|Something's Got to Give
Author: Melaminar PM
Something's got to give. It's the title of Marilyn's last movie, never finished and never seen, its filming interrupted by her death. It's also a phrase Ivy Lynn finds applies more and more to herself these days. This is her journey towards getting her life together.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Angst - Ivy L. - Chapters: 24 - Words: 65,597 - Reviews: 65 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 19 - Updated: 01-31-13 - Published: 06-07-12 - id: 8195076
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
She had texted the good news to her friends and may as well have floated in to the bar to meet them, with how excited she was feeling. To go from never getting a part and on her last legs to now having to decide between two parts was something she had not thought possible.
"I hope you're happy with yourself," she heard someone say to her from behind. British accent, but the voice was a bit too polished to be Derek's It was probably Dev.
Sure enough, she turned around and there he was.
"I am, actually," she chirped. "I've had a pretty good day today."
"You told me you wouldn't tell her."
She had told him that, but she didn't regret breaking her word about it. Sleeping with him had been a mistake, and that she regretted. But not telling Karen. The timing of that revelation had been awkward and inconvenient, yes, and sure, her motives had been selfish and ignoble. But she hadn't done it for the part. Not really. It was simpler, more primal, than that. Yes, the possibility that Karen might break down at the news had crossed her mind, but she didn't think of it as a real possibility until after Iowa had already run off. It wasn't why she had shown Karen the ring. In any event, if that were why, it had backfired completely.
No, she had done it just because she had been wounded and wanted to lash out, wanted to hurt Iowa and make her feel the same pain and anger that she was feeling. It was far from her proudest moment, she knew. And she was ashamed of it But it was more complicated and neither as conniving nor as malicious as it seemed at first glance.
Regardless of the why or the when of how it had happened, though, she knew that had she been in Karen's position, she would have preferred to know. No, she had been the one being cheated on before, and she had preferred to know. It may have been made for the wrong reasons, it may have happened at the wrong time, and it may not have had the right results, but telling Karen had been the right choice.
"Don't you think she deserved to know?" she asked.
"Don't try and pretend that you cared about her or that you decided to tell her out of concern for her," he replied.
"I don't," she said. "And I didn't. But you do and you should have."
"I was waiting for the right time," he said.
She laughed, a small, short, but not unpleasant laugh. "And when was that? Right after you gave her the ring? Or right before the ceremony? Or maybe some time during the honeymoon? Trust me, there is never a good time to tell your fiance that you cheated on them. No, that's just an excuse that people who are putting it off because they think they can get away with it tell themselves."
"Why would I take relationship advice from you?" he asked. His accent made the words seem even more snide than they were before. Not that they needed more help.
"I know more about the subject than you might think."
"That wouldn't surprise me," he said. "She's told me about you, you know. You're one of those people who thinks that they can't have nice things, so you have to try and break everyone else's things. You can't have happiness, so you want to take away everyone else's and try to make them as miserable as you are."
"Yes," she said sarcastically. "That's it exactly. My heart is just two sizes too small so I want to steal away your happiness."
A part of that had struck home, though, despite the defensiveness. She knew that the last few months had brought out some of her less pleasant qualities. But even if she could recognize some truth in what he had said,damned if she was going to take that from Dev. Not when he was the one who had still been in a relationship when they had met that night. Not when he had made the first move.
"She knows less about me than you do," she said, her anger rising. "Which is nothing. And just so we're clear, I didn't seduce you. I remember Boston, and I remember how you were the one who started talking to me, you're the one who bought me a drink. I don't remember all of the details, but I do know that. It's not my responsibility to keep you from cheating on her and whatever happens from that is on you. If you're here to get her back, good luck with that, but I'm not going to be the punching bag for your warm-up act."
"You will, however, use horribly mixed metaphors as part of a desperate rationalization of your own behavior."
"Ah, pedantry. The last refuge of a scoundrel."
"Clever, Miss Johnson, but my mistakes are between me and her, I don't need your judgment."
"So go find her and talk to her. Not to me. Because I already had just about all that I could take from you back in Boston."
She turned and left to find her friends.
The rest of the night passed quickly, happily, and unmemorably. She found herself whirling from one pair of outstretched arms to another, joyfully accepting hugs and offers of free drinks from her friends. Sam had called Tom with the good news while she was making her way there, and he had showed up to celebrate with her. She spied Karen discussing things with Dev, but declined to eavesdrop. She had said her piece to each and was past caring about their relationship by now. There was karaoke at the bar, but she politely but firmly rebuffed any attempts to get her to sing. She wasn't normally superstitious, but she had nevertheless resolved to make sure to do everything differently than she had the first time with Marilyn.
The production and creative teams were already there when she arrived at the casting session the next morning. It wasn't a massive casting call like her own Marilyn audition had been, only a short list of five actors whose agents Eileen had called to have them come read for the part. She looked at a stray schedule lying on the table. There were no big stars, but she recognized all of the names. She knew four of them. She had been in the ensemble of Les Mis with Rick, way back when, and Brady currently had a supporting part in Heaven. Scott was one of Jessica's friends, they had gone to Northwestern together and Ivy would run into him occasionally at parties or at bars. He had never been in a show with either Jessica or Ivy, though. Manny had been in Wicked and Legally Blonde with her, but they had never gotten to know each other well. Manny was, like her, an ensemble veteran while the others had gotten some principal roles before. Only Cam, the one she didn't know, had ever been a lead.
Karen gave her a small nod and an understated "congratulations" when she arrived. She returned the nod and mumbled a soft "thanks."
She was needed mostly for the dance auditions; Joe had only two scenes with the Bombshell character and no duets, although one of the scenes was being used for the scene reads. She plodded on through the uneventful day, occasionally chatting with some of the auditioners that she knew, catching up on the gossip from their shows, comparing notes on their mutual friends. Brady and Scott had already knew that she had gotten Carrie and had congratulated her.
Finally, the auditions ended. She was partial to Rick, but she knew her opinion counted for little. Particularly since she was probably leaving the show soon. She had told Tom that she would meet him at the stadium for the baseball game tonight and laughed at the wonderfully dramatic combination of eye-rolling, sighing, and gesticulating before as he said, "I wouldn't miss it. But Ivy, a lawyer and a Mets fanatic? Are you trying to find and combine the worst qualities of my current and last boyfriends in your dates?"
She had gone to her bag and was gathering her things when she heard Derek's voice.
"Ivy, a word?"
She turned around.
"I hear congratulations are in order," he said.
She preened at the sound of those words. She couldn't help it. Despite everything, part of her still craved his approval, still respected his talent and wanted that recognition in return, and, why lie, still hadn't moved far enough past their relationship, to not want to bask in it.
"Thank you," she said, smiling and turning again to leave. "For that, and for the other thing."
But she was stopped by his next glance, a searching look combined with a raised brow that she knew was asking her whether she planned on leaving Bombshell.
"I'm not sure," she said, answering the unspoken question. She wasn't, not completely at least. She thought that she probably would, but that wasn't the same thing as being sure.
"You won't," he said. She wondered how he could be so confident while she felt so uncertain. "Not if you're the person that I thought you were. Sit."
Here it is, she thought. The conversation that they probably should have had a long time ago but that she had dreaded and he had let her avoid. But for once, she thought, she was the one who came to the conversation with the advantage. Either because he had been decent enough to let her have that edge before forcing her to have this conversation, or because he hadn't cared enough to want to have this conversation until he found that she might be leaving the show and leaving her part unfilled. But then, even if it were the latter, it said something that he thought she was important enough to the show to try and retain. And if it was that, then he had definitely put his money where his mouth was. Or maybe it was just that...
Stop, she told herself. Just stop. She couldn't keep overanalyzing every single one of their interactions like this.
"And what type of person is that?" she asked. She remained standing.
"You're fishing for compliments," he said with irritation. "And I'm not going to bite."
"Yes," she said, returning the irritation. "I'm well aware of how difficult it is for you to say nice things to me."
It was ungracious, she knew, after what he had done for her. But that didn't erase the months of grief that had come before. If they were going to have this conversation, then they were going to have it in full.
"I have no problem saying nice things to you when you've earned them."
"True. You did tell me you loved me once. Right before you decided to stand me up to go fuck Rebecca fucking Duvall."
"I never said I loved you."
"I said, 'that's why I love you.' There's a difference."
"Semantics," she spat. "I'm dating a lawyer now. And even he would find that level of hair-splitting pathetic."
Exaggeration combined with supposition, but she didn't think he would call her out on it.
"It's not hair splitting," he insisted. "It's important. Nuance and subtlety matter, even in the theatre. I don't love you. I never did and I certainly never said that I did. I enjoyed being with you and I hated many things about you and loved many other things about you. Your passion for and knowledge of the theater was one of them and what I thought was your professionalism was another. That's all I was saying."
"Oh, that reminds me. When you're all finished with your other woman, you don't tell your girlfriend that it's okay because 'she's a professional.' It doesn't make her feel better. At all. It just makes her feel cheap and used, like a whore. And by the way, saying that it's okay because you're a professional too? That doesn't help either. It just makes her feel like an idiot for being stupid enough to start to have feelings for someone who's just admitted that he's nothing more than a gigolo."
He didn't have a good answer ready, but he did respond. "Are you done yet? Just what the hell do you want, Ivy?" he growled.
She wasn't sure exactly what she wanted from him now.
"An apology would be nice. Maybe some form of recognition that I do have feelings and that I hurt and that..."
"Oh come off it," he replied. "You've gotten enough comfort and coddling from everyone else here."
"Coddling?" She had to force the word out, it had made her so angry. "Try compassion. Or kindness. That's what I've gotten these past few days. But not from you. I deserved better than what I got from you before. I deserved..."
"Marilyn? Go ahead, say it. I know you want to," he said, surprising her for a moment. The thought had crossed her mind, but it wasn't what she had actually been planning to say. "Maybe you did. And maybe you didn't. It doesn't matter because deserve has nothing to do with casting. It doesn't matter how hard you've worked or how much experience you have or how much you know or whether you've paid your dues or not. You were wonderful as Marilyn. There are many directors who would have favored your version. But not me. You weren't my Marilyn, and my Marilyn, my vision, that is what they're paying me to put on stage. You're a big girl and you've been in this business long enough. You should have learned and accepted this by now, and if you haven't, then maybe you belong in the chorus."
"If that's what you think, then maybe it's a good thing that I have options," she said.
"Ah, yes. Carrie, is it? Cookie-cutter songs shoehorned in with an anodyne, derivative book. All glitz and glamor, nothing more."
"A bit judgmental, don't you think?"
"People always say that there are no new musicals. But that's not what they really mean. What we do, it's called musical theater for a reason. Both of those words matter. The score and the book have to work together, to flow, to be organic to each other. All those shows where you're taking some band's songs and writing a thin excuse of a plot around it, or trying to force in songs around what was already a complete story, that's not what this is about. You have to synthesize both the stories and the songs, to make them one cohesive whole, to truly unlock the potential of this art."
"There are lots of adaptations that have become fine musicals," she offered weakly.
"Look, that other show? It's going to be a hit. We both know this. And you're going to be the lead. The face of that hit. Your agent's going to tell you to take it, and if he doesn't, you need to fire him and find a new one."
"So you want me to leave Bombshell?"
"You're being deliberately obtuse," he said. "Don't."
"You're being an asshole," she retorted. "Stop."
"If you want me to beg and plead and say that I'm sorry and tell you that you're irreplaceable here, if that's what you want from me, then..."
"I never wan..."
"Let me finish. Your choice is actually quite simple. Tom and Julia, for all of my differences with them, have written a show that can be great. And I didn't put in a part for you because I felt sorry for you. I did it because it made the show better. You make the show better. That's why I want you for the part. If you need me to bow and scrape and flatter and cajole, if all of the drama of the past few months has become that important, then fine, go. If you just want to soak in the attention and glory that comes from being a star, if it's just about the teenage girls who will wait for you by the stage door and give you teddy bears and bouquets and tell you that you're gorgeous and brilliant, if the ego boost that comes from being the lead is more important than the satisfaction of a good, difficult, complex part, if it's just about the fame and the glamor, then go ahead, leave. But if you want to be part of something great, if you want to do something great, something worthy of your talent, then you know what to do."
She nodded. It was barely a nod, more like an involuntary twitch of the head. She didn't think he noticed. She wasn't even sure what she had meant with it.
"Maybe," she said. "But I still deserve an apology."
A/N: Chrissy - Wow, you guys really like the idea of Ivy trying to direct, don't you? It is something that's crossed my mind before, because of the reasons you and others have mentioned, and also as a way of giving her something to herself and recognizing all of her expertise and experience. But I think she's a little too talented to spend all her time backstage. Maybe, in the very, very unlikely event that this thing gets a sequel. In the mean time, thanks for the review and I'm glad that you liked the chapter.
Carla - Thanks! She's getting a bit more to go on in this chapter to help her make her choice.