to hit on the waiter in front of your boyfriend?” Her boyfriend asked her.

Maria kicked him under the table, “Shh I’m working!” she scolded him. She then turned her attention back to Max. “You wouldn’t happen to be an actor would you?”

Max chuckled a little bit and said, “Well I’m trying, but I’m having a hard time finding work. Why?”

The girl then smiled. “My name is Maria DeLuca, and I’m a talent agent.” Max’s face lit up as Maria said that. Pulling a card out of her purse she handed it to him and said, “Give me a call and we can set up an appointment and we’ll get you some work, don’t worry.”

“Wow, thank you very much.” He said putting the card in his apron pocket. “Would you two like any dessert to finish off with?”

“No I think we’re good. We’ll just take the check please.” Maria told him, and Max went off to get them their check.

“Look at that Michael, another client just like that.” Maria said smiling.

“You’re unbelievable.” He said shaking his head.

Maria just laughed and stuck her tongue out at him.

After dinner, Michael and Maria headed home leaving Max feeling truly hopeful for his career for the first time in three months.


TBC...

in case anyone was curious...the whole Paris and Nicole on David Letterman thing is true. They'll be on his show in September...I can't wait!! :D Here's a link to the article in case anyone wants to read it...http://www.hollyscoop.com/6744/2006/07/ ... ke-up.aspx
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~Kristen~

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'Tabasco', Chapter 2

Post by LairaBehr4 » Fri Aug 11, 2006 9:03 am

Once again, we’re posting just a little bit early. We should warn you guys not to get too used to it, though.

Kris and I are simply amazed by the response this story has gotten so far – thank you all!

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– Kris and I would like it to be known that there are plenty of people in Hollywood making a living in front of the camera who can’t act worth a damn. It’s amazing how far good looks will take you in this world … We address a few of your other questions in this chapter, so read on.
Also, Hollywood apartments aren’t as bad as you’d think – I have a friend whose share in a 3BR apartment on Vine is $300 less than what I pay for an efficiency in WDC.
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– yeah, Kris did a great job with that, didn’t she?
Dreamsatnight








Chapter Two


A week later, Tess Harding was bored stiff. Maria was in her office prepping for a new client and Kayelle was running errands for Liz before coming in while Liz herself had yet to be seen today. Probably out chopping somebody’s head off, Tess thought. Everyone in the industry knew that Liz, while successful, driven, and sharp as a tack, could be a total bitch.

Her leg began to twitch in boredom. She stopped swishing the pink sparkly nail file back and forth, and frowned a little at how she’d been too aggressive and had filed the nail from her left index finger just a little too short. She sighed. Wasn’t anything exciting going to happen today?

As if in answer to her prayers, Tess looked through the glass doors and saw the most gorgeous hunk of man she’d ever seen – and she thought this was saying something, since she worked for a Hollywood talent agency – step off the elevator. He was young, cute and … the word “virile” fluttered in Tess’ mind. She licked her lips in anticipation He looked around as if unsure of where to go. When he saw the frosted glass letters reading “Looker Agencies”, he immediately started for them.

Please let him be here for Maria, please let him be here for Maria, was Tess’ silent mantra as she shoved the nail file in a drawer and quickly moved to pull her light blue low-cut V-neck tank top down a little bit more. She had just enough time to flick her shoulder-length light blonde hair twice and straighten up in her chair before he walked through the door.

Max Evans was more than a little nervous as he walked in for his first meeting with his new – actually, his first ever – agent. In his hand, he held the business card that Maria had given him at Koi. He wore tan slacks and a forest green dress shirt with the collar and top button undone. With his hair a bit wavy from where he’d allowed it to grow out since moving to LA, he was able to pull off a look that was sophisticated, yet comfortable.

The office lobby had Maria’s and Liz’s offices directly facing each other, on opposite sides of the front door. There was a conference room opposite the front doors. Liz’s office was on the right as you walked in, with a nametag on the door that read “Parker”. Maria had one that read “DeLuca” over hers. As you faced Liz’s office, there was a desk on the left with a name card reading “Kayelle Miller”. If you were facing Maria’s office, Tess Harding’s desk was to the right. Both their desks were at an angle towards the front door. Towards the back wall behind Kayelle’s desk was a doorway that led to a mini-kitchen where rested the most important part of the office, at least according to Liz, Maria and Kayelle – the coffee maker.

As soon as Max spotted the name “DeLuca” on the door to his left, he smiled and walked over to Tess’s desk. “Hi,” he greeted. “I’m Max Evans, I have a nine-thirty appointment with Maria DeLuca.”

Tess couldn’t believe her luck. This was Maria’s new client?! She quickly wondered if he was as polite in bed as he was in person. “Yes, sir, if you’ll just give me your home phone number, I can let her know that you’re here,” she maintained direct eye contact with him and smiled sweetly.

Max was a little taken aback with this girl’s come-on. He gathered she didn’t like to waste time, a habit she probably picked up from her boss. Still, Max was a bit embarrassed, especially since he didn’t really like platinum blondes. “Um, maybe I’ll just knock on her door myself,” he quickly said the first thing he thought of that would help him get out of such an awkward situation.

“No! there’s no need,” said Tess hurriedly. If a client were to announce himself like that, Tess would probably be fired. Her chances already weren’t good if Maria were to hear about what she’d just said to this guy. “I’ll tell her.” Miffed at his rejection of her, which wasn’t something Tess encountered much of, she picked up her phone and dialed Maria’s extention.

“Yes?” Maria picked up the other line on speaker phone.

“Your nine-thirty is here,” said Tess.

“Thanks, I’ll be right out.” Maria checked to make sure her office was neat – well, as neat as it could get for her, anyway – and went to open the door.

“Max!” she greeted.

“Hi,” he reached out his hand in greeting, which she took. “Thanks for seeing me today.”

“Oh, not a problem,” said Maria. “Come on in.” Max walked through the door to her office, and then Maria followed and closed it behind her.

Tess pulled out the file again and took her annoyance at Max Evans out on her nails. Who did this guy think he was, anyway?

A few minutes later Kayelle sailed in with her arms full of Liz’s dry-cleaning and some bags from Hermés. “Morning!” she called cheerily before she flung her purse onto her desk and made her way into Liz’s office. Both Maria and Liz had a wardrobe in their offices, and Kayelle put the dry-cleaning and shopping bags in Liz’s. Then she made her way back to the lobby and into the kitchenette in the back. As she suspected, Tess hadn’t turned on the coffee maker that morning. Shaking her head, Kayelle filled the pot with water from the sink and took ground coffee from the mini-fridge that supported the Mr. Coffee and put in the appropriate amount, plus one extra scoop. From the twice that Kayelle had spoken to Liz already today, she could tell her friend would definitely be needing it. She left the coffee to brew and finally sat down at her desk.

Close to ten o’clock, the familiar sound of Liz’s voice could be heard wafting through the doors, coming ever closer.

“Yes, Will … I know, Will … You’re right, Will …” she walked through the front door, nodded a brief hello to Tess. Then she turned to Kayelle and smiled a greeting before raising her eyebrows, questioning if Kayelle had run the errands she’d requested. Kayelle nodded in response, and Liz cocked her head to one side and smiled again in gratitude. These two were such old friends, they had an entire conversation without saying a single word or even using hand gestures. Tess wanted to laugh.

Liz’s smile quickly went away, though, as she began to speak again. “Yes, Will,” she said, annoyed, and immediately walked to the kitchenette. Tess and Kayelle could still hear her. “Yes, Will.” Kayelle raised her mug to take a sip of coffee when she heard, “That wasn’t our fault, Will! How was I to know the guy had a bench warrant out on him?”

Kayelle nearly spilled her coffee everywhere.

“Yes, Will. Yes, Will.” Liz was coming out of the kitchenette now, coffee in hand. She stopped in front of Kayelle’s desk. “Yes, Will. Drop dead, Will.” This last one seemed to get a positive reaction from whoever the mysterious “Will” was, because Liz immediately loosened up. “Look, Will, I’m sorry they pulled the guy. I honestly didn’t know he’d been arrested and skipped out on his bail. If I had known, I would have dragged his ass into court myself.” Even Kayelle could hear Will laughing at the idea of a five-foot-one Liz dragging anybody’s ass into court.

Liz turned indignant right away. “That’s not funny,” she said, then quickly tried to regain control of the conversation. “Will, I promise I’ll send you someone by the end of the week. Do you have some scenes that you can rehearse until then? Yeah? Thanks. Bye.” Liz pushed the “end” button on her cell and sighed loudly.

“Okay, what exactly happened?” Kayelle asked.

“Fucking Jeremy got arrested two weeks ago on a DUI charge and didn’t fucking tell me. Then he fucking skipped out on his bail. The fucking cops had to go down to the studio where Will was getting rehearsals started for the new movie his company’s putting out and arrested him in front of everyone.” Jeremy Burns was a client of Liz’s. He’d been a big-time child actor and had maneuvered his way into adult film roles pretty well, which was why Liz was surprised that none of the newspapers or gossip columnists had reported his arrest. Will Laurence was a friend of Liz’s in the industry. He was the head of a small independent production company called Vanilla Films. Most of the movies he’d put out had been small ones, meant exclusively for the festival circuit, but he had high hopes for the new one. It was called “Tabasco Is the Color of Lust”, and Will was hoping to at least get it into some of the smaller theaters in LA, San Francisco and New York. With a leading man like Jeremy Burns, that wouldn’t have been hard. Now, though, he was missing one vital starring role, and Liz knew she would only have one chance to make it up to him. She had to find someone to take on the leading role in ‘Tabasco’, and quick.

Liz started mentally going through her clients who might fit the part as she lifted her coffee mug to her lips. “Mmm,” she sighed. This was good coffee. It was … “Refreshingly bitter,” she sighed then looked at Kayelle.

“Just like you,” they both said at the same time. Kayelle looked up from her desk and met Liz’s smile, and they both shook their heads. They’d known each other for so long, that them having the same thoughts and finishing each other’s sentences was pretty much the norm.

Liz started to head towards her office. “Did you get the – ”

“Uh-huh,” Kayelle nodded.

“And the …”

“Yup.”

“Oh, what about …”

“It’s in there.”

“Thanks babe, you’re the best.”

“And don’t you forget it,” Kayelle looked up at her.

At that moment, Liz’s cell phone began to ring with Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do”. Liz pulled it out, looked at the caller idea, and sighed loudly before accepting the call. “Yes, Will.” She rolled her eyes at Kayelle. “Yes, Will. I understand, Will, but you have to give me more that two minutes to find someone for you.” A pause. “I get it, Will! I’m the one who sent Jeremy to you in the first place! Someone similar, without the partying. I got it, Will!” Another pause, and not a good one – Kayelle could see Liz clenching her jaw and even grinding her teeth a little. Finally, she spoke. “Look, Will, I love you, but if you call me again before Thursday, I’m going to have to kill you. I can do it, too. I’m from Jersey. They’ll never find the body. Talk to you Thursday. BYE, Will.” Liz pushed the “end” button with far more force than was necessary, then let out an agonized “Grrrrr!” She looked down at the wall.

“Don’t kick it,” said Kayelle, knowing Liz was about two seconds away from taking her frustration out on the wall. “You’ll ruin your Jimmy Choos.”

That was the only thought that stopped her – after all, she didn’t want a repeat of the Manolo incident the week before.

Just then, the door to Maria’s office opened and Liz could hear her saying, “If you come with me we’ve got a camera set up in the conference room so we can record a screen test for you.” Kayelle turned her head towards Maria and nearly spilled her coffee for the second time today. A dark-haired god was stepping out of Maria’s office and walking to the conference room. This guy was gorgeous! Not exactly Kayelle’s type, but he’d be perfect for …

Kayelle looked at Liz to see if she was as affected by the new guy as she was, only to find that Liz was staring at the wall, deep in thought, drumming her fingers against her mug.

“Liz!” Maria called, finally getting her attention. “This is my new client, Max Evans.”

Max had spotted the petite woman as soon as he’d stepped into the lobby. Her eyes turned towards him, and Max could swear he was drowning in pools of black. “Nice to meet you,” he said softly.

“Same,” she said briskly before turning back to Kayelle. “I need you to cancel everything I’ve got before two, if I don’t send Will someone by Friday he’s gonna fucking kill me.”

Kayelle couldn’t believe Liz’s mood, but hey, she was still her friend and she was still the boss. “Done,” she answered.

“Later,” Liz said to Max and Maria before moving deftly into her office and closing the door.

Kayelle saw Maria looking at her with an eyebrow raised. “Don’t mind her,” Kayelle apologized on Liz’s behalf. “She’s having a hard day.”

“Apparently,” Maria observed, then turned her full attention back to Max. “Right this way, Max.”

“Oh, thanks.” Max would have liked to learn more about that incredible woman who’d just left the room, but right now he had a job to do, and it wasn’t as though she was interested. She’d said two words to him. She’d barely even looked at him. Maria had mentioned the partner whom she’d started the business with, so Mystery Woman was probably Maria’s age, which put her several years old than himself. Max tried to rationalize away the crush that had sprung up in only a few seconds, but he couldn’t help but wish that she’d been the one asking for his number instead of Tess.
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Post by Behrsgirl1230 » Sat Aug 19, 2006 8:53 am

Hey everyone! Seriously, Laira and I are blown away with all the feedback. We're so happy you guys are loving our story.

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ps...I went to Koi last night and I thought of Max! haha.

Here's the next part...Enjoy! :D




Chapter 3

Stepping into his one bedroom apartment, Max lazily tossed his keys and wallet onto a table, and threw his apron over the side of the couch. His meeting with Maria went really well, and he was excited that after a three-month long plateau in his plans, things were finally starting to climb up a little.

Right after the meeting, he was scheduled to work the lunch shift at Koi. It was now about six o’clock in the evening when he finally arrived home, and he was exhausted from waiting tables for the past six hours. He really wanted to call home to tell them about Maria, but he wasn’t sure how his parents would take it. He knew Isabel would be ecstatic, and he was hoping that his parents would realize that he’s actually going to be doing something with his life, and feel better about him being out there.

Looking at the clock, he realized it was about seven o’clock back in Roswell, so he decided to give them a call. He grabbed his cell phone, then walked over to his couch to take a seat as he dialed the familiar number.

“Hello?” a woman answered.

“Hi Mom,” Max tentatively said as he nervously messed with his shaggy hair.

“Max,” Diane said surprised, “How are you honey? Do you need anything?”

“No Mom, I’m good. I’m really good actually.” He said smiling.

“Well that’s wonderful sweetheart. Everything okay with work?”

“Yeah, it’s tiring, but it’s going well.” Max was trying to figure out a way to tell his mother about getting an agent, but he was so nervous of her reaction that he was stalling. “How’s everything at home?”

“Good. I have a feeling that Jesse is going to propose to Isabel soon. He and your father are out right now, and I think he might be asking Dad’s approval.”

“Wow, that’s great. Are you happy about this?”

“Yeah, I really am. I mean, she’s almost twenty-three years old, I think it would be wonderful for her and Jesse to settle down together.”

“Well that’s great Mom.” Deciding that since she was in a good mood, now would be the time to tell her. Max stood up and started walking around his apartment as he said, “Well now that you mention it, I have some exciting news too.”

“Oh yeah? What’s that sweetheart?” Diane asked curiously.

“I got an agent. I met with her today, and things seem pretty promising.”

Shocked, Diane didn’t know what to say. “Wow, well that’s wonderful honey. Um, so what happens now?”

“Well now she sets up auditions for me to go on, and hopefully I’ll get a job soon.” Max told her walking back into his living room and sitting back down on the couch.

“Wow, that certainly is exciting.” Diane said trying to sound supportive, but not doing an excellent job.

“Thanks Mom, it really means a lot to me that you’re accepting that this is what I want to do.” Max said not noticing the tone in his mother’s voice.

“Listen Max, if it doesn’t work out, you know you can always come back home and go to law school. We won’t judge you. We know this is something you want to do, but becoming an actor is very hard, so just don’t get discouraged when it doesn’t work out.”

When? You really don’t believe in me do you?” Max said shaking his head in disbelief.

“Honey it’s not that I don’t believe in you; I do, I really do, it’s just that there is an unbelievable amount of competition out there, and we have to be realistic.” She tried reasoning with him.

“Whatever Mom, I have to go. Tell Isabel to call me when she gets home.” Max said hurriedly.

“Max…” Diane started.

“Bye Mom.” He said, and hung up before she could say anything else.

He threw his cell phone on the couch beside him and threw his head back to rest against the back of the couch. That didn’t go as well as he had hoped, but it didn’t go as horrible as he had thought either. He squeezed his temples with his right hand trying to relieve some of his anxiety at the moment.

As he sat there, he was trying to take his mind off of the conversation he just had, and found that he couldn’t keep his mind away from the other agent at Looker Agencies. There was just something about her that captivated him. It could have been a number of things, but he couldn’t help but admit to himself that her curt attitude really turned him on.

A few minutes later, his stomach began to rumble, so he reluctantly got up off of the couch, and grabbed the dinner he brought home from work.

***

Meanwhile, Liz had been on the phone all day with different clients trying to find someone to replace Jeremy. Finally after a few bribes, Jesse Metcalfe agreed to it. Liz felt confident with him because he was a young heartthrob in Hollywood who could sell movie tickets, which is exactly what a small, independent movie like this needed.

She had a delivery man bring Jesse a copy of the script, then called Will to tell him the good news. After talking to him for a few minutes, she sunk down in her chair and let out a huge sigh of relief. “Finally that fucking thing is settled,” she said to herself. After relaxing for a little while, Liz got up and went to find Maria. She hadn’t been out in a couple of days and thought that tonight would be the perfect night.

Walking into the lobby, she saw Tess sitting at her desk filing her nails instead of doing actual work, and inwardly rolled her eyes before stalking right past her and entering Maria’s office.

“Hey babe,” Maria said looking up from her computer.

“Hey,” Liz said standing near the edge of Maria’s desk. “What are you doing tonight?” she asked her cutting right to the chase.

Maria paused to think for a minute before answering, “Michael has to work late tonight so I don’t think I’m doing anything. Why? What do you have in mind?”

“I was thinking about going to Element tonight. I haven’t been there in ages and I thought maybe Kayelle, you, and I could have a girl’s night out.”

“That sounds perfect. I’ve had a really stressful day, so a girl’s night out sounds like just what I need,” Maria said excitedly.

“Fantastic. I’ll let you get back to work, and we’ll meet at Element at say…eleven?” Liz asked her as she began walking to the door.

Maria nodded, “Eleven it is.”

Liz walked back into her office to do some more work before it was time to head home for the day. She was so enthralled with what she was doing that she didn’t notice Kayelle enter the room.

“Workin’ hard?” Kayelle asked her smiling as she plopped down onto one of Liz’s chairs.

Liz just looked up at her and smiled saying, “Yeah, and what about you? Hardly working?”

After trying, neither of them could hold it in, and soon they both burst into a fit of giggles.

“What’s up Kay?” Liz asked her while writing some things down on a legal pad in front of her.

“Oh ya know, not too much. Just came in here to escape my horrible boss. I can’t stand her.” She said crossing her legs and innocently looking at her nails.

Liz continued writing as she played along. “Oh yeah? What’d she do this time? You always have such horror stories about her.”

“Yeah well, ever since she read The Devil Wears Prada, she’s been acting like Miranda more and more.” She complained stifling back a smile.

Not taking her eye off of her work Liz said, “Wow, she sounds like a total bitch. You should…”

“Quit? I know. But I like working for her, she lets me borrow her shoes.”

Stopping what she was doing, Liz looked up and took her reading glasses off of her face and said, “So that’s why you’re still working for her. You’re just using her.” Kayelle just smirked and nodded in agreement. “Well then, maybe I’ll just have to tell her so she’ll fire you instead.” Liz said and couldn’t help herself as she stuck her tongue out at Kayelle before putting her glasses back on and resuming her work.

Kayelle just laughed before saying, “I feel like going out tonight, ya wanna go to…”

“Yeah Maria’s coming too. We haven’t been there in…”

“Forever I know! I wonder if…”

“DJ AM will be spinning tonight? I don’t know.”

“Call…”

“I already called Nicole to see if he was.”

“Left a voicemail?”

“Yep.” Liz said as she finished up her work. “We were thinking of meeting at…”

“Eleven?” Liz nodded. “Okay, I’ll drop by your apartment then and we’ll head over together.”

“Sounds good babe.” Liz agreed.

“Okay, I’m gonna go finish up some work. Do you need me to do anything for you on my way home tonight?” Kayelle asked as she walked towards the door.

Liz propped her chin on her hand as she tried to think of anything she needed to get done. “No I don’t think so. I’ll call you if I think of anything.”

“Alrighty. Later…”

“Gator.” Liz finished with a wave before turning to her computer to type up a few last minute things.

***

Just as Max was finishing up his dinner, he heard his cell phone ring. Expecting it to be Isabel, he was surprised when he discovered it was Maria. She wanted to meet with him for lunch the next day to go over a contract, and then possible auditions for him. They decided to meet at a small restaurant not too far from Looker Agencies.

Excited for his future, Max found that he couldn’t stay home tonight, so he called up his friend Kyle that lived on the floor above him, to see if he wanted to go out.

Kyle was another aspiring actor that had been in LA for about a year now. He and Max became fast friends upon Max moving in. Whenever they had time, they would hang out. Usually they would go shoot some hoops together to relieve some of their pent up frustration on not getting anywhere with their acting. Kyle was currently in a play, while Max was having no luck until now.

Part time, Kyle was a bartender at a small bar in West Hollywood. He had the night off tonight, so the two guys decided to go out to a club and have fun. Kyle was hoping to find a hot girl to bring home, and was hoping Max would too. He knew Max was a shy guy, so he most likely wouldn’t, but maybe one day he’d be able to finally convince Max to loosen up a bit.

***

Liz finally arrived home at around seven, and pushed her blinking answering machine button as she made her way to her room to get ready for a shower. There were two messages. The first one was her mom just checking in to say hello, and the second one had her stop frozen in her spot. It was Sean Williams, her ex-boyfriend. She hadn’t spoken to him in four months, so she couldn’t help but wonder why on earth he was calling.

“Hey Liz, it’s me…Sean. Listen umm, I know we didn’t really end things on good terms, but I have a favor to ask you. If you could call me back I’d really appreciate it. Thanks.”

Curious as to what sort of favor Sean would want, she picked up her phone and dialed his number.

“Hello?” a gruff voice said.

“Sean it’s me.” Liz said curtly, just wanting to get this conversation over with. She and Sean only dated for a few months, and their relationship was basically based on sex. She knew they weren’t in love, however when he cheated on her with one of his co-stars, she was still very hurt. See, Sean was an actor. Not an A-lister, but he was pretty well-known. After they broke up, she made it a rule of hers not to date any more actors because she wouldn’t be able to tell if they were being true to her, or just acting.

“Liz, thank God you called. How are you?” Liz just rolled her eyes.

“What do you want Sean?” She was annoyed that he was trying to have small talk with her when she clearly just wanted him to cut to the chase.

“Listen baby…” Sean started.

“Woah there buddy! I’m not your baby so don’t call me that. If this is how you’re asking me for a favor you better quit wasting time because the answer is no.” Liz said, and was just about to hang up when Sean’s voice stopped her.

[i[ “Liz wait! I’m sorry. Just hear me out….please?”[/i] He begged.

“Fine, what do you want?” She said leaning against her table annoyed.

“I need a new agent. Mine is robbing me, and I need to get out.”

“Sean, there is no way I’m going to be your agent.” Liz told him.

“I know I know. You’d probably rob me blind anyway.” He joked.

“Seriously, this is how you ask a favor?” Liz said beyond irritated.

“Sorry. Anyway, I was wondering if you knew of any good agents for me.”

“I’ll have to look around. I’d offer Maria, but that would require you to be in the same building as me on occasion, so I’m gonna go with no on her.”

“Gee thanks.” He said sarcastically.

“Hey! Do you want my help or not, asshole?” Liz shot back at him.

“Yes, yes I do.”

“Okay then, I’ll look around and get back to you within the week.” She said relentlessly. She knew she shouldn’t even waste her time on him, but she cared about him at one point so she figured she could do this for him.

“Thanks Lizzie you’re the best!” Sean said excitedly.

“Call me Lizzie again and I’m not looking.” She said seriously.

“Rrreear!,” he said making the sound of a cat hissing, “Whatever, thanks Liz I’ll talk to you later.”

“Bye Sean.” Liz said and hung up. She threw the phone down and began to get ready for Element.

***

Four hours later, Max was sitting at a table at a club with a beer in his hand, watching all the people around him. He lost Kyle about forty minutes early to some red head. He was just about to get up and try to find him to tell him he was gonna head over to another bar, when he caught sight of someone at the door. He could’ve sworn it was the other agent that worked at Maria’s agency. She looked so beautiful, with her long dark silky hair draping over her shoulders, and her legs looked killer with her short sleeveless dress and stiletto heels.

She walked in with another girl, who he thought looked familiar as well. She must also work at Looker, he thought to himself. They seemed to be looking around for someone, and he was praying it wasn’t a guy. He knew he didn’t have a chance in hell with this girl, but he liked to dream, and if she had a boyfriend, it was harder to do that.

After studying her every move for about five minutes, Max’s thoughts were interrupted by a tap on his shoulder.

“Hey Man, Serena and I are gonna head back to my apartment. I’ll catch ya later aight?” Kyle told him pointing to the red head he took off earlier.

Max just nodded, and as Kyle left, he decided to go up to the beautiful agent and ask her to dance. He felt like he had enough beers in his system to give him the confidence to do this, so he got up, and as he went to walk over to where she was sitting, he saw her giggling with a tall blond guy. His face fell as he realized she was taken. Deciding not to get too upset over it, he quickly exited the club and headed home.

***

Liz and Kayelle showed up at Element together close to eleven thirty. Knowing that Maria was most likely already inside, they walked in and looked around for her. As they found a semi-secluded area to sit down at, Liz’s phone rang. It was Maria telling them she was running late and would be there in fifteen minutes.

They decided to have a drink while they waited for Maria, so Kayelle went over to the bar and ordered them drinks while Liz stayed in their spot. As she was sitting there, a guy came up to her and started hitting on her.

“Hey there beautiful,” he said.

Liz just laughed. “Wow, is that supposed to be a pickup line?” she asked in disbelief.

“Uh…yeah,” the guy said scratching the back of his head. “Apparently it wasn’t very good, though.”

“Not really.” Liz said shaking her head.

“Well, has anyone ever told you that your smile can paint a masterpiece?” He asked her.

“They just keep coming, don’t they?” Liz laughed. “Listen, I’m sorry, you seem really nice, but your pick up lines really suck. How about you go over there and practice them, and come back to me when you’ve got some good ones?” Liz suggested, pointing towards a far area of the club.

The man took the hint, and just nodded to her as he left.

As he was leaving, Kayelle returned with their drinks. “Who was that stud?” She asked her.

“I don’t even know. What did you get me?” Liz asked as she took the drink from Kayelle’s outstretched hand.

“Dry Martini, just the way you like it.” Kayelle said as she sat down next to Liz.

“Thanks Kay.” Liz said taking a sip.

For the next few minutes the two girls just chatted with each other, before Maria joined them and the three of them hit the dance floor for a night of pure unadulterated fun….or maybe just fun.


TBC...

See you next Saturday!!
Last edited by Behrsgirl1230 on Sat Aug 19, 2006 8:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Chapter 4

Post by LairaBehr4 » Sat Aug 26, 2006 12:19 pm

Hi, everyone! Kristen and I are just floored by all the incredible feedback we've gotten - thank you all, so much!

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- the Tease Olympics? That's a bit much, don't you think?


Here for your amusement, I present Chapter Four!


Disclaimer: Everything we've portrayed in Jesse Metcalfe in this chapter is completely fictional and is not meant to slander the guy in any way.




Chapter 4

The next day, Liz was doing what she called “the rounds” – driving around to various sets or locations in L.A. to check up on her clients; making sure they were happy with everything, and making sure the people they were working for and with were happy with her. It was the latter that proved to be most difficult at this moment.

“You’ve got to talk to him, Liz,” Will Laurence said in a low but firm voice. He was tall and lean, thirty-five years old, with sandy blonde hair and green eyes. “All he talks about is how his usual fee is more than the film’s entire budget, and why is he wasting his time doing a small film when he could be paid to make out with Eva Longoria. It’s only his second day on set, and he’s affected the attitude of the entire cast. He treats the crew like dirt, and we’re still only doing rehearsals! I mean, don’t get me wrong, Liz, I’m glad that he’s here on time and that the cops haven’t barged in and arrested him on my set, but his behavior is not only atrocious, it’s unprofessional. I want a professional, Liz.”

“You’re right, Will. I’ll talk to him,” and for the first time in a long while, Liz wasn’t just saying this to get Will off her back. Will may not do the biggest movies around, but he cared deeply about what he does and enjoys it in a way that few people did in Hollywood, and he wanted the people on his sets, from the stars to the caterers, to enjoy it, too. He was passionate and meticulous, sometimes harsh, but his love for his profession saturated every film he’d ever made. It was kind of sweet and endearing. Liz tended to fall on the cynical side, but Will was almost enough to make her think there was still some good in the industry.

Almost.

What Liz took more offense to was that not only was Jesse giving himself a poor reputation, but her as well, and her company by extension. After all, she’d been the one to send Jesse to Will in the first place, and he’d accepted the job, willingly by all appearances. Not only that, but Will was a personal friend, and Liz took it personally when her friends were treated so badly. Only she got to do that.

Preparing herself for all the threats and lies she’d probably have to make and tell, she knocked on his dressing room door.

“Yeah,” a voice called out from the other side. Liz turned the knob and walked in. The room was indeed small, much smaller than what she knew Jesse was used to. It was shaped like a shoe-box, with mirrors and lights along one wall and a panel that ran the length of the wall that served as a make-up table, and a small stool to sit at. A black wooden folding screen was at the back of the wall. The room smelled of a gross aftershave, sweat and pancake make-up. A half-consumed water bottle, three cell phones, several open magazines and endless photos lay strewn on top of the make-up table.

On the floor sat Jesse, feet flat on the floor and knees pointed towards the ceiling. A lit cigarette hung from two fingers on his right hand.

“It’s illegal to smoke inside a public building, Jesse.”

“Sue me,” he said, taking a drag and not meeting her gaze.

“What’s going on with you and this movie? I thought you wanted to do it.”

“I didn’t realize it’d be like this, Liz.” Disgust was dripping from every word.

“Like what? It’s not as though you’re shooting a porno in the back of a minivan.”

“When I did ‘John Tucker’ I had my own trailer.”

“Yeah, and look how great that movie did at the box office.”

“This movie isn’t even going to make it to the box office!” He finally turned his head to look at her.

“Maybe not, but it’ll be seen by people a hell of a lot more serious about film than your average teenybopper. This is a chance for you to prove that you’re more than just a pretty face. So far, all you’ve had to do in your career is stand around, look pretty and deliver your lines on cue. If you want to be known for having even a modicum of talent, let alone class, you’d damned well better get your act together on this set.”

“So what, I should be grateful to be stuck out in Siberia for the next three months?”

If he’d been almost any other client, Liz probably would have asked if he even knew where Siberia was. But she knew he was relatively sharp. He’d gone to college and stayed long enough to get his degree, and even did some acting in student films while he was there. When she’d first met Jesse, he was down-to-earth and driven. Now, though, he was turning into what Liz, Maria and Kayelle called “nouveau Hollywood” – people who had only recently achieved mainstream success and were letting the stardom, money and fame go to their heads until they thought they were better than everyone else and started doing stupid things like ignoring their high school buddies when they ran into them in a bar or restaurant.

Liz didn’t begrudge Jesse his success, he worked hard and there was no denying the man was hot, if you were into actors. Which Liz wasn’t. Her one time walking in on Sean and one of his co-stars was more than enough to turn her off to actors for life. But when he started to treat her friends and (technically) his own boss badly, it was time to step in.

“Please, I’ve seen those student movies you did, you can’t tell me they were like this.”

“Yeah, but that was college. I’m twenty-seven, Liz. I thought I’d be done with this shit by now.”

Liz bit her tongue at the word “shit”, because if he was as smart as he claimed to be he’d realize that Will’s films were anything but. “Jesse, this is a good chance for you to do something besides strut around a set. You could do some real acting in this movie. Remember acting? Pretending to be somebody else and doing it so well that all of America believes it, too?”

Jesse rolled his eyes.

“You need to change your attitude, because no one here is impressed by it. You’re not a teenager anymore, so stop acting like one. Will’s been doing this since you were sneaking onto the playground with little Suzie from down the block, he knows what he’s doing. And he knows he doesn’t want someone on the set who makes everyone else feel like shit.”

“Liz, I’m doing him the favor here. I’m the one carrying this whole thing.”

Liz tried to keep from laughing. “No, Jesse, you’re being an idiot. Will’s company and staff are a lot more experienced in this business than you are, and if this movie’s done well, it’ll be a big hit. Right now, you’re the one standing in the way of that.”

“Liz, look around! We’re in fucking Ontario! If this guy had any kind of clout, we’d at least be somewhere closer to fucking civilization.”

The words ‘says the boy from Connecticut’ came dangerously close to escaping from Liz’s mouth. Instead, she said, “Jesse, if you really believe that piece of shit you’re feeding yourself, then you’re nowhere near as savvy about this industry as you think.”

Jesse just laughed at that idea. Liz shook her head. As long as Vanilla Films had been around, they’d never put out a movie that hadn’t met with critical success. Liz knew that most of the actors, writers, directors and cinematographers had gotten offers from major studios, and some had accepted them and gone on to have good careers. Others preferred to stay in the independent film market, and those who stayed with Vanilla Films had never lacked for interesting projects or job satisfaction. Will made it his business to make sure the employees of his small company were always doing something they could be as passionate about as he was. He was highly respected in the industry, even if not always widely discussed.

“Okay, Jesse, here’s the deal. You’re the one who wanted to try to do something new. That’s what you told me after you did ‘John Tucker’. And you know what? This movie is it. So right now you need to get your head out of your ass and get your shit together. Your professional reputation is still volatile, and your critical rep is nonexistent. If you do this movie and do it well, you’ll be well on your way to having that box office pull you crave so badly. But I can guarantee you that if you fuck this up, you’ll be doing ‘John Tuckers’ until you’re too old for teenage girls to want to look at you anymore.”

Jesse took another long drag of his cigarette. Smoke wisped out of his mouth as he said, “Okay,” without turning is head to look at her.

“Good. Now put that damn thing out before you set off a fire alarm.” Jesse inhaled once more, then snuffed out the cigarette in a glass burner next to him. Liz stood up to leave and said, “I’ll see you soon.” She go no reaction from Jesse, however, and so she simply turned and walked out, knowing he’d almost certainly light another cigarette as soon as the door was closed. Spoiled nouveau Hollywood brat.

As she started to exit the sound stage, she saw Will’s familiar outline against the bright California sun. “If he gives you any more shit, let me know,” she said.

“Will do,” answered Will. They hugged, exchanged their goodbyes, and Liz continued to her car. As soon as she got in, she turned on the air conditioning. It was hot as hell here in the desert, and she still had to drive back to the city. She looked at the time and groaned – she’d be stuck in traffic on the ten for an eternity. She really, really needed a drink.

~*~*~*~*~

Max’s cell phone started to call out the tune of “Hanging Around” by the Counting Crows. He didn’t recognize the number, but it had a Los Angeles area code.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Max?”

“Yes?”

“This is Maria,” a loud and slightly frazzled-sounding woman’s voice called out from the other end of the line.

“Oh, hi, Maria. I was just about to leave to come and meet you.”

“Yeah, that’s actually why I was calling. My partner’s stuck in traffic out in Ontario and she asked me to check up on a couple of things for her. I’m so sorry to do this to you, but would you mind if we moved the meeting back until four?”

Max couldn’t help the smile that tugged at the corners of his mouth at the mention of Maria’s partner – in spite of the fact that he’d seen her with her boyfriend last night. “Yeah, that works for me.”

“Thanks so much. I apologize for the short notice, but I’ve got some casting calls here that I want to start going over with you.”

She had some auditions for him to look at already? That had to be good, right? “That’s great! I’ll see you at four.”

“Thanks again.”

“Bye.”

“Later!” Maria’s cheery voice rang out before Max hung up the phone. Now with an extra few hours of free time, he decided to head over to Hollywood and check out Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Walk of Fame. He knew it was stupid and touristy, but something about the constant stream of tourists up and down Hollywood Boulevard calmed his nerves.

~*~*~*~*~

Maria cursed under her breath as she made her way onto the Paramount lot, where one of Liz’s lesser known clients had a small role in a movie with Kate Bosworth. She was only going to be on the set probably this one day, since her role consisted of appearing in four scenes and delivering six lines, but it was a big gig for someone trying to break into Hollywood. Liz would be calling any clients who weren’t working today from her cell phone, and would go and see the bigger clients herself over the next few days. It sucked that Liz had to drag her ass all the way to Ontario, because traffic on the ten was a bitch and even on the best days you’d be looking at a ninety-minute commute at least, to drive less than sixty miles. Utterly ridiculous.

~*~*~*~*~

At five minutes till four, Max walked into the Boulevard Café on Wilshire and asked for a table for two. Since it was a beautiful day, he asked to be seated outside.

A couple of minutes later, Maria came swooping in to the gated-off patio of the café. “Max, hi!” she called as she approached. With large, grand gestures, she flung her purse and leather case to one side and shrugged of her jacket, hanging it over the back of the empty chair before sitting down. “I hope you haven’t been waiting long.”

“No, not at all,” Max said politely.

“Thanks for meeting me, I know it’s later than we agreed, but there was some drama with my partner.”

“I thought you said she was stuck in traffic?” Max questioned. He could ask questions about the beautiful brunette with the attitude twice her size all day.

“She was, coming back from Ontario where she was dealing with this …” Maria grimaced as she said the word “client.”

“I get the impression that she doesn’t put up with much of that.”

“You got that right. Liz doesn’t let other people push her around, that’s for sure.” The waiter came and they placed their orders. Then Maria turned back to Max with her business face on. “So, shall we get to work?” She opened her leather case from where it sat and pulled out Max’s file with his headshots and resume, and another file full of casting calls. “Here are some of the auditions coming up for men in your age group with your physical characteristics …”

~*~*~*~*~

Liz had finally made it back to LA, and after checking on a few more of her higher-end clients, was on her way back to the office. Her thoughts were already on the phone calls she’d need to make from the office when she was stopped at a red light on Wilshire Boulevard and La Jolla, only a few blocks away. She was several cars back from the intersection. The Go-Gos were singing “Our Lips Are Sealed” on the radio. The sun was shining, and a cool breeze was coming in from the ocean. It was a perfect California moment.

Liz pushed the automatic buttons to roll the windows down. As the glass descended, she scanned the cars around her and the people in the cafes and stores along Wilshire. A smirk made its way to her face as her musings wandered to the small town she’d grown up in. Jersey couldn’t hold a candle to all this, she thought.

As her eyes focused on the Boulevard Café to her right, she saw Maria sitting at one of the outside tables. Liz could see her going over paperwork, probably casting calls and audition information. A new client, then. The guy she was with didn’t seem to be too shabby either, that is, if his front was anywhere near as delicious as his back was. Good going, Maria, she thought.

Snapping out of her reverie, she turned her attention in front of her just in time to see the light change to green, and was flying off in an instant.

~*~*~*~*~

Liz could see before she even walked through the doors of Looker Agencies that Tess wasn’t at her desk. Big fucking surprise there, she thought. What had her a little more worried was the look Kayelle had with the phone pressed against her ear. Whatever was going on in there, it wasn’t good.

Liz walked in, caught Kayelle’s eye, and merely furrowed her eyebrows a little to ask what was wrong. Knowing what it was she was asking, Kayelle lifted her fingers to the phone’s keypad. “Will, I’m gonna put you on hold for just a second,” and in the next instant a red light was flashing from the phone and Kayelle shifted the earpiece down without lowering the phone. “Jesse walked,” she said.

“What?! What do you mean? I just saw him! What the fuck do you mean, he walked?!”

“Apparently he walked out of his dressing room after you left and told he director that he was quitting, and then he walked out. No one’s seen him around the set since.”

“Ooooh, FUCK!” Liz screamed, running agonized fists through her hair. She clenched her jaw, her eyes wide with anger. Oooh, that Jesse wasn’t going to know what hit him when she got through with his mangled carcass ass. She got a hold of herself, though, and, shaking her head, she said curtly, “Transfer him to my line,” before marching into her office.

Before the door could close, Kayelle yelled, “Don’t kick the wall!” Her only response was the “bang” of the door closing with such force, Kayelle could swear the wall shook a little.

She quickly took Will off hold and told him Liz had just walked back into the office. A few seconds later, Liz’s line rang.

“Will, I apologize. I don’t know what that spoiled little brat’s fucking problem is.”

“I know you don’t, Liz, but this is the second guy I’ve gone through in less than two weeks. What’s going on here?” Will was a nice guy, and he’d never experienced a problem like this in his dealings with Liz and Maria before. But this was a tough business, even when you operated on a scale as small as Will did, and he couldn’t afford to waste his time.

“An insufficient client screening process would be my first guess,” answered Liz.

“I can’t go on like this much longer, Liz. The guy was on the set less than two days and he managed to make everyone feel miserable and insignificant. The director told me he made a speech before he left. A fucking speech, Liz! About how he was bigger and better than everyone else in the room put together and he was going to find a project more worthy of his time.”

Liz was livid, to put it mildly. Jesse should have given the film a fucking chance, because he could have been good in it. And if he really didn’t like it, there was a way to go about ending your work on a project, and that sure as hell wasn’t it. Not only that, but he’d blatantly lied to her when he’d agreed to get his head out of his ass and get to work. Maybe it was time to consider severing her company’s ties with Jesse. Looker Agencies was known as a pretty classy agency, and that was definitely not the impression that Jesse was giving out.

“Liz, I’m sorry, but I can’t deal with this shit,” Will said soberly. “If you can find someone else for me by the weekend, I’ll give them a chance for old time’s sake. But if not, … I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to look elsewhere.”

“You’re right, Will,” Liz replied just as grimly. This was the most serious conversation Will and Liz had ever had on a business matter. Usually it was a matter of one of them yelling while the other put up with it in good humor, but it had always maintained a light-hearted air that stemmed from their mutual friendship. Liz had supplied Will with a lot of actors and actresses over the last few years, some more famous than others, but none of them had ever behaved as repulsively as Jesse had today.

“I’ll talk to you later, Liz,” Will was evidently unwilling to continue the conversation.

“I’ll call you soon, Will,” was Liz’s response, with an implied promise of finding a much more suitable replacement soon.

After they hung up, Liz buzzed Kayelle over the intercom. “Kay, I need you to make a copy of our contract with Jesse Metcalfe, and then get me the number of our lawyers to see if there’s any grounds for nullification. Then I want every file we have for male actors ages twenty through twenty-nine. Mine and Maria’s.”

“You got it,” Kayelle said quickly, understanding implicitly that this was not a time to try to break the tension.

The phone call to Jesse Liz made herself. When she got passed his voice mail message, she started hollering, “Jesse, what the fuck do you think you’re doing?! How dare you fucking avoid my calls after the way you acted today! You haven’t done yourself any favors by blowing Will off like that. Now get on the fucking phone before you find yourself without an agent.” She slammed the phone down without a goodbye.

As Kayelle brought in the photocopy of the contract, Liz’s cell beeped three times, indicating a new message. She reached for it and flipped it open and saw the words, “You have one new picture message from JM”. When she hit the “view” button, a picture of a hand flipping the bird popped up.

Liz just smiled. “Thank you, Jesse,” she said with a grin, “this is all the evidence I need.” She saved the image to her phone to show the lawyers, then flipped through the contract until she found the section she was looking for. She didn’t remember whose idea it had been to put something about appropriate business behavior in the contract, but she was glad it was there. At that moment, Liz found a new appreciation for civil contractual law.





~~~~
See you guys next Saturday!
Last edited by LairaBehr4 on Sat Aug 26, 2006 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Behrsgirl1230 » Mon Sep 18, 2006 9:48 pm

FINALLY! Only 15 days late!! Sorry guys...I really am.
but thanks so much for all the feedback.
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and all the lurkers!


Without further ado...

Chapter 5

After a very successful lunch meeting with Maria, Max went home to his apartment with a smile on his face. He plopped down on his couch, and turned the television on, hoping to have a relaxing night at home. However, his thoughts kept drifting to what he and Maria talked about.

Within the next week, Max had a good four auditions. His biggest audition was a walk-on role in the show, Kyle XY. The show was about a teenager named Kyle who is actually an alien. Even though it was new, it already had a huge following, especially among teenage girls, which Maria felt would be his main fan base for now. In this particular episode, Max’s character would be an alien as well, and this whole aspect had him a little weary. Even though it would only be for one episode, Max wasn’t sure if he’d want to play an alien. The whole concept just made him feel like no one would take him seriously if he did a show like that. Not to mention that, coming from Roswell, Max had definitely had enough of aliens for one lifetime.

But still, his other three auditions were all for commercials, so nailing the part on Kyle XY would be his best bet at getting some exposure right now.

He was soon brought out of his musings by the shrill ringing of his phone. Looking at the caller ID, a smile lit up his face realizing it was his sister.

“Hey Iz” he greeted her.

“Hey bro, how’s LA?”

“It’s great. Did Mom tell you I got an agent?”

“No! Congratulations Max!”

“Thanks. I actually just got back from a meeting with her, and she’s lined up a few auditions for me.” Max said holding back his excitement.

“Max, that’s so awesome. I’m so proud of you.”

“Thanks Iz. I wish Mom had that same reaction.” He said sounding defeated.

“Don’t worry Max, she’ll come around eventually.”

“I really hope so Iz. I’m finally doing something with my life that I love, and I want her and Dad to be happy for me, and supportive of me. I don’t want them to just put up a façade for my sake.”

“Do you want me to talk to them?” Isabel tentatively asked.

“Nah. It’s not gonna do anything. I learned that when I told them I was moving out here and Dad flipped a shit. He wants me to be this perfect person with the safe job of being a lawyer and working at his law firm and never leaving Roswell ever. I’m not that kind of person. I want to follow my dreams, and I’m sacrificing a lot to do that, but I know in the long run it will pay off, I just know it.” After pacing around his apartment, Max sat on the edge of his bed with his feet flat on the ground, and fell backwards making his upper body lie against the mattress. Sighing, he continued. “What am I gonna do Iz?”

“Ya wanna know what I think you should do?”

“Please”

“I think you should go to bed and get some rest for those auditions you have. Then I think you should go to those auditions, nail them, and prove to Mom and Dad how wrong they are about you. You be the best goddamn actor you can be Max.” Isabel said, being completely serious.

“Thanks Iz, you always know exactly what to say to make me feel better.”

“That’s what sisters are for.” She said proudly. “Oh and Max?”

“Yeah?”

“When you win your Oscar, just make sure to remember to thank your amazing and beautiful sister Isabel.”

Max chuckled at that and sat back up. “You got it sis. I’ll talk to you later.”

They said their goodbyes and Max hung up the phone. Sitting on his bed in a daze just staring at nothing, Max was thinking about how far he’d already come, and how much headway he was already making with his dream. He knew he had a long way to go, knew he’d have to work hard, knew it wouldn’t be easy. But somehow, with only a few words, Isabel had managed to restore his faith that he would succeed that his mother had torn down only a short while earlier.

Shaking his head of his thoughts, he got up from his bed and into the living room to relax and watch some television.

***

Maria walked into her office after her lunch meeting with Max, and went to put away Max’s file. Needless to say, when she opening up the drawer, she was in shock finding more than half of her files! Her heart started racing she was so scared. She thought someone broke into her office and stole them all. Who could it be though? A stalker of one of her clients’ maybe? A journalist looking for a good story on one of them? Maria didn’t know, so she went into the lobby to ask Tess if she noticed anyone go into her office.

“Tess?” she said leaning over Tess’ desk.

“Yeah?” Tess replied looking up at Maria from her computer screen.

“Did you let anyone into my office while I wasn’t there today?” Maria was trying not to sound too pissed off because she didn’t want to place blame on anyone until she found out what happened.

“Of course not. I would never do that Maria,” Tess said worriedly.

“Are you sure?” she said crossing her arms and giving Tess a piercing stare.

“Positive. Why would I do something like that?” Seeing Maria’s glare, she started to get a bit defensive.

With a big sigh, Maria uncrossed one of her arms and placed it on her head as she shook it in disbelief.

“What’s wrong? Did something happen to your office?” Tess asked her.

“Yeah, someone took all of my files on almost all of my clients. I have no idea what the hell I’m supposed to do now.”

Overhearing this, Kayelle decided it’d be best if she butted in. “Maria, I apologize for listening in over here, but no need to worry about your files—Liz has them.”

“Liz? Why?” Maria asked shocked. ‘Was Liz trying to steal my clients?’ she thought to herself.

“She’s in a bit of a bind with something. She’ll return them soon I swear.” Kayelle said vaguely. She didn’t want to tell Maria the whole story because she wasn’t sure if that would be against agent-client confidentiality.

Maria kind of looked at her weird and then shrugged it off. “Can you tell her to come in my office when she has a second…and bring my clients files with her too.” She added with a laugh.

“Sure.” Kayelle said and called Liz’s extension to tell her.

About an hour later, Liz was trotting into Maria’s office with Maria’s files in tow. “Here are your files.” She said handing them to her. “Sorry I took them, I was in a real jam, and none of your fucking clients even helped.”

Not really paying too much attention to Liz, Maria just nodded and told her it was fine. Nodding towards the television in her room, Maria told Liz to watch the tape that was in there. Liz complied although she was a bit confused.

Staring at the screen, Liz realized it was an actor’s preliminary audition tape. He simply read a few lines from a fake script that the agency had, so that they could use those for reference at some points. The guy looked vaguely familiar. Liz furrowed her brow in concentration trying to place him. Finally it hit her – it was Maria’s new client.

Watching the video Liz began to notice how great he could work the camera, and how well he could play on his emotions. “He’s really good. Where did you find him?” Liz asked Maria while watching the tape.

“He actually was my waiter at Koi last week, and I told him I thought he was hot and gave him my card.” Maria said like it was the most natural thing in the world.

“Wow, it sounds like you’re a fucking hooker,” Liz said with her face deadpan.

“Well, you know that I always wanted to do that on the side…” Maria said sarcastically with a wink.

Liz just laughed at her and continued to watch the tape while half listening to what Maria was saying.

When the tape ended, Liz sat there for a moment before asking, “Do you have a file on him yet?”

“Yeah, why?” Maria asked confused.

Neglecting to explain, Liz quickly went searching through the files she had just put on Maria’s desk thinking that maybe she missed him. “What was his name again?” She asked as she thumbed through them all.

“Max Evans, but you’re not gonna find it in there asshole,” she laughed and Liz just looked up at her confused.

“What? Why?”

“Because I have it right here! I had a meeting with him today so obviously I brought it.” She said shaking her head in disbelief.

“Oh” was all Liz could say.

“Why do you want it anyway?” Maria asked changing her mood.

“Jesse fucking Metcalfe is a fucking asshole, and I can’t fucking wait to get him into goddamn court because I’m gonna lay a lawsuit on his fucking ass!” Liz said almost turning red with anger.

“Jesus, what did you he now?” Maria asked making herself more comfortable in her seat.

Liz began to pace, “Oh you don’t even want to know. But he just fucking walked off set today and blew up at everyone in Will’s new movie. So now I need to find someone else, and I was completely stuck until right now.” Liz stopped pacing and turned to face Maria. “Do you think this Max guy will do it?” she asked hopefully.

“I don’t know Liz, the guy hasn’t been in anything yet. He just moved to LA a few weeks ago,” Maria said trying not to burst Liz’s bubble.

“I don’t fucking care if he got to LA yesterday! The point is, he can act, and he’s in LA.” Liz then took out her cell phone and began to dial Will’s number. “I’m gonna call Will and let him know he’s gonna meet with his new prospective star. While I’m doing that, you’re gonna call Max and tell him he has the chance of a lifetime coming his way.”

She then hit send and began to tell Will the news. Will was very grateful, and told Liz to send him over an audition tape right away and then tell Max to go down to the studio first thing in the morning for a brief interview/audition.

Liz happily relayed the news to Maria, who then called Max to tell him. ‘It looks like this kid may not have to settle for those crack-ass auditions tomorrow after all,’ Maria thought as she dialed his number.

The phone rang a handful of times before his voicemail came up. Disappointed, Maria left him a message anyway. “Hey Max, it’s Maria. Listen; call me right away because it looks like you won’t have to go to those auditions tomorrow. I found you something even better, and it seems like a done deal. So call me ASAP…you know the number.” With that she hung up and prayed Max would get her voicemail in time.


TBC...


I'm sorry it's so short...but hey, it's something right?
***************************
~Kristen~

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Post by LairaBehr4 » Fri Oct 13, 2006 3:30 pm

Hey, guys! I’m back! I’m so sorry I was away so long, RL has been crazy, and I’m not even living at Disneyworld like Kris is! Ack!

So I’ve only been gone, well … a month … if you count the time between Chapter 5 and this one. But hey, hopefully you guys will think it was worth the wait.

Kris and I want to extend our thanks to the following for their support:

DreamerMaxBehrian
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– don’t think I’ve forgiven you for that stunt you pulled with BTF
Queen Fee
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*cad*
Scottie
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Clueless (x2)
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– again, only a bump?
Anonymousarfan
Dreamsatnight





And now, on to …


Chapter Six

“Damn it, damn it, damn it, damn it, damn it!” Max echoed over and over as he dug through the pile of laundry at the entry to his closet. He’d taken his sister’s advice and had decided to make it a laid-back afternoon and evening of hanging out at home before his auditions tomorrow. Not finding anything interesting on TV, he changed into his jogging clothes and ran to the Hollywood Video store about a mile away. There, he picked up ‘Cool Hand Luke’ and ‘Thank You For Smoking’.

Just as he’d gotten back to his apartment, he heard the slightly metallic chimes of ‘Hanging Around’ again, telling him he had a call on his cell phone. But he couldn’t find the damn thing! He could tell the ringing was coming from his room, but it was a bit of a mess and laundry had begun to pile up. There was no choice but to dig in and hope for the best.

Finally he felt a weight in the pocket of the denim jacket he’d worn to his lunch with Maria. It was more for fashion than out of any necessity caused by the weather. Growing up with Isabel, Max had learned how to dress for the occasion.

Sure enough, he reached in and closed his fingers around the familiar shape of his cell phone. He pulled it out to see his “1 Missed Call” – it was from Maria! He was a little confused, since he’d seen her only a couple of hours earlier. Then his phone gave out three successive beeps, alerting him to a new voice mail message. Max pressed the appropriate button to hear the message.

“Hey Max, it’s Maria. Listen; call me right away because it looks like you won’t have to go to those auditions tomorrow. I found you something even better, and it seems like a done deal. So call me ASAP…you know the number.”

His curiosity piqued, Max lost no time in calling Maria back.

“Looker Agencies,” the receptionist answered after the second ring.

“Maria DeLuca, please.”

“One moment.”

A pause, and then Maria’s chipper voice called, “DeLuca.”

“Hey Maria, it’s Max.”

“Oh hey Max, did you get my message?”

“Yeah, what’s going on?”

“Well, one of our clients walked from a movie that’s already started shooting, and the director and producers are really impatient and they won’t want too wait long before finding a replacement. The rest of the film is already cast, and it’ll be hard work to catch up, but I think you’ll fit into the role perfectly, so if you’re willing to do the work-”

“Yes! I’ll do it!” Max could hardly keep the excitement out of his voice. A movie? An actual movie? He’d had an agent less than a week! This was incredible.

“Now hold on Max, I haven’t told you everything yet. This isn’t a big movie – it’s an independent film that’s shooting out in San Bernardino County. There aren’t any big names on this project. It probably won’t even get seen outside the festival circuit. And when I said it’ll be hard work, I meant it. You’ll be expected to catch up instantaneously and not to hold back production. There’ll be almost no rehearsal time. It’s a professional group you’ll be working with, and they’re not going to cut you any slack just because you’re new. You get it?”

“Yeah, I understand.” Max did comprehend what Maria was trying to tell him, but he wasn’t too worried. No matter the size of the movie, the chance to make one didn’t just fall in your lap every day, and Max was determined not to squander the opportunity. Though he was inexperienced, he was intelligent and determined to get this role and do a good job if hard work could get it done.

“Okay,” Maria said. “But this is only if you actually get the job. We’re meeting with the director at …” Maria looked across the hall at Liz, who was standing just inside the door of her own office talking to Will on her cell phone. Hearing Maria’s end of the conversation, Liz held up two fingers at her and mouthed the word “tomorrow.” “Two o’clock tomorrow. You should come here at about twelve-thirty or so, and we’ll go over some things and drive over to meet the director and the producer together. Sound good?”

“Yeah, I’ll be there.”

“All right. See you tomorrow, Max.”

“Bye, Maria.” Max was about to hang up, when he realized he’d forgotten something. “Maria?!”

“Yeah?”

“Thank you.”

Maria had to chuckle. This kid was something else. Who actually said ‘thank you’ anymore? Especially when it was free of sarcasm? “You’re welcome.”

Max hung up the phone, feeling infinitely more nervous than he had when he’d first picked it up. An interview tomorrow for a part in a movie! He was excited and nervous and … he cringed as he beheld the mess on the floor. He was definitely going to have to do laundry tonight.

~*~*~*~*~*~

After hanging up, Maria walked over to Liz’s office. “Okay, Will,” Liz was saying. “Yeah, Will. That’ll work.” Another pause. “Okay. Oh and hey, Will, this guy is Maria’s client, so I’m going to hand you over to her and have her answer your questions.” With that Liz held out the phone for Maria.

“Hey, Will,” greeted Maria. “Yeah, sure – his name is Max Evans, he moved here a few months ago and he’s been trying to break into acting ever since. I did a screen test, he seems pretty talented.” Liz went back to her desk and started to organize the mess that had developed during her earlier frenzy. In the meantime, Maria continued talking. “About five-eleven, maybe 185 pounds, black hair, kinda hazel-ish eyes. Nice eyes. They’ll look good on screen.” Liz put away a few files then sat down at her desk as Will talked to Maria some more. “Okay, that sounds good. Oh hey Will, who’s directing this movie?” A few seconds, and then “Okay, sounds good. We’ll see you tomorrow. Bye.” Maria flipped Liz’s phone shut, handed it to her, and then plopped herself down on one of the chairs facing Liz’s desk.

“Handing me off to Will now, are you?” Maria teasingly inquired.

“The guy is your client, Maria, I’m not going to take that away from you. Besides, it might be good for Will and I to have a bit of space.”

“He’s still not too happy with you, huh?”

“Not really,” Liz sighed. “Then again, he had one of my clients get arrested on the fucking set, and the second guy had his head stuck so far up his own ass that he made the shoot unbearable. Hell, I’d be sick of me, too.”

Maria laughed at the joke, but was quick to reassure her, “Liz, babe, none of those things were your fault. How could you know Jeremy would get his ass arrested or that Jesse would become one of those nouveau Hollywood fuckers? And Will still knows you’re the best. This is Hollywood! You don’t turn your back on talent here, Liz. ”

“You’re right, but I still feel like a putz.”

“Well, you know what’ll make you feel better?” Liz looked up at Maria’s devilishly smiling face. “Shoe shopping! Let’s go! We can take Kayelle and play hookie for the rest of the day. It’s Friday anyway, and Tess has already found something better to do, it would seem. And you still haven’t replaced those Manolos you broke a while back. Come on!”

“Yeah, come on, Liz!” Kayelle’s voice called from her desk, where she had apparently overheard every word.

Liz rolled her laughing eyes. “Fuck it, let’s go.”

Minutes later the three of them were locking the pristine glass doors to Looker Agencies and smiling and gossiping to their heart’s content, waiting for the elevator.

~*~*~*~*~*~

The next morning dawned a bright and sunny Saturday. Max was up at eight. He breakfasted on half a bagel, too nervous to risk eating anything heavier. He went for another run, and then came back to shower. He brushed his teeth with care, using Plax, whitening toothpaste, minty floss, and mouthwash. He chose his outfit with care; casual khakis and an olive-green button-down shirt, which he ironed before donning. Finally satisfied with his appearance, he gathered his wallet, keys and cell phone before heading out the door.

He arrived at the building twenty minutes early and had to sign in with the security guard to get in. When he got to the agency’s office, he could hear someone moving around. “Hello?” he called.

“Max, is that you?” Maria’s voice came from inside her office, where Max proceeded to, but not before flitting a glance over at the opposite door, wondering if anyone was in there.

“Yeah, it’s me.” He stopped and looked at her. “What the hell are you doing?”

Maria was standing with her knees bent against the built-in closet, trying to stuff shopping bags inside enough so that the door would close.

“They won’t go in!” she fumed.

Max tried hard not to laugh, but it didn’t work very well. “Why do you have all that stuff in there?”

“Well, I went shopping last night, and I didn’t bring the stuff up to my apartment, and there wouldn’t have been enough room in the car for you, so I had to take them somewhere, and now they won’t – close!” Maria grunted these last two words as she tried again in vain to get everything to fit.

“Here, let me,” Max walked over to the closet, and Maria moved out of the way. He took a few things out and rearranged the contents, seemingly creating space from nowhere. The door closed with ease.

“Hey! How’d you do that?” Maria looked on in wonder.

Max shrugged. “I have a sister. She likes to shop.”

Maria imagined Max in tights and a cape. This was some kid. Behold the answer to overstuffed closets everywhere!

“Maria? Are you okay?”

She forced herself to abandon the thought of what wonders Max might be able to perform on her eternally-cluttered apartment. “Yeah, I’m fine. Um, the meeting, is gonna be at a studio here in the city. I thought we might have to drive out to Ontario, but …”

At the mention of Ontario, something flickered in Max’s mind. Hadn’t that sexy partner of Maria’s been driving in from Ontario when he and Maria had met yesterday?

“…so we have some time,” Max tuned back into Maria, who was still talking, “before we have to leave. Is there anything you want to ask about what’s going on?”

“Well, I guess I’d like to know what to expect when we go to this meeting today,” Max confided.

Maria nodded. “Well, you’ll be meeting with the director and the producer, and maybe one or two of the stars of the movie. They’ll ask you some questions, get a feel for you, and maybe do a screen test or have you read some lines with the other actors. The producer’s name is Will Laurence, and he can be pretty picky about who he works with. I get the impression that the director is one of his protégées. I think this is the first feature-length film she’s directing, so you can expect to see Will on set every day. Will’s a good guy; he’s professional and he likes to be in charge, but he’s not dominating or controlling. He cares a lot about the movies he works on, and he’ll want to make the shoot a good time for everyone. If you don’t stand in the way of that, I can guarantee this’ll be one of the best possible experiences for you to have starting out. Trust me, he’s the one you want to impress today. But he’s got impeccable bullshit detection, so don’t try to pull anything over on him. Just be yourself and even if you don’t get this part, he’ll keep you in mind down the road. The man’s knowledge of the industry is encyclopedic. He remembers everything. It’ll be up to you whether that characteristic will be in your favor or not.”

Max nodded. “There was something else I wanted to ask. You said that the movie had already started filming – so, um, what happened? I mean, how did I get this lucky?”

Maria sighed. “Well, he’s gone through two other actors for this role already. That’s another thing I wanted to warn you about – no one in that room today will be particularly disposed to like you, and not just because this will be your first paid movie gig. The last guy they had,” Maria diplomatically explained, omitting names, “was a disaster, and Will didn’t want him on his set. The guy before that had some troubles and had to pull himself off the project for personal reasons. They won’t want to waste any more time on an actor who’s going to be more of a burden than an asset. When I said it’d be hard work to do this film, I wasn’t kidding. Catching up on your lines and rehearsals will only be the tip of the iceberg.”

Max gritted his jaw. The odds really seemed to be against him on this one. “So realistically, what do you think my chances are of getting this?”

Maria looked him up and down once before answering matter-of-factly. “You be yourself today. You’ve got necessity on your side – they need someone and they need someone now, and Will’s been coming to us to fill parts for ages. Plus it’s not a big movie, so there won’t be people lined up to take the role. I know you can read, I know you can act, and I know you’re a good guy. Show Will all those things today, and he’ll give you a chance.” Maria waited for her words to sink into Max. He didn’t seem to be nervous, but the excitement he’d had in his voice when Maria had called him yesterday had diminished, too. Probably he was just trying to look at the situation as objectively as he could. She’d laid it all out on the line for him as honestly as she could, not skirting around the difficulties and not patting up his ego unnecessarily. Maria knew she wasn’t wrong when she’d told him that Will wouldn’t want to do Max any favors today, but she also knew that Max was talented, and Will could always spot talent. She remembered what Liz had said yesterday after seeing Max’s tape, and she repeated those words now. “It’s the chance of a lifetime, Max.”

Max smiled at that thought – it actually did sound too good to be true, and he was afraid it was indeed that. But hey, he had a shot. “All right. I’m ready to go when you are.”

“First let’s go get a coffee, I’m dying here and Kay’s not in the office today. She always makes the best coffee …” Maria dreamily said as she reached for her purse and keys.

Together they walked out of the office, which Maria locked. As Maria reached out to call the elevator, Max turned to Maria and said, “So what’s the name of this movie, anyway?”



~~~~
TBC
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