Coffee, Tea? Or me?

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Part II

II

When James walked into the studio the ceremony was over and Ian and Lucy were sitting on the sofa, trying to contact him as his phone started to ring with Lucy’s number. When they saw him the two stood up immediately in unison and Lucy walked to him, placing a soft kiss on his lips.

“Are you ok?” She asked.

James held her tight for a moment.

“Yes baby, sorry, I just needed some fresh air.”

Lucy nodded, understanding.

Then Ian spoke out of the blue.

“You guys got Best Picture.”

James’ eyes were quickly on the agent’s.

“Are you joking?” He asked.

The agent shook his head.

“No buddy, best fucking picture!”

James grinned and immediately held Lucy in a tight hug but his celebration was cut short.

“There’s more,” Ian said.

Lucy took a step back and beaming said.

“You also got best leading actor AND best directing.”

James didn’t move, his heart beating fast trying to register the words that had just left Lucy’s mouth. He looked between his girlfriend and Ian, who nodded with a smile.

James let go of a breath he had been holding for weeks and let himself fall on the sofa, his head in his hands.

“I can’t believe it!” He said.

“Well, you better,” replied Ian. “You deserve it, James; whether you believe it or not, your peers have looked at your talent and passion. They don’t care about your personal issues”.

Lucy sat next to her boyfriend ad gently wrapped one arm around his back.

“You did it, James. I am so proud of you, for everything...”

James pulled Lucy close and held her tight, smiling against her hair. He was happy for the nomination but more deeply he was ecstatic that he hadn’t been misjudged, hadn’t been penalised for his struggles, he was relieved that people had seen past his issues and to the real him.

“I fucking did it. We fucking did it.”

He let her go and standing up, went to Ian and shook his hand.

“Thank you for everything, this hasn’t been an easy run...”

Ian nodded and patted his back.

“It never was with you,” the man joked.

“I think we need to celebrate,” said Lucy walking to the fridge. “I know you’re still not drinking, James but we can pop some Cokes”. She grabbed three cans from the fridge and handed two to the men.

They counted to three and broke the seal in a coordinated pop then toasted with the cans in the air.

After they had finished their drink Ian excused himself.

“Right guys I have to go now, I promised the lady of the house we would go to dinner and I can’t stand to disappoint her.” He walked to James patting his back again. “Congratulations again. And be ready, you know it’s going to be a busy way to the Oscars.”

James reciprocated the pat.

“I know.”

The agent said goodbye to Lucy then left.

James quickly walked to Lucy and, holding her by her waist, he lifted her and spun her around causing the girl to scream and giggle; he then sat her on the kitchen counter and stood between her legs. Lucy wrapped her arms around his nack and smiled.

“You’re just so amazing,” she said.

“No, you are. I feel like I couldn’t have done without you.”

Lucy tilted her head.

“What are you talking about? You did the movie way before meeting me, it’s all on your talent and that of your team.”

James nodded, caressing her waist with his thumbs.

“That’s true but I mean surviving these weeks, remaining sane though the pressure, not losing my confidence entirely. That’s all on you.”

Lucy chuckled.

“I think you give me too much credit but ok, I’ll take it if it wins me a kiss.”

James laughed and kissed her slowly, passionately, showing all his love and appreciation through his lips.

When he pulled back Lucy cleared her throat.

“Wow,” she breathed out, talking to an invisible audience and James laughed again.

Lucy could never get enough of seeing him giggle, laugh, chuckle, anything that would curve his beautiful lips into a carefree, dreamy smile. She had missed it.

“So, when are the Oscars again?” She asked, barely believing she was having that conversation.

“On the 24th of February,” replied James.

“Cool, I really hope I’m not flying so I can watch the ceremony and the red carpet...” she said with dreamy eyes.

James pulled back slightly and looked at her, confused.

“You can’t be flying...”

Lucy thought for a moment.

“Well, my schedule is not out yet so I don’t know for sure now...”

“No,” James interrupted her. “I mean that you can’t be anywhere else but with me.”

Lucy’s eyes widened when her brain registered the implications of his statement.

“You mean to go with you..”

“To the Oscars, yes.” James finished her sentence, matter-of-factly, as if walking the most prestigious red carpet in history was on everybody’s to-do list.

“But James, I thought you would bring someone else like your mom...or Ian!” She offered.

James chuckled.

“No baby, I want it to be you.”

Lucy was speechless for another second.

“Wow, I mean I’d love to, especially if it’d make you happy but I don’t even know if I’ll be working or not...”

James took her hands.

“Lucy, there’s no one else in the world I’d rather walk that carpet than with you. It would mean so much to me, more than winning the damn award.”

Lucy sighed and gave him a side look.

“Please stop talking bullshit, you’d snatch that statue out of my burning body and we both know it!”

James laughed again.

“Ok, fine. It would mean almost as much as winning the award...”

“Better,” said Lucy squeezing his hands. “And yes James, I will go with you”.

James pulled her closer and held her tight, feeling a new joy filling his body.

***

The weeks leading to the Oscars were intense and went by like in a vortex.

The media attention on James had grown even more pressing and it was becoming impossible for the actor to go anywhere without being photographed or stopped by journalists and paparazzi.

Seeing Lucy was turning into an arduous task and they spent most of their time together indoors, which wasn’t much anyway as James had recently moved to Vancouver where he had started the filming of his new movie.

Lucy has requested the Canadian city as a work destination but without any success, so she would fly there in her own days off despite being exhausted and jet legged from her trips. She was giving everything to be close to James.

“Wow Lucy, you look horrible,” said Harriet as her friend sat in front of her in the little Starbucks in the terminal. They were both on-call at the airport so had taken advantage of those hours to spend some time together.

Lucy gave her a side look.

“Thanks,” she said. Then rubbed her face with her hands. “I was late, didn’t have time for makeup”.

“Are you working with that face?” asked the blond, biting on her shortbread.

“They haven’t given me a flight yet; hopefully, it will stay like that”. She looked over at the counter. “I need a coffee,” she said getting up to order.

“And a concealer...” whispered Harriet as Lucy left.

Lucy came back with a double shot americano and a fruit bowl and heavily sat again on the padded chair.

“I take it you’re still marathoning around the world?”

Lucy sighed in response.

“How long can you realistically keep up with this, Lucy?” asked Harriet, worried.

“Only until the Oscars, I want to make sure James’ ok.”

Harriet nodded but stayed quiet.

“What?” Lucy prompted her.

Harriet took a sip of coffee then spoke.

“I just worry about you, Lucy. I understand your concern for him but I don’t want you to get caught in someone else’s problem again. You need to put yourself first in a relationship for once.”

Lucy scoffed.

“It’s funny, that’s exactly what I told James a couple of weeks ago...”

Harriet shook her head visibly annoyed by her friend’s dismissive attitude towards the situation.

“James is nothing like Sam, Harry,” said Lucy.

The blond nodded vehemently.

“I know, they’re not even comparable! It’s obvious that James loves you and he would never hurt you on purpose. That’s not what I’m questioning sweetie.” She took a good look at her fried’s pale face. “I just wonder if this situation it’s maybe a bit overwhelming... You’ve been through a lot recently and now this. You can barely keep your eyes open, your internal clocked is probably synced to somewhere over the Atlantic and there’s so much on your mind there’s smoke coming out of your ears,” she lowered her voice. “You know you technically shouldn’t even be working in these conditions...”

Lucy scratched her forehead and took a sip of coffee, truly thinking about her friends’ words.

“It is a lot to take, I agree with that.” She played with the sleeve of her paper cup. “But like I said before, it’s only for another couple of weeks, I can handle it.”

“You know he would understand if you talked to him? If you needed to take some time for yourself?”

“Yes, I’m sure he would. But I’d be home worrying about him anyway so it wouldn’t make much difference...”

Harriet nodded but didn’t add anything else, she knew better than trying to change Lucy’s mind when she was on a mission.

“How’s the dress?” She asked then, changing the subject.

Lucy grinned, thankful for that diversion.

“We’re still deciding between two, which apparently it’s like a fashion crime because it should have already been picked and tailored”. She shrugged. “James arranged for the stylist to fly over to London for the final decision and the fixing because I honestly couldn’t pencil in a quick afternoon to LA”.

“I can’t believe you now have a stylist,” said her friend, faking a piqued tone.

“Well technically is James’, I’m just borrowing her.”

“Potato, potato,” said Harriet. “I’m jealous anyway. Only a few weeks ago you were still dressing yourself and now you don’t even have to worry about that anymore. Which is a relief because I’ve seen you put together outfits of dubious taste.”

Lucy threw a piece of apple at her friend and Harriet stuck her tongue out.

“Can you describe the options? Or is it a state secret?”

“I can do better, I can show you the pictures,” Lucy replied with a conspiratory tone. “Honestly, who even cares what I specifically am going to wear?” She added then as she took her phone and leaned towards the middle of the table, Harriet did the same.

She showed her friend pictures of herself trying on the two dresses from different angles.

“Jesus, where did those boobs come from?”

“I know, right?” Replied Lucy excited.

“I love the pink one,” said Harriet.“The colour is just lovely on you.”

“Yes, that’s my favourite too!”

And the two girls chatted for hours hoping not to be called for a flight, and it was like the old days when they were living together and their biggest problem was what to wear for a date night. It felt great and Lucy felt a renewed energy and optimism for the week ahead.

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