Chapter 1: Prologue
After a long day at the film studio, Jacq managed to walk back into her apartment in one piece. She dropped her bag and went straight to her bedroom. But before she could lie down she noticed the giant pile of clothes on top of her bed. "Geesh. I gotta fold my clothes," she said. She pushed the pile of clothes to the side. "There. Done." She then jumped on her bed and lied down. It could have been morning or daytime or nighttime, but for all she cared right now it was bedtime.
It's been a month and a half since she started working non-stop and had little time for anything else since. Not even time to sit down. It was enough work for her to be a film extra and a dancer in film, but now she had started to help around the film studio as an unpaid assistant. It was harder than she imagined it to be. She'd do whatever it takes to become a filmmaker. Jacq felt she was inexperienced in the film industry, so her strategy was to get as much experience in the industry as possible and work her hardest. As long as she could convince Mr. Bucks, the executive producer, that she could make a film, then she was one step closer to her dream.
As she lied down on the bed, she kept thinking that eventually she needed to learn how to write screenplays. To Jacq, the screenplay was like the skeleton of the movie: If there's no screenplay, then the film would fall apart. Maybe she could start by learning about storytelling and then learn how to write in the screenplay format. After all, movies are like visual stories.
After a while, Jacq groaned and stretched herself, but then her foot touched something. It was the newspaper. "Oh right, I haven't read the paper in ages." She reached for it and skimmed through it. This paper was probably about a week old. Probably even a bit older. She really didn't have enough time to buy more papers, or even bother to check the date on the paper.
"Let's see what I missed," she mumbled to herself. Jacq skimmed through the front page until she saw the words "Bianca Castafiore accused of crimes against dictator of San Theodoros. See page 6 for further details."
Jacq turned to page 6 and read the small article:
"BIANCA CASTAFIORE ARRESTED.
The famous opera singer Bianca Castafiore a.k.a. The Milanese Nightingale has been accused for an attempt to plot against the dictator of San Theodoros, General Tapoica. The prima donna had arrived that day in Tapiocapolis, capital of San Theodoros, to continue in her Latin American tour. That night she's been arrested after a gala performance attended by General Tapioca himself."
"Arrested?" She kept on reading:
"Following her on her trip was her trustful maid Irma, her pianist Igor Wagner and two high-ranking detectives from Interpol, Thompson and Thomson who were hired to guard her jewels. They all have also been arrested with her that very night. They were under the suspicion of planning to overthrow Tapioca's military forces. Also under suspicion are Captain Haddock, Tintin the famous reporter, and Professor Cuthbert Calculus, all long time acquaintances of both Castafiore and General Alcazar, the previous ruler of San Theodoros."
"HOLY GUACAMOLE!" She checked the date on the newspaper. It was about 10 days old. "You gotta be kidding me!" Jacq grabbed some coins and went downstairs to the nearest shop and bought a new newspaper.
"Thank you so much!" Immediately after the shop owner gave her the newspaper, Jacq turned the page to find any updates on San Theodoros. As she went up the stairs, she read through the article quickly. "Let's see… conspiracy… friends of Alcazar… Captain denies accusations… Invited to go to Tapiocapolis… 'Haddock backs down'? 'Afraid of the truth'? Who wrote this? I better give them a call. I hope they haven't left yet."
Jacq arrived at her apartment and went to her phone. "Let's see… Marlinspike Hall's number is…" She dialed the number and waited for someone to pick up. "Come on. Come on. Come on." Someone picked up.
"Hello? This is Jacqueline Jones speaking!"
"Jacqueline Jones! I'm from America! I'm making a long distance call!"
"You're making a long distance call for meat?"
"… Huh? Who is this?"
"This is Cutts the Butcher speaking."
"Oh, sorry. Wrong number." Jacq hung up and dialed again, this time really making sure she dialed correctly. Someone picked up. "Hey! This is Jacqueline Jones! I'm-"
"Yes, 'making a long distance call'. I know. It's Cutts again."
"Dang it! I was so sure I had the right number."
"You do. It's just a problem with the phone connections. It happens all the time. Call once more. It'll work this time, I think."
"Thank you, Sir." Jacq hung up and was gonna try to call one more time. It didn't fail the last time she called Marlinspike.
Someone picked up. "Hello?" said a different voice. Jacq tried to speak. "Hey. Um… Is this Marlinspike Hall?"
"Yes it is."
"Finally!" Jacq thought. The voice said, "May I know who's speaking?" She then recognized the voice, "Wait a sec… You're Nestor! Hi! We spoke on the phone about a month ago? You gave me the number of Tintin's hotel in Sydney. I'm Jacq Jones."
"Yes, I do remember. You're the young lady from America."
"Exactly! Say, are Tintin and the Captain at home?"
"I'm sorry, Miss. I'm afraid the Master had just departed yesterday, but Mr. Tintin hasn't left the estate."
"Oh. Then may I speak to Tintin?"
"Certainly." In Marlinspike Hall, Nestor turned to Tintin who just happened to enter the room at that precise moment. "Mr. Tintin, there's a phone call for you." Nestor passed the phone to Tintin. He said, "Hello?"
Jacq jumped at his voice. "TINTIN! It's been a while! It's me, Jacq!"
"Jacq? Jacq! It's really you!" Snowy heard Tintin on the phone and started panting after he heard her name. "Snowy says hi too. I can't believe it! How are you?"
"Great! Fine! I'm very good!" she responded. The last time they spoke to each other on the phone was when she called him in Sydney. She heard that they survived after their sudden disappearance. They were on their flight to Sydney until something went wrong and were found at sea.
"I've been working really hard on set, and also in the dances and all that stuff. It's tough, but I'll be sure to do my best. Say, I heard about the Captain and the thing about Castafiore. I'm so sorry."
"Oh, right. Don't worry about it."
"I know that you guys are being accused and stuff. I really don't buy it at all. I never did. I mean you guys are good and all. I KNOW you guys are good people. Of course, why wouldn't I? We saved a country together, and you caught many bad guys in the past. Geesh, I wish I could do something about it, but I'm in America and I'm super busy… you know what I mean? So, the Captain and the Professor are gonna go to Tapiocapolis?"
Tintin missed hearing her fast-talk. "Yes he is. He went there to clear his name." Jacq noticed he sounded slightly different. "So why are you still here?" she asked.
"I decided not to go."
"Really? That's… unusual. After all that stuff in the news, I thought you'd go with him and the Professor."
"I'm quite sure it's all a trap to lure us there. I don't know why they'd try and trick us, but the Captain's going anyway."
"But why aren't you going this time? Are you ok?" she sat down on her couch.
"I'm fine… I think… I really don't know. I think I was just tired."
"Everything. Ever since the events in Bordwell ended, I thought I was gonna have a very long break, but during the past few weeks I get lost at sea with amnesia, and right now I'm being accused for a crime I didn't do... I think it's all too much for me right now."
Jacq thought about it. Both she and Tintin had busy lives right now, but Tintin wasn't dealing with some movie props or sets. "Yeah… that is really tough. So many things are coming at you and you can't take a breath… I just hope the Captain and the Professor are fine. Did you hear from them yet?"
"No, I didn't. I didn't really expect the Captain to call me back or anything. But somehow I can't help but to think that they're stuck. Maybe they've fallen into the trap or even gotten themselves arrested."
Jacq noticed the way he spoke. Maybe he was right. Maybe it was a trap. She said, "Say… if you feel that worried, why not go this time and check if he's safe? I mean, unless you think he can handle it there in San Theodoros."
"… He and the Professor could be in trouble, everyone else is in prison, and I'm still in Marlinspike. I don't understand. I should have been thinking about them instead of myself."
"Tintin, it's not wrong to think about yourself once in a while. You're very generous and you shouldn't forget about what you want. As long as you remember about your friends too."
"I know… what I want now is for them to be safe."
"Me too. I just don't know what I'D do if I went there myself. You're better at this than I am."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean I don't know how to handle these kinds of situations."
"No, not exactly. Remember in India when you pretended to be Alexandra and allowed yourself to get captured? Not only did you save us back then, but you also lead us to Atticus and his men. You could still handle situations very well."
"Yeah, but back then I just improvised. I don't really plan these kinds of things. I don't generally make plans. I know it's useful to have a plan and planning ahead isn't bad at all. But in my opinion anything could happen, especially when that moment's right in front of you. We could have all died back there at any point, or maybe something else. What mattered to me was whether I did something at that moment. If I didn't do anything, what kind of person would that make me? Am I making any sense?"
The phone stayed silent.
"… Tintin?" asked Jacq. "Are you still there?" Was it something she said? Or maybe she spoke too much? Or too fast? Did he understand what she just said?
Then Tintin spoke, "Jacq, I've made up my mind and I'm sure about it this time. I'm hopping on the next flight to Tapiocapolis immediately." Snowy barked. "Now that's more like it, Tintin!" said Snowy.
Jacq got off her chair and shouted, "HOT DOG! WOHOO!"
"For what? I wasn't trying to change your mind or anything."
"No, what I mean is thanks for calling me right now. Just listening to you makes me feel better. I really missed you."
Jacq blushed. "Um… thanks. So I hope you do good in San Theodoros… Please be careful, Tintin."
"Aren't I always?"
"Hehe… also try to stay out of danger."
"Too late." They laughed. "Oh, speaking of which," said Jacq. "I'm sorry I haven't written you guys or a long time. I've been extremely busy."
"You just skipped a week. No problem."
"But I think I'm gonna have to postpone my next letter. We're doing these movie shoots, and they're taking almost forever! And I'll be dancing a lot, and playing tons of extras, and working on props and film, and I think I gotta work on the girls' make-up soon, and… and… I got a lot around me."
"I get it. Take as much time as you want. Right now I'm just glad you called me."
"Yeah, it's great to hear your voice again. I missed you too. Well, I better hang up, or this call will cost me a lot. And I gotta wake up early tomorrow again."
"I get it. Good luck with that."
"Thanks. So again, be careful and please make sure the others are safe and sound, ok?"
"I will. Take care, Jacq. Bye."
"See you soon. Bye." With that, Jacq hung up the phone and leaned her head back on the couch.
A/N Finally! The sequel to How I met Tintin is up! It might take a while to upload the second chapter (about one or two weeks? Will you be patient?) but most of the fanfic is done.
To the Jacqtin fans, you'll be happy to hear that this fanfic is gonna have TONS of Jacqtin. The front cover was actually one of the sketches of Jacq that I drew in my notepad. It looks like one of the panels of Rodier's version of Alph-Art because I saw the panel (the one where Castafiore kisses Haddock and then Tintin) and I said "Hey, what if Jacq were the one giving a kiss to Tintin? Heck yeah!" and I really liked in Chapter 13 of How I met Tintin when Jacq kissed Tintin on the cheek. So I decided to upload that drawing (I didn't bother to draw a new one. This one looked just too good!) What do you think? Do you like it?
For the "10 days" thing, to get the time right I looked at Tintin and the Picaros and counted the number of days after Castafiore's arrest to the point in which Haddock arrived at San Theodoros.
A shout out to Xx Ryo xX for giving me her view on Tintin's perspective during Picaros, to Pink-Pencil-Girl303 for giving me a tip on my writing ("show, don't tell"), and to TigerBlack62 because she's ALSO super awesome!
Speaking of which, I made a few small updates on the chapters of How I met Tintin just to fix some word choices and to fix a few grammar and punctuation mistakes.
What did you think of this chapter? Are you curious to read the rest? Please leave a comment!