EXT. HOMESTEAD SET. DAY.
Evelyn marched through the set with purpose. The bustle which felt daunting and confusing to Holly didn’t seem to phrase her one jot. She didn’t hesitate to push people or equipment aside and she never seemed to consider going round an option. When she stopped someone to ask a question, she took a firm hold of their arm and wouldn’t let go until they’d answered it.
With Evelyn leading the way they found the assistant director in under ten minutes. He was looking harried and tired.
“Walsh, I have your bar keeper here. She needs to check in?”
“Oh right,” Walsh examined his clip board. “Holly Woods?”
“Alright, well,” he looked at Holly. “We’ve got a scene in the saloon shooting later; it’d be great if we could get you in it. You’re background so costume and make up departments pretty much have free reign. All you have to do in the scene will be stand at the bar and maybe pour a couple of drinks so you don’t have to worry about script for today. We’ll get you caught up tomorrow.”
Holly barely had time to open her mouth when someone was calling over to Walsh. With a hasty goodbye he was off.
“You were going to ask where make up and costume are?” asked Evelyn smiling at her.
“Never mind dear. I’ll take you.”
A short time later Holly was standing in a small makeshift building near the parking lot, surrounded by racks of clothing and being handed various dresses to try on. The head of the costume department, Matilda, was a very nice, jovial woman and kept diving into the racks and emerging again with a fresh bundle in her arms. Evelyn had taken a seat and was watching the process. She and Matilda would critique each costume as Holly tried them.
“Is it normal to put this much effort into a background character’s costume?” asked Holly, as Matilda made another expedition into the interior of the racks.
“Not normally, but Matilda is very detailed oriented and as you’ll be a regular…” Evelyn shrugged and then smiled warmly at Holly. “This must be your first role.”
Holly shifted self-consciously and nodded.
“There’s nothing to be ashamed off, everyone has a first role. I remember mine,” Evelyn sighed. “It was the 70’s. I was right up there, starring role…”
“You’re not reminiscing are you?” Matilda sighed, as she emerged, carrying a red and black lace dress. “If she starts she’ll go on forever.”
“I don’t mind,” said Holly quickly. “I’d love to hear about it. Miss Martin is an incredible talent with such an amazing history.”
“History is such an ugly word,” commented Evelyn, “But I appreciate your meaning.”
“I didn’t mean Miss Martin that-”
“I know dear. And call me Evelyn”
“Ignore her,” advised Matilda, “And always avoid any word which references time, age or the completely natural process of growing old…now what do you think of this one?”
“She looks like she works a completely different job…probably still in a saloon but far less reputable,” said Evelyn dryly.
“Yes,” agreed Matilda, as she stood back to take in the full effect of the dress itself. “We want less lace.” She dived back into the racks.
“Now what about you Holly? What’s your story?” asked Evelyn.
“I’m afraid I don’t really have one.”
“Of course you do. You’re out here in LA pursuing an acting career, you’re young and beautiful. It’s all very exciting. Something must have brought you here?” Evelyn said it a little melodramatically but good humoredly and Holly laughed. The laughter faded into a smile then turned a little wistful as she thought about the answer.
“My sister brought me here out here.”
“Does she live in LA too?” asked Matilda reappearing with several dresses and handing a deep green one to Holly to try on.
“No. She did. She moved out here. She was only out a couple of months when…she died.”
“I’m so sorry,” said Matilda, looking stricken.
Holly tried to shrug it off. “It was two years ago. But she could act! And she loved it! She was beautiful you know. She had jet black hair and these rich green eyes. She looked the role of a dramatic star. Ever since I can remember her she wanted to be an actress. She read plays, watched films and tried out for parts at school. She could be a bit of a drama queen if I’m honest. But I loved her so very much…”
“What happened?” asked Evelyn.
“A car crash. Drunk driver at the wheel of a car. He was on the wrong side of the road and swerved to avoid incoming traffic and hit Della on the sidewalk instead.”
“How did that bring you out here?”
“At first it was the last thing I wanted. She came out and it killed her. But…she loved to watch movies. I’d occasionally watched some with her but normally I wouldn’t. There were so many movies in our house, stacked on the shelves, that she had wanted to watch with me and we never got around to it, I always put it off. A year after she died I just couldn’t stand looking at them anymore, feeling angry at myself that I never just watched them with her like she wanted me to. So I took them off the shelf, sat down…and watched. I watched for days and days in a row and when I was done…I wanted to follow Della’s dream; because those movies, some of them were silly, some stupid, some terrible, some wonderful, some tragic…but they’d helped me. I felt better than I had since I lost her.”
There was a long silence and then Evelyn left out a deep sigh. “Well I need a drink after that.”