Today was going to be interesting. Today was the first day that I would be meeting Gustave, the son of Christine and the Phantom.
As well as the Phantom’s minions, Miss Fleck, the Mighty Squelch and Doctor Gangle.
I was thankful that there was no rehearsal today. It was going to be saved for tomorrow when the weather was a little cooler as the thought of being cooped up in a little room trying to sing was not appealing.
Today we were all simply having lunch together to meet.
I longed to get to my cool hotel room as my loose button down shirt was already sticking to me in sweat. Pulling at it I stepped out of the elevator and headed to the Hotel Restaurant.
Stopping just inside of the doorway, I looked about for a mere moment before I spotted Andrew, Joel, Emmy and Patrick at a table with an unfamiliar woman and child.
Emmy immediately drew my eyes; she was wearing a flowery summer dress, its white setting off the cream of her skin nicely as her brown eyes shone with happiness as she smiled at all at the table.
My feet carried me to her swiftly.
In the past week, when I hadn’t been rehearsing with Lucy, I had been with Emmy. Every day my infatuation with her grew as did the reminder of just how impossible it was for me to be with her.
But I decided if I was going to hell, I was going to do it thoroughly and I let myself sink further and further into liking her.
“Ah, here he is” said Patrick with a large smile as I approached the table.
“Hello” I smiled as I sat down, catching Emmy’s eye for a mere moment, she smiled.
“Jake, Tracey this is Gerard” explained Joel.
“I know” said the women, Tracey, as she extended her hand; “It’s a pleasure to meet you” she smiled showing whitened teeth.
She had tanned skin and blue eyes as well as caramel hair with white blond highlights that did not match the child next to her.
He had mousy brown hair with pale skin and blue eyes, “I’m Jake” he said extending his tiny hand to me in a rather adult fashion.
“It’s nice to meet you Jake” I said rather formally, feeling the need to humour the child who was so obviously playing grown-up in his current situation.
I had been around child actors before; all of them had the strange sense of being old in adult company as well as still being a child when around their peers.
“Where are the others?” asked Emmy curiously.
“Still rehearsing with Lucy, they should be here any minute” explained Andrew, “they said to go ahead and order without them” he said, grabbing the menu.
As if he had been called the waiter suddenly appeared with a pen and paper, “Are you ready to order?” he asked.
“I’ll have an Ice Tea” said Emmy immediately.
“Make that two” I caught Emmy’s eye once again and she smiled before she turned to Joel and engaged him in conversation.
“Coke please” said Jake smiling happily before he turned to me.
I smiled back absently before I leaned on the table towards him, “So are you excited to be in a movie?” I asked curiously.
There was no doubt in my mind that this kid was talented, I didn’t even want to know the number of boys that would have auditioned for Gustave- if he was here, he had earned it.
No, it was what he thought that was of interest to me. The Phantom realizes Gustave is his son after he sees their shared thinking in both music and life.
So it would be important for me to be able to have a conversation with this boy.
“A little. I’ve done television, I’m in that show on Disney Channel Ant Farm, is it much different?” he asked curiously.
I shrugged, “I haven’t done a television show before” I said simply.
He seemed to consider this for a moment, his brow furrowing in as much thought as a ten year old could muster before he looked up, “I’ve never been in a musical before” he supplied.
I smiled as I realized this kid was trying to have a meaningful conversation with me as much as I was with him. I opened my mouth to tell him to relax when a group of people approached the table, as soon as I spotted them; I knew exactly who they were.
The first one I saw was a large man who was not tall, but fat. He had a large belly that pressed against his button down shirt he had short black greying hair and a pudgy face.
His name was Abraham Benrubi. A long time West End Opera Performer who dabbled in films every now and again. He had to be in his fifties by now, so it surprised me when I realized almost immediately that he was to play The Mighty Squelch- the strong man of the Coney Island Trio.
The next I saw was an extremely tall and thin man with hazel eyes and short brown hair- Jim Parsons.
I was not a fan of his show The Big Bang Theory, but I had seen him briefly at the Golden Globes after party and knew of him. I knew he was to play Doctor Gangle. The Announcer and leader of the Coney Island Trio.
The next one I almost missed as she was so small, she barely came up to Jim’s knee. She had platinum blond hair that was curled in the style of Marilyn Munroe, as well as bright red painted lips and blue eyes and pale skin. She had to be playing Miss Fleck, there was no other character left, yet this girl was a midget. Miss Fleck was supposed to be an acrobat, how was this small women supposed to perform that?
Then there was Lucy, perched on Jim’s back receiving a piggy-back, she was smiling widely as he lowered her to the floor.
The four of them came over to the table, “Sorry we’re late” said Abraham, “but we lost Amy in the crowd” he said boisterously as he looked down at the small midget.
“Shut up!” she snapped playfully as she jumped up onto the seat next to Jake.
Jim and Abraham sat down on the other side of her, across from me as Lucy leaned across the table and grabbed Andrew’s drink and made to put the straw between her lips but he quickly took it off her, “That is alcoholic my dear” he said pointedly.
She threw him an exasperated look.
Patrick laughed, “Here Luce, have a sip of mine” he said offering him her drink.
Smiling she sat down next to him.
I had seen Lucy and Patrick hanging out with one another a lot in the past week. She was always handing him her phone, the two of them, smiling like idiots, were never far from each other when they were in the same room.
“Right, we are all here. Let’s begin the meeting” said Andrew.
And with that both he and Joel launched into the details of the rehearsal schedule now that more of the cast was here.
Lucy then handed out sheets of music explaining she and Andrew had written an entirely new song for the movie that would feature all of the main cast.
Through-out the meeting I learnt that Abraham preferred to be called Abe.
That the midget was named Amy Hawkins and had performed on Broadway since she was eighteen.
And that Jake was a very bright boy, he was very attentive throughout the entire conversation even though I found myself getting bored and letting my mind wander.
I wondered if Emmy and I were to have a child together what they would look like, behave like… strange that this thought occurred to me before sex did.
Which of course one could not happen without the other.
I glanced at Emmy out of the corner of my eye and saw a bead of sweat roll down her neck and fall down her dress between her breast…
Shaking my head I forced myself to focus on the conversation at hand.
“Alright, I guess we’re done” said Joel with a sigh.
“Ah just a minuet Joel” said Andrew, “Lucy and I were tinkering with lyrics last night”
“Uh oh” said Jim.
I groaned internally, I hoped none of my songs had been changed. I was having enough trouble with remembering the notes and musical cues; I didn’t want to deal with lyric changes.
“Ok, you guys are free to go” said Joel as he leaned over to glance at the piece of paper Lucy had handed him.
I stood to the side of the table waiting for Emmy as the rest of the cast stood and began walking towards the door. She immediately threaded her arm through mine, the side of her slim body pressing into mine as we walked.
“It’s too hot! I think I’m going to melt” complained Emmy.
“Well I’m heading to the pool, who’s coming?” asked Amy looking up at us all expectantly.
“I’m there” said Patrick with a smile.
“Yeah I’m on board with that” said Jim.
“Oh yeah! I bet you’re all just dying to see me in a bathing suit” said Abe resting his hands on his large belly and rubbing it suggestively.
“Can I?” asked Jake looking up at his Mother imploringly.
“I can watch him if you’d like” offered Patrick.
His offer didn’t surprise me; he did have two little boys himself.
“I’ll come” smiled Emmy.
“What about you Mister Phantom? Are you going to come bond with your fellow Coney Island Freaks?” asked Amy happily.
The thought of seeing Emmy in a bathing suit, hopefully a bikini, appealed to me greatly, “Sure”
We all headed to the pool area, whilst Emmy went upstairs to get changed.
The waters of the pool looked cool and inviting, it amazed me that no one else was there, the pool area was deserted.
Pulling my shirt off over my head I jumped into the pool along with the others. Its cold water felt good against my hot skin and I instantly ducked under to push my hair out of my face, I really needed to get a haircut…
We had barely gotten into one round of Volley Ball when Emmy emerged from inside and entered the pool area.
Her long hair was tied up and she was wearing a light blue strapless bikini. Her long legs showed fully as did her flat stomach and smooth curvature of her breast.
She looked absolutely delectable as the skimpiness of the bikini left very little to the imagination.
I longed to have her in the water. To feel her wet body against mine would be heavenly.
But as she laid her towel down on one of the chairs, she did not come to the pool, but sat down with a book.
“Emmy!” I called, she looked up from her book curiously, “Are you comin’ in?”
She smiled simply and shook her head turning back to her book.
I pang of disappointment hit me. For some reason I didn’t want Emmy to be one of those girls. One that sat and got a tan by the pool instead of actually getting in the water and having fun.
“Spoil sport!” called Patrick splashing water over at her.
“Don’t!” she complained, shifting away from the icy spray and frowning at him.
A frown creased my brow as I stared at her. Why did that bother me so much?
Was it that I had always seen Emmy as being so different from all the other women I had been with and now a similarity that I had disliked in so many others had been revealed in her?
“Hey Lucy!” called Jim.
His loud outburst broke me out of my meditation and I saw Lucy walking past with her head down, staring at a stack of papers arms. She looked up, seeming slightly startled she turned towards us and smiled, placing her papers down on a nearby table she approached the pool.
“You wanna join us?” asked Jim happily.
“Yeah! You can be on Patrick and Gerard’s team! They could use all the help they could get” smiled Amy as she treaded water.
It was true, Patrick and I were losing the game of Volleyball, which was strange seeing as Jim and Abe had a midget on their team.
Smiling she nodded in agreement and turned around.
I expected to see her disappearing up into the hotel to get changed, but she simply stepped out of her shoes and stripped off her shorts, throwing them onto the table where she had left her stack of papers. She now stood before us wearing a pair of dark bather bottoms and a grey t-shirt, her long brown locks falling down her back.
“Catch!” called Abe as he threw the Volleyball Ball towards her.
Smiling she caught it out of the air before she jumped into the pool spraying icy droplets everywhere. Rising up out of the water she tapped the ball across the net.
Pushing her now black hair out of her face she turned to both Patrick and I with a smile. Her grey shirt had darkened considerably to reveal the classic bikini top underneath which was the same dark purple as the bottoms.
In the past week I was ashamed to admit I had not spent much time with Lucy other than what I was obligated to. In our rehearsals though I had seen she was a quirky and easy going girl who knew what she was doing when it came to music.
But in that afternoon I learnt that she was sassy, sarcastic and most of all, fun. She dived for the ball, proceeded to throw it at Patrick and I if we missed and all together made the game more enjoyable. Not even when Abe feigned an injury and Patrick left to take a phone call, by the look on his face I assumed it was his wife, did things at all decrease in their fun.
Jim lifted Amy onto his shoulders and I helped Lucy climb onto mine and we proceeded to play Water Wrestling. A game I had not played since my youth.
Amy and Lucy proceeded to try and push the other into the water while Jim and I laughed and tried to do the same to each other, minus our hands.
It wasn’t until Amy had pushed Lucy off my shoulders, sending both of us toppling into the water did I even glance at the poolside where Emmy was, only to find her seat empty.
How long ago had she left? I didn’t see her.
For what felt like the first time, since coming to New York, I had spent a considerable amount of time not thinking about Emmy.
It was relieving and both depressing at the same time as I was no closer to finding a solution to my problem with her. At least when I sat around thinking about her I felt like I was making progress.
A hail of droplets fell on me and I turned to see Lucy smiling impishly, her green eyes alight with mischievousness before she slapped the water again and sent another wave of droplets onto me.
Grinning at the silent challenged she posed I began to splash her back, forgetting Emmy.
I made my way back up to my hotel room in only swimming shorts, my shirt in hand.
I thanked Andrew for making sure that the press was kept from the hotel, how I hated them. I would like to put them in my place and have them see how fucking obnoxious they are. I’m pretty sure no one wants a camera shoved in their face.
My hair dripped from the pool water and I longed to shower and get the feeling of chlorine off of my skin.
I took the elevator to the top floor and was about to enter my room when I saw Emmy walking towards me.
My heart skipped a beat, she was dressed elegantly in a deep blue dress that shimmered in the light. Her hair hung down her shoulders in wondrous curls, her feet enclosed in black stilettos. She strolled over with a grin of perfectly white teeth, I thought I would die.
“Gerry!” She was now beside me and I tried to keep a warm expression.
I subtle shifted my shirt so it was held my shirt over the front of my shorts to hide my desire. I shivered as a few droplets from my hair fell down on to my back.
“Em, what’s going on?” I tried to appear casual.
“I was hoping you’d come into the city with me! There’s a new restaurant open and it’s all the rage apparently” She waved it off as if was no big deal, “Will you come?”
“Yeah of course!” I agreed before I even considered the consequences. Her smile reassured my decision however as did her excited hug which I relished in.
“Great! Now get dressed mister, we have a long commute ahead of us!”
I nodded and entered my room with a sigh. This could be such a mistake!
I hopped into the shower and scrubbed the smell of pool from my skin, I thought of Emmy and groaned with desire, “Shit”
I made the water cold after that.
After standing under the icy spray for a few minutes I turned the water off only to hear my cell phone ringing. I pulled a towel around my waist and hurried into the room and picking it up off of the dresser “Hello?”
“Hi there honey! It’s your Mum”
“Oh, uh…What’s up?” I sighed and sat on the edge of the bed.
“I was calling to see how you are and how the movie is going”
“It’s going fine Mum, how is everyone?”
“Oh they are well dear” She was silent for a moment, “How is Emmy?”
“Mum seriously, mind your own business” I was starting to get annoyed with her constant pursuit of wanting me to find a woman to settle down with.
“Gerry you’re already forty-one you need to settle down and-”
“Mum please!” I was not going to deal with this again, “I have to go”
“Bye Mum” I closed the phone before she could reply and tossed it away.
I dressed quickly in nice black, fitting pants and shining shoes. I put on a white button up shirt and a nice dress coat over it but casually leaving a few buttons open at the top. My hair was styled and I grabbed my glasses, wallet and cell.
Emmy was waiting for me in the lobby of the hotel, when I approached she stood.
“My don’t you look dashing Mr. Butler!” She grinned and stood, taking my arm, “Ready?”
I nodded in response not able to speak when she was so close to me. She was gorgeous.
The second we pulled up in a sleek black car to the ‘Raging’ restaurant, we were surrounded by the press. I took Emmy’s hand and pushed through the crowd.
“Gerard! Are you and Emmy dating?” One Paparazzi asked.
I hated when Americans said my name, it sounded awful. It was part of the reason I shortened for them so I wouldn’t have to listen to them butcher my name every time they spoke to me.
“Tell us how the movie is going”
‘Set up a press conference and I’ll answer your stupid questions’ I wanted to snap at them.
“Kiss her!” someone yelled.
Seriously? How I hated them…but how I wanted to…
We finally made it into the restaurant and gave our names and immediately got a seat. I recognized many people as I’m sure Emmy did as well.
But for once, no one would walk up to us and ask for a picture or autograph. Not that I ever resented the fans. But tonight I wanted to be with Emmy and only Emmy.
We were given the pleasure of privacy and the enjoyment of one another’s company. It would be a wonderful night.