Hair and Makeup: Chapter 20
Monday morning started with some surprises. First, my driver told me that Sookie and I were on the internet all weekend, even though no one seemed to know who Sookie was. I wondered but didn’t ask if the crew had any suspicions about us before we were reported to the public. I got a text from Pam: “Nice work, Romeo. Looks like she’s a keeper.” I just wrote back, “Yep.”
I broke the news to Sookie as I settled into my chair. Once we were alone and had a little time to ourselves, I got brave and asked if she’d lick my neck like I’d fantasized about a thousand times. Just as I’d hoped, she did it and did it exactly as I’d imagined. Just when I thought she couldn’t be any more perfect, she opened my pants and blew me like a pro. This was the same girl that a little over a week before had never performed oral sex, and now she gave the best head of my life. Was I lucky or what? Every day, everything about this relationship just got better and better.
For the rest of my life, every time someone utters the word messy, my dick will sit up and beg like a Pavlovian dog. Jesus. I couldn’t get enough of what Sookie had so adorably referred to as her “girl parts.” What an angel. And she was my angel.
Once I was made up (and sexually sated, thank you), I went to my trailer to relax. Even though it wasn’t in Sookie’s job description, she went out to set to help the other hair and makeup people with the extras. No one objected as long as she was still available for me if I needed her, and we all knew that I wouldn’t need her for awhile.
I took my shirt off and got down on the floor beside the bed to do some push-ups when there was a knock at the door. I didn’t stop when Sophie-Anne came in and sat on the bed.
She started the conversation. “So, you and Sookie, huh?” I didn’t say anything, just kept doing push-ups. “Well, the publicity is good for the film. Thanks for that. And I’m glad to see you’re having some fun, but a makeup artist? Really, Eric? It’s fine as long as she doesn’t forget what she’s doing here and what her place is. I’d hate to have to let her go just because you like her tits.” I continued my push-ups, waiting until I thought she was finished, but she wasn’t. “I didn’t realize how badly you needed to get laid. Why don’t you come over Saturday night. I’ll invite a group that’s a little more appropriate for someone of your status. Are you free?”
I stood and took a deep breath, feeling the sweat trickle down my back and the sides of my face. I knew not to wipe them away because of the makeup. I sat down on the bed, facing Sophie-Anne.
“I never realized what a snob you are.” She smiled coyly, as if I were flirting with her. “I’m gonna pass on your offer. I’m seeing someone.” I stopped to gather my thoughts. It would be so much easier to just blast her, but this town is about diplomacy. There was a lot more at stake here than my emotions and Sookie’s employment. “It’s your film, Sophie-Anne. You can do whatever you like. It would be a shame to drag the lawyers into this. I seriously doubt if mine are quite as expensive as the studio’s so I might lose, but still, it would be a mess. And obviously, bad for the film.”
“You’d sue the studio for firing her?”
“For firing us. Contractually, we’re a package. My stand-in and stunt double are in there too. They might have lawyers as well—don’t know.”
She sat and assessed me with no expression. She was tough and cool. You don’t become a director of her status by accident.
“There’s no reason for things to get out of hand, Eric.” She reached up and pushed a stray hair back off of my forehead—a possessive and intimate gesture. “Where you put your dick is really none of my business.”
“You’re the boss, Sophie-Anne.”
She stood and smiled a curt smile before walking out of the trailer.
Most of the week was spent shooting a scene on New York Street in which my character leapt from the rooftop of one car to another and then landed on the sidewalk and had a fight with a very bad vampire, who had himself just landed from jumping off of a building. It was very complicated and tedious. I spent a lot of time in the harness suspended in air while a hundred extras waited patiently below. There was very little dialog, which was a pleasant change, but the physical demands were great and the pressure was worse than usual. If we didn’t get everything Sophie-Anne needed, re-shoots would be expensive with all the extras and special equipment.
I was starting to look forward to the end of the film. We had one last full week of exteriors and then we’d be essentially done with principal filming. I usually went to Two Bunch Palms right after a shoot to rejuvenate. A lot of people did. It was a spa in Desert Hot Springs, just outside of Palm Springs, where the rich and overworked relaxed and recovered in mud baths and massages and natural hot springs. I envisioned Sookie and me naked and happy in our cozy room between spa treatments and lazy meals, and couldn’t wait.
I was doing pretty well, considering that we were shooting nights and at the end of the film. My body kept protesting, but hadn’t failed me yet. That is until I woke up Friday afternoon with a sore throat. Fuck.
It was not at all uncommon for people to get sick during a shoot. It was an unspoken rule that if you felt sick, you just pushed yourself and worked anyway. There was not a cast or crew member that was expendable, and so we just knew to show up no matter how bad we felt. So, we were all frequently exposed to germs from sick people all around us. Add that to the fact that our immune systems were compromised from a serious sleep deficit, especially towards the end of the film, and it was fairly likely that we’d get sick.
I didn’t mention anything to anyone and hoped I could just make it through the night. I tried drinking hot tea for my throat, but didn’t want to drink too much. Bathroom breaks were to be avoided, especially with so many additional people standing around, listening to “Eric’s ten-one” on the walkies. Nothing like having everybody know when you have to pee and having them all waiting for you to finish.
I finally pulled Sam aside and told him that I’d be grateful if I could get out of there a little early. He efficiently switched a couple of scenes so I could be wrapped before the martini shot. I fell into the car at about 4:30, feeling like shit and looking forward to climbing into bed.
I didn’t wake up until late Saturday afternoon. My sheets were drenched and my throat was on fire. I searched the medicine cabinet for something to take, but couldn’t find a thing. I debated for a minute about calling Sookie and asking her to bring me something, but really didn’t want her to a.) catch what I had and b.) see me like that. Nobody looks good sick, and I was vain enough to want her to see me only at my best.
I picked up the phone and called Pam. Within an hour, my medicine cabinet was stocked with every cold and flu medicine known to man and I had soups and juices in my refrigerator and a bowl of hot chicken soup in my hands. We chatted briefly about New York and I asked her to set up Two Bunch Palms for me the week after we wrapped and add Sookie to my travel plans to New York. I also asked her to book a trip to Kauai when we got back from New York. Those kinds of personal favors were not in her job description as my manager, but she was my friend first and foremost and never said no.
After Pam left, I fell back asleep, planning to call Sookie when I woke up to tell her about our spa plans at Two Bunch Palms. Unfortunately, I didn’t wake until a little before noon the next day. I was pretty sure I had a fever and really didn’t want her to come and see me, so I just drank my juice and soup and popped my pills and tried to sleep as much as I could before that 4 a.m. wake up on Monday morning.