Perfect- remember the character pictures! Your
eyes might thank you ;)
A/N: Why hello there, and welcome to my new novel! This chapter might seem a bit dull and boring, but I needed to put in the background information and introduce a few people. Let me know what you think; do you like it? If I get a good enough response, more will be posted soon! Thanks for reading, and also thank you to Phoebe Gardens for encouraging me on when I was having doubts about this story, I probably wouldn't have posted if it wasn't for her! ^-^
I button up my coat, standing side ways on to see my reflection in the mirror… and struggle not to laugh. Swept up in the idea of being the dashing male lead in the latest film adaptation of a famous 1800s romance novel, I've forgotten that this era was not a good one, fashion wise, for men. The women in the film will all be wearing beautiful dresses, but me? I get a long tailed coat and ridiculous trousers. But, on the bright side, I do get to be all gallant and manly, and the top hat is definitely a bonus.
I stretch out, getting ready to go into the studio. Filming will be starting in a few days, but first I have to do the promotional photo shoot. After a quick touch up from the make up artists, I step into the studio- all set up with chairs and pillars that fit the age that this film is set in. I smile as I lean against the richly embroidered sofa; I feel quite the part here, staring wistfully into the distance, as the photographer shouts instructions, the camera flashing like lightning every split second.
It's a long photo shoot, with three costume changes, but I finish happy; I have the rest of the day to relax, and I'm certainly planning to, as I won't be getting much time in the near future, with this film coming up.
It's raining miserably outside, the sky's grey, and the clouds look as if they still had plenty more drizzle in them, so I call a taxi, glad that there are no paparazzi out there to bother me; my hair has got so wet in the wait that I now resemble a drowned poodle.
Becoming famous practically over night has definitely had it's negative sides; at first the press swarmed around me as if I was a giant honey pot, and they were all starving bees. I'd been ridiculously lucky in finding a job straight out of university; I'd found an agent and gotten an audition early on. After a few small roles, I got a supporting role in a film which smashed box offices. The critics seemed to love me, saying I'd stolen the show, and before I knew it, I was suddenly a celebrity; being invited onto the chat shows, my picture splashed across the magazines, being offered too many starring roles to even think about.
Thankfully, after the first few months of having to go out with body guards due to the stupid amounts of paparazzi, they tired of me. Evidently, my life of walking down the road to get some groceries for my flatmate and I got a bit boring, and I've learnt that a pair of sunglasses and a beanie hat make all the difference to being spotted on the street. So now I'm relatively left alone; occasionally there's the odd snap of me here and there, pictures of me and my sister have been across the tabloids once, with speculations about the 'new lady' in my life; but thankfully I'd been able to clear that one up before I was being accused of incest.
To be fair, my life is actually brilliant at the moment. After my latest film, I've been offered the lead in a new period drama, which my agent tells me is a huge step in broadening my filming experience. There's a few big name stars I'm meant to be starring in it with, and I'm really excited to start filming; I've always thought acting posh sounds pretty fun.
It's a short taxi ride, and I get out at my flat, climbing up the stairs. It's a small flat, but big enough for my flatmate and I. I haven't been there much recently, as the filming for my previous film had mainly taken place in Egypt, so I'd been away for two months. It's nice to have my own place, I've come to realise, and not have to stay in hotels for so long.
I open the door, kicking off my shoes. I've always had a thing about that; I can't bear wearing shoes inside, and thankfully, my flatmate can't either, so there's a rather messy pile of shoes just by the door.
I head over to my room, planning on a shower, but as I pass my flatmate's room, a familiar red headed girl dashes out to hug me, then stands there, laughing.
"What?!" I say, defensively, my hands straying up to my sodden hair.
"You!" she chuckles, looking up at it, with a cheeky grin. "Alex, you look like you went swimming in the Thames; what film were you doing, again? A remake of the Titanic?"
I stick my tongue out at her, shaking my head so it sprays her with droplets.
"Thanks for the confidence boost there, Roo," I say, grinning. Roo and I have been best friends for years. We met at sixth form, where I was shy and nervous and she was loud and bouncy and bright, and we'd just clicked. She'd always dyed her naturally red hair to make it that bit redder, so she'd always stood out from the crowd, whereas I was the one in the corner, sat on my own. It had been Roo who had encouraged me to take my acting further, to study it at uni, and then to get an agent. I wouldn't have become an actor without her input, definitely not.
"No problem," she says. "Got the rest of the day off?"
I nod, pulling off my sopping jacket and going into the kitchen to put it in the washing machine.
Roo works as a fashion designer from our flat; there are always bits of material lying around, and patterns or designs spread across the lounge; she'll often make me try on her latest hats or tuxes. She's been pretty successful, actually, ever since I wore one of her suits to a premiere, and took her with me to it. She was wearing a stunning dress which got her plenty more customers, so she says she couldn't have done it without me.
Of course, her real name isn't actually Roo. Her real name is Joanna, but she always asked people to call her Joey. When we first started getting to know each other, I teased her for being named after a baby kangaroo, so took to calling her Kangaroo, which then turned into Roo, which stuck. Her brand name for her clothes is actually called Joanna Roo, something I wasn't sure on at first, but it turned out to be pretty catchy.
After a nice warm shower, I go and sit down in the lounge, stretching for the remote. I know full well that there won't be anything but daytime TV on, but I flick through the channels none the less.
Roo comes in, sitting down next to me with her sketch pad and laptop, her glasses on as she concentrates on her latest design, her tongue sticking out as she focuses. It's a cute little dress that's so typically her that I smile. She's really quirky; especially when it comes to vintage clothing and items that make her stand out from the crowd, and this dress is a mix of both.
After a while, I find myself watching old Friends re-runs, still laughing at the jokes, even though I've heard them before. I've watched three back to back episodes when Roo suddenly looks up from her laptop at me, with a wicked cackle. She has the witchiest laugh I've ever heard.
"What is it?" I ask, dragging myself out of the world of Chandler and Ross, and back into the lounge.
She passes her laptop over to my lap, and I look at the screen, groaning as I see what's on it. She's only gone and googled my name again.
The headline shouts ALEX HEART MOST DEFINITELY SINGLE! in luminous pink.
Roo has landed on the website: 'www.weheartalexheart.co.uk' and it is definitely my face on the screen. It's a shot of me at the premiere of a previous movie, smiling casually, and underneath, I read:
'Time to get your hopes up, girls, because Alex Heart is single and looking for love! We've been informed by a very reliable source, that the young actor recently broke up with his short term girlfriend, and is definitely back on the market.
So, which lucky girl will be the next to steal Alex's Heart? Whoever it is, we'll have the news first, so stay tuned.'
I sigh heavily. I know exactly whose responsible for this. Yes, I have been single for a while, and yes I did break up with my girlfriend of two months about two months ago. There's no way anyone else would have leaked it to the press, so I reach for my phone, speed dialling the number I want.
Answering on the third ring, the familiar reply of "Hello, Alex, my dear," came hurtling down the line.
"Mum!" I groan. "Why did you tip off the press again?"
She sighs dramatically. I swear I got my acting skills from her. "You need to find a steady partner, young man, and to help you find her, I will do whatever it takes. Or him, for that matter."
"Mum, I'm not gay," I protest, worrying she'll be setting me up with men now, as well as women.
"If you're sure," she says. "But best to keep all your options open, huh? You don't seem to be doing so well with the ladies."
I knead my forehead with my knuckles in frustration.
"Mum, you can't talk to the press about me. Please? I need some privacy in my life."
She huffs and puffs down the line. "You're very unreasonable, you know that?"
"Promise?" I insist, knowing she'll still tip them off anyway.
"I promise," she says sulkily. I'm sure I'm more mature than her, which is slightly worrying.
When I hang up a few minutes later, Roo is still chuckling to herself. My mother is renowned for tipping off the press as to my romantic endeavours. I can't seem to settle with one person at the moment, and my mum (who is desperate for some grandchildren) doesn't seem to understand that I don't have to be in a relationship to be happy.
Okay, so I do wish I had Mrs Right, but at the moment, it's not looking likely. I guess I've always had such high expectations of who I want to date, that nobody quite fits the bill. The girlfriends I've had have been either nice, but boring, or fame seeking girls who don't care what they do to get in the tabloids.
It's probably my fault for having such high aspirations. All my life, I've had some very specific ideals as to what my future partner will look like, and be like. She'll have long blonde hair, light coloured eyes; she'll be slim, but not too skinny, she'll have a sense of humour that makes me laugh whenever I'm with her. She'll want four children, she'll be intelligent and beautiful, but she'll love me so much, that I'll never want another.
I don't know if it's just me who has this mental list made up, but I'm still looking for her. I thought I'd found her a year ago, but it turned out she didn't love me that much at all. And anyway, she had dark brown eyes- it never would have worked out between us. I'm joking, of course.
Roo stretches out beside me, pulling off her glasses and rubbing her eyes. Many people often used to think that we were together; they never seem to understand that we don't see each other like that. Roo is gorgeous, with her big sparkly brown eyes and petite physique, but… I just don't see her that way. We're just best friends, and anyway, she has a devoted boyfriend who she loves to bits.
"I'd better go change," she tells me, getting up from the sofa. "I'm meeting Johnny at half six," she explains, picking up her various bits and bobs. I nod sleepily, realising I'm going to be a loner tonight. Again.
"I'll be back around eleven or twelve," she calls from her room.
"Okay," I call back. "I'll probably be in bed."
She pops her head back round the corner. "You know, for a famous actor, your social life really isn't very interesting."
I laugh. "I know," I sigh. "No wonder my mum wants me to get with some random girl."
Roo looks sympathetically at me. "I'm sure Johnny wouldn't mind if you came along with-" she begins, but I cut through her speech.
"Thanks, Roo, but I can't just barge in on your date. That's crossing the line a little, don't you think?" Her boyfriend is a really great guy, but I think he might want a bit of privacy with her. Those two match really well; he's pretty much a male version of her, so they were always bound to get together.
She laughs, reaching over to tousle my freshly washed hair. "Okay," she says. "Just don't be sad and lonely."
I raise my eyebrows. "I have friends!" I exclaim.
"Yeah, the whole ten seasons," she says, with a cheeky grin, pointing at the row of Friends DVDs on the DVD shelf. I poke out my tongue at her, and she returns to her room to get dressed.
So you see, it's not all rock and roll being me. Sometimes I think I should take my mum's advice, and date someone properly. It's just finding that someone. I think I'll be looking a long time.
Perfect- remember the character pictures! Your
eyes might thank you ;)