For the past few months I’ve been way too busy to give this tumblr the time it needs. A few of you have been kind enough to offer help to run it. If any of you are still interested please message me.
For the past few months I’ve been way too busy to give this tumblr the time it needs. A few of you have been kind enough to offer help to run it. If any of you are still interested please message me.
Your friends surround you as the Gemini in the group, also your good friend and assistant, Anthony, enthusiastically introduces each and every single one of you. You’re only four, including himself, but everyone knows introductions are kind of awkward. Not to him, apparently. He does it like he does this every night.
You feel intimidated as you force smiles and shake hands of nearly invisible people. You feel them, you barely hear them, but you can’t properly see their faces. You catch glimpses of it as the lighting in the club repeatedly flashes a very bright white coloured light that reminds you a lot of a camera flash going off.
You’re not expecting to remember these people after this. And truth be told, you’ve only come out tonight because Anthony said he wanted you to meet a potential candidate for the role of Lily, the main role in your first feature film you’re directing based on an original script of yours.
When you’re all led to a section where the lights don’t hurt anymore, their faces becomes clearer. You confess your intimidation and show your shyness when you see a bunch of long legged girls sitting down, each with a drink in one hand. For minutes, you watch them laugh and interact with everyone around the around sofa. You lose yourself in the deep thumping song that’s currently on and that you don’t even like. It’s enough to make you realize that you find none of these girls remotely interesting.
You pull Anthony’s ear to you and say as loud as you can so he hears you and so the others don’t, “They’re all just a bunch of pretty faces.”
He looks at you and rolls his eyes. He knows how hard you are to please.
“She’s not here, yet.”
You furrow your eyebrows and get up, making him follow after you.
In a corner, you sigh.
“If she can’t be on time for things then I don’t care how good she is. I can’t work with someone who’s late to commitments.” You tell him, voice slightly angered, because if there’s one thing that annoys you it’s being late to meetings. Well, you know it’s not an official meeting. You are, after all, simply getting to know a potential lead girl. But she could still make an effort to make it on time.
“This is not an official commitment, babe,” He condescendingly rests a hand on your shoulder, saying what you already know, “You need to relax. Drink some of this!” He pushes his glass against your lips and you feel the alcohol burning your tongue before you can stop him.
You swallow the acid drink and grimace.
He laughs very devilishly and takes a sip of his own. Then he widens his eyes and hums, using a hand to wave to someone behind you. Curious, you turn around to see who it is.
Everything slows down.
Haunting emerald green eyes are staring straight at you.
Flashes of a kiss, echoes of your name being uttered in a desperate voice after you left her hanging, go through your mind. It’s like you’re stuck in a very vivid nightmare and you can’t escape.
(You’re not sure if you want to.)
But, in a second, she’s walking past you and into Anthony’s arms.
You watch them hug for an eternity and he actually squeals as she tells him something in his ear. When they separate, you’re still pretty much stunned but most of all left wondering if she remembers you or not. You’re looking between them, trying not to let your eyes linger too much on her. You know their power over you. You haven’t forgotten.
It’s not for long, though, because Anthony (unsuccessfully) quickly breaks the tension. And if you were awkward before, now you just want to be invisible. He introduces Cara to you, behind her, hands on her shoulders and smiling, completely oblivious you already know each other.
“I know who you are.” She says, mysterious to anyone who isn’t aware of your history.
Your cheeks burn. You don’t know what to tell her.
Anthony furrows his eyebrows and tries urging you on with some very weird head motions.
Panicking, you blurt out what comes to your mind first, “Have we met?”
You swear to every single mythical, biblical, legendary god that you see her face falling for a fraction of a second. You swear, you swear, you swear. But, whatever that meant, it’s gone now.
Part of you wants her to have forgotten about you. Part of you wants her to remember. Part of you knows she’s recognized you. Part of you doubts it.
Unaware of your screaming thoughts, she closes the short distance between you and leans in to press a very soft yet lingered kiss to your cheek. You don’t know how she didn’t burn her lips – your blush is scorching.
“Cara.” She reiterates her name in a whisper close to your ear and you’re sure she’s expecting you to say yours back, but it never comes out.
(She knows it, anyway.)
Her hand’s sneakily made way to your wrist midway second introductions, and it’s burning your skin so badly.
She pulls away, hand unmoving, a big smile on her face. And you don’t understand why. All your mind’s focused on – besides the tingles on your wrist – is on past events. You’ve managed to run away and hide from quite possibly the most exhilarating night of your life, which is also quite possibly the night where you committed most of your regrets.
Regrets of kissing her.
(Regrets of not having stayed to kiss her some more.)
You want to scream.
“She was pretty pissed off you didn’t get here on time.” Anthony mumbles through a smirk.
You forget all about sulking over past memories and deadly glare at your best friend.
Cara’s eyes are apologetic.
“I’m so sorry. I—“ She stammers, nervously chuckling. It surprises you. You didn’t think she ever got nervous. She oozes confidence. “I don’t really have an excuse. It’s just a very bad habit of mine. I was getting ready and when I looked at the clock I realized I was already late.”
“It’s fine. This isn’t an official meeting.” You hear yourself saying, obviously surprising Anthony who’s staring at you with wide, incredulous eyes. Even your soul is looking at you disbelievingly.
She stays silent, staring at you with nerve-wracking intensity. Then, she once more chuckles rather nervously.
You force a smile having lost your speaking abilities whilst trying to hide your mopey self. Your eyes must’ve flicked to her hand that has somehow slid down and is now practically holding yours, because in the next second she’s letting go of it and mumbling yet another apology.
Your hands quickly hide behind your back whilst hers fly to her hair, tucking falling strands behind her ear. You’re both left without anything to say when there’s so much more to be said and you don’t know what to do because she must be thinking you’ve got to be the most ungraceful human on this planet.
“Okay!” Anthony comes to your rescue – or not – stepping in between you as if you were going to start a fight, “Since this isn’t being awkward at all, I’m going to get you girls drinks while you stay here and talk business!”
Your eyes plead him to stay but he either doesn’t realize it or simply ignores it.
Sometimes you wonder why you call him your best friend.
You’re not very sure of what you said that was so funny but, truth is, Cara’s in front of you, slightly bent, hands on her knees, supporting her torso and laughing like there’s no tomorrow. You’re giggling with her because her laughs are intoxicating but there’s uncertainty behind your chuckles.
When you see Anthony coming back, you breathe in relief.
“What’s so funny?” He asks, brows furrowed as he hands Cara a glass with a pinkish drink and a bottle of water for you.
Her eyes fall on the bottle you’re now holding.
She has to.
He ends up leaving, mumbling you and Cara have a lot to discuss. Things calm down a bit after that. You realize you’ve got closer to each other, just a bit, but it’s enough to make direct eye contact slightly uncomfortable. It brings back unwanted memories. You subtly try taking a little step back but, much to your lack of grace, she realizes it and not so subtly nearly jumps away from you, clearing her throat as she does so.
She gulps down half of her drink whilst you try removing the water bottle cap. Your hands are sweaty and it makes it impossible for you to be successful in the task at hand.
(It’s Cara’s fault.)
“Do you need help with that?”
(At least she’s trying to make up for the fact that she’s making you very nervous.)
You take hold of her drink whilst she wipes the palms of her hands on her black trousers. Is she sweating too?, you wonder as she goes for the bottle you’re holding. You exchange tight smiles with lingered gazes thrown in the mix, and then you dreamily watch the muscles on her arm flexing as she opens the cap without any sort of struggle.
“I’m impressed.” You mumble, forgetting about the tension between you.
She throws you a very smug smile. You shake your head but smile as well, sensing familiarity nearing you’re very carefully built fort.
“So,” She begins, permanent smile on her lips, “Anthony told me you were having trouble finding a lead girl.”
You sullenly nod.
“It’s been very hard so far. Everyone tells me it’s my own fault because I’m so damn hard to please—“
“I don’t think it’s wrong to strive for perfection.” She cuts you off, shoulder against the wall.
You smile at her, happy that you’ve finally found someone that gets you.
“So far every girl that has auditioned for the role has been lacking something.” You sigh, “I feel like they’re all the same. I need someone who can completely blow me away. Originality – lots of it. That’s what I’m looking for.”
She stays quiet for a moment, looking at you with an expression you can’t quite put a finger on.
Then, so quietly you can barely hear her over the thump of music, she says, “I can blow you away.”
And you trust her.
It’s on a Tuesday morning when you’re disappointed past belief.
You never raise your expectations too high with the fear the fall might be too harsh to handle, but Cara’s confidence made you forget all about it. She’s so sure of herself that she made you certain that she was right for the part even before the screen tests.
She’s still better than most girls, anyway. But you were hoping that she had that extra something that set her apart from the others. And you were so sure that she had it. What happened?
“I fucked up.” You accidentally hear her say on the phone, afterwards.
And it’s a pity because she did, indeed.
Let down, you go home to go over every single girl that auditioned for the role. You’ve got to pick one soon. Time is precious to you. You do want to finish the film in time for all the awards ceremonies. Maybe you can score a nomination or two.
Hours go by and without you realizing it, it’s night and you still haven’t got anywhere. All you did was definitely eliminate the ones you’re not interested at all. You’re still left with four potential girls.
Your doorbell rings.
Startled because you’re not expecting anyone at all and also because you’ve seen all of the Scream films, you warily approach the door. To your surprise, the camera you had installed by the gate shows you a calm looking Cara, hands stuffed in her trousers pockets, shifting her weight between her heels and her toes.
Your stomach unexpectedly flutters. You find yourself panicking. You look horrible with your messy bun and loose shirt and pajama bottoms. But you don’t really have time to change without her either thinking you’re not home or actually suspecting you’re making yourself look presentable or maybe tidying up your place.
(Why do you care?)
Taking a deep breath, you open the front door.
Hearing you, her head easily pops up over the wall fence, uncertain smile on her lips. Her voice sounds raspy and tired as she greets you goodnight. You open the gate and let her in, heart racing when she pecks your cheek. You notice the taxi that she probably told to wait for her.
“Tell him to go.” You boldly say, pointing to the car, “I’ll take you back.”
She parts her lips in hesitancy, but you must look pretty assertive because she simply nods.
Once inside, she makes small talk, commenting on how cold it is for September and you take her coat, hanging it by door. You hear her because you like her voice and the way she speaks, otherwise you would’ve told her to go straight to the point – you’re pretty sure she’s not here to talk about the weather.
“I’m making tea. Would you like some?” You ask her as you move to the kitchen.
“No, thank you.” She says right behind you, “You’ve got a nice place. I could definitely use something like this to get away from the madness of the city.”
“Tell me about it.” You mumble pouring hot tea in a mug. The steam makes your glasses all foggy and it’s only by luck that you don’t pour the hot liquid all over yourself. Now that’d be embarrassing. You go on, “I thought of moving to the city but I actually prefer the outskirts.”
“I can tell why.” She whispers in awe as she takes a look out the glass door that leads to the little garden, “It does look peaceful.”
“Apart from the cat fights every single night.”
“Cat fights?” She cries, turning around, amused.
“Literal cat fights.” You giggle, now imagining two women pulling at each other’s hair every night in front of your house, “The neighbours’ cats do not get along well, you see.”
She approaches you, sitting at the kitchen island. She props her head on her hand and watches you, silly smile playing on her lips. It intimidates you. She appears to be looking at you with such fascination and you’re wearing specs and fluffy socks, for God’s sake.
“It must be love.” She nearly whispers.
A forbidden kiss flashes before your eyes.
“What an odd way of showing it.” You mumble, cheeks heating. Feeling the pressure of her eyes on you, you say the first thing that comes to your mind, “What are you doing here?”
She snaps out of some form of daze she’s in. She clears her throat and blushes the reddest you’ve seen her blush and then her hands become fidgety.
“I’m here because of the part.” She quietly says as if you didn’t know it already.
“I can tell you that you’re on the final four.” You encouragingly smile, finding yourself trying to make her feel better.
Apparently, with the way her face falls a bit, it doesn’t make her feel better at all.
“I don’t want to be on the final four. I want to be your final choice.”
“Being on the final four means that you can’t make up your mind and if you can’t make up your mind it’s because you think we were all pretty much the same.” She takes a deep breath, “But I’m not like them. I’m different.”
She is. That much you know it.
You stay silent as you take little sips of your still scorching hot tea.
“I’m not saying I’m the best but I want to be it and I will be it and I’m determined to show you that. Let me read a few lines to you again.”
Half way persuaded by her determination, you leave her alone in the kitchen to get your original script.
You lamely counteract with her, reading a couple of lines of the character she’s having a conversation with just to keep her on track. It’s an important scene where the main character basically realizes she’s completely lost in this huge, miserable world, and she has no idea where to start looking for her own self. It’s, in your opinion, the hardest of scenes for the actress playing the character in this film.
And, boy, does Cara do it flawlessly this time.
Maybe it’s the way she remembers to tie her hair up midway through it, or the way her voice breaks, or the way her eyes look completely broken, or maybe even her posture that looks like of a person who has run out of reasons to keep loving and living.
Whatever she was missing before, she has found.
“It’s yours.” You tell her, setting your script on the counter.
You drink your tea as you watch her snapping out of character, her eyes widening.
“It’s mine?” She whispers, lips parting in awe.
She makes a little gasping sound and then her hands come to her mouth. You realize she’s started crying. You’re quick to get up, nearly throwing the chair to the floor. You’re not sure why exactly you feel compelled to hold her in her break down – when it comes to Cara, you don’t know why you do half of the things you do when you’re with her – but you do. She hugs you back just as tightly, whispering a million thank you’s and I will not disappoint’sin your ear.
When you pull away, you find her smiling daintily, a couple of tears still running down her cheeks. You move to your seat again, already knowing if you stay this close to her you’ll want to comfort her in ways a bit more intimate than what’s considered appropriate between strangers.
“I’m sorry,” She chuckles, voice nasal, “It’s just that this will be my first lead role and I’ve been trying this for years now.” She inhales shakily and a few tears drop from her eyes again, “Thank you.”
“Care for some tea now?” You smile as you go for an empty mug.
She nods, softly reciprocating, wiping her tears away.
“Do you mind if I make a call? I’ll be real quick.” She asks you like you’re the one in charge here.
You warm the water again, afraid that it has gone cold. You’re waiting for it to boil, making bets with yourself about how weird your life is going to get from now on, when you once more overhear her conversation.
“Mummy, I did it. I got the part.” Her voice cracks in joy, “It’s mine.”
Something strains in your chest in that moment. Your insides flutter and a form of heat curses through your entire body. You think your limbs go weak for a second. There’s a stupid, idiotic smile on your lips that you didn’t even feel forming.
And it’s then you realize you’re fucked.
It starts raining as you drive her home.
“I love rain.” You confess after sighing over the soft song playing in the background.
“Do you?” Her eyes are on your profile and you think she’s a bit surprised.
“I sleep the best when it’s raining.” You say, stopped on a red light. You relax a bit against the seat but never under her curious stare, “I don’t like silence at night. It makes me feel—“
“No. Not quite.” You lock eyes with her for a moment before realizing the light has turned green, “It makes me extra aware of what’s out there.”
“And what’s that?”
You shrug because you truly don’t have a concrete answer for her.
For once, she sits up straight and looks ahead at the raindrops fiercely falling on the windshield. They are so thick and so heavy you fear the glass might crack. Combined with the incredibly charming sounds of some sort of flute and acoustic guitar and whole bunch of other instruments that played together make a masterpiece, the sound of rain sounds heavenly.
You start making way into London. The traffic intensifies although not by much. It’s well past midnight and the rain’s begun to subdue. Nobody wants to be out in the streets, anyway.
The silence between you is only interrupted by her quiet voice when she tells you where to turn. You now drive through the quietest of streets, cars parked on either side of the road. You figure you must be getting close when you hear her unbuckling her seatbelt.
“Do you mind parking a bit up ahead?” She asks, suddenly slumping down a bit on her seat as if she doesn’t want someone to see her. You understand what she’s doing when you realize there are a couple of men dressed in black and with a camera in a hand, umbrella on the other.
“Thank you.” She begins as you come to a stop at least five houses away from hers. She turns to you as if she wants something else. Then, giving up, she sits straight again.
“Don’t worry about it.” You mumble, focusing your sole attention the realization that her side profile is flawless.
“No— I mean, yes, because of the ride— but for picking me for the part, mostly.” She stumbles over her choice of words, hands fidgety on her backpack, “I won’t disappoint.”
“You better not.” You joke, getting a nervous chuckle in return, “I’m sure you’ll do fine. Whatever you did back at my house — you keep doing that and I can assure you will definitely not disappoint.”
“When does the filming begin?” She quietly asks after a few seconds of comfortable silence.
You turn off the engine, getting the feeling that she really doesn’t want to go out there to face those vultures. You don’t mind. You like her company. It’s dark inside your car and you can vaguely make out her features because of the dashboard light.
“A month. Give or take. We’re shooting a couple of scenes by the end of September. Scenery and stuff like that. Test shots mostly.” You shrug, momentarily forgetting about the nervousness she creates in you, “First week of October, though, I hope we can start by then.”
Her lips part and she looks at you, startled.
“I’m doing a couple of shows in Paris.” She tells you, voice small as if she’s half expecting you to tell her off.
“I can’t really postpone filming anymore, Cara.” You say without wanting to sound annoying. If anything, you sound like you are the one apologizing here, “We should’ve started already but God knows this whole lead girl thing was a fucking mess.” You let your forehead rest on the steering wheel, honestly frustrated. After a sigh, you sit right again and search for her eyes in the dim environment, “Look, you were amazing. No doubts about that. I want you but I have to know you’re fully committed to it. I can’t start filming and then stop again because you have to leave.”
She looks at you with slightly widened eyes and you think she feels intimidated. It’s like she didn’t know you had the power to be assertive in you.
“No, I know that.” She very meekly nods.
“I know you’re a brilliant model but perhaps an even better actress.” You calmly persuade her, “It’s a matter of priorities. What do you want to do?”
Rain now falls heavily on the hood of your car. Your heart beats quite loudly against your ribcage. You’re scared that you’ve just lost your best shot. What’s in reality a wait of mere seconds, seems like a wait of hours to you.
A lightning suddenly goes off. It illuminates everything for a second and you realize she’s nodding. A couple of seconds later, a loud thunder roars as she struggles to be heard.
“I’ll do it.” You hear her say, at last, “I am exclusively yours.”
You get to set on the first morning of shooting, eyes bloodshot from a horrible insomnia but hidden by sunglasses, even if it’s raining and at six in the morning the sun hasn’t made an appearance yet so technically it’s still night.
You greet people with cold good morning’s and forced smiles. You wonder how some of them can be so chirpy at this time of the day. Maybe they’re just trying to get on your good side.
You don’t know. You need coffee to properly function in the morning and you know just where to get it.
There’s a little kitchen in one of the trailers that’s been filled with goodies every single morning. Anyone who wants to talk to you before you start filming and bossing everyone around knows where to find you.
You’re pouring coffee in a black mug and eyeing the muffins on a basket, when someone calls for you.
You turn around to find Margery, the make-up artist, smiling brightly at you, an umbrella on one hand.
“Cara’s here.” She says, pointing somewhere behind her. Something inside you jumps, startled, “I was going to start on her make-up but since it’s the first day maybe you should see what you like best on her.”
You nod, even if you do trust her to make a good job.
Mug in a hand, and a bit sad you forgot to grab a muffin, you let her lead you around, holding a yellow umbrella over your heads. At last, you’re climbing in another white trailer. You lace your fingers through your hair, getting rid of naughty raindrops that somehow managed to get to you.
“Fucking rain,” You mutter, handing the mug to Margery so you can shake the water off of you.
“I thought you loved rain.”
Cara’s voice startles you. You turn around to find her sitting on a chair, smirking at you like you’re old friends.
(Well, you’re definitely old acquaintances.)
“Yeah, well, every relationship has its ups and downs.” You quickly retort, making her smirk grow considerably.
“How are you?” You flop down beside her as Margery sets everything up.
“Stressed.” She breathes without skipping a beat, “Fashion Week kills me. It’s all good though. It’s over and now I’m here so it doesn’t matter.”
You feel like you’ve just touched a weak spot and she obviously doesn’t want to talk about it, so you quickly let it go. It leaves you rotting inside though, the way she’s forcing a smile as the other woman asks her questions about it. You don’t blame her because you’re sure she’s very curious, but had she been a bit more observant, she’d have realized something was off for sure. Or maybe you’re just seeing too much into things.
You don’t know. You forgot about your much-needed coffee whilst you watched her talk.
“So, how do you want to do this?” Margery suddenly calls for your attention, and your eyes turn to hers, cheeks burning, as Cara unexpectedly fixes her gaze on you. She touches Cara’s face, exploring it with her fingers, “Maybe somehow make her eyes stand out a bit more.”
“No.” You find yourself blurting out and they both halt. Margery’s a bit surprised, probably thinking you’re a bitch and Cara’s just there, staring between you. You rather quietly elaborate, “Don’t touch the eyes. Or the lips.” Your gaze falls on her parted lips, “Let them be.”
“Alright.” Margery mumbles, making a face that tells you she didn’t like being told what to do. You ignore it, waiting for her to finish scribbling something on her notepad. Then, she looks up at you, trying not to look annoyed. But her voice betrays her, “Anything else?”
“Don’t make her face look orange, please.”
She laughs a very fake laugh, hoping you go away once and for all. You are so sure she’s regretting having gone looking for you a little while ago. You’re so glad she did. It frightens you that if she looks like Cara, the model, people will be too focused on her beauty instead of simply paying mind to the feelings she’s conveying.
(Besides, she looks prettier like this.)
Just after you leave the trailer, you run into your long-time boyfriend, a crucial part in the production of your film, the man you’re supposedly in love with and also the man you cheated on with Cara. It’s all a bit self-contradictory.
You cringe when at that precise moment he decides to press his dry lips to yours.
Your conversations ranges from lovey-dovey, to laidback and then it gets a bit more technical as you go over what scenes you’re shooting today. You’re interrupted when out of the corner of your eye you see Cara emerging from the trailer, already dressed in her character’s clothes.
She looks incredibly common and that’s really what you’re aiming for. She looks like Lily. But still, there’s something about her that makes you feel weak.
A part of you’s aware it doesn’t have to do with how she’s dressed or how her make-up is done. A part of you prefers to keep you in the dark for a little while longer.
Leon, a man you recognize as another actor in the cast approaches her and hugs her like they haven’t seen each other in a long time. He takes her by the hand and pulls her away with him.
You wonder how they know each other and what he is to her and if she finds him attractive. You wonder if they’re old flames.
You realize you’ve been staring for too long when Lee waves a hand right before your eyes. You get back on track with him, but you let him do all of the talking because your mind is set on Cara and that man and where they are and what they’re doing.
You excuse yourself, feeling like that cup of coffee would really come in handy right now.
Afterwards, you make your way to the room where most people are already waiting for you to hand out orders. At least twenty people stare at you, nervous, uneasy, excited smiles on their faces.
You can only start by saying good morning when you realize the most important piece in the film is missing. You sigh, trying not to get angry about it. Cara’s off to a good start. You drink your hot coffee as you wait for her. Suddenly, Cara and that other man, stumble in the room, giggling when the door hits the wall with a loud thud. Nobody else finds it funny, though, and their silly laughter quickly dies down when they’re met with heavy silence.
“Sorry, we got lost.” Cara mumbles as she sits down at the other end of the table, cheeks red.
You wait a couple of seconds before carrying on,
“I don’t really like long speeches,” You say, absentmindedly looking between countless faces in the room, “So, basically, for those of you who’ve already worked with me, you’ve heard this before. It’s a reiteration for you and a warning for the newbies: I don’t like playing around, which means I don’t like wasting anyone’s time. I especially dislike it when people waste mine. If there’s one thing that irks me it’s when people are late for commitments.”
Your eyes land firstly on Leon, who’s dully looking at you, and then on Cara. Your stern façade falters when you find her biting her bottom lip, eyes that resemble the one’s of a child who has just stained a white shirt with chocolate. You suppose she does it in a mixture of regret and apology.
You think you had more to say, but you dismiss everyone because you can’t concentrate anymore. Your perfectly organized thoughts are never organized whenever Cara’s around. Every time you remember you once had that lip she’s just bit fitting between yours, you loose track of yourself.
It’s your first day on set, you haven’t even started filming yet and you’re already regretting hiring her.
As the days pass, you realize you were terribly mistaken.
You’re nearing the end of your first month and things have never run so flawlessly in all of the films you’ve directed. You think, perhaps it’s because these people you’re working with are actually committed to this like their life depends on it.
Now that the initial shock of seeing her again has dissipated, you’ve reset your relationship.
She’s a little box of surprises. In every scene she shoots, she strives for perfection. You’re amazed at her strong will. When you think she’s given her best and that she pretty much nailed it, she tells you she’d like to film it again because she thinks she can do it better. And to your immense stupefaction, she does it better, indeed.
When she’s not in front of the cameras, she’s radiating happiness like a little ball of energy as she walks around set. You don’t know how she does it. Compared to her, you’re a dull black and she’s a rainbow made of every colour visible to the human eye.
For the past couple of weeks, unbeknownst to the conscious part of your mind, you’ve let her charm you. That so carefully built fort of yours has an entrance only and maybe you haven’t unlocked it for her yet, but she’s patiently waiting for you to do so. She hasn’t forced the lock yet. You don’t think she will.
You’re focusing on the scene unfolding before you, where Leon’s character and some girl get it on, when you feel a presence next to you. You take your eyes off the little screen to watch Cara silently pulling a chair and sitting next to you.
Ignoring the butterflies you’ve come to gradually get used to whenever she’s close to you, you try focusing on the actors. You notice Leon’s eyes flicking in yours and Cara’s direction, and just like that you know you’re going to have to do this all over again.
As predicted, he chokes on his lines.
Frustrated, you yell, “Again!”
Again and again and again he does it.
You’re pretty sure it’s Cara’s presence that’s distracting him and you could easily send her off but he needs to learn how to work under pressure. And also because she always smells nice and she always likes to come up behind you and set her hands on your shoulders and give you an almost imperceptible shoulder massage and then when you go home your sweater will still smell like her perfume.
But really, it’s all for Leon’s benefit.
The only downside of working with Cara is probably all the unwanted attention that comes with it. You guess it’s good that your film’s getting publicity but at what cost?
You’ve worked with big names and even them didn’t have vultures waiting for them at the limits of whatever location you were filming in.
When you realized she had to get on a taxi to go home and in that meanwhile that she waited for one to show up she had to be smothered by those horrible men, you offered to take her and she didn’t hesitate in taking up your offer.
You’ve been doing it every day now and, unfortunately, the ride from the studio to her house is only twenty minutes or so, thirty minutes with traffic. But it’s okay, because it’s thirty minutes more with her that you didn’t have before.
“We should go out, some night.” She says halfway a silent journey after a long day of work.
You confess you were feeling a bit sleepy but that one line sent a jolt right to your heart.
“What?” You ask, half pretending you didn’t hear her right, half actually not knowing if you heard her right.
“If I feel tired, I can’t even imagine how you must be feeling.” She elaborates, eyes burning your side profile. You yawn. She laughs, “My point exactly.”
“What do you propose?”
“I don’t know. Something fun.” She shrugs.
“My idea of fun is probably different than yours.” You mumble as you take a turn on the now familiar street.
“Well, what’s your idea of fun?” Cara asks as you park your car a couple of houses away from hers.
You turn down the volume of the song playing in the background as you think of what to say. Truth be told, you kind of want to impress her. You want to tell her your idea of fun consists of drinking and partying hard and breaking the law but you’re tired and you don’t want to lie.
You open your mouth to speak but the loudest of yawns comes out. She giggles, her too hiding a yawn in a fist.
“Right now my bed sounds pretty fun.” You joke, fully aware the innuendo you just made. Her eyes widen at first as if she was not expecting you to say such thing, then she snorts. “Seriously, though, these days, staying in sounds absolutely perfect. Doing nothing is what I want to do most. I’m too exhausted for anything else.”
“Okay,” She gently slaps her hands on her thighs, “It’s settled. We’re doing nothing together.”
“Why do nothing separately when you can do nothing together?”
Her grin is precious.
You find yourself smiling along with her. You’re both left like that for long seconds, just smiling at each other in the dark.
You yawn for the millionth time tonight.
“You should go get some sleep, Cara. You’re tired and tomorrow we both have to wake up at the crack of the dawn.”
“I know but I really don’t want to let you drive. You’re nearly asleep right now. You’re bound to end up in a car crash.” She quietly says, a worry for you behind her voice you didn’t know she had, “Stay over.”
“I can’t.” You reply all too quickly for her taste, “I’ve no clothes with me and I can’t show up to work in what I wore today.”
“I’ll lend you some of mine.” She insists.
“I—“ You stammer. You want to make up some lie just so she doesn’t think you don’t actually want to stay over, because you really do want to sleep over. You do. So fucking bad. But you don’t want to get involved with her more than you already are. You can’t afford to get involved with her again. “—I really can’t, Cara.”
Her nods are soft. You’re not sure if she understands all of the reasons behind the really can’t.
“Call me if you feel really sleepy. And text me as soon as you arrive so I know that you got home safe and sound.”
Even in the dark you can see her biting her bottom lip and sending you that look that makes your legs turn into jelly. You breathe a ‘fine, mom’ and she makes a little squealing sound. Before you know it, she’s pressing her lips to the side of your head and hopping out of the car.
You’re not one bit sleepy anymore.
You’re driving her home a couple nights after when she asks you, “For how long have you and Lee been together?”
Your sigh is silent. You really don’t want to talk about Lee with her. It feels like you’re cheating on him all over again.
“Five, six years.” You say at last. You shrug and shake your head, “I don’t know. I lost count.”
You’re pretty sure you know what’s on her mind. She’s probably thinking of how unbeknownst to her, nearly every day, she’s been facing the man you’ve cheated on with her one night four years ago. You wonder if she’ll look at him differently, now.
“Do you love him like you loved him, say… four, five years ago?”
She’s quiet, but her question hits you so violently you nearly hit the brakes. She’s trying to play games with you. She’s trying to be sneaky with these dodgy questions.
(You’re the one playing games here, or have you forgotten about the fact that you’ve been faking memory loss?)
Feeling like you owe her nothing more than absolute honesty, you confess, “No.”
Her head snaps to yours.
“I mean, I’m still in love with him—“ You find yourself lying for unknown reasons, “—but we’ve been together for a long time, you know? It’s become… a routine.” You sigh, “I don’t know— I feel safe with him.”
She looks ahead again, quiet. Seconds later, you wonder if she’s fallen asleep. When you see her hands fidgety on her lap, you guess she’s got nothing more to say.
“Do you have a boyfriend?” You dare to ask, although not quite sure if wanting to hear the answer.
She laughs a very sad laugh.
“I don’t have time for boyfriends or girlfriends or whatever.”
It consumes you for the rest of the night.
That’s what she is.
A big fat liar.
Days later, you walk in the studio for your last day of shooting inside. Afterwards, you’ll be going outside to a location in the woods quite close to your house. As always, you greet everyone with cold good morning’s and forced smiles and then you make way to get your morning coffee.
One step in the trailer is all it takes for your day to be ruined.
Cara’s sat on the counter, Leon’s between her legs, her arms are wrapped around his neck, his hands are hidden on her inner thighs and their tongues are tangled.
They’re so entranced with each other they don’t even hear your heart falling to the floor and breaking to pieces. Your defense mechanisms are quick to join the pieces together, albeit rather clumsily, throw it in a box made of steel and lock it well locked. You’ll mend it later. A wall forms around you as you remember what you came here for.
Your jaw is clenched tightly as you make way to the cabinet to get your mug. You close the door loudly and their mouths separate.
“If you want to fuck, you get a room.” You mutter as you pour the hot coffee in the cup.
You think they apologize or something, but you’re long gone to hear it properly.
Cara and Leon are supposed to be getting ready to shoot this scene, but much to no one’s surprise, they’re missing. They’re probably somewhere, fucking each other’s brains out.
The people around you can surely feel and see you becoming irritated. Besides having an aching heart, your head aches just as much. You hate that they seem to be forgetting what you’ve made very clear right on first day of filming.
"Someone, please, go looking for them.” You let your body slump down on the chair.
"No need." Anthony mumbles, pointing behind you.
Sure enough, the happy couple is slowly walking towards you, big satisfied smiles on their lips. Cara’s immediately falls when she notices your cold glare.
No words are needed.
They get in position after quick make-up retouches. Your eyes keep flicking to Cara, watching her laugh at something Margery says. And it makes you mad, it makes you so mad that you can’t stay mad at her at all. You really want to act professional and scold her for making you waste time but you don’t have it in you to do so.
Feeling your burning stare, her eyes fall on yours. She tentatively smiles. You avert your gaze.
That particular evening, it’s cold outside and the damn mosquitos won’t get away from your screen. You were in a sullen mood before, now you’re just plain annoyed. And add to your state of mind the fact that even though Cara’s completely focused on filming, Leon keeps messing up.
"Cut!" You yell for the millionth time, getting up. You yank the script out of Anthony’s hands and stalk to where the other two are standing. You put it in Leon’s hands and as calmly as you can, you say, "Read what’s written on the fourth line."
“Steve and Lily kiss with LUST.” He quietly reads.
When he’s done he looks up at you like he doesn’t understand what he’s done wrong.
“I’m not sure you know what lust means.” You say, tone disdainful.
“Of course I know what lust means.” He rolls his eyes and hands you the script back, “I’m not dumb.”
“Then show it!” You cry, having a short glaring competition with him. He clenches his jaw, nostrils flared.
Then you walk back to your seat. Feeling too hot, suddenly, you take off your coat and start fanning your face with the script in your hands. You think Anthony’s telling you to calm down but you don’t pay him any attention.
Someone exclaims the eleventh take for this scene.
Leon says his line as Cara stays quiet. Then, he approaches her, joining their bodies together. They look into each other’s eyes. Cara’s now green one’s look blank. Perfect. Leon looks at her with passion, but there’s no trace of lust in them.
You’re going to kill him.
You once more get up, not even bothering to tell the cameras to stop rolling.
"What part of lust did you not understand?" You ask him, evident irritation in your voice.
"I don’t know what you want me to do!" His voice breaks when he elevates it to a pitch higher than normal.
"Stop looking at her like she’s your girlfriend!" You exasperatedly cry. Your voice echoes through the woods whilst everyone stays silent. He blushes, "She isn’t Cara here," Your own voice cracks as you think of her being his, "She’s just some girl you want to fuck and never see again, can’t you understand that?"
He deeply and slowly inhales, meekly nodding along to your words.
“I just— I really don’t know what you want me to do.” He repeats, voice small, “Should I touch her cheek or—“
In a brave moment, you stand before Cara so you can show him what he’s supposed to do.
"Don’t touch her face. Lace your fingers through her hair like you’re telling her she’s yours for the moment," You quietly instruct, daring to take your hand to her hair. Your fingers thread through her locks, palm resting against her scalp. She feels so warm against your cold hand. Shakily, you go on, "And do everything like you’re in a hurry. Kiss her, but be clumsy – sloppy if necessary. She’s not supposed to keep up with you."
Taking a deep, shaky breath, you completely turn to Cara, ignoring that something swelling inside of you when you lock eyes. You wish you could take your other hand to her cheek and caress it. Instead, you ignore your urge by moving your fingers a bit as if you were massaging her scalp.
"You can’t lean in. Pull her to you," You carry on, though you’re not sure whom you’re speaking to anymore. You easily pull Cara to you, her face so close to yours you can feel the air she’s exhaling through her parted lips hitting yours.
Your hand flies to the small of her back, pulling her further to you. You nearly forget you’re supposed to be instructing Leon when you swear her face inches close to yours. You silently gasp when you feel Cara’s hands resting on your hips.
"No offense, but you’re doing it like you are in love with her." He mutters, snapping you out of your daze.
And then you become aware of the heavy silence surrounding you. You think everyone’s stopped breathing, waiting for your next step. You push yourself away from Cara, cheeks red and hands sweaty.
You’re perfectly aware you were just playing a part, but it honestly felt like that was reality and what you’re doing right now is pure acting.
"Everyone, go home." You loudly inform, trying your best to ignore your burning face as you feel everyone’s stares, "We’ll come back to this tomorrow night. Take the day off."
People quickly start to pack up their things. You turn to leave but Leon takes your wrist.
"Am I fired?” He asks you with a very fragile, uncertain voice.
His panic gives in to a beam. You see him flicking his eyes to Cara’s but hers are glued to you in a gaze you cannot explain.
"Use your time well." You weakly mumble as you walk back to your seat, well aware him and Cara will have the chance to practice all day long the scenes that would turn your R rated film into a porno.
Shaking your thoughts away, you put on your coat. A pat on your shoulder makes you turn around.
You find Cara a couple of meters away from you, bashfully smiling.
She coyly looks down as she asks you, “Are we still on for the ride?”
"Of course." You shake your head at her like she’s just said the silliest thing, "I take you home every night. Why would it be different today?" And then it hits you, "Unless you’re going with Leon or something–"
"No, no." She cuts you off and stuffs her hands in her trousers pockets, "I’m asking because we’re not filming in the city anymore and it’s kind of dumb that you have to go out of your way to take me back when your house is, like, five minutes away."
Your smile is dismissive.
"I don’t mind." You shrug, "Driving is therapeutic for me."
Her smile is soft, and much like nights ago, she stares at you like she’s trying to figure you out. You feel like she’s dissecting you with her eyes.
Surprisingly, you don’t mind it. You don’t mind it one bit.
The clock marks eight fifteen.
It’s the first time you go home so early. And it’s the first time in weeks you’ll have time to cook something decent. And then you’ll put on a comfy pajama and light up the fireplace and watch episodes of a series you’ve long left behind.
You wait for her in your car. She was changing into her normal clothes, probably pecking Leon goodbye. You turn up the volume of the music so your thoughts can be drowned out. You don’t even know why your mind goes there, anyway. It’s like you’re deliberately trying to hurt yourself.
The passenger door opens and Cara hops in.
"God, I’m starving."
It’s the first thing she says after she buckles up her seatbelt and you hit the gas pedal.
"And my parents are away, and so are my sisters, which means I don’t have anything to eat because I can’t cook." She rambles. Then, she sighs, "McDonald’s it is."
"McDonald’s?" You laugh, shaking your head, "Those burgers taste like rubbish."
She gasps rather loudly and very dramatically. Then, she gently hits your thigh with a fist.
"McDonald’s is king."
"No, Burger King is king. It’s in its name! McDonald’s is plain horrible." You argue.
"I don’t think we can be friends anymore."
"Well, okay." You start slowing down the car until it comes to a halt in the middle of nowhere, "I don’t usually give strangers a ride back home."
She looks at you for a moment, and then she blurts out, “Burger King is the shit.”
You have to laugh. She laughs along with you and calls you silly. It makes your stomach flutter with butterflies.
As you start driving again, a possibility forms in your head. She’s humming along to a song in the background when you get the courage to ask her, “Would you like to have dinner with me?”
It comes out as a sudden, unexpected spurt and you’re not sure if she’s understood you.
"Burger King?" She asks, cute smile on her lips.
"No. A delicious healthy meal cooked by yours truly." You find yourself smiling back, suddenly at ease.
She scrunches up her face as she thinks about it and your nervousness comes back in full force.
"How healthy are we talking here?" She hides a smirk and then quickly adds, "On a scale of one to McDonald’s."
"I’d say… a five-ish. Just because I can make some mean chips. Oh, and also because of dessert."
"Dessert?" Her voice turns childish for a moment, "What is dessert? And do I have to pay extra?"
"Chocolate mousse." You dreamily answer, "My dad’s recipe. It’s the best in the whole world." You tell her, wanting her to believe it’s true. It occurs to you haven’t replied to her second question, "If by paying extra you mean helping me cook and helping me load the dishwasher with the dirty plates, after– then yes, you do have to pay extra."
She hums in thought.
"Is it really the best in the whole world?"
"Yeah, yeah. He even won an award for it." You lie, loving the little grin that has begun to show on her face.
"In a mousse competition?"
You snort. She giggles.
Before dinner, you both take a shower, separately, much to your dismay, and change into comfortable clothing. Seeing her in your old university sweater makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
You eat the main course first, talking about everything and nothing. And she keeps moaning that this is the best steak she’s ever had and you keep blushing and telling her, “I told you I’m the best chef ever.”
"I might have to have dinner with you every night." She jokingly suggests before taking a chip to her lips.
"I wouldn’t mind. I like you." You end up blurting out, nearly passing out when you realize what you just said.
She stares at you for a couple of seconds, lips parted and then she very softly smiles.
"I like you, too."
Comfortable silence installs in which you’re left alone with your screaming thoughts. There’s a string of I like you, too's running through your mind and you don't know what to do with it nor do you understand its meaning.
When you’re done and you’ve moved everything to the sink, you say, “Dessert’s is in the fridge. The bowls are in that cabinet. Help yourself. I’m going to light up the fireplace.”
"Can I come with?" She quietly asks, "I want to watch."
You find it peculiar, odd even, but you say yes anyway. You put on shoes and coats to go outside and get everything that’s needed.
From a little shed, you get the logs and a couple of pinecones to start the fire. She helps you carry everything inside, showing you how strong her arms actually are, even though they look incredibly frail. You’re not sure why, but watching her biceps flex mesmerizes you in a way you can’t quite put a finger on.
She kneels next to you, curiously watching you put everything in place. You grab a match and she stops you, “Wait. Let me do it.”
Carefully, she lights the match and puts it in the little nest you’ve created. Slowly, the fire comes to life.
"Now you know how to light up a fireplace." You joke as you get up. She gets up as well, towering over you.
"I totally want one when I’m older and married and have kids."
She accidentally creates this picture in your mind of her and of two little blonde boys and holding the hand of some tall, handsome man. You cringe.
"Are you okay?" She quietly asks.
You curse yourself for not having been able to masquerade your feelings.
"No, I mean– I just remembered I was supposed to call– uh, Lee and–" You clear your throat, turning away from her pretty eyes, "–maybe I should."
You make no sense sometimes.
"Right, Lee," She smiles a smile that doesn’t quite match her eyes, "Call him, then!" She enthusiastically cries, "I’ll be in the kitchen, whilst–"
"No, stay here. Warm and cozy."
"But if you go to the kitchen then you’ll be cold. You stay here."
"I’ll just call him tomorrow. He’s probably— busy." You shrug, knowing you won’t call him at all, "Now, how about that mousse?"
You’re finally watching a new episode of that series you love. Cara’s sitting beside you, commenting on the little things.
You don’t like it when people distract you during films or episodes or whatever, but in completely honesty, you’d rather have Cara sat in front of the television and watch her instead.
You don’t understand.
"The fire." She points at the fireplace.
"It needs more logs." You mumble as you push aside the blanket covering you.
You feel her eyes burning your back while you open the glass door back. You throw in the last couple chunks of wood, thinking they have to last for the rest of the night because you are not going back outside to get more.
"Do you ever feel lonely?" She asks you, never once locking eyes with you as you deliberately sit back down a bit closer to her than before.
"You live in this big house, all alone, no pets…"
Before you can choke on your own lies, her phone starts ringing. She’s left her bag on the kitchen counter, so she gets up and quickly leaves the room. Your eyes follow her legs until you can’t see her anymore.
You realize who’s just called when she stays in the kitchen instead of coming back to the living room. Something inside of you sinks but you ignore it, instead fixing your eyes on the characters on the screen.
The episode ends and you quickly put the next one on. You raise the volume when you hear her giggle.
Maybe you should give Lee a call, after all.
Your thoughts are interrupted when you see her emerging from the corridor. She smiles when she sees you and you smile back, even if it hurts, because how could you not?
You’re in silence for the first minute.
Then, she asks, “So, do you?”
"No." You lie once, then twice, "Lee sleeps over quite a lot of times."
And for the next hour, nothing’s said.
You realize you fell asleep when you open your eyes to see the television on, but with a blue screen, waiting for you to put on another episode. The fire is out and the room’s gone colder.
Then it hits you.
Cara’s counting on you to take her home and you’ve blacked out on her. You don’t even know how that happened. You’ve been awake for days and sleep chose to come at the worst time possible.
Your eyes adjust to the blackness in the room as you sit up. Light snores come from beside you. You find her sleeping, lying on her side all curled up in a little ball, head on a pillow, blanket spread along her slender body. Her feet rest against your thigh and you realize how much they were warming you when you get up to wake her.
You choose to kneel before her, watching her for a couple of seconds. Her parted lips, her rosy cheeks and the pinkish tip of her little nose – she’s heavenly. You dare to carefully push a few of strands of hair behind her ear.
You could kiss her. And she’d never know. But what’s the point in that? You’re sure you’d only want her more, after, and this has gone too far, already.
"Cara," You softly call as you gently nudge her awake.
Her pretty blue eyes begin to open. They immediately lock with your tedious ones.
"I fell asleep." You whisper, implying your apology. "I can take you home, now." Then, you gasp in hesitancy, "Or– you could sleep over if you wanted?"
"I–" She stammers, eyes flicking between each of yours. You anticipate her answer, which is a big no, and you try your best not to slump down your posture. "I really want to."
Your eyes widen for a split second as you let surprise overwhelm you.
Cara’s sleeping over. Your more-than-a-simple-crush will sleep in the room across from yours and right now you truly wish for the heat to break down so she has to come sleep in your bed to keep each other warm.
You turn off the television and turn on the lights, earning an adorable groan from her.
You’re watching her get up and wear the blanket as if were a cloak when you ask, “Would you like to eat or drink anything before bed?”
In a very little, almost childish voice, she says, “Could I have a warm cup of milk, please?”
You think you fall for her a little bit more.
You’re sat the counter and she’s at the kitchen island, alternating between drinking from the glass of milk and eating butter biscuits. You yawn once, twice and by the third time, you’re left grinning.
"What are you smiling for?"
"I think I’m finally getting some sleep, tonight."
She furrows her brows, uncertainly smiling at you.
"What do you do on the other nights?" She curiously asks before taking the glass to her lips.
"I–" (think about you and I know it’s wrong because you’re not mine to be thought of but I can’t help it, so tell me that you think about me, too.) “–don’t sleep.”
"Yes, I know, I got that part, silly." She rolls her eyes, oblivious to your real thoughts.
"I have really bad insomnias." You tell her, feeling good that you haven’t completely lied.
"Oh," She frowns, "Can’t you take a pill or anything?"
"I refuse to." You shake your head, "Taking sleeping pills is the worst mistake anyone can make."
"Worst? How about taking drugs? Smoking? Killing someone?” She pauses, “Cheating?”
A sharp pang of panic hits you unexpectedly, taking your breath away. She looks at you, innocently, but daring.
Ignoring your silly thoughts, doing your best to push them away, you fake a smile that looks a lot more like a grimace than anything.
You’re both silent as she keeps on with her doings.
When she’s done, she insists on washing the cup when you tell her you’ll do it or that you’ll do it in the morning, and whilst you playfully bicker over that petty matter, you realize how close to each other you now are, her dare long forgotten.
Her hip is brushing against the side of your knee as she washes the cup in the sink. You’re now considerably taller than her, so you look down at her as she says something about the water being freezing cold.
You reach down to turn the faucet to the left. Soon, steam is coming off the jet of water. You touch it, warming your cold hands, and then you watch her completely focused in her task.
"You missed a spot." You devilishly say when she’s done.
She looks at the cup, inspecting it. Then she turns to you, “Where?”
You jerk your hands in her direction, letting the beads of water that hadn’t yet dried on your hands fly to her face.
She moans out a million protests, then does the same to you. You’re both a giggling mess by the time your hands are dry. You’d let her drench you if it meant that you got to see her beaming at you like she is right now.
Minutes later, you’re behind her as you climb the stairs. You lead her to the guestroom, awkwardly stopping at the entrance, feeling like this is now her territory.
She stands in front of you, probably waiting for you to leave.
You yawn and it makes her chuckle.
"You should get some sleep before it goes away." She softly says, hiding her hands behind her back as she leans against the doorframe.
"Feel free to use the kitchen in the morning, if you wake up before I do–"
"–and if you need anything just knock on my door, which is right on the other side of the hallway."
She nods and then you nod again, rather awkwardly if you must say. Without you expecting it, she plants a little kiss on your cold cheek.
"Goodnight." She mumbles, and you think you see a very faint pink on her cheeks.
Good night, indeed.
A little peck on your cheek is more than enough to keep you awake for a couple of hours more.
Frustrated, you quietly descend the stairs. As every other night, you wrap yourself up in a blanket, lie on the sofa and watch whatever is on at three in the morning. Except, tonight, the blanket you’re wrapped in was the same Cara was wrapped up in a little while ago and the couch you’re lying on is the same she slept on, and the pillow behind your head was behind hers and smells like her hair.
And if it should keep you awake, it lulls you straight to sleep.
You wake on your own, hours later.
Even though you must’ve slept for six or seven hours, you feel fully rested. It’s still more than you sleep on most nights. If only every night was like last night. You have a feeling the reason why you managed to get some rest has to do with the fact that the object of your affections is upstairs.
You feel borderline obsessive when you think of her at night and wonder what she’s doing and whom she’s doing it with. Simply knowing she’s sleeping on a bed in a room in your house makes you feel safe, somehow.
A lazy smile forms on your lips. You slowly roll over, pulling the covers up to your nose and feeling the need to bury your head in the pillow. You open your eyes to see a lit fireplace, and then you realize you’re not alone.
She’s sat on the armchair, knees pulled up to her chest, arms around her legs and hair up in a messy bun. What a sight. You could wake up to this forever and you think your heart would jump every single time you opened your eyes to find her sleepily watching cartoons.
Feeling something swelling inside of you, you hoarsely whisper, “This feels like Sunday mornings.”
Her eyes snap to yours. She’s looking and smiling ever so softly at you and it makes you want to get up, grab the blanket that’s covering and go sit on her lap and hide your face in the crook of her neck.
“How did you sleep?” You ask, trying to ignore tempting urges, voice incredibly raspy.
“Like a baby. I was a bit cold at some point but—“
“You should’ve come sleep with me.” You blurt out, closing your eyes again with a soft blush on your cheeks when you realize you probably sounded very weird.
She ignores your lameness and jokes, “I would’ve, but you slept on the sofa.”
You chuckle but you again get a terrible urge to kiss her there and then and it pains you that you can’t. You inaudibly sigh, ignoring the fact that you must look like a mess, and get up.
Wordlessly, you leave the room so you can make yourself presentable.
When you come back, you make breakfast, even if it’s well past eleven and you should be cooking lunch instead.
"What are you doing ‘til later this evening?" She curiously asks before sipping on orange juice.
"Writing, probably." You say, wondering how amazing it’d be if you could spend the afternoon cuddled up to her. Or just with her presence near you. Either way, you’d be satisfied.
"What are you writing?"
"A new script."
"What’s it about?"
"I can’t tell you that." You smile when you see her pout, "When it’s done, I’ll call you myself so you can audition for the lead girl part."
Her smile is priceless.
"I’ll hold you to that."
"What are you doing?" You ask her back, now simply watching her eat.
"Practicing lines with Leon." She normally says. Your chest aches. "Well, practicing last night’s scene. He’s pretty much desperate."
She says it in a way that makes you think that she’s defending him and attacking you for being (unnecessarily) harsh on him.
"It’s not my damn fault that fucking boy doesn’t know the difference between love and lust." You mutter, suddenly angry.
You turn your back to her, not wanting her to see the green in your eyes. You busy yourself with washing a bowl in the sink.
You ignore her question, instead focusing on your growing fury. Consumed by jealousy, you end blowing up on her.
"Since he doesn’t seem to listen to me, please tell him that in front of the camera he is not your boyfriend."
"Boyfriend?" She whispers as if she’s trying out the word, "He’s not my boyfriend."
You stop. Literally.
For seconds, you let the sound of the water running fill the silent kitchen.
"He’s not my boyfriend." She says again, and if this were a script, the not would be highlighted in bold italic.
Feeling idiotic, you scrub the bowl with more strength than necessary.
"Tell him to hide his feelings for you when he’s working, then." You weakly mutter, "Tell him whilst he’s working, he doesn’t have time to be in love with you."
"In love with me?" She once again whispers, "I don’t think he’s–"
You bitterly laugh, cutting her off, “It’s borderline pathetic how fucking in love with you he is.”
You turn around for a moment so you can get a cloth that lies discarded on the island. Except, you make the big mistake of looking at her. Her blue eyes are watching you very intently and just like Medusa, they petrify you.
Her eyebrows furrow, her face darkens.
"Why are you getting so worked up about Leon?" Her voice rises.
You want to turn around, you do, but she’s stunned you with her burning glare. You’ve never seen this side of her, before. It’s slightly frightening. Believing that you’re looking as frightening as she is, you huff and throw the cloth on the counter.
But before you can think of a witty remark, her pretty blue eyes sadden.
In a very small voice, she asks, “Are you jealous?”
And you, too, sadden. Your posture slumps down at the sudden realization that she indeed has feelings for Leon. It breaks your heart. She’s sad because she thinks you like him. Inwardly, you laugh. If only.
"That’s just ridiculous."
She keeps looking at you like she’s trying to figure you out. Like a lot of other times, she’s silent but you sense she’s not quite done yet. Suddenly, as expected, she inhales sharply in hesitancy and nearly whispers, “I didn’t mean jealous of me.”
Horrible, loud, filled with anxiety silence.
Your racing heart fools you for having stopped.
You used to wonder if she remembered a three-seconds-intoxicated-kiss of four years ago. And you will always doubt if she does remember it unless she explicitly tells you so. But you have a feeling what she’s just implied now is as close to explicit as things are going to get for you.
"Cara, I–" You stammer, trying to find the right words. "I’ve got a boyfriend."
It’s not a lie.
(Then why does it feel like you’re lying?)
You’re sure the line, "Will that always be your excuse?", hangs off the tip of her tongue, but it never comes out.
Her face falls. You want nothing more than to somehow comfort her. Maybe what she needs right now is a three-seconds-this-time-not-intoxicated kiss, but you can’t give her that. You can’t.
You’re scared. You’re really, really, really scared of what this woman is doing to you. She makes you feel things you have never felt before. No. You have felt this before, just never with this intensity. You’re twenty-five and she makes you feel like you’re fifteen. Hell, you’ve had crushes on women. But falling in love is something completely different. And it’s something you think you’ve only felt with men. Yet, here you are, finally admitting to yourself you’re falling in love with her. If that’s not scary, terrifyingly, frighteningly, petrifyingly scary, you don’t know what is.
You snap out of it, and even though your thoughts are complex, they’ve run through your mind in mere seconds. You focus on her because that’s all you know how to do nowadays. She’s breathing very slowly – shakily inhaling, shakily exhaling.
Then, to your surprise, she chuckles.
"Thank God," She breathes, smiling and shaking her head, "It’d be so weird if you liked me or something. And thank God you don’t like Leon, either. I mean, the only reason why we’ve only been fucking around but aren’t actually dating it’s because we don’t want to mix our job and our personal life." She rambles, unintentionally breaking your heart and stepping over it, crushing it to pieces, turning it into dust to the point of no return, "I’m so relieved."
(You broke her heart first.)
Then she gets up and mumbles something about phone and room and she leaves, breakfast half finished.
And you swear you’ve never felt this miserable in your whole life.
You try occupying your mind with looking for stains on the counter but all you can hear is her little speech in replay, and it’s literally killing you softly. Feeling unwanted tears prickling your eyes and then, much to your like of timing, hearing steps on the stairs, you’re struck by panic.
"I was wondering if you could take me back, now?" Her voice – as raspy as ever – comes from the door. You wipe your teary eyes with the back of your hand. Thinking you look presentable and she’ll never notice the state you’re truly in, you turn around. "I’m supposed to have lunch with Leon and– are you crying?" Her voice cracks as she takes a step forward.
"No— I— allergies.“ You snuffle, faintly chuckling as you support your words with lies.
(You pretend she believes them.)
You take her home.
You hear her unbuckling her seat belt as you make the turn to her street.
She hadn’t done this in a long time. She must be more than excited to see her future boyfriend.
(And also to get away from your weird, embarrassing self.)
She mumbles thank you’s and see you later's and you barely have time to say goodbye yourself.
In the evening, everyone’s waiting for Cara to begin the twelfth take.
You wait and wait. Nearly half an hour later, there’s still no sign of her and you’ve started getting worried, because usually she’s never late on her own. It’s always with Leon and he’s been here for ages, now.
“Where’s Cara?” You ask him, trying your best not to sound like you’re desperate.
He shrugs and mumbles, “I don’t know. I haven’t seen her.”
“Weren’t you with her all afternoon?” You again try not to portray annoyance at his nonchalance.
“She cancelled on me this morning… How did you know we were supposed to meet?”
Something in you startles awake.
You ignore his question. You take slow steps back to your seat as your mind reels to find an explanation for her behaviour. As people struggle to reach her, you’re silently staring into space, missing her but most of all worrying for her because for her not to be here yet something must’ve happened.
You wait a bit more just to be certain she really isn’t coming.
Another day gone to waste and you don’t even care.
Anthony’s beside you trying to call her and Leon’s before both of you, waiting for him to hang up so he can try again.
“Maybe I should go check on her.” You mumble, getting up because there’s no point in staying here anymore. She’s obviously not making an appearance today.
“I’m coming with.” Leon blurts out and then adds, “I mean, if you don’t mind taking me with you.”
You’d tell him to piss off. You’d tell him to get his own car or a bike or something and to go there on his own. But he’s a nice guy. He obviously cares for Cara as much as you do and the only difference is that he gets to keep her. You’ve no reason to dislike him and yet you do.
(You’re the bad person here.)
You hold an umbrella over you and Leon, waiting for someone to answer the door. Your heart beats loudly and strongly against your ribcage. You’re not sure if anyone’s going to answer the door. As the seconds go by, the hesitant silence becomes louder and so do your thoughts.
(You shouldn’t be here.)
(Her boyfriend’s here for her. You’re one too much.)
(He’s not her boyfriend.)
(They’re fucking, anyway. She said so herself.)
You clench your jaw, wanting to scream at your own mind and tell it to shut up.
A knob twists and then the door’s pulled back.
Cara stands in front of you in your university sweater (butterflies – it looks so good on her), hair disheveled, eyes red and puffy as if she’s been bawling like an infant.
She snuffles then forces a smile and a hoarse, “What are you doing here?”
You’re forced quiet when Leon suddenly takes her in his arms. Her head’s over his shoulder and her eyes lock with yours for a moment as he whispers things like, “I was so worried…” and “I’ve missed you so much.”
You look away and take a step back, feeling like you’re intruding in a sweet, private moment.
"Is everything alright?" You’re finally able to ask when he pulls away, although staying by her side, arm around her shoulders.
She nods then very weakly chuckles, “Allergies.”
(Is she mocking you?)
Before you can think much about it, Leon coos in her ear something you can’t understand but involves the word baby and then he proceeds to press a lingered kiss to her cheek. Your mind replays it over and over again and now you really want to leave because the growing lump in your throat is really starting to hurt.
"Yeah," You force a smile, voice cracking, "I know all about those."
You stare at your shoes for a moment when he decides to whisper something in her ear again. Then, he sends a dismissive smile your way, says a ‘see you later’ and goes inside.
"I’ve got to go." You mumble, starting to take steps back.
"Aren’t you coming in?" She dares to take a few steps in your direction, ignoring the rain pouring on her. You nearly run to her so you can hold the umbrella over her head, "You could have dinner with me– us. We could order pizza or something and play videogames."
You chuckle, finding her utterly adorable, but then you shake your head a couple of times. You would’ve come in if she were alone. Maybe. Probably not.
(You totally would – who are you trying to fool? Yourself?)
"Thank you, but I mustn’t." You lamely try subtly distancing yourself from her, resulting in you getting completely wet whilst you strain to keep her dry. "I’ll take these extra hours to work on my–"
"Come here, you’re getting all wet." She murmurs, taking your wrist and pulling you close to her.
The damn umbrella wasn’t made for two people and it forces you to press close to her. You’re suddenly reminded of last night’s scene and then when your eyes fall on her lips, you’re again reminded of a forbidden kiss.
You avert your eyes to hers. She looks at you, easily smiling.
"I forgot what I was saying." You mumble, cheeks heating.
"I wasn’t really paying attention." She whispers.
It’s a miracle you hear it because it’s raining heavily now and her voice might as well be a part of the symphony raindrops create when they fall – soft and quiet and incredibly relaxing.
"I have to go, Cara." You say but you don’t really step away from her.
"Are you spending the night with Lee?"
The lump comes back.
"No." You strain to create a sentence as you feel her eyes stare straight into your soul, "He’s filming in Japan.” You pause, then add, “I feel like being on my own, anyway.”
It’s like even if you know she doesn’t want you, there’s still a part of you that hopes that she does, and so you’re trying to console her and telling her that even if Lee was home, you’d much rather spend the night alone. You seriously don’t understand yourself sometimes.
"I kind of wanted to spend the night alone with–" She stops suddenly, leaving you hanging. She clears her throat, "–on my own, too."
A heavy weight is lifted off of you. She’s basically just said she’d rather stay alone than with him, but he’s staying over, anyway. And he’ll end up seducing her and it’ll lead to sex and you really have to stop because your emotions have been a mess lately and you’ve no one to blame but yourself and you’re going to start crying anytime now and you can’t do it in front of her.
When you hear Leon calling for her, you figure this is your queue to leave, both literally and metaphorically, also. It’s time to put away this silly more-than-crush.
"I should go." You struggle to say as you walk her back to the door so she doesn’t get wet, "Have fun with Leon."
She nods and snuffles.
“Text me when you get home. It’s raining a lot and I’m scared you have an accident or something.”
You nod as well, promising to do so. You rub your eyes to ease the burn of unshed tears.
"These damn allergies." You say, voice cracking, and fake a chuckle.
She chuckles as well, rubbing her own.
You force a grin and faintly say goodbye. You turn around and walk away from her. You’ve parked your car houses away – it’s the habit – and you only hear her closing the door behind her when you’re nearing it. And then, safe inside it’s confines, tremendously thankful for the dark tinted windows, you allow yourself to break down in tears.
shes really bisexual.
I have noticed they’re always together now but I’m way too convinced Georgia is straight. Plus they have such a nice friendship I can’t see them risking it for a bicurious fling. You never know though.
Chapter 5 – Unreal City
I am so very sorry this took so ridiculously long. Everything’s been kind of shitty past couple of weeks – nearly got fired and stuff…so, yeah kind of did less writing. This was going to be longer but I’ve ended up splitting it into two because I felt bad that I haven’t posted anything for ages. More drug use and vaguely erotic stuff in this one by the way if anyone doesn’t like that kind of stuff idk – hope it’s ok x
Airports can be surprisingly cold when you’re travelling alone.
It’s 9.00pm. You’re currently sat in the executive lounge of Terminal 1 at Heathrow, waiting for your first ever flight to New York. It’s been a hectic evening; having to quickly pack enough for however long you’re going to be out there (without anyone from college noticing), before travelling to the airport in what you can only hope was the limo Cara had booked for you.
But you’re assuring yourself that everything’s ok now. Cara has booked you into first class, so from now on you hope the journey is going to be less stressful. God, she’s been so generous in doing all this for you – you’re starting to feel pretty guilty for being angry at her.
You’ve already text her to say that you’re at the airport, so you’ll be boarding in an hour or so. You really don’t want to wait around for long; it feels like you’ve been away from her for long enough.
It’s nearly 11 by the time you board. You ended up having a few too many complimentary cocktails at the airport lounge bar so you’re head is swimming slightly as you slump onto your plane seat. You’re glad to be finally on board, but you’re not looking forward to the 7 hour flight through the night. You’re hoping the alcohol will dull your nerves about flying; it always stresses you out.
You always tense up when the plane starts; you look down to see your knuckles are white from gripping your chair arm so hard. You wish she could be next to you right now.
As the journey progresses, you’re still not all that relaxed. You decide that it’s best just to try and sleep for the rest of the journey. Sliding the window blind down, you curl up into the chair. You can’t wait for the flight to be over.
You awake as you feel a sudden drop in altitude.
You open your eyes and glance at the onscreen map. You realise you’ve been asleep for most of the journey; you’re meant to be landing in 20 minutes or so. The plane must be lowering.
Someone taps you on the shoulder. A hostess hands you tray of airplane food.
You glance at it, and then the current NY time clock. It’s 1.55 am. What meal even is this? But then again, realising that you haven’t really eaten in at least six hours, you actually don’t care. You try out the food, and it’s a lot better than usual. You could definitely get used to first class travel.
You push the blind up on your window and gaze out. It’s still dark, but the lights of the city faintly glimmer beneath you through the dark sky. Skyscrapers shimmer into focus as the plane begins to circle closer to JFK airport. It’s all so surreal.
Your legs almost give way as you exit the plane – you haven’t left your seat in hours, it feels like your bones have dissolved.
Or maybe it was just at the thought of seeing Cara.
You’re shocked by how cold the night air is as you make your way from the runway to the terminal.
Having been welcomed into the United States by customs officials, you head over to the luggage pickup area. You decide to ring her as you’re waiting. You bite your lip with nervous anticipation for her to pickup.
‘Cara! I’m here! Just waiting for my bag, then I’ll be leaving through…gate 5, I think.’
‘Awesome. I can’t wait to see you! I’m by the south exit - look for a red beanie when you’re there.’
She hangs up just as you see your bag on the conveyor belt.
You grab it, and head for the gate exit.
The exit area is heaving with people. You look around, trying to not look panicked. You can’t see any red; just a sea of dull, muted colours. It’s so crowded, and being tired and jetlagged in a massive airport in a foreign country, it’s hard to focus.
You jump feel a tap on your shoulder.
That voice. Your head whips around.
There she is.
There’s a pause as you stare in awe, for a moment not even sure that she’s really there.
Then her lips meet yours and it’s like life has been breathed back into you. The white noise of everyone else around you mutes out for those few seconds; you can only feel the softness of skin against yours. As you pull away her expression contorts into one of alarm.
You’re about to say no, you never cry, but upon touching your cheek you feel an unfamiliar dampness.
‘Oh my god. Sorry…’ you feel yourself blush.
‘Oh babe, don’t apologise for crying. Are you okay?’
You nod, and she pulls you into a hug.
‘I guess…I feel bad. I’ve been an idiot…I just missed you…’ your words stumble out clumsily.
Her eyes seem to shimmer with sympathy.
‘I’m just glad to see you again. You’re probably just tired out from the journey – it can take a while to get used to long-haul flights. Oh yeah! Went to Starbucks and got you this. Hope it’s not cold’
She hands you a coffee, which you gratefully accept.
‘Yeah, guess I’m not a pro like you yet. First class was pretty nice though’
‘Haha, managed to bully one of my managers into getting that for you.’
There’s a pause, and you sip your coffee. You’re just so grateful that she hasn’t mentioned your falling out. You still feel kind of guilty.
Cara breaks the moment of silence. ‘So…you know it’s like, 2 am right now here. Want to head straight to the hotel?’
For a minute, you’re torn; you really want to go out and see New York – this is your first time here!
But then you notice how exhausted Cara looks. It might just be because you’ve got used to only seeing hyper-edited, airbrushed model version of her in magazine shoots this past week, but you swear there’s a slightly gaunt look about her. You wonder how long she’s been waiting at the airport for.
‘It’s up to you’ you choose to reply. You really want to stay on good terms with Cara throughout this trip.
‘It’s funny, normally I’d be all up for clubbing or something with you…but I feel rough tonight.’ She mumbles.
It occurs to you for a moment that Cara’s skin could perhaps possess the sunken greyness of a hangover. You wonder who she might have been out with.
‘Yeah, I have been kind of ill lately too. Hotel’s fine, then’ you murmur.
‘Our hotel’s pretty central, so you’ll be able to see some of the city in the cab journey there’ she winks.
Cara falls asleep on your lap during the 20 minute cab drive. You actually end up looking at her more than whatever’s flying past you in the window; with her honey coloured hair draped across her soft features, she just looks so endearing. You nudge her awake as you reach the hotel entrance.
Looks like you’re booked in to what must be the most luxurious hotel you’ve ever stepped into.
‘Jesus, this looks incredible…you didn’t have to do this’ you say as you take in the lobby.
‘Only the best for you’, Cara whispers, before kissing your neck lightly. A new wave of guilt washes over you.
Cara’s already checked you both in, so you get in the elevator to head straight up to your room
‘Not that I’ll be able to do this sort of thing for you that often, mind – this wasn’t cheap’
‘No – I wouldn’t expect you to! You’re really spoiling me – I promise I’ll repay this once my clothing line gets off the ground’
You reach the top floor, which makes you realise that you’re going to be in one of the luxury suites.
You make your way down the corridor, before Cara hands you the card key.
‘Care to do the honours?’
You swipe the card through the lock, and push open the door to be greeted by a panorama of gorgeous furnishings, bright white walls and a glimmering skyline.
‘Wow…so this is how the other half live’ you say under your breath. Cara apparently hears.
‘I swear it’s not normally this glamorous. To be honest it’s not really my style…I just thought you might like something like this’
‘Well it’s fucking incredible compared to the shitty New Cross halls of res’
You turn to her ‘Seriously. Thank you’
She smiles. As you continue to soak in your surroundings, Cara flops onto the bed.
You walk over to the window, and notice your own private balcony. You slide open a glass door and step outside, the cool air hitting your flushed skin.
It’s an amazing view of gleaming, sharp skyscrapers. The air seems to vibrate with sounds emanating from the streets below. You already get a sense that the energy here is nothing like that of London.
You’re drawn out of your thoughts as you feel a warm arm folding around you; a hand clutching your waist. A waft of smoke curls towards your face, and you look down to see a cigarette gently clasped in Cara’s other hand. She hums softly into your ear.
‘It’s so noisy. London would be deserted at this time of night. This really is the city that never sleeps’
Cara raises her eyebrows.
‘Please promise me you’re not going to just speak in a tourist cliché for the entirety of this trip.’
‘Haha, sorry. I forget this place is like, a second home to you.’
‘No, London will always be home I think. But, yeah, it is pretty wild here. It’s kind of like London on LSD, maybe.’
You laugh. Cara takes a long drag, before stubbing out the cigarette on the balcony ledge. She holds you tighter as the icy wind gets stronger.
‘You’ve got goose bumps. Can we go to bed now?’ she murmurs.
You turn to her.
‘I don’t think they’ll ever be a day where I say no to you asking me that’
She laughs, and you head inside.
As you’re undressing, you realise this is the first time you’ve gone to bed with Cara totally sober. This night feels kind of precious to you.
You slip beneath the duvet where Cara already is. You haven’t slept in a double bed in so long; you’ve got enough space to sprawl yourself out like a starfish, but instead you envelope yourself around Cara. It’s the warmest you’ve felt in a while.
You can feel her breath against your neck as you fall slowly asleep.
You’re pulled suddenly out of sleep by a dull beeping, which slowly becomes louder and sharper.
Groaning, you automatically try and fumble to turn off your phone, roll out of bed and prepare for another day at college.
When you open your eyes you’re shocked to find your surroundings aren’t what you expected. You’re in a spacious, luxurious hotel suite; illuminated by a cool, November morning sunlight. As you turn to your left and see Cara beside you, you blissfully remember where you are.
Cara blinks awake, her emerald eyes briefly meeting yours, before she grabs her phone to switch off the alarm.
‘It’s a good thing I set that. Sleep ok babe?’ she mumbles.
‘Mmm’ you sigh, rolling yourself closer towards her body.
‘So, what are we doing today?’ you murmur into her chest.
‘Well, we need to sort out what we’re going to wear tonight’. She strokes your hair lightly, which distracts you a moment from what she’s just said.
‘Why? Where are we going?’ You say as your brain finally registers her reply.
‘Oh, right – I haven’t actually told you any plans.’
Cara sits up.
‘I’ve been thinking…I don’t think it’s doing either of us much good, keeping…us…in secret. I was wondering…I mean…I’m allowed to bring a date to the film premier tomorrow night…’
Your sleep-deprived, jetlagged brain is still finding it hard to comprehend anything she’s saying as she’s staring at you so intently. You feel drunk off of her presence.
You replay the words in your head. Then, slowly, it falls into place what she’s implying.
‘Wait…you really want to…invite me?’
‘It just feels right. I mean, you’re cool with that, right? If not, I mean I underst-’
You cut her off by kissing her softly on the lips.
‘That would be incredible. I’d love to’
She smiles with glowing warmth that you rarely see from anyone.
It’s cliché, but you decide to head to Fifth Avenue first to look for clothes.
Your hotel is so central that you ask Cara if the pair of you can walk rather than drive around – you’re desperate to get out in the city. It’s a sunny, but bitingly cold day – you leave fairly early, so the streets are relatively quiet. Being back with Cara seems to have put everything back in high definition – the sharp sounds of traffic, the vivid colours – it all contrasts so greatly with your rain washed, grey memories of last week.
The paparazzi are here and there, but it’s not as bad as London. Now you know you don’t have to hide the fact that you and Cara are…a thing, you’re not as paranoid about them.
Whenever they get on your heels too much you dive into a store.
You’re currently in YSL; Cara’s currently trying on a few suits. It amuses you to find a massive picture from one of her campaigns within the store itself.
‘I well it means I kind of get them for free anyway…seeing as I’m still part of their beauty campaign. Or at least I think I do…’ Cara rambles from inside the changing room.
A few moments later she opens the door for the third time. This time Cara looks like a goddess. She’s wearing a simple, but perfectly tailored black suit; heels and a low, shirt that reveals her marble like skin beneath. She looks unbelievably sexy.
‘It’s perfect. I mean…they all look hot. I think I like this one the most’
‘Cool. Well, if you like this one I think I’ll go for it’
You nod enthusiastically.
Once Cara’s changed back, you exit the store and glance around.
‘Where do you want to go for yours? You know there are some great vintage stores down in Brooklyn if you want to get a cab. I can pay if you like’
You gaze at the gleaming translucent storefront of Chanel across the street longingly.
‘Or…..’ you look at Cara pleadingly. She rolls her eyes.
‘You really have expensive tastes. Well, why not.’
After trying on a fair amount of items, you go with your default choice of understated black – it’s something you know you can’t go wrong with.
You didn’t actually look at the price at all since Cara’s insisted on paying – you get a glimpse at it when you reach the till and practically start choking.
Cara thankfully doesn’t hear your embarrassing outburst; her phone is ringing. She answers swiftly as she pays for you. After a quick exchange, she hangs up.
‘Who was that?’ you ask as she hands you the Chanel bag.
‘My manager. He’s booked a hair and makeup stylist for us back at the hotel.’
After lunch, you return to the hotel, and it’s not long before the stylists arrive. You do a double take as you realise that one of them is Lisa Eldridge.
Cara starts chatting to her and introduces you. You’re kind of shy to start off with, but you warm to her quickly and you go through what sort of look you’re going to go for together.
The stylists start work on you, it’s actually quite a relaxing process to feel yourself being transformed. After a while, Cara turns on the TV. A local weather reporter is mentioning something about snow hitting the Manhattan area tonight.
‘Really – snow? Are you kidding?’ you say.
‘Yeah…well you know it’s November here as well, right?’ she replies.
‘I kind of just assume that wherever I go abroad is going to be hotter than England…aren’t we going to be outside tonight?’
She tilts her head towards you and smiles.
‘I’m sure we’ll be able to sneak off the red carpet early if it gets too cold.’
‘I have other things planned anyway…’ she adds in a lower, sultry tone.
You feel yourself blushing knowing that the stylists can hear your conversation. You hope they’re nearly done.
You close your eyes to let soft powdered brushes glide across your skin for a few minutes longer.
‘Looks like you’re all done’
You’re eyes flutter open; you glance at yourself in the mirror. For a moment you’re taken aback by your own appearance – the makeup and dress really has transformed you. You feel a new wave of self-assurance wash over you.
You then look to Cara. With the suit and now flawless, golden hair and dark, shadowy makeup, she looks so attractive it’s actually ridiculous.
She turns to you, and her mouth drops slightly.
‘Damn. You know, I’d say we’re probably going to be the most attractive couple there tonight.’
You’re driving to the premier.
You glance across to Cara. She’s sat a lot more rigidly than normal; her breaths are shallow and fast, eyes staring intently out the window. You touch her hand, and she jolts.
She looks at you, and nods.
‘Yeah…I don’t know, it’s just….exposing you like this…this is kind of a risk’
‘You’re not having second thoughts, are you? I mean, you’ve kissed other girls on camera and stuff…it’s fine’
‘Oh god no, it’s not that. They didn’t mean anything. You’re important to me’
She leans over to kiss you.
‘I don’t want you to get hurt if I make a stupid decision babe’
‘I can fend for myself – anyway, I could do with getting my name out there if I seriously want to consider a fashion based career. Seriously, it’s fine’
You smile in reassurance, and she nods, and glances back out the window.
‘Looks like we’re nearly there.’
Sure enough, you can see the drop-off area leading to a crimson carpet.
‘I’ll go first’
A chauffeur opens the car door for you both, and Cara slips out.
You inhale, and follow.
You’re hit by the cold as you get out of the car – the temperature has dropped considerably now that it’s dusk. The now familiar flashes of white light obscure your vision.
Shivering, you take Cara’s arm and stay gripped to her as you make your way onto the red carpet.
You pose in front of the cameras for a few prolonged minutes. Cara’s a lot more natural at this than you; you’re hoping you won’t look too rigid in the chilled air.
You’re sure Cara’s kissing you for a moment, but then realise it’s actually snowflakes melting onto your skin. You look up and the sky is shimmering with ice crystals, floating slowly downwards.
The pair of you get a few interviews together on the carpet. You let Cara do most of the talking; she’s also lot better at this than you (and you actually don’t even know what film premier this is). A few interviewers ask about you though, and you’re happy to talk about your fashion design. Cara also cuts in to say you’re together, which fills you with warmth, despite the snow.
After a while, your lips are going numb from smiling for so long. If you’re honest, you’re looking forward to the after party more than anything else. You whisper this to Cara, and she nods. Taking your hand, she finally manages to escape the red carpet area with you to get inside.
Cara’s now dragging you down a corridor of a grand looking building that must be where the after party’s taking place.
‘So where are we going now? Like, do we go see the film now? Is that what happens at premiers?’
‘Oh, I don’t play by the rules. I’ve got something much more entertaining planned babe’
You reach what must be an empty dressing room of some sort – you don’t really care where it is; Cara is your only focus. She shuts the door behind you before edging closer to you.
‘So, you know, last night….we didn’t get to…you know…at the hotel…’
You raise your eyebrows. ‘So…you basically just dragged me into a deserted room for sex’
Your dry reply can’t entirely mask the fact that you’re pretty turned on by the whole scenario.
‘Pretty much. Not that it looks like you mind.’ she breathes in your ear.
Of course she must have noticed the red tinge beneath your skin, your fast, erratic breathing, quickening pulse.
‘No, you’re right. I don’t’ you reply between the kisses Cara has begun planting on your neck, leaving deep red lipstick marks.
You can feel her hands begin to trace formations across your skin; you’re transported back to the shower you had with her.
Her fingers pause at your inner thigh. As much as you want this, you suddenly feel guilty that Cara’s doing all the work again.
‘Do you think we should maybe…switch roles…from last time?’
She raises an eyebrow devilishly.
‘I like that idea’
You push Cara gently against the wall. You look straight into her eyes - her pupils are dilated lustfully. Her jacket is undone to reveal the sheer lace shirt underneath. You trail your palm down her abdomen; you can feel the quickening pace of her breathing, every muscle contorting. You lower your hand to her thighs; she thrusts into you a little. It’s then that you see a sofa in the corner of the room. You pull her over; she slumps onto it.
Once you’re on top of her, you’re able to undo her pants with ease, pushing them down slowly. Your fingers find their way to her heated core – you hear her breath hitch I her throat. You kiss her along her collarbone as you enter her.
Cara lets out a groan. The pair of you synchronise the rhythms of your motions.
You brush her hair out of her face to reveal an expression of tranquil ecstasy.
It’s not long before you feel her tense up. Cara makes the quietest most delicate of moans, so unlike her usual voice.
Cara grasps your head, long fingers tugging at a tangle of hair.
The firm grip she has on your head relaxes, and she relaxes into the couch below you.
You plant soft kisses along your jaw line.
‘Wow.’ She murmurs. ‘You’ve…got some skill’
Her cheeks are still flushed red beneath her makeup. A fine coat of sweat glistens on the bare skin of her neck.
She sits up, and checks the time on her phone.
‘Uh…we better go to the party’ she says after a while. The blush still hasn’t left her cheeks.
You follow the vibrations of music to reach the main hall.
After being checked by security, you’re let into a gleaming hall pulsating with people. It’s like a scene out of the Great Gatsby.
But this time you’re promising yourself not to get too drunk. For a start, you’re in America, which makes you below the legal drinking age – and what you could do without right now is a criminal record. You also realise that this party is going to be a vital to making any important contacts in the fashion industry, so you can’t embarrass yourself.
Cara doesn’t seem to be taking such caution – immediately after entering she’s found a table of alcohol. Champagne bottle in hand, she’s working her way to the dance area. You try to follow, but it’s so crowded that you quickly lose sight of her.
You don’t want to dance without her, so decide it’s a good time to mingle. Not something you find easy entirely sober, so you down a couple of shots just to take the edge off your nerves.
It’s been a couple of hours now, and although you’ve enjoyed being able to talk to a fair amount of big-name guests (turns out it’s a premier for Sofia Coppola’s latest movie, so there’s a lot of cool people here who are willing to talk to you once you tell them you’re a Goldsmiths student). However, you’re actually getting bored; you haven’t seen Cara for a while.
You begin to try to make your way through the clumps of guests, but Cara’s completely disappeared from the dance area.
You scan the hall for any sign of her, it’s difficult to focus in the dimmed lighting. She seems to have gone.
You decide to check the bathroom. You’ve ended up drinking more than you intended (as usual), so just finding it is a challenge. When you get there, you see there’s one cubicle that’s locked.
‘Cara? Is that you?’ you slur.
You think you hear someone, but you’re not sure.
You knock twice on the stall door. You notice it’s not even locked, so you gingerly push it open.
Cara is stooped in the cubicle, her hands clasping the toilet seat. The blush under her cheeks from earlier in the evening has evaporated; her is skin now seems to have a greenish to it.
‘Jesus, are you okay?’
‘I’m fine’ she mumbles, before throwing up.
You feel a mix of panic, pity and revulsion. The best you can do is wipe her hair out of her face and watch in dismay as she retches.
‘Cara…how much have you managed to drink?’ She’s so slight; you wouldn’t be surprised if her tolerance for alcohol is fairly low.
She groans something incoherently.
A fine powder dusting the collar of her suit also worries you.
‘I think maybe it’s time we headed back. I’ll ring your driver’ you decide
‘You didn’t get to dance with me’ she slurs.
Why does she keep saying things that make you feel so guilty?
You pluck her phone out of her pocket and enter the number.
Cara can barely walk, but you manage the journey to your vehicle.
God, how much did she drink? You still feel bad that you didn’t keep more of any eye on her.
You practically carry her into the hotel room. She seems a bit more conscious now.
‘Sorry…thanks’ she mumbles.
She manages to undress, before collapsing into the bed with you.
You’re disappointed the night had to end this way.
You slowly draw back out of sleep. Yawning, you turn to the clock and see that you’ve overslept a little. Well, a lot.
Cara’s still sound asleep, arms wrapped defensively around your waist, a stubborn frown frozen to her features. The scent of alcohol lingers in her hair. You hope she’s not got anything going on today – well, if she did, she’s probably missed it. Gently moving yourself out from Cara’s grasp, you stumble out of bed and decide to make tea for you both.
Last night is a kind of bittersweet blur –a dream that merged a nightmare. You hope Cara’s not feeling too rough today.
As you return to the bed, you see her stirring, and her eyes slowly open. She seems confused by her surroundings for a moment, but then she catches your eye and smiles.
‘Hey. What time is it?’
‘Oh shit’ she mumbles.
‘You didn’t have anything important going on today, did you?’
‘No, no. Well…except spending time with you.’
You hand her the tea, and kiss her cheek.
‘That’s the corniest thing you’ve ever said to me’
‘Hey, I’m trying to be romantic’
She elbows you gently. You both sip your tea.
‘So…how was last night for you?’ you ask cautiously.
‘Good…I think. You should’ve danced with me though’
‘Sorry, I totally lost you. I was kind of a killjoy, but I was worried about you passing out on me if we stayed any longer’
‘It’s ok. Thanks for coming to find me anyway. Yeah, it could’ve ended badly’
She looks down.
‘So, do you take cocaine at like, every party?’ you say after a pause, watching the steam spiral out of your mug.
‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’ she smirks
You give her a serious look.
‘Well, I didn’t make you take any – what’s the problem?’
‘It’s just…you should’ve seen what you looked like – just don’t scare me like that again! God, you nearly killed me! How much did you drink on top of that?’
‘You’re overreacting. I’ve been worse’
She’s avoiding your questions; not meeting your eyes.
‘Yeah, but Cara, it’s the worst I’ve seen you. Seeing you like that…do you not realise what that does to me? I worry about you! You’ve been looking kind of ill recently – are you sure everything’s ok?’
‘God, just relax a bit, would you? I’m fine’ she snaps.
You’re hurt by her defensive tone. She must have read this on your face.
‘I’m fine’ she says more softly. ‘Sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you about it. I promise I’ll be more careful for you from now on’
‘Thanks, again for helping me. I probably did look a fucking wreck. Shall we start afresh today?’
‘Yeah, that’s a good plan.’ she leans her head on your chest.
‘Even if you did look a mess, it was a hot mess anyway’ you add.
Later, you’re sat in a coffee shop with Cara, having both ordered more hangover-remedy herbal teas. The afternoon is morphing into a dark, hazy dusk.
‘I don’t know how I’m going to readjust to life back at college after this. This has been crazy.’
‘Hey, you’ve still got some pretty exciting stuff going on there, haven’t you?
‘Yeah, well, same old. Nearly done with my line for the Christmas show…’
‘…If you’re still interested in participating…’ you say more quietly. Your whole life suddenly seems so mundane and insignificant now you’ve experienced Manhattan.
‘I’d really like to if I have time’ Cara replies. ‘I know it was hard for you not seeing me last week, so I really want to make this’
You’re comforted by her answer. ‘I hope you can’
Your phone vibrates on the table. A text appears.
Hey babe, it’s the guy you met at the pub this week J Want to go out for a drink sometime?
A surge of panic shoots through you. Who the fuck is this?
You quickly try to delete the message, but you can feel Cara’s eyes scanning the words on your phone.
‘Whoa, hold up. Who was that?’
‘I honestly don’t know’ you say. At that point, it’s the truth.
You stare at the screen confusedly, and think back to when you were last out. Slowly, a hideous memory comes crawling to the front of your brain – you remember slurring your number to a bunch of guys last week when Cara was away working.
‘It was nothing. It’s nothing’
‘It doesn’t look like nothing. Let me see’
Cara’s already grabbed the phone off you. Her mouth drops slightly; there’s a stony look of disgust on her face.
‘Wow, just wow. Seriously? I’m away for like, half a week, and you’re going round throwing your number at random guys?’ she scoffs.
‘Hey, it wasn’t like that! Cara – I was drunk, with friends’
She seems to have withdrawn within her thoughts – she’s shaking her head silently.
‘Come on, you’re overreacting. I thought we were starting over today.’ She ignores you.
‘You were the first person I really thought I was like, committed. So do you not want this?’
‘No, God I do! More than you can imagine!’ you plea
‘Why would you even do something this thoughtless?’
Ok, she’s being ridiculous. The mood has spiralled into darkness so rapidly; you’re filled with fear.
‘I can’t exactly see how it’s any more reckless than nearly overdosing on fucking drugs!’ you burst out louder than you intended to. Cara looks around warily.
‘Don’t go shouting shit like that. For fuck’s sake, I didn’t overdose on anything’ she hisses.
You’ve hit a nerve.
She’s stood up now, grabbing her bag.
Cara casts one more glance at you. You can’t tell whether it’s anger, sadness, or just hatred that’s written across her face. She leaves the shop. You immediately follow but she’s already jumped into a taxi.
Cara doesn’t return for the rest of the day. You wander numbly back to the hotel, still reeling over how sour the mood turned so fast. You’re more shocked than anything else. There has to be something besides the text that caused this, surely. Cara’s moods do seem different as of late. You wonder what else happened at that party.
You’re back on the balcony, alone this time. You shiver, and put your hands in your coat pocket. You feel a piece of thin magazine paper – you pull it out to see that it’s the paparazzi picture of you and Cara you decided to keep. Mix melancholy emotions flood you. You let go of it, and it twists and swirls in the air, until it’s out of sight.
The city’s previous shine has been tarnished by recent events. It looks empty.
You can’t face anything else but sleep right now, but when go back in the room the intoxicating scent of her seems to be everywhere.
You’ve text her numerous times throughout the evening.
I’m so sorry. I said so many stupid things
Please come back
Where are you?
Each becomes shorter and more desperate. She’s still not replying by 11 pm.
You send her one more text
I think I do love you
You sleep alone. Even though the bed’s been remade, it still seems to have an imprint of her.
It’s so cold.
no. are you having a problem submitting?
it hasnt been submitted :(
im open to it tbh. someone should submit one!