Dark sunglasses in place, Brad simply stared at Angelina, who stood sandwiched between him and the guardrail to the set stairs. He knew he was too close for their personal comfort, but not to too many onlookers. What was he doing? The more his marriage seemed to crumble, the more solace he found here…with her. They’d never so much as kissed outside of the script, yet just being here with her was just as satisfying. But he had marriage to work out. This Angel wasn’t meant for him.
Angelina didn’t need to see his eyes to know that he was watching her. She herself stared everywhere but his face. Coward! She knew she was. But what was she suppose to do? Throw herself at him? Suggest a hotel meeting? No, that’s not what she wanted…well…she did but not as an answer to the longing that seemed to consume her. He was a good man in a crumbling marriage, She’d been where he was now and she had to let him work that out for himself. He simply wasn’t available.
He would go home and live the life he chose, try to make it work. How could he, when what he wanted most in the world was represented here in this one woman. Without even trying she made him dream, she made him desire, she made him want…
She would go home and live the life she’d created for herself. She’d raise her son, continue her work as a humanitarian and make movies. But so much more was missing and it all seemed to be embodied with in this one man. He made her realize, he made her think, and he made her wish…
“I’ll get you mommy!” Maddox charged forward with his lightsaber in the air. “Arrrgghhh!!!”
Angelina pretended to fall, landing softly on her bottom. She began crawling backwards slowly, so that the toddler could keep the upper hand. “I’ll never let you take me alive!” She added in her best Darth Vader voice. “Mad-dox you are my son!”
The tiny boy couldn’t hold his laughter and fell into his mother’s arms in a fit of giggles. “I love you mommy.”
Wrapping him in her arms tightly, she kissed his forehead lightly before looking into his eyes. “I love you too my Madness.”
Angelina glanced up in time to catch Brad’s longing gaze, before he quickly turned away. He’d been so depressed lately but she couldn’t trespass on his privacy, She could give him no sage advice. All she could do was lend an ear and maybe add a little madness to his life. “Hey Mad.”
“Huh?” The boy looked up at his mother expectantly, snuggling closer into her warm body.
“Mommy has to go and see the makeup lady, so why don’t you take your saber and mine and go and challenge Brad to WAR! ARRRRGGGHHHH” She roughed the child up a bit and swung him in the air. Setting him down on his feet she helped him gather his toy sabers and watched him run over to Brad.
“Braddy!” Maddox’s small feet flew over the ground as he ran head long into Brad.
Smiling, Brad kneeled down to the child’s height. “Hey Mad! What’s up?”
Scrunching his face Mad responded. “Mommy has to go to the makeup lady. Can you play with me?”
His smile brighter. “I sure can! Which lightsaber is mine?” Brad hugged the little boy who’d become so important to him. He honestly didn’t know how he would deal with not seeing him after the shoot was over.
Maddox looked into Brad’s face, his eyes wide. “You know Star Wars?”
“You can have mommy’s!” He handed Brad the saber.
“Okay, but lets move over here so we’re not in the crew’s way okay?” taking the small hand in his large one he walked the child over to the ‘safe’ area. Turning he saw Angelina watching him with a soft smile. He smiled back and returned his attention to the child. Holding his saber out he breathed. “You have learned much, young Padawan.”
“Do you think he’s sleeping with her?” Jennifer asked her long time friend Courtney Cox-Arquette. “Angelina…do you think that he’s sleeping with her?”
“No I don’t. You know Brad wouldn’t cheat on you.” Courtney reassured her friend. But she wondered if Brad was keeping his vows. Angelina Jolie was a very provocative woman even her own husband had a thing for the ‘Tomb Raider’ beauty; calling her sex-a-licious. When Courtney had complained, David had laughed and waved her jealousy away. He told her that he’d met Angelina on the set of ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ where his sister Rosanna had played Angelina’s mother. There was admiration, nothing else; God men could be so stupid! Angelina was like a black widow, both knowingly and unknowingly ensnaring men into her web –like arms. But she couldn’t…wouldn’t share those feelings with Jennifer. “Brad’s a good man.”
“A man no longer interested in our marriage.” Jennifer took a deep swallow of her spring water. “I don’t even think he finds me attractive anymore and it’s making me eat more and more.”
“Have you two talked about this? What about kids?” Courtney knew she was bringing up a very touchy subject. “I thought you planned to have a baby this year, ’04 is almost over. Friends is done, maybe now is the time to work on your marriage and start a family.”
Jennifer blushed a bit at Courtney’s words. “Well I was offered a couple of movie roles.”
Courtney looked up from her sushi plate. “What do you mean you were offered a couple movie roles? You never mentioned them to me.”
“Well they were just offered.” Jennifer shrugged. She hadn’t mentioned them because she knew that Courtney would have discussed it with her husband who would have said something to Brad. She hadn’t discussed any of the movie deals with Brad.
“Well it’s only two movies, that’s what three months of shooting per movie? So you will still be able to start your family…”
Jennifer corrected. “Well actually it’s six.”
“Six!” Looking around at the other dining patrons, Courtney lowered her voice. “Six?”
“Well what did Brad say?” Courtney watched Jennifer, push her salad across her plate, never really taking a bite. “Well?”
“I haven’t really told him yet.” Jennifer hedged.
“And what about a family…children? You know how badly he wants them.”
“Look my career is just starting to take off. I can’t afford to take the next year or so off to have babies. If I disappear for two years the world won’t remember who the hell I am. I need to move now while we’re hot off the success of ‘Friends’.” Jennifer pointed at Courtney. “Even you have a television series and that part in ‘The Longest Yard’. I have to strike now before I loose my chance.”
“Yeah and if you wait too long, you’ll sacrifice having a family. You know the trouble I went through.” Courtney shook her head. Jen was playing with fire. She knew that Brad would be so disappointed, couple that with the ‘Angelina’ factor and Jennifer was courting marital disaster. “You might want to discuss this with Brad before you sign anything.”
Jennifer didn’t bother to tell her that she’d already signed up for three.
“So you want to wait two more years before starting a family?.” Brad was almost tired of the subject, but the time that he’d spent getting to know Maddox had only sharpened the desire for children. Jennifer had been promising year after year, only to have something come up every time. He was truly getting weary of the whole subject, where she was concerned. He was now considering other options. “Fine.”
“So you don’t even care?” Jennifer griped. Ever since Brad had begun shooting he’d seemed more and more distant with each passing day.
“I didn’t say that I didn’t care. I simply said fine Jen.” Brad sighed. He didn’t want to fight and she seemed to be revving up for one.
“Do you even care why?”
“Why?” Brad asked completely devoid of all emotion. There was no excuse outside of illness that would help him understand, why she didn’t want to have his child.
“Well, you know how much I enjoy doing film and my career goals.” Jennifer walked over to the table and sat down opposite her husband.
“Un huh…You want a movie career and an Oscar, yeah I know.” Brad ran his fingers over his buzz cut. “What does this have to do with our immediate family plans?”
“I was offer six roles and two were one on one costar, not an ensemble.” Jennifer forged ahead. “I signed the contracts for three last week.”
“WHAT?” Brad stood up suddenly. So let me get this straight. You don’t have time to start the family you’ve been promising me. Yet you do have time to sign up for and complete six movies. And you never even discussed it with me.” Brad stared at her as if she’d just grown two heads. “And you didn’t even discuss it with me first.
“YOU’RE ALWAYS GOING OFF AND DOING TWO AND THREE MOVIES A YEAR!” Jennifer shouted.
“THAT’S BULLSHIT AND YOU KNOW IT!” Brad backed away from the table. “I have ALWAYS talked things over with you before signing ANY contract!”
“You have your career! You‘ve been nominated for an Oscar! That’s what I want! Why should I give up on my dreams to start a family when there’s still time for it later? I can’t afford to wait two years or more to start my movie career.” Jennifer watched Brad walk over to the window and stare out at the pool area. He had that far away look again as if he’d just left the building. “Hello! Are you listening to me?”
Brad turned his head to glance over his shoulder, his face devoid of all emotion. “Oh I hear you but you’re not saying anything that I want to hear at the moment.”
“What? I’m not allowed to have career?”
“I never said that. But you act as though it has to be one or the other.” He walked back over to her. “There are plenty of women who have careers and a family. Courtney was pregnant on ‘Friends’. Catherine has two kids now and she’s still working and raising her children. Julia had a difficult pregnancy like Courtney and she still worked while pregnant and now she’s doing Broadway. They are all married, Angelina is single and she raises Maddox alone. She brings him to the set everyday and she has a very successful career, Oscar and all. They all have Oscars and children. It can be done.” He was almost pleading, something he’d told himself he wouldn’t do again. But If this marriage was going to have chance, they were going to have to work out these issues.
Jennifer bristled at Angelina’s name. “Angelina…Angelina…Angelina! She’s just your idea of perfect isn’t she. Angie can do this! Angie can do that! WHAT THE HELL CAN’T SHE DO?”
Brad pointed his finger at Jennifer; his voice still and hard. “Stop it! Angelina has nothing to do with this. This is about you me and our family decisions. I mentioned her, Catherine, Julia and Courtney as examples. That’s all!”
Jennifer balked at Brad’s tone. “What? Did I hit a nerve talking about your precious Angie and what’s her kid’s name? Mad…he probably is mad with her as a mother.”
“I said STOP! His name is Maddox and leave them alone. They haven’t done a damn thing to you!“
“The hell they haven’t. It seems like every chance you get, you hold them up to me like they’re some kind of shining example of the perfect woman and child; as if I’m the failure for wanting to start my career without a big belly.”
“Your words not mine.” Brad muttered, shaking his head, he stared at her.
“Oh! Well since you have all the witty answers, how about answering this one. Are you sleeping with her?” Jennifer threw the question at him like a dart targeting the bull’s-eye.
“What?!” Brad shook his head. “You are a piece of work. What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Are you sleeping with her?” Jennifer repeated, walking over to one of the side tables and grabbed a magazine, tossing it at Brad, who caught it with one hand. “These are all over!”
He glanced down at the tabloid in his hand and read the cover ‘Trouble in Paradise Is Pillow Lipped Angelina to Blame?’ Grimacing he tossed the magazine down. “Jennifer please, you know better than to read and believe this shit! They never tell the truth!”
“And yet somehow those rumors always manage to come true!” Jennifer watched Brad silently before asking again. “You still haven’t answered my question. Yes or no?”
“You are serious? You actually want me to answer that? Fine NO!” Brad yelled. “I have never slept with her!”
Jennifer had known this man for almost seven years and she had always been able to tell when he was telling the truth and she believed him now. But she still needed to know one thing. “Are you attracted to her?”
Brad looked the woman who’d shared his life for the last six and half years. In his mind he replayed every moment of that time and gave her the truth that he owed her. “Yes. I’m very attracted to her.”
Jennifer half expected him to say yes, but now that the answer had been spoken into existence. What was she to do now? Where did they go from here? “Okay…wow. How long have you been attracted to her?”
Brad watched Jennifer begin to pace. “Why does that matter?”
Almost as if in a reverie, Jen smiled. “hmm…you know there was a time when you would have ended that question with, honey…sweetheart. You don’t even use those words anymore.”
“See…you can’t say it. Can you?” Jennifer sat down slowly. Staring up at Brad she continued. “So? How long.
“Jen come on…we’re talking about Angelina Jolie. Most men find her attractive.”
“We’re not talking about most men Brad, we’re talking about you.” Jen wasn’t going to let this bone go. She wanted her answer,
Brad saw no reason to lie at this point. It would only make things worse if he did. They needed to get everything out in the open and move on from there. “ Since March…April, I don’t know. Sometime earlier this year.”
“So you were attracted to her while we were in Cannes? Were you thinking of her then too? Cause you’ve damn sure been thinking of her now.”
“She was on my mind yes. But not the way you’re thinking.” Brad spoke quietly.
Jennifer watched him for a moment. “So enlighten me Bradley, I what context did she fill your mind?”
“I thought that if she could raise a son and have a fulfilling life then you could too with me by your side.” Brad answered but decided to tell her all of it. “You know what I did think of her that way. She’s a gorgeous woman with an extremely potent sexuality but think of her is all I did. I have never slept with her…never even kissed her outside of the set.”
Jennifer watched him a full minute before standing and heading for the door. “You need to get her out of your mind if you hope to save our marriage.” Turning she left the room.
Brad stood silently, his mind a jumble of thoughts. The one thought that kept fighting its way to the top. ‘Did he want to save his marriage?”
Copyright © 2006 all rights reserved By ‘Rica’