The alarm went off at 6:00 am and I didn’t want to get up. I rolled over and tried to burrow back down into the covers. It was still dark out and I didn’t want to go to the set anyway. Not only was it boring, Rachel would be there. Well okay, so maybe it wouldn’t be boring I told myself; look at the pleasure I could take in being there with Adam. That had to irritate her I thought. And – maybe I could nose around a bit and see if anyone was doing anything suspicious!
Sarah Marcus, Private Eye! I thought it had a good ring. But then I also thought my doctor’s troll dolls were kind of cute. Hmm, something to think about.
Adam rolled over and pulled me close to him. “Good morning love.”
“I thought famous movie stars could maybe come in to the set much later, like oh say, 9:00 am. Yeah, that sounds much better, don’t you think?”
“Why yes I do. Unfortunately my director won’t. Come on, up you go,” he told me, standing up and holding his hand out to me.
He sneezed then, a sound that in the quiet dawn of morning was comparable to a sonic boom and besides rattling the windows, it thoroughly woke me up.
“Okay, okay. No need to torture me. I’m up.”
He sneezed yet again and the sound was horrid. “Adam, please, take your medication!”
He came walking out of the bathroom and turned the light on in the bedroom. “Just did. I believe you are cranky this morning,” he said, kneeling down between my legs as I sat on the edge of the bed. “I would never have suspected!” he laughed.
“Suspected what?” I grumbled.
“That you are this hard to wake up! Well, this early anyway!”
I giggled, I couldn’t help it. I didn’t know why I was so grumpy this morning, but I was determined to get past it. Without doing him bodily harm that is.
“Okay, let me hit the shower.”
“Um, shall I join you?” he asked, smiling the dimple smile at me.
“Thought you were tired?”
“That was last night love. I feel exceptionally good this morning!” he teased.
How can you be upset with such enthusiasm I wondered? Never mind anyway because I knew we didn’t have time and so did he.
“C’mon, I’ll wash your back and you can wash mine.”
“What about your front?” he asked, a sparkle lighting his eyes.
“We’ll see. Let’s go!”
In the end we each washed our own fronts and even rushing we were almost late to the set. It was still dark out as we pulled through the gates of the studio although there were gold and rose colored streaks highlighting the eastern sky. We drove through the studio lots until we got to lot 49 B, where they were filming.
The whole studio was huge; we drove for a mile to get to the correct lot. Since it was still dark I couldn’t see much but I bet it would be interesting during the day. Adam pulled into his assigned parking space and we went into the cavernous building and walked past furniture and set backdrops and lots of equipment used for moving it all around. Along the right side was a hallway leading to the dressing rooms, make up and waiting rooms. People were everywhere and even for being so early in the day there was lots of noise; hammers and saws and just humanity. Out here in the hallway we would have to yell to be heard.
After we got into Adam’s dressing room it wasn’t really any quieter because the walls were apparently very thin. I looked around the room, but again as in Italy it seemed very bare, perfunctory. Nothing personal except for a picture I saw a few minutes later. It was of Adam and me, taken in Italy on the tower. He had evidently taken it out of the developed pictures from my house and it was leaning against the mirror on the vanity. It was a very sweet and endearing thing for him to have done.
We had only been in the dressing room for a couple of minutes when there was a knock on the door. Without waiting for a reply, Sunni opened the door and came in.
“Well, good morning you two. How was the flight down? Adam, they want you in makeup in ten minutes,” she said in typical Sunni fashion, going a hundred miles an hour.
“Hi Sunni,” I said, smiling at her. She just made me feel happy because energy just seemed to emanate from her. It was a good feeling, warm and cheerful.
“Hi Sarah. Welcome to Texas. Adam, you need to change into number 27 okay, and then get to makeup!” she said, pointing towards the door. “Sarah, if you are hungry there is coffee and pastries out the door and further down the hall to the right. Adam, Krista is bringing you some coffee and a bagel, okay? Gotta go, see you!” she said, lifting her hand in a distracted wave and then, whoosh, the door was closed and she was gone.
That’s the whirlwind I remembered I thought with a laugh.
Adam started changing into an outfit labeled ‘27’ and was just finishing when there was another knock on the door, but this time no one entered immediately.
“Come in,” Adam said.
Krista walked in with a small tray that had coffee and bagels on it. “I brought some for you too Sarah, if that’s okay?” she said hesitantly.
I smiled at her and said, “Yes, that was very thoughtful Krista. Thank you very much.”
She set the tray down on the vanity and reminded Adam he needed to get to makeup in a few minutes. “They are running a bit behind; Rachel is in there and apparently not in the best of moods,” she told us with a shrug before leaving.
“Hm," I murmured. “Is the big love scene today? Is that why she is in a bad mood?”
“I rather think she’ll be in a good mood for that, if for no other reason than that she will know that I loathe it I think. Not sure what’s got her twisting today. Now, how do I look?” he asked, taking a sip of the coffee.
He had never before asked me how he looked in something and I thought it was cute. Of course, he looked fabulous. He was dressed in charcoal grey pinstripe slacks, a pale dove grey shirt and a tie that had both shades in it as well as deep blue and blood red. He looked gorgeous and about as different from himself as I could ever imagine. I remembered back to the shoot in Italy and how they had sort of flattened his naturally curls in his hair and I realized how much he was already taking on the character he was playing. His bearing was different and he just seemed more formal.
After only a few bites of the bagel he said, “C’mon, I’ve got to get to makeup and you can come with me. Unless you would prefer to stay here?”
“No, I’ll come with you,” I told him, thinking this could be very interesting.
We left the dressing room and headed down the long hallway again, going past a dozen different doors before finally stopping in front of a door that said ‘makeup’ on it. He straightened his tie and then opened the door and we walked in.
It was a very large room with several chairs sitting before brightly lit mirrors. There were actually several different kinds of lights in the room and I later found out that was to simulate different types of lighting for movies and I thought that seemed interesting. Along a counter was every color and shade of makeup imaginable as well as hair care and styling products too. On the opposite wall were sinks in an area clearly designed to do hair. A woman nodded to Adam as we walked in and pointed to a chair in the sink area. I took one of the seats near the wall and looked around the room again, still taking everything in.
Rachel wasn’t here, and I didn’t know if I was upset about that or not. Paul Hallenbach was in a make up chair and it just seemed so odd to see men being made up. They use all this makeup on them that makes them look as if they are wearing none at all, so really, what is the point? But Adam told me the difference is characters that look natural as opposed to ones that are completely washed out in front of the cameras. I guess I’ll have to take his word for it.
Someone had a radio going that was tuned to a local Dallas station and surprisingly it wasn’t country music. I would have thought with amusement that it would be sacrilegious to listen to anything but country in Texas. The song that started playing was Fleetwood Mac, Peacekeeper which is a very interesting song. I’m not exactly sure whether it’s supposed to be about war or love. I like the song a lot, it always makes me feel like moving; my body just seems to take on its own rhythm when I hear it.
Peacekeeper take your time wait for
the dark of night
Soon all the suns will rise
Peacekeeper don’t tell why don’t be
afraid to fight
Love is the sweet surprise
I sat there tapping my foot to the music and watched as they used a straightening iron in an attempt to tame Adam’s curls and waves. It wasn’t quite successful, but did smooth it quite a bit. I decided I hated it. After that he moved over to the makeup side and I was again fascinated watching what they did to him; applying a foundation and a hint of blush and then finally mascara. I almost laughed at that because Adam has the most gorgeous lashes all on his own. When he was done, I stared at him, not sure of what I thought; he was Adam, and yet not.
He smiled at me then, amusement showing clearly in his eyes. I had the feeling he knew exactly what I thought and it wasn’t really a comforting thought. I wanted to ask where my Adam was, but it seemed a silly question since he was for all practical purposes right here. Or not.
Sunni showed up then, as if knowing by magic that he was done and led us out to the set, where the scenes were being shot. The scene looked like a study or living room in an expensive house and if there had been a ceiling and four walls you wouldn’t have known that you weren’t in one. Off to the left they were working on another scene set up, a bedroom. My eyes narrowed suspiciously as I stared at that bed and wondered if it was for the scene with Adam and Rachel.
We still hadn’t seen her anywhere and I decided that was good. I hoped she appeared at the last possible moment and I remembered in Italy that that had been exactly what she had done. Paul Hallenbach came over and started chatting with Adam about the scene and it gave me time to look around again.
A hundred things were going on here and it was interesting to watch. As in Italy, it all seemed impossibly orchestrated, the movement and flow I mean. I would never be that organized and graceful I was sure. No one knocked anyone else over with a ladder or conked them in the head with a mike boom. It was amazing to watch. I still had the song Peacekeeper flowing through my mind and the rhythm of it was perfect for everything that was going on; the movement of the people seemed perfectly in tempo with the beat.
They started calling for quiet on the set and Adam and Paul, who played his brother in the movie moved on set and Rachel choose that moment to make her appearance. She was dressed in a beautiful royal blue Chanel suit and it was perfect for her. Or maybe it was a knock off, but somehow I doubted it. It was tailored and fit her slim body perfectly. Her hair was up-swept into an elegant French roll and looked stunning. My confidence suddenly took a huge dip.
Not because I was worried about Adam’s reaction to her, but geez, how could she not feel like a - a princess in that get up? How do you stand strong against that?
Sunni made another quick appearance and led me to some chairs that were out of the way. Her mind seemed to have dozens of things going on in it and she left me again, rushing off to do something else. I still hadn’t had much of a chance to talk with her and I decided that whatever they paid her wasn’t enough!
I spotted Krista speaking with the director; they were looking through a camera at a screen where they watch the film. I don’t really understand much about that, but it lets them see the movie in the same format and layout that an audience does. He was gesturing at the screen, obviously explaining something to her and the look on her face showed she was paying close attention. She was eating up everything he was saying and I decided that maybe we had misjudged Krista after all; she was young and eager to learn and maybe that’s what all her intensity in Italy was about.
All the extraneous noise was quieting as Adam, Paul and Rachel took their places in the ‘study’. The board went ‘clap’ and the scene number and take was announced and the director yelled ‘action’ and it all began.
The scene had them discussing the news that their family was being blackmailed and Rachel had a line that read: "Really? And just who are they anyway, to think they can blackmail us? Ridiculous!"
They re-did the scene a half dozen times and the director clearly wasn’t pleased with Rachel’s performance. To be fair to Rachel, I didn’t understand what his objection was. It sounded the same to me every time really. After the seventh take he yelled, “Rachel, do you have a poker up your ass today or what? Your family is being blackmailed for Gods’ sake. Show a little emotion! Think about all the money you’ll have to just give away; that ought to make you angry. Now one more time.”
“Of course darling,” she said in a syrupy sweet voice. They did the scene one more time and when it was done and he said “Print”, Rachel looked at him with an icy glare and left the set, her head held at an almost impossibly high angle. It had taken a little over 3 hours to do that 5 minute scene and everyone seemed frazzled. Adam and Paul headed over to where I was sitting watching what seemed to me a fiasco and what apparently to them was just normal.
God I would hate a job like this.
They called a 30 minute break while the next scene was moved in and lit. Adam headed straight to the food tables, rummaging around for something to eat. I remembered that morning that he had only eaten a few bites of his bagel and I was sure he must be starving. He grabbed an apple and bit into it and smiled in appreciation as he chewed. Maybe this is why he’s so thin; when they were working on movies they don’t get to eat much.
After he finished the apple he drank a glass of milk it was time to go back to the set. I drank a diet coke and followed them back, again taking my seat. It wasn’t the bedroom set I saw them working on but was actually a car, or sort of a car anyway. There was a big blue screen behind it and this scene only involved Paul and Adam I noticed. They were in the car and went through their scene very quickly; in only 3 takes actually. Not bad I thought and it only took an hour.
A lunch break was called and Adam and I retreated to his dressing room where someone, Sunni probably had already brought in lunch for us. I was hungry too but as we settled down to eat a chilling thought occurred to me. Someone had brought this food and it could easily have been tampered with.
“Adam, should we eat this? Or really you I mean? What if someone, uh well, you know, put something in it?” I reached out and laid my hand on top of his as he picked up his fork in preparation to eat. We looked at the lunch, chicken salad on croissants and mixed fruit compote. And iced tea, in glasses.
He frowned for a moment and thought about what I said. “I don’t know really. I mean I ate it all last week and I’m fine, had no problems.”
“Who brought the food?”
“I don’t know actually, I never saw anyone. I did tell them I only wanted to drink bottled water, in the bottle unopened. I’m sure several people thought I was being a prat because that’s not like me, the whole prima donna thing I mean.”
“I don’t know Adam. I just don’t know who we should trust, you know? If we should trust any of them.”
We sat there in silence for a minute and were trying to make up our minds what to do when there was a knock on the door. When it wasn’t opened immediately Adam called out, “Come in.”
Krista stepped in and nodded to the food and said, “I hope you like that; I wasn’t really sure what to bring you. And oh, I forgot that you only want bottled water to drink so I brought these for you. Sarah, I wasn’t sure what you would want.” She handed a bottle of water to each of us and then picked up one of the glasses of tea, the one sitting in front of Adam and took a long drink. “They really do make great tea here, if you can stand it without sugar, that is.” She pointed to herself and laughed, “Total southern girl here, give me sugar!” She finished the glass and sat it back down on the table.
“Thank you for the water Krista,” I told her, smiling at her. “Oh, and the lunch too.”
“Yeah, well I just want you to be able to relax while you can. The stuff this afternoon is going to be intense.” She walked to the door and opened it, leaning against it for a moment then said, “I just wanted you to know that I will be the one providing you your meals while we’re here. I pulled the lucky straw!” She closed the door and Adam and I just stared at one another.
Adam sat there and rubbed his hand over his mouth and then down his jaw before licking his lips. “Okay, what was that about?”
“I don’t have a clue for sure,” I admitted, “but I think she just gave us a message Adam.”
“Message?” he said distractedly. “What message?”
“I think she was telling us and showing us it was okay to eat and drink.” He leaned back in his chair and pursed his lips. “Adam, do you think I’m right?”
“As strange as that seems, you could be right. But that poses the question, why does she think it hasn’t been safe?”
I could only return his gaze in puzzlement. That was an excellent question.
As we walked around picking up odds and ends Adam seemed to finally start relaxing a bit and by the time we had paid and left the store he actually smiled. That was a miraculous thing I decided. I hadn’t seen a smile out of him for most of the day.
He was sneezing by the time we got home; it was time for more medicine. It works really quickly I decided when his sneezes stopped almost immediately.
I pointed him in the direction of the shower and told him, “You are just going to have to make do with my cooking for dinner. Get in there and wash the day off of yourself; you’ll feel better.”
He gave me a downcast smile and headed off without a word. I went into the kitchen and began preparations for some dinner. I looked at everything we bought and decided I had everything I needed to make Italian style potato soup with some Italian sausage in it. Yeah, I normally liked it on cold days, but I think Adam’s soul was chilled tonight and it was good comfort food. I learned the recipe from an Italian neighbor when I live in Vicenza and it has always been a family favorite. It’s a simple meal, but hearty and I went to work, chopping the sausage and cooking it to crisp up the skin while I boiled the potatoes and shallots. The smells were enticing by the time that Adam came downstairs wrapped in his thick, fluffy blue bathrobe.
“Oh my, that smells heavenly. I’m quite hungry. What are you making?” he asked, nibbling on my neck, which was very distracting.
I sort of slid away from him with a laugh. “It’s Italian potato soup with sausage. I hope you’ll like it.” I pointed to a baguette that we had bought at the store that was on a counter on the other side of the kitchen. “Can you hand me that? I want to get it into the oven to heat.”
He walked across the room to grab the bread and held it out to me. When I reached out for it he pulled my hand and brought me right into his arms, his warm mouth finding my own.
“Um,” I said. “Your dinner is never going to get done if you keep that up! How are you Adam?” I asked, holding him against me. My cheek was pressed against his chest and I could hear his heart beating surely and steadily and I felt comforted, just being close. It had been a stressful day for both of us I think.
“Hey, I saw a stereo in the living room. For fun after we eat you can play with the equalizer, really knock yourself out for old times’ sake!” I felt his laughter rumbling through his chest.
“You really do have a terribly wicked side you know,” I giggled, rolling my eyes in exaggeration. “You are shameless!”
“And you are beautiful. My God I love you Sarah. Thank you for being with me. I don’t think I could have stood this day without you.”
“Was it bad last week Adam?” I asked, half afraid of the answer.
“Yeah, yeah it was. I missed you so much.”
“I know Adam, I know. I missed you too.” I cleared my throat because I was afraid I was going to cry and then pulled myself out of his arms. “I need to tend to this soup or you will be eating burnt potato soup!”
I picked up the wooden spoon I had been using and stirred the pot several times around to make sure it wasn’t sticking and then tossed in a big handful of chopped fresh spinach. I added the roux and the cream to it and soon it was thick and wonderful. My mouth was watering and I was anxious to eat. I think I had been hanging around Adam too much!
“Adam, will you get some bowls out please, and some silverware?” I asked, opening the oven to check and see if the bread had warmed. I touched it and it was hot to my fingers and I grabbed a towel and pulled it out so it could set for a couple of minutes before we ate it. Adam opened a bottle of white wine that was in the fridge and found some wine glasses to pour it into. I ladled the soup into the bowls and brought the bread to the table. I decided we could be like the Italians and just pull off a hunk to dip into the soup.
Adam eagerly dug into his bowl of soup and sipped appreciatively. “Ooh, this is fantastic. Really good…” he said, continuing to eat. He pulled off a hunk of bread and got into the spirit by dipping it into the soup. “It feels kind of good, eating something that someone cooked for me for a change. Thank you love.”
And with that statement Adam had finally hit the nail on the head. Millions of women understand that situation right there. Having someone cook for us, other than popping a bowl of popcorn anyway. I smiled inwardly and managed to tell him, “Thank you. I’m glad you like it. Stella taught me to make it when I lived in Italy.”
“Stella was the Italian lady that lived across the street from you if I remember correctly?”
“Um hm. I learned a lot from her about Italian cooking actually. She was wonderful. I wonder if she still lives there?”
“Well, why don’t we go back to Italy when the picture is done and look her up? Would you like that love?” He yawned then, covering his mouth with his hand and flashed me an embarrassed look. “Sorry.”
“No problem and yeah, I think I would love to go back to Italy with you Adam.”
“Good, then we shall.”
We finished our dinner and the bottle of wine, happy to just enjoy and relax after the crazy day. My phone rang and it was Lissa and I chatted with her a bit about the movie set and everything. She was so enthusiastic about it, charmed by the glitz and glamor in a way I just couldn’t relate to. And, she wanted to know all about Rachel and that was difficult for me to talk about with any enthusiasm at all.
She finally asked me what was wrong and I told her I was just tired; that it had been a very long day which was true, as far as it went. I changed the subject by asking about her new doctor friend and she laughed and told me they had a quick lunch in between her classes today and that she had told him about her concerns about her life and time. He told her he completely understood; after all, he had been through all of those things too. He has agreed to not add any pressure to her and let her decide when she can fit him in and that pleased her a great deal.
“You know Lissa, you’ve never even told me his name!” I told her.
“I haven’t? Well, it’s Grant. Grant Shipman. Dr. Grant Shipman,” she laughed.
“I think you kind of like that name Lissa.”
“I think I kind of like him Mom!” she told me. “Hey, I gotta go Mom. I love you Mom; please tell Adam ditto, okay?”
“Ditto baby, bye,” I said with a smile and then the line went silent.
We got the kitchen cleaned up and then even though it was only 9 o’clock we went up to bed. Both of us were exhausted and Adam couldn’t seem to keep his eyes open. We held one another close, and soon we were both asleep.
When the alarm rang at 6:00 am again I groaned and knew that I really wanted to hide away – today was the big love scene with Rachel and I knew I’d rather be anywhere on earth but at that studio.
This is what building character is all about, isn’t it?