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HAD SOME DRINKS- Part I

HAD SOME DRINKS

I’ve been around, brought you down, it’s true

I had some drinks and said some things to you

If I said too much, I know you’re mine to lose

Don’t give a fuck, yeah actually I do.

I

Lucy grabbed two cans of Pepsi from the fridge and walked to the sofa where James was sitting ordering some takeaway pizza.

“Get three pizzas, please,” she said, sitting with her legs crossed.

“Are you around your period again?” He asked.

Lucy shoved him and mocked a laugh.

“No dummy, very funny! It’s for Ian.”

James looked up at her.

“Ian as in my agent?”

Lucy nodded, busying herself with her can.

“Why is Ian coming over?” He asked, bemused.

Lucy cleared her throat.

“Well, the nominations are today and we thought we could watch the ceremony...plus he wants to check on you in person.”

James put his phone down.

“Lucy, you should know that’s the last thing I want to be watching today...”

Lucy squeezed his hand.

“People make mistakes James but you’ve been owning up to yours brilliantly...”

James scoffed, Lucy continued.

“James, your interviews have been so well received! I know you’ve done really well at distancing yourself from the situation but you’ve also missed out on all the support you’ve been getting.”

“So?”

“So maybe there is a chance.” Then, to reinforce her position she added: “Ian thinks so too.”

James looked at her with dismay.

“So you two have been conspiring?” He asked, incredulous.

“No, well yes but only because we care about you!”

James sighed heavily.

“Is this why you proposed pizza for lunch? To console me with greasy cheese when I actually turn out to be right?”

Lucy chuckled.

“And ice cream,” she said. “And I promise I will reward you very highly if you turn out to be right,” she added with a mischievous smile.

James scoffed, with a grin.

“Well, now I really hope I’m right”.

As they got lost in a deep kiss the doorbell rang, James reluctantly let her go and Lucy fixed herself before opening the door.

“Hello Lucy, it’s nice to see you,” said Ian walking through the door.

Lucy reciprocated the greeting and leaned for a quick pack on the cheek.

“I see you two got quite familiar,” noted James as he stood up.

“Oh relax,” replied the agent taking off his coat. “I’m a married man.”

James rolled his eyes and walked to greet him.

“That’s not what I meant,” he said as the two shook hands.

Lucy took the man’s coat asking

“May I offer you a drink?”

Ian took some water and sat on the high stool at the kitchen counter.

“The ceremony is in thirty minutes, pizzas should be here soon,” said Lucy busying herself with plates and cutlery.

Ian nodded in response then turned to James.

“How are you, buddy?”

James tilted his head from side to side.

“I think I’m good, although I’m quite nervous for this,” he pointed at the TV screen. “You surely threw me a curveball”.

Ian held his hands up and said: “I’m sorry. I will make it up to you...”

James shrugged then continued.

“I had chosen to ignore the ceremony because I knew there was no chance, I didn’t want to add it to my lists of grievances. I’m quite anxious, to be honest...”

Ian patted his shoulder.

“Yet, you’re still here...”

“Yet I’m still here,” he conceded. “It’s just another sign of madness...”

Lucy sat on the sofa next to him and pulled him closer with one arm, kissing his cheek.

“Baby you’re such a talented artist, you should give the academy more credit. They don’t care about your personal life, many artists have been praised for their career despite their personal life.”

James scoffed.

“You’re biased because you’re in love with me.”

“I’m not in love with you and I agree,” said Ian quickly lifting his hand.

“Never heard of Marlon Brando?”

James looked quickly from his girlfriend to his manager and frowned.

“I don’t like you two together. You’re like a weird Mulder and Skully, it makes me uncomfortable...”

The two started laughing.

“Well, we will see,” said Lucy grabbing his chin. “The truth is out there!” She added with a grave voice, widening her eyes and hinting at the TV.

Thirty minutes later the three became suddenly quiet as the ceremony opened with its intro music and an out of camera voice introduced the show.

“Live from the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, please welcome the president of the Academy David Ruben”.

The camera moved from the theatre to the president who gave a brief presentation and explained how the nominees were picked, then passed the stage to the two hosts.

An Asian man in a black suit and a Black woman in a smart electric blue dress appeared on the screen and introduced themselves.

“Hello everyone I’m John and this is Isa, we’re here today to announce the nominees for the twenty-four categories in this year’s Academy Awards”.

The woman nodded with a smile and chimed in.

“We had prepared a very touching introduction speech, but then realised that all people want to hear are the nominations, can you believe it? Anyway, let’s dive right in, shall we?”

The hosts started to alternatingly announce the nominees beginning with supporting actress, for which Karen received a nomination causing James to clap loudly with joy. Then they moved on to costume design, sound mix and editing, original score and so on.

As the nominations went by the group grew silent again and Lucy could see James’ anxiety through his fidgeting leg and the way he would bite his nail. She gently placed her hand on his thigh as reassurance.

Ten minutes into the ceremony, James suddenly stood up.

“I’m sorry, I can’t do this, it’s too nervewracking,” he said and, grabbing his leather jacket, he left the studio, leaving Lucy and Ian with a confused look on their faces.

As he left the building James lit a cigarette, inhaling the soothing smoke and immediately felt some of the tension dissipate. He started to walk in a casual direction, heedless of where his feet were taking him, only focused on the smoke going in and out of his throat.

How did he get to this? Less than a month before he was confident about his career, secretly expecting a nomination to celebrate his hard work and possibly hoping to win this time, which would have been an even bigger win because the movie was his baby, his idea, his production.

And now everything was lost, he had screwed up so badly that he had ruined possibly the most important moment of his career and he only had himself to blame. He knew he hadn’t been ok, he knew he had to do something about it but had decided to ignore it. He couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment his anger had started to lurk back again but he was sure of one thing, it had been way before Sam. Maybe it never really went away. He had been such a slave of his desperation to be normal, that he had betrayed himself. He was already feeling the benefit of being back in therapy and it was for sure a positive thing, but probably it was too late. There will have been other movies, other parts, other stories but none of them will have erased the bitter taste of the proudest moment in his career ruined by his own actions.

James walked until he had smoked the last cigarette in his pack then suddenly stopped and rubbed his face with his hand as if that gesture could give him some clarity. He thought he must have seemed so dramatic, walking away without an explanation like that and decided to go back and face the reality of the situation; he could have walked all the way to Scotland but his failure would have been there waiting for him anyway, might as well get it over with.

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