Outside I ran into Russell, who took a break from his afternoon jog to have a chat. "You know, Derek, I've got to thank you." "Why on earth?" "Well, now, I know you didn't intend it this way, but now that you take part in all the A-list stuff and are more in the public eye, it's like I am, too. After all, everyone thinks we look alike. Suddenly I'm seeing my name in the tabloids a lot more often connected to all sorts of shit I know nothing about because the idiot 'razzi can't tell the difference between you and me. The renewed attention … it's been a boost to my career!" We both laughed over this before he hunched his body over all secretively and, affecting paranoia, whispered, "But we've got to stop running into each other like this. If they snap too many more pictures of us together, our gig is up!" And with that and a wink of his eye, Mr. Crowe resumed his workout.
I showed up at Shannon's place a few minutes early. She was outside washing her VW Bug convertible. Alas, the weightless twill of my slacks made all-too-plain the huge tent that was being pitched beneath. We hugged and she whispered in my ear, while strategically brushing the tent flaps with her thigh, "This doesn't have to be for show, you know." "Tempting, my dear, you have no idea how tempting! But, alas, you know I can't." "Then we should stop this charade! Right now!" I grinned at her. "Suits me. It's flattering and all being connected to you or Jen in the tabloids, but it can be quite frustrating, too, you know. Besides, it would do wonders for your reputation." "I don't understand." "Oh, stop pretending to be so naïve, Shannon. You know damned well the media would eat it up … simply devour it! Imagine the headlines: 'Jennifer Connelly and Shannon Elizabeth, Lesbian Lovers!' It'd do more for your career than either your Playboy appearance or that damned American Pie ever did!" Shannon giggled. She threw the towel at me, implying that I was to finish drying our conveyance, and ran inside to change. Less than five minutes later she emerged in an alluring vynil bodysuit, making the quick transformation from bouncy wet-t-shirt vixen to sultry femme fatale the way only a star of the stage and screen can.
Off we headed to Ewan's place overlooking the Palos Verdes cliffs. Driving up the winding coastline road leading to his palatial home, Shannon in the passenger seat, her feet up on the dash board and her hair streaming in the wind, I felt like I had made it, that life was good. I felt even more like a star as we pulled up to the entrance and hopped out handing the keys and a sizable tip to the valet. Jen was waiting at the top of the staircase, her intense, classical beauty framed by the ornate trappings of Ewan's home. I bound up the stairs, hugged her, and kissed her on the cheek. "Ah, Jenny… if only! Such elegant beauty and dazzling intellect — you are a dream!" She smiled demurely but was looking past me. I doubt she heard what I said, and I know it would have made no difference. Her smoldering black eyes saw only one thing, and when Shannon reached the top of the stairs Jen pulled her to and gave her a long, searching kiss. I stepped aside and shrugged my shoulders, having done my deed for the day (and satisfied my voyeuristic needs) in uniting the two secret lovers. I went in search of Ewan.
I found him by the bar, sharing his unparalleled collection of single malt Scotch and flashing that charming, boyish smile that could make me rethink my allegiances. (I knew there was a reason I kept Shannon and Jen around me — they confirm what I'm suddenly not so sure of around him!) He glimpsed me as I ambled into the room. "Maestro," he greeted me with his light Scottish brogue, "what'll it be, my friend? Lagavulin, neat, is it?" "You're holding out on me, Mr. McGregor. I hear rumors you have some Caol Ila back there." "Careful there, you might get relegated to drinking pints of Guinness. Now how would you like that?" "Well, you do seem to know a thing or two about Sir Alec," I shot back. We embraced, and he poured me a tumbler of fine, peaty whiskey. We whiled the evening away, talking about our respective careers, the importance of a solid classical training in the arts coupled with the confidence and versatility to break out of that rigorous mold, and some of the more interesting roles we'd played. I think I embarrassed him with my ebullience over his part in Moulin Rouge, and he praised my Macbeth as being genuinely brooding and Scottish beyond reproach. We mingled with other guests, shot some pool, mingled some more, played darts…. Eventually the evening wound down and, since my ride was nowhere to be found, I availed myself of one of the guest rooms looking out over the Pacific, thus ending another star-studded day.
[Okay, I was one of three people tagged by fj, so I will in turn tag three people. lyddite, elgatocurioso, and hyounpark — you're it!]