‘Bum bah-da-bah bum, bum bah-da-bah bum, bum bah-da-bah bum’
There was constantly a beat in my head. A melody. A rhythm. Music.
I truly loved music with all my heart. It said so many more things than words ever could.
They day had not started out pleasant, I had a mild hang-over, nothing too drastic, American Alcohol had nothing on Australian’s. The bunch of piss-heads that we are so often portrayed to be actually had some merit to it.
But I had been able to push the entire night aside and continue on with my job.
Patrick however didn’t.
The moment I stepped into the elevator I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed, something I could see Patrick shared. But what I did not expect was how positively childish he was being about the whole thing.
Granted he had tried to sleep with me. Granted I considered actually doing the deed for a moment, but then reality set in. He had a wife. And I would not be a home-wrecker.
I had a certain fondness for Patrick. Something I wasn’t entirely sure was purely friendship based, but if I was going to get into a relationship, I didn’t want to be the rebound girl.
The entire day he had not so much as spoken two words to me and he had barely been able to hold my eye for a moment.
I too was embarrassed about the events of last night, but I wasn’t so childish as to not even look at him through-out an entire two hour rehearsal.
What had been a pleasantly surprising was my dialogue with Gerard.
Through-out the past few weeks the two of us hadn’t had much to do with each-other, I found him pleasant enough and of course he was easy on the eyes but never had he actually tried to speak to me.
And today, when we did, I was pleasantly surprised about how much I actually cared about his problems and how he cared about mine. We were actually able to communicate.
This was something I found difficult at the best of times. But with Gerard it was surprisingly easy.
Sitting down by the beach, off-loading our thoughts to one another… it was surprisingly liberating. I liked it, but I was still a little wound up. So I had grabbed my Violin and did some busking.
Busking always had a remarkably calming effect on me. I didn’t have to worry if people liked the music or not, if they did, they put in money, if not, they kept walking. But it always felt nice to bring a little music to people’s lives.
After playing my Violin down on the boardwalk for a solid hour, I felt remarkably better. I even felt a new tune coming into my head…
Bouncing into the lobby of the hotel I skipped past the main desk and glanced into the bar on my way past with disinterest, though came to a screeching halt when I realized what I was seeing.
Gerard Butler was sitting at the bar, red faced with an almost finished glass of alcohol. He was currently hunched over and laughing.
I stared at him wide eyed, not really believing what I was seeing. I assumed he would be in Emmy’s hotel room, the two of them talking things out like I had suggested. If that had in fact happened and he was down here at the bar then it hadn’t gone well…
For some reason that both concerned and relieved me.
Wait a moment, was I jealous? Of Emmy and Gerard? Impossible.
I was concerned because I didn’t want Gerard’s feelings to be hurt as I could see how much he cared for Emmy. And I was relieved… because I had found him before he did anything stupid if he was upset.
Yep. That explanation worked.
“Lucy!” called a loud voice.
Focusing on the bar again I watched as Gerard stumbled off the stool and approached me, his steps staggered and wobbly, “There she is! My buddy, bud, bud!” he laughed, his voice slurred with drink.
Well this was bad.
“Guess what?” he asked happily.
I blinked and stared at him incredulously and he laughed again, “I just asked a girl who can’t speak a question!” he chuckled.
I rolled my eyes. He was clearly drunk, but I wondered what had happened to make him get into this state. It can’t have been good.
“So, Emmy has left” he said staggering forward slightly, “and didn’t even let me explain that I really do love her because, get this, she doesn’t believe me” he said stumbling slightly.
I immediately reached forward to catch him before he hit the floor, my violin swinging on the tips on my fingers as I held onto him.
He was drunk.
Sighing I shifted my weight and grabbed his arm and slung it over my shoulder. I was going to get him to his Hotel room so he could sleep off however many glasses of scotch he had drunk.
My relief was out-weighed by my concern as I was suddenly anxious to get him into his hotel room where he could do less damage to himself and others.
Slowly I started shifting him towards the elevator.
“Whoa, where are we going?” he asked looking up slightly.
I ignored him and pressed the button to the elevator. He continued to chatter mindlessly, something about Emmy’s Grandmother…
Walking him to his door I watched as he grabbed out his key card and attempted to open the door, all the while chatting, he had moved on from Emmy and was now talking about Haggis.
With what he was describing I guessed vomiting wasn’t far away. Losing patience I grabbed the key-card from him and swiped it through the slot quickly.
Gerard turned to me and smiled, “Aw thank you!”
He then attempted to open the door and literally fell through it, landing on the floor.
I thought Scots were supposed to be able to hold their liquor?
Rolling my eyes I placed my Violin case on the ground and stepped into his hotel, carefully bending down I helped Gerard off the floor.
“Hello” he said once he was upright, “where are we going?”
I helped him over to the couch, he fell onto its cushions heavily with a sigh, “I’m sleepy”
Going to his kitchen I grabbed a bowl and bottle of water from his fridge, walking back to the couch I placed them down on the coffee table and grabbed the blanket from the back of the couch and threw it over him.
“Aw thanks Lucy, you’re so nice” said Gerard as he closed his eyes contently.
Nodding I went to leave but he reached out and grabbed my hand, “Lucy, wait a moment, sit with me”
Sighing I sat down on the edge of the couch and stared at him passively, there was a chance he wouldn’t remember this in the morning, so I decided to placate him.
He grasped one of my hands in both of his large ones that had a rough calloused quality that I found appealing. It showed that unlike so many men these days he was actually a man! That used his hands and actually went outside.
He smiled sleepily, his blue-green eyes sparkling slightly and I couldn’t help but smile back, though playing Florence Knighting-Gale wasn’t my style I couldn’t help but find a slightly drunk and sleepy Scotsman adorable… in a sleeping Puppy kind of way.
“Thank you for this. You’re a good friend” he slurred sleepily.
I smiled slightly and placed his hand on his chest, which didn’t even jostle him as he had apparently passed out.
Standing I went to the door, picked up my Violin and left.
I felt good, like I had done a good deed or something. Which I reminded myself I did. I seemed to be dealing with drunken men a lot lately…
But for some reason, his words “you’re a good friend” seem to echo in my head and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why.
My head was splitting open. Again.
After so many years I was being reminded all too vigorously as to why I had quit drinking in the first place.
Walking down the hallway to the practice room I popped two more Aspirins in attempt to rid the throbbing in my head. If I was going to be singing today, listening to music and performing, I was going to need a clear head.
That being said, I wasn’t entirely sure what was going to happen now that Emmy had left…
Whatever pain the medication had taken away was brought back tenfold as the thought of Emmy and my current predicament with her came to the forefront of my mind.
I loved her. How could she not see it?
But worst of all, she didn’t believe me when I told her.
Sighing I tried to push the thought out of my mind as I approached the door, I heard voices come from within.
“You said you wanted to do it, so get up there and give it a go” said a familiar voice; I recognised the voice as Andrew.
“If I die it’s your fault” called a female voice. It was one I had never heard before, but had a distinct playfulness about it and an accent I couldn’t identify.
Opening the door I could see Andrew standing in the middle of the room by a basic eighteen-hundreds lounge room set, staring at a piece of paper with a smile on his face, “I’ll keep that in mind” he said.
Stepping inside and closing the door I looked around to see who had been speaking to.
I saw Lucy sitting in a hoop that had been raised several meters off the ground; she raised one of her legs as the hoop spun and stretched it out in front of her in what I recognized as an acrobatic pose.
“Keep your legs straight” called a voice.
Looking over to the other side of the room I saw a woman wearing a leotard, she had blond hair that had been pulled back in a tight bun. Her legs were extremely long which suggested she was some sort of athlete. I guessed she was an acrobat, seeing as Lucy appeared to be currently getting a lesson.
“Good Morning Gerry” said Andrew looking up at me with a pleasant smile.
“What is Lucy doing?” I asked with a frown looking over to her curiously as the hoop continued to spin, with increasing velocity.
“She’s learning some acrobatics” he said simply, still staring at the papers he had spread over the prop piano, “I thought it would be nice if she could have a part in the movie and she wanted to be a part of the Circus ensemble” he explained.
“Huh” I said as I eyed her spinning on the hoop, “Must be nice for her to be getting a lesson instead of giving one”
“Well this was something she wanted to do, I tried to get her to take a bigger part, but she wanted to play a freak. I think she finds a bit of refuge in the different” he said thoughtfully.
That seemed to fit her personality quite well. Lucy was… different.
The doors swung open and I turned around to see Patrick entering the room, “Morning Gerry, Andrew” he said with a nod, he turned to the hoop and his expression altered slightly from real friendliness to forced, “Lucy” he said, nodding curtly.
Looking over to Lucy I watched as she sat up gracefully as the hoop continued to spin, turning her head so she could glare at him for a moment before she rolled her eyes and slipped off the hoop so she was now handing by her knees before she summer salted artfully to the ground.
She held Patrick’s eye for a moment longer in a penetrating glare before she turned to her teacher.
A shifting from the corner of my eye caught my attention and I could see Andrew eying Patrick shrewdly through his lashes.
Patrick shifted uncomfortably under Andrew’s gaze before he went and sat in the chair on the other side of the room before becoming preoccupied with his phone.
I turned to Andrew and eyed him wistfully as a realization came to me, “you really care for Lucy don’t you?”
It was so blatant. His Father-Like protectiveness over her, I wondered if he too sensed it.
“She’s like a daughter to me” he said simply, as if this was merely a fact.
“What’s her real Father think about that?”
Andrew’s lips twitched in an unpleasant way as he gathered up his papers before he stared me straight in the eye, “she doesn’t have one” he said flatly.
Something in the tone of his voice was harsh and I wondered if I had plucked a nerve. I glanced over at Lucy curiously who had flopped down onto the lounge room set couch, her eyes shut in exhaustion.
This was an interesting piece of information. I turned back to Andrew to question him about it, but the door swung open to reveal a very disgruntled Joel, “We are screwed!” he announced.
I chuckled slightly, to see a man that was always so calm and collected looking utterly pissed-off was very comical, “What’s wrong Joel?”
“We don’t have a Christine for rehearsals, that’s what!” he burst out angrily as he strode over to the table, “Emmy is going to be gone for who knows how long and unless we can find a replacement, we can’t start rehearsals which is going to put us behind schedule for the filming” he said throwing his hands up in exasperation, “the studio is going to pitch a fit!”
“So we find a replacement” said Andrew simply, turning back to his notes.
Panic flooded through me, “what do you mean a replacement?” I demanded. The thought of acting as the Phantom with anyone but Emmy seemed unbearable.
The character was enough of a challenge to play, not having the support of Emmy there, the chemistry that we already had… it would be impossible.
“We’d rehearse the scenes with an actress who already knew the part, film them and send them to Emmy so she could study the footage and step right back into filming when she came back” said Andrew seriously.
That calmed my fears immediately. I exhaled a breath of relief.
“Who?” asked Patrick curiously standing up and striding over to us.
“Yes, I agree, who?” demanded Joel, “do you know someone who knows the part, can sing and act and get here within twenty-four hours?” he asked frantically.
The room was deadly silent. All eyes were on Andrew.
He didn’t appear to be at all phased by the scrutiny he was currently placed under. But after a moment he sighed deeply, looking down he placed his hands on his hips and turned around, “Lucy?”
I watched as his eyes immediately locked with hers.
A silent conversation seemed to flow between them as he slowly walked over to her, his grey eyes burrowed into her.
Her green eyes raised as he came closer, a fearful sheen crossing over them, “Lucy?” he asked again.
She stood up suddenly in a jerky and violent movement she stared at him with the upmost anger and determination, ‘No!’ she mouthed.
I did not need to hear her voice to know she was upset.
“Lucy please” he said quietly as he approached her, he placed both of his hands on her shoulders and looked her straight in the eye.
After a moment she turned to face him and again, a silent conversation flowed between them.
I knew I had no hope of understanding how they communicated. I’d seen them somehow speak to each other without saying a word many times throughout our singing lessons, but never had it been done with such depth. And in such an obvious way.
I watched as water brimmed in Lucy’s eyes. Those large green eyes filling with tears was enough to make my heart constrict in compassion. I had the sudden impulse to place myself between them, to cut off Andrew’s penetrating gaze that was so obviously upsetting her.
Then something happened. She gave a small nod as a single tear escaped from her eye and slid down her cheek, leaving a watery track.
Andrew immediately pulled her into a hug, placing his chin on the top of her head, resting atop of her brown locks, “thank you my dear” he murmured.
I frowned in confusion. The scene before me made absolutely no sense.
Turning to Patrick and Joel I looked to see if they understood what had just happened… But they looked as perplexed as I did.
“Joel” called Andrew, “Clear this room. I don’t want anyone in here that doesn’t have to be” he demanded, “bring a camera and we’ll start”
Joel didn’t ask questions, yet I could see he wanted to. He simply nodded and set about doing what Andrew had asked.
“Wait, I don’t understand” said Patrick staring wildly around after Joel as he left.
“None of us do” I sighed, I clearly wasn’t going to get answers from him.
Turning to Andrew I raised my eyebrows at him curiously, but his attention was solely focused on Lucy. As she pulled back from the hug he grasped her face between his hands and stared at her intently, “are you alright?” he asked seriously.
She nodded before she broke from his embrace and wiped her face.
“Andrew” I called.
He turned to me, seeming startled that there were other people in the room, “What’s going on?” I asked.
“We have a new Christine” he said simply, he then turned to the couch with a proud smile once again adorning his features, “Lucy”