It’s Time To Plunge Everyone’s Favourite Acting Couple Back Into The Spotlight!
Autumn, Year 5
Alexander is 55, Magnus is 53, Erica is 53, Marie is 49, Jack is 40, Daniel is 39, Marcella is 37, Rebecca is 26, Tara is 13 and Sean is 3 months
The last three months had been something of a whirlwind for Marcella. Since the birth of baby Sean, the days and nights seemed to merge together until she was no longer sure when she was.
Finally, things had begun to settle. They were getting ready for a big change; Jack had bought a bungalow in Willow Creek, so they could be away from prying eyes as they attempted to raise baby Sean out of the spotlight. The big moving day was the next day and Marcella was feeling exhausted already.
As moving day dawned, Marcella found herself worrying about pointless things as they got their new home organised. She started setting up the bedroom and caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. She criticised herself for wearing her favourite boots on a day like this; her feet were killing her.
Since the first day had been hectic, Jack had ordered a pizza for dinner. Marcella was relieved; nobody fancied cooking anything elaborate. Especially as they had some friends and neighbours call in to visit.
Daniel was their first visitor. He’d been helping them to move in and while Marcella was entertaining their new neighbours, Jack and Daniel escaped to the kitchen to sample some of the fruitcake their neighbours had brought along.
“So domestic bliss is suiting you,” Daniel commented as he raised an eyebrow at Jack. “Never thought I’d see that day.”
Jack shrugged. It wasn’t what he’d had in mind but he couldn’t go back on it now. “Well, people change.” He knew Daniel wouldn’t believe that for a moment but he didn’t feel like discussing it right then. “This is disgusting.” He said instead, staring down at the fruitcake.
Laughing, Daniel pushed his plate away. “Yeah, it is. I don’t know what they did to it but it’s awful.”
Marcella had managed to get herself wedged between the neighbours, Erica and Alexander Houston. They seemed nice enough, if a little talkative and while she was a little frustrated that they’d turned up on moving day, she couldn’t complain much. They appeared to be lovely people and she was keen to get to know her neighbours and settle into this neighbourhood.
That evening, she went out for a run after Sean had been put to bed and Jack was having a soak in the bath. She felt her phone vibrate in her pocket and when she got it out, she was horrified to see a text from her agency, nagging her into getting back to work. She’d taken some time out after having Sean; going back to work hadn’t been a good idea so soon after having the baby and she’d needed some time out. Maybe it was time to think about going back. After all, if she left it too late, she’d be replaced with somebody new and she felt sick at the thought of someone like Rebecca Livingston getting in on the roles.
With a baby in the house, Jack had been working extra hard on his Simstube channel as well as his acting to maintain his income. His positivity vlogs were doing so well, he’d been nominated for a Starlight Accolade for one of them.
Since he was still actively working, Jack needed to set off for Del Sol Valley a few days after they’d settled in. Before he left for the airport, he went in to check on baby Sean.
Jack was still having difficulty in bonding with his son, a child he’d never expected to have and frankly, hadn’t really wanted either. Although the thought made him feel terrible, he couldn’t deny that this was not the life he’d ever imagined having and he kept wondering why he was in the middle of it. What was he doing?
Somewhat stunned by those feelings, his mind kept going over that same question as he flew into Del Sol Valley. His mind began to settle as he stepped into familiar surroundings at the studios.
Jack adored the film studio. Even when it was quiet, like today, it was a haven for him and always had been. He could be somebody completely different and step away from the thoughts in his mind and the worry in his gut. He could step back into the role of charming, confident Jack; the Jack who took on any role he was presented with and made it his.
He pushed the doors open and stepped inside. He was greeted with one of his favourite sets; Tournaments Of Honour was filming a sequel and Jack had a starring role alongside Rebecca and a new actor. He loved jobs like this.
The sets for this movie were brilliant and Jack was enjoying the work. Some of the scenes were new ground for him as an actor and he loved being able to stretch his talents.
As much as he and Rebecca snipped at each other, they still had a great working relationship and they’d always worked well together. Their on-screen chemistry was excellent and even during their fight scenes, they matched each other well. Rebecca might not be the best actress he’d ever worked with but she had spirit and determination, which sometimes was more important.
Having finished filming for the day, and knowing he wasn’t due in for a few more days, Jack arrived home feeling surprisingly refreshed. Which was just as well because he had an important engagement that evening.
He stepped in front of the mirror in the bedroom and was blown away by how fabulous he looked. It was just as well because he was going to be on camera for the next 24 hours.
He’d volunteered to host a 24-hour charity stream to support several local charities, including for his friend Ellie. It was going to be tough, especially as he’d been working on set all day but it was also going to be very worthy.
“Sweet of you to drop in,” Marcella whispered. Just after Jack had started his stream, there was a knock at the door and Marcella found their neighbour, Erica, on the doorstep. “Sorry for whispering. Jack’s just started a 24-hour stream in the other room and I don’t want to disturb him.”
Erica looked puzzled. “24-hour stream?”
“Livestream.” Marcella smiled. “It’s for charity.”
“Ahh. I’d better not disturb you for long then. I only called round to see if there was anything I could do for you.” Erica pulled Marcella into a surprise hug. “I’ll pop round tomorrow.” With a wave, she left.
The following day, exhausted and stiff, Jack managed to complete his stream and raised a record-breaking amount of money for World United. He was proud of himself and more than a little tired.
While Jack was enjoying a restorative cup of coffee, Marcella was cleaning the house and pondering work. She’d contacted her agency but while they were delighted to hear from her, they had nothing suitable for her yet. Cleaning the house wasn’t helping; as much as Marcella loved having a nice home and a little family, the housework really wasn’t her thing.
She had a sudden brainwave; why not hire somebody to do it for her?
A few days later, the new maid arrived to clean the house for them. Marcella could relax; she no longer had to worry about what the house looked like!
Jack’s filming had been going extremely well and he came back from the studio in a very good mood.
“I want to take you out tonight,” He said as he spun her round and kissed her. “Does the Tudor Tavern sound good to you?”
“Perfect!” Marcella replied, feeling a little dazed.
Marcella managed to secure a babysitter for Sean and they set off for the restaurant. She was still a bit surprised; Jack hadn’t been offering to take her out for ages and she was taken aback by his sudden enthusiasm.
After the meal, they sat outside the restaurant. It was a cool night and the sound of the running water from the fountain was calming. Jack leant over and kissed Marcella.
“I’m glad we decided to move,” he said, stroking her hair. “I know I can panic a bit, but-“
“It’s okay, I understand.” Marcella smiled. “Commitment isn’t your thing. Don’t worry, I understand.”
Jack wasn’t entirely sure she did understand but he let it go. There was no point in arguing about it.
The next day was gym day for Jack. He needed to keep in shape for the various roles he took on and above all else, he enjoyed the solitude. A lot of people didn’t know he liked the quiet leisure centre, Lux Park, in Windenburg and it wasn’t something he intended to make public knowledge, either. It was refreshing to have somewhere to go where he wasn’t followed by photographers all the time.
He returned home from the gym, only to be dragged down the road to Cove Community Centre. Marcella had learned from Erica that there’d been a drive recently to get the centre active and they’d managed to secure a craft centre for a few months. Marcella had been keen to go and have a look and show some local support; she’d even invited some of their coworkers and friends.
Jack sighed heavily when he saw Rebecca with Dale. He knew Rebecca’s track record for co-stars and shook his head in disbelief. A cynical part of him wondered if she was cheating on Dale the way she had with him and decided she must be. He couldn’t really envision Rebecca falling in love with anybody.
The event itself wasn’t too bad and Jack ended up trying his hand at basic carpentry, something he found himself enjoying.
After leaving the community centre, Marcella insisted they change and head out for the evening. Not asking too many questions, Jack obliged, although he’d have preferred an evening at home.
A feeling of mild resentment came over him when he realised Marcella had arranged a babysitter and that they were going out to the city for the Romance festival.
“Um, why are we here?” Jack asked as the train pulled into the station. “Isn’t this a bit out of our way for a Saturday night?”
“Oh shush,” Marcella said in reply. She guided him away from the station and towards the centre of the festival. “You’ll love it.”
“I’ve been to these things before,” Jack protested. “I hate them.” He glanced at a couple dancing. “And it’s freezing,” he added. “This is not what I had in mind.”
“Just cheer up,” Marcella said. “I have a surprise for you!”
Marcella stood in front of Jack and suddenly dropped to one knee. “Jack, I love you. I know what you’ve said before about commitment and I know this isn’t what you were expecting. However, I think you only fear commitment because you’ve never tried it before and I’d love you to give it a try because I think you’ll love it.” She took a deep breath before continuing. “Jack, will you marry me, please?”
Jack was stunned into silence for a second. Marcella was proposing? He shouldn’t have been so surprised; he’d found a ring in her bag in the summer so he knew it was coming eventually. He remembered because in his panic he’d phoned Hayley, of all people, for advice and she’d been very unhelpful.
His lips were ready to frame the word ‘no’ when something she said sank in. Was he really only afraid of commitment because he’d never tried it? He wasn’t sure. He thought he’d started something with Rebecca but that hadn’t worked; she’d cheated on him with someone else. It couldn’t have been because of his lack of commitment that she’d cheated; she hadn’t wanted that either. At least, he didn’t think she had.
His relationship with Hayley hadn’t gone well either; she’d also cheated on him but that was with a Uni student and, if the tabloids were to be believed, that hadn’t lasted either. So Jack was fairly certain that hadn’t been caused due to his lack of commitment either. So was Marcella right?
He glanced quickly around and found a lot of people watching – with cameras. He couldn’t humiliate Marcella like this so before he had time to think about it, the word “Yes!” slipped out of his mouth.
Marcella beamed as she stood up and pulled Jack into a hug.
As they danced the evening away, Jack’s brain was doing overtime. What the plumbob was he doing? Was this even going to work? They had Sean to think about and this could at least provide stability for him, if nothing else. Was that really the right way to go, though?
Only time would tell.
Jack was in a daze on set of the series he was working on. His head couldn’t comprehend what had happened the night before and for the first time in his career, he was hopeless. He apologised profusely to the Director, who brushed it off easily.
Suddenly, he really didn’t want to go to the awards ceremony with Marcella that evening.
They arrived early and posed for the cameras. Jack began to settle more in familiar surroundings. He did love Del Sol Valley a lot and it was nice to have at least been acknowledged for some of the work he did.
They made for the bar of the venue before the ceremony started. Marcella stuck close to Jack all evening, which Jack found slightly unnerving. He was relieved when the ceremony was ready to start and everyone drifted into the hall.
To his great surprise, Jack not only won an award for his videos but for his acting too! His performance in the recent medical drama he’d starred in had been a big hit with the viewers and he’d won the top award for Best Actor!
Marcella looked up at him with pride in her eyes. She knew how hard Jack worked; how dedicated he was to his job and his craft and seeing him being rewarded properly for that was wonderful.
After the ceremony, Jack took the opportunity to sign autographs and take photos with his legion of fans. Finally, he was proud of himself.
As the awards took pride of place on the mantlepiece alongside photos of Sean, Jack began to wonder if the domesticity and commitment weren’t such dirty words after all. It had been lovely to see Marcella so proud at the awards ceremony that night and when they came home, it felt nice to have a lovely baby sleeping soundly in his cot.
Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all.