So tonight I’m live tweeting the Golden Globes with my sister, Alexandra Christian, and our friend, writer Amy Ravenel, starting around 7ish EST with the red carpet stuff. (Come prattle with us; the snark will fly thickly; it’ll be festive! I’m@lucybluecastle on Twitter.) And I remembered, hey, a whole chapter of my book, Alpha Romeo, takes place at the Golden Globes. The heroine, Scarlett, is an actress and the daughter of a major movie star, Calvin Cross. She’s nominated as Best Supporting Actress in a drama for her first part, playing his daughter in a movie directed by a well-respected European auteur, Aksel Jorgen:
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Once we were inside the theatre, the illusion of a dream was even stronger. Reality couldn’t possibly contain so many pretty people in such a tiny, overcrowded space. I clung to my brother’s hand and let him lead me, smiling and waving or kissing everyone who called my name and recognizing no one. I felt like I was drowning, but no one else could tell.
Our table was only two rows back from the stage and nearly dead center. Even I knew what that meant. Somebody thought somebody with us was going to win. Sebastian was sitting beside Jorgen, hanging on his every word. Cal was on Jorgen’s other side with Bette beside him, her arm twined around his as she leaned in to listen, too. Watching them, all I could see was Berlin, the sight of them dancing in front of the window, the lights of the city and the snowflakes falling in the colored light. All these perfect little movie scenes inside my head, so pretty and horrible, perfectly lit, and none of them meant anything at all. I sank into the chair beside Sebastian and folded my hands on the table, eyes closed, fighting another sudden wave of nausea, as if the little problem making me sick could read my thoughts.
“Sissy,” he whispered urgently, putting a hand on my arm. “Are you all right?”
I suddenly remembered something Stella used to say, quoting her father, who had fought in World War II. “Oh yeah.” There was a glass of ice water in front of me, and I took a sip. “Situation normal . . . all fucked up.”
The next two hours were a blur. Jorgen won, as everybody had known he would–best director of a movie drama. I stood up and applauded as he walked away from the table, but I barely heard his speech. At one point Sebastian reached over and squeezed my hand, and everyone at the table was smiling at me. “He thanked you for being his muse,” Sebastian whispered in my ear.
“Oh,” I said, not quite a whisper back. “That’s nice.” I smiled back at the others, but I truly could not have cared less.
Sebastian kept a hold on my hand through the next award, best supporting actor in a drama, the category he was nominated in. His hand was ice cold and shaking, I suddenly realized. I turned toward him, putting my other hand over his and leaning close, and he leaned in, too, and kissed my cheek as the nominees were read. His lips were icy, too.
Then they read out the name of the winner–somebody else. “Oh thank God,” he mumbled against my ear, squeezing my hands in his. “Thank you, Jesus.” He let me go to applaud, and I clapped with him.
Then suddenly it was my turn.
“This is you,” Sebastian said, taking my hand again. I stared at him blankly. “Your category,” he pressed on. “You need to pay attention; you might win.”
I laughed. “Yeah, right.” No one in the world expected that. The nominees were me, Bette, a producer’s new wife, a three-time winner, and a former siren of the ’60s who was up for playing the evil dowager duchess in an arthouse flick based on an 18th century Russian novel. More importantly as far as I was concerned, Sebastian hadn’t won. I didn’t stand a chance. I smiled across the table at Bette, who winked back. We didn’t stand a snowball’s chance in Vegas.
Then the actor at the podium called my name.
At first, I didn’t react, thinking he was just reading out the nominees. Then I realized people were looking at me and applauding. I turned toward my smiling brother and fell into his arms. He kissed my cheek and started pushing me away. “Go,” he said when I tried to hold on to him. “You have to go.”
I stood up as Calvin came around the table, and I grabbed him next, dissolving into tears. At that moment, I was too terrified to care that we were fighting; right then, I just wanted my daddy. Don’t make me go, I wanted to beg him; go for me; this is a mistake. But he was kissing me and pointing me toward the stage. I started walking, one foot moving mechanically in front of the other until I reached the stage, stumbling a little on the steps. I turned into the blinding lights, wide-eyed, crying, completely at a loss. The extremely tall, skinny English actor who had called my name was smiling down at me, polite and barely interested as he put the trophy in my hands. I let out a little hiccup as I gripped it, and he raised an eyebrow before leaning into hug me.
“Breathe,” he ordered in a whisper. “Thank the Foreign Press.”
“Yes,” I was whispering back, my knees weak with gratitude.
“Your father, your brother, the people who worked on the film.” He drew back, the polite smile still on his face but his eyes now sparkling with mischief, and I smiled back.
“Thank you,” I said to him out loud, and the mike picked it up–the opening of my speech. I turned toward the audience, startled, and everyone laughed, and I felt myself smile. “I’m . . . I want to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press.” My voice sounded like a stranger on a TV in another room, and I could only see the faces of the people at the very front. The ’60s siren I had beaten was smiling up at me with brittle cheer. “And my father . . .” I couldn’t see Calvin, but I could imagine him, smiling, so beautiful, so proud. “I love you so much, Daddy.” I was crying again, but now I had control of it. “And Sebastian . . . thank you. And everyone who worked on the film . . . Aksel.” I had never once called Jorgen by his first name, on the set or off it, but I was doing it now. “You’re amazing,” I said. “You’re an amazing, great director.” I looked toward the wings, and he was standing there beaming at me. I smiled and waved, and the audience chuckled.
“And Bette,” I said, turning back to the mike. “Who is brilliant, and all of the other nominees.” I could see the conductor raising his baton, ready for me to be done, and I started to step back and walk away. Then I thought of one last thing, the most important thing, the thing that had held me so spellbound all night I barely knew where I was. “And Stella,”I said suddenly, leaning close to the mike so it was loud. “My beautiful mama.” My throat was closing up, and I was trembling, but I was determined I would get it out. “I miss you so much . . . and I love you.” I was crying harder now. “And I wish so much that you were here.” I held up the trophy, and I saw the ’60s siren weeping. “This is for you.”
The band started playing as soon as I started turning away. The scarecrow-looking English actor whose name I wished I had paid attention to took hold of my elbow. I smiled at him again and let him lead me off the stage.
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Wanna read the whole book? I’d be thrilled – find the best links to buy it here: https://lucybluecastle.wordpress.com/alpha-romeo-scarlett-cross-book-1/