Written for Chirugal, who requested a Hillary and Bryce fic using the prompt, 'soap opera' in a LiveJournal meme. Amy, I hope you enjoy it. :-)

Soap Opera

A glycerine tear glistened on her cheek. Her lips parted dramatically as she searched for the words. Her brow fought to furrow through Botox.

"Samuel, I…"

"Please, Marla!" Samuel – tall, handsome, muscular, twenty-three – grasped her shoulders firmly and took a step closer. She was thirty-five years his senior but he wanted her so much… "Why won't you marry me? Why?"

"But your girlfriend…"

Samuel jerked his head to the side, his face hard. "I don't love her, Marla! She's spoiled, immature. All those teenage supermodels are the same! And when do I ever see her except on a runway in Paris or Milan?"

Hillary leaned closer to the television, his tea forgotten, the crumbs from his chocolate digestive falling unnoticed. "Marry him, Marla!" he urged.

"But I—" Marla began. "I'm—I'm the mother who gave you up for adoption!"

Hillary's jaw dropped.

"'ow do?" Bryce strode in and flopped down onto the couch next to Hillary, helping himself to one of the biscuits from the neatly laden china plate. Seeing the credits scrolling over the aerial views of Mayfair bathed in a summer that never graced England for more than three days a year he said, "Is this what you get up to when you disappear at ten every morning? Watching 'Pavings of Gold'?!"

Hillary didn't answer, just continued to stare at the screen and Bryce, noticing the near catatonia, found himself laughing. "And you take it seriously as well!"

Shooting Bryce a glare, Hillary scolded, "Oh shut up, Bryce. You could never hope to appreciate the talent of that woman. So glamorous. So emphatic. A true star."

"Who?"

"Marla Heanor. Or rather, her actress, Jackie Mullins."

"Oh yeah," Bryce realised, propping his feet up on the coffee table as he demolished the rest of his biscuit. "Jackie Mullins. I've met her."

Giving him another sideways glance as the programme faded to black, Hillary scoffed. "Have you?"

"Kissed her, too. With tongues."

"Don't be ridiculous! I highly doubt you and she would ever move in the same social circles."

"Well clearly," Bryce retorted, "you and she didn't either. But yeah, I've met her. I was a TV extra when I was a student." He continued, oblivious to Hillary's growing disbelief tinged with irritation. "I was always getting the agency phoning. 'Crowd scene in 'The Plod', Bryce?', 'Fancy a pint in the background of the Queen Liz?', 'They need a taxi driver for one scene in 'Pavings of Gold''. Oh yeah, I was always on set. Paid my tuition, that did. Met tons of actors."

"You did not kiss Jackie Mullins," Hillary sneered. "Even if you did meet her."

"Top bird. Real 'older woman'," Bryce smiled, ignoring the other man's incredulity. "I'll prove it. Hang on."

He got up and disappeared out of the room. Hillary sat, with a growing angry jealousy, for a full ten minutes until Bryce returned, his hair even more mussed than before from having been scrabbling around under his bed. He held out a photograph, a glossy publicity shot of Mullins as Marla Heanor, with her signature in black marker across the bottom right and a plump love heart drawn above.

Hillary took it, his hand shaking somewhat in tense ire.

"You can keep it if you want," Bryce offered, dropping back down onto the sofa. "It's only gathering dust."

Hillary's breathing deepened, becoming noisy gasps of full indignation, and the photo bent slightly under his tightening grip. Suddenly, tossing it to the floor, he stormed out.

Lara, having quietly appeared in the doorway, hopped back out of his way and then turned to watch him leave with a slight look of wonder. She'd caught the tail end of the exchange and she approached Bryce with a look of amused admonishment. "Did you tell Hillary you'd slept with Jackie Mullins?"

"Don't worry," Bryce defended, crossing his arms. "I was lying." He shrugged. "I told him I only kissed her."