“Why are we here?” Marc Rushing asked. Well, it was more of a whine, but the other man, the shorter and plumper and far more determined Charlie Wash, studiously ignored that fact. “You took one look at the people coming to audition and stormed out of there.”
“I couldn’t do it,” Charlie shrugged, shoving his hands into the pockets of his waterproof. It wasn’t really raining, though, only a bit grey. Charlie raised his shoulders and grimaced at the pavement. “Every single one of them looked so fake, so damned eager and ready to please. Half of those girls had barely any top on at all, for goodness sakes.”
“Those are the options, considering it’s an acting post. Professional actresses, who came to audition,” Marc pointed out. He looked around for a place to get out of the street and talk some sense into Charlie. The other man pushed steadily ahead, brushing past the myriad of people who walked along the street.
“I know that,” Charlie grumbled. “I just wish we could have cast the part from someone already established. At least that would be a known entity. At least then we would know that she could act. Instead we get these inexperienced acting school monstrosities who would as soon throw themselves on top of us as actually read a line.”
“You’re the one who wanted someone new, someone unheard of. You said, and I quote, ‘we need someone that the world doesn’t know, who just grounds the whole film’. Which is exactly what I put in the advert,” Marc stopped in front of a brownstone building and rubbed his temple. “Look, Charlie. It’s not as if we can just pluck someone off of the street, okay? Why don’t we just go back, I can handle the initial audition and we’ll go from there, okay?”
Charlie shuffled his feet on the sidewalk and worried at his lip, the sign that he was thinking. He froze, lifted his head and put on a grin that had Marc quaking in his top-of-the-line shoes. “You are an absolute genius.”
“Oh, bugger. What did I do this time?” As soon as Charlie got one of these ideas into his head, there was no stopping him. Marc knew; he’d been working for Charlie for years. That was what made Charlie the best director out there. His money made him a producer, but people knew him for the films. And these wild ideas made Charlie that much better than the rest. They gave Marc a headache most days, and dealing with the results had occasionally been the stuff of nightmares, but that didn’t matter. Not when it came to Charlie Wash’s vision.
“Pluck someone off the street,” Charlie grinned like a schoolboy and even went so far as to give a little twirl. Some of the people walking past gave the pair a sideways look before hurrying on. “That’s exactly what we’ll do.”
“You can’t be serious. You want to take some unsuspecting girl out of her life and throw her into a movie with some of the well known names in movies and expect everything to turn out alright? This is, by far, the craziest idea you’ve yet had,” Marc hissed, his eyes wide as he tried to impress onto the director just how insane the idea was. Charlie waved a plump hand dismissively.
“It was your idea,” he practically purred.
Marc rubbed his temple again and wished that he hadn’t said anything. Things were generally safer, if he did that. He looked at the building they were leaning against and saw that it was a cafe. “You know what, let’s go in here, have a nice cup of calming tea and a couple of scones and we’ll talk this out. I’ll deal with the auditions, I swear, if you’ll just give up this notion of--”
“Not a chance, Marc,” Charlie said, pulling open the door and marching into the cafe. “You’re my assistant and that is exactly what you are going to do. Assist. Now, come on. I’m going to need some food if I have to hunt down a girl today.” Marc cursed, hunched his shoulders and dutifully followed his boss. It looked as though it was going to be a very long day.
There was no one behind the counter and there were no other customers. The cafe would have appeared closed, were it not for the soft classical music coming through the speakers, the lights illuminating a classic and timeless décor and the multitude of pastries in the glass case. As the door closed behind Marc, a soft feminine voice called from the back, “I’ll be with you in a moment.”
Charlie took that as an unspoken blessing to peruse the pastries and exclaim over each one. Marc gladly seized on the food as a distraction from this ridiculous search for something that could never be. No sooner than had he decided on a cup of tea and the delicious-looking apple tart, then the person belonging to the voice came out and all Marc’s hopes were dashed. She was beautiful, with a relatively slim figure with curves in the proper places; her hair was chestnut brown and put back in a bun, though strands had escaped their hold; she had softly coloured skin in a pale peach. Most of all, though, was that her eyes were a deep blue and quietly sad. Without a single word from Charlie, apart from a gasp, Marc knew.
This woman, young and lovely, was going to be the leading lady in Charlie Wash’s newest film. Heaven help her.