Authors: Sandra Jane Maidwell
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the aut
hor’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 201
4 Sandra Jane Maidwell
All rights reserved.
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sun shone and the girl sat. Bobby bent to pick up a stone. He aimed it carefully and flung. With a glisten it skipped and sank about five meters off shore. In reality, Bobby should be sick of this dream―was it a dream? It felt so real. The smell of the sea salt in the air filling his nostrils; the waves hugging the shore in perfect rhythm; the freckles on the girl’s face, countable in their perfection; the clouds drifting in unspeakable unison; it had to be real. Well, at least that’s what he thought while it happened. Afterwards he wasn’t so sure. But he wasn’t sick of it. When he saw the girl and followed the routine, he felt good.
Bobby wanted to speak to the girl, but in the dream he neve
r did. They just smiled at each other and spent time at the shore, as if waiting for something to happen, and as if they were waiting for nothing at all.
Why can’t I speak to her?
He often wondered.
Whose dream is this? Is it mine?
And even though he never spoke, and even if it was a dream, he loved being there. He loved the peace of the beach and the tingle of the sun on his bare arms; he loved the pleasant smile from the girl and her green clip trying desperately to hold down her mane of fiery hair; he enjoyed watching her walk up to him, her pink toenails digging into the sand, dressed in a red shirt with a slogan on the front that he could never quite make out, her tattered shorts cut right up to the tops of her silky white thighs.
Bobby tossed another stone and
realized something significant. The dream was continuing. It was usually over by now, or it would start all over again; but now he had thrown his third stone and he was still standing there.
The girl looked up at him and smiled again.
He wasn’t doing anything. He decided that he
“What’s your name?” he asked, not quite trusting his voice in this place. Would it be
voice? And it
his voice—sort of. It was his movie star voice: slower, deeper, sexier. But it wasn’t
voice, the one he used with Patrick, his manager, or with his mother. That voice had a higher pitch and whined slightly. But here, on this beach, Bobby was sexy Bobby and he didn’t even have to try.
She looked up at him with
squinting eyes. Her mouth opened to answer… And he was back.
Where is your head, man? You’re like, a whole minute late with your line!”
“Huh?” Bobby shook his head and squeezed his e
yes shut. This wasn’t good. Daydreaming during a shoot? This would get people talking. Twenty-four was a crucial time for a guy hitting stardom. He could continue to fly or he could sink. His career depended on his image right now.
what he was selling. God only knew he wasn’t the best actor out there, but he was committed to being a star. It was the one thing people who knew him could count on. Daydreaming was not an option. They’d think he was on drugs.
I got a case of Lola!” Bobby tried to laugh, and the camera crew laughed with him. Everyone loved him. Everyone, that is, except for Neil Carley, the director.
Bobby hadn’t been his choice. He’d
wanted an older more established actor. He’d found Bobby too young by about ten years. But a director is not a producer, and there is only so much leeway you give someone like Neil. In the end, it was thought that Bobby turned a movie script into a Blockbuster, not Neil Carley.
“Again!” Neil shouted from the director’s chair. “And damn it, Bobby, pay attention!”
The scene went to some degree of acceptance and the actors and crew scattered, mostly to the makeshift canteen with its over abundance of salads and Evian water.
Bobby headed to
the privacy of his trailer to prepare for the next scene. Once there, he tried to calm his nerves while munching on a piece of fresh melon. This thing, whatever it was, was becoming more than he could control. Well, hell, he never could control it, not since the first time it happened. It had all started just after his latest movie premiered, Killers Beware. It was his best film to date. Well, not his best
, by far, in Bobby’s own opinion, but it earned the producers a tidy sum, and Bobby was finally able to buy his own playboy mansion. Not bad for a simple kid from New Jersey whose mom had to work nightshifts as a nurse, and whose father took off as soon as humanely possible to follow dreams, which Bobby later learned to associate with names like ‘Barbara’.
Yes, Killers Beware
had been the turning point in his career, but it had also started the dreams, which were only getting worse.
, tap. “Bobby?”
“Can I come in?”
Bobby groaned and hesitated. He didn’t feel like speaki
ng with Patrick, but he knew his manager wouldn’t leave him alone once he got it into his head that he needed to have a heart-to-heart. Somehow Patrick was under the impression that they were friends.
sighed heavily and opened the trailer door.
“Talk?” Patrick raised his eyebrows hop
efully and made some sort of peace greeting with his hand.
“Sure. I’ve g
ot five minutes.” Bobby slumped back onto the sofa and concentrated on his long slender fingers.
Patrick followed suit
, and for a second they both admired Bobby. But there is only so much groveling even a star actor can take. “What?” Bobby asked impatiently.
, but came even closer to his client―his favorite client, mind you. Bobby Anderson was his brainchild. Patrick felt—no, believed! that Bobby was
. “What happened out there today?” He had to know. It was his job, after all. If Lola was messing with Bobby’s brain it was his duty to fix it.
“It was nothin
g. Damn it! Can’t a guy just daydream?” Bobby ran his hands through his brown glossy hair and out of habit tried to look sexy.
an entire minute, he can’t.” Patrick said, purposely ignoring Bobby’s good looks. “What’s Lola been up to?”
Bobby almost wa
nted to laugh. Lola was his recent live-in girlfriend, but since the dreams started he’d been thinking of her less and less, until she almost didn’t feel like part of his life at all. He certainly hadn’t told her about the dreams. But faced with Patrick in his trailer, he realized that he had to speak to someone, and that someone most definitely was not his manager.
Bobby thought about his friends. He came
up blank. Of course he had friends. Shit, the guy was barely ever alone. There was Tony, and Adrian, and Mike, for Christ sake, and Rob. No, Rob was his bodyguard. Did a bodyguard count as a friend? Maybe if your bodyguard was
your friend. But, come to think of it, Bobby wasn’t so sure.
Tony? Tony had been his friend since forever, even before Bobby became famous. Tony was always there for him. Surely that counted for something. But when Bobby thought about the word “friend” he didn’t think Tony fit the description. Tony hadn’t ever really gone out on a limb for him, or told him he sucked, or told him he was great either. Since following Bobby to L.A., Tony thought Bobby’s life was
Telling him about the girl with the red hair was not an option.
And Adrian and Mike? Please! Tho
se guys were star wannabe’s. They were like rugs and lamps and cushions. Easy to find, easy to lose, easy to replace.
Bobby laughed at Patrick
. Was Patrick his only friend? It was too depressing to think about, so he laughed again. Maybe the person he needed now was his mother. Surely the nurse in her would help. If anyone knew how to stick Bobby back together again, it was Tillie.
Ignoring the remark
about Lola, Bobby said, “Um, Patrick, after the last shoot I’m going to head on out. I forgot that I promised my mother I’d visit.”
to hit himself, or at the least give his tongue a little bite. Since when did he have to explain his comings and goings to Patrick? And by the look in Patrick’s glazed eyes, he could see why he shouldn’t have.
Never give your manager the upper hand, even for a second
, he reminded himself. For a fraction of a fraction of a second, Bobby contemplated that this line of thought was paranoid, but he let it go as quickly as it had come.
“Sure man,” Patrick
said. “You do what you have to do.”
asking your permission, Patrick.”
“No permission needed.
Say hi to mumsie for me.”
“Will do.” S
hit. Why was he weighing himself down with messages from Patrick? You learn early and you learn hard, if you want to make it in L.A., you don’t let yourself lose the upper hand, not even for a second.
mother, Tillie Anderson, lived out of town. Bobby bought her the fifteen-room villa (bathrooms included) at the same time that he’d bought his own modest mansion. And how the press had adored him for it. Didn’t every mother want her child―neigh, her one and only son, to buy her a beautiful house?
Well, Bobby had succeeded and done just that
. But he hadn’t bought a home, and as he pulled his BMW M6 convertible up the winding driveway, he suddenly missed the old house he’d grown up in. He missed those dark dusty corners you could never find in a modern marble ceramic tiled over-sized villa. At his mother’s new house, a whole crew of cleaners kept surfaces sparkling and not a glass out of place.
He hadn’t wanted his mother to work a
nymore. He’d wanted her to be a lady of leisure and thank her lucky stars each and every day that her son had been a success. But as he rang the doorbell and was greeted by a tall, thin, balding butler he didn’t recognize, he couldn’t help but feel that this house belonged to someone else and that his mother was just a guest there. When he saw her standing by the staircase, electric duster in one hand and a misplaced newspaper in the other, he realized she felt the same.
“Son!” she called to him, a breath of relief escap
ing her chest. “What a surprise!”
“What are you doing
, Mom? He looked accusingly at the duster. “We have people to do that for you.”
Tillie gestured with her hand to her surroundings. “You’ve got to clean your own mess, that’s my motto. Clean your own mess, and stop frowning or you’ll get wrinkles.”
bby shrugged and went to hug her. Her smell was even different. She used to have an odor about her―not a bad odor, mind you, even though the term “odor” implied something unsavory. His mother’s odor had always been a mixture of pharmaceutical products, hand soap, and apple shampoo. But Tillie didn’t have an odor any more; she had a scent, some sort of lilac smell. It was all right, but not magic.
“Do you want t
o sit down?” she asked him, as she walked in the direction of a pair of sliding doors leading to a perfectly landscaped garden.
, and on the way looked around for dusty dark corners, but of course there were none.
He did see staff though
. They were busy with glasses of water, vases, dusters, trays. A grey haired man, probably the gardener, brushed passed him on his way to somewhere, and outside by the pool a tall slender Latino attended the pool skimmers.
“You certainly have a gang here,” Bobby offered as conversation
. In retrospect, he only had his housekeeper, Rosa, a gardener named Andy, a pool company he tried not to interact much with, and Lester,
“Oh son, quit
the chatter and tell me what’s wrong.” His mother never beat about the bush the way his thoughts did lately.
“I just came to see how you we
re doing,” Bobby lied. He wasn’t so sure anymore whether he wanted to confide in his mother. He didn’t want her to doubt him, or worse, tell him he was crazy. That was it; if he was in fact crazy, his mother would be the only person honest enough to tell him, and the thought terrified him. He didn’t want to be crazy. He was a star at twenty-four. The world loved him. But they wouldn’t love him if they knew he was ‘undone’. Maybe he could cover it up, but crazy wasn’t something you could just schedule around. Crazy was the be-all and end-all of careers.
“You don’t look so well.
” His mother inspected his face. “That Lola treating you all right?”
“Do you love her? Is that why you look so blue? Are you finally thinking of marriage?”
“Finally?” Bobby couldn’t help but feel irritated. “I’m a young movie star, Mother, a famous bachelor with a temporary girlfriend. Marriage is the last thing on my mind. Geez, don’t you know how things work here?
“I guess not,” his mother pouted. “And there’s no need to curse.”
“Well, I have absolutely no intention of marrying Lola, and I wish you wouldn’t bring it up again. She’s just my girlfriend.”
Well, if that’s how it works these days. Don’t get all worked up about it. Do you want some tea?”
sighed, “Yeah, sure. Thanks.”
laid back in one of the sunbeds and closed his eyes. When he opened them again his mother was still looking at him. He wished she would sit down and take a load off.
” she called out shrilly, like she wasn’t used to it, and almost popping Bobby’s ears in the process. “
the butler, came running. He took the tea order and scampered off. Bobby looked longingly at his mother. He wished she would make him the tea herself, the way she used to.
Bobby watched as
Tillie inspected the perfect flowers in their perfect pots while she waited for the tea she had just ordered. Thankfully it didn’t take long, and was even brought to them on a silver tray with matching silver teacups, a silver sugar bowl, a silver milk dispenser, and two delicate little silver spoons.
Bobby wondered if
Tillie had gone out and bought the set herself or if the interior designer he had hired had done it. He decided that it must have been the designer; surely no matter how much money he threw at his mother, she would never splurge it on silver teacups.
tasted all right, but not mumsie-made. Bobby cringed inside. That was Patrick’s word.
, Bobby?” Tillie finally sat down.
Bobby sighed. Where to begin? “I’m having a weird dream,” he said cautiously. “But it doesn’t seem to be my dream. It’s more like someone else is having the dream
and I’m in it.” He waited, studying Tillie’s face carefully for her reaction.
“Dream telepathy? Really? That’s interes
Bobby couldn’t beli
eve it. This thing he was experiencing had a name?
“Tell me more about it. Who are you sha
ring your dream with? Is it your father? That would make sense. You two are like two peas in a pod.”
It wasn’t the first time
his mother had compared him to his father, and always the same negativity. Didn’t buying her a villa graduate him somehow to a level above his father? “I’m not with dad. If you must know, it’s a girl.”
“No, mom, not Lola, just a girl I never met before. But it’s not
dream, that’s what I’m trying to tell you. I think it’s
ie studied the air between them, thinking. She tried to recall her years in the medical profession—anything that might make sense to her son, but all she could think of was a young boy who had been brought into the emergency room late one night. His parents had claimed that they couldn’t snap him out of a nightmare he was having, no matter how hard they tried. When he finally came out of it himself, he spoke about being in someone’s dream. It hadn’t made any sense.
“What takes place in your dream?
” she asked.
“Nothing much. We just sit on the beach. I think we’re shipwrecked.”
“Hmm,” his mother put her fist under her chin and rested her head heavily on them. “A beach you say?”
“Yeah. Mean something to you?”
“It may be stress, Bobby. Stress is a terrible thing.”
“Stress, huh?” He’d had stress. Stress was a tightening in his chest and a shortness of breath
. Stress made him giddy and sick and extremely quiet all at the same time, like he was getting ready to sprint but didn’t know when the start gun would go off. The girl in the red T-shirt did not seem like stress.
But maybe hallucinating was a new type of stress. M
aybe his worries about the new movie were getting to him.
“The beach could be significant,” his mot
her continued. “Maybe you need a holiday.”
“I just took a holi
day, remember? Lola and I went to Paris for one week.”
Smarish! Your head is saying ‘beach’
And it struck Bobby
, like a cold bucket of water thrown onto his face: he
go to the beach.
beach! Maybe she was real. Maybe he could find her.
He was so excited by this revelation that he almost spilt his tea as he jumped
up. “Mother, you are brilliant. I think I do need a beach holiday.”
“But what about Devil Take You?”
“Shooting is almost done. I’ll start planning my holiday and that should bring the stress down. I have to get back to the city, but thanks again.” He planted a big smacker of a kiss on Tillie’s cheek and maneuvered his way through the pool furniture and back to the house. He was smiling. Bobby Anderson had a plan.