Author: RandomCran PM
Edward Masen is a talented but struggling actor. Bella Swan is a successful but bashful Hollywood publicist. When sparks fly on a Sci-Fi thriller movie set, Bella finds herself putting out fires and straddling something bigger than headlines.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Edward & Bella - Chapters: 20 - Words: 114,667 - Reviews: 1,479 - Favs: 903 - Follows: 1,143 - Updated: 11-24-12 - Published: 01-21-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7761233
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Esme was dozing comfortably but still aware of her surroundings. She was all too happy lying in the arms of her husband, naked and completely sated from their unexpected afternoon rendezvous.
There had been very few moments like this for her during the past several months, and she was reluctant to surrender herself to sleep when she knew that her time with Carlisle was rapidly drawing to a close.
Within a matter of minutes, she would be forced to let him go. He had a flight to catch to New York City and she would be leaving their Malibu home the following morning for Houston.
Esme was due to begin rehearsals for her next film the day after her arrival in Texas. The couple wouldn't see one another again for nearly a week, and then, when Carlisle did join her on location, she knew he would be all business and no pleasure.
Her mouth twitched slightly downward into a frown at the thought, although her eyes remained firmly shut to the impending reality. Her head rested on Carlisle's chest and her arm was draped across his stomach. The air around them was warm and although their bodies were slick with perspiration, she pulled him even tighter to her.
Carlisle was sound asleep, snoring lightly, and offered no more than a mere grumble at the slight tightening of Esme's embrace. She smiled in triumph. Usually, Carlisle turned onto his side and rolled away from her when she pulled this move on him. He had never been much of a cuddler.
In fact, she had been quite surprised when Carlisle initiated sex with her at all. Esme had been sitting on the mattress at the foot of their colossal bed when he had emerged from his massive closet, carrying a suitcase in each hand. She had been feeling sorry for herself, sad that she would be once again left alone. Even though a cool distance had existed between herself and her husband for some time, she still found his presence at home soothing.
When she had glanced over at Carlisle as he approached her, Esme immediately recognized an expression that had long been absent from his face in their eight year marriage.
He wanted her.
And she needed him...desperately.
She watched in silent, perplexed fascination as Carlisle set down his baggage and began unbuttoning his shirt. As soon as he stepped toward her, she hastily began removing her own clothes, fearful he would change his mind before he could reach her.
He hadn't, and he made love to her with wonder and passion. Carlisle was also tender at times and ran his fingertips along Esme's toned and tanned belly as he moved his mouth along parts of her body that she had kept ready for his hopeful return. Afterwards, as she continued to linger in his embrace, she replayed those blissful moments again and again and again in her mind. It hadn't been that good for so long.
Carlisle's soft snoring stopped after ten minutes and Esme knew that her time was up.
"That was just something for you to remember me by," he smirked as he sat up, forcing her off of him like he would a cat in his lap.
Esme smiled tightly as she resettled herself on their bed, but otherwise did not respond to him. She was already preoccupied by other familiar and intruding thoughts. She had been warring with herself for nearly a year about whether or not to end their marriage. In the space of an hour, she had gone from sad to blissful and then on to angry. Esme realized her emotions were out of control, swinging from one extreme to another and back again so quickly, that she no longer trusted herself to make the right decision, let alone act on it.
She stayed in bed but did not cover up. He hated that. Carlisle's eyes drifted towards her healthy breasts as he pulled his clothes back on. He had repeatedly urged her to get implants and had even gone so far as to call her a saggy cow during an alcohol induced argument the year before.
He only dropped the issue when she took a role as the lesbian lover of Amy Adams in a steamy movie filmed mostly in the nude in a loft in SoHo. The two women shared several erotic moments on screen, including what became an iconic scene of the girls shaving each other. Each actress had her reasons for accepting the bold roles and Carlisle was forced to publicly agree that Esme looked every bit as fine as her much younger co-star.
To say otherwise would make him look like an ungrateful jerk. He was, of course, but nevertheless stopped suggesting ways for his wife to improve her body.
Carlisle easily traded the view of her for the one of himself in the bathroom mirror and carefully checked his blond hair as he smiled. He had a lot to smile about; he was about to spend a week promoting a film he already knew would be a hit and then he would skip down South where he would begin filming with one of the industry's up and coming directors.
Jasper Whitlock had cast him in the Sci-Fi thriller after only one interview and no screen test, just the way Carlisle liked it. Jasper was a smart young man but Carlisle would have to make sure that Whitlock quickly understood who was really in charge on set.
Carlisle left the bathroom without turning off the light and looked down at Esme, who had fallen back into the sheets and was resting peacefully amidst silk champagne colored pillows.
He frowned as he retrieved his suitcases, a parting thought just then occurring to him.
"Don't cause a scene if our trailers aren't right next to each other." These were his last words to her before he sauntered out of the room.
Carlisle failed to notice that Esme had not spoken a single word.
Five years earlier, Carlisle had landed the lead role in the film adaptations of Jim Butcher's "Dresden File" books and it had turned the actor into a superstar practically overnight. He was on his way to attend the premiere of "Summer Knight", the fourth in the successful series, and had turned down his wife's offer to accompany him.
As a celebrity, Esme was still a tier or two below her husband - a fact he reminded her of often. He also informed her that the part she got in the new Whitlock project was given as a favor to him, even though Jasper had blushed when he shook hands with Esme at her audition. Jasper also spent a considerable amount of time assuring her that he would be sensitive to her motion sickness during harness shoots.
Only Jasper knew the truth...that he'd actually given the lead part to Carlisle in order to get a shot at the actor he really wanted, Esme Cullen. He had been a fan of hers for some time and knew that she would deliver realism to the pivotal role she had been cast in. Her natural warmth and method of performance was what Jasper desperately needed for such a fantastical film.
Carlisle was star power and that meant guaranteed box office for the studio backing the project, but as an actor Jasper found Cullen's performances self-conscious and laughable. Jasper was a calm and confident director, however. He would get the exposure the producers were clamoring for while also getting what he wanted from Carlisle. He had worked with difficult actors before and was certain that Cullen's exaggerated ego would be no match for him.
Carlisle drove himself to the airport in his black Porsche Panamera, feeling smug that he was one of only a handful of people in all of Southern California who owned the four door sedan model. Most people didn't even know that Porsche made a big luxury car and Carlisle had strategically purchased it at the frenzied height of the couple's "Baby Watch" (as the paparazzi dubbed it) several months earlier. The media was always speculating when the Cullens would expand their family and the latest round of rumors had followed their anniversary jaunt to Cabo San Lucas. Despite the positive spin a baby would no doubt put on his career, Carlisle had no interest in becoming a father and Esme had returned from their vacation having enjoyed the margaritas almost as much as the fajitas.
He told himself that he was not the type of man who needed to drive a sports car or a Hummer to prove his worth. Even so, his Porsche was a black V8 with milk blue headlights and he spent every second of the commute on his cell phone despite the strict California laws concerning hand held devices. He was not about to put any ridiculous contraption into his ear and ruin his profile if the paps snapped a shot of him.
They always did. Carlisle made sure of it. A tip he had picked up from Kathy Griffin.
He parked his car in the short term lot and left it for his publicist to retrieve.
It was not part of her job description to do such things, but Carlisle Cullen had made a habit of treating her worse than his wife.
Bella Swan was born into Hollywood royalty. She was the only daughter of a grind house producer who struck gold with enough films in the late seventies to build a comfortable empire. Charlie Swan later shifted his focus to television and still had more hits than misses attached to his name. Despite the fact that Bella was on the verge of turning thirty, everyone still recognized her as the little girl in the SwanSong Productions logo at the end of his shows.
She was easily beautiful enough to be an actress, but she had always been cripplingly shy. As a child she hid under the polished grand piano during her parents' lavish parties while Buddy Hackett and Gene Wilder looked all over the house to give her back her nose, or worse yet, ask her questions about herself.
In school she learned that with a pen in her hand she was powerful and later she discovered that with a keyboard underneath her quick fingers, she was a goddess. She was savvy and a brilliant observer of her environment, and after watching how her father commanded and closed one messy deal after another she decided at the age of fifteen to serve the industry from the inside. She would help control the very public she feared so much.
With so many actors available and clamoring for any kind of attention, clients were easy to get, yet they were mostly B-listers. Usually, she found actors in their fifties who were celebrating the arrivals of their first grandchildren and who were not hard to manage from a publicist's standpoint. But she never took the job for granted and was always coming up with new ways to get her clients the kind of exposure their floundering careers desperately needed.
The keen application of Bella's first-hand knowledge of the industry quickly transformed her. She broke free from the stigmatizing logo of a young girl trapped within a symbol of her father's success and developed into a woman who was capable of placing herself in the powerful position of swaying opinions. She was successful and stood in the light of her own achievements.
Carlisle Cullen was not one of her most famous clients when she took him on, but after "Storm Front", the first Dresden movie, he single handedly put her in a new income bracket. Bella thought she would be forever grateful to him for keeping her in his employ and sharing his success so generously. Thanks to the popularity of his films, she had a strong portfolio by the age of twenty-five. It was her own money, not a dime of it from her already considerable family trust.
However, with Carlisle's generosity came a creeping snideness that had turned him into an uncontrollable, ill-mannered beast by the time he was shooting the third film in the series. The role called for him to portray a Chicago based private eye who also happened to be a practicing wizard. His character was a bit of a prick and he began assuming those characteristics away from the set. He even seemed to revel in his despicable behavior and perfected it, much to Bella's growing unease.
Bella dutifully picked up Carlisle's car at the airport by taking a cab and using the key he had ordered for her. They had done this before. She had a flight of her own to catch later that evening to assist him in New York, but they never flew together. Carlisle made it a personal policy never to fly with the help, especially when his money afforded Bella a first class ticket.
Carlisle always flew in the studio's private jet. His attention seeking ways had their limits, after all, and he refused to trudge through the terminals of LAX.
When Bella pulled his car in past the security gate and onto the Cullen's clover driveway in Malibu, Esme waved to her from the balcony. Bella had been to the mansion once already that day in order to drop her car off there and had joined Esme for banana smoothies while she waited for the cab to deliver her to the airport.
Esme had been quieter than usual, but seemed happy inside her own thoughts and Bella had followed suit. Unless their actions away from the job forced her to, Bella never pried into the private lives of her clients.
After parking the sleek Porsche, Bella took out the two big suitcases Carlisle had left in the back seat and transferred them in her own car. He usually just left his bags in the house for her to collect, but Carlisle must have forgotten and put them in his car by accident. They were heavy and Bella realized it would be a huge inconvenience at the airport once she added her own luggage into the equation.
Waving a quick farewell to Esme, Bella climbed back into her own car and departed. Bella drove a Jaguar and she loved it's regal look. Her car was forest green in color with polished silver accents. The interior was accented with dark, polished wood and beige leather seats. Although Bella wasn't overjoyed by the leather. On most days, it was far too hot in L.A. for that.
She drove to her own modest house in Garden Grove and gathered her things for the trip to New York City. Her father grumbled about her choice of residence every time he drove out to visit her, but it had no effect on her. Bella lived on her own and didn't feel the need to live in a large home in a posh neighborhood. She remembered her friends calling the area Garbage Grove when they were kids but she had always liked the old houses there and found one she fell in love with.
Her personal life was simple and she enjoyed the physical distance between her home and her demanding career. The quiet neighborhood she was in gave her exactly that.
She had six hours left until she had to leave to catch her own flight. It was a late departure and she would have to sleep on the plane, but Carlisle wanted her there by morning when he would appear on the 'Today' show.
So Bella did what she always did when she had a few hours to kill - she went to Disneyland. Her home's proximity to the amusement park was another reason she lived in the Grove.
A fifteen minute drive and a quick flash of her season pass later and she was in the short mid-October, mid-week, late afternoon line for Pirates of the Caribbean. Her favorite part of the ride was that first moment when the boat settled into the water. She could hear the distant chatter and clinking from the French Quarter restaurant that overlooked the swamp she and her few companions floated through. She could see the electronic fireflies hovering in the trees, listen to the recorded sounds of bayou life and she could smell the water. It did not have the odor of chlorine or bleach but its aroma was nonetheless clean.
After two steep drops, Bella was on her way through a massive underground cave filled with the most amazing animatronics and pyrotechnics the 1960's could produce.
It was perfect.
She spent the eighteen minutes underground looking for things she hadn't noticed before, and this particular time she found one or two robotic rats and a pair of eyes peeking out from one of the ships forever engaged in battle.
She had always been old school but accepted the addition of Johnny Depp to the classic attraction mostly because he was so very cool as an actor and a person. She had met him on one of the days he was recording for his role in the animated film "Rango" and couldn't believe how funny and relaxed he was. He kept making jokes in Jack Sparrow's voice and Bella thought of his funny remarks every time she traveled up and out of the Pirates tunnel.
Next she went to the Haunted Mansion. Except that now it was completely redesigned as the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion. She went through twice.
Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland also got a double dip, and then she walked over to the Tiki Lounge and watched the show while drinking her second smoothie of the day. This time the flavor was pineapple.
Bella loved being in Disneyland. She was even a welcomed guest at Club 33, although she liked being out in the park too much and only visited the private New Orleans Square establishment when she needed to use the restroom. That was a privilege she would always exercise.
When she did drop by the Club, there was always her favorite drink waiting in the Trophy Room for her - hot cocoa.
Disneyland was like a second home to her but Bella knew that it was never going to be a complete experience until she had a family. She was not lonely, but she was alone and she knew that the line between the two had a funny way of fading away.
She considered going over to ToonTown, but decided she wanted a thrill and actually thought about going on the one ride she had never been on - the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror over in the California Adventure Park.
She loved the newer addition, especially the California Screamin' roller coaster. The gigantic loop was constructed to look like Mickey Mouse's head and the music of the Red Hot Chili Peppers filled her ears as she flew down the track. She started walking toward the park, directly west of Disneyland but suddenly chickened out before she got past the gates.
Instead, she rode the Disneyland Express parameter train all the way around the park and got off in Tomorrowland. Space Mountain was going to be her biggest thrill that evening.
Bella went home after a quick dash over to the Matterhorn, which was closed, and the final necessary trip through Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye.
Dinner was a tunafish sandwich and a glass of milk and then she was back in her car and off to LAX with Iron and Wine's "The Devil Never Sleeps" playing on repeat.
Edward Masen was from Chicago. South Chicago to be precise, the tough part of Chicago to be more precise. He fell into acting when he accompanied a friend to an open casting call for extras in a zombie movie. He had just turned twenty-one at the time and was a little drunk when he agreed to go along to the audition.
The make-up artist didn't want to mess up Edward's beautiful face and neither did the director, so Edward cast as the wise cracking member of the group and had most of the best lines in the film as well as a gruesome death scene. He was a standout in an otherwise forgettable film. The movie was called "Dead Heads" and had still opened more doors for him than any other acting work he had been able to land since.
The only problem was that his breakthrough part hadn't opened so many doors as much as it had cracked them only slightly ajar.
Edward impulsively moved to Hollywood after his first co-starring role as a deaf veterinarian in "Dog Eared." It had been promoted as the next "Free Willy" but it tanked worse than "Jaws 3-D".
He stayed in town, mostly because he couldn't afford to move anywhere else, and found semi-steady work in commercials and underwear print ads. Eventually even that dried up and he had been nursing a dry spell that lasted eight months before he miraculously got his next job.
To put it quite simply, Edward Masen felt cursed. Directors just weren't casting no-name actors in leading roles and they certainly weren't going to cast someone in a supporting role who looked better on camera than their leading man. It was a frustrating place for him to be.
The adult industry would have loved to nab him, but Edward knew that there wasn't enough Purell in the world for that.
Edward's new role was that of a red shirt in a Sci-Fi thriller called "Space Punch." Jasper Whitlock, who had made his beans in slasher films, remembered Edward from the set of the Chicago filmed zombie movie where Whitlock had worked as an Assistant Director. The casting director offered him just a walk on part, but when Edward met with Jasper he was immediately recast as the handsome pilot, who would meet his heroic end at the end of the third reel.
Edward began to see it as good luck when he played a character who was killed on screen.
It was a significant upgrade, both in exposure and in pay and Edward took it knowing that he was only weeks away from quitting the business for good. Even if he couldn't afford to leave Los Angeles, he knew he couldn't continue on with acting. Although he had no idea what he would do with the rest of his life, he knew that the life of an unemployed actor was just too unstable for him.
Whereas others would have taken the new job as a sign that their star was on the rise, Edward took the news that he had won a minor role in the major production as a sign that it was time to close out his less than lackluster days as a Hollywood actor. He simply reasoned that since he had started out by acting in the movies, it was only fitting he would end his career with one.
There had been steady industry talk about "Space Punch" for several months leading up to the shoot and Edward was going to celebrate the end of his career by playing a small role in what was sure to become a summer blockbuster. It was good enough for him. He was honestly more excited about the fact that the job got him out of California without costing him a penny he couldn't spare.
Edward was standing outside the costume trailer and talking with Alice, who had just fitted him with his ray gun belt. They were on location in Texas and filming had begun a few days earlier.
Edward could not believe his luck when he realized that he would be acting opposite legitimate A-list movie stars. The Cullens were Hollywood royalty. Carlisle had arrived on the set with a self-imposed fanfare but Edward fondly remembered how his lovely wife, Esme, had arrived for rehearsals a week before him. She had been wheeling her own bag and smiled at everyone she saw.
Edward Masen, on the other hand, felt like the butler's dog.
As he stood outside in the autumn sunshine with Alice, Edward watched as the script supervisor checked over the props and set dressings and the lighting techs looked for shadows or reflections.
"Do you wear a jacket in this scene?" Alice asked. "Gary is going to come over and ask you any second now."
"Nope," he replied confidently. Edward was easily obsessive compulsive enough to be a very gifted script supervisor and had already earned the respect of Gary by anticipating his questions as well as knowing the answers ahead of time.
"How many more days do you have?" Alice liked Edward and did not want him to leave the shoot early. His attitude was unassuming, carefree, and was a breath of fresh air in an environment usually overrun by ego and entitlement.
"I'm here for the duration," he smiled. "Jasper doesn't want to shoot my gut scene until we get back to California and has my stuff pretty spread out. I wrap just a day before Mr. Cullen does and two days after Mrs. Cullen."
"Have you noticed anything about them?" Alice was also the set gossip.
"No." Edward kept his answer short, but wasn't sure if he managed to hide the surprise in his voice. He didn't want to admit to Alice that he was never in a position to notice anything about Carlisle and Esme Cullen.
"When they're not in a scene together, they don't even look at each other. And I'm pretty sure that they keep sending their publicist back and forth to communicate."
"Bella Swan." Edward spoke her name quietly.
"You know her?" Now it was Alice was who surprised.
"No, but I know of her. She represented Carlisle before he went global."
Alice smiled. She knew smitten when she saw it.
"Would you like to meet her?"
Edward swallowed. Since he first saw her on the set a few days earlier all he could think about was becoming one of her clients or, better yet, kissing her lips.
"Sure," he tried to sound casual and thought he had succeeded.
Alice smiled again. As if on cue, she watched Carlisle's trailer door open and Bella stepped out, carrying his costume for the scene they were setting up. It was press day and flash bulbs started going off as Bella walked down the stairs.
They all stopped taking pictures when they realized that it was just Carlisle Cullen's publicist. She hadn't acknowledged the cameras either way.
Bella began striding towards the costume trailer and Edward intently watched her approach. Her long, dark hair billowed slightly in the warm air as she walked purposefully in his general direction. Her eyes weren't focused on any one in particular, especially not on Edward, but he could see her perfectly and out of no where, his nerves got the better of him.
"Looks like you get your wish right away," Alice said to Edward from the side of her mouth.
"Hi Alice. Hi Edward," Bella was talking fast, she was in a hurry, her voice slightly strained. "Alice, could you hold onto this? I don't want it getting damaged."
"Okay but..." Alice began, but Bella handed over the commander's uniform and quickly turned and walked away. She went back inside the leading man's trailer, slamming the door shut behind her.
Alice turned to a stunned Edward. "She knows your name at least."
"I know." Edward was in a dream. He had never been formally introduced to Bella Swan and he was not big enough for her to know any of his work.
"We'll catch up to her after the scene. Carlisle runs her ragged sometimes. What he needs, or what she needs, is an assistant because Bella has more important things to do besides bring his costume over to me."
Edward looked at the clothes in Alice's hand and his brow furrowed in confusion. "That's the costume he's supposed to be wearing for this scene. I wonder why she brought it to you?"
Before they could speculate further, Carlisle's trailer door flew back open and Bella stepped out carrying a pile of loose clothes in her arms. She dropped only one sock as she stalked past the still snapping photographers and began throwing the items over the studio divider keeping devoted fans within their designated area.
Edward recognized the pants Carlisle wore to the set that day as they flew through the air and Alice recognized Cullen's watch as Bella tossed it to a blonde girl, who dropped her poster and ran away with it like a dog with a bone.
With the exception of the one sock lying twisted on the ground in front of his open door, Bella Swan had thrown every stitch of clothing Carlisle had stored in his trailer to his fans.
The fans did not question the offering, they simply scrambled over one another to claim their prizes. Some immediately made a mad dash from the set and went straight to their computers to sell the items on ebay, while others departed and had their tokens framed in shadow boxes. A few truly dedicated fans, usually referred to collectively as The Cullen Nation, took their treasures home and quietly, reverently placed them underneath their pillows.
The journalists and paparazzi assembled nearby went into a scramble of their own, recognizing the breakdown of a well-known and respected Hollywood publicist.
Alice's eyes grew wide in mild horror as she silently observed the destruction of some very fine designer clothing.
Edward Masen had his eyes firmly trained on Bella Swan as she stormed away from the riot she had started.
And Carlisle Cullen was inside his trailer, humming to himself in the shower, oblivious to it all.
While we guarantee that we will be regularly working on this story together, we have decided not to commit to a weekly posting schedule. (It nearly killed poor Morgan as he spent two years writing Bella Voce and Brutte Parole).
We will post on Saturdays when each new chapter is complete and we are both very excited and focused on this project.
We both wish to thank our amazing artist, Tkegl, who made our banner and our movie poster for Space Punch. (Both links available on our profile pages).
We also wish to thank our two beta editors. Gothic Temptress and elliedgasmswoon They are dear family friends and will be working as hard as us to bring you this exciting tale.
We encourage you to seek us out on Twitter as we tend to banter back and forth and enjoy making friends - RandomCran and MorganLocklear
Reviews aren't necessary, we already know you're out there, but it's the best way to encourage us.
RandomCran and MOG