Sunday, December 10, 2006

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE - MEDIA HYPE

Marrakech, Morocco
Private Airport
May 18, 2005

Late Evening...


Portions of this chapter were taken from the early May interviews (which appears later in May for this story.) with Brad and Angelina separately, which appeared in July 2006 issue of “W” magazine article, the ‘Inside the Actor’s Studio’ taped on April 25th but for this story it will also appear later, Brad’s April interview for the June edition of ‘Primetime with Diane Sawyer, Angelina’s interview with Ann Curry for the June edition of Good Morning America and Dateline, and a few tabloid offerings.



Thirteen days…not quite two weeks…


“Are my lady’s eyes becoming misty? Brad’s words soft, for her ears alone.

Caressing the hand that cupped her jaw before pulling it away, she sighed heavily. “Don’t you’ll make me cry.” Their private time had quickly come to an end and she wasn’t ready to say good bye. “I’ll end up blubbering all over the place.”

Brad stared down into the face that had become his life line. During the most trying of times, he had only to think of her…picture her face and his turmoil would calm. It was almost frightening how much he’d come to rely on her. “Who would believe it? The indestructible Ms. Jolie, Lara Croft herself.” His joking turned serious once again. Reclaiming ownership of Angelina’s face he drew the smooth pad of his thumb over her lush bottom lip. Bending down slightly, he touched his forehead to hers. Lips grazing hers, he whispered, “How do I say good bye?”

Shutting her eyes, her thick dark lashes caressing sensitive skin; she allowed a delicate tear to escape each eye. She’d learned so much these past four days. Not a long time at all, but to her it had been a lifetime of learning. She’d learned how to simply enjoy being with another, how to trust another with herself. She learned how to love fully and allow herself to be loved. For the first time in her twenty-nine years of life, she realized that she was worthy and deserving of that deep, soul claiming love few offered and even fewer experienced. For whatever reason fate was offering her a chance at complete contentment and she had every intention of grasping it with both hands, eyes wide and arms opened. “I can’t say good bye…I won’t. So we’ll just have to make this moment last us for the next thirteen days.”

“Thirteen days? That sounds like a life time.” Just the thought was enough to set his temples to throbbing. Wrapping his arms around her, he held her silently for a moment. They had a matter of minutes before the jet that would return her to England was ready for departure. ‘Make it last Bradley’, he thought. His eye glittering with more than tears, he captured her lips possessively, exploring her mouth sensually, tasting the sweetness that he craved.

She moaned softly against his mouth, absorbing him, his closeness, his need…even his breath. Loosing herself to the hot glide and deep probing of his ruthless tongue. His tongue moved as if it were a lover’s hand, memorizing every soft line and secret corner of her mouth. Groaning as tongue subdued hers in the mating dance they were now quite familiar with. Angelina wrapped her arms around Brad’s waist, drawing her hands down to cupped his full buttocks. ‘What an ass!’ the thought somehow made its way into the jumbled mess that was her over-heated mind. The thought made her move even closer into his body. ‘Thirteen days…damn! Why had she bothered to look at the calendar and count the damn days?

Brad increased the pressure of his mouth. Playing with hers, dancing a slow, torturous and blatantly sexual dance. His kiss was meant to brand…to claim what they both knew was already his. His lips continued their trail of kisses slow and long, hot and hard; tongue gliding sating and sleek, tangling and finally withdrawing.

Weak from Brad's oral play, Angelina used his body for support, her body and mind reeling from his breath stealing, mind numbing kisses, that seem to only intensify her ache far more than it satisfied the void that would accompany their eleven day hiatus. It wasn’t enough.

“Excuse me, but Ms. Jolie’s flight is ready to board now.” The soft voice of the airline attendant interrupted their idle. Turning away, the attendant could barely contain herself. If the kiss she just witnessed was anything to go by, 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith' was definitely going to be a hit. There was only one word that could describe those two; HOT!

Breaking away, Brad took Angelina's hand. Waiting while she grabbed her purse, silently he walked her to the waiting jet. Without a word he boarded and helped her settle into a seat. Buckling her in, he placed a delicate kiss on her brow, before stooping down. “Thirteen days…not quite two weeks. Caressing her cheek once more, he stared at her face memorizing what his mind would never forget. Standing, he left the jet and stood watching as the woman his soul called ‘mate’ flew away before leaving the airport to return to his empty hotel suite.

Angelina watched the airport reduce in size, until it was completely gone from her view. “Thirteen days, not quite two weeks.” She whispered. It was the only way she could calculate it. But would her heart survive it.

Brad was right. Thirteen days was a life time…



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



May 19, 2005
London, England
‘The Ivy’




Johnny stared across the table. His gaze taking in the face of the woman he’d loved for the last twelve years. They were closer than friends, but husband and wife they should never have been. He was more certain of that now than ever. Staring at her now, he recognized a glow that he’d never seen before. He had an idea what the cause or rather who the cause was. Reaching over, Johnny ran the knuckles of his left hand lightly down her cheeks. “So what’s this?”

Angelina's smiled widened. “What?” The one person outside of her mother and brother that she’d always felt comfortable with was Johnny. He understood her better than she understood herself at times. So why try to hide what was apparently obvious to his all seeing eyes. “My glow?”

Chuckling, Johnny finished the last of his wine before answering. “Yes, this nuclear glow you’ve got going on. Rumor has it, that a certain ‘Golden Boy’ could be the cause.”

“Rumor has it?” shaking her head Angelina sighed, draining her own wine glass. “I just don’t get it. Why are people so interested?”

Pulling a face, Johnny refilled their glasses from the carafe, that sat in the center of the table. “Well it’s not everyday that ’The Golden Couple’ breaks up. Of course those addled brain twits in Hollywood can’t seem to accept that the marriage was simply over.” Leaning back, Johnny clicked his tongue. “Seems to me like the ’Golden Marriage’ followed the course of most Hollywood marriages. Why are they so outraged?”

Angelina laughed, only Johnny could so bluntly reduce public outcry to a mere bitchy whine. “That’s Hollywood. Where drama queens and fairy princesses believe in fantasies and fairytales Oh! Let’s also not forgot that ‘close friend’, who’s always willing to talk to the hottest tabloid.”

“Don’t forget there has to be an evil queen…a wicked stepmother.” Johnny was enjoying himself. Angie was just that kind of girl. She put you at ease, accepted you at face value and was always willing to laugh at herself if the occasion warranted it.

Giggling, Angelina put her hand up to her ear. “Ahh…did someone say my name?” Leaning forward she whispered loudly. “I do believe that’s my queue.”

Throwing his back Johnny laughed loudly; quieting down after receiving a few stares from curious patrons. “Come on evil stepsister maybe. I’ll even accept evil queen but evil stepmother, never. You’re not old enough yet.” Sobering up, Johnny became serious, changing the subject without notice. “So tell me about him.”

Angelina closed her eyes for a moment, smiling softly as the memories flooded her mind. She was completely unaware of the beautiful picture she made. “Where do I begin?”

Folding his hands in his lap, Johnny stared across the table. “The beginning.”

Shaking her head slowly, a whimsical smile playing across her full lips. “What do I say. He was just amazing. He was nothing like I thought the great ‘Brad Pitt’ would be. Johnny he’s just a really great guy…sweet…a bit goofy.”

Johnny watched silently, waiting. When she didn’t move on fast enough, he pushed. “A really great guy huh? I need more then that Ange.”

Angelina shrugged. “I don’t know…he just walked into my life and turned it upside down. He’s honest, he’s kind…he loves Mad to death.”

“And you? Does he love you to death?” Johnny countered.

“Yes...yes he does.” Angelina nodded firmly.

“And you sweetness? How do you feel about him?” holding his hand up to stop her words. “I mean…I realize that the fact you’ve allowed young Bradley into little Mad’s life, says a lot. But are you ready?”

“I love him.” Her words laced with confidence of a woman sure of her feelings. “I really love him and I trust him with my heart and Mad’s.”

Smiling, Johnny reached across the table to caress Angelina’s chin. “The dumbest thing I ever did was to let you walk away. But I’m man enough to admit that during our marriage I don’t think I could have ever put the look of serenity and happiness on your face that I see gracing it now.” Tapping her chin lightly, he realized that his wild child was gone and in her place was an elegant and confident woman. “Be careful sweetness. I don’t want to see you in the same predicament as before. I’d have to kill him.”

Angelina grabbed Johnny’s hand, squeezing tightly. She knew he was talking about Billy, that divorce had nearly killed her. If not for Mad and Johnny, she might have succeeded in killing herself. “Don’t worry. This isn’t the same type of relationship. We both want the same type of relationship. We both want the same thing.”

Johnny shook the memories away. That was a time he didn’t want to rehash. “And those are?”

Angelina thought a moment before answering. “Peace, love family…a partner who’s got your back no matter what. Someone who’ll stand beside you, accompanying you through life’s messy and joyous moments. Someone who’ll stand behind you...holding you up when you don’t you’ll make it; someone who’ll switch those same positions when they need the same and not feel inadequate.”

Johnny's reaction to Angelina's words was a deep swallow of wine, needing something stronger, but settling on the wine. “And what about his feelings for Jennifer? Has he really gotten over her?” Stopping Angelina from responding, he continued. “Because baby, you and I have been separated…divorced for almost six years and I haven’t gotten over you yet.”

“He’s over her…yes but I’d be lying if I said that he isn’t still wrestling with his past. We all do at some point. I don’t expect him to just throw his past with her away. If he could that, then I wouldn’t want to be with him.” Reaching across the table, she tweaked his bush of a beard. “He’s like you. he doesn’t throw people away.”

“Is she ready to let him go? Let him waltz into the arms of another woman? One who happens to be younger, more successful and ‘The Sexiest Woman Alive’.” Johnny baited, smiling wickedly.

Angelina propped her chin on her folded hands and smiled across the table at Johnny mischievously. “Tough shit! She can’t have him back. He’s mine now and I’m keeping him.”

“That’s my girl!”




~~~~~~~~~~~~~



May 20, 2005
Beaconsfield, England
Sainsburys Grocery




“Mommy look! Can I have some?” Maddox held up a carton of animal crackers. That Angelina had tossed into the bed of the shopping cart.

Looking up from the bag of rice noodles she was contemplating. “We haven’t paid for them yet Madness.”

Maddox blinked wide eyed up at his mother, from his seat in the front of the shopping cart. “But mommy my tummy is talking!”

“Really? Talking huh?” Angelina smiled at the child. Leaning closely to him she whispered, “And what is it saying?”

Leaning forward, Maddox told his mother his secret in true toddler fashion; he whispered loudly. “It told me that it wants cookies. It said that it’ll feel better if I feed it.” Maddox watched his mother closely for some sign that she believed his story.

Angelina reach over and tickled the child lightly, her laughter mingled with his and traveled down the aisles of the market, causing other shoppers to smile happily at the young mother and her son. “Well I’m not so sure cookies are what your tummy is talking about.”

“Un huh…yes it is. It wants me to put these cookies in it!” Maddox nodded vehemently, holding up the box of cookies once again.

“Hmmm…baby I know you’re ready for lunch and mommy’s sorry that our shopping took so long. We’ll stop and get something on the way home okay?” Angelina tried to negotiate with her toddler.

Sensing he was loosing the battle, he decided his secret weapon was necessary. Mommy didn’t go for tantrums. He never won, but if he gave her the look…she could never say no to the look. “But mommy, I’m staaaarving.” He widened his eyes and cracked a half smile.

“Madness…”

He couldn’t let her finish. He wanted the cookies and it was now time to broker some kind of deal. “But if I eat a little bit now my stomach will be happy for a little while. Pleeeaaasssee.”

She could never so no to him when he gave her that look and she knew he knew it. But still, how could she say no? Just as she reached for the cookies, her cell phone rang. Grabbing it from the belt holster she glanced at the caller id on vibrant screen, smiling at the name that appeared. “Hello?”

A sense of comfort and wellbeing washed over her at the sound of the deep voice on the other end. “Hi. How are the two loves of my life?”

Staring down at the tip of her boots, she smiled. “We’re both fine. We are having a discussion on cookies and talking tummies.” She glanced back at her son, who was trying his best to figure out who his mother was talking to.

Brad laughed at her words. “What? Talking tummies and cookies?”
“Well Maddox wants cookies. He says that his tummy told him that they would make it feel better.” Angelina laughed.

Maddox felt that the time was right to press his advantage. Mommy’s attention was on the phone call. “I can eat four…right mommy? Just four okay?” When she didn’t respond right away with a no, Maddox took that as a yes and began opening the box of cookies. He loved animal crackers.

Caught between the affects of Brad’s voice and Maddox’s cookie coup d'├ętat, Angelina lost the battle. Mad…here…let mommy open it for you.” Taking the box of cookies, she opened it as she spoke into the phone. “You just cost me the battle. I hope you’re happy.”

Laughing again, Brad spoke, happy to be part of the family squabble. “What did it cost you?”

“Four cookies.” She handed the opened box to Maddox. Reiterating the deal. “Four cookies right?”

Frowning Maddox tried to push a bit more. “How about ten?”

“Noooo…you said four. You can’t ask for more now.” Angelina shook her head.

“But mommy I’m staaaarving!” Maddox pouted, shoving one whole cookie into his mouth.

“You are not starving…stop shoving cookies in your mouth.” Angelina watched as Maddox shoved yet another cookie into his mouth. “Little boy if you don’t stop…”

Brad broke into the small war. “Hey…why not let me try, Angel.”

“Alright…tag you’re up.” She handed the cell phone to Maddox who’d just finished chewing his last cookie. “Here Maddox, someone wants to speak to you.”

Maddox took the phone and spoke hesitantly into it. He wondered if it was nanna, Uncle Jamie or Uncle Colin. “Hu-llo? Who is this please?”

“Hi Mad. How are you?” Brad smiled at the sound of the child’s voice. God he missed them.

The child’s face lit up at the sound of Brad's voice. “Braddy! Where are you? I miss you.”

“I’m working in Morocco.” Brad answered, happy to explain. This was what he’d wanted. To call ‘home’ and have someone care and take an interest in his day or wonder where he was.

“Mommy says that’s in Africa.” Maddox was proud that he’d remembered. His hand inched toward the box of cookies. But Brad’s next words stopped him.

“Did you finish your cookies?”

“Uh huh. I had four but I wanted ten.” Maddox paused watching his chances for more cookies dwindle away as his mother took the box and closed it, before pushing the cart towards the checkout lane.

“Hmmm…well mommy doesn’t want you to get sick on cookies.” Brad offered.

“But I’m staaaarving and I just want a few more.” Maddox insisted.

“Well maybe mommy will give you a couple more if you ask nicely.”

“Okay, I’ll try. When are you coming to see me?” As much as Maddox wanted cookies, he wanted to see Brad more. “I haven’t seen you a really long time.”

“I know buddy mine. I miss you too.” Brad didn’t want to make any promises. He and Angelina were working so hard to make this relationship work and he didn’t want to push the Maddox factor to fast. Changing the subject quickly, “Hey, make sure you ask mommy for two more cookies and I’ll talk to you later okay?” Brad hated saying goodbye. He wanted so much to promise this little boy the world, but he had to wait…the time simply wasn’t his to promise.

Maddox didn’t want to say good bye, but knew he had to. “Okay…bye.” Handing the cell back to his mother who was in the process of paying for the groceries. He saw the cookie box on top. “Mommy, Brad said that you might give me two more if I asked nicely. So can I have two…just two more?”

Angelina put the cell phone to her ear. “Two more huh? And how did you help exactly?” Angelina spoke to Maddox again. “Show me two fingers.” When Maddox held up two fingers, Angelina kissed him on the forehead and handed him two more cookies.

Brad laughed. “Well at least he doesn’t want ten.” Brad sobered suddenly, his voice dropping almost to a whisper. “I miss you so much. I miss the feel of your skin, the smell of you, the taste of you. I miss the feel of your body next to mine.”

Angelina felt her eyes tingle. Damn! This man could make her respond in so many ways. “I know…I miss your arms. The night time is such a lonely time. How many days?”

“Eleven days…not quite two weeks.” Brad whispered.

“Not quite two weeks.” She repeated quietly, her voice hoarse with tears.

“I love you Angel.” Brad knew he had to let her go before they both broke down. “Good bye sweetheart.”

She chose her words carefully, emphasizing the difference between the star and the man. “I love you too, William.” Her voice a mere whisper. “Good bye.” Attaching the cell phone to her belt she was thankful for the dark sunglasses as she and Maddox left the grocery store and headed for the car, uncaring of the paparazzi hovering across the parking lot, frantically snapping pictures of her.


~~~~~~~~~~

May 23, 2005
Quarzazate, Morocco
Private suite



He said…She said



Christopher Bagley spoke excitedly into the speaker phone. “Brad! How are you?”

“Hey Chris. I’m good and yourself?” Brad’s voice so clear, it almost seemed as though the actor was there in the office and not several continents away.

“All’s fine on this front. How’s the filming coming along?” Christopher checked his recorder. “So are you ready to do this?”

Brad chuckled. “The filming is on schedule, no mishaps…no delays,” Brad paused. “I’m ready when you are.”

“Okay, here we go. You know how this works, when you want something off the record just holler and the recorder stops. I’m starting the recorder now.” Christopher began the interview. “So tell me Brad, what was the inspiration behind the ‘W’ shoot?”

Thinking for a moment, Brad went on to answer easily. “To put it simply, I would say domestic ennui. The picture of a seemingly happy marriage that shines on the outside but is quite dull on the inside. And you don’t know why because the marriage is everything you signed up for.”

“Of course the world is now aware of your divorce from Jennifer Aniston. When you look back on your marriage, what positive aspects of that union come to mind?”

Brad knew that the questions regarding his marriage would start sooner rather than later and he’d prepared himself. “I know that if a marriage doesn’t fit a certain idea, it’s looked upon as a failure.” He paused for a moment before moving on. “But I see mine as a total success. My God! Man. Jen is such an influence on my life. We made it for seven years; that’s five years more than I made it with anyone else.”

“You’ve been described as the ‘Zen’ master at handling the press. Is it still holding strong under the latest barrage of paparazzi stalking?”

“I’m fine. The press don’t affect me. But these guys have been incredibly despicable this round.” Brad took a swallow of the drink he’d prepared before the interview. “They should literally be hung up and flogged. You wouldn’t believe the shit they’ve been saying to Jen. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body and they are yelling horrible things to get a rise out of her so they can get more money for their pictures.”

“And what of your costar Ms Jolie? The tabloids and press are rife with speculative articles regarding the nature of your relationship.”

Picturing his every word as a three-inch headline on the cover of the ‘Enquirer’, he answered. “Well, I just don’t want to…I really don’t…let me see. I’m really wary, in this particular climate of commenting.” Pausing for a moment, Brad measured his words carefully. “I just can’t find any safe bets. She’s an incredible talent, a devoted mother and a tireless humanitarian. Those are safe comments.” He followed his words with more laughter.

“Speaking of humanitarian dedication, you seem to be involved in similar pursuits that take the focus off of you.”

“Well, listen I’ve had my time and I’m forty-one and my pimp days are seriously numbered man and I can’t say that I’m not looking forward to it. In time this six pack of mine will become a keg.” Brad slapped his abs to emphasize his point. “I’m more interested in things I can create buildings…babies and while I transition my life, I’m trying to interest from me and my private life to those in need.”

“Ethiopian and South Africa?” Chris asked, glancing down to make sure his recorder was still working.

“Yes. There are millions of AIDS orphans there…people who need our help. If I can get the attention focused away from me and on to their plight then it’s all worth it.”

“Beyond your humanitarian endeavors, what do you do with yourself? I’ve noticed that you spend a lot of time on your motorcycle, blissfully unrecognizable under your helmet.”

“I’m so bore with me these days. I need to move my life into the next phase. Things I have dreamed of and now have the chance to make happen. When I want freedom, I hit the road on my bike, completely anonymous. It’s great! No one has a clue. I’m just another jackass on the road.”



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



May 25, 2005
Fulmer, England
Jolie Estate




“So Angelina, tell me why did you decide to take part in the “W” shoot?” Chris was trying hard to hide the excitement from his voice. Like most of the men on the globe, just the sound of the woman’s name was enough to send him into constant arousal.

“When the idea behind the shoot was explained to me, I could almost see the similarities between the disillusioned housewife and so many of us who find ourselves simply bored with life. It reminded of what can happen when you become ’absent from your life’
“You don’t seem to have that problem. I mean here yo are at thirty, raising your three-year-old son, Maddox, flying your own plane and even holding human rights conferences in Islamabad.”

“Well I may not have checked out of life, but after two divorces I do know a thing or two about marital dysfunction.” She countered easily.

“That’s right, Johnny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton; both ended in divorce.”

“Yeah, I’m just not very good at being a wife. I haven’t learned to work as well in a partnership as I do as an individual. I’m just better alone.”

“Perhaps you haven’t found the right husband material yet.” He could and would have loved to take that statement just a bit further, but this was not the interview for it.

“Well I believe the key, is finding someone with goals as ambitious as yourself…myself. Basically I think that they should be a reason for you to be a unit. Not just to be happy, but to actually accomplish and change and take on things that you want to take on in this life together.”

“And are you searching for that other half of your unit?”

“I have purposely kept any liaisons I have, outside of my home. The man that enters my home with me and my son; I take that seriously.”

“Do you have an idea about who such a man might be?” Christopher asked.

“Somebody who just really works hard and loves. That has not been an easy thing to find.”

“Well said.” Deciding to change the subject, he moved on. “So tell me how you a famously uncensored actress feels right now about having to stay silent about the role you have in the biggest off screen drama of the year.”

“I’m just fine.” Angelina paused trying to think of an answer that wouldn’t incite more questions on a subject she really didn’t want to speak on. “People want an answer about what’s happening in my life and my family, but I need to know what’s happening first, and I don’t plan to discuss it before then.”

“You don’t see that as censoring yourself a bit?”

Essentially repeating herself, Angelina spoke without irritation. “No. It’s not about censoring myself that there’s nothing to say until I know that there’s something to say.”


Deciding to move on, Chris moved on to another famous topic. “So what can you say about working with a great actor such as Pitt?”

“The thing that makes Brad such a great actor is that he’s a very genuine person. Anybody who’s met him would know that. You can read him, and you can feel that there’s something open, approachable and interesting. And he’s just very real.” Smiling to herself. Had Chris been able to see her face, he would have known that Ms. Jolie knew more than she said. “Whether the cameras are rolling or not, he doesn’t change. He’s just very solid. I think you know that you can count on him.”

“Brad mentioned tooling around on his motorcycle as a way to relax. What do you do for relaxation?”

“Flying always flying. While I do like bikes, flying solo really is the most amazing feel.” He could hear her smile. “And the freedom of it is something I’ve desperately needed my whole life. Now I really don’t feel confined to this earth.




~~~~~~~~~~~



May 29, 2005
Missouri/ Morocco




A little Motherly advice…


Brad grabbed his cell on the second ring. A quick glance told him that it wasn’t his heart, but his home on the line. “Hi mom. How are you?”

“I’m fine son. How are you?” Jane Pitt was happy to hear her first born’s voice. It had been such a long time since she’d last laid eyes on her boy. He was so far away, when he needed his family the most.

“Fine.” What could he say? ‘Hey mom, I feel like shit because the woman I love is thousands of miles away.’ He couldn’t say that. Would she even understand if he did? She still believed that he and Jen Should reconcile.

“You don’t sound fine. What’s the matter?” she cut him off. “And don’t tell me nothing. I can hear it in your voice.”

“Mom…” Brad felt like shuffling his feet as if he were ten years old and receiving a tongue lashing.

“Is it her?” Jane hoped that true to popular speculation, Angelina Jolie was as fickle enough to have moved on already and left her son alone.

Mom don’t start. Don’t. You don’t even know her. And her name is Angelina. It’s so unlike you to pass judgment with out full knowledge of what’s going on.” Brad couldn’t hide the tiredness and disappointment from his voice.

Knowing her son’s words to be true, Jane sighed heavily. “I’m sorry honey. I just wished that you and Jennifer had tried a little harder to work things out, that’s all.”

“We tried for almost three years mom. You can’t fix a shattered glass. What you try to do is save what’s in the glass, before you loose it to the breakage.” Brad tried to explain. How did explain to his mother, a woman who’d been married well over forty years, that glass had been his marriage.

“And what was in your glass Bradley?” Jane asked. She could hear the hurt in his voice.

“My desires mom. I want a partner that believes in me, that will stand by me as I stand by her. A partner that believes in family, that wants to have, adopt and raise my children. Someone who wants to share the adventure of life with me. “ Pouring out his soul he continued. “Mom, I know that you love Jennifer. But you have to understand that she and I are better apart. We wanted different things out life and it wasn’t fair of me to insist that we live my dream, just as it wasn’t fair of her to expect me to follow along behind hers. If man and woman can’t share the same dreams, then there’s no point in moving forward. You’ll just end up taking two different paths. That’s not a marriage…that’s a scenic road trip.”

“And does this girl…Angelina believe in your dreams?” Jane knew the answer, even before he uttered the words.

“Yes she does. And I believe in hers. We want the same things. We want to accomplish so much.” As the words left Brad’s mouth a vision of Angelina passed through his mind. “She’s truly a beautiful woman mom. Please give her chance.”

Jane sighed, she wanted her son happy and part of her still believed that Jennifer was the key to that happiness. But what she believed and what he felt were two different things and his feelings were the only ones that mattered. “I’ll try son.”

“That’s all I ask mom. “ Brad answered. They had a long way to go. “So what’s going on at home?”

“Well your brother has been fielding a lot calls regarding your relationship with Jennifer and her…Angelina. He said that you two talk about what his response should be. They have been calling here but we just let the machine catch the calls.”

“I’m sorry mom. We never expected things to spiral out of control so wildly. I knew there might be a little kick back, but not this frenzy.” Brad shook his head, watching as a helicopter flew overhead. The paparazzi would stop at nothing to get in their business. Hs, Angelina’s, Jennifer’s he;; even Cate wasn’t safe. No matter how many interviews he gave, it would never be enough…they would always want more.

Jane could hear the weariness in her child’s voice…yes he was a man of forty-one, but he was still her child. “Well honey, you are Brad Pitt and she is Angelina Jolie, you two would be news even without the divorce. Don’t worry sweetie this will all die down soon. And all will return to normal. I just want to know what you want us to say.”

“Tell Doug to handle it mom. He knows what to do.” Not for the first time since his career had started, Brad wished that he’d become a journalist.

“Okay sweetie.” Jane Pitt changed a subject that she knew would make Brad smiled. The girls are in the school talent show this year.”

“Oh yeah?” Brad chuckled. “What are they doing?”

“They are singing one of Kelly Clarkson’s songs. You know how much the love that girl. Julie says that they’ve been practicing like mad and that they sound pretty good.”

“When is the show?” Brad asked, the chances that he’d be able to make it were slim, but he had a lot of free time coming up soon. Babel was done and he’d be flying back to the states tonight. He couldn’t get back to the familiar.

“They are performing in the Thanksgiving Pageant and Talent show on November twenty-third.” Jane supplied, hoping above all hope that with enough notice, he would be able to make it. In the past seven years, she could count the number of times he and Jennifer visited on one hand. After the wedding, she and Bill had hoped that they would visit more often but there was always something…his work, Jen’s work. Well maybe he’d come home now.

“Really? I might be able to make that, but don’t tell anyone. I want to surprise the girls.”
Brad committed the date to memory.

Smiling Jane sent up a silent prayer that he would be able to make it home for Thanksgiving. “Okay, please try to make it honey.”

“I will mom.” Brad promised.




~~~~~~~~~~~~




May 30, 2005
3Manhattan, New York / Nairobi, Kenya




The theme from Ocean’s Eleven startled Angelina from a sound sleep. She’d spent the last three days recording a segment of MTV’s ‘My Diary’ in Sauri, Kenya with Dr. Jeffrey Sachs. She’d joined him in a tour of the ‘Millennium Village Project’. She’d made good friends and learned a lot about Dr. Sachs’ goals for the Kenyan villages.

Without turning on the lights, she reached for her cell phone. Smiling with knowledge of who was on the other end, and her voice breathy with sleep, she answered softly. “Hi.”

“Hi.” Brad smiled at the sound of the soft, sultry voice on the other line. “How ya doin’?” his voice as whisper soft as hers.

“Fine.” Angelina rolled over on her back, using her free hand to push her hair from her face. “Where are you?”

“The Mandarin hotel. How are you?” Brad laid back on one of the hotel suites extra large sofas, rubbing his free hand over his chest. “You sound warm and soft. I would say I’m sorry for waking you but I’m not. I wanted to hear your voice…I’m a selfish man when it comes to you.”

laughing softly at his words - he reminded her of Mad when he wanted something – she purred, “I’m glad you called. Is filming done?”

“Yup, all done. I’m here waiting for my lady love.” Brad continued rubbing his chest in a circular pattern, crooking his left leg up at the knee, he stretched the right leg out along the length of the sofa, his only clothing a pair pf loose fitting white cotton shorts. His hair still wet from an earlier shower; he was the picture of relaxation. “So tell me about Sauri.”

Angelina felt that familiar feeling of complete love. No man had ever shown a true interest in her work. She doubt if they’d even really understood her need to do it. “It was amazing in some parts and heart wrenching in others. We visited a hospital in one of the villages. Three hundred patients are seen daily, by only one doctor. There are only eleven beds and those are usually shared by patients and sometimes their parents. I saw a child with pneumonia sharing a bed with his mother and later they added a child with malaria and his mother to the same bed. “ Angelina couldn’t keep the sadness from her voice.

Dropping his leg, Brad sat up. He didn’t like the sadness that he now heard. He been listening, but now he truly heard. “All four in the same bed?”

“Yeah…there’s no fresh…running water, not enough medicine…” taking a deep breath she continued. “They have to manually washed the hospital linens, using buckets of water. There’s an ambulance but it sits up on blocks and hasn’t worked for years. I don’t know how these people are surviving.” Angelina wiped at the tears welling up in here eyes. “Baby I would terrified if I had to put Mad in that hospital. You could end upcoming out sicker than when you went in. But it’s all they have.”

Memories of Windermere and her young sister flashed through his mind. There had to be a way to help them all. “I hear your voice baby, but I also hear your heart. What do you want to do?”

Angelina didn’t know where to start. “I want…I want to get them the basics. A new ambulance, new linens, routine medications, beds, running water. They need so much.”

“Let’s start there then. We’ll get them the ambulance, the beds, and the linens. As for the water system, we’ll have to donate the funds for the work and materials. And perhaps they can get the doctor more help as well.” He wanted to hear the smile in her voice again, but he also needed to keep things realistic. “Sweetheart, that’s only one village and it’s a mere band aid not a permanent solution.”

“I know…so many in need…” Angelina sighed heavily. “And so little aid to go around.” His generosity made her heart swell. His use of the word we and let’s, gave her the feeling of being part of a unit…a healthy unit. “Thank you.”

“For what?” Brad shook his head frowning.

“For standing by me and taking on my fight, even if it is a wild one.” She chuckled softly. It felt so good to be able to talk to someone who would listen and give feed back, whether you wanted to hear it or not.

“Baby, that’s what is suppose to happen in a healthy relationship. Couples who care for one another, have to care completely not just when it’s convenient to do so. I love you and I want you to be sure of that, every single day.” Brad whispered.

I do and I’m learning to appreciate you more and more everyday.” Angelina smiled. She was beginning to enjoy this ‘partnership.’ ’For the first time in her life, she felt as though someone truly ‘got’ her and wasn’t interested in changing her.

“And I appreciate all things you, everyday too baby. I’m learning too baby…I’m learning too.” Brad answered honestly. He wasn’t a pro at relationships; his divorce was proof of that. They would learn together. “Tell me more about the villages.”

“Oh, the first ‘Millennium Village’ is already on it’s way. The villagers were given small loans last year.” She paused for a moment before moving on. “The difference it made is amazing. They have crops now. They can sale for money and goods. They have food and the farmers can even donate a small portion of then crops to the local school. The school can now feed all the children, not just one class a day. The children are performing better and attendance is up. All they needed was just a little help. Not a hand out you know? Guidance, opportunity and little compassion is all they needed.”

Brad enjoyed the sound of her excitement. He wished he’d been able to experience it with her. “Yeah? That is amazing! Hopefully they’ll get to the second village soon and keep going until all the villages are as productive as this one.”

“Hopefully they’ll get three more up by the end of the year. The goal is to have at least one hundred up and running by the end of 2006.” Angelina yawned softly. “Oh Maddox says hi, he misses you, you’re his hero and he can’t wait to see you.”

“God only knows how much I miss him and his mother.” Brad's voice dropped an octave, “How many days?”

“Less than twenty-four hours.” Angelina couldn’t believe how fast time had passed.

“When do you two arrive?” Brad asked.

“We should land by two in the afternoon.” Angelina supplied eagerly. She was just as anxious as Maddox to see him. She couldn’t wait to feel his arms around her, his mouth on her and his body…

“And?”

Smiling at his obvious impatience. “We’re staying at the Essex.”

“That’s not far from me.” As if he’d read her thoughts, he moved on to dangerous territory. “ I can’t wait to get my hands on you and my mouth on you.” he teased.

“Mmmm…now that’s dangerous.” Angelina purred.

Trying to get his mind and overheated body off of her, he changed topics. “Did Akiva call you?”

“Yeah, he wants to have a meeting tomorrow. He called you too?” she asked.

“Uh…huh. Same thing…meeting tomorrow.” Brad frowned, he wondered if this was about the pictures.

“One guess.” Brad offered.

“Pictures?” Angelina answered.

“Yup.” A thought ran through his mind. “Damn!”

“What?” Angelina asked. His mood changed so suddenly.

“I have to finish the Diane Sawyer interview tomorrow. I wanted to meet your flight.” Brad groused.
“Baby you can’t meet me there. You know that. We’ll have time together.”

“Promise?” Brad pushed.

“Oh my yes.” Angelina assured him.

“I love you baby, get some sleep.” Brad blew a kiss into the phone.

“I love you too. What are you going to do?” Angelina asked.

“I booked a spa treatment. That dessert has killed my skin…it’s a mess.” Brad ran his hand over his cheeks.

“Hmmm…desert air huh? Well it is dry.” Angelina offered more in a whisper. “Stop smoking.”

Laughing, Brad answered. “I will, when my lady is here to hold my hand.”

“Good bye. I love you.”

“I love you too baby. Fly safely and kiss Mad for me.” Brad didn’t want hang up, but he knew she had to sleep. He’d see her soon.

“I will.” Blowing him a return kiss, she hung up.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



May 31, 2005
Manhattan
Essex Hotel




3:30pm…



Angelina placed the key card inside of the envelope with a small note. Handling the envelope to her assistant, Holly she asked her friend a favor. “Holly I can you please do me favor. Please?

Holly took the envelope. “Sure, let me guess, you want me to take this over to the Mandarin Hotel right?”

Smiling Angelina nodded. “Yes…thanks.”

“Anything for true love. While you head out the front lobby for your meeting, Mad and I will head out the back way. No one will see me leave here or enter there. “Putting the envelope into her shoulder bag. “When will you be back?”

“Soon hopefully. Akiva can go on but he’s not usually long winded.” Angelina laughed kissing Maddox on the forehead. “Mommy will be back soon. Listen to auntie Holly okay?”

Hugging his mother good bye, Maddox answered. “Yes mommy.”

Angelina left amidst a frenzy of paparazzi shout and snap shots. While Holly and Maddox left the back way and entering a waiting car without being noticed.



Copyright © 2006 all rights reserved By ‘Rica’



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