Hair and Makeup: Chapter 22
The last week of filming was a foggy, hazy nightmare for me. I’m sure I had a fever for at least the first day or so. The medic magically appeared every four hours with an array of pills. Poor Sookie had to try and come up with creative ways of keeping my constant stream of snot from interfering with the shot. My voice was a disaster, but nothing could be done about that. I knew I’d have to loop every single shot we did. There was just no getting around it. I just hoped we wouldn’t have to re-shoot everything.
Maybe if I’d felt better, I would have been more embarrassed that Sookie had to see me in such a state, but I was kind of beyond caring. I was just so grateful to her for being there for me. She always had a cup of tea and a throat lozenge ready for me, and of course, the dreaded q-tips.
When we wrapped at dawn Saturday morning, everyone said their good byes, and I went home so glad for the week to end. I knew that Sookie and I had a couple of days to relax at Two Bunch Palms starting on Tuesday, and then Friday, we’d leave for New York.
I hadn’t made us a dinner reservation for Saturday night. My focus had been on just surviving the week. So, when I woke on Saturday afternoon, I called Spago and inquired whether they may have had a cancellation. The hostess and I both knew that they’d seat me, but I still pretended to be surprised and grateful when something “opened up.” I felt remarkably well, considering the week I’d had, but now that it was over, I had so much to look forward to, and that gave me a shot of energy. I decided that tonight would be a good night to give Sookie the rest of her opal jewelry. We could celebrate the end of the film and the beginning of the rest of our lives.
I got dressed and drove to Sookie’s and didn’t even realize that I hadn’t asked her out first until she answered the door in her bathrobe. Oops. Well, I figured I was her boyfriend and showing up unannounced was probably okay at that point. We were still early for dinner, so I’d just wait while she got dressed.
Of course I noticed that she didn’t kiss me when she opened the door, but hoped she just wanted to avoid my germs, although after taking care of me all week at work, she had certainly already been exposed. But when she sat across from me instead of beside me on the sofa, I knew that something was off. She seemed to want to say something and of course, I wanted to know what was on her mind. She started off saying she wanted to talk about things. I assumed she wanted to go over our schedule for the week. We were driving to Desert Hot Springs on Tuesday. I hadn’t told her about leaving for New York on Friday yet, so figured this would be a good time to go over that as well. I wondered whether I should wait to talk about Hawaii. Yes, I had taken over her schedule in my usual fashion, but would she be okay with it? Should I ease her into my particular style of control? But everybody likes Hawaii, right? How could she possibly object to Hawaii?
Before I could even start on the spa trip, Sookie announced that she was starting a new film—a film with that asshole, Quinn. I felt my temper flare at the thought of her touching that pig every day, and I was also pissed that she hadn’t even told me about the new film. She knew we had plans to go to the desert. And now this would fuck up the New York trip as well, and probably Hawaii. Fuck. I didn’t want her working for anybody else. I wanted her time to be all mine. I was wondering just how I could delicately explain my feelings to her when she started the “well, it’s been real” speech. I just sat and listened to her in shock and disbelief. Sookie was breaking up with me. No one had broken up with me since junior high school.
Suddenly, I could see how it made sense. Sookie was always so practical. Condoms in her kit, spare toothbrush for the new guy, fresh blueberries in the fridge, an endless supply of q-tips, a horny movie-star boyfriend for every film. I guess Quinn was next on the list. I wondered what color his toothbrush would be.
I was pissed and felt used. She never gave a shit about me. I made getting through the film fun for her. I helped her get over her shithead fiancé—taught her how to give head, how to ask for what she wanted in bed. I was a set fling. Me. Eric Northman. Fuck. I never saw it coming.
On my way out the door, I took the box of jewelry out of my pocket and tossed it in the trash can by the door. I wanted to turn around and say fuck you, but knew it was a childish response and so I kept my mouth shut and my eyes forward.
I called Spago and cancelled my reservation and then just drove home. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like celebrating anymore. I changed into some sweats, opened a can of soup and then took a blanket out to sit on the beach and watch the moon. I don’t know that I had ever sat out there at night, but it really was awfully serene and beautiful. It calmed my anger, which may not have been such a good thing, because beneath the anger, all that was left was pain. I was so completely unprepared for this kind of heartache.
I was planning a life with Sookie—thinking about real estate and hypothetical children. Jesus, I fell hard and fast, always assuming I’d get what I wanted. I couldn’t remember how many years it had been since I hadn’t gotten what I wanted. I felt like an impetuous child. I wanted to throw a temper tantrum, scream at somebody, but instead I did something else completely unexpected. I cried. I looked around to make certain that no one else was on the beach and then I just let it out and cried like a little boy. I was tired and sick and disappointed and the one person that I knew could make me feel better was the one who had hurt me the worst. I had grown accustomed to having Sookie with me. I’d seen her almost every single day for the past months and she had become my security blanket. I trusted her; I felt like we were a team. I’d felt so completely confident that she wanted me as much as I wanted her. I still couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that she felt so differently. I really thought she was falling for me, but she was just building her dating resume, having a fling with the star of her movie, moving on past her failed engagement. She had built her ego up and then torn mine down. And for me, it was a pretty far fall.
I slept off and on all day Sunday, wondering if I’d ever feel normal again. My body had taken a beating and then I was emotionally exhausted on top of that. Monday, I was able to get it together enough to drive into town to see Pam. We went over my itinerary for New York and L.A. to promote Love is Hard. She assumed that Sookie was going with me—she’d made all the arrangements herself. I didn’t say anything. I really wasn’t up for her comments. She’d probably give me shit for trying to take over Sookie’s life and getting what I deserved. I knew she’d probably be right, which was why I really didn’t want to hear it.
Tuesday afternoon, I drove to Desert Hot Springs and checked into the Al Capone bungalow at Two Bunch Palms. He’d presumably stayed there at some point, but now it was just a beautiful little getaway. I cancelled all of Sookie’s appointments at check-in and changed into my trunks to lounge by the pool with a book. There was no TV in the room, no computer. Even cell phones were frowned on. This was a place where the overworked and overpaid could escape and recharge. I’d never needed it more.
Wednesday morning, I had a late breakfast in my bathrobe. All of the guests were adults and it was not at all uncommon for people to dine in their robes. No one spoke above a whisper in any of the common areas. I found my spot by the mineral pool filled with natural spring water and opened my book. Oddly, there were rabbits running around everywhere and I wondered if they ate the vegetables in the garden. The restaurant grew its own fruits and vegetables. I had a light lunch and waited by the pool until my appointment in the mud baths. After a good soak, I stretched out on a lounge chair beside the mud bath area so the mud could dry on my skin in the sun. I put a towel over my eyes and sort of dozed, relishing the feeling of being baked in the nude. I was almost asleep when I heard someone whisper my name. I peeked out from under the towel and saw Sophie-Anne swallowed in her oversized robe standing over me, blocking my sun. I reluctantly scooted my feet over so she could sit at the foot of the lounge chair. I was not terribly thrilled that she was so close to me since I was wearing nothing but a thin (and unfortunately uneven) layer of mud. She asked about my health and asked if I’d brought Sookie. I just said she was already on another film and couldn’t make it. I changed the subject and we made small talk until it was time for her to be immersed in the mud as well. She had kind of killed my buzz, so I got up to rinse off at the outdoor shower as soon as she left.
I ate dinner fairly late, and happily, didn’t run into Sophie-Anne, but I did spot the director of photography for the film and he brought his wife over to say hello before I left. Back in Al Capone’s hideaway, I lit a fire and read some and just stared into the fire some. I tried to push the image of Sookie by the fire out of my head. I had so wanted to spoil her here, make her feel pampered, share the pleasure of completely relaxing after such a hard shoot. I pictured her on a sound stage somewhere, tired and overworked, powdering Quinn’s stupid bald head. I wanted to take care of her, make her life easier, but apparently that’s not what she wanted.
After breakfast on Thursday, I had a massage. I had cancelled Sookie’s, but I was still in the little massage room designed for a couple, which didn’t help matters. I tried to still my mind and not dwell on the empty table beside me as I felt the tension melting away from my body. As I packed my things up, I studied my face in the bathroom mirror. I looked about five years younger than I had two days before when I checked in. Amazing. I ate lunch before hitting the road, and took my time enjoying the two-hour drive back to L.A. I considered listening to some music, but instead opted for quiet solitude. I knew that once I landed in New York, I wouldn’t get much time for myself, and it certainly wouldn’t be very quiet.