In Modern Times
By: Tess Thieler
Sept. 2009 Challenge
Author's note: This challenge is written with a modern day theme. Sully and Michaela have the same personalities and tenderness that they displayed in the series, however, Sully's vocation is a bit different. I hope you enjoy this present day twist with these wonderful characters.
Challenge Picture 1 - Sully and Michaela facing each other. Their hands caress each other's shoulders. Michaela is talking to him, while Sully, dressed in his fringed buckskin coat, looks downward.
Challenge Picture 2 - Screen shot of Joe Lando (Sully) from his 1994 movie "The Devil's Bed." He is lying back against a pillow wearing only a very carefully placed sheet.
"Cut!" the director hollered for the third time. "I'm just not feeling it, Sully."
The virile academy award winning actor looked at the man behind the camera with distain. "I need some air." Abruptly, the studio door slammed shut behind him as he stormed out into the street.
Michaela hurried to catch up with her rattled husband. "Sully, wait!"
He didn't seem to hear her though and hastily rounded the next corner. Halfway down the alley his pace slowed and the lady doctor caught up with her most-sought-after movie star husband. Stepping before him to stop his movements, Michaela anchored her hands to his shoulders. Concern etched her features. "Sully, what's wrong?"
He couldn't even look her in the eye. "I don't think I can do this anymore."
"But you were so excited about it. Finally getting to play the part of a great historic figure, especially a frontiersman, seemed to suit you so well." She looked him over speculatively. "You do look especially handsome in this fringed leather coat."
Sully grinned subtly then caught his wife's gaze. "I agreed to play Davy Crockett in order to educate people today. To remind them what it was like for the pioneers when the west was untamed without all our modern conveniences, not to be a puppet in some kind of western soap opera. I didn't know there would be scenes involving Crockett's relationship with his wife."
"But you've played intimate parts in movies before. The Devil's Bed… Blindness… Seeds of Doubt-"
"I know… but that was way before I met you. I wasn't married then."
Michaela hugged him tight. "So that's the problem."
Sully nodded and began to stoke her hair. "Every time the script calls for me to touch my costar, or to kiss her like it did in this last scene, I feel like I'm betraying you."
Michaela eased their embrace enough to look her husband in the eye. "Sully, you're not touching or kissing that woman - Davy Crockett is."
"I can't seem to get my conscience to accept that fact this time."
Michaela sighed. "Well then… maybe I shouldn't be on the set with you. If I wasn't watching, you could possibly ease your conscience."
Shock seized Sully's somber facade. "No, I want you here. I need you here with me. It's the only way I know how to keep you safe from the paparazzi."
"This is all my fault," she uttered morbidly. "If I didn't have that malpractice suit hanging over my head, and expensive lawyers to pay, we'd have plenty of money."
"I won't allow you to carry the blame for our money troubles. You're innocent of those charges and you know it. If I wasn't so picky, I'd have plenty of work plus enough in the bank to carry us through."
Michaela shook her head. "It's your careful choices of films that have made you the big star that you are. Producers are lined up all the time trying to contract you for their movies."
Sully drew a deep breath. "There – that's exactly why I need you here. For support. I'll get through this somehow."
Michaela hugged him again. "I can think of another way I might be able to help."
"You're welcome to try."
Pulling back she smiled whimsically at him. "Close your eyes."
"I'm going to help direct you through this next scene. Now, close your eyes."
Giving in, Sully obeyed his wife beneath a cloud of confusion.
"Now picture this in your mind," she began. "You're at the set. You are Davy Crockett and his wife, your co-star, has stepped in front of you to place her hands on your shoulders. She wants a kiss."
"Keep your eyes closed."
"I'm trying." He breathed deeply again. "Okay… I'm focused."
"Are you at the set?"
"Are you Davy Crockett?"
She pulled his arms about her waist, resting her hands on his shoulders. "Are you holding your wife?"
"Yes you are, Sully. Now keep your eyes closed and listen. You are holding your wife and every time Davy Crockett has to hold his wife and give her a kiss, I want you to do as you are now. Close your eyes and imagine me. If it is me in your mind, maybe your conscience won't interfere."
"I don't know if it will work."
"Then let's practice." Rising up on tiptoe, Michaela gently pressed her lips to his.
Sully needed no further encouragement and immediately deepened the kiss. He enveloped her with his boundless love as if there were no tomorrow.
Breathless, Michaela finally broke their intimate connection. "There…," she breathed out, "that's the way a loving husband should kiss his wife."
"My eyes are still closed."
Michaela grinned. "You can open them now."
"I'd rather practice some more."
Before she could utter another word, he captured her lips again in a steamy fiery kiss. His costar was sure in for a treat.
The loud clearing of someone's throat interrupted their heated embrace. Michaela and Sully glanced in the direction of the noise. The director's personal messenger stood not far away.
"Um… you're wanted back on the set… Sir," he stammered.
"We're coming," Michaela told the young man then looked up at her husband. "You CAN do this."
"I can now – thanks to you."
By nightfall, the filming was finally complete, all except for one last intimate scene. It took place in the Crockett's bedroom. Sully could hardly utter his lines, let alone act.
"Cut!" the director yelled gruffly for the 5th, or was it the 6th, time. He had a right to be angry. Filming was already weeks behind schedule. This last final scene would wrap it up. Everyone wanted to go home. "Take five!" he boomed.
The actress playing Davy Crockett's wife slid out from beneath the bed sheet clad only in a skimpy strapless string bikini. The men on the set ogled her, but Sully stared blankly at nothing.
Michaela approached her husband. Again he couldn't look at her.
"Your conscience again?"
"It's killing me." he stated wearily. "No matter how hard I try, I can't stay focused. Frustrated, he slammed his palm against the pillow next to him. "Just look at me... with her... in front of you!"
"You are dressed under there," Michaela reminded him.
"Not with much."
Michaela regarded her husband carefully. His career as an actor was on the line. "Wait here."
She spoke with the director for a moment then he agreed with her and called for a one hour break. Everyone left. Once they were alone, Michaela locked the door before returning to her husband.
Sully looked up at his wife as she neared him. "I'm sorry."
"I must be embarrassing you."
She tenderly grasped his hand. "Not at all."
He breathed out a frustrated breath. "I know I've done scenes like this… some even worse a few years back, but I'm not that same man anymore."
"I know." Michaela leaned down closer to him and kissed him sincerely. "That's why I married you."
A half smile crossed Sully's features. "That's nice to know." He caressed her shoulder with a gentle hand. "So what now?"
Michaela's eyes gleamed. "Well… I was thinking," she began as she stood up next to him. "That practicing helped you before…"
"So practicing can help me get my focus back this time too." His grin widened, curving into a devilishly handsome smile.
In seconds, Michaela's dress pooled at her feet and she slid beneath the sheets alongside her eager husband. "We have an hour…"
Sully embraced her fervently. "And I need lots of practice."
Author's post note:
The movies mentioned in the story, The Devil's Bed, 1994, (also known as Shadow's of Desire)… Blindness, 1998,… and Seeds of Doubt, 1998, were all movies starring Joe Lando.