Matt and Thomas are living the Hollywood life. For Thomas, it's a fast and frenzied education into the behind-the-scenes machinations of what it's like being an author whose novel is bent, folded and mutilated by the billion-dollar movie industry. When the production company suggests Matt, who is the executive in charge of production, start scouting for locations in Canada, he jumps at the chance since this is Thomas' home country.
Vancouver, the "Canadian Hollywood" however, holds bitter, dark memories for Thomas who finds his very first love, the handsome and talented artist named Daniel is still there and holding more than a candle for him. Daniel's love burns like a raging wildfire. Will Thomas cave into his reawakened feelings, or is his love for Matt enough to overcome the tragedy of his past?
This book was formerly published and has been re-released.
Thomas sat on the bench in the warm spring sun, soaking up the ambience of hallowed Hollywood ground. He heard a sound, opened his eyes and hastily scooped his feet off the ground. A mad bicyclist skimmed by so close, Thomas had to swing his whole body out of the way to avoid getting hit.
The kid braked hard. “Oh, sorry. Didn’t see you there.”
You don’t look very sorry…and what do you mean you didn’t see me? Thanks a lot. Now I really feel invisible. Thomas just stared as the kid, who didn’t even look old enough to shave, hoisted a pile of large yellow legal envelopes out of his messenger basket. Thomas couldn’t fail to spot the ominous words above the clasp of the first one. Warning: Confidential. To be opened by Addressee Only. The kid dropped them all and Thomas bent down to help him collect them. He noticed the names on two of the envelopes and worked hard not to gape.
Brad Grey, he knew, was the studio chief of Paramount Pictures and the other name he recognized was Plan B, the company owned and operated by movie star Brad Pitt. Thomas handed back the slightly dirty envelopes and brushed his grimy hands against his pants.
He was startled he knew these facts, but he was pleased, because in the past few weeks he had religiously read the trades every day. Variety and The Hollywood Reporter had become his bible, just like everybody else associated with the film industry.
Thomas’ husband, Matt, was also a writer but held an impressive, lucrative position at the studio as head of development for a production company.
He joked that on Tuesday mornings when the International Editions hit the newsstands, you could hear a pin drop at each movie studio.
Yesterday, both men had been thrilled to see the title of Thomas’ movie, Last Chance, listed in the In Development section of both magazines.
“Thanks.” The kid glanced at his watch in an elaborate way that Thomas was certain meant to draw attention to the gesture.
“Nice watch,” he said, but in truth, he thought it was the ugliest thing he had ever seen.
“Thanks. It’s a U-Boat watch.” When Thomas didn’t react, the kid thrust it under his nose. “I got it from the prop department of Transformers.” His voice dropped to a whisper. “I got it at a tenth of the retail cost. It only cost me a week’s wages!”
Thomas was really in shock now. A week’s wages for an ugly watch.
“So what do you do here?” the kid asked.
“I’m a writer.” Thomas was about to add that his book had been optioned by the studio and that the screenplay was being written and he was here for his first-ever creative meeting.
“Oh.” The kid’s top lip sneered. “A writer.” His tone suggested this occupation was about as compelling as toe jam.
Thomas felt the stirrings of fury in his belly. So far, as the originating writer of Last Chance, he’d felt like the unwilling star of his own private melodrama, The Incredible, Non-Existent Author.
Thomas turned and saw his husband, Matt, whose movie-star handsomeness never failed to pitch his innards in a thousand different directions at the same time.
Still trying to stop himself from hurling an insult at the kid, Thomas clamped his mouth shut and nodded.
“They’re ready for us.” Matt’s smile was wide and genuine as he extended his hand to pull Thomas to him. “How are you doing today, Joey?”
“I’m doing great, Mr. Lucas, thanks.” The bicycle guy inclined his head toward Thomas. “Your buddy here helped me pick up my envelopes.”
Matt laughed. “It’s Matt, remember? And good for him. Thomas, did you meet Joey?”
“Not really.” Thomas simmered, trying to bite down his response to oh, a writer. He shook Joey’s hand and prayed and wished the U-Boat watch would suddenly stop working and would require another week’s wages to repair.
As Matt put his hand at the small of Thomas’ back, he felt a tremor of excitement, fear and irritation.
“Why were you so nice to him?” he asked as they crossed the well-tended pathway to the Maurice Chevalier building.
“Because it’s people like that who are important to be nice to.”
“Why? He’s an idiot.”
Matt stared at him. “Honey, that idiot is one of several messengers on the lot. He knows everything about everything. The gossip starts and stops with him. He can spread good word about our movie before we’re even ready for the sneak peeks.”
“Oh.” Thomas tried to relax.
“Besides, that idiot will probably be running the studio in a few years.”
Thomas didn’t know how to respond. Was Matt kidding? He tried to assemble all his thoughts, remember everything Matt had taught him about how to handle a Hollywood script meeting. Matt had drilled him for three days about how he should behave and exactly what he should expect.
Matt had timed his pitch, as he called it, for the pure storyline. He had timed Thomas with a stopwatch, doing terrible things like talking on the phone, texting, everything except focusing on Thomas. It had been grueling. Matt insisted he had to hold the executives’ attention for thirty seconds.
“Imagine they are extremely autistic, hungry children and ice cream and cake await them at another table. Now imagine you have to excite them long enough to hold their attention,” Matt had said.
Feeling a little bullied, he had asked Matt how writers who weren’t married to big studio executives handled creative meetings.
“Their agents put them through their paces before they set a foot in here. Believe me, not just any old schmo with a laptop gets in here, babe, and even fewer get to see their movies made.”
Matt now held open the door to the entrance and gently kissed Thomas’ temple.
Once again, Thomas got the feeling he was walking into the most important job interview of his life.
Matt squeezed his shoulder reassuringly.
Clutching his messenger bag a little closer to his hip, Thomas was grateful his husband was by his side as they rounded the third floor corridor of Martinique Films’ suite of offices. Everything smelled new and fresh. New carpets and paint for sure. He was certain he could smell new wood from the sparkling office furniture.
Matt knocked on the conference room door. A perky woman in a Chanel suit opened it, gave Thomas a cursory once over and beyond her right shoulder, he could see six men and two women gathered around a large, oval table. He was aware of framed movie posters on the walls.
These were all quirky, independent movies that had done well, received good reviews and two he saw were up for Independent Spirit Awards. He was amazed how well his research had soaked into his brain.