“There are several impending characters who think this story is their story. I am one of them.” Anabelle Greeves, author, screenwriter of War & Dancing.
Chapter one: War & Dancing
An epic period dramedy about property rights, revolution, and taxes; written by future best selling author, Anabelle Greeves, directed by soon to be academy award winning actor turned director, Theo August, produced by slightly flagging, though surprisingly springy, Freeguyl Productions, in some slight association with practically unknown Rupture Studios, a Gordan Freeguyl Film, starring (in order of apearance): Jennifer Starling as Diedre , Theo August as Henry Bootes, Darren Dileero as Lord Whillowford and Guy Gary as unidentified drunk male wandering onset; War & Dancing is a historical warmance to die for.
Dun. Dun. Dun.
Anabelle Greeves was the kind of girl who got her jollies off by writing by-lines, coming up with the prefect catch phrase, and in general, ordering things about. It always had a calming effect. But it wasn’t working for her this time. She frowned, closed her notebook, and looked up at the vast building stretching above her, and frowned some more.
Anabelle was in a bad sort of mood, which is quite unfortunate, because now, when people tell her story, they will begin by saying just how ridiculously grumpy she was, but I digress. Anabelle Greeves was in a bad sort of mood. One of those bad sorts of moods you get when nothing goes right, and it goes on and on and extends into your night, when everyone is rude and you want to scream or run around nude, and your style of rhyme becomes extremely obtuse, because your in such a bad mood you start quoting Suess. It was one of those sorts of moods.
Actually none of that had really happened to Anabelle. It had only taken one incident to set her off. In fact, all it had taken to set her off, was one, relatively small, seemingly unimportant, rather invisible, inanimate object. But off, she was set.
She was probably going to walk into the producer’s office and decry the nature of such atrocious abominations, declare her sovereignty, throw the damned hard drive into his face and storm back out again.
Of course there was no probably about it. Anabellle Greeves would do no such thing. But still. A girl could dream.
More to the point, she was very upset upon walking into the Freeguyl offices and being greeted by a pretty receptionist with auburn curls. “How are you today, Miss?” The receptionist inquired, with a slight upturn of her nose.
“I find myself a little out of sorts.” Anabelle answered, her long, rangy blonde hair ratting up in the back, soot smeared across her nose, her purse, computer bag, and cloth reusable grocery sack slung over one shoulder. See, the hard drive exploding in her face may have set her off, but that was just the beginning. She was well and set by the time her car wouldn’t start for the twentieth minute in a row. So, abandoning her 80’s Volvo to the wilds of Hollywood, she had taken a cab to the offices, all her worldy belongings in tow.
One such belonging being the unfortunate grocery sack which was actually filled with dirty laundry.
“Hmmm.” The receptionist degigned, pursing her lips and scrunching up her nose just so. “Do you have an appointment?”
“Of course not. Freeguyl never gives me an appointment. Just come when he calls. He says.” Anabelle answered errantly.
The receptionist gave her a wry look.
“I have the script he’s waiting for.” Anabelle offered, producing said script, spotted with hummus and tequila, bits of mary jane still stuck to the letters.
“Uh huh.” The receptionist nodded, pressing her finger on the button.
“Not the damn butt–” Anabelle started, cut off by a sharp bark from the receptionist as she called security. “Don’t you know me?” Anabelle scoffed, “I’m Anabelle Greeves.”
“And?” The receptionist rolled her eyes.
“And, I’m a writer.” Anabelle rolled her eyes right back.
“Yeah, you and a million others. Jeff!” She called over Anabelle’s shoulder. “This is her.”
Anabelle turned to face her oppressor, but met only Jeff, the Studio’s friendly muscle bound security dude. “Hey Anabelle.” He brightened, then darkened when he saw her appearance, “Whats happened to you today, little lady?”
“Not so good, Jeff.” She answered, “I think I’m going to be late. She wont let me up.” Anabelle gestured to the flummoxed receptionist.
“Oh Cindy,” Jeff said in his almost too gentle voice (too gentle for someone who looked so badass), “this is Miss Greeves, she’s here to see Mr. Freeguyl.”
The receptionist scrunched up her nose once more and gave Anabelle a look that said she didn’t entirely approve.
“I’ll take her up.” Jeff offered, gently grabbing Anabelle by her wayward arm. “Come little lady, lets get you to the meeting.”
As they walked toward the elevator, Jeff told her about his daughter, and how much she loved Anabelle’s books and how she was so excited about the new movie and the etcetera. So moved was Anabelle, that she produced her very own copy of her first book, (the lucky one she’d been carrying around with her since it first came in the mail two years ago, signifying the beginning of her moderately successful writing career) ratted and tatted as it was, pulled out her pen and wrote this missive in the margins: Carline, This is my lucky copy. I can only hope it brings you luck and all that lovely stuff, live your purpose, and never give in to the Man. Love, Anabelle G.
Jeff was in tears, thanking Anabelle and giving her a hug, but then he was gone, and she found herself deposited in a very grand, very empty and very well stocked meeting room overlooking the city below.
Eying the yums yums tempting her from a platter in the middle of the table with greedy pleasure, she threw her bags down in one of the plush wheeled chairs lining the grand table, picked out a nice chocolate creme thingy with tons of carbs and calories, and proceeded to shove it down her throat.
“Excuse me? What are you doing here?” Came a kind of British sounding male voice from behind her. Anabelle choked on the donut, and turned around quickly only to come face to face with a very familiar face indeed.
The last time she had seen that particular face it had been on a billboard, advertising some other ridiculous film endeavor involving way too many rewrites and a few too many explosions, and considering he was the director of her screenplay, she probably should have become acquainted with his face in person by then, but having avoided personal contact with any of her coworkers for as long as possible, hadn’t ever gotten around to it before.
So, in stunned answer, she sputtered out some donut, a piece of which sailed across the room between them and landed on his pleasantly blue button up shirt. He looked down at the mucusy bit of splooge then back up at Anabelle. Then back at the mucousy bit of splooge, then over at Anabelle’s shabby excuse for proper luggage, then back at Anabelle, who managed to spit a bit more chocolatey splooge on her own shirt.
“This is a closed meeting. I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” He said, not entirely unkindly. When Anabelle made no move but to blush furiously and blink madly as she attempted to dislodge the gluttonous lump of sploogy dough out of her throat, he started forward. “How did you get in here anyway?”
When he stepped up and took a gentle but firm hold on her upperarm, (obviously she was insane, and he needed to take control of the situation) she balked and swallowed the donut hole, gagging and choking wildly, beating her fists against her legs for some absurd reason.
“Come on.” He tried to lead her away from the pastries, leaning in a little too close for comfort, (Close enough that she could smell his aftershave and happened to notice a delicate rose tattooed just behind the ear) but she planted her feet firmly and held out. A raging, hormonal woman wasn’t parted from her chocolate very easily.
When he gripped her just a slight bit tighter she flared, like a ginourmous solar flare that eats planets alive, and jerked her arm away. “Excuse you.” She spat back, gaining some modicum of composure along with her irritation.
He gave her a brief, quizzical look before the door opened over his shoulder and Mr. Freeguyl walked in. “Theodore!” He called, opening his arms and blowing out a blue plume of cigar smoke.
Theo August, world famous movie star and all around sex god, turned to the producer. Anabelle, suddenly feeling an acute aversion to movie star sex god types, took it as an opportunity to separate herself from him as much as possible, snatching up her bags and running around the oval table.
“Greeves, so glad you can join us.” Freeguyl barked as he took his place at the head of the table. Anabelle waved absently to him and found a seat and sank in, curling up her legs beneath her and pulling the sleeves of her purple sweater down until they covered her hands completely. Theo took a reluctant seat across from her and she could feel his eyes boring into the side of her saggy, sleep deprived face, but she chose instead to glare at the donuts unmercilessly until Freeguyl said, “They should be here momentarily,” as he took another draw from his cigar. “So, Anabelle, you have copies of the new edit?”
She hesitated for only the barest of moments, taking in the producer’s horredious ceasar haircut and the broken capillaries on his nose before she began to rummage in her computer bag. Bringing out, not several scripts, and not even one script, but the charred hard drive she had herself pried from the dying clutches of her macbook on the cab ride there, and chucked it across the table where it skidded to a halt midway between the two men. “There it is.” She said unnecessarily. “All ready to go.”
Mr. Freeguyl looked down at the partially disintegrated hard drive, then over at Theo, then back at Anabelle. “I see you’ve had a mishap.”
“My laptop had an unfortunate run in with an underwear model proffering up mimosas.” She said dryly.
Freeguyl shook his head, “I don’t even want to know what you just said, but I’m assuming that means you didn’t back it up?”
“Not the latest edit.” She admitted.
“Well, then we’ll have to do the edit again.” He shook his head. “Perhaps the last meeting should wait.” He said to Theo.
“I don’t see why it would.” Theo answered.
“Actually,” Anabelle interjected loudly, clearing her throat, “I’m ready to go home, so if you don’t mind Mr. Freeguyl, I’ll be emailing my new edits in sometime this weekend. From my home.” She added concisely.
“Of course you wont.” Freeguyl commanded. “We’re on a deadline. We fly out for the final on-site production meeting tomorrow morning. We need the edits tonight.”
“Tonight?” Anabelle scoffed.
“Perhaps she can join us.” Theo purposed.
Freeguyl and Anabelle both turned to him in shock. “Excuse me?” They both asked at once.
“For the production meeting,” Theo explained, “my father wouldn’t mind the extra company, and she can have a place to write, and you can be assured of her success.” He answered in a logical, I’m a some kind of British upper class thinking sort of person voice, which was truthfully nothing more than pleasant country dialect, and gave a beaming, movie star smile to both of them. “She’s basically a producer anyway, I mean, she wrote the screenplay.”
“Uh…” Anabelle started, ready to defend her position among the wayward wanderers who wanted nothing more than to return to their homelands, when Freeguyl jumped right in on top of her.
“Excellent idea! It’s more pay, Anabelle, not that long either, two, maybe three weeks tops. You’ll need to be finished by then of course, but I don’t see that added costs aren’t worth the benefits. Yes. It’s done.”
“I’m not so sure.” She began hesitantly, but was cut off from further protest when the door opened and several other production members came chattily in.
“Go home!” Freeguyl interrupted them brashly, stopping them in their tracks. “We’re done for the day. There isn’t anything left to talk about that we can’t talk about in England. Just do whatever you have to do to prepare! Jess, spread the word! You two, come with me.” He ordered Anabelle and Theo as the others streamed back out from the room.
There was a moment of lingering, where Freeguyl disappeared out into the hallway and Theo stood for a second by the door, casting her an inquiring glance. Anabelle grabbed up her bags, left the hard drive where it lay, and calmly walked after them.
They held the elevator for her at the end of the hall, but at the last moment Anabelle flashed them a mournful little grimace and then ditched out the stairwell door, jumping down to the first shallow landing.
Immediately the door swung open behind her and Theo stood in the doorway, looking both irritated and bored as Freeguyl shouted in the background, “Get her, I’m not through yet!”
Anabelle sighed and reluctantly climbed the stairs and passed the stoic actor by silently, taking her place beside a glaring Freeguyl.
“I have to watch you every moment, don’t I?” Freeguyl laughed grouchily.
“I wish you wouldn’t.” Anabelle mumbled as Theo hit the button for ‘P’, whatever the hell that meant. The metal doors slid shut and Anabelle took in her reflection. She suddenly became very conscious of her red eyes and the fact that she smelled like a pot factory.
Shrugging, she pulled her sunglasses from on top of her head and put them on, figuring, it was Hollywood.
The elevator stopped and opened up on a large, airy, sunlit room with stupendous floor to ceiling glass dropping off away into the sky above L.A. They were met by a smartly dressed woman armed with a latte, an earpiece and an iPad.
“Ulga.” Freeguyl nodded as all parties followed him into the room, Anabelle dazedly, and Theo impatiently. Ulga handed the latte to Freeguyl and held up the iPad as they walked.
“Your next appointment is with Siri Bernadini,” she pointed to a picture on the screen. “He’ll be in the Company Bar at 6. He’s awaiting your reply about the Forces of Nature project.”
“Yes. I remember.” He said, not that curtly, stopping at a dining table strewn with papers and drawings. “And?”
“You had several calls but none of much consequence. Just orders and things. I was happy to take care of them for you.” Ulga smiled tartly.
“Good.” Freeguyl grunted, “now please contract yourself with getting me a new laptop and a set of external drives as soon as possible. By tonight if you please.”
Ulga looked a little unsure.
“I said I need it now.” He grunted, “I think I can manage to get to my appointment.”
She nodded abashedly and turned to leave the room.
“Ulga.” Freeguyl barked out and she turned back around. “Send up an ambitious intern, if you would, I need a babysitter.”
… to be continued.