Hair and Makeup: Chapter 21
We had night shoots all week. I’d always hated night shoots. No matter how much you try and sleep during the day, you just never feel normal. I knew we only had another week of shooting though after the week of nights, so I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. As much as I had loved working on this particular film for obvious reasons, I was still looking forward to a break. Eric was in so many scenes and our schedule was extremely demanding; I was feeling it in my body. In an ideal world, I’d have a week or two between films to regroup and catch up on my sleep, my friends, my life. But that never seemed to happen. Sometimes I’d go months waiting for work and collect unemployment while I drained my savings account, waiting for the phone to ring. And sometimes there was no break at all and I’d start a new film already exhausted from the previous one. It seemed to always be feast or famine.
Before the vampire film, I had a break of several months, which made me a little nervous. I was watching the trades for upcoming projects and submitting resumes before I got the call to work on Eric’s film. It was fairly unusual for someone in my field to do both hair and makeup at the same time. We generally did more of one than the other. I considered myself a makeup artist who also did hair. I could cut hair and style it, but if wigs or hairpieces or extensions were required, another hair person would need to become involved. I was lucky in that I had kind of fallen into a niche and been singled out as a hair and makeup artist for the leading man. Anything that made a person stand out in a sea of talented people was a big help.
So it was both good and bad when I got the call to work on a film with John Quinn again. I held my breath when I asked when it started—the Monday after we wrapped. Wow. At least I’d have the weekend to recover, but I wasn’t too happy about the schedule. I kept it to myself, of course, and signed the deal memo when it was messengered to me the following morning. I would have signed anything quite frankly, just to get back to bed.
I knew that once my romance with Eric ended, then my employment on his films would also be a thing of the past. I was lucky that Quinn’s film wanted me and hoped to cultivate more connections as well. I knew that Sam and I had a good rapport and I intended to stay in touch with him and ask for work on his next film
Friday night, Eric and I were wrapped at 4:30 in the morning and I had never been more grateful. I looked for Eric before I went to my car to say good night, but I didn’t see him. He hadn’t said anything all week about our plan for the weekend. It seemed to be my turn to go to his house, but I didn’t want to assume. When I woke on Saturday afternoon and hadn’t heard anything, I started to worry. I typed in a few messages inquiring as casually as I could, but never had the nerve to hit send. I busied myself with sorting through mail, catching up on bills and email. I finally ate dinner alone and fell asleep watching a movie on TV that I’d seen several times.
On Sunday, the depression crept in. This was how it had started with Bill. He was neglectful, busy, incommunicative, but apparently had plenty of time for Lorena. I knew what was coming, although, admittedly I was hoping for at least one more blissful weekend with Eric. I was determined not to feel sorry for myself, but to be tough about it. Eric had been a great boyfriend, even though it was short-term. I was grateful that we’d had our little romance and would never forget him. I tried not to cry, and maybe if I hadn’t been so completely exhausted, I could have been stronger, but by Sunday night, I was sadder than I’d been in a very long time, and yes, I cried myself to sleep.
I was waiting for Eric in the trailer Monday morning at 6 a.m. practicing my brightest smile when he came into the trailer. He looked awful and I wondered if I did too. Before we opened our mouths to speak, Sophie-Anne stormed in behind him, a look of concern on her face. Eric smiled at me and turned to Sophie-Anne before speaking. “Morning.” He sounded like a frog.
“Fuck,” was all that came out of Sophie-Anne’s mouth. I slipped past them both and stepped out of the trailer. Andre was walking towards me with Eric’s sides and my walkie, and his smile faded immediately when I said, “Eric’s sick.”
He just held my walkie to his mouth and said, “Sam, go to two.”
Within minutes, Sam and the line producer had joined Eric and Sophie-Anne in my trailer. I waited in the front room while they had a meeting in the bedroom. I let the medic in and sent him back as well.
They juggled the shooting schedule around as best they could. Since we only had the backlot for another week, there wasn’t much wiggle room. Everything Eric shot today would have to be looped at the very least, and possibly re-shot. We could only hope that his voice would recover by Tuesday, or we’d be scrambling again.
I stepped out to get Eric a cup of hot tea and the medic passed me on my way back, handing me a bag of throat lozenges. Eric was in his chair in the trailer when I got back. Sam told me which scene was up first and that Andre would bring us a new shot list for the day momentarily. Then Eric and I were left alone.
“How do you feel?”
“Like shit.” I handed him his tea. “Thanks.”
I could see that he hadn’t shaved all weekend. “Were you sick this weekend?”
“You should have called. I could have brought you some soup or something.”
“No need. Pam brought me a drug store and lots of soup.”
“Oh.” The beautiful manager.
I started to go to work and we were silent for awhile before my curiosity got the best of me. I hated myself before I spoke, but couldn’t stop the words from coming out. “So…um…did you and Pam ever date? She’s awfully pretty.”
“Yeah, we did, but that’s ancient history.” I think that Bill used those same words when he spoke about Lorena.
“Just curious.” I tried to smile while I powdered his face.
That week seemed like the longest week of my life. Eric was so sick and his voice never really recovered all week. I knew that Sophie-Anne was a wreck, worrying about how to fix the scenes we shot. I was always by Eric’s side. Before every take, I held a tissue out for him to spit his throat lozenge into. And as soon as I heard cut, I was there with the q-tips. I waited patiently while Eric stuck them up his nose, trying discreetly to absorb the snot before it ran out, ruining his makeup. Early in the week, we tried letting him blow his nose and then having me fix the makeup afterwards, but that proved to be too time-consuming and his nose was getting so red and raw, it was hard to cover. We resorted to the q-tips and eventually, he wasn’t even embarrassed about it anymore. We just did what we had to do to get through the week. They cut all of his extreme close-ups because I couldn’t hide the skin damage around his nose and his tongue was always discolored from the lozenges. When the little trams full of waving tourists drove by, I’d block their view while Eric scrunched down to tend to his poor nose. That was not the image of Eric Northman they should go home with.
I was so focused on getting a sick Eric through the week that I didn’t really have the time to dwell on my own personal misery. Being around Eric was tough—even a sick, snotty-nosed Eric. I still loved him and knew I’d have to say good bye at the end of the week, and if I thought about it too much, I knew I’d start crying, so I tried not to think about it.
I didn’t say anything to anybody, but Friday night, my throat was starting to feel scratchy and I was starting to steal some of Eric’s throat lozenges. At dawn, Sam called wrap and we all cheered and hugged each other when we said good bye, but then quickly dispersed to go home. I packed my kit and dragged everything to my car. I looked around for Eric, but I would imagine he was long gone while I was packing up.
I fell into bed and didn’t wake up until late Saturday afternoon. My doorbell was buzzing. I couldn’t imagine who on earth could be at my door, but I pulled my robe on and made my way to the front door to buzz them up. I felt really awful and grabbed a lozenge from my purse on the table by the door before opening it to a smiling Eric. I was both shocked to see him and embarrassed at how I must have looked. He scooped me up into his arms and hugged me. I turned my face away, wishing I could hide my morning breath.
He came in and sat on the sofa. He was wearing dress pants and a sports jacket and I wondered where he was going. Maybe this was the break-up and then he had plans to go out afterwards. I offered him something to drink and he said he wanted some water, so I got a glass from the kitchen and sat in the chair opposite him. I started it off. “So, I guess we need to talk about things.”
“Okay. What things.”
“I don’t know. Do you want to go first?”
“Okay. I guess we should start with Tuesday.”
“Tuesday?” I did not expect this to start with Tuesday. I tried to clear my foggy brain and think what I was doing Tuesday. “I’ll be working. What happens Tuesday?”
His face fell and he seemed shocked. Had I not told him I was starting another film? I couldn’t remember. But surely he realized that I would be working again as soon as I could. “Working on what?”
“A film with Quinn. Some sci-fi thing.”
“Yeah.” What other Quinn could it possibly be?
“Fuck, since when?”
“I don’t know, last week? The week before?”
“And when were you planning on telling me?”
“I thought I had.”
“No, you didn’t.” He seemed pissed. That’s okay, maybe it would make it easier for him to do the deed.
“Oh, sorry. Look, it doesn’t matter, Eric. I’m starting a new film. You’ll be moving on. It’s been really wonderful and I don’t want to make this any harder than it has to be.”
His face lost all expression. “Go on.”
“That’s it. There’s nothing more. I’m really grateful for the time we had and I’ll never forget it.” I wanted to say more but knew I was very close to crying.
“I see. Well, fuck…aren’t you…pragmatic.” I didn’t feel pragmatic. I felt heartbroken.
I waited because I didn’t know what else to say and knew if I went on, then the tears would start.
Eric stood and took a deep breath. “Okay then. I guess this is good bye.” I couldn’t seem to stand up and just watched him walk to the door. He opened it, removed something from his inside jacket pocket and tossed it into the trash can under the table by the door on his way out without another word or a look back.
Once I heard the downstairs door close, I opened the flood gates and the tears started to flow. This was the moment I had been dreading and as much as I thought I had braced myself for it, it still hurt more than I thought I could bear. I went into the bathroom to pee and found the flu medications, checking expiration dates before taking something. I caught sight of myself in the mirror and hardly recognized the woman crying back at me. What a wreck. Then I went back to bed and cried myself back to sleep, having just lost the best thing that had ever happened to me.