The theater was small, with only a handful of seats. Nikki sat in the back corner nearest the exit. She had a feeling she was going to need it. Two producers, the director and the editor were sitting closer to the screen, exchanging a few last minute notes.
Her cellphone buzzed and the director looked over at her.
“Sorry,” she said quickly. “Forgot to shut it off. I’ll be right back.” She carried the phone out into the hallway and answered the call.
“Nikki? It’s Tobin. I was wondering if we could push back our date by half an hour. I have a meeting with an editor and he likes to talk.”
Nikki chuckled. “No problem. I’ll see you at six thirty then?”
“Sounds good. What are you up to?”
“Oh. We’re about to have a private screening of my movie. The editing on the new scenes are done and I heard the producers and director were going to watch it so I asked if I could sit in on it too. The official premiere is January 14th, so I figured I’d better know what I’m in store for.”
“Just remember it doesn’t matter. It’s not going to hurt your musical career.”
“Right.” Nikki frowned. “Okay, I’ll see you later. Got to go back in. We’re about to start.”
She hung up and turned off the phone before slipping back into the theater and taking her seat. The lights dimmed, the screen came to life and she settled down to watch.
The credits at the beginning were okay. The opening song wasn’t bad either. Unfortunately those were the only highlights. It was when the dialog started that things took a turn for the worse. It was easier to count the lines that weren’t clichés then the ones that were. How had she not noticed that while they were filming that everything sounded straight out of a fortune cookie? Perhaps because she was too busy trying to focus on not messing up but it was certainly glaringly obvious now. This wasn’t quite as bad as the fact that with old scenes cut out and the new scene added, the once-simple plot was now convoluted and nearly impossible to follow.
Nikki glanced at the back of the heads of her fellow watchers and wanted to sink through the floor. She was the star of the movie, she’d agreed to do it and now….
She couldn’t face them. They might be just as much to blame for the train wreck that was unfolding on screen but that didn’t make her feel any better. Quietly, she reached down and picked up her purse. She stood up very slowly and tiptoed to the door. She glanced back once more at the screen, winced and dashed out. She sped down the hall, took the stairs to the studio’s bottom floor and hurried out to the parking lot.
It wasn’t till she was in the car that she took a moment to take stock. What she really wanted was to go get a very stiff drink and party with a few good friends. Holly had arrived back in town yesterday. She could call her up and they could go-
No. She glanced at the clock. It was too early. Nor would it exactly be the mature response to this situation. Not, she had to admit to herself, that sneaking out of there had been exactly mature either.
Besides she and Tobin had plans to visit a new nightclub. She could have her drink then. Not that it would fix anything. The movie was still going to premiere in two weeks and she’d have to sit through it all then. As would everyone else. She winced as she thought of the response it was likely to get.
It had been a bad script. Clint had been right. It was a horrible mess of a movie and he’d known it.
She reached for her phone to call Tobin but hesitated, her hand an inch away. She knew what he’d say. He’d tell her that it didn’t matter. Except it did matter. To her at any rate it mattered very much.
So instead she pulled out her car keys and turned on the ignition.
Nikki told herself she was going back to her house. She even announced it to the empty car. When she took the first turn in the opposite direction she said it was just to clear her head with a bit of a drive. Even when she parked outside of Clint’s apartment building she said it was just a coincidence.
“But since I’m here, it’d be rude not to go up,” she said, trying to make her voice sound offhand. “He won’t be in anyway.”
She climbed the stairs up to his floor and knocked on the door. Out of nowhere she suddenly remembered that spring, the IAA Benefit. Rushing out of there, to knock on Clint’s door and kiss him.
The door opened and she stared at him feeling rattled, hoping there was no way Clint could possible guess what she’d just been thinking about. She jumped on the first thing that occurred to her.
“You’re going out.” She gestured at Clint’s jacket and the camera bag slung over his shoulder.
“I was about to head to work,” he said, clearly surprised at seeing her but looking definitely pleased. “But it can wait. Come in.”
She stepped into the apartment and he shut the door.
“Do you want a drink?” he asked.
“Oh. Well, have a seat at least.”
They both sat in awkward silence for a minute, Nikki tapping her foot nervously on the floor.
“I was just watching my movie,” she announced abruptly.
“Oh. How was it?”
“You were right.” She looked at him. “The script was horrible. And it’s just gotten worse since you read it. I’m going to become a laughingstock. Probably a meme. Who knows, maybe two if I’m lucky. It’s that bad. And I should have listened to you. Which has never been very easy for me to say. So overall I’m not doing so hot at the moment.”
Clint set his camera bag down and pulled off his jacket, tossing it onto the ground. “I’m sorry that it’s a bad movie. But for what it’s worth, I should have listened to you as well. It was your choice and you did what you needed to do at the time. I’m sorry I didn’t listen.”
Nikki smiled. “So I guess we both messed up, huh?”
“I guess so. Here come on, it’s not the end of the world. Lots of great people have been memes before. Why don’t we order a pizza, I open some sodas, and we talk about this movie and how you can handle the bad press from it?”
He stood up but she reached out and grabbed his arm to stop him.
“Thank you Clint.”
“It’s going to be fine. It’s one bad movie. People have come back from much worse, including you.”
Author’s Note: Holly(Woods) will return December 2nd. Because I don’t want to write over the Thanksgiving holiday 🙂
Have a very happy Thanksgiving everyone! Thanks so much reading! It makes me very happy.