What an awful night of sleep! Well, rather lack of.
I had tossed and turned, still contemplating the divorce my wife had just asked for. I knew I had to rehearse today but getting out of bed sounded like too much effort. Instead I lay in bed and watched the clock tick by each minute until I realized I only had ten until I was supposed to be rehearsing, “Shit!”
I got up and quickly pulled on some clothes and raced out the door not even caring to take my cell with me. I kept it on me encase Renee needed to contact me and her voice was the last one I wanted to hear today.
I came to the set breathing heavily since I had just ran from the hotel. Everyone turned to look at me with a momentarily startled expression and I quickly turned away and prepared some coffee. I would be rehearsing with Lucy today and for the first time in what felt like far too long; I could feel a small smile creep onto my lips.
I sipped my coffee and took a seat looking over today’s material. It looked like we would be doing, ‘What A Dreadful Town’ and later I would go through, ‘Why Does She Love Me?‘
I hummed through the lines as I read the lyrics. After being on Broadway, this was easy for me to pick up on. As much as I loved the stage, movies were what held my interest.
I looked up to see Jack entering with his Mom in tow. For being so young, Jack was very talented and had a bright future. In came Lucy soon after.
I felt a pang of regret as I remembered what had happened between us-what I was the cause of… I hoped that enough time had passed that the awkwardness between would have subsided. She caught my eye and looked away immediately. Damn.
“Ah Lucy,” Andrew said, breaking away from his conversation with Joel, “Well let’s get started everyone!”
Lucy sat at the piano to take us through warm ups but I wondered why she didn’t join us. I half-assed the warm ups, too excited to hear Lucy’s voice.
When we were done, we took positions with Jack on the floor playing, Lucy standing by a window and myself standing across the room about to start pacing. Andrew sat at the piano and Joel readied the crew, “And three…two…one, action!”
The music began to play and I hurried into the set.
Drawing out anger for my scene was easy, seeing as how much I was holding in due to my wife.
“What a dreadful town, what a vulgar place! What an awful mistake to have come here! To be on display in that shameless way for the crude common-lower class scum here! How do they DARE treat us so?” I was fuming at the end of my rant and was brought out of my expressed thoughts when Jack-rather, Gustave-spoke.
“Father dear, come play with me. Come and see this toy I’ve got” he sung happily.
“What a snub a most from our so-called host. Did he think sending freaks would be funny?” I snapped my head to Lucy who glanced at me for a moment, before going back to staring out the window “Could the fool have thought that our pride was bought by his filthy American money? What a farce, what an outright slap in the face! It’s an utter disgrace! I’ve got a mind to pack and go! Never you mind the debts we own. Who would believe we’ve sunk this low?” Exhausted, I collapsed in a chair and held the bridge of my nose in feigned annoyance.
“Father please, come play with me” He pleaded but now was an awful time to ask.
“Please tell the boy the answer’s NO!” I yelled harshly at Lucy who wasn’t paying attention. She continued to stare out the window.
Jack began to play a little tune on the piano which wasn’t adding to mine, or rather Raoul’s, headache.
“Must you make that racket?” I sneered looking at him.
Lucy turned around to face us, “I think it’s beautiful” she said firmly.
I stared at her for a moment in utter shock, missing my cue slightly before I continued and cut her off. Hearing her voice sent shivers down my spine. If that was her speaking, what did her singing sound like?
“It hurts my head!” I said rudely even thought I just wanted to shut up and listen to her sing. I was taught to go on as if nothing had happened… but it was truly a test now! All I wanted to do was close my eyes and listen to that voice.
“Please, let’s not fight dear” she sung, striding over towards me, I must have died and gone to heaven! “I’m sure that no one intended a slight dear”
I turned and narrowed my eyes at the small girl who held such an angelic voice, “Don’t you patronize me. It’s your fault we came here!” in apparent anger I stood up facing away from her.
“We need the money, that’s all. That’s why things haven’t been right dear” she sung.
Oh how I loved her calling me that!
“Why doesn’t it surprise me that I get the blame here?” I scoffed and turned from her in anger, though it was hard to maintain when I stared at her.
“Let’s leave tonight dear!” She ran over and placed a hand on my arm and I found myself immediately soothed by her touch, “If that would serve to ease your troubled mind? Leave the hurt behind…”
I wanted to agree with her. I wanted to go away-far away and let it be just Lucy and I. Yes that sounded nice…the idea made me close my eyes as I pictured it.
When Jake sung, it made me jump slightly, “Father dear, come over here and look at what they gave to me. Wind the top and Father see. Look it plays a melody”
I got up suddenly and started heading for the door as I grabbed my jacket, “I need some air”
Lucy took a hesitant step forward, “Raoul, please-“
I turned on her pleading face and glared. But how I wanted to sooth whatever worried her… I had to remind myself this was acting as fought to maintain the same level of anger, “Please, what?!”
She jumped slightly, as if in fear, “Nothing, nothing” She looked down as I continued to glare, “Only Raoul…” She looked up with pleading eyes, “don’t drink anymore” She asked quietly.
I wanted to say yes. Yes, anything for her. Anything for that voice. But I had to continue, I didn’t want to screw up the scene. Scowling I turned, leaving Jake and Lucy alone in the set.
Jack looked down at his toy and Lucy kneeled beside him, “Father never plays with me. Doesn’t he love me?”
I felt a pang in my heart that nearly made me cry because it made me think of my boys… my darling boys. Why didn’t I spend more time with them when I could? For all I knew it was going to be restricted to weekends now, if Renee wanted full custody… I needed to call them later.
“And…cut!” Joel called out.
All of the lights were turned back on and I was immediately broken out of my thought meditation. Spotting Lucy I smiled as excitement welled inside me, I was going to talk to her. I walked over to her still smiling, “Lucy I…I had no idea you could sing so well!”
She blushed and looked down but I knew now wasn’t the time to discuss our private matters.
“Alright everyone” Andrew called out, “Lucy and Jack will go through ‘Look With Your Heart’ and then we will break for lunch. After that we will have Patrick go through ‘Why Does She Love Me?’ and we will continue on with that scene which means Gerard will be coming later. Lucy after lunch you can go for the day if you wish”
Lucy gave him a thumbs up.
Moving off the set I stood behind the camera, excited as a kid the day before Christmas. I stood in pure ecstasy as I listened to Lucy sing the next song. She was flawless!
Never in all my years on Broadway had I ever heard such a beautiful voice! Never in all my years of being alive! I was entranced and couldn’t look away from her. I was saddened when the song was over and the lights were brought back up.
Her voice was like a drug and I longed for more. I had to have more. It was addictive. She was addictive.
The second I could, I went over to her side, “Lucy would you join me for lunch?” I asked formally.
She looked up, startled for a moment before she seemed to consider it.
“I’ll buy” I offered and that seemed to decide it for her and she nodded, “Great!”
I held open the door for her and we walked out to the boardwalk. It was silent the entire time yet I couldn’t help but glance at her out of the corner of my eye every five seconds just to make sure she was still there. That she was still real. It didn’t seem possible that a girl with such an amazing voice could exist.
We stopped at a stand and she pointed to what she wanted, never once speaking. After that we found a secluded bench and started to eat.
I knew if we were going to talk I would have to start the conversation. Summoning all my courage I spoke, “Lucy…I want to apologize for my actions the other day. There’s no excuse, I was hurting and drunk and you were there…” I sighed, somehow I didn’t feel as if this was helping, “I would sincerely like to apologize and I hope you will forgive me because I’d like to think of you as a dear friend” Or more….I added in my head.
After a moment I placed my hand on top of hers, “You mean a lot to me Lucy and I don’t want to push you away”
Lucy stared down at her feet for what felt like a life time… when she looked up, she smiled at me, “I forgive you” She said quietly.
Once she spoke I knew I had her trust and vice versa. I sighed as the sweetest relief washed over and pulled her into a hug, “Thank you Lucy, thank you”
She hugged me back and I pulled out slightly so I could see her face. She was practically glowing with happiness and it warmed my heart to see that.
“What happened to you yesterday?” She asked her voice coloured in concern.
Oh I’d never grow tired of hearing her voice!
“Renee called” I took a bite of my hotdog, “She asked for a divorce” I said as I chewed thoughtfully, for some reason, saying it aloud didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would, “I’m fine now…I’m just afraid for my boys”
“Does it upset you?”
“Of course but she was right. We’re not in love anymore. What is a marriage without love?” I asked looking up at her, she smiled at that and I smiled back.
“Now” I crumpled up my garbage and threw it into a garbage can, “why do you keep your voice such a secret? It’s flawless! I am speechless of how to describe it!”
Lucy looked down and for some reason her smile became somewhat forced, “Thanks” she mumbled, “But I don’t like to be centre of attention, I’ve never liked the spotlight” She said slowly as if trying to convince herself. She didn’t fool me.
“Well!” I stood and threw her trash away as well and then offered my arm to her, “I am glad you are singing now and it’s nice to hear your voice. It’s amazing”
She blushed and another beautiful smile spread across her face before she took my arm. We strolled back to the rehearsal set and I turned to her, “Are you coming?”
She shook her head, “I have other work to do”
“Alright. Thank you for forgiving me. You are very special and I wish to keep you close” I grinned.
With a sudden burst of courage that I had no idea where it came from, I took my chances and kissed her on the cheek.
She blushed and looked away, trying to hide her smile, “I will see you later then” I made it sound like a promise. I would see her later.
I turned to go, hearing a soft call of a goodbye in my wake.
I was supposed to be practicing ‘The Beauty Underneath’ but for some reason I couldn’t get ‘Beneath A Moonless Sky’ out of my head. Or more the girl I had sung it with yesterday.
My curiosity about her seemed to have doubled from yesterday, if that was even possible. I decided to grab a quick bite to eat before I would head to rehearsal early to see if I could maybe catch Lucy singing again, or if I could possibly talk to her and hopefully gather some answers about the mystery she presented.
I had just entered the lobby when a tall man with jet black hair and slightly olive skin approached me, “Excuse me, I was wondering if you could help me?” he asked.
“Sure” I said turning to him, he had a strange accent, one that was startling familiar to me though I couldn’t place it.
“I’m looking for a girl, she’s a brunette, about this high” he held his hand out, “has green eyes-”
But he was cut off by another voice, “Ben?”
Both of us turned simultaneously to the exit and entrance of the hotel, where Lucy stood. She stared at the man in front of me with wide excited eyes.
“Lucy!” he smiled.
Then, with easy familiarity Lucy ran across the room and literally jumped to throw her arms around the strangers neck who apparently wasn’t a stranger to her.
They hugged for a moment, while all I could do was look on in confusion. After a moment he released her, placing her delicately on the ground he smiled down at her.
“What are you doing here?” she asked staring up at him with a bright smile.
He shrugged, “Felicia has an audition for Broadway and I thought I’d stop over and see you before we head back”
“Oh you and Felicia are still together? That’s great” she smiled.
For some reason that filled me with a sense of relief. I frowned, why was I relieved? Because I had thought that he was her boyfriend? That was absurd!
My only interest in Lucy was to find out why she didn’t speak. That was it!
“Oh Gerard” said Lucy seeming to notice me or the first time, “this is my friend Ben Lewis, he played the Phantom in the Australia’s Love Never Dies” she said, “Ben this is Gerard Butler”
Ah, so that was why he seemed familiar. I had seen the Australian Version of Love Never Dies of course, as it was the one the movie was being based on.
“Hey” said Ben offering his hand to me, “I saw that movie Three Hundred” he smiled as I shook his hand.
I smiled back though it was somewhat forced. How many times had I heard that? Had people seriously not seen any of my other movies?
“Eh, bunch of men running around in leather” said Lucy rolling her eyes, “No thanks”
I looked to her in shock. Not only was she speaking but she did it with such ease! Something I hadn’t seen her do before. She had bad mouthed one of my most famous movies. I was shocked but oddly enough not offended… I was intrigued.
Ben laughed as he released my hand and turned to her, “Do you want to go and grab a coffee?”
“Gerard would you like to come?” he asked turning to me.
That question stumped me. While I could easily see how my presence would be unwanted, if Lucy and Ben were as good of friends as they appeared to be, they would mostly likely talk non-stop and I would be a third wheel.
That being considered it would be a brilliant opportunity to learn more about Lucy.
And with that we headed out of the lobby.
Contrary to my belief, Ben and I did most of the talking. We talked about how each of us approached the character of the Phantom and I was able to pick his brain on his approach to the Love Never Dies material.
When we settled on a Starbucks close to the rehearsal building and sat down at a secluded table did Lucy finally speak. She asked about a few people who I assumed were her friends back in Australia which Ben answered in great detail. So I assumed they were his friends to.
It seemed this entire endeavour had been futile, until Lucy excused herself to go to the bathroom.
“So” said Ben turning to face me, “bet you were surprised to hear her talk” he smiled.
I blinked in shock before I nodded, “Yeah I was” I admitted. It seemed her mute-ism was not as selective as I had begun to think it was.
“Took her three months before she uttered a word to anyone in the Love Never Dies cast, and we spent six hours together, five days a week during the rehearsal period” he said, shaking his head with a slightly amused look.
“Why doesn’t she speak?” I asked leaning forward with curiosity.
Ben sighed deeply, seeming to think over his answer carefully, “Some stuff happened to her when she was a kid… it makes her scared to speak now”
My frowned deepened at this small scrap of information. It quenched some of my thirst for knowledge before it brought it back tenfold. It was not enough; I needed more, “What happened to her?” I asked quietly.
He opened his mouth to speak but was cut off, “Ben!”
Both of us looked up to see Lucy standing over the table, she was looking at Ben seriously as if she somehow knew what we were talking about, “Gerard has to get to rehearsal and we really shouldn’t keep him” she said firmly.
Looking down at my watch I could see that I was already five minutes late, “Ah shit” I said standing abruptly, I was in for a lecture from both Joel and Andrew when I finally did arrive, “Um, it was nice meeting you” I turned to Ben.
“Like-wise” he smiled.
Turning to Lucy I suddenly felt awkward, I had been trying to peer into a private part of her life and I had the suspicion she had caught me, “I’ll see you later”
When she smiled at me, it was shy and hesitant before she turned to Ben with a glare. So it was not me she was angry at, but her friend.
Going to the door I looked over my shoulder at the two of them once again, I watched as Lucy stared down at her coffee stirring it slowly.
Sighing I walked out of the cafe and headed to the rehearsal.
In many ways I had my answer. She had suffered some sort of trauma as a child that made her afraid to speak. It was a perfectly reasonable answer, yet it didn’t seem enough for me.