AN: So, I'm basically basing the story on Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart – albeit very loosely, because no one really knows what happened there. But enjoy, and don't forget to review!
I've always felt a bit like an outsider. They say that fame does that to you, especially if you're in the industry from a young age. I was born into the industry. Literally. My parents were both already in the film industry – my mother is a screenwriter, and my dad is a lighting technician. They met on the set of the movie 'Sid and Nancy' with Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb. They married on the set of 'Dead Poets Society' in 1989, a brief ceremony with Robin Williams as best man. I was conceived on the set of 'Pretty Woman', in 1990, in a storage cabinet. And then I was born on the set of 'The Silence of the Lambs' – there was no time to rush my mom to hospital, I was and still am an impatient child.
So basically, I'm a Hollywood baby. I was spotted by a casting director when I was nine who promptly casted me in a supporting role in a movie called 'Withdrawal', about a young girl who suffers from autism. I fell in love with acting then, and haven't stopped working since.
I guess I'm what you would call an 'indie' actress. I play roles in fairly low budget, independent movies that rarely see the light of day. But I've always known that the recognition and money and success of the movies doesn't matter. As long as you really believe in what you're doing, enjoy doing it, and do it well, it doesn't matter.
Which is why I never expected 'Twilight' to be such a huge success, nor did I expect it to turn my life completely upside down.
'Bella, you ready?'
I nod to Kate, who leaves the room to go fetch the next 'candidate'. Once she's gone, I let myself slump forward, and rub my eyes tiredly. It's been a long day. 'Twilight' is my next project. I'd initially been hesitant. My agent hadn't exactly done a good job promoting it: 'A teenage girl falls in love with a hundred year old vampire', she'd paraphrased. It had sounded so cliché, but I reluctantly read the script, and then practically begged Kate, the director, for the part.
All we needed now, was the male protagonist.
Kate had auditioned roughly two thousand guys, and had thankfully narrowed it down to three to audition with me. Kate had chosen an informal setting to relax everyone, with a camera set up in her bedroom for the filming to take place on her bed.
And here I was. My empty coffee cup lay on Kate's bedside table, and I longed for another. My head pounded from the first two encounters. It's not that they weren't good – they were almost too good. They depicted an Anthony who was cocky, superior, and slightly condescending. It just seemed off. Had I missed something? Maybe this was the Anthony from the book (which I had still not read). If this was the case, then perhaps it's still not too late to withdraw from the project...
A scuffle outside the door had me straightening up again, and I watched apprehensively as the door knob turned, and Kate walked in, followed by a tall young man, head down. He was dressed casually, in jeans, sneakers and a hoodie. I tried to see his face through the insane amount of messy hair on his head, but finally he looked up, and I was able to see him for the first time.
The expression in his eyes already had me warming up to him. It probably reflected my own – hesitant, apprehensive, slightly nervous and intimidated. He met my eyes and then shifted them back to Kate who was still talking, ran his hands through his hair making it stick up on end, and then looked at me again.
'So, Bella, this is Edward Cullen,' Kate introduced in her Southern twang.
Edward grinned at me nervously, and stuck out his hand, which I took with a smile. Something the previous two had not done – shake my hand, a simple formality which made me smile and secretly nod in approval.
'Edward Cullen,' he repeated, in a strong British accent.
'Alright, shall we get right into it?' Kate asked, already readying the camera.
We both nodded, and got comfortable on the bed.
She dimmed the lights in the room. The air thickened considerably, with an indefinable tension – something that had also not happened with the other two.
But now was not the time to analyse my reaction to this new enigmatic actor. Now I had to focus, and thought about my character.
I took a deep breath, and avoided my partner's eyes.
'You're impossibly fast. And strong.' I imagined a pale hand stretching out to halt a fast moving truck, and let a tremor run through me. 'Your skin is pale white and ice cold. Your eyes change color –' I glanced into the intense green eyes of Anthony, and found myself lost in them. ' - and sometimes you speak like... like you're from a different time. You never eat or drink anything. You don't go out in the sunlight.'
Anthony's face was impassive, yet his eyes held a cold warning edge to them.
Another deep breath.
'How old are you?'
'Seventeen,' a smooth velvety word that rolls easily off his tongue and has me almost shuddering.
'How long have you been seventeen?' I pose the question slowly, and almost want to retract it, it sounds so stupid. But I hold fast, and await his reply with baited breath.
I hold his gaze.
'I know what you are,' I tell him in a whisper.
His gaze hardens further, and his jaw sets.
'Say it.' Gone is the smooth velvety voice from a minute ago, this is a threatening snarl, daring me to voice it aloud.
'Out loud.' Another snarl.
'Say it!' More threatening and urgent now as he loses his cool ever so slightly.
'Vampire.' The word escapes me almost involuntarily, in a quiet gasp, and I blink. There it is. I've put it out there.
'Are you afraid?' His eyebrow raises slightly with the question, and once again, he dares me to say I am anything but afraid.
I take a minute to reply, but once I do, my answer is firm.
'No.' My gaze does not waver, neither does my voice.
His mouth presses into a hard line.
'You should be.'
Kate's voice startles me, and I jump slightly. She puts the lights back on full force, and I blink at the brightness, lifting my hand to shield myself from the light.
As usual after a scene in character, I feel slightly disorientated, but manage to remember Edward sitting by my side. I turn to him, and smile. He smiles a half smile back, and looks down at his hand before turning to Kate, almost peeking up at her from under his eye lashes, seemingly bashful.
'That was great guys!' she grins at Edward, and shakes his hand. 'Thanks so much Edward for coming all the way here, we'll be in touch!'
He nods, and mumbles his thanks, before turning to me.
I tilt my head to look at him from my five feet six inches, and stretch out my hand.
'Cool meeting you,' I say, smiling awkwardly, and he nods, a blush rising to his cheeks.
And then he's gone.
I stare at the door through which he's disappeared. I don't move for a full five minutes, but am shaken out of my reverie when the door opens and Kate steps through.
'So, God, difficult choice, huh?'
My eyebrows probably disappear into my hairline rather comically. Because for me at least, the choice was clear.
I've lived in LA almost my entire life. Well, LA's been my official address at least, when I'm not off filming on location elsewhere. As I drive back home on the Pacific Coast Highway, I smile at the twinkling ocean on my right. It may not be perfect, but so far, LA is home.
Turning off to head towards Beverley Hills, I think back on my day. I told Kate there was no way I was going to do the movie unless Edward got the part. She smiled and said 'Consider it done'. I stuck around for a while as she talked it over with the casting directors and the producers. There was a lot of fighting over whether Edward could do it, but Kate and I fought adamantly and won in the end. After everyone had left, we had one final cup of coffee together, and I left by six, Kate's parting words being 'I'll let Edward know by tomorrow'.
Now that was settled, I could feel the beginning excitement at having another project to work on. It was always like this – until everything had been completely finalised, and every part had been cast, I never let myself get excited about a project, because there are just so many things that can go wrong. But now it was all taken care of, I could let the excitement take hold.
Marie Stewart was the name of my character. A seventeen year old, typical teenager, she moves from the comfort of her hometown in Phoenix, into the world of the unknown and unfamiliar in Forks, Washington, with her estranged dad. And there, she meets Anthony Pattinson.
Anthony. I could already tell Edward was going to be perfect. It's so rare to be able to immerse yourself into a role so completely that you forget that the person opposite you is simply acting, just as you are. That hadn't happened with the other two. With them, I'd constantly had the conscious thought in my head that they were actors, and that their names were so and so. With Edward, all that had disappeared.
There was also undeniable chemistry there. It happens. Sometimes, you just click with a certain actor or actress. And that had definitely happened with Edward. The tension in the air during the scene was also perfect – slightly awkward, slightly nervous, it added to the entire atmosphere, and both were emotions you'd expect to find in a situation where a girl finds out that her crush is a vampire who'd love to drain her blood.
A ringing interrupted my thoughts of vampires, Anthony and Edward. I pulled out my phone from my jean pocket, trying to simultaneously focus on driving.
'Hey baby,' the answering voice replied.
'Hey Jake, listen I'm driving, do you mind if I call you back?'
A sigh at the other end of the line.
'Yeah, sure, just don't forget, kay?'
I nod, before realizing that he can't see me.
'Sure, sure, talk later.'
I chuck the phone onto the passenger seat, and sigh. I love Jake, really, but he has to get over the fact that I'm not constantly available and at his beck and call. What, would he rather I get distracted on the phone, run a stop sign, and end up a Bella sandwich wrapped around a palm tree?
Thankfully, I pull into the drive a few minutes later, kill the engine, and slide out the car.
I ring the bell twenty times just to annoy everyone, and can hear my brother muttering unhappily as he comes to the door.
'Jesus Bella, what the fuck? I heard you the first time!' Emmett greets me as he opens the door.
I just grin, stretch up on my tip toes to kiss him on the cheek.
'Love you too, Em!' I practically sing.
'Woah, someone's in a good mood,' he notices.
'Perceptive of you sweets,' my mom interjects, rolling her eyes playfully at Emmett, as she races down the stairs towards the kitchen, blowing me a kiss on the way.
'We're having dinner in five, barbecue, so get your asses outside,' she shouts back to us.
I climb the stairs two at time to my room to dump my junk on my bed, and slide my sneakers off. The evening brings a chill, so I grab my favourite hoodie off the back of my couch, slinging it on as I skip down the stairs towards the smell wafting from the back porch. Music is filtering from the kitchen.
'Listening to Nina Simone again, mom?' I question as I plonk a kiss on her cheek and give her a hug from behind as she oversees my dad barbecuing.
'Always,' she tells me, humming 'Feeling Good'.
'Good day, kiddo?' my dad manages to question in between flipping some steaks.
'The best!' I exclaim as I throw myself down one of the plastic chairs, and stretch my feet across Emmett's lap, ignoring his protests about me 'smelly feet'.
'It was really good, long, but productive in the end,' I tell them, as my parents seat themselves around the table. 'We worked out some of the technical details, and I did a scene with three potential male protagonists.'
'What were they like?' my mom questions, dumping steaks onto our paper plates.
'Well, they were all really good, but the one that stuck out most was the third guy. Cause the first two were good and shit, but they just seemed almost too perfect, you know? I mean, from the script, I got the impression that Anthony was perfect physically and intellectually, but had his flaws and insecurities just as much as any other normal human being, if not more,' I ramble. 'They just seemed to make him seem so one dimensional. But the last guy was great. He made him seem confident, and yet insecure, and definitely gave him the edge I was looking for,' I conclude.
'What's the guy's name? Anyone we know?' my dad asks through his mouthful of potatoes.
'Nah, he's British, and his name's Edward Cullen,' I reply through my equally full mouth of steak. My mom frowns at us both, a silent reminder of table manners.
'Hey, I know him,' Emmett throws in. 'He's that dude from Harry Potter. He plays the character that dies.'
We stare at him.
'They all die, Em,' I tell him.
'Hey, not all of them! Just some of them,' he says with a pout. 'Anyway, it's the guy who's in the Triwitch tournament, or whatever it's called. Cedric.'
'Oh, that dude,' my dad nods in recognition, through another mouthful of steak.
'Charlie, will you please swallow then talk!'
Dad has the decency to look sheepish as my mom chastises him.
'Honestly, anybody'd think you were an animal,' mom mutters, viciously cutting her own steak.
'We already knew that mom,' I add, turning to smile sweetly at Emmett. 'Why else would Emmett act like suck a caveman?'
Emmett glares at me, but is smart enough to keep his mouth shut as he chews, settling to give me the finger.
'Hey, is that the phone?'
We all quieten down at my mom's comment, and sure enough the home phone is ringing. Emmett leisurely goes to get the phone in the kitchen.
'Yello. Oh hey Jake!'
'Shit! I forgot to call him back!' I mutter as I scramble out of my chair towards the kitchen.
'Yo, man, what's up? Yeah, she's here, hang on a sec.'
Emmett hands me the phone, and makes a big gesture of slitting his throat at me.
'Excuse me?' Jake's indignant voice on the other end of the line reminds me of his presence. 'Shit, sorry Jake, not you, Emmett.'
'Oh.' A forced laugh. 'You just get back or something?' An opportunity for me to lie, and give myself an easy out, but as usual, the honest truth comes blabbing out.
'No, I'm really sorry Jake, it's just that I left my cell in the car, and we literally just sat down to dinner, and I completely forgot!' I burst out in one breath.
'Jesus, Bella, it's just a phone call, not that hard to remember,' he mutters, clearly put out.
'Look, I'm really sorry, but we're talking now, so what's up?' I ask, hoping to move the conversation on.
'Nothing much, just missing you, I guess.' I can almost see him resting his head between his knees in frustration.
'Yeah, I miss you too,' I add silently. 'But hey, you haven't got much longer filming, have you?' I ask brightly.
'Nah, just three weeks.'
'And then you'll be back, and we can talk in person,' I tell him, smiling.
'Yeah,' he mumbles. 'But haven't you got that new movie coming up? How's it coming?'
'It's going great! I had a meeting with the director today, and it's definitely happening! We even cast the male lead, which is great!' I tell him happily, once again falling into my happy world. 'I'm really looking forward to it, and the guy looks like he's really gonna add a third dimension to it. I think it's got great potential to be a deep meaningful project, instead of what we thought it was going to be.'
'What, a cliché chic flick?' Jake laughs.
I laugh too, remembering when I paraphrased the plot to him in the same way my agent had. We'd scoffed at the absurdity of it all.
Jacob Black. We'd met on the set of a movie I'd done at thirteen, called 'Angel'. I'd quickly harboured a crush on him, but at the time, he was sixteen, so it seemed kinda far fetched. But we'd stayed in touch, and when I was sixteen and he was nineteen, it no longer seemed so far fetched. We'd become so close, that the transition from best friends, to boyfriend and girlfriend was easy. He still is best friend. We understand each other completely. My dad had been thrilled – he and Jake's dad had been friends for years. Jake's dad was also in the industry – he worked as special effects supervisor. So Jake too was brought up in the industry – he fell into acting when he was ten, playing one of the lead parts on a successful TV show. Jake's a natural at acting, and yet so underrated. He's got some good stuff coming up, which will hopefully work out.
'So, how's the filming going?' I ask him.
'Good, just really exhausting,' he laughs humourlessly. 'I should probably get going actually. Early start tomorrow, cause we're trying to catch a sunrise for one of the scenes.'
'Okay then,' I smile sadly, disappointed. 'Talk soon.'
'Yeah, love you, baby.'
'Love you too.'
And he's gone. It's moments like these when I wonder, if maybe I'd rather give up the whole thing – acting and the industry as a whole – just to be a normal teenager for once, and spend time with my boyfriend, go back to school, and just be normal again. But then I realize, that I could never give up acting, because it's what I love to do, and right now, it's my life. Besides, Jake's an actor too, so we'd both have to give up acting to have a normal relationship, which is never going to happen. He loves it too much too.
As I traipse back to the table, my spirits are lifted as I see it's my favourite time of evening. Cigarettes, beer, and reading time.
I settle back into my seat, tuck my feet under me, and accept the cigarette my brother offers me. My dad tosses me a lighter.
'Thanks,' I mumble, lighting up, before tossing it back to him. 'So what're we reading tonight?' I ask. My mom lifts up the book in response.
'East of Eden,' I read. 'I love Steinbeck. I haven't read this one though.'
As my mom starts reading in her soft tones, and we all breathe smoke into the air, staring up at the stars through the smoggy LA sky, I think to myself, these are the moments that I cherish the most.
I wake up with a fucking headache. Steph is bustling loudly around the kitchen, and I cringe into her couch, yanking a pillow over my head, and groaning loudly to alert her to my displeasure at the noise.
'You can groan all you want, but I'm not stopping the racket until you're in the shower,' she chants, walking over to the couch to place something on the coffee table loudly.
'Coffee!' I'm immediately out from under the pillows to sip at the scalding, yet comforting liquid. 'Thanks!' I say to her retreating back.
'Don't thank me, just get in the shower,' she says without looking back. 'The audition is today, and you need to make yourself somewhat presentable so it doesn't look like you've been crashing on your agent's couch the past three days.'
'Hey, you offered!' I shout as she disappears into her room.
She ignores me, so I grab the towel she's left me and the mug of coffee, and head towards the bathroom.
I let the hot water run over me for a good five minutes before even thinking about washing my hair.
Audition. A term I'm familiar with. And yet also a term I'm beginning to hate. The more auditions I do, the more it reminds me that I haven't got a job. Only a few days ago I'd been sitting on the one metre square floor of my kitchen in London with my best friend, as we struggled to come to terms with the fact that things weren't quite working out. We were on the brink of eviction, having avoided the rent for going on three months, jobless, girlfriendless, and about to become homeless unless we did something pretty snappish.
And then came the phone call. It came on our home phone. Jasper and I had stared at each other in confusion at the intruding ring, not recognizing it, before realizing it was our very rarely used landline – hence our confusion.
I was suspicious. Very few people knew our home number, probably not even my mum knew it. Was it the landlord, calling on us to badger us about the rent since we were always mysteriously absent when he knocked on our door?
'Don't sound so suspicious, Robert, it's Steph.'
Steph? Steph? Did I know a Stephenie –
Jasper stared at me, brow furrowed. I held the phone away and mouthed 'my agent'.
'Well I'm not really used to people calling me on my land line, let alone getting a phone call from my agent on my land line,' I quipped, hinting at her lack of contact for the past six months.
'Shut up, I've got a job for you.'
'I'm interested,' I practically shouted at her.
'I thought as much,' she laughed at my eagerness. 'I've booked you a flight to LA for the audition. You've missed the main casting call, so you're going to an audition with the girl who's already been decided to play the main part.'
'What's it about?' I asked.
'Never mind. Pack, you're flight's tomorrow.'
And here I was. In Steph's shower, trying to ready myself for what will probably be another humiliating dead end audition.
When Steph had told me what the movie was about, I'd almost walked out the door. 'A teenage girl falls head over heels in love with a hundred year old vampire'. How horribly cliché. I may not be a hot shot actor, but even I had standards. But Steph had merely rolled her eyes, shoved the script in my hand and made me read it. I was glad I had, although still not entirely convinced. Projects like these could so easily go horrible teenage chick flick cliché. Something I wasn't exactly hoping for. But I had nothing to lose.
I started feeling the nerves as I washed my hair. The pre-audition-that-I'm-going-to-fuck-up-badly-and-embarrass-myself nerves. So, I popped a quarter of Valium, and hoped for the best.
I felt the calming effects almost immediately. Steph had left me some toast on the kitchen table, which I scoffed down. She watched me, amused.
'Jittery?' she teased, familiar with my nerves.
'Fine, actually,' I told her coolly. She raised her eyebrow at me, but didn't press the matter.
'There's something I want to tell you.'
My brain registered surprise at the words that slipped from my mouth, but my mouth continued spewing forth. Did Valium remove one's mental filter?
'If this doesn't work out, I'm quitting acting,' I continue. 'Maybe I'll try music as a back up, but yeah. I just thought I'd let you know.'
Steph's mouth presses into a hard line, but she doesn't say anything, thankfully. She merely returns to her newspaper and drinks more coffee.
Steph drives me to the audition. It's at the director's house apparently, whose name slips my mind. In fact, the movie's name has slipped my mind too. What's my character's name? I sigh. Acting is definitely going down the drain,
The house is not what I'm expecting it. I expect a Beverley Hills, pristine expensive white house with tall gates and fencing. But it's a house like any other, ordinary and normal.
Inside is normal too, and I feel almost comfortable. I'm introduced to the director, whose name is Kate. She smiles at me, and makes small talk with me about London in a thick Southern accent, and then gestures for me to sit down in one of the comfortably worn in couches as the bell rings.
Ten minutes later, and I'm not quite so comfortable. I can feel the Valium wearing off, and my nerves are coming through. It doesn't help that I feel like I'm in a waiting room, sitting in a stranger's house with another guy sitting opposite me, competing for the same role. I almost want to laugh at the absurdity of it all.
The first guy emerges, and grins at us, wishing us good luck, before leaving with his stern scary looking agent. The second guy enters, and I'm alone. I relax slightly, and decide to stretch my legs.
I browse the room, and stumble across a massive cupboard full of old records. I'm almost salivating as I take some out and stroke the covers lovingly. Otis Redding... Van Morrison... the Stones... Led Zeppelin... Bill Withers...
Kate finds me still stroking various covers in awe, and laughs.
'You okay there?' she asks me.
I manage to nod.
'You have so much music...' I tell her, wanting to smack myself having stated the obvious. 'I mean, a really great collection, I'm incredibly jealous!'
She smiles, and asks me to point out some of my favourites.
'Van Morrison is definitely one of my favourites,' I tell her, to which she beams.
'Yeah, me too,' she nods emphatically. 'I wish I could play an instrument, just to play some of his songs. Do you play?'
'I've been playing the piano since I was four, but actually only started playing the guitar when I was fifteen,' I tell her. Smiling, I add 'It's actually because of Van that I started learning at all.'
'You'll have to play for me some time!' she says. 'But moving on to more important matters, you're up!'
I feel my throat tighten up. Yep, nerves are definitely back. I spare one last glance at the beautiful collection, before following her towards the room.
'I don't know if you've met Bella, but yeah, she's playing the lead, Marie...' she rambles on as she opens the door. It seems the movement is almost in slow motion, and then... all time stops.
I don't know how I managed to not gawk at her during the audition. The moment I laid my eyes on her, it took all of my not very considerable self control to stop myself from gaping like a fish at her.
Bella Swan. The accuracy of her name didn't escape my notice, for she was probably the most beautiful girl I'd ever laid eyes on. She wore no makeup, and her hair fell in soft waves around her face. Her eyes were a beautiful, warm, chocolate brown. Her lips were a beautiful lush red, and I was overwhelmed by the desire to throw myself at her, and see if her lips really were as soft and lush as they looked. I've never desired a woman so intensely. And her acting – I lost myself in that scene. Never have I ever immersed myself so completely in a scene that I've forgotten who I am, and where I am.
'You okay there?'
Kate's voice interrupts my thoughts.
I start slightly, and glance at her.
'Yeah, yeah,' I mumble. 'I'm good.'
Her eyes seem knowing.
'She's quite a talented young actress isn't she?' she asks me.
'Yeah, definitely,' I agree, probably slightly too enthusiastically.
'Well, anyway, Edward, it was a pleasure,' she tells me, smiling as she opens the door for me. 'We'll be in touch.'
I thank her profusely, and even kiss her on the cheek before turning to find Steph's car waiting in the drive.
'Oh, by the way Edward?'
I swivel back around to face Kate.
'She's got a boyfriend,' she tells me, a slight smile on her lips. 'And I'm very good friends with him, so I'd advise you, should we meet again, to not mess with her.' The threat is clear, although not mean.
I nod, and slide into Steph's car.
'What was all that about?' Steph demands. 'I'm not going to wait all day for you in future you know.'
I laugh the comment off, and yet I can't help but let the disappointed sink in my stomach.
AN: Please, click that little button below and review! Twenty reviews and I'll update by Friday!