This story is a continuation from part one of the short story which can be found here.
The Day it Happened
He has been travelling for two hours. Countryside and small villages sped to a blur, like smudged works of art. He tried to catch the odd road sign to gauge where he was. If he was going to break out, then he needed to get his bearings. The two guards were enormous, he didn’t know them. He had not seen them before, but he did know that if one of them flicked him, he would be sparked out. The leader, his so-called friend, well, he could have him if needs be. Then comes the vehicle, what to do? Jump from a speeding van? Or wait for traffic lights, crack the leader dive out and leg it? He wanted to bide his time. When they got where they were going, he would assess the situation, be patient and seize his moment. He had funds and resources; he just needed to get to them.
After three hours, they arrived. The leader was the first out of the vehicle. He was greeted by a young woman, blonde very petite. She was wearing jeans and body warmer. She carried a clipboard and had a headset on. Crackles and indecipherable noise buzzed from a radio clipped to her belt at the small of her back. “It’s ok they’re here. Can you let Steve know? Hey darlin’ how are you babe? Lovely to see you.” She leaned up and kissed the leader on both cheeks. “Have you got him then?”
“Yeah, he’s in the back. Proper fuckin’ grumpy he is an’ all. Miserable bastard anyone would think we’d sent him to prison instead of a twenty grand a week fucking facility. Jesus, he’s like a kid.”
“Aww, babes. Can he work is he ok?”
“Yeah, he’s fine. He’s not talking to me, but I don’t give a shit. I saved his fuckin’ life. Again. My duties as his bleeding manager go well above and beyond. He’s a fuckin’ baby,”
A man approached in a black suit and dark glasses. He held out his hand “You’re Will? I’m Steve Woo, the director.”
“Of course you are mate. Huge fans by the way. We fuckin’ love your work. I am so happy that you agreed to do this. His nibs is over the moon too. But between us three we’ve just had to sneak him out of rehab. Hence, the body double and only one day of availability. Sorry about that.”
“It’s ok. We’re going to mo-cap his face for cutaways and long shots. We’ll get the main stuff we need with three run-throughs of the song and then we’ll get him on the helicopter rig and do all the wind machine shots. Is he alright to talk?”
“Yeah course, he’s not brain dead he just likes the booze and coke a bit too much. Hold on, I’ll go and get him.”
Will walked over to the minivan. The man was in there. He was sulking. The clothes they had given him were all black. Loakes shoes, straight black trousers, and a midnight black turtleneck. He sat in the back of the van with arms folded, narrow eyes and a surly top lip. “Come on cheer up! The director wants to have a word. Fuckin’ Steve Woo by the way. No need to thank me. Only the best mate.”
“I’m not going back.”
“You fuckin’ are mate. You’re with us now, and there are about thirty people whose mortgage payments depend on you selling bleedin’ records. So, you’re gonna shoot the video, and we are driving you back. And I’ll pick you up when you’re done. Again, no need to thank me.”
“Where’s the director? Do you need me out there or will he come here?”
“Go out and see him you lazy cunt. He needs to go through the shots with ya.”
The man climbed out of the van. He looked over the set. There were a couple of trailers and some articulated lorries with bulky cables running into them. A large canvass had been erected and had a cityscape painted on it. The man had to marvel at how real it looked. Close by there was a helicopter mounted on a small scaffolding rig. Below the rig, there was a camera mounted facing upwards. What the fuck? The man was cringing inside. He could not imagine what they were going to have him do now. He had come along way since his days with the band. With the Kings, it was always just about having a laugh. Capturing a live performance or larking about somewhere hot. Normally Ibiza. Nowadays every video was a Hollywood blockbuster. It was just more bullshit. Like the rehab facility.
Steve Woo hugged the man. “Great to meet you man. This is going to be so exciting. Let me show you around.” Steve took the lead and pointed out where effects would be going off. He spoke bits about the concept and the story. Steve showed the man a sound stage with a plain backdrop. “They are going to project various backgrounds on to it,” he explained. “Just like the old Bond films.”
“Oh ok.” Said the man.
“You see you are going to be a Bond character. A real slick son of a bitch and there will be explosions, rockets, bad guys all of whom you’ll vanquish and walk away or speedboat away with the girl.”
“Yes, we’ve got a model. She’s incredible.”
“Is that her?” The man said pointing to a young girl aimlessly pulling on tea from a paper cup.
“No. Fuck no. Shit! I don’t know who that is! Cassie! Cassie! Come here,” the woman in the bodywarmer ran over.
“Yes, what is it?”
“Who’s that?” Steve pointed to the young girl.
“The competition winner. Her name is ..” Cassie flicked through pages on her clipboard. “Lexi, Lexi Fox.”
“Fucking hell, that sounds like a Bond girl name. This is fate. Why is she here?”
“She won a competition, she gets to visit the set and meet him,” Cassie pointed at the man.
“Where’s her chaperone?” The man asked.
“She’s 19 she doesn’t need one. She drove up. She’s no bother. She’s nice, she’s excited about meeting you.” The man nodded slowly, all the while eyeing up Lexi. Perfect, he thought, this is just perfect.
For the majority of the morning, he stood on the soundstage and mimed to what was going to be the first single from his tricky second solo album. The first run through was crap. The second he danced a bit. The third, he paid attention to the choreographer and put in some effort. Being a rock star started to slowly come back to him. Sometimes it was hard for him to remember that he had one of the best jobs in the world.
What felt like twelve hours was actually two. One of the crew called a break, and the man felt a surge of ecstatic relief. Usually, he would go straight to his trailer, take a drink, a hit or do whatever was available, but not today. He walked straight towards Lexi. Will intercepted him. “Mate, meet and greet is later, after shooting just before we nip off. It’s ok, I’m on it.”
“I’m just going to say hello.”
“Yeah, now do one and let me have a chat with,” he paused and searched his thoughts.
“Lexi, her name’s Lexi.”
Lexi had not taken her eyes off the man since he arrived. He was the reason that she was here. She loved him. She’d loved him in the band, and she loved him solo. For as far back as she could remember, her heart had belonged to him. Now, he was walking towards her. She glanced over her shoulder. There was no one there. He was definitely coming towards her. She took a breath and smiled.
“Hey. Lexi, thanks for coming. Are you having a good time?” Lexi was breathless. “Yeah,” she gasped. The man looked around there was a bench set outside one of the production caravans. He motioned to the bench, “let’s grab a seat.” Lexi could breathe, just about. She looked at him. His skin was perfect. He was slim, he was stunning. He looked better than any poster. She wanted to touch him. Lexi took in a deep breath and sat down next to him.
“Where are you from?”
“Oh, erm the Midlands.”
“Right. Is that near here?” Lexi choked sprayed some tea, narrowly missing the man. Then she did a double take.
“We’re in Scotland.”
“Shit. Are we really in Scotland? Of course, we are, sorry. I just travel so much I tend to lose track.” He started to think. He had no resource in Scotland. He knew a few people, but he needed to be in London, Liverpool would do. This was going to be tough.
He consulted Kipling’s honest serving men. He focussed solely on Lexi, what do you do? Where do you work? It was all about her. He didn’t need to charm her, but his endless questions and interest in her made the girl putty in his hands. Lexi was having trouble dealing with this, she had heard that he could be difficult, his constant bouts of exhaustion made him seem like a poorly boy. But, he was nothing like what anyone said he was, he was caring and charming. Lexi was head over heels.
To Be Continued ….
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