Cats are Brighter than Sheep

 

Emma Lee

 

 

Of course itís raining, that torrential rain thatís fully visible on a movie screen. Itís also autumn: those long, black leather coats donít look right in sunshine. Naturally itís night. Unless thereís a helicopter crash which needs a clear blue sky for it to look spectactular against, all action can only happen at night: shadows make it easier to disguise a CGI scene from an acted one.

Jenna sighed and maximised her email box on her back-up PC so she could leave the scene sheíd been working on displayed on her main PC. She flexed her hand then idly fingered her short dark hair as she skim-read her inbox, looking for a message that wasnít demanding her talents. She saw one, subject Thanks!, so she opened it.

Loved your work on ĎCats are Brighter than Sheepí! I wonít bore you with telling you how good you are: superlatives on that scale donít exist. How about dinner? A small token of my appreciation. Best, Kian.

Kian Winters. She remembered: tall, dark-haired with grey-blue eyes. Heíd spent four months in the gym before shooting to build a muscle-tone worthy of the leader of a small gang of rebels who were trying to save humanity. Sheíd had fun making that body dodge bullets and run over rooftops.

Jenna clicked on reply to sender, Nice try. Why not wait for the criticsí reaction first?, and clicked send. She knew the critics would fawn all over him, largely thanks to her efforts. For a supposedly dim-witted actor, heíd yet to make a duff film.

Iím serious. Friday. Jacyís 20:00 hours.

Jenna laughed: there were already plans for a sequel, werenít there? Heíd done some homework. Presumably the studio had told him sheíd only go to Jacyís restaurant because it was the only one sheíd been to so far that didnít make her feel awkward about her wheelchair. OK, Iíll meet you there, she replied. After all, it wasnít exactly a date. One look at her and heíd turn his attentions back to his co-star, so there couldnít be any harm in it.

She turned back to her main PC, now displaying a screensaver. The year 2000 had been a good year for movies: "The Matrix" paving the way for "Crouching Tiger, Sleeping Dragon", sheíd graduated and then the actorís strike meant demand for CGI skills like hers soared.

* * *

Jacyís was lit with flattering soft lighting, each table spaced with plenty of room for Jenna to manoeuvre herself without help. There was no background noise save the hushed tones of other diners. Jenna purposely arrived early and was shown to the table Kian had booked. She didnít have long to wait.

"Jenna!" he leant down to kiss her cheek. "Youíve not been waiting long?" he sat opposite her.

She watched him look at her, from her face to the rounded neckline of her black velvet dress, down towards the arms of her wheelchair and back up to her face. He spread his palms upward in an open gesture and smiled. But she heard the hestiation in his voice when he said, "You look stunning!"

"The studio didnít tell you. My lower legs were crushed in a car crash when I was a teenager."

"So you became a leading lady in CGI rather than a leading lady," he said lightly.

"Something like that."

The waiter took their orders.

"What do you honestly think of ĎCats are Brighter than Sheepí? I mean honestly, not what you think I want to hear."

"Itís a good movie. Should help broaden your career options."

"Thanks."

"I mean it as a compliment. Tell me, Iíve not met many actors but most of them seem only too happy to talk about themselves at great length. However, Iíve not aware of your doing any interviews."

Kian smiled, "I prefer to leave all that to my PR."

"Ah," said Jenna softly. "Youíre the introvert who comes alive on screen type."

He had the grace to laugh.

"Iím sorry, sometimes my cynicism runs away with itself. I spend most of my days talking to a computer."

"And your nights? Surely youíve been asked out by actors before?"

Jenna shrugged and shook her head, "Generally I say no." She didnít say sheíd had very few offers: hers wasnít a glamorous job.

"So why yes to me?"

"Curiosity, I guess."

Jenna leaned forward and picked up the water jug, offering it to Kian, who declined, before pouring herself a glassful. Perhaps it was her mistake assuming most people would walk away from her just because a couple of dates had. Suppose this was a date instead of an attempt to persuade her to work on the sequel? She was grateful when the waiter brought their food: conversation could be kept to small talk while they ate. He ate slowly, savouring each mouthful.

"You know ĎCats are Brighter than Sheepí was the first CGI movie I really got involved in."

She didnít, but nodded anyway.

"I wonder how prepared the movie-goer is to accept fight scenes like that or whether they just accept the critics telling them it works. Theyíre not actually realistic after all."

"Surely the whole point is that itís not for real?"

"But the audience have to believe, donít they?"

"Sort of," she said slowly. "The fight scenes in ĎCats are...í arenít realistic in that they couldnít happen in real life. But, because they happened in virtual reality, they obey the rules the movieís created and the audience are prepared to believe them."

"Yeah, but movies have to be realistic to be credible. How do an audience accept those scenes?" he frowned.

"Audiences go to movies expecting to suspend their judgement and make believe whatever plot and characters are being played out in front of them. Thatís what makes movies so seductive: the audience are involved in the fantasy of whatís going on. So if youíre true to character, the audience would think it realistic. In a movie theatre you expect realistic, not necessarily real," she felt relieved they were talking about movies and she wasnít having to nod politely to a monologue about his latest interest.

"So, like science fiction, the movie has to be credible to the set of rules it creates? If it does that, it doesnít necessarily have to be real?"

Jenna nodded. "And to be successful, it helps if you leave space for the audienceís imagination or participation. I think in the unlikely event that an audience discovered that a scene in a movie, whether a violent scene or a love scene, had actually happened, theyíd feel cheated because they had no part in the make believe. Whereas if theyíre left thinking they had a part in making and accepting that scene, then they feel they had a part in the movie and leave satisfied."

"So less is more. Like those horror movies that donít show the monster are somehow more terrifying."

"Yeah, because if the audience have no part in the make believe, then they donít feel theyíve interacted with the movie. The movie becomes no better than wallpaper."

Kian slowly nodded.

Jenna smiled, not sure what she could add to the conversation. Fortunately he didnít seem to expect her to say anything. They finished their meal in a comfortable silence.

"Iíve enjoyed tonight," she commented over coffee.

"Thank you for agreeing to come. Perhaps we could do it again?"

Jenna avoided a direct answer, "What do you do when youíre resting?"

"Spend way too long surfing the net and thinking about setting up a homepage, but there are so many fansites out there it doesnít seem worth it. That and mucking around with digicams. I make on-set video diaries when Iím filming. Iíd love to do an interview with you, perhaps showing some of the techniques you use? After all ĎCats are Brighter than Sheepí must be 50% CGI and you never get interviewed."

Jenna smiled and shook her head, "I donít do interviews."

* * *

Jenna gave the delivery man a tip and took the white flowers from him. After shutting and locking her apartment door, she stupidly wondered what to do with them. She found a tall glass that would do as a vase and put them in water, then put the vase between her PC screens. A quick browse of the web told her they were arum lilies. She picked up the plain white card that had come with them. "Love, KW", she read. One date - if thatís what it was - two days ago and he was sending her flowers. No one had sent her flowers before, except her aunt when she was still in hospital and being told what a brave girl she was. She smiled: Kian was hardly telling her she was sick. She emailed her thanks.

Glad you like them. Found this charming, wheelchair-friendly restaurant: itís all on one floor, ramp to the front door and accessible cloakrooms. Dinner tonight? K.

Not tonight, she began typing. Then stopped. What excuse did she have? Dinner with him had been pleasant enough. Besides if she didnít meet him, how could she find out how serious he was? Perhaps next week?

Iíll book us for next Friday then, same time.

Kian was right about the wheelchair-friendliness of the restaurant. Jenna flicked her chair control to manual and let him wheel her in, just to see how heíd cope. She allowed herself to feel relief when he steered her to their table without crashing into anything and without jolting her.

He waited until their food had arrived before complimenting her, "Every time I see you, you look more stunning than before."

"And you remind me why I so enjoyed doing ĎCats are...í," Jenna studied his expression. She couldnít see any hint he had his tongue in his cheek, even though it was only the second time heíd seen her.

"It will be an honor doing the sequel."

"Youíre assuming Iíll be working on it."

"You wonít be?" he asked.

"Nothingís certain," Jenna shrugged. "Probably, but donít assume. I never assume anything until Iíve signed the contract and even thatís no guarantee the film will be made."

Kian smiled, "Youíre a cynic."

"Realistic," she corrected. Realising sheíd taken the conversation down a dead end, she asked, "So, which of your leading ladies have you dated?"

"None."

She raised an eyebrow.

"Really. Iíve accompanied some to premieres, but never actually dated them."

"But there must have been a serious girlfriend... Tell me to butt out if Iím being nosy."

"No, itís only natural youíd ask. Thereíve been a couple."

"Iím fishing. I guess Iím still wondering why me," Jenna continued eating.

"Because I fall for beautiful, intelligent women who understand the workings of creating a movie."

"Youíre good at flattery."

"I mean it. You take care over your appearance. But you donít behave like thereís a long lens camera is tracking you everytime you leave your apartment. Thatís so refreshing."

"And the wheelchair?"

He shrugged, "Itís not stopped you using your talents or doing anything you want to do. Even if the attitude of others meant you had to work harder, promote harder, than most. Itís not a barrier."

Jenna couldnít hear any hesitation or insincerity.

"Anyway, to answer your earlier question, because you deserve an answer. One was a camera operator. Weíd been dating a couple of months and I discovered she was also having an on/ off affair with a producer."

Jenna shook her head, "Did she really think that would further her career. Sounds like you were much better off without her."

Kian paused while he finished his meal. "The other was a writer. One night she stood me up. Then didnít return any of my calls. I called round at her place, but a neighbour told me sheíd moved. I couldnít find a forwarding address. I asked round the studio, but her contract had finished so they werenít interested. I tried her family, but they wouldnít respond to my calls," he shrugged. "She just seemed to have vanished."

"Any idea why?" Jenna knew that if this scriptwriter didnít want to be found via movie credits, she simply could use an assumed name. She was watching him as he spoke. He kept his voice low and flat. She felt for him: being two-timed was bad enough, but to have someone vanish on you, that seemed really sad. She wondered why the writer had done it. Kianís behaviour to her had been impeccable. Perhaps heíd learnt from whatever mistakes heíd made in the past.

Kian shook his head.

"Coffee?" Jenna asked to change the topic. "Why donít we go back to my place, for coffee. Iíll give you a lift home."

Jenna looked at him, "Itís a kind offer, but not tonight. Iíve had a long day. Iím actually in the rare position of being behind schedule on a project."

"Oh?"

"The budget and schedule are executive-driven, rather than producer-driven, so theyíre not realistic. One sceneís already had to be re-shot because I couldnít work with it and thatís the first time Iíve ever had to do that. Iíve got a bad feeling about the whole thing."

"Canít you quit?"

Jenna shrugged, "Iím sorry. I didnít mean to bring this up. Itís my problem, not yours. Iím just a bit tired thatís all. Iíd like to go home."

"Iíll take you. The stories about my love of fast cars have an element of truth, but, itís okay, I promise you a safe journey."

"If I can get in it."

She followed him out to his car: a sleek, black limousine-style Mercedes. Jenna manoeuvred herself into the front passenger seat and folded her wheelchair as Kian watched. After checking that she was reasonably comfortable, he got in the driverís side and started the engine.

"Have you ever thought about artificial limbs? Iím curious. Itís not a criticism," he asked as he drove off.

Jenna shook her head, "I was twelve. It was thought better not to. Then I didnít see the point. Iím just as inconvenient in a wheelchair as I would be with artificial limbs and crutches, so whatís the point?"

"The last thing you are is inconvenient. Did you like the lilies? I didnít know what your favourite flower was."

"The lilies were lovely. Iím city born and bred so know nothing about wildlife and intend to keep it that way. My PCís my world."

Kian shook his head, "That seems sad."

"Itís a doorway thatís usually open."

* * *

She cursed under her breath as she heard her doorbell ring. It was 20:00 hours. She saved her work and closed all open files. She opened the microphone on the door entry, then buzzed open the door to let her visitor in while she unlocked and opened her apartment door.

"Hope you donít mind. But I thought youíd be so busy working youíd forget to eat, Iíd take the liberty of bringing dinner," Kian said as he walked in. "You didnít respond to my emails. I was beginning to think you were avoiding me."

Jenna managed a smile, "Iíve not responded to any emails for the past five days. Iíve done my usual trick of immersing myself in work and forgetting about everything else. Iím sorry, I should have responded. I certainly wasnít avoiding you. Kitchenís through there. Although it might be easier if I did it." The smell of food made her realise how hungry she was. Her grabbed snacks of the past few days might have kept hunger at bay, but hadnít sated her.

Kian glanced into the kitchen, noticing that everything was arranged at wheelchair height. "OK." He put the packages of a takeaway down on the kitchen table, then went back to her work room to give her space in the kitchen.

Jenna transferred the contents of the packages to plates and found some cutlery. Kian joined her. She noticed heíd taken off his coat and presumably left it on her workstation, the only space he could have left it.

"Thereís only the one chair, Iím afraid. The meal was a good idea. Iíve been known to forget to eat or even sleep at times."

"I ought to take you home and distract you."

"Well, it worked. Iím done," she spoke between mouthfuls. "Itís a relief to get this one over with." Now her irritation had subsided, she was grateful heíd interrupted her work.

"Has it been that bad?"

"Itís a star-vehicle, except that the star is a pop singer desperate to make her acting debut. Trouble is, she can only act one role and thatís herself. Couple that with a hectic schedule and forty-eight emails a day from a studio executive anxious to check progress..."

"No wonder youíre worn out."

They finished their meal in silence. Then Jenna cleared their plates, rinsed and stacked them in the kitchen and got rid of the takeaway wrappings. Watching him relax in her company reminded her why sheíd enjoyed working on "Cats are Brighter than Sheep".

"Why not lie down and let me give you a massage?" he paused, "Thatís not a seduction line."

Jenna smiled, "If you would, that would be wonderful. My shoulders are a bit tense."

She wheeled herself through to her bedroom. Kian stood in the doorway while she hoisted herself on to her bed. She shifted herself to lie on her stomach. For her it seemed as if several minutes passed before she felt bed dip as he sat down. There was a pause before he unzipped her dress. It took a couple of attempts before he managed to unhook her bra. Jenna felt herself blush and mentally cursed herself for not doing it for him. She was about to apologise when she felt his hands touch her back. Tentatively he began to massage her. This was much better: his actions were so soothing she could feel her muscles unknot themselves and her tension ease.

When heíd finished, she clamped her elbows and upper arms to her sides so the front of her dress stayed up, then twisted herself onto her side so she could look at him. He avoided her gaze. "Why not stay?" she asked.

"Are you sure?" There was a mixture of desire and relief in his expression.

Jenna nodded and let her dress fall.

Kian leaned over and kissed her, "Youíre sure?"

"Yes." She pulled him closer.

She woke in his arms. As she shifted a little, he stirred. She smiled, unsure of what to say. He kissed her.

"So what are you doing today?" he broke their silence.

"Well, Iíve got some finishing touches to do, which have to be done today. Thereís a studio meeting tomorrow."

"Thought you were finished."

"Not quite. Thereís a scene I wasnít quite happy with and, after good nightís sleep, I now know whatís wrong with it."

"So you want me out of the way?"

"Not immediately," she smiled and turned to face him.

"Thereís something I suppose I have to ask," he began.

"Oh?"

"Well, I could avoid love scenes and watch my acting career fade rapidly..."

Jenna smiled, "Look, youíre an actor, you act. On set youíre whoever youíre acting. If your character has to do a love scene, you have to do that scene in character otherwise youíd be a bad actor. It doesnít reflect on what we do off set."

"You donít think youíd ever think... I have to ask."

"I donít get jealous. Besides if you and an actress ever had sex for real on screen, the audience would feel cheated," she sighed.

He raised an eyebrow. "You mean you donít think it might be for real, at least, not real in the way last night was?"

"No, I wouldnít think it was for real."

"But, if a camera had been trained on us last night, how would the viewers know whether it was real or not? We know," he paused and let his hand trace the curves of her body, "but would an audience..."

"We know last night was real," she kissed him, "thatís all we need. Thereís no audience to care." She wondered why he seemed so hung up on this.

He responded, pulling her closer. Then frowned, "But Iíd have to make it realistic on set. That would affect you? You in a love scene with another actor would affect me."

She shook her head, "You worry too much."

"So long as it doesnít become a problem."

No, it wonít become a problem, she bit her tongue rather than say her thoughts out loud. "Why donít I come to yours tonight? Assuming I can get round your apartment."

He smiled. "Thanks to you, Iíve rediscovered minimalism and cleared out a lot of clutter. Iíve put some handrails up in the bathroom and anything you canít reach, itíll be a pleasure to carry you to."

"Youíre getting to know me," she smiled.

"Iím an actor. I watch people." Kian pulled her even closer. "You said you didnít want me out of the way immediately." He kissed her.

* * *

Jenna knew something was wrong as she put the key in the lock to her apartment. She suddenly got an overwhelming feeling she wasnít doing to like what she saw when she opened the door. She thought things had been going too well. Her final touches to that awkward scene had worked and the studio meeting had gone successfully. She opened the door and closed it behind her. Initially she couldnít see anything out of place, but could feel a draught. She wheeled herself to the kitchen.

The kitchen window was broken. Judging by the way shattered glass had spilled over the worktops and floor, it had been pushed in from outside. Jenna moved out of the room and phoned the police. While waiting for them to arrive, she checked and double checked her apartment.

Two policemen turned up within half an hour. They confirmed that the glass pane had been pushed in from outside and took a statement.

A couple of hours later an emergency glazier turned up and tutted at the broken glass. "Did they really leave you here on your own with that window open and all that glass?" he asked incredulously.

Jenna nodded as she watched from the kitchen doorway. She felt very tired.

"Iíll get that window boarded up and clear up for you." He shook his head, "They shouldnít have left you with this mess. Whatís happened must have been distressing enough," he looked at her wheelchair.

Jenna wheeled herself back to her workstation and checked her emails. She deleted all the mails from the studio. There was no message from Kian. She wondered if she ought to offer the glazier coffee, but dismissed the idea.

"You donít think it was a burglar then?" the glazier asked from the kitchen, shouting over the noise of sweeping up the glass.

"No," Jenna replied. "Nothing was taken." She wheeled herself back to the kitchen doorway.

"Itís strange, well, odd anyway. This pane was taken out, so whoever did it could get in, then put the pane back in, but only puttied on the outside. Strong gust of wind, the window caved in. Perhaps whoever did it thought they might find find a spare key to your apartment door, so wouldnít need the window as an exit, then had to improvise when they couldnít find a key. Anyway, Iím nearly done."

Jenna heard the faint ring that meant she had a new email and returned to her screen.

Howíd the studio meeting go? Dinner my place? Love KW.

Meeting OK. But not tonight. Talk later, she replied. She hesitated before sending it and hoped it would be enough to deter him from calling round until much later. She wanted some time on her own.

"Iím off," announced the glazier cheerfully. "Youíre boarded up so youíre safe for now. Wow, neat equipment," he stopped to look at her computers.

"Itís for work," she said tersely.

"A digicam too!" he caught her gaze, "OK, Iím off." He left.

Jenna frowned: digicam? She didnít have a digicam. She manipulated images, she didnít create them.

The doorbell rang. She could see Kian through the spyhole and let him in. Heíd bought her flowers which she took and put in her vase.

"Iím really sorry," he began. "I know this isnít a good time. And Iím really sorry, but I just wanted to check you were OK. I know you said the meeting went well, but itís not like you to say Ďtalk laterí. So, Iím really sorry, but I wanted to drop by and check everything was OK. The studio did like the film, didnít they? I am sorry."

"Yes, the studio liked the film and stop apologising. Have a look in the kitchen."

He looked at her, then walked towards the kitchen. She watched.

"Oh my God! What happened?" he turned back to her looking genuinely shocked.

"Someone broke in," she said. She looked down at her hands and realised she was shaking.

Kian leant over, flipped her chair to manual control, wheeled her to her bedroom, parked the chair near the bed, then picked her up and set her down on the bed so that he could hold her. Jenna gave in to her tears.

"Was anything taken?" he asked when her tears had subsided.

She shook her head.

"They must have been disturbed, then."

"The police said there was only one and he or she wore gloves."

"Did they leave a mess?"

Jenna shook her head, "Apart from the broken window."

"Are you okay here? You could always come and stay at mine for a few days if you want."

"Itís kind of you, but Iíd be better here."

"Let me know if you need anything. I could stay here, if you like. Iíd be happy to. This must have been a real shock."

"Iím okay. Iíd like some time on my own."

"Then let me bring dinner here tonight. Itís the least I can do," he kissed her.

"Okay," she nodded.

* * *

Jenna used the few hours she had alone to clean her apartment. It felt like the only way she could reclaim it from the police and the intruder. As she dusted her workstation, she noticed a black square on the side of her back-up PC. Initially she assumed it must have been part of the document holder clip that sheíd broken off shortly after installing the PC. Looking at it more closely she noticed a thin plastic wire encasing running from the black square along the side of the monitor towards the CPU. She followed the wire and found it was plugged into the modem. This PC had a permanent Internet connection.

She frowned, but left it alone. It must be a remote data gathering device that transmits its data via the internet to whoeverís collecting the data, she thought. But why stick it there? If a rival or competitor wanted to know which films she was working on or wanted an insight into her techniques, it was stuck on the wrong computer. Even if the device were a camera, it couldnít see what she was working on as it was at the wrong angle and there were no mirrors or glass objects for it to reflect from. So, if it was sampling information, it wasnít doing so very efficiently and certainly wasnít sampling anything she need worry about.

She turned to her main PC then looked back at the device. It was placed to watch her. She shrugged. Whoíd want to watch her?

She wheeled herself to the kitchen, not bothering to flick on the light even though the boarded window made it dark. She poured a glass of water and took a couple of painkillers to ward off the beginnings of a headache. The broken window had shocked her. The data gathering device didnít. It was harmless.

Her parents had checked up on her every half hour or so after the accident because they thought she might be crying in her room after putting on a brave face for them. She knew they meant well. However, initially she felt mistrusted: of course sheíd tell them if she was in pain or struggling to manage. Gradually her mistrust gave way to irritation, which slowly faded. They left a baby monitor in her room. But they could not steal her imagination.

She made a temporary internet connection from her main PC and searched for a list of films Kian had acted in. From the list she selected the first one heíd had a major role in and scanned the credits for the scriptwriterís name. She emailed her contact at the studio to ask what had happened to that scriptwriter. She didnít have to wait long, Defected. If itís a formula romantic comedy, she probably wrote it under her current name Emily Johnstone. There was some upset with an actor. Although arrangements could have been made, she quit. Why ask?

Jenna emailed an excuse back about curiosity: the new name would explain why sheíd not seen the writer credited elsewhere. She closed the internet connection, deleted the two emails and deleted all related cookies on her hard drive. Then she picked up the phone and discovered Emily Johnstone was in a script meeting but would be available later that afternoon.

* * *

"The premiereís only a fortnight away," commented Kian.

Jenna bit her tongue. Sheíd been about to ask what premiere, but though better of it. She picked at her food while Kian tucked into the takeaway heíd brought. Concentrate, she told herself. "Will you be going?" She realised he was talking about the premiere of ĎCats are Brighter than Sheepí, which sheíd forgotten about as she hadnít intended to go.

He smiled, "I wanted to ask if youíd be there with me."

Jenna hesitated, thinking about the red carpet and flash bulbs. Cameras: she remembered him saying something about recording an on-set diary. She looked past him at the device stuck on her PC.

He looked up, then turned to follow the direction of her gaze. He looked worried, "I can explain..."

"You donít have to. You donít do casual relationships. You expect your partner to take the relationship as seriously as you do. Reasonable so far."

"Jenna..." Kian tried to interrupt.

"Then you discovered she was two-timing you. So you dumped her and focused on your acting career, not exactly brilliant so far, but that was about to change. Your first major part, you started dating the writer. Although you couldnít forget being betrayed. So you pestered her."

Kian put his plate down on the floor and stared at it.

"I understand your need to know," said Jenna.

He looked up at her. "But this is over, right. Thatís what youíre trying to say. Iím genuine, I really wanted this to work."

"So you found what you thought was a more subtle way of checking I wasnít cheating on you. Perhaps my wheelchair, my general reluctance to go out, were part of the attraction."

"No," he shook his head. "Jenna, please..."

"I think you owe me for a new window pane."

"Anything, Jenna... a new apartment if you want, anything. Iím sorry, really sorry," his voice tailed off and he opened his arms.

She didnít respond.

"Jenna..."

She looked away.

He picked his plate up and carried it through to the kitchen, then returned and picked up his coat. "Jenna, Iím really sorry."

She heard him leave and locked her apartment door behind him. She shut down her back-up PC and removed the digicam before rebooting her PC again. Jenna found some bubblewrap to protect the camera, then scribbled Kianís address on a jiffy bag and packed the digicam inside. Sheíd post it back to him tomorrow.

Her shoulders ached. She found herself slouching in her chair as if the past few weeks had drained all the energy and willpower sheíd ever managed to summon.

* * *

Thanks for the new windowpane, she emailed Kian a week later. Sheíd begun basking in the relative luxury of having given herself a fortnight free of work. Not only had the glaziers turned up the day after Kian had left, but theyíd also had instructions to fit strengthened double glazing.

Donít mention it. Thanks for returning the digicam. You didnít have to and I didnít expect you to. Can you bear to work on the sequel to ĎCats are...í? I understand if you canít, but Iím not confident anyone else could do the excellent job you did. Very Best Regards K.

She re-read the message and couldnít resist smiling. The studio had already approached her about the sequel, but sheíd held off signing up. Her hestitation had nothing to do with Kian: after all she didnít have to meet him. The premiereís Friday, isnít it?

It took him ten minutes to respond. Yes. Why?

Iíve never been to a premiere before. She quickly pressed send. Sheíd missed his tenderness, the gentle way heíd made love with her. Letís face it Jenna, she told herself, he was the only one who never told you how well you were doing despite your disability. As if not having a disability would enable you to do any better. And stop talking to your PC: itís as bad a habit as his paranoia. If you can change, he could change.

It took twenty minutes for Kian to respond, Thereís not much to it. You turn up, get plied with drinks, watch the film, try and escape before journalists try asking you questions. Why ask?

Iím thinking I was too hasty in telling you to leave. Perhaps we could talk about the premiere over dinner? If he could face being with her at such a public event, then she was wrong to ever doubt heíd been anything but genuine.

Shall I book Jacyís for tomorrow night?

Please. She grinned. Then emailed the studio to accept. Now she had two sequels that would be a pleasure to work on.

 

 

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Author Bio

Many of Emma Lee's stories and poems have appeared in anthologies and magazines in the UK, USA and in webzines. She has performed her poems locally in venues in Leicester, UK and her poems have also been broadcast on radio.

Visit Emma's homepage at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/teamlee

 

 


 

 

"Cats are Brighter than Sheep" Copyright © 2002 Emma Lee. All rights reserved.
Published by permission of the author.

 

This page last updated 10-25-02.

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