“…please locate your nearest exit and be aware that in some instances the closest exit may be behind you. In case of a water landing…”
Peter tuned out the stewardess and pulled out the book he’d purchased at the airport, flipping it open. Matt sat beside him. Matt had bought first class tickets for both of them. Peter had tried to object, arguing that he was perfectly fine with buying his own ticket and flying third class but Matt had insisted. He had said something about feeling responsible for the contract and Peter having to fly back to LA. Peter had finally let it drop for the sake of the privacy of first class rather than because he actually blamed Matt. After all, he had ignored the sequel clause in the contract as well. Which, as he had said to Matt as they waited to board the flight, had been foolish. If a mind was deranged enough to conceive Crocodiles in Space and decide it was a good idea to film it, then it was easily deranged enough to decide it warranted a sequel.
Matt was fidgeting beside him. Peter ignored him and concentrated on his book. The stewardess had stopped talking at some point and the plane was slowly taxiing towards the runway.
“Peter,” said Matt suddenly. Peter looked up from his book. Matt was looking worrisomely guilty. “There’s something I haven’t told you.”
Peter frowned. “What do you mean there’s something you haven’t told me? About what?”
“I had to get you on the plane. You have to fulfill the contract no matter what uh…creative decisions the network might have made.”
Peter blinked, alarmed. “What ‘creative decisions’ are you talking about? Are you trying to figure out an easy way to tell me I’m playing a crocodile this film? Because honestly being in one of the crocodile suits would be marginally less embarrassing then having to recite the dialog if it’s anything like last time.”
The plane was picking up momentum, speeding down the runway towards takeoff.
“No,” said Matt. “It’s about your co-star.”
“He was the only other character that survived the last movie.”
“Yes, so they have to bring in a new cast of characters and, well,” Matt took a deep breath. “Henry’s going to be in it.”
The plane lifted off the ground. Peter stared, horrified.
“You can’t mean Henry Donne?”
“No!” A couple of the first class passengers glanced towards them and Peter lowered his voice. “I am not working with Henry Donne. And I doubt he’ll agree to work with me either. The last time I talked to him he told me I should go off somewhere and die.”
“Yes, but things were different then,” pointed out Matt.
“And the time before that I broke his nose on live television.”
“So you’re even.”
“We are not even,” snapped Peter. “He deserved that punch.”
Matt sighed. “The two of you used to be best friends.”
“Used to be. Not anymore. And I am not working with him, Matt.”
“I tried to block it. But your contract gives you no say in casting.”
“They only cast him because of me!”
“Of course they did,” said Matt. “It’s a publicity stunt.”
“It’s a spectacle.”
“Yes,” agreed Matt. “They know people are going to tune in for a number of reasons. The last film was funny, this is your first film since-, well since Alan Ryder was arrested, and now because you and Henry are going to be working together again.”
“Why would Henry even agree to do this?”
“I honestly don’t know,” said Matt. “When I first caught wind of the possibility I thought it was a pipe dream on the network’s part. No way Henry would ever agree. But he did.”
“He hasn’t been in a film in three years. He’s all about directing now isn’t he?”
“I know, I know. That’s why I thought it was absurd. But he’s already signed on. There must be some reason but I honestly do not know what it is. He dropped me as his agent five years ago when I stayed with you and we haven’t been on very friendly terms since then.”
Peter buried his face in his hands. “You knew about this in Dublin and you didn’t say anything.” It was a statement, not a question.
“As I said, I had to get you on the plane.” Matt looked deeply guilty. “I should have been honest and told you but I’m not sure…” He hesitated.
“I haven’t really spoken to you since you left LA. You haven’t been returning my calls or responding to most of my emails. I wasn’t sure how rational you are right now. I still don’t know. You upped and left the country without even 24 hours’ notice the last time I saw you. I’m worried about you Peter and I don’t want you to do something…foolish.”
Peter raised a skeptical eyebrow. “Foolish?”
“Yes Peter. I worry about how you’re going to react to things sometimes. Five years ago, you scared me. I wasn’t sure what you were going to do. You were really messed up.”
“My wife had been murdered.”
“I know. But I was worried about you. And I’m worried now.”
“Worrying about me as much as you do must get extremely stressful.”
Matt grinned. “You have no idea.” He turned serious again. “But I’ve known you since you were eighteen. I signed you on and got you your first roles. I’m responsible.”
“Matt, you do know I’m over thirty and fully capable of making my own decisions don’t you?”
“Of course. But it would be much simpler if you’d let me make them for you. You don’t seem to make very good ones.”
Peter laughed. “As one of the stars of Crocodiles in Space, I find it hard to disagree with that.” The stewardess appeared with the drinks cart and Peter ordered a whiskey before raising it to Matt. “Cheers.”