Peter yawned sleepily as he made his way down the hallway towards the meeting room. He hoped Marcus would be skipping today’s read-through. Having the screenwriter glare at him all through the last one had not been particularly pleasant. As he stepped into the meeting room however Peter was met with something else not particularly pleasant. Henry.
Henry was sitting down but looked up as Peter entered and immediately stood.
“Peter,” said Henry, a little rushed as if he was determined to get the first word in. “I was hoping I could catch you alone before the others came.”
Peter dropped his script onto the table and his bag next to a chair.
“Look,” continued Henry. “The last time we worked together…neither of us were exactly at our best. I think we made it more miserable for ourselves than it had to be and it’s no wonder things escalated to the point they did. But I do think we’d both like to avoid that this time.”
“It could have been easily avoided if you’d never agreed to do this movie,” said Peter crossing his arms.
“Yes,” admitted Henry. “But it was hard to say no. They’re paying a lot and I’m trying to find funding for my film next year. The studios weren’t interested so I decided to back it myself and the paycheck from this film will go a very long way towards ensuring I can do that.”
“You didn’t even ask me about it, which would have been common courtesy.”
“I knew what you’d say.”
“So in other words you didn’t care what I’d say.”
Henry sighed. “Maybe I should have asked but the contracts are signed and it’s too late to go back. I want to see if we could work this out.”
Peter looked skeptical. “Work this out? Work what out?”
“I know I made mistakes but I was confused.”
“You were confused? All those years between us and then suddenly you were confused?”
“Well if we’re dredging it up, remember you broke my nose! On live television I may add. And you were not completely blameless in making that final film shoot one of the worst experiences of practically everybody on that set. Between us we made everyone miserable. I just think a little peace would go a long way this time.”
“That’s not the easiest thing to ask for.”
“We were friends for seven years. Couldn’t we figure something out? Because I vividly recall last time and I’m not even counting the press tour afterwards. I mean the actual filming. We were both pretty young. And I think we both have to admit that we did not handle things in the most professional manner. As I recall we spent one entire afternoon refusing to be to be the first person out of our respective trailers.”
Peter laughed suddenly. “I’d forgotten about that.”
“I think we can also agree,” added Henry, “That we would like this film shoot to go as fast as humanly possible.”
“I can’t argue with you on that,” Peter agreed. “But there’s something that doesn’t quite add up.”
“Yeah. You say you’re doing this film for the money to back your next project. Except you don’t need to do Crocodiles in Space to make money. I’m sure your agent has any number of scripts from people hoping to get you back out in front of the camera. If you wanted easy money you could knock out a romantic comedy or two of which I’m sure you have plenty of offers. You don’t have to be here, in Crocodiles in Space, in which a character actually receives super alligator powers, starring alongside me.”
Henry sighed and shrugged. “I guess that’s true.”
“So why are you here then?”
“Because we were best friends for seven years. That is why I agreed to be in this piece of-”
The door opened and Jay and Marcus entered.
“High art,” Henry finished lamely. And suddenly both he and Peter were laughing. Jay wasn’t sure what the joke was but seemed delighted they were getting along while Marcus was looking between them suspiciously, suspecting that anything Peter would laugh at couldn’t be good news.
Still chuckling Peter took his seat.
The read-through felt quicker this time and Peter almost enjoyed himself. His disbelief at the script gave way to amusement and he kept struggling from laughing aloud; that would not help matters with Marcus. It unfortunately got substantially more difficult when he noticed Henry having the same problem.
Once Jay ended things for the day, Peter made his way over to Henry.
“So what is the film?”
“Excuse me?” asked Henry.
“This film you’re making next year. Are you finally making that biofilm of Constantine XI you were always dreaming about?”
“No. That would require a much bigger budget. I couldn’t do that through self-funding. No, this is a modernization of Antigone.”
“Sounds very indie.” There was a beat. “Anyways. I was thinking that perhaps you were right. A little peace might not bad. I don’t think I realized until just now, quite how long I’ve been fighting. And maybe it’s time to stop. We were both quite young. I guess I never really took that into account.”
“For what it’s worth. I am sorry. About everything.”
“So am I. Well,” admitted Peter with a grin, “I’m not that sorry about punching you. Though it might have been better if it hadn’t been on live TV.”
Henry laughed. “I guess I can’t really blame you there to much. Hey how about we go grab an early dinner? We could catch up. Start working on this cease fire.”
“Might as well try it. Nothing ventured-” Peter’s cellphone buzzed and he reached into his pocket to pull it out. It was a text message and he froze when he saw who it was from.
Could I please come over? – Holly
He stared at the line of text. It was short and it was off. Was something wrong? He had not been very satisfied with Evelyn’s report of how Holly was doing and now this text worried him. There was no question about what his response could be.
“Actually Henry,” he said, “I’m going to have to rain check. Something very important has just come up.” He hurried out of the room, already texting Holly his address.
Thirty minutes later he answered her knock on his apartment door. She was standing in the doorway looking crushed and defeated and as she saw him she started to cry.
“I’m so sorry Peter,” she said through her tears. “I didn’t know where else to go.”
He smiled. “You don’t have to be sorry. You can always come here.”
She returned the smile and stepped into the apartment to hug him.