The Next Level

Popular Actor Jack Goldsmith Faces Increased Job Pressure. Can He Handle It?

Winter, Year 2
“En garde!” Jack called as he lunged. Rebecca grinned but held her own this time. They fought for a few more minutes before Jack staggered, lunged and forced Rebecca to surrender. “Hey, that was much better!”
“Thanks!” Dusting herself down, Rebecca stood up and leant her sword against the wall. “Thanks for helping me again, Jack. I’ve got to start getting these fights right.”
“You’re getting better,” Jack responded. “Another few sessions and I reckon you can go for those action movies again.”
Rebecca pulled a face. “I think I’ll stick with Historical for the time being.”

“Are you insane?” Daniel slumped down onto the stool next to Jack at the bar. The Opera House had a lovely bar the actors liked to frequent after rehearsals and Jack glanced up as his friend sat down.
“Pardon?” Jack blinked.
“You’re flirting with Rebecca.” Daniel shook his head. “She already made a fool of you. What happened to Hayley, that sexy singer you’ve been dating?”
“I’m still with Hayley,” Jack replied defensively. “Rebecca and I are friends, Dan. We’re adults. So we dated, we broke up. What’s the problem? We can still get along, can’t we?”
“Just remember that she cheated on you, Jack.”
“Correction; she cheated on her boyfriend with me. Big difference.”
“Details.” Daniel waved his hand. “Look, just look out, okay? She’s bad news, Jack. Really bad news.”
“I’ll bear it in mind,” Jack replied, coolly finishing his drink.

Once back home, Jack changed into his running gear and set off for a gentle jog around his neighbourhood. He needed to clear his head after his chat with Daniel. He didn’t feel anything for Rebecca any more and his helping her at the opera house was just a colleague-to-colleague matter. After all, he was frequently working with her on projects and he wanted, perhaps selfishly, to have her become at least a half-decent actress so all the movies and series he worked on with her didn’t fail.
However, that didn’t mean he wanted a relationship with her. He’d tried that and it hadn’t worked. He was with Hayley and while he wasn’t sure how much of her he was going to see now her album had really taken off, he was determined to make the best of it.

“You know I love you,” Jack murmured. He stroked Rebecca’s face and cupped her chin. “I’ll miss you when I’m gone.”
“I know,” Rebecca whispered. She glanced up at him through her eyelashes. “I’ve always wanted to do this.” She looked up and gently kissed him on the lips.
“Oh please,” Daniel scoffed. He was sitting with Dale in the audience at the opera house for another rehearsal. “This script is pathetic.”
Jack laughed as he and Rebecca broke away. “It’s meant to be corny. These guys met on a camping trip, fell in love and then will be cruelly parted, never knowing if they were ever destined to be something more.”
“Have they ever picked up a phone in their lives?” Dale asked. “Just phone each other and see where that goes.”
“Then there’d be no plot!” Jack rolled his eyes. “You guys are a pain.”
“Yeah, haven’t you two got some scenes to rehearse? Dan, aren’t you playing Super Chicken or something next week?” Rebecca smirked at their colleague.
“Ha, ha. You’re funny.” Daniel snarled.

“I thought Becca was kidding with the Super Chicken reference,” Jack said, suppressing a laugh as he found Daniel on the set a few days later. “How much are they paying you to wear that outfit?”
“Mind your own business,” Daniel grumbled. “This suit is ridiculous. But look at you, camper. All set for a night of debauchery in a remote woodland campsite?”
“I think so. Just waiting for my campmate.”

The scenes actually went quite well. Jack got highly praised for his efforts and he was felling good about himself. Even Daniel’s jokes couldn’t wind him up. Thankfully, Rebecca’s scenes went off without a hitch too and the director was pleased with their joint effort.

The grey, autumnal sky over Windenburg hung ominously as Jack pounded the treadmill. He’d been offered a role in the latest pirate adventure and he wanted to get a bit fitter before buckling his swash. He was also trying to shake off his mood. He’d not heard from Hayley for days and he was beginning to wonder if she thought there was still something with him and Rebecca.
Feeling fed up, it was situations like this that reminded him why he wasn’t keen on commitment in the first place.

“I’m sorry I didn’t reply to your messages, Jack. I’ve been up to my ears in promotional stuff for the album. I really didn’t have time to give you a ring.”
“It’s fine.” Jack pushed away the nagging feeling in his stomach and grabbed Hayley. “Time to get reacquainted, don’t you think?”

The next morning, something didn’t feel right. Hayley had already gone; there was no note so he assumed she’d got an early interview. Still, a note would have been nice. There was still a nagging feeling that Hayley wasn’t being completely honest. She hadn’t had time to pick up her phone and ring him, yet she’d called round unannounced last night?

Frustrated, Jack launched into his morning workout. He was due at the studio that afternoon, for the pirate adventure movie he was working on. At least that would take his mind off his troubles.

“I don’t normally take women aboard ships. They’re bad luck. But it looks like I could make an exception for you…”

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