AN~ Welcome to my book. I hope you will find it enjoyable, whimsical yet relevant, and just plain enthralling. I don't write depressing stuff, I don't feel sorry for myself. I write stuff that I hope makes people happy. We could all use more of that, and not all of this death and distress in novels, not to mention real life, these days. So if you came looking for a smile, you've found the right place. ;-)
Dedicated to...Andrew James, as I prefer to call him. I'll never be able to hear that piano without seeing your face, either. ;-) Also to T.M., who has remained my Muse, after all this time.
And now, without further ado....
Lily Coltrane always viewed herself as a simple girl, though she hardly in reality felt that way. In her seventeen years of living, she couldn't remember feeling any other way about herself. It was as if there were some sort of barrier or broken bridge in her way, preventing her from having the things she wished so much for. Though she could see everything clearly, it was like looking through a glass wall; so close yet so far away.
Though, Lily rationalized, she had to put some of the blame onto herself. It wasn't always as if she were giving it everything she had, either. Lily knew that the only way she could get what she wanted in the world would be to chase after it, full throttle. But at least she did try. It just seemed to her that no matter what there was to do, it would never be good enough.
I guess that's what makes me simple. Nothing much. Just another face. Just another pipe dream twisting its way in and out of my heart,she thought, sitting on the middle of her bedroom floor that Saturday afternoon. Some distance away, her computer sat on its precarious tabletop of a desk, its printer sitting propped up on a small table beside it. It was humming quite loudly as it printed another of the pictures that were littering the carpet surrounding Lily.
As her printer spat out the finished photograph, she reached over for it, simultaneously brushing her shoulder-length, deep red hair back over her shoulder. Lily looked up as her computer's screensaver popped on, flashing a diorama of scenes from Firefly, one of Lily's favorite movies. But as it did so, Lily reluctantly got up from the floor and walked over to the machine, shaking the mouse slightly to bring back her desktop. After giving the mouse a few clicks, the printer started up again, and slowly began to spit out the next picture that Lily wanted.
As it did so, the printer shook back and forth, wobbling so much that it was causing the whole table to shake along with it, looking like it was about ready to fall over and crash onto the floor. Lily sighed. "Why is everything I own such crap?" She said rhetorically, exasperated. Though of course nobody answered, but that was all right with her.
She dropped down to the floor where she had been sitting, and gathered up the photos that had already printed. Picking up her scissors, she chose one and carefully started to cut around it. A few moments later the Firefly screensaver splashed onto her computer monitor again, causing another sigh to emit from Lily.
That movie was the main reason she was sitting there on the carpet, messing about with pictures. Firefly had been one of last summer's biggest blockbusters, and including the kind of sci-fi, action and adventure, hero-epic story that it had - the kinds of stories that dreamers like Lily just couldn't get enough of - it had completely swallowed her up.
She thought about that as she carefully cut around the brown-haired head of Ethan MacIntyre, who was the star of Firefly, and whom Lily had been sporting a large crush on ever since she had laid eyes on him. Meh, just another pipe dream he was, I guess, her thoughts shot back, as she finished cutting out his picture.
A tattered old memory book was sitting solemnly on the floor near Lily's feet. It was made of a tough, deep red material, and looked as if it has been opened and closed hundreds of times. On the front cover, in old-fashioned calligraphy, golden lettering formed three short words.
Found and Lost.
As she finished the cutting with the last picture that had been lying on the floor, Lily reached for the book, settling it in her lap as she carefully opened it, as if fearing it would crumble apart. She sorted through the hand made pages, almost methodically, until she found the uppermost empty one.
The sparkling blue eyes of Ethan stared up at her as she carefully pasted one of his pictures onto the page. Slowly Lily felt her thoughts reel backwards as she placed the photograph.
She couldn't believe he really was making her so down heartened like this. Sometime ago, Lily would never have even thought a day like this could come. Though Ethan might have been twenty-six years old, a movie star, and lived in San Diego - twenty-five hundred miles away from Lily - he really had felt like the one to her. She had never known of anyone who seemed like a more insightful, inspirational person. It was as if every time that Lily looked at him, some emotion of freedom - like her soul had grown wings - seemed to well up in her veins.
"But where did that go," Lily mumbled, a sad note in her voice. She didn't really say it as much as a question, but more of like a statement - as if there really was no answer to be had, anyhow. Usually she could figure it out. Usually the reason was simple. But this time, Lily had no idea what had happened.
Images of Ethan flooded her mind; various bits of his portrayal of his role of Adam Hunter, the swashbuckling and charming action-hero in Firefly. It was in that movie that Lily's admiration for the young, talented star grew into something that she couldn't explain, but just wanted to feel more and more of. That bravery, romanticism, and charm he portrayed had just completely grabbed Lily's heart.
But that, she realized, had happened so long ago. And nothing had ever seemed to change; Lily never seemed to change. It's no good loving someone from afar, she rationalized. And thinking that they're as perfect as the characters they play. Because then they always end up disappointing you.
She sighed, and looked back down at the page, the last of Ethan's in the book. There were several book pages filled with his photos along with this one. But this one she had done today was different. It was the last one.
It was almost finished, except for one thing left to do. Lily reached over for a Sharpie marker, and then started to scribble some words below Ethan's picture.
Ethan. I always felt that it wasn't me who found him, but he who found me instead. But how could he find someone he didn't even know? He made me feel that I could fly, but every time I did, I just couldn't stay aloft long enough to take myself anywhere. I tried, though. I guess that counts for something, though I'll probably never know what that was.
She vaguely flipped the pages, as the names of 'Shea' and 'Aaron' drifted by, but Lily barely paid attention to them. She closed the book then, a feeling of loss seeping into her as she watched the front cover snap shut. Lily laid it aside and sat back for a moment, closing her eyes. She felt physically and emotionally drained, as if she had just been through some life experience much more dramatic. But then, it had been dramatic to Lily. This was what her life had felt like it had been boiled down to, as her life was only meant for watching other people live theirs.
Feeling a surge of contempt rise up into her at that thought, Lily pulled herself up off the floor, hastily collecting the spare bits of paper littering the floor, and flinging them carelessly into the trash.
"Always worlds apart," she said bitterly, crumbling paper balls and tossing them like basketballs towards the bin. "Why do I waste my time looking out there? Who's there that will find me, huh?"
* * *
"Okay everyone, places! That includes you too, Trevor!"
From behind the camera, seventeen-year-old D.J. West had to laugh. The Wild Spades set was cluttered as cluttered could be, thanks to the television sitcom's star, Trevor Columbus. Only seconds before the director had called the cue, Trevor had been throwing clothes all over the living room portion of the set. Though the script had called for it, Trevor was never one to take his job lightly.
Swinging a pair of socks around like chains, the sixteen-year-old shouted out some sort of inane battle cry as he fought off invisible monsters. "ARGH! TAKE THAT, YOU VILLANOUS SCUM! FEEL THE COLUMBUS WRATH!"
D.J. glanced over at Rachel Vega, the director. She had an all-business look in her face, but he could tell she was trying hard not to laugh.
"Trevor, you are really full of it today," she said, cocking her head to one side in amusement. As Rachel moved to stand beside the camera, Trevor dropped the socks and gave a great flying leap, landing hard in front of her.
"I resent that!" He exclaimed, and then grinned. Grabbing handfuls of his dark, unruly hair and flailing his elbows all about, he started jumping up and down in place, trying to act obnoxious. "Why aren't I full of it everyday?"
D.J. laughed as Rachel rolled her eyes. "I stand corrected."
"Ha!" Trevor replied, walking over to D.J., slinging an arm around his shoulder. "So you think you're safe now?" He said to Rachel. "When you're leaving the set today, don't be surprised if you find all four of your tires slashed, while D.J. and I stand nearby, looking completely innocent!"
D.J. looked over at his co-star and grinned. "Yeah, but don't you have ballet practice tonight, dude?"
"HA! Yeah right, West!" Trevor sneered. "For your information ... that's next week."
The two of them exploded with laughter.
"Hey!" Rachel's voice called to them after a few moments. "If you two don't mind, it's time to roll!"
Trevor dropped his shoulders, looking slightly put out. "Hey, Rach, cut us some slack! We're growing boys, and we need our rest." He flashed a sappy smile and big puppy-dog eyes in her direction.
She sighed and tossed back her black curls, exasperated. But when she looked back at them, she smiled slightly. "Well, all right. But just a few minutes. We're almost done filming the new episode."
Trevor grinned and hooked a friendly arm back around D.J.'s neck, dragging him over to the snack table behind the cameras. Popping the top from a Pepsi, he threw back a long drink and looked at his co-star. "So, how is filming going on your movie?"
D.J. ran a hand through his thick blond hair, and dropped down into a folding chair next to the table. "Really great. Hectic, but great." He paused. "Though I don't know why you're asking me about Hourglass! You're the one who's going to be starring in Daybreak at Dusk! You know it's going to be a big summer blockbuster."
A sincere look crossed Trevor's face then. "Hey, I'm asking because I want to know how you're doing, Deej," he replied, giving D.J. a friendly smile. "And from what you're telling me, I think Hourglass is going to be great."
"Yeah, so do I, really. It's going to air in two weeks."
"Man, that's fast," Trevor replied, taking another swig from his soda pop. "You said you were still filming!"
D.J. grinned. "I lied. Just finished up last week. Now, promise me you're going to watch!"
The sixteen-year-old smiled back at his co-star. "Oh, you know I am! All-American teenager Tyler Kingsley jumps through time into the past, and craziness ensues - with a plot like that, how can I miss?"
"And plus, your favorite co-star has the lead role in it," D.J. told him, slinging his arm around Trevor as they both got to their feet. "And I'll make you a deal, bro."
"You tune in the T.V. and see Hourglass, and I'll get myself out to the theater for Daybreak at Dusk," he offered, a smile tugging at his lips.
"You know I was going to, anyway," Trevor replied knowingly, and not a moment too soon, as they heard a voice shouting their names.
"D.J.! Trevor! Break is over!" Rachel called, waving them back onto set. The slate clapper was standing nearby. "Now can we please finish this scene now, Mr. Columbus?" She said, smirking at Trevor.
"You may indeed," he replied in a pseudo-British accent, giving Rachel an exaggerated bow. "Where do you require my presence?"
As Trevor tiptoed off to his place on the set, D.J. could only laugh at his friend's crazy humor, thankful for it all the same. He didn't know how working on this sitcom for the number of years that he had could've possibly been nearly as fun as it had been, co-starring with Trevor. Though their characters in Wild Spades - Corey and Logan - were the best of friends, there was no way anyone could mistake their friendship off-camera, as well.
"Okay, action!" Rachel called out, as the slate clapper snapped his slate and ducked out of sight, just as Trevor, in character, came running out into the living room, been chased closely by Mollie, his onscreen sister. Letting out a zealous shriek, he took a great daredevil dive over the sofa, knocking against the coffee table and scattering its contents all over.
D.J. grinned at the hilarious moment, onlooking as the scene continued to film. That was why he loved working with Trevor for the number of years that he had; he was so much fun to have on the set, not to mention he was a pretty good friend. Despite his endless and wacky sense of humor, D.J. greatly appreciated the fact that Trevor could be very serious and understanding as well.
But the band?He thought faintly, running his hand through his hair again, absentmindedly. I just wonder if he'd really understand that part of me. I mean, Trevor loves my music, but to really go out on a limb, to make a break for having my own thing...
"Corey! Nine-one-one! Anybody!" A familiar voice shouted, snapping D.J. back to the present. It was Logan Spade, trapped in a corner by his sister Mollie, who had fixed a furious glare upon him.
D.J. caught his cue just in time. As he ran into the living room - as Corey, to rescue his best friend from his sister's clutches, the previous thoughts were so quickly pushed out of his mind.