"And cut," the director calls across the set. "That's a wrap for today, get some sleep. Be back tomorrow by seven."
"Oh, thank god," I murmur. I am in one word, exhausted. I plan on going back to the hotel and crashing, the fifteen hour filming schedule finally starting to take its toll on my body.
"Mr. Cullen, there is a Mr. Jenkins that is here to see you," my assistant Alice says to me while I am heading to the makeup trailer to get my makeup removed.
"Not now Alice, I'm too tired to even walk right now. And I have to be back in seven hours, I don't have time right now."
"He said it was very important that he speak with you immediately."
"Unless someone is dying, it can wait until morning. I am not in any shape to have any important discussions right now. Tell him 'I'm sorry, but I'll talk to him tomorrow.'"
Alice huffs and mumbles something under her breath before walking off. Alice has been my saving grace over the years. If it weren't for her, I don't know where I would be right now. She tells me where to be and when, she shows up at my house and drags me out of bed when I've been out all night, and she dresses me to be as she calls it "Hollywood acceptable." I owe my career to her.
After my makeup and costume have been removed, I head back to the hotel which has been my home for the past couple weeks. We're only two and a half weeks into filming, with about two months to go. I am already missing my bed at my house back in LA. When I finally get back to my room, I tiredly remove my clothes before falling effortlessly onto the king size bed. I hear the person next to me shift before steadying and falling back into a deep sleep.
In my haze, I completely forgot that my girlfriend, for all intents and purposes, was here for the weekend. I don't really understand why she is here to be honest. For one, we haven't been together for that long and therefore are not that serious. Secondly, I am working almost fifteen hours everyday, so when I am around I'm sleeping. It doesn't make any sense to me. "Whatever," I think to myself as I roll in the opposite direction from her and fall instantly to sleep.
My alarm clock goes off at six forty-five the next morning. I reach my hand out to stop the offending noise, relaxing back into the bed for a few extra seconds. Just as I make up my mind to get up, an arm snakes its way around my torso preventing me from moving.
"Morning," she mumbles sleepily kissing my chest.
"Morning Lauren. I have to get up and get dressed. I don't know when I'll be back," I say removing her arm from around me standing up.
As I start dressing she says from the bed, "can I come with you today?"
Buttoning up my shirt, I look at her from across the room, "if you want," I shrug. "It will probably be pretty boring, especially in the morning when I am just doing makeup and wardrobe. If you want I can have the car come pick you up around ten, that's when the action really starts."
"Sounds good, I'll see you later then," she says snuggling back into her pillow. Lucky bitch.
"Bye," I say tying my last shoe. I stand, exiting the room to meet the car in the lobby.
While I'm sitting in my chair getting my makeup done, Alice wanders in handing me my customary morning coffee. "Good morning Edward, and how are we today," she asks while taking a sip from her own cup.
"Better now," I say gesturing to my cup. "And you?"
"I'm good. Catch up on your sleep Mr. Grumpy Pants?"
"Hardly," I reply rolling my eyes. "Sorry about yesterday, I was just really tired."
"It's fine," she waves me off. "But Mr. Jenkins will be here at lunch to speak with you. So don't make any plans."
"I usually don't even have an hour for lunch Alice, what plans could I possibly make," I question.
"I'm just saying, I know Lauren is in town," she shrugs as if to explain.
"Speaking of, she's coming by the set today around ten, so if you could just keep her company I would really appreciate it."
"Ugh," she mumbles, "if I must."
Rising an eyebrow in her direction, "Alice be nice."
"I'm always nice," she says before correcting herself, "most of the time."
I chuckle, "I know you, and I also know that you have chased off a number of my girlfriends in the past, not saying that it wasn't sometimes appreciated."
Giving me a tight-lipped smile she says, "I'll be nice."
"Good," I say turning back to the script for the day.
A couple hours later, I'm on set ready to begin filming. I see Alice and Lauren enter the set, staying in the background out of the way. I usually don't have many people come visit me while I'm on set, typically any guests I may have stay at whichever hotel I'm at.
During a break in filming I head over to Alice and Lauren, "hello ladies, are we enjoying watching?"
"You're right, it is kind of boring, but I like watching you work," Lauren says.
A little disappointed at her reaction I turn to Alice and catch her rolling her eyes. Stifling my laughter I ask, "and you Alice?"
"Well it's nothing I haven't seen before obviously, but this is definitely one of your better movies, so I don't mind watching."
"Good," I reply looking behind me noticing we're starting back up again. "Look I have to get back, see you later."
A couple hours later, we finally have our lunch break. Heading over to the food service tent, I run into an annoyed looking Lauren and Alice. "What's wrong," I ask looking between the two.
"Nothing sweetie," Lauren says plastering on a fake smile. I hate when people do that. "Can we go out to eat now?"
"I don't have time to go anywhere Lauren. I just eat here with everyone else," I say motioning towards the tent.
"What," she splutters looking disgusted.
"If you don't want to eat here that's fine, you can go. But I don't have time to leave."
"Don't forget your meeting with Mr. Jenkins, Edward," Alice reminds me.
"Oh, that's right. Thanks Alice, I forgot."
"Well if you have a meeting," Lauren hedges, "I'll just head back to the hotel and get something to eat there."
"Alright, I'll see you later," I say turning to Alice and waving my arm towards the line, "shall we?"
"I better take Lauren back to the car," Alice says. "I'll find Mr. Jenkins then and bring him to you, sound good?"
"Yeah, that's fine. Bye Lauren."
After waiting in line for five minutes, I finally get a plate and sit next to a couple of the crewmembers making idle chitchat. I'm not one of those actors that expect to be treated differently from others. It takes a lot of people to make a movie; the actors just get most of the credit for them because they are the ones in front of the camera instead of behind it.
Twenty minutes later Alice approaches me with an older gentleman dressed in a suit trailing behind her.
"Mr. Cullen, are you finished? Mr. Jenkins is here for your meeting," Alice addresses me.
"Of course, let me just throw my things away and I'll meet you in my trailer," I say standing and pick up my things to dispose.
After I throw my things I head over to my trailer and open the door. The man stands as Alice introduces us, "Mr. Jenkins, let me introduce to Edward Cullen." As we shake hands, Alice excuses herself and exits the trailer.
"Sorry about last night, I was not in the right mindset to have any sort of conversation. This job can take a lot out of a person with the long days I have."
"That's alright, it was very late. I had only just arrived in town and was quite tired myself."
"Please sit," I say motioning towards the couch. "Now what can I help you with Mr. Jenkins, I have limited time before I have to return to set."
"Yes, of course, I don't wish to waste your time. Do you remember a Tanya Denali," he asks.
Confusion evident on my face I nod my head in confirmation, "yes."
"I'm sorry to be the one to inform you sir, but she has recently passed away."
"I'm sorry to hear that, but I don't understand what that has to do with me."
"Well, as we are unable to contact any of her living relatives a the moment, you're the next person in line to contact in situations like this."
"Situations like what," I ask even more confused.
"You're the only one that we have been able to contact to take over custody of Masen," he explains.
"Masen? Custody? What are you talking about?"
"Your son," he says questioningly.
"My what," I exclaim. "You have to be mistaken. I don't have a son. I haven't even seen Tanya in nearly seven years."
"You're the father named on the birth certificate. Masen Carlisle Cullen born to Tanya Denali and Edward Cullen. He's six years old."
After a few minutes of silence I say, "she never told me I had a son. I didn't even know she was pregnant."
"Masen is back at the hotel waiting to meet you."
I finally snap out of my trance and look at Mr. Jenkins, "I can't look after a child. I'm no father, I don't even have enough time in a day to sleep properly, let alone watch after a kid."
"You're all he has left of his family Mr. Cullen. We will try contacting Tanya's remaining family to see if they would like to take custody, but as of right now, you're his primary caregiver. We will check in periodically to make sure he is being taken care of properly, but he is in your custody now. If you choose not to look after him, he will be placed into the system."
"No, I won't put him in that. But I want a paternity test done. One of the reasons Tanya and I broke up was because she was cheating on me."
"I understand Mr. Cullen. If it turns out you aren't the father, he will most likely be placed into the system then anyway. Chances are we would not be able to find out the real paternity if that were the case."
A knock at the door brings me back to reality. "Mr. Cullen, your presence is requested back on set in ten minutes," Alice calls through the door.
"So what do you want to do Mr. Cullen? Do you want me to bring him here, or are you able to come meet him and get him," Mr. Jenkins asked.
"Shit, I don't know. I have to get back to set, I can't just leave. But this isn't really the place for a kid to be running around either. Alice," I call opening the door to let her in.
Looking at me quizzically she enters the trailer looking from me to Mr. Jenkins and back as I shut the door again. "Yes, Mr. Cullen," she asks politely.
"Can you do me a huge favor?"
"Sure," she says uncertainly.
"Please go with Mr. Jenkins back to the hotel and pick up Masen and bring him back here would you?"
"Okay," she says drawing it out. "And who is Masen may I ask?"
"My son," I say flatly.
At this her eyes bug out of her head, "your what?"
"My son apparently. Would you be able to watch him for the rest of the day," I ask.
"Um," she splutters at a loss for words. "I'm not good with kids," she finally manages.
"Please Alice," I beg. "You know I can't leave and watch him."
"This is way past my job description Edward."
"I know it is. But as a friend, I'm asking you to watch my son, Alice. I'll think of something else for tomorrow, okay," I plead.
"Alright," she finally relents. "You better get going back to set, Aro might get upset," she says referring to the director.
"Of course," turning my attention back to Mr. Jenkins I ask, "does that sound acceptable with you Mr. Jenkins?"
"That's fine, I'll be around until tomorrow night if you have any problems or if you change your mind."
"Thank you," I say shaking his hand before exiting my trailer and running to get to the set.
After a few hours Aro shouts, "Take ten everyone." Approaching me he grabs my arm and says, "Edward, what has gotten into you? You have been off in La La Land since you returned from lunch. You're getting paid to act, now do your job," he snaps.
Walking dazedly, I reach my chair and sit, grabbing my water bottle to drink.
"Edward," Alice's voice brings me out of my reverie.
I turn to see Alice approaching me with a frightened looking little boy clutching her hand. I stand from my chair to greet them when they stop in front of me. Looking at Masen it was almost impossible not to recognize the connection between us. He truly was my son, from his green eyes to his bronze hair. The only thing it looks like he got from his mother was his nose.
"Edward, this is Masen, Masen this is Edward."
Crouching down to his height, I stick out my hand, "hello Masen, it's nice to meet you."
He tentatively shook my hand before releasing it, "I know who you are. Mommy always showed me your picture. She would always watch you on TV."
"I'm sorry about your mom. I haven't talked to her in a really long time."
He nods his head looking around him, anywhere but at me it seems. Not knowing what to do or say I stand back up, shifting uncomfortably. Aro calling everyone back breaks the awkward silence.
"Listen Masen, I have to get back to work but I'll see you later okay?"
He looks up at me and nods briefly. Looking at Alice I say, "thank you. You don't know how much this means to me."
"I know, now get back there," she says motioning behind me.
"Yeah, I will." Addressing Masen again I say, "hey if you want to stick around and watch for a little bit you can. But make sure that you're quite and stay with Alice, okay?"
He nods again, the only acknowledgement I get that he's listening to me.
I walk back and continue filming for a few hours. Between every take, I look around and find Masen looking around intently taking everything in. Finally, Aro calls it a day. Luckily, it's still quite early. After I get out of costume, I enter my trailer and find Alice in the corner flipping through a magazine and Masen sleeping soundly on the couch.
"Hey," I whisper to Alice sitting down next to her.
"Hi," she replies setting her magazine down.
"How'd it go today," I ask looking over to Masen taking in his sleeping form.
"As good as can be expected I guess. He's pretty quite, I don't know if he's always like that, or if it's the new setting, or the loss of his mom. I really have no idea, but he seems like a pretty good kid."
I nod my head to show I'm listening, "has he eaten dinner yet," I ask.
"No, I gave him a few snacks that you have in the trailer, but that's about it."
"Ok, thank you Alice," I say turning back to look at her. "Really, I don't know what I would do without you."
"You'd manage," after a short pause she adds, "maybe."
I chuckle to myself, "goodnight Alice. See you tomorrow."
"Goodnight Edward. If you need anything tonight, don't hesitate to call me."
"Thank you," I say as she exits the trailer.
Walking over to the sleeping boy on my couch, I gently run my hand over his back to wake him up. "Hey Masen buddy, wake up," I say softly.
Slowly he starts to stir, blinking rapidly to adjust to the lighting in the room. Looking at me briefly, he looks around the room quickly realizing it's just us two. "Where's Alice," he asks quietly.
"She went back to her room at the hotel. Are you hungry, would you like something to eat for dinner," I ask.
"Is Alice going with us?"
"No," I say gently. "It's just going to be us."
"Oh," he mumbles sitting up.
"Is that okay," I ask.
"I guess. Will she be there when we get back to the hotel?"
"She'll be at the hotel, but she's not staying with us. She has her own room," I explain.
"Is Mr. Jenkins going to be with us?"
"No, just us. Did you want to eat somewhere, or do you want to get room service," I ask diverting his attention away from Alice and Mr. Jenkins.
"Room service," he says after contemplating it for a couple minutes.
"Okay, let's go shall we," I say standing up and walking to the door. Not hearing any other movement, I turn around and notice that Masen is still frozen on the sofa.
"Masen, are you ready to go," I ask walking back over towards him.
His head snaps towards mine fearfully before he nods and rises from the couch. Not knowing what to do, I tentatively extend my hand for him to take, which he gladly accepts. "Do you have anything here, or is your stuff back at the hotel?"
"I don't have anything," he mumbles.
"Okay, we'll sort it out when we get back to hotel, how does that sound," I ask.
He shrugs his shoulders as he follows me out of the trailer to the waiting car. After the short car ride to the hotel, we walk hand in hand to the elevator to go up to the top floor. Opening the door to the room, I motion Masen to walk in ahead of me. I follow behind him, and walk over to the sofa sitting down and patting the seat next to me. He sits down hesitantly taking in the surrounding rooms.
"So what are you hungry for," I ask picking up the menu on the table next to the sofa.
"Whatever you're having is fine," he mumbles not looking directly at me.
"A cheeseburger sound okay," I clarify.
"Yeah," he replies softly.
After calling in our order, I settle back into the couch and flip the TV on. I start looking for something to watch when I realize that anything I would want to watch is probably not kid appropriate. "What kind of shows do you like to watch," I ask hoping to get some insight in to what to look for.
I feel him tense slightly next to me, "I wasn't allowed to watch shows at home. When mommy was home she always watched her shows or your movies, but Laurent would never let me watch anything," he says fidgeting nervously with his hands.
"Oh, okay," I respond looking for the Disney channel thinking that's the only kid station I can remember. After a slight pause I ask, "Who is Laurent?"
"Mommy's boyfriend that lived with us."
"Oh, did you like him," I ask trying to figure out how big of shoes I have to replace.
He shakes is head minutely before scooting to the far corner of the couch and wrapping his arms around his legs. Finally finding the channel, I turn it on before turning to Masen perplexed, "why didn't you like him?"
He shakes his head again, not answering me while cowering further into the corner. I move closer to the frightened child and place a tentative hand on his back to comfort him. He flinches from touch and I remove my hand wondering what would cause that sort of a reaction. As if a light bulb went off in my head I gasp, "he didn't hurt you did he?"
His eyes widen as he looks at me pleadingly, as if asking me not to make him answer. "You can tell me Masen," I say softly trying to comfort him. I once again place my hand on his back, ignoring him flinch, as I rub soothing circles on his back. "I promise that he won't hurt you anymore and he will never know that you told me. It can be our little secret, how does that sound," I say trying to coax a response.
After several quite minutes he finally responds, "sometimes, but only when mommy wasn't home. I had to be strong for her because he said he would hurt her if I told anyone," he says quietly.
Not knowing what else to do, I pick him up and cradle him in my arms whispering comforting words to him all the while. A couple minutes later, a knock at the door brings me out of our bubble. Not wanting to release the boy in my arms, I pick him and walk to the door, hugging him closely to me.
After dismissing the staff, I settle back on the couch and bring Masen slightly away from my body so I can look at him, "are you ready to eat?"
He nods and slowly moves off of me onto the floor in front of the coffee table. Removing the lids to our meals, we start eating in comfortable silence while watching TV. Just as we're about finished, the suite door opens, reveling a disheveled looking Lauren.
Hearing the noise from the TV she starts to speak, "oh you're back early," she starts to say before trailing off after noticing Masen. "Who's your little friend here," she says walking over cautiously.
"Lauren this is Masen, Masen this is my friend Lauren," I introduce not wanting to give away who Masen is to me and not wanting Masen to know about Lauren. "He'll be staying here with me from now on Lauren," I say, hoping she'll get the hint that she is no longer welcome staying with me.
"Oh," she says clearly disappointed. "Can I talk to you for a second in the other room," she says motioning towards the bedroom.
"Sure," I say before leaning in to whisper to Masen, "I'll be right back. If you need just call for me and I will be out in a flash, okay?"
He nods his head in acknowledgement before turning his attention back to the show. I stand and follow Lauren into the bedroom, shutting the door behind me so Masen wouldn't hear our conversation.
"Who the hell is that Edward," Lauren snaps at me. "Is that your son that you somehow forgot to mention? Cause I am too young to be someone's mother," she continues to rant.
"Stop Lauren, look this isn't working between us. I'm never here and god only knows where you were before coming in tonight," I say motioning to her disheveled attire. "It would be best if you packed your things tonight. I'll have Alice find you a flight out tonight unless you would rather have a room for the evening," I offer.
Crossing her arms over her chest she fumes, "don't bother, I'll just go back to Tyler, lord knows you haven't given it up yet. A girl has to find it somewhere."
"Well I'm glad that's settled now," I say before turning on my heel and returning to the little boy in the other room.
Fifteen minutes later, Lauren storms out of the bedroom dragging her multiple suitcases behind her. Usually, I would be a gentleman and offer to help, but she doesn't deserve it.
A half hour later when my eyelids start to droop, I look to Masen and find him in a similar situation. "Time for bed I think," I say turning off the TV. Standing, I offer my hand to help Masen up and start to lead him to the other bedroom that is located off the living area.
Looking around the room curiously he asks, "are you sleeping in here too?"
"No, this is your room," pointing to the room I was in earlier, "that's my room, so if you need me at all during the night that's where I'll be, okay?"
He fidgets with his hands before looking up me timidly, "can I sleep with you tonight?"
"Uh," I stutter taken off guard by his request. Is that normal for a six year old to still sleep with his parents? "Sure, I guess that would be alright. Do you have any other clothes with you to change into for bed?"
He shakes his head no, "everything burned in the fire."
Looking at him with wide eyes I reply, "Right, sorry, I forgot." Mr. Jenkins couldn't have told me about the fire? Is that how Tanya… died? Oh god. "We'll have Alice pick up some things for you tomorrow, how does that sound?"
He shrugs, "Good."
Grabbing his hand, I lead him back into my room pulling down the covers for him to climb in. Thank god Lauren and I never had sex.
"If you would be more comfortable you can take off your jeans and sleep in your underwear, that's what I do most nights," I add on to let him know it's okay.
"Okay," he shifts uncertainly. Looking at me shyly he starts fidgeting with his fingers.
"Do you want me to turn around," I question him raising an eyebrow. He shakes his head no. "Are you not tired anymore," I asked confused.
"I'm tired," he replies looking at me from under his lashes. "Aren't you tired," he asks me.
"Uh, yeah," I say still confused. "Are you going to sleep like that," I ask.
He shrugs looking at me timidly, "are you?"
I shake my head no, before realizing that he's waiting for me to change too. I remove my clothes, and notice him doing the same. Standing in my t-shirt and boxer briefs, I walk back over to him a pat the bed for him to crawl into. He obliges, and I bring the covers up, tucking him in. "Goodnight Masen, I'll see you in the morning, okay?"
"Where are you going," he asks fearfully, starting to sit up.
I lay my hand on his shoulder gently pushing him back down, "I'm going to make a quick phone call before I go to bed. I'll be just in the other room for a couple minutes and then I'll be back. I won't be far," I sooth.
With tearful eyes, he nods his head. Debating with myself to stay with the scared child, or making the phone call, I quickly exit the room saying I'll be right back. I have to make this phone call, it's too important.
Picking up my phone from the coffee table, I quickly dial my number two speed dial so I can hurry back to Masen. After a short pause the line picks up, "Edward, is everything okay, it's late."
"Everything is fine mom, I'm sorry to call so late, but it's important. Would you be able to take off of work for the next week or two," I ask.
"I'm sure I would be able to, what's the matter dear? Are you in some sort of trouble?"
"No I'm not in any trouble, I'll explain when you get here. Would you be able to leave in the morning, I would like you here as soon as possible."
"Edward, you're scaring me. Tell me what's going on," she says sounding panicked.
"There's nothing to be worried about mom, trust me. Something was brought to my attention today that I need to deal with, but I'm in the middle of filming so I can't just drop everything at the moment. I don't want to explain over the phone, but I'll tell you as soon as I see you tomorrow, okay?"
"Sure dear. Does your father need to come too," she asks sounding a more calm.
"He doesn't need to, but if he has the next couple days off by chance, I would love to see him."
"Ok, we'll see you tomorrow then," she verifies.
"Yes, I'll speak with Alice and have her set everything up. She'll call you with the details. I can't wait to see you."
"You too honey, I love you Edward."
"I love you too mom, send my love to dad as well."
"Will do, bye," she says hanging up.
After hanging up the phone with my mother, I make a quick phone call to Alice apologizing for the late hour and explain my plans to her for the morning.
I quickly set the alarm on phone before going back into the bedroom. Masen is sitting up in bed, hugging his pillow, with silent tears streaming down his cheeks. "Oh, bud, I told you I was just making a phone call," I say walking over to my side of the bed. I quickly climb in, taking the pillow out of his grasp and wiping the tears from his eyes. "What's the matter," I ask quietly.
Sniffing, he says, "You were gone a long time. I didn't want you to leave me too."
Shocked by his response, I pull him closer to me enveloping him in my arms like earlier and rocking him gently. "I'm here, I won't leave you," I assure him.
After several minutes of silence, I lay us down on the mattress to get more comfortable. Still in my arms, Masen snuggles closer to my body before sighing contently. After a little while, I finally allow myself to close my eyes and fall into slumber after I hear Masen's breathing even out, signaling he has fallen asleep.
A/N: Thank you for reading. I was trying to fall asleep the other night and this story line just popped into my head. I jotted down a rough outline, and pumped this chapter out the next day. I don't have anyone proofreading before I publish so I hope there aren't many typos. I have a pretty good start on the second chapter, but I was too excited to post this to continue writing. I hope you enjoy. And for those of you reading my other story, I haven't given up on it. I have a partial chapter for that one waiting to be completed as well. Hopefully this will make writing the other one easier, now I can go back and forth when I have writers block. Please review and let me know what you think.