Four: A Dawning Interest

The first week passed as any other week, with the exception of Amy having to tell her boss at the coffee shop near the University that she had to quit.  He took it pretty well, considering the short notice, and gave her a dubious expression when she told him she had landed a role in a movie.  That, in NYC, was the most common excuse for being a flake.  Or so he said.

Studying the script was fun for Amy.  Not so much for Renee, due to the fact Amy refused to read her any part of it.

Amy had qualms with certain aspects of the character she played, such as her tendency toward insensitivity and the fact that she practically threw herself at the lead hero - Cloud - instead of staying true to an existing relationship with a young man by the name of Zack.  Amy forced herself to excuse the girl, though.  After all, Zack had been missing for nearly 5 years when Aeris met Cloud.  The girl was probably lonely.  And people would do normally out-of-character things when that was the case.

The Sephiroth character intrigued Amy.  She felt torn on whether to consider him a true villain or a tortured soul.  After all, he had been used and abused, his soul twisted and tainted with untruths about who and what he was.  How does a person handle something like that?  Amy could see the reasoning behind the character's desire to control and rule the world.  After what he had suffered through his 30-something life, that form of control would probably be the only way to give him some semblance of sanity and stability.

The Monday morning of the second week, Amy dressed in Levis and a nice pale-pink cable sweater her mom had made the Christmas Amy had left for New York.  Then she gathered her script and rain jacket, strapped her purse across herself, made sure she had her bus fare in hand, and announced to Renee that she was heading toward the studio early.  Renee mumbled something while on the way into the bathroom for a shower and then closed the door firmly behind her.  Amy chuckled and locked the apartment after her before making her way to the elevator and then the street outside.

“Good morning, Miss Burke,” the doorman greeted.

“Good morning, Edward,” she greeted the tall and thin man in his late thirties.  “How are you?”

“Doing well, Miss Burke.  Yourself?”

“Good.  Thank you.”

“Off to the bus stop?”

Amy looked at the rain and grimaced.  “Yes, and it looks like I’m going to get soaked.”  She slipped into her rain coat and then gave Edward another smile as she raised the hood.  “See you later.”

The bus was actually on time, which Amy couldn’t understand because of the rain, and dropped her off in front of the studios a full five minutes before the expected time.  Traffic had been surprisingly light, with the bus only being honked at once.  It’s bound to be a good morning, even with the rain.  Which had stopped a few minutes before arriving at the front gate of the studio.

Amy stepped off the bus, missed the puddle with a smile at her good fortune, and then headed toward the front gate.  As expected, she was stopped by the security guard there.

“State your name,” he ordered as he retrieved his clipboard.

“Amy Burke,” she offered as she opened her purse and dug out her ID.

“You’re not on the list.”

Amy looked up.  “Excuse me?”

“The list.”  He lifted the clipboard for her to see.  “You’re not on it.”

“Oh.  I take it that if I’m not on the list, I don’t get in.”

The security guard stepped back into his booth.  “You got it.”

“Hmm.  Well this is certainly a predicament.  I needed to talk to Mr. Shepherd about--”

“Throwing names around won’t impress me, Miss.  Move along.”

Amy placed her ID back into its appropriate slot.  “You don’t need to be rude about it,” she told him.  “I’m just telling you what the problem is so you could offer me a suggestion on how to fix it.”

“Come back when you’re on the list,” he told her with crossed arms.

Amy made a face.  “Now why didn’t I think of that?”  She turned away with a frown, a shake of her head, and a “for pete’s sake.”

A familiar red Corvette pulled up, squealing to a stop with all the grandeur and attitude expected of an action-flick hero who believed himself to be God’s answer to Adonis.  Mark stepped out of the sports car, tossed the keys to the studio attendant that appeared, and then made his way toward Amy.

“Hey there, you.  What’s the matter?”

Amy forced the frown away.  “Nothing really.  They just won’t let me in.  I’m not on the list of expected guests today.”

“If you’re not on the list, what are you doing here?” Mark asked as he came to stand by her.

“I’m a little nervous about one of my scenes.  I wanted to talk to the director about it.”

Mark gestured back to the security gate.  They headed toward it, Amy falling into step beside him.  “Which one?”

“The death scene.”

“Oh.  Yeah, I can see why you’d be nervous.”  Mark glanced over at her.  “I’m sure Shepherd will put a stunt double in for you.”

Amy met his gaze.  “But it’s a head-on shot.  Otherwise the dramatic effect is lost.  You can’t do that with a stunt double.”

“Hmm.”  They arrived at the security gate.  “Mark Fraiser.”

The security guard checked the list.  “ID.”

Mark pulled his wallet out of the back pocket of his black jeans and showed the appropriate ID.

“You’re clear.”  He pointed at Amy.  “You’re not.  Move along.”

Amy frowned.  Mark did too.  “Look, mister, she’s with me.  I don’t care about your rules.  She’s got a question--”

“I don’t care,” the security guard interrupted with a shake of his head.  He crossed his arms.  “She’s not on the list.  She doesn’t go in.”

Mark swore as he pulled a cell phone off his hip.  “We’ll see about that damn list.”  He hit the speed dial and brought the tiny phone up to his ear.  “Yo, Shepherd.  Some ass here at the security gate won’t let Amy in because of some damned list… Yes, I know shooting isn’t scheduled for another week, but that’s not why she’s here… What do you mean you don’t have time for anything outside the schedule?… Sure I get that, but--… I know--… Fine.  Be an ass.”  Mark disconnected and jammed the phone back into his hip holster.  “Sorry, Amy.  No can do.  Shepherd’s anal about his schedules.  I forgot about that.”

Amy smiled.  “It’s okay, Mark.  I appreciate the effort.  I’ll just go home and try and come up with some different ideas on how to do the scene without dying.”

Mark smirked.  “I used to do some stunt work myself.  In fact, I’m doing my stunts in this flick.  If you want, I could come over and give you some pointers or something.”

I’m sure you could.  “That’s alright.  You’ve got enough on your plate without having to baby-sit the newbie.  Thanks for the offer, though.”  Amy gestured toward the studio beyond the gate.  “You better get going.  I don’t want to be black-balled because I held you up.

Mark chuckled.  “Yeah.  I’d be heart broken, because I couldn’t see you anymore.”

Amy’s lips twitched.  “I’ll see you later, Mark.  And thanks again for trying.”

“Sure thing.”

Amy turned and walked away, very conscious of Mark’s appreciative examination of her retreat.  Oh well.  Where there are chicks, there are wolves.  She snickered at the good joke and sat at the bus stop bench.  Wolves and flirts and teases had long ago become expected and dealt with in truly unique ‘Amy’ fashion.  Quite simply, she ignored them.  Not so much their entire person, just their obvious lines or come-ons.  She treated them as a person, and that was it.  It had been the best way to keep from making enemies.  Instead, she gained friends, which were more important than anything else.  At least in Amy’s opinion.

Amy pulled her script onto her lap to open it to the last scene, nibbling her lower lip as she read and reread what she had already written in the margins.  The more she thought about the scene, the more she knew that she would be better off if she did talk to Mark about it.  I just won’t invite him over to my apartment.  We’ll do it in a less personal setting.  Renee would be irritated if she ever found out that Mark Frasier had been denied the opportunity to come over, but what she didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her.

There was a door slam and Amy looked up.  She smiled.  “Good morning, Mr. Harrison.  Lovely drive today, I hope.”

Mr. Harrison halted his progress around the roadster with an expression of mild surprise.  “Miss Burke?  I don’t recall seeing your name on the schedule for this morning.”

Amy grimaced as she set the script beside her.  “So I found out the hard way.”

Mr. Harrison finished pulling off his driving gloves as he made his way toward her.  He was wearing yet another pair of flattering Docker-type slacks and what was likely a Ralph Lauren Polo cable-knit sweater of emerald green.  The crisp white collar of his freshly pressed Perry Ellis shirt peaked up over the ‘crew’ neck.  Wow.

“Was there a problem?” he asked.

“I had a question about my final scene,” she confessed as he came to stand in front of her.  He smelled of Hugo Boss, always a favorite of Amy’s when it came to men.  “I have to say I’m more than a little nervous.”

Mr. Harrison sat on the bench beside her after taking up the script.  “I believe I understand the hesitation,” he said as he flipped through the pages in search of the mentioned scene.

“Mark said something about a stunt double, but that would take away from the dramatic effect.”  Mr. Harrison found the scene, and Amy leaned toward him slightly to point to the appropriate section on the page.  “See?  The culmination of action and conflict up to that point just screams for a dramatic death.  If we put in a stunt double…”  Amy shook her head as she pulled herself back.  “It will ruin the entire scene.”

Mr. Harrison adjusted the script in his hands, apparently reading the notes Amy had written within the margins.  “What are these?”

“Oh.”  Amy flushed and reached out to take the script.  “Just notes to myself.  It’s nothing.”

Mr. Harrison pulled the script out of her reach.  “Hmm,” he commented absently.  “Interesting.”

Amy gnawed her lower lip.  Then Mr. Harrison closed the script and handed it to her.  “Thank you.”  She self-consciously adjusted it on her lap.  “Anyway, I thought maybe I should take some stunt classes or something.  That way Mr. Shepherd doesn’t lose anything in the delivery of the scene.”  Amy finally raised her gaze to meet his.  She smiled.  “I don’t want you to look bad, either.  After all, you… suggested me for this role.”

Mr. Harrison’s lips twitched upward.  “Yes.  So I recall.”  He gestured to the script.  “Continue to study what is written, Miss Burke.  In the mean time, I will ask Max what he had in mind.  Believe me, I would rather not risk life and limb simply for the performance of a scene.”

Amy’s smile broadened.  “No, I don’t suppose you would.  Mr. Shepherd would be a little peeved if the villain and the ‘sacrificial lamb’ died at the climax.”

Mr. Harrison chuckled, and Amy found it a luscious baritone.  Then he stood.  “When your time comes to perform, Max and myself require 110%.  I suggest that, until then, you enjoy your respite from the grueling shooting schedule.”

Amy nodded, looking into his handsome face with an absent smile.  “I will.”

Mr. Harrison gave a slight bow, his eyes still twinkling as his lips twitched upward.  “Good morning, Miss Burke, and enjoy your ride back.”

He moved away toward the security gate, Amy staring after him with a continued smile.  Nice man.  Very nice man.


Chapter 5

Final Fantasy 6 Fanfic