Here you go peeps. Sorry I wanted to post this yesterday but I wasn't in all day basically. Don't tear up too much, it's gonna get better in a few chapters, I promise.
PS I am gonna attach just the bit from the convo between Gabriella, Hugh and Robert, cause the chapter has nothing to do with Lisa and Jess, so it's pointelss quoting that bit, I guess. I might quote that in the next one XD Gosh, it's getting complicated this alternate dialogues things LOL!
Previously on December/December:
Gabriella suddenly clapped her hands together “I have a wonderful idea! Why don’t you come over for dinner tonight? Before you leave I mean…It’s been ages since you have stopped by…” She said peering sideways at Robert.
Hugh rubbed his nape “That would be lovely…but…I…ehm…” he looked at Robert once again, no sign of reaction on his behalf. What about Lisa anyway? “I don’t know what time we will…”
“Oh don’t worry about that…” she reassured him patting his arm “Just come and have a decent meal for once…We’ll be waiting for you. Right Robert?” she asked lightly kicking his calf.
He stifled another ouch “Yes, yes of course…” he muttered without looking at Hugh.
Gabriella smiled satisfied “Ok, great”
“Has someone by any chance thought about making a call to Lisa?” Katie suddenly asked looking at them reproachfully “Do I have to do everything by myself??” Sometimes her ascetic composure cracked up.
Hugh jumped on his feet, without paying any more attention to Robert.
“I am on it. She is in her trailer…I’ll go and get her” he said rushing off before having time to notice the look of astonishment on Robert’s face. He narrowed his eyes, fuming and tapping nervously with his fingers on the counter.
“Nice work. Very subtle…”
Gabriella turned to her husband, smiling “My pleasure dear…I figured you might need some extra time, before coming up with a decent speech…how’s it going so far?”
He snorted, pushing himself upright nervously and looking at the spot where Hugh had disappeared “I am telling you, I don’t know what’s going on here, but I don’t like it…I don’t like it at all”
December/December - Chapter 12
5 March 2010
Gabriella pointed his eyes at him, smiling “So…what about home? How’re the kids?”
Hugh brought his glass to his lips “They are good, they are good” he answered between sips “You know they’re all scattered around Europe at the moment, so communication is quite hiccupping…but they are great. I am very proud of them…”
“Good…” she nodded drinking from her glass “So things have been sorted out between you and Jo?” she asked patting Robert’s hand “Rob told me you were having troubles…I hope you don’t mind me asking…We are just concerned” she said looking lovingly at Robert as she was speaking on his behalf too.
Hugh peered at Robert over his glass. He was wearing an unreadable expression.
“Well…not exactly, but we are working on it. I’ll be okay. Thank you” he cut off.
“What’s the problem Rob?” he asked. He was really starting get on his nerves tonight at this point.
“What problem? I don’t have a problem….” he said keeping his eyes obstinately pointed at the tablecloth as he played absentmindedly with some breadcrumbs with his fork.
Gabriella lifted the large pan in front of her, kindly offering another helping of lasagna with a large reassuring smile her face. Did she know what was going on? Her behaviour seemed suspicious.
“No thanks, Gabby …I am gonna burst” he emptied his glass, patting his abdomen “Seriously, it was all delicious…but I won’t be able to lift myself up tomorrow if you keep stuffing me like this, I’ll most probably end up digging a furrow in my bed…”
He glanced over at Robert: not a flinch. He didn’t look like he was enjoying his company too much tonight.
“Rob, ask Hugh whether he wants some more wine as I carry this to the kitchen…and behave” she admonished, kissing him on the top of his head.
Robert pushed himself upright, snorting a little “My wife wants me to ask you whether you’d like some more wine…”
Hugh stared at him. This was the umpteenth time he sound so offish to him, tonight.
“No thanks” he said, glancing furtively at his watch: 10.30. He had hoped he would be home before 11…at least to call her.
Robert sank deeper in his chair, almost spread-eagled. He looked seriously annoyed. “Do you have somewhere else you’d like to be?
“Not really, but I’d better be going….” he stood up on his feet “It’s getting late…”
Gabby came back from the kitchen and Hugh immediately turned to her “Thanks for the lovely dinner Gab. It has been ages since I’ve eaten so well…”
“Anytime sweetie” she said smiling warmly at him “Rob walk Hugh to the door, please. I’ll clear the table and start to do the dishes” She leaned over to kiss him.
“I’ll be right there to help you…” Robert said between kisses.
She smiled knowingly, glancing sideways at Hugh “Take your time”
She headed to the kitchen, leaving the two of them alone. There was a brief moment of silence until Robert gestured for him to go ahead. They walked silently along the hallway. They arrived in front of the door and Hugh reached for his coat.
“I supposed I’ll see you on Monday…” he asked tentatively. He wished he had more time to figure out what was going on, but he was truly torn apart. He didn’t want to leave things between them like that, whatever the reason, but he really wanted to go home and call Lisa too.
Robert barely looked at him, stuffing his hands in his pants pockets. He leaned sideways against the doorjamb “Probably not…I have just one more scene for this episode and I don’t know when we are gonna shoot it…”
Hugh scratched the side of his jaw with his fingers “I see…”
Gabriella popped out of the kitchen door “Robert…why don’t you offer Hugh a glass of Glen Grant. You can have it in the studio …”
Hugh hesitated “I don’t know Gabby…I told you…”
“Come on, it’s digestive….this way you two can keep on chit-chatting a little longer” she said winking at him and waiting for Robert to say something in agreement.
Chit-chatting? Ok, she definitely knew something. Could somebody please fill him in?
“Ok, fine…” Robert suddenly snapped “….this way” he said walking vexed with his shoulders down and a huge scowl on his face. Hugh followed in silence. He should really be going if he wanted to be able to talk to Lisa before she went to bed and he still had to make up a decent excuse to call her at this hour of the evening that didn’t sound totally pathetic, but Robert’s attitude was really bugging him more than he was willing to admit to himself. What might have he done to piss him off so much?
They entered the studio and Robert went straight to the liquor cabinet, bending down to get two glasses. Hugh collapsed in one of the armchairs, tossing his legs over the armrest.
“Here you go” Robert said, sitting down in front of him. He pushed a glass to him and he started making the surface of his drink ripple.
Hugh’s phone vibrated in his back pocket. He got it out. Text message.
Just wanted to say goodbye and good luck with your Canadian mini tour. Do rock the house, don’t get into any trouble with your usual Charlie Sheen-like behaviour, do not smoke and don’t you dare use this as an excuse to not get back safe and sound. You promised. Mamma Mia! On Wednesday. PS Carried out any bloodbaths in the end? Lisa
He brought one hand to his lips, tucking his lower lip in between his fingers, smiling. Lisa was nuts about the genre, whereas he wasn’t really a musical-type, but he couldn’t have cared less what they would watch. As long as he got to see her when he was back.
Robert moved in his armchair “Something important?”
Hugh cleared his throat “Not really…just Lisa wishing me good luck and carrying on in her loving manner random threats of death against my person” he said dismissively unable to prevent a little smirk from appearing on his face.
Robert stared uneasily at him. He almost looked like he was fuming now.
He put the phone down, taking a deep breath. He would call her later, now he needed to address this. “May I ask the reason why you look and sound so pissed at me today?”
Robert put down his glass, folding his hands. He looked deadly serious.
“Of course you can…” he answered slightly taunting him “As long as you tell me what THIS is” he said, apparently pointing his eyes at the table.
Hugh started confusedly at him “Ehm…a table?!”
Robert dropped his shoulders down, looking considerably exasperated. He reached for his phone.
Hugh breathed in deeply, widening his eyes in exasperation. It was almost 11 pm, he was tired, he still have to pack his things, he feared Lisa would fall asleep before he could even text her back and he really didn’t know what Robert was getting at . He tried to loose the tension.
“This is a phone. They invented it in 1817. It was an Italian guy, I think. Or maybe you was referring to the mobile technology. Would you like me to download you the infos?”
Robert looked graver and graver. In his time something like this would have worked. Maybe…
He snapped sounding even more annoyed and fed up with him that he would have ever expected “Are you pulling my leg? Or are you just fooling yourself? ‘Cause I am running out of possibilities here!”
Hugh frowned. This is was getting crazy, why was he reacting like that? To what?
He put his legs down, sitting up on the edge.
“What’s you problem with me today? What have I done? Had Lisa done something to you? ‘Cause you seem like flying off the handle every time I mention her basically…”
Robert scoffed tossing his head backwards.
“No. Lisa hasn’t done anything”
Easy to read between the lines. “Which I assume is code for you did instead, am I right? So spit it out. Come on. Why are angry at me?”
Robert looked into his eyes, taking a deep breath. It was as if he was at loss for words, struggling to explain a concept he found absolutely obvious.
“BECAAAUSE” he said slowly, starting to emphasize each phrase separately “YOU ARE…..DANCING ….AROUND EACH OTHER…AGAIN” he drifted off as if he had already explained himself thoroughly enough.
“What do you mean by dancing around each other?? When??”
“Oh for God’s sake Hugh…” Robert snapped, jumping up on his feet and rubbing his face with both hands “DON’T START repeating my sentences…”
Hugh looked up at him in astonishment “Ok fine, but just…sit down…could you please tell me what’s going on?”
Robert sat down nervously, leaning forward over the table on more time. He looked like he was about to explode today, but he sighed, working on his breathing.
“NOTHING. Nothing is happening. You haven’t done ANYTHING. It’s March already and you have done NOTHING”
Hugh shook his head trying to understand “What do you want me to do?!”
“Me??? What do I want you to do??? What do you want to do about your life!!”
“What do you mean…what do I…Ok ok, fine…I am not going to repeat your question” he cut off noticing the killing stare Robert was giving him already.
“What are your plans…as in life?” Robert asked abruptly.
Hugh looked him with a scowl on his face “Are you still in character by any chance…I mean, you do realize we are off set now…” He was pushing his luck. He did realize that, but Robert was exasperating him today. Why didn’t he just speak his mind clearly? Robert pressed his lips.
“With Lisa Hugh…what are your plans with Lisa…and in general with your whole existence, if you don’t mind me asking…” he added sarcastically.
Hugh leaned backwards against the back seat “What about Lisa? We are friends…”
Robert arched his eyebrows. He didn’t look satisfied “What else?”
Hugh laughed nervously “Nothing else Robert. Geez…why are you putting things like that?! For heaven’s sake…” he said scratching the back of his head, lowering his gaze ever so slightly “We are just two people who happen to spend some time together, without…” he paused drawing wide circles in the air with his hand, as he always did when he was trying to make a point “…complications, enjoying each other’s company. Nothing more than friends….” he repeated nodding as if he was trying to convince himself more than Robert. But why was he doing that, again?
“Oh good…” Robert answered half-tauntingly pinching his tone higher “…you talked to Jo then…”
“Jo?! “ he asked puzzled, suddenly realizing where all of this was coming from “No, no…but wait a minute, she keeps avoiding my calls…it’s not my fault”
Robert pursed his lips, teasing him for his late epiphany. “Ah…avoiding calls. Powerful argument…”
Robert put his hands on the table, his palms wide opened as if he was trying to channel his thoughts “Hugh. Listen to me. I am your friend. You can’t expect things going anywhere with Lisa, as long as you don’t take care of this”
Hugh leaned over clearly starting to lose his nerve too.
“First of all, things with Lisa are just fine. We are working on it. We are friends right now and this is ok for me…”
“Is it? Really?! Or you just talked yourself into believing it is?” Robert said pinching his tone even higher and staring directly into his eyes.
Hugh’s face darkened “One takes what life brings” he slowly answered.
“NO that’s your philosophy, one does not get what life brings…one fights to get from life what he deserves and if he fails…DAMN you’ve tried!!!”
“I HAVE tried but…she’s moved on. And I am respecting that”
“Hugh, listen to me. I am worried about you…” he said softening his tone a little “I am worried about both of you”
Hugh’s eyes darkened even more. He wasn’t sure he wanted to listen to this.
“First, you barely talk to each other anymore. You’ve been miserable for months and she….” he averted his gaze from him, abandoning himself against the back, making a wide movement with his right arm “…she’s been completely worn out. For months. All the beautiful things about her were just…gone”
Hugh felt a heart-wrenching pain in his chest.
“And then she was ok again. She was not herself yet but she was back being…” he hesitated “…almost happy…”
It was like someone was stabbing him repeatedly in his chest.
“And now” Robert pressed on, merciless “God knows by what kind of miracle, you’re back talking and laughing and spending time together and TEXTING between takes and before going to bed!! And don’t get me wrong….I’m happy for you…but…” he stopped midsentence, trying to collect his thoughts. “…you gotta make a choice Hugh…”
He didn’t understand, it wasn’t his choice anymore.
“NO Robert…she made hers! I am not going to force her into…”
“INTO WHAT? What?” Robert inquired pinching his voice higher again “Tell what THIS…THING between the two of you is or…might be… What’s this endless dance is supposed to mean? What’s Lisa for you, Hugh? A friend?”
Hugh narrowed his eyes, clenching his teeth. “YES she is a friend. What’s the problem with that?”
Robert shook his head, looking at him wide-opened “The problem IS…you’re not her friend…”
“I am” he insisted stubbornly.
“YOU are not” Robert said categorically “I am not blind Hugh. Nobody is…”
Hugh sank deeper into his armchair.
Nobody who? Had someone noticed something?
“I see the way you stare at her over you script from across the room when you pretend to be revising your lines and that’s just a lame excuse to keep sticking around when she is on set…”
Hugh crossed his arms over his chest, looking at him with annoyance “I have to stick a around. I am the main character”
Robert ignored him “AND I see the way she thanks you for every random something you do for her, either just opening the door for her or surprising her by buying her favourite chocolate bars…”
And how did he know about these things anyway?
“…she always casts you a smile that would dazzle a blind person…”
Did she?! Like on purpose or without thinking?
“So I am asking you…once again what’s Lisa for you, Hugh? A friend? I wouldn’t say so. A stranger? I don’t think so. Just a co-worker? Very unlikely…so tell me what’s left?”
Hugh stood silent.
Robert pressed his lips. Maybe it was time to push his buttons to the breaking point. If there was anything he’d learned about him all these years it was that sometimes he truly needed to trigger his reactions if he wanted to achieve something. He took a deep breath: this would hurt, but it was inevitable “…or maybe…” he locked eyes with him “…you think she is just a potential lover you can dispose whenever you don’t feel like having the guts to go for it anymore?”
Hugh dropped his jaw wide open, his face getting red and furious as he sprang up on his feet.
“Don’t you fucking dare!! I have NEVER, EVER, thought about Lisa that way!! You know that!!! You know perfectly well how much I lov…”
Robert watched him freezing, as the last word choked into his mouth. He nodded seriously at him, sighing. “One truly needs to get you worked up if he wants to drag some honest answers out of you, huh?”
Hugh dropped himself down on the armchair, angry, although he didn’t know whether he was more for having avoided the issue for so long or at Robert for forcing him to face this so out of the blue.
He snorted “Ok fine. Lisa and I….we aren’t exactly on the same page in this relationship...or whatever this is. What do you want me to do? I made a choice! I left. I went to Lisa. She made hers”
“Hugh…that’s not enough of a choice at this point. They would have been like…two years ago or last year maybe, but now…” he paused looking for the right words “…you’re after the time limit”
Hugh rolled his eyes, annoyed. This talk wasn’t getting them anywhere “We are dealing with whatever comes”
“You sure you’re ready to deal with whatever comes?” Robert asked as if he was meaning more than he was telling him.
Hugh ruffled his hair sighing and then something he had tried hard not to think about lately crossed his mind. Something he wasn’t actually ready to deal with. He sat suddenly up.
“Why? Did she say something to you?”
“I am just asking…” he justified himself, his voice more tense than he wanted it to be.
Robert pressed his lips in a tight line before answering, “No she didn’t. Not a word”
He let himself drop backwards again.
“Hugh…” Robert called him with more softness in his voice now “…this dance, this thing between the two of you…someone is gonna get hurt, once again”
He tossed his head down, wrapping both arms around it “What do you want me to do Robert? I am begging you, tell me what can I do? Stalking my wife ‘till she returns my calls. Talk her into giving me a divorce or a legal separation by mail?? And even if I do, Lisa….” he took a deep breath trying to keep his mind from spinning “…she might not be willing to reconsider anymore. So…” he shrugged almost in defeat “what’s the point of pursing it….what’s the point of hassling Jo anyway…”
Robert lay down onto the backrest. Hugh lifted his head up to look at him and saw the most disappointed expression he had ever seen carved on his face.
“So we are back to the story of your life…” Robert said bitterly “You won’t take the plunge till someone comes along and takes you by your hand, assuring you it’s gonna be ok…Two birds with one stone, otherwise it isn’t even worth it ?” he snapped even more bitterly. He scoffed, making him feel like crap even more. “Have you ever done something just for yourself in your whole life?”
Hugh sighed exasperated “What now, I am not selfish enough?”
“I meant….ever made a choice that just screamed this is what I want, this is what I need and I am ready to go for it whatever it takes…”
Hugh stayed silent, his head still dangling in between his legs, as he slowly processed his words.
“Nice” Robert pressed on “It’s easy this way: when you don’t have to choose blindly knowing you might end up doing it or die in the attempt…”
He really didn’t know what to say. Seizing the moment on small things…that was something he could do. He was learning. But on such a matter…
Robert stood up in way that clearly stood for a we are done here.
“You know Hugh…I love you, but…maybe Lisa was right all along…”
Hugh snapped his head up looking at him.
“Maybe you just don’t crave happiness they way normal people do. Maybe….you just don’t want things badly enough. Maybe…you can’t live for yourself”.