17 Aug 09

Star and Scribe, Chapter Nine

“I have a proposal for you,” Jane called out in her particularly sultry tone. Edmund looked up from his armchair to see her enter his study for the second time that night. Her swollen, bruised, and torn arm was neatly bandaged and stowed in a sling to prevent the stitches holding her skin together from bursting.

“I don’t really know how to respond to that,” he replied cautiously, sitting upright and pausing the episode of Red Dwarf that he had resumed. “What . . . are you proposing?”

“Just meet me downstairs in an hour,” she said as she stood silhouetted in the doorway. “Wear black and don’t tell anybody.”

He turned to look back at her. She had changed into her tightest-fitting black yoga clothes. She looked ridiculous with her black cross-trainers, a ratty old beanie pulled awkwardly over her hair, and her arm in the sling.

“I’m sorry,” he said in a patronizing tone, “I think you’ve mistaken yourself for a person who wasn’t in hospital five hours ago getting a blood transfusion and then told to go straight home and lie still for three days.”

“Anything is possible with Vicodin,” Jane said, her voice low and mystical.

“Honestly, Jane,” Edmund groaned, rolling his eyes and flopping back into his chair. “Have you got to be so melodramatic all the time?”

“I think you’re gonna like it,” she insisted calmly.

“What are we going to do, join the A-Team?”

“It’s not a joke, Ed!” She cried, beginning to lose her cool.

“Yeah, I know, but you come down here with the big spy lady and want me to play ninja with you. Although if you wanted to look the business you should have gone for an eye patch and not an arm sling.”

She put her good hand on her hip and glared at him. “Ed. Focus.”

“I haven’t got time,” he retorted. “We start shooting tomorrow and I still need to finish my plan for rewriting the script so that your arm injury works into the story.”

“And sitting in front of the TV is going to help get that done?”

“Your film is a thrilling science fiction adventure set in outer space. Red Dwarf is also a thrilling science fiction adventure set in outer space. It’s research,” he replied condescendingly. With a showy flick of the wrist, he hit play on the remote.

“Come on!”

“Jane, I won’t even have this discussion. Because in all seriousness, you are on drugs. You can sit in here if you like, but you must keep still and get some rest.”

Jane pondered her options. Her eyes drifted slowly over the thousands of DVDs stacked on the walls. They weren’t organized by title — they were filed by director. She forced her anger to subside by reading through the alphabet on the shelf beside her. Kevin Smith. Quentin Tarantino. Orson Welles. Billy Wilder. Edgar Wright.

Jane knew she was calm enough to speak again when she was tempted to complain that he didn’t really need four different copies of Pulp Fiction, even if they were all different releases. She rumpled her forehead, closed her eyes, and pinched the bridge of her nose as she spoke.

“If you do it I promise not to speak to you for a week.”

This caught his attention. “Really?”

“Yes.”

“Does that include not asking me for any favors?” he asked suspiciously. “Even by e-mail or text message?”

“Yes,” she sighed reassuringly. She wanted to grab one of the light sabers mounted on the wall and smack him.

He paused for a beat, then called out, “Two!”

“Ten days?”

“Done.”

“Good,” Jane sighed, eager to quit lurking in the doorway to Edmund’s man-cave. “Meet me downstairs in an hour, ok?”

“Yeah.”

“Wear black, and don’t tell anybody,” she warned.

“Jane, I think you’ve failed to understand me. I’m joking. I was not serious.”

Jane pulled a face and glared at the back of Edmund’s head. “Well, I am,” she retorted, stomping away down the hall. Edmund heard the front door open and then slam shut.

Fifteen seconds later, Edmund scrambled up from his seat and raced after her.

© 2009 Stella Quinn


Star and Scribe — a novel by Stella Quinn
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