Author's Note: I have not posted on here in years. I lost all of my creativity juices long ago and have written very little over the last five years. I recently saw this movie for the first time and I absolutely loved it. The ending left me wanting more, so this is how I channeled that. I do not own Bloomington, the characters, etc. If I did, Allison McAtee would be sitting beside me on a tropical island wearing nothing. I hope you enjoy! I appreciate reviews of any kind! Thank you!
I remember watching her out my window as she did an interview before she left Bloomington, I couldn't stop but think that I had made a huge mistake. Part of me felt as though I was just letting her walk away. It is funny for me to think back about how scared she was our first time, but now I am the one who is scared. I had never felt as vulnerable with anyone else and I was terrified.
That was close to two years ago and I still think about Jackie often. I just accepted a teaching position at UCLA and couldn't be happier to get out of the lull I had been stuck in recently. Jackie had risen to instant stardom once Neptune 26 came out and it was crazy to think about our time together and how quick it all went by.
I can't exactly say that I have gotten over her either. I remember the last time we were together she asked me if I hated her, I almost broken down right then, but I was able to hold myself together until she left. I never intended to fall in love with her, she was different though. She was so different from all of the others. I wish I could tell her that now.
Being back in California was always one of my dreams, after selling my house in Indiana, I bought a house in Brentwood, which was close enough to school but far enough away for privacy at the same time. The best thing about the move was that none of the ridiculous rumors followed me. I was able to really start all over again. I arrived in California in early July in hopes that I would get the house ready before the school year. I figured it would keep me occupied, but it didn't take as long as I expected and I was moved in within the first two weeks, with plenty of time on my hands for the rest of the summer. Ethan loved the new yard, he enjoyed spending his days outside while I read on the porch.
One day during my second week of living in Brentwood I met some of my neighbors, a very friendly couple with two young children. The husband, Daniel, was a producer in Hollywood and the wife, Abigail, was an elementary school teacher. The couple invited me over to a dinner they were having later in the week, I gladly accepted in hopes that I would continue to meet more people. For the last two years I had stayed to myself, I was scared to let anyone in. I immersed myself into research work and ignored everything else around me. I knew that I could not continue my life of solidarity.
Saturday night came quicker than I expected and I found myself wandering over to the Tripp's with a bottle of red wine. I was excited to meet new people and get to know my new neighbor's a bit more.
"Catherine, so good to see you again!" Abigail greeted.
"Abigail, thank you for inviting me. This is for you and Daniel. It is one of my favorites."
"You shouldn't have, thank you. Remember Daniel's friend from work, Samuel, who I told you about earlier in the week?"
Obviously one of their first questions when we met was if I was married, I think one of the reasons they invited me tonight was to set me up with one of their friends. It was a kind gesture, nonetheless. "Yes, I do remember you telling me about him."
"Great! I was just telling him about you, come this way." She ushered me towards a very handsome man in his early 30s. He was extremely attractive and I smiled at him politely. I kept reminding myself that I needed to meet people and one date would not hurt me. One date means I am moving in the right direction and that is exactly what I needed. "Samuel, this is Catherine. She just moved in next door, she is a professor at UCLA. Catherine, this is Samuel, he works with Daniel."
She moved me closer to him, she looked at us both and smiled before walking away.
"I'm sorry about that." I apologized.
"No, don't be sorry. Abigail is sweet like that. She has a huge heart." Samuel smiled and I found myself smiling as well. "Do you want something to drink, I was just about to grab another beer."
"Sure. I will have a glass of red wine."
We walked over towards the bar that was set up and he ordered our drinks.
"What brings you to Brentwood?"
"I really have not been here very long, as Abigail mentioned. I worked at a small college in Bloomington, Indiana for as long as I can remember. I took some time off from that and traveled over the last two years, mostly backpacking around Europe. I got the opportunity to teach for UCLA's master program in Psychology and I could not turn it down, so here I am. What about you? What brings you here?"
"I was born and raised in Los Angeles, it is really all I know. My father was a producer and I followed in his footsteps. Daniel and I have worked together on several projects and have become great friends along the way. Were you originally from Bloomington?"
"Yes, I grew up there. I went to Stanford for my undergrad though, so California is not a completely new experience. I fell in love with it many years ago and just never had the opportunity to make a life for myself here."
"Brentwood is a gorgeous area, you could not have picked a better location. I always give Daniel a hard time for moving out here once he started a family with Abigail. We had houses next to each other in Hollywood, but he did not want his children being raised in that environment."
"I really love it so far. It is nice to be so close to the city but live outside of it enough to have a yard. My dog is smitten with his new space. I have not been to Hollywood in years."
"Perhaps we could change that?" I took that as my cue that he wanted to ask me out. I went with it, for the first time in two years I went along with the notion of someone asking me out. "Maybe Monday night, if you are free?"
"That sounds wonderful, yes, I am free on Monday." I smiled before taking a sip of my wine.
"Great. It is a date."
We talked a little while longer before one of his friends needed him. I made conversation with a few other people before calling it a night. It was nice to get out of the house. Ethan was waiting at the door for me when I got home, like he always was.
"Good evening, Mr. Ethan. And how was your night?" I laughed as I talked to him, already knowing he was not going to give me a response. He followed me as I walked upstairs to my master bedroom. At night I would think about Jackie the most, probably because I missed having her next to me. I miss watching her sleep, all curled up, next to me. I only have myself to blame, I let her leave and I did not even try to stop her. I just wish I told her how I feel. Even Ethan misses having her around, whenever she is on TV he sits straight up and his tail starts wagging, it is quite adorable.
For the next two days I started moving things into my office at school, making it my own. I found old books that I forgotten I had, bringing me back to different research that I had done. I found a book that Jackie had given me for Christmas. Inside she had written a short message:
You amaze me every single day. Thank you for everything. I finally found a book that you might enjoy. Merry Christmas!
It was nothing over the top, it was short and sweet. I did love that book too, she knew me too well. I finished putting things away and headed home when Samuel called me.
"Catherine, its Samuel."
"Hi, how are you?"
"Good, just on my way home."
"I made us reservations for tonight at STK. I have a car picking you up at 8:30. I am at work still and I won't get out until a little bit later than normal. Is that okay?"
"That's fine, thank you. I will see you tonight then." I smiled. I was really looking forward to dinner with Samuel tonight.
When I got home I got ready for the night and when there was a knock on the door, I was just finishing up. I figured it was probably the driver he sent for me. I was not sure if he was trying to show off or simply was being kind. One of the biggest turnoffs to me has always been when someone tries to show off in an attempt to woo me. I was leaning towards it being a kind gesture because he was working late. When I opened the door I was greeted by a young driver.
"Hello Ms. Stark, I am Westley. I will be your driver this evening. Mr. Williams has instructed me to take you to STK where he will meet you. He apologizes for not being able to pick you up himself."
"Well thank you, Westley. I just need to grab my purse and shoes and I will be right out."
"As you wish, I will be by the car."
I grabbed the last few things I needed and before walking out the door I took a deep breath. I had not been on a date in years. I wondered if I still had it in me to date or if I had any idea of what is expected. Does he think I am going to sleep with him on the first date? I do not sleep with anyone on the first date. Well, only with Jackie, but that was much different. If he buys me dinner do I have to sleep with him as a thank you? Good lord, I am an adult. I can do whatever I want to do. I will not let him pressure me into anything I do not want to do. Okay, Catherine, relax. It is going to be fine. You hit it off really well with him the other night. Tonight will be fine. My mind was racing with all of these different thoughts and I needed to calm down and just enjoy the evening.
The ride through Beverly Hills to West Hollywood was busy, just as I had expected. We managed to arrive right on time though and Samuel was waiting outside of the door.
"Catherine! So good to see you again." He said as he helped me out of the car. He gave me a quick hug and small peck on the cheek.
"It is good to see you as well."
"Our table is already." He said as he placed a hand on my lower back and showed me the way in. We were sat right away at a private table in the back. "How was your day?"
"It was good. I started to set up my office at UCLA today. I have a lot of things to go through before it is quite how I want it set up. How about you?"
"Long. Daniel and I are in the beginning stages of a new movie we are hoping to produce. It is a lot of time spent on the phone at this stage. I am sorry that I could not be there to pick you up, I have been waiting to speak with a director for a week now and the first time I could get him on the phone was the same time I had to leave to pick you up."
"It's fine. No need to apologize. Thank you though."
"May I ask what the new movie is about?"
"Of course, it is based on a true story of a family from Baltimore and how they were able to get off the streets and they now live in one of the nicest suburbs of Baltimore. It is a feel good story."
"What gave you the idea of the story?"
"I met the son of the family at a charity event in New York two years ago. He was there representing the charity the family formed that is an affiliate of the charity putting on the event. His story amazed me and ever since I have been trying to put together a movie based on their story."
"Wow, that's..." I was cut off by a voice behind me.
"Jackie! How are you, dear?"
"Good, very good. I just got back from shooting in England. It was..."
For a moment I thought I was dreaming. I hoped that I was dreaming. I turned around and there she stood, right behind me. I could not move. I could not think. I could not do anything but sit and stare at her. I was finally torn away from reverie when Samuel stood up and gave her a hug. Her face showed the same shock as mine when our eyes met and she stopped mid-sentence just as I had before when I heard her voice.
We both stared at each other, still in shock that we were standing in front of one another. I did not know what to say and the silence was becoming increasingly awkward. Samuel finally broke the ice and introduced us, even though neither of us needed any introduction.
"Catherine, this is Jacqueline. I worked with her last year on a film."