|Right This Time
Author: Javanyet PM
Overcoming your past is hard; deserving what you've got is harder. Mike Nesmith is just getting used to his new romance when his failed marriage comes to call, and he finds good intentions aren't enough to prevent bad decisions.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Mike - Chapters: 16 - Words: 42,197 - Reviews: 43 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 03-01-13 - Published: 08-13-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8426852
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Hey Myra, has Bonnie come in?" Peter asked as he entered the studio building. Bonnie was leaving day after tomorrow, and he knew she wanted to have a look at the Fairy Tale outline before she left. He hoped it'd be today, because he and the guys were doing a little freelance rehearsal on one of the sound stages. Peter also knew by now that she hadn't been staying at Mike's since the morning after Phyllis reappeared. He'd decided not to call her because he knew what he'd hear was "I'm fine, no big deal." Well, seeing was believing, so he wanted to grab a chance to see her before she left.
"I don't know, Pete," Mike told him on the phone after he'd brought Bonnie home the day before. "She seemed to take it all okay, all my sorry story and the reasons why I'm gonna hang back here a few days before I meet her in NYC… but hell I can never tell for sure. Sometimes she's as good at keepin' things to herself as she is at talking 'em to death."
"Don't sweat it Mike, you're both doing the best you can."
"That's what I told her. Man when you said I'd have to do this the hard way you weren't kiddin'."
"Have you figured out when you'll see Phyllis?"
"You mean when you and me are gonna see her. That's what she said, and that's the way I want it. I said I'd call her after Bonnie was off. I just wanna shake hands and be done with it, y'know?"
"I can dig that. I'll see you tomorrow at the studio. You bringing Bonnie?"
There was a moment's hesitation. "Nah, she's been keeping to her place, and said she'll be in and out of her office, stuff to do and all that."
"Uh, okay. That makes sense, I guess… she can never turn off the work switch for long. See you tomorrow."
"Yeah she sure is a champion at 'making sense', isn't she? See ya."
"As a matter of fact, Peter, she came in about half an hour ago, had me send a pot of coffee from the commissary." Myra's smile turned to a serious frown. "She drinks entirely too much coffee, if you ask me. It's not good for someone in her position… it makes her edgy and nervous."
Peter laughed and patted Myra's shoulder. She'd been on the front desk at Colgems for a long time, and had a motherly attitude toward everyone. "I'll make sure and tell her, but I don't think it'll help."
He was halfway down the hall when he heard Myra calling him back again. "Peter! Peter, you have a visitor!" The older woman was standing and waving him back, and pointing to a stunning blonde dressed in a high-end mod outfit.
He squinted as he trotted back… "Phyllis?" he called out, and she smiled brightly and waved.
"Peter! My God I'm glad you remembered what I look like, it's been so long!" She met him halfway and wrapped her arms around him in a warm hug. "It's so good to see you!"
Peter returned her embrace and kissed her cheek with genuine pleasure. "How could I forget a foxy babe like you, Phyl?" He stepped back to look her over. "Look's like life's been good to you."
"And I can say the same about you, Mr. Grammy winner and Emmy nominee!" She waved a hand around the fancy lobby. "Come a long way from auditioning through the back door, huh?"
Myra was looking a little uncertain. "Peter, would you like to sign in your friend for a visit?"
"Sure. Myra, you must remember Phyllis Nesmith, Mike's…" he hesitated.
"Wife," Phyllis finished. She answered Peter's uncomfortable look, "Well I was the last time I was here, remember? I'm just back for a few days to visit, Myra. To lay some ghosts to rest, you could say, and have a look at what's new." She turned to Peter after he'd signed her in. "Do you have some time for me? I thought I'd have a look at how things have changed… do you mind?"
Peter looked over his shoulder in the direction of the production offices. "Well I was actually going to see somebody…" Crap. It would be a little awkward to say who, and why. "Okay, groovy, let's take a walk." He decided not to tell her about the casual rehearsal later on. Until Mike had a chance to talk with her, any unplanned reunions with the others would be a little awkward. After all,Peter had been the one who had made friends with her when the others were keeping their distance from what was obviously their new colleague's crumbling marriage.
After they got past the lobby doors and into the studio corridors Phyllis took Peter's arm and told him with a sardonic laugh, "I'm sure Michael told you I was in town. When he finally admitted it to himself."
"Hey, be fair, it's kind of a strange scene, you calling out of nowhere. And he's had, y'know, he's had a lot going on."
"Yes, I met her. Not to sound like a draggy ex-wife, but she's a bit older than his usual."
"I don't know what you want me to say, Phyl, you talking like that. Anyway for what it's worth he's done with that stuff now, at least it looks like it." He thought that might end this track, but he was wrong.
"You mean the love of a good woman has turned his life around?"
This was not what he wanted to hear from someone who was, after all, an old friend in spite of everything that had happened. "C'mon, knock it off, Phyllis. Fact is he was burning out on all that shit already. He and Bonnie just kinda stumbled into each other at the right time." He read her look and added pointedly, "Sober, and fully clothed. Look, is this why you came back, to quiz me about Mike's love life and make snide comments about someone you don't even know? Or to make some peace, like Mike said?"
She looked (almost) contrite. "I'm sorry. When I went out to the house I admit I was expecting to see more of the same, 'evidence of strangers', I used to call it, though I'd find it on him, not in the house. I'll give him that much, he never brought them home. But at this point I thought there'd be some temporary young thing or things there, and to find someone like Bonnie Morris there was a surprise to say the least. The boss's assistant, c'mon Peter... is this what he thinks will get him the short way around Bob Rafelson?"
"It's not like that. " He hadn't planned to be sucked into this kind of conversation. "They're good together Phyl. Let's leave it at that, and change the subject, okay?"
"And Mike and I weren't."
"Well if you were…"
"If we were? Go ahead and say it. We wouldn't be having this little reunion chat because I never would have left. I can always count on you to tell it like it is, Peter. But that was then, and we're all grown up and well adjusted now. To a point. It's time for us to see who we've become since then, and if our lives might cross again."
Peter was staring at Phyllis, trying to gauge her meaning. Well if he was the one telling it to everyone like it is… "I don't think I have to ask who 'we' is. If I'm hearing what I think I'm hearing, you need to know that going back is not an option, and going forward is something we're all doing on our own."
"Not all of us, on our own I mean. What a shame I didn't have what it took to go forward, from the start. Or more likely that he just didn't want it then."
"I told you, nobody has saved or changed or fixed anybody. It just happens like it happens."
"You make it sound like an accident of timing, but then you believed life was like that."
"I still do. And you can't control karma."
"Oh Peter, still the philosopher. As for me, I don't believe in accidents," she told him plainly. Then her smile brightened again, a little too suddenly for Peter's comfort. "So show me the new soundstage. I'd like to see where the Emmy nomination was born."
Peter snuck a glance at his watch. Nothing would be happening for at least another hour, so he could have her out of there by the time Mike arrived. Better their get-together should be planned in advance. "Sure, I have a little more time. Most of the set's struck but there's should still be a little vibe left over." It looked like he wouldn't have time to hook up with Bonnie, but maybe that was a good thing. In light of what he'd just heard, his mental script had just gone out the window anyway.
Half an hour later Peter kissed Phyllis goodbye near the soundstages after giving her a line about having to listen to some tracks they were thinking of using for a new record. She assured him that she could see her own way out.
"Michael said he'd be in touch about when we can get together," she said with a smile.
"Can't promise anything, Phyl, we're working on new music and wanna talk over the new episode, just us guys at Mick's place probably."
"If you can't make it don't let it bother you."
"Oh, I'll be there," he promised. "Whenever it is." Whatever her motivation, he could tell Phyllis was looking for something that, even if it were possible to find, would be a very bad scene for everyone. People and time couldn't be remixed like music; what was wrong before stays wrong, you can't bring it forward to re-edit it and make it right.
Bonnie was tidying up and getting ready to leave when she heard the knock at the door. "If that's you, the sugar's gonna have to wait. I got stuff to do."
"Excuse me, but I think you were expecting someone else."
The door opened, and in walked the blonde goddess who had taken just forty-eight hours to fling into chaos the part of Bonnie's life that she had almost managed, after seven or eight months, to bring into balance.
"Oh, sorry, yeah. What can I do for you, Miss, uh?" Bonnie realize she had no idea how to address her. She certainly wasn't going to call her Phyllis, but didn't know her maiden name. Did women take back their names after they got divorced? She'd never even thought about it before.
"Mrs. Nesmith, unless you'd like to call me Phyllis?" Each syllable was drawn out until it dripped honey.
Good lord. Bonnie could recognize the "ramp up" of the Texas accent, just the way Nesmith did it when he was pouring it on to make a point.
"Well, I'm kinda in a rush, how can I help you? Nesm- Mike said he'd called you back."
"He did, but things were left a little vague. I just ran into Peter, and was wondering if you could tell me if Michael is coming in today too? I understand you're the keeper of the schedules, right? Do you know if he'll be here? Maybe he told you this morning."
Bonnie went back to shifting files into her desk drawer. "I didn't see him this morning. And what the guys do on their off time, I don't keep track of. So if there's nothing else?" Go away go away PLEASE go away, I'm not good enough at this to last for long.
"No, thanks very much. Have a wonderful time visiting your friends in New York. Michael's just taking a few days to catch up with me, to settle some things."
"He told me, thanks." Phyllis still stood inside the office door, looking at her as if she were a curious artifact. Not rude, just casually interested. Finally Bonnie asked, "I'm sorry, was there something you wanted to say?"
"I just don't want you to let this worry you. My visit, I mean. Just because divorced people have history, and I'm sure he's told you about some of ours, it doesn't mean…"
Bonnie stood up and looked straight at her. When "Mrs. Nesmith" had appeared, she hadn't felt particularly uncomfortable, just a little confused. The mix, however, was beginning to change.
"I'm not worried. You guys knew each other way before I got here. What happened isn't any of my business, and what you have to settle isn't my business either."
"So he didn't tell you about it, about what happened?" It was plain she was ready to inform Bonnie what a wild card she'd been dealt, under the genteel guise of Texan ex-wifery.
"To be honest all I knew until a couple of days ago was that awhile ago he was married, and now he isn't. Like I said, it's not something I consider my business. As for his other kinds of past, he's been pretty clear about that, and that doesn't worry me either. Time goes on, people change, all that jazz. I'm glad you're in the peacemaking groove, really. So have a nice visit with Pete and Mike, and I'll be going now."
Phyllis was halfway out the door, when she turned again. "Has he taken you to the Troubadour?"
Taken aback, it took Bonnie a second to respond. "Yeah, once or twice."
"Tell Jimmy hello for me, next time you're there." She left then, without actually saying goodbye.
I wonder if that's how she left him… a last, carefully crafted line before the exit? Nah, doubtful. You do that to impress strangers, not spouses.
Bonnie sat down hard at her desk. This all seemed so soap opera. This stuff just didn't happen in real life, did it? The bygone wife coming back to revisit the past, to civilize it with new improved characters, rewrite it in the present tense? No, this felt more like science fiction, about the time machines we have in our heads, that we believe we can take the people we are now and bring the past forward and do it all differently. That sci-fi attitude frankly scared her more than any soap opera plot.
Davy popping in the door startled her. He never knocked, usually hoping (in vain) to find her and Nesmith wrestling on the desk. Ammunition for future hassling was worth its weight in gold around the studio, and Davy was a determined miner. This time, though, he just overplayed his astonishment at finding her at work.
"Blimey, don't you ever take a break?" he gasped. "You see any of the other blokes? We have a practice planned."
She rolled her eyes and griped, "I don't babysit you guys when you're off the clock. Like I just told the former Mrs. Nesmith."
"Oh, right. Just saw her on the way out." He lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper, and leaned forward. "Not exactly cuddles and smiles, we weren't. Didn't like me habits with the ladies… thought I was a bad influence on her can." When Bonnie stared blankly at him, he explained, "You know, the cockney slang, garbage can – man. She's right a'course, I was a terrible influence."
"Well from what he's told me he didn't need much. Look I'm trying to get out the door, I got stuff to do." And Phyllis had just left her a little more rattled than she wanted to admit, and she was getting worse at hiding it. That was one of the reasons she'd retreated to her place from Nesmith's. Really, it was much easier to pretend you weren't becoming a mixed up mess when nobody could witness the process.
That and the fact that my repeated "no thanks" to his invitations to move in are being openly laughed at since I spend so much time there already. Just another thing I'm making harder, which I find easier to admit in the middle of the night.
"No offense, just go tune your maracas or something, okay?"
But instead of breezing out as she expected, he leaned closer over the desk and looked her squarely in the eye. Before now she'd seldom noticed much behind the usual show biz sparkle and glint, so what was visible now took her by surprise.
"Look Bonnie, I know you have lots of rubbish dancing in your head right now. But I was there, we all were, and we saw how it was. A wife was something Mike had, and a home was something he went to. Like he was outside it all, see? But what he's into now, he's into, get it? He's inside of it. What was back then, even a couple of years ago… that's not something you go back to. It's something you make peace with, if you can, or else you just leave it." Then the sparkle and glint returned as he stepped back out the door and pointed to the hallway beyond. "Now get on with ya, before y'leave me reputation in ruins."
Bonnie was well aware that David Jones wasn't given to rash displays of emotion when a smile and wink would do.
"David…" she began. But something in the brown eyes smiling back at her repeated, "Get on with ya." So she said, "See you in two weeks. Stay outta trouble, if you can."
He flashed a devilish wink. "No promises!" But his smile warmed for just a second before he jogged away.