blooper: an actor error or mistake usually embarassing or humorous.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Everyone knew. The moment she emerged from the studio’s shuttle van, appraising and critical glances aimed her way as if they all were truly looking at her for the first time. Instead of a single PA awaiting her like yesterday, there was a squad of four to escort her to her trailer, giving her the rundown of the day and asking if she needed something; anything. She was overwhelmed by all the frenzied attention. Not wanting to be a victim of scrutiny at the catering truck’s waiting line, she politely requested for a cup of coffee and two gourmet danish pastries and a production assistant scurried off to do so. Inside her trailer, there was a fresh flower arrangement of white hydrangeas, green chrysanthemums, and lush green leaves. She blinked in shock, plucking message card from the vase to identify the sender.
Day 1 on the road. – N
Her mouth’s corner twitched upward, her thoughts drifting she had to untangle herself from the familiarity of his arms to ready herself for the day and how stubborn he was to let her do so. Only she and Diane would be the only ones on set for the time being as Nick’s and Naomi’s call times were scheduled for 2PM. Though it begged her to wonder how in the world was he able to order such a gorgeous—and most likely expensive—flower arrangement it was barely a few hours ago the concept of ‘Day 1’ would’ve never seen the light of day.
The first half of the morning was spent rehearsing her lines, being interrupted by Tammy’s phone calls informing her of the growing list of audition requests, fighting back the urge to go to that Hollywood Laundry article to take a peek at the user comments, and being called to department trailers to be turned into Camille Humphrey. Emerging from the hair and makeup trailer, she was escorted onto the set. The first scheduled scene of the day was an emotionally charged one between Camille comforting a bewildered Francine unable to cope with her memory loss.
Acting alongside Diane Gary in that scene was a tremendous honor, but she pushed aside her starstruck to prove that Eugene Aaron was right to take a gamble on her. The two actresses fed off each other so well that the director was satisfied with three shots (a master shot, a medium shot, and a close-up), wanting to preserve the profound intensity rather than weaken its potency for the sake of perfection.
To match Diane’s gut-wrenching cries, Tallulah constantly thought of her mother’s last night on Earth and the state in which she found the woman. The tears came easy. The rawness Mr. Aaron demanded of her was an exuding force that filled up the set. Even after the final “cut” was shouted to conclude the close-up shot, she trembled on the living room floor as she cradled Diane in her arms. The cinematographer aimed a handheld camera’s lens in their tear-stricken faces to produce a shaky effect in the final shot.
Emotionally drained and suffering from a deplorable headache, she asked a production assistant for some aspirin before she retreated to her sanctuary of her shoebox trailer and laid down on her couch. She was unsure of how much time passed as she lounged there, flinching and humming to work through sharp pain pierced her frontal lobe like hammered nails to wood.
The door to her trailer opened then shut, thudding footsteps drifted into her ears.
Probably, the PA, she thought. She lifted an arm and opened her palm for the aspirin bottle’s landing.
“Thank you,” she said. “I appreciate it.”
Instead of a bottle, she felt a peck and the graze of beard hairs at the center of her palm. “No thanks necessary.”
She rolled over onto her back and peered up at Nick tiredly. “You’d just get here?”
He bent at the waist and lifted her legs to settle himself on the couch before he lowered them onto his lap, plucking off her comfy white nurse shoes. “Mm-hm.”
She sighed, “What are you doing?”
He took ahold of her left foot and kneaded it. “Giving you a much needed massage.”
Tallulah bit her lip momentarily, relishing the attention. “Don’t you have something better to do?”
Just after she posed the question, a moan bubbled in her throat as his palpating thumbs worked on her foot’s arch.
He said, “You need me. That’s a better reason than any.”
The trailer door opened once more and a PA trotted up the steps, blinking in surprise at the interesting scene before him. In an embarrassed panic, she went to sit up as if they were getting caught red-handed, but Nick pinned her down with a threatening look—not missing a single beat as he continued to give her an incredible foot massage.
“Erm, I didn’t mean to intrude,” the PA stated nervously as he approached the couch. “Here’s the aspirin you requested, Ms. Edmond. I, also, brought you bottled water as well.”
The blonde-haired young man struggled to keep his eyes trained on Tallulah even though he fidgeted under stress with the closeness of Nick’s imposing presence.
“Thank you, Blake,” Tallulah said, accepting the items. “That will be all.”
Once the PA left, she treated her headache by crunching on a mouthful of pills and washing it down her throat with the chilled water. “That scene today with Diane Gary wiped me out. I just want to go home and sleep for three days straight. Mm, harder.”
He chuckled at her directive and fulfilled the demand. She closed her eyes and sighed in utter satisfaction as she felt tiny pops of surrender of her foot’s joints as he applied more pressure.
“That feels amazing.”
“It’s good to know I haven't lost my touch,” Nick said, his grin stretching. “Back in the day, you’d always ask me for one of these after being on your feet all day at the steakhouse.”
Tallulah rolled her eyes and groaned at the memory. “Those double shifts were brutal.”
But she didn’t suffer through them in alone. Nick, too, worked labored in the kitchen, grilling up steaks and burgers. Her feet would be so sore and swollen he’d piggyback her up their five-story walk-up’s stairwell to get to their fourth-floor apartment in San Diego’s Cortez Hill. Once inside, they performed a fair tradeoff. She craved his foot massages and he melted like putty in her hands when she gave him a shoulder massage.
“Those were the days,” he said as he bestowed his attention to her other foot. “Now, we’ve gone from me rubbing down your feet in a coach-infested apartment to your movie set trailer.”
She laughed bashfully. “I guess I’m on the come up now.”
“You can come up on my lap and do your end of the bargain,” Nick said with a smirk as he stopped his task. “I need some attention too.”
Tallulah pursed her lips and begrudgingly straddled his lap, planting her hands on his shoulders and squeezing at them like she used to. “You always get attention.”
He leaned in and pecked her glittery blue lips, his hands bracing her hips. “None of it’s from you, so don’t deny me my right to complain.”
Her cellphone chimed and she stiffened, pausing briefly in her massage.
Nick arched an eyebrow. “What’s that?”
“A notification,” she admitted, clearing her throat.
She replied hesitantly, “Hollywood Laundry.”
Yes, Tallulah Edmond had finally joined the gossip site’s notification squad. She knew it wasn’t for the best, but she couldn’t help it. She wanted to be in the know about what they knew.
Nick gave her a hard smack on the ass and she bit her lip, taking the punishment.
“Where I come from we’ve got a sayin’: a hard head makes a soft bottom,” he said, his southern accent making its rare appearance. “You know what that means right, Desiree? It means when you don’t listen, there’s consequences. It isn’t going to do you any good reading that foolishness.”
“I hadn’t read it,” she assured.
Yet, she added inwardly.
Nick narrowed his blue eyes. “I wasn’t born yesterday, Ray. Trust me when I say it doesn’t matter what Hollywood Laundry or any other celebrity gossip whatever-the-fuck thinks. What’s written, what’s said, what’s speculated doesn’t define who you are. Doesn’t define us.”
“I know that, Nicholas,” she whispered meekly.
“I don’t think you do,” he said, “but you’ll learn the hard way if that what it takes. I know I had to, but the only difference between you and I is I had to figure that out alone and you won’t be when that ‘lesson learned’ moment comes.”
Tallulah pursed her lips, aching for this conversation to be over. “Can I go back to massaging your shoulders now?”
“No, but you can massage my ego by making them pretty noises when I kiss those plump blueberry lips,” he stated, alluding to the blue lipstick her character Camille was to wear to compliment the Dory scrubs. An instant later, he captured her mouth and his hands grabbed palmfuls of her ass, yanking her closer to him. She cupped his bearded face and cocked her head, relishing the feel of his sly tongue stroking and dancing around hers beckoningly--commandingly.
A moan vibrated in her chest and throat. Her phone rang and like a reflex she was unable to stop, she glanced over her shoulder to peek at the device thereby breaking the kiss. It was Tammy’s ringtone. Nick growled his frustration.
Realizing her mistake, she returned her attention to him. “I have to get this.”
She gave him a peck to lessen the damage, but he still wasn’t happy as she climbed off his lap and rushed to the phone.
“Hey, Tammy,” she answered and mouthed a ‘I’m sorry’ over her shoulder to Nick. It was her talent agent calling about another audition request, which brought the total to nine. Tallulah did a lot of mm-hm’s and okay’s during the seven-minute conversation and when she was able to get an ecstatic Tammy off the phone, she swirled on her heels to look at him guiltily.
“I had to take that,” she said, eyeing an irked Nick from a safe distance.
He rose from the couch and closed the space between them. “When your ex-husband is kissing the hell out of you and your phone rings, letting the call go to voicemail is a viable choice.”
“I’ll make it up to you tonight,” she promised in a singsong tone and smiled sweetly, cocking her chin up to gaze up at him as he neared.
“And how will you do that?”
“Let me worry about that,” she said, smoothing her thumb across his lips to erase a faint blue tint left by her lipstick.
Tallulah pleaded frantically, “Wait, Ryland! You know she didn’t mean it!”
An infuriated Nick held an upset Naomi’s hand, leading his love interest away from the intense spat that was supposed to have occurred inside the house with his character’s mother. A scene that was scheduled to be filmed tomorrow. She rushed down the porch stairs, her foot missed a step, causing her to fall forward. Her head banged against the concrete awaiting her.
She cried out. Some rushed for her, but Nick broke through them, going to her. She rolled onto her back and sat up, cradling the corner of her forehead. She drew back shaky fingers coated in blood.
“You OK, Ray?” Nick demanded an answer. “Answer me, baby. Answer me.”
Tallulah stared at him in a daze and she nodded. “I think so.”
It was a lie, but she didn’t need him making a scene about it.
“Get the medic,” Nick barked. “Now!”
A medic arrived in no time with his red first aid bag and he squat down, performing a mini exam on her then and there. With a nod, he concluded that she nothing more than suffered a bloody scrape and a bad headache. He recommended that they went to her trailer to patch her up and for her to rest until she was well enough to stand on her own two feet.
“I’ll take her to mine.” Nick scooped her up and walked off set. As he carried her away, Tallulah caught a glimpse of a blank-faced Naomi. She held her tongue because she didn’t want to cause a scene. A production assistant opened the door to Nick’s trailer and she muttered a thanks to the woman in passing.
Nick placed her on a neatly made bed at the back of his spacious trailer. The medic cleaned up her injury, patched her up with a bandage, gave her painkillers, and gave her a cold compress before he finally left. Like a vigilant guard, he lingered at the foot of the bed with crossed arms and a clenched jaw as he watched.
Now alone, her eyelids fluttered shut and she heaved a sigh. “Well, that was embarrassing.”
“You know accidents are abundant in this business, Ray,” Nick reassured. “Gotta get good material for the gag reel. Maybe, I’ll tell the editor to add one of those cartoonish boink sound effect to enhance the moment.”
She burst out laughing which intensified her headache, but she mustered enough strength to hawk a pillow at him. “Shut up, Nick.”
“My blunders are quite well-known,” he said. “Broke my arm while filming a stunt scene in Wicked People. Got knocked into a 2-day coma in Dangerous Means. I got 23 stitches when I crashed a car during the filming of Full Throttle. In Bad Habits, I—”
“I think I get the full picture,” she interjected teasingly. “You think it’s the day’s a wrap?”
“If they know what’s good for them,” Nick said. “I need to get you home, so I can nurse you back to health.”
Tallulah rolled her eyes, readjusting the cold compress. “It’s just a scrape, Nicholas. Not a Vietnam War wound.”
Nick nodded as if he understood her completely. “Mm-hm. Still going to take care of you though.”
She shook her head at his stubbornness. “I’m not even going to argue with you.”
“Good, it would be a waste of breath if you did,” he said.
Milo burst into her bedroom with his short light brown hair gelled into a classy comb-over and his school uniform. With her back propped up on a mountain of pillows, she smiled at his arrival, but lifted a curious eyebrow at his hair. He climbed onto the bed and gave her an impressive hug and kiss on the cheek.
“I’ve missed you,” he said.
“I know, kiddo,” Tallulah sighed, giving his forehead a peck.
The last time he saw her was early yesterday morning.
She leaned back to get a good look at him, grazing her fingers along his little hairdo. “Well, don’t you look all handsome today. Who did your hair?”
Milo blushed. “Dad did it.”
Tallulah blinked in surprise. “Wow, he had a fantastic job. It suits you.”
She imagined Nick standing in the bathroom mirror behind Milo and meticulously styling his sandy brown hair with a comb and a container of hair gel.
Her son climbed off the bed and adjusted his uniform’s navy and yellow tie with a grin. “Julissa thinks so too.”
Intrigued, Tallulah cocked a head and crossed her arms. “And who’s Julissa?”
Milo’s blush deepened. “She’s my new friend at school. She’s really nice. She likes dinosaurs just like me, but we always get into arguments about which time period is better. She thinks the Jurassic period is the best and I think Cretaceous period is.”
“Well, I would love to meet this really-nice Julissa some time very soon,” she said. “Maybe, we can setup a playdate and visit the Natural Museum.”
He scrunched his face. “Playdates are for babies, Mom.”
Tallulah placed a hand on her chest, pretending to be hurt. “You’re my baby.”
“I’m almost a pre-teen,” Milo said, puffing out his chest.
“Alright, no to a playdate then, Mr. Almost-Preteen,” she teased.
A cellphone ringed and for the first time that day it wasn’t hers. Milo’s eyes widened and shrugged off his backpack, fishing out a cell Tallulah didn’t remember giving him. Deep in her gut, she felt Nick had something to do with it.
He answered it, “Hi, Julissa. What’s up?”
The mother-son conversation was officially over as he walked goodbye to Tallulah while talking to Julissa about homework, making his way to the bedroom door. Nick appeared in the doorway with a lifted eyebrow and watched as Milo slipped past him and laughed at something his little friend.
“Milo told me about the morning barbershop session,” Tallulah said.
Nick admitted, “I found him trying to do his hair and decided to help him out.”
“That’s kind of you.”
“That’s not being kind. That’s being a father, Ray,” he corrected.
Tallulah pinched the bridge of her nose, feeling like an absolute fool for even saying that. “Right, of course.”
Nick entered her room. “How’s your head?”
He chuckled as he arrived at her bedside. “Then how’s your behind?”