The shooting crew of ‘SETH’ had moved to Montgomery, Alabama and so far they had been fulfilling their daily agenda without incidents or delays.
The delicate and controversial matters that the movie dealt with, interracial conflicts and civil rights movement, had aroused flaming arguments in some of the most conservative sectors within US society. Consequently, the free publicity along with the extra attention the media was dedicating to the project was helping the Studio to promote the movie even before the shooting reached its halfway point.
Richard Hopkins, as well as his partners in the Studio’s administrative council, were rubbing their hands in advance just thinking about the impact ‘SETH’ would have across the country. What started out being a modest script and a alternative movie, turned into a very promising project. So the owners of the Studio were living in an almost permanently orgasmic state at the prospect of producing for once a movie that would be shot on time, without exceeding the budget and that would blow the box office in its first exhibition weekend.
Nevertheless and to prevent unexpected incidents, the Studio and the insurance companies had insisted on the local authorities providing extra security all over the restricted area within the set. Consequently, Mr. Vin Diesel, as the star of the movie, was walking around surrounded by a little crowd of bodyguards, hired by the Studio itself. This circumstance made it almost impossible to come anywhere close or even near to Vin.
Once, Luna forgot her ‘all access area’ pass in their trailer. Vin’s local bodyguards almost threw her out of the shooting area thinking that Luna was a stalker when they found her trying to get into Vin Diesel’s trailer.
If it wasn’t for Sandra being around, running errands for Niko, they would have succeeded.
Luna felt embarrassed and mad at herself; she couldn’t believe her stupidity. Sandra grinned and brought Luna a tea, staying with her until the scriptwriter felt better.
The girl could see that Vin’s wife was shaking and she narrowed her eyes in suspicion when Luna kept pressing her chest. For a brief moment Sandra thought that Luna would end up having a heart attack.
Facing two huge guys hadn’t been a nice experience and Luna didn’t feel like dealing with it again anytime soon. They had scared the shit out of her and during the struggle they had left bruises on one of her arms.
Luna understood that they were doing their job even if they were putting maybe too much zeal on it for her liking. She couldn’t help but think what they would have done if she would have been a stalker instead of Vin’s wife.
Vin went ballistic; he wanted to kill the two guys with his bare hands just for touching Luna. He refused to see reason and they were fired that very same day even though everything had been a terrible misunderstanding.
Once Vin had calmed down a little, he started scolding Luna, saying he didn’t have the time to deal with that kind of shit while shooting. He needed to keep his mind focused, adding that she better make sure those kinds of slip-ups didn’t repeat. Luna got the message crystal clear. However, from that day and on, things started to change between the couple.
Luna had met Vin when he wasn’t working and so she had no clue what exactly ‘workaholic’ meant to Vin. That was until she found herself alone almost 24/7. Not even the fact that Valentino and Renee were there changed the cruel reality. She felt terribly lonely.
Luna wasn’t needed at all with the exception of a few minutes here and there to help Niko understand the characters’ evolution and points of view. She had no damn clue about the technical aspects of a shooting and she felt as if she was standing in the way of the crew. So Luna buried herself in her own future project, writing her erotic tales and sending them to Allison.
When Vin wasn’t shooting; he was rehearsing. When he wasn’t rehearsing; he was having meetings with Niko and the crew. When he wasn’t doing that; he was sleeping. The fact was that he was around her but wasn’t with her. They weren’t sharing any real time together, alone, and even their sex life started to be affected.
Vin was so tired and mentally exhausted that when he was back in their trailer, he only had energy left to take a quick shower, passing out until the next day. Luna and Vin almost didn’t speak about any other matter aside from the script and the shooting.
The only compensation that Luna got was to watch the recorded tapes with Vin’s scenes. He was putting everything he had in ‘SETH’ and more. She had no doubt that Vin would be nominated for an Oscar next year.
Things got worse as soon as Sheila Harley joined the shooting to play her role of ‘Leah’. The young TV actress managed to be around Vin almost constantly, asking him for his advice and guidance. Maybe she wasn’t that mediocre an actress after all because she was playing the role of her life. Only thing was, she was doing it off camera.
Luna found herself being an unwilling witness to Sheila’s relentless advances on her husband. Watching, powerless, how Vin, far from putting a stop to it, was kind of enjoying Sheila’s bold attempts to get in his pants. He found them extremely funny and deep down was endlessly enjoying being the target of Sheila’s flirting.
However, Sheila’s intentions were anything but innocent and even though everybody seemed to see that, Vin still insisted that she meant nothing by it. He was happily married and they were just playing around.
Luna wasn’t sure who she wanted to kill first, Vin or Sheila. She was constantly fighting back the urge to smack her husband around or rip Sheila’s eyes out of her pretty face. Luna knew that she was starting to lose her patience and cool around the young actress, especially when Sheila suggested changes within the script.
So far, Niko had been inflexible, refusing to pay attention to Sheila’s demands. He already had enough dealing with Vin himself. The movie star was turning into a pain in Niko’s ass. He couldn’t believe the size of Vin Diesel’s ego.
Too many times to keep track, Vin insisted on repeating a scene again and again, even though Niko had showed that he was satisfied with the result at the second attempt. But Vin didn’t care and he kept trying new things, improvising or just testing lights or different angles.
The young director was growing tired of Vin’s demands about technical aspects of the shooting. Niko was the director and Vin kept telling him that, but still he wanted to control Niko’s work too much for the young director’s liking.
The tension around the set grew more and more with every new shooting day, turning the easiest scene into a living hell for every single actor, actress and crewmember involved.
Of course when it rains it pours and the shit hit the fan four weeks after the shooting started.
Somehow, the media found out about Luna’s eating disorders, and pictures showing her before and after were published all over the Internet. As a direct consequence, several tabloids started to dig into Luna’s past in search of something, anything, they could use to satisfy their readers’ insane curiosity about ‘Mrs. Diesel’s’ whereabouts. They even contacted Luna’s friends and family in Spain. But to Luna’s horror, the worst had yet to come, or that was what she thought back then.
Without apparent explanation, the rumors that Luna had aborted had found their way to the Internet and even a copy of her pregnancy test was published for everybody to see.
Vin’s reaction didn’t wait. His lawyers sued the Hospital as subsidiary responsible, but the damage was already done.
Abortion was seen as an unforgivable sin in the eyes of the Catholic Church; an aberration, a murder.
The immediate consequence was that Luna’s parents, being catholic, even though with double standard morality, stopped answering Luna’s phone calls, giving their own daughter the cold shoulder.
The barrage of critics that followed didn’t mean anything to Luna anymore; she was already too hurt to give a damn.
Meanwhile, Vin had kept shooting his movie, trying to find comfort in his job. He loved Luna and didn’t give a damn about what the media said about his wife. But he had a movie to shoot and the sooner he was done the better. They would work things out once they were back in LA.
Delora and Irving traveled to Alabama, spending a whole week there to show their daughter in law their support and to make sure that Luna knew that she could count on them both, no matter what. Her only comfort at that very moment was to find that at least her new family still loved her.
However, that week passed flying and Luna found herself once again alone. She didn’t feel like bothering Renee with her own shit, mostly because Renee had more serious troubles to deal with.
Valentino was trying to get Renee pregnant but so far they hadn’t succeeded. So they had gone to a specialist. The result was that Renee’s vaginal mucous was determined to kill Val’s sperm that, to top it all off, were lazy. It seemed that some of the substances Val used in the past while boxing had affected the quality of his sperm.
They wanted to have a family and they wanted to have it now. So the news about Luna and Vin deciding to not have a baby had affected Renee and Val in a different way than it was supposed to affect them.
They respect their friend’s decision but Val and Renee couldn’t help but feel disappointed. Not only because Vin and Luna had kept the secret, not trusting them but especially since they were having troubles having their own baby.
It was unfair and selfish, and they all knew it. But without even realizing, Renee and Luna found themselves distancing from each other, leaving Luna feeling even lonelier than before.
The last straw came in the form of Sheila’s latest suggestion. A sex scene. That was what Sheila had suggested to spice the script up a little. Luna would have laughed out loud if she wouldn’t have been so mad and upset.
How in the hell ‘Seth’ and ‘Leah’ were going to have sex when she was a member of the jury and he was the one being judged? It was unthinkable, not to mention that ‘Seth’ was slightly retarded; he had the mental age of a 10 year old kid. Last thing within his mind was to have sex with anyone.
To Luna’s utter shock and horror, the Studio phoned Vin. They had taken Sheila’s suggestion seriously after watching the result of a survey and an opinion poll both done through Sheila Harley’s official website. And, of course, they wanted Luna writing the lovemaking scene.
Shooting set of ‘SETH’. Vin’s and Luna’s trailer.
Luna woke up late, and just as had been happening a lot lately, she was in bed, alone. Vin was nowhere to be found and Luna sighed hard, pinching the bridge of her nose. Her chronic migraine had come back full force over the last few days along with a light morning sickness that she thought was caused by all the tension and stress she was going through.
Her sadness had given way to anger after their fight last night. It had been one of the good ones. Luna had ended up yelling, crying her eyes out in frustration and Vin had stormed out of the trailer. She wasn’t even sure if Vin had returned at all.
However, for some reason Luna couldn’t explain she didn’t care where Vin had spent the night. She figured out that he had ended up with Val and Renee in their trailer.
Staring at the ceiling, Luna frowned, letting out a heavy sigh. She couldn’t believe that Vin was determined to shoot that fucking scene no matter what. Luna was sure that it would mean a disaster; nobody would take the movie seriously anymore. Not even Vin’s more fervent and unconditional fans who were doing their own promotion of the movie through their different websites.
Luna had used up every single coherent argument she could think of to convince her husband of the dreadful consequences of including a sex scene within the current story line and plot of ‘SETH’. But Vin had dug in his heels, refusing to see reason and had replied that her problem was that she was jealous of Sheila, even though he knew she had no real reason.
Luna grunted, shaking her head. She was starting to think that Vin was going further than logically expected using the Stanislavsky acting method. Would it be possible that Vin was acting as if he was ‘Seth’ himself? Luna couldn’t help it but she swore that last night she had been arguing with a stubborn 10 year old kid instead of with her 39 year old egocentric husband.
Vin had said that it was just a scene and nothing more, adding that he was an actor and that it was his job. He even had the nerve to make jokes, teasing Luna, saying that he promised he wouldn’t enjoy it one bit.
It had been at that point that Luna had lost her temper. She had started yelling that it had nothing to do with being an actor and everything to do with the fact that he was so flattered about having a 19 year old slut drooling around him, feeding his insatiable huge ego 24/7, he just couldn’t think with the right head anymore.
So frustrated and pissed off had Luna been that she added that it was her script and she wouldn’t allow any of them to mess with it in such horrible way.
It was then when Hell opened its jaws.
Vin spat back that the script of ‘SETH’ didn’t belong to her anymore but to him, since One Race had bought the rights, paying for them. Then, as if things at that point weren’t enough, Vin had said that he would do with his script whatever the fuck he felt like and to stop fucking around with the fucking scene.
Vin couldn’t really understand what Luna’s problem was. Why she was making such a fuss of a so small a thing. It wasn’t that big of a deal, after all. It had been the truth that he was excited about shooting a love scene but not for the reasons Luna that feared. For Vin it was a challenge that he wanted to face and he was so consumed in his own world, he was unable to see beyond.
Closing her eyes, Luna wondered if going through all this shit would be worthwhile. Things were getting out of hand damn fast.
Thinking about all the living hell that she had gone through since the shooting started, Luna admitted to herself that Marcela was bombarding her from every single flank. Luna had no doubt that Vin’s agent had been the one leaking to the media the news that had put her in her current situation. And it wasn’t that hard to think about who Marcela’s allies were.
Sighing hard, Luna sat up on the huge bed and thought about her mom’s old sayings.
God may squeeze, but he’s not going to kill you.
“Yeah, but sometimes he forgets he’s squeezing so fucking hard.” Luna whispered under her breath, hearing her cell phone ringing.
Luna picked it up and grinned as soon as she saw the name written on the little screen. Allison.
“Hey, sugar, you better take a seat because I have wonderful news for you.”
Luna smiled widely. Just hearing Allison’s voice was enough to make her feel better. It didn’t really matter what they were talking about. Lately Allison and Luna had been phoning each other or chatting for a few minutes almost every day.
“Are you sitting?”
“Yeah.” Luna laughed a little.
“You’re gonna be published!!!” Allison yelled, excited.
Luna stood so fast that she almost lost her balance. “WHAT?!” She blinked, shocked to her core.
Allison laughed hard. “You heard me, sugar. I sent your erotic tales to a couple of publishers, and guess what? One of those publishing houses LOVED them and wants to publish you like right now!” She laughed again causing Luna to laugh with her. “But that’s not all, Luna, sugar. This publishing house has distributors all round the country!”
Luna couldn’t believe what Allison was saying. It was a dream come true. Her first book published, being sold in bookstores all over the US.
“Nope. They would like to have Luna Andrade’s first book in their printing works before the end of September, at the least.” Allison paused and Luna heard her agent rustling papers around, as if Allison was searching for something among the chaos of documents that were always on her desk. “They sent me a rough draft of their offer so your lawyer can check it out before you make a decision. However, and after I took a deep look, I would say it’s more than generous. But still you have the last say on the matter.”
Luna clasped her hand against her mouth as happy tears started to fall unrestrained. She couldn’t believe what Allison was saying. Luna was too shocked to speak. A huge knot within her throat didn’t let her voice come out. Her heart was beating a mile a minute and she was trying to breathe normally.
Allison heard Luna crying silently and knew that she was so happy she couldn’t stop the tears. This was the first good thing happening to her in weeks.
“Luna…are you still there, sugar?” Allison asked softly, wiping away her own happy tears. This was a great success for both women.
Neither she nor Luna were as ambitious as Vin and Marcela. They were more than happy to be able to take this small step within Luna’s career. It was the beginning.
“Yeah…” Luna breathed as a small sob escaped her mouth.
“You did it, Luna, and you did it alone.” Allison whispered, smiling widely. “This, you don’t owe to anyone, sugar. This is all your making; your talent.” She added, sniffling a little.
Luna swallowed hard. “That’s not true, Allison.” She managed to force out in a teary voice. “You made it possible. I did nothing.”
“Well, hell, you wrote those yummy tales, sugar. I just made a couple of phone calls.” Allison grinned. Luna was too sweet for words. “Besides, don’t think for a minute that I did it for free, might as well think about renegotiating our agreement.” She joked, causing Luna to laugh a little. “Hey! I’m not joking around, sugar.” Allison teased Luna and both women laughed again.
Luna calmed down a little bit and, taking a deep breath, she exhaled the air slowly. Her heart was pounding wildly within her chest.
“I…I don’t know what to say, Allison. Thank you, thank you from deep in my heart.” Luna said truthfully.
“Yeah, talk about changing the subject, woman!” Allison joked again and Luna giggled; she only giggled if she was talking with Allison. “But I’m not dropping the matter that easily. We will talk about my percentage when you come here.” She added, unable to stop herself from joking with Luna just to hear her laughing. Allison suspected that not even Vin was able to make Luna smile anymore.
“We’ll go fifty-fifty if you want, Allison.” Luna said sincerely and Allison arched her brows at once.
“I had another thing in mind.” Allison replied, giggling. “Maybe I could take it out of you?” Luna blinked and then frowned a little.
“Oh, that sounds good. You planning to seduce me?” Luna teased Allison. The agent laughed quietly.
“Tempting, very tempting but I was thinking about attacking your credit card. We could go out celebrating real good.” Allison started and heard Luna laughing. So she continued teasing her. “Shopping in all of those exclusive boutiques, throwing around an indecent amount of money on some super fancy stuff. Or better yet! A whole day spa treatment, you know? Massages, manicure, pedicure and the like. I wouldn’t mind to feel spoiled a little.”
“I’ll spoil you a lot as soon as I see you. You can be damn sure, Allison.” Luna said, as serious as a heart attack. “We will go shopping around like Julia Roberts in ‘Pretty Woman’. We will burn up the AMEX!” Luna added, laughing heartily for the first time in weeks.
Allison giggled. “Ok, as long as you play Richard Gere’s role. I’m broke, sugar.”
Luna laughed. She really loved Allison; she was more than just a close friend. She was her only friend. “You got a deal, baby.”
They both burst out laughing for a long moment until Allison cleared her throat.
“Ok, sugar, back to business.” She said seriously and Luna grinned, thinking about her own book published. “There’s one more thing I have to tell you and, believe me, I know it’s the worst moment to ask you this but– you have to come here, Luna.”
At Allison’s words, Luna’s grin vanished completely. “Allison, I…”
“I know, I know, Luna, but these guys from the publishing house want to meet you in person.” Allison paused for a moment and then continued. She knew that even though this was the best news for Luna, certainly it came at the worst moment. “I’m not expecting you to give me a date right now, sugar. I’m just asking you to keep in mind that you’re going to have to come to NY really soon.”
Luna took a slow breath. “When is ‘really soon’?” She asked, her mind already racing. Luna didn’t want to leave Vin alone but she had no other choice. She knew that she had to go to NY. No way around it.
Allison sighed hard. “As in before the weekend soon.” She answered, cringing inwardly when she heard Luna letting out a stream of obscenities in her mother tongue.
Luna knew that as soon as she was out of the picture Sheila wouldn’t waste time to make a serious move on Vin. Not to mention the fact that Vin would get very pissed off knowing that Luna would be traveling to New York, without him. Adding to the mix the fact that Roberto was now living in the city of skyscrapers sure as hell didn’t make things easier. Quite the opposite.
“Allison, I can’t give you an answer right now.” Luna sighed hard, chewing her lower lip.
“It’s okay, sugar. Don’t worry.” Allison replied quickly. “You think about it, talk with your husband and call me back when you have a date, so I can schedule your visit. okay?”
Allison knew better than anyone else what she was asking Luna for, but she had no other choice. The publishers had wanted to meet Luna since the very first moment they read her erotic tales. Allison had been covering for her but the deal was hanging by a thread, subject to that meeting.
It seemed that all the things that had been published about Luna hadn’t affected their decision, but still they wanted to know first hand about Mr. Diesel’s wife.
“Okay, Allison. I’ll talk with Vin tonight and call you back.” Luna heaved a hard sigh. It was going to be a bitch of a night; she could already tell.
Later that night. Inside Vin’s and Luna’s trailer.
Luna blinked. “Come again?”
Vin turned around and met his wife’s shocked gaze. “You heard me, Luna. I said ‘no’, you’re not going to New York next Friday. I need you here with me.” Vin replied, doing his best to keep his temper at bay; he didn’t really need a repeat of the night before, even though his blood was boiling within his veins.
As soon as Luna said ‘New York’, Vin immediately thought about Roberto.
She snorted. “What the fuck for?” Luna replied. It wasn’t as if Vin had exactly been paying attention to her.
Vin ignored Luna’s outburst and took a slow breath before he said something he would end up regretting.
“Luna, I need you here, showing me your support and not halfway across the country.” Vin sipped from his beer, taking a seat on the couch.
“Funny you should say that, Vin, because support is exactly what I’m asking for here.” Luna leaned against the counter, sighing hard. “This is important for me; it’s my career we’re talking about. I have to go to New York whether you like it or not.”
Vin’s jaw clenched hard enough to hurt. You bet money that I don’t fucking like, woman, he retorted silently and then spoke.
“What’s with the rush anyway? If they are that interested, then they will wait for you to go whenever we say so.” Vin added, shaking his head a little.
Luna frowned. Whenever we say so? She arched her brows at once and unleashed her frustration without giving a damn about the consequences.
“You listen to me, Vincent. This is my career, my business, Mine and mine alone, not yours!” She raised her voice and took a step forward. “I am the only one to say what has to be done and not you! You hear me?! I’m not asking for your permission, Vin. I’m just telling you about what I’m gonna do. Got it?!”
Vin blinked, sickly fascinated with the sudden change in the course and tone their conversation took in seconds. Luna was pissed off beyond belief and he wondered if she realized the bitterness and coldness that her voice carried on. She didn’t look like herself anymore.
She was panting hard, almost breathless. But forcing the air to pass through her lungs, Luna continued.
“I’m sick and tired of dancing to the rhythm you play, Vin. I can’t stand it anymore. Fuck! I’m gonna go crazy if you keep trying to control me or my career. You’re smothering me so tightly that you’re fucking suffocating me. ¡Coño! Give me a fucking break!”
Tears were falling down and a small whimper escaped her lips. But she kept talking, unable to stop herself anymore.
“I’ve gone through hell and back over the last weeks! My family doesn’t speak to me anymore and Renee and Val are so cold with me that I feel chills running up my spine the few times they are around!” Luna paused for a second to take a ragged breath. She refused to bring Sheila and Vin’s ‘innocent’ flirting into this and concentrated on her career.
“That fucking phone call is the only damn good thing that has happened to me in weeks. And you, instead of being happy for me ‘cause I’m going to be published, are thinking about your needs! What about my fucking needs, Vin?! What about them, eh?!”
By the time that Luna stopped her tirade, her heart was working its way up her throat so damn fast that Luna was sure she would end up having a heart attack, and heavily, she leaned backwards, closing her eyes tightly. Her chest hurt and she pressed her hand above her heart level, whimpering in pain.
Vin’s eyes widened completely and jumping to his feet, he closed the distance between them, pulling Luna to him and holding her tightly against his chest. He felt her heart racing wildly and cursed silently. Dr. Jacobs’ concern about Luna’s heart problems echoed within Vin’s brain.
All his anger and the hows and whys to Luna reaching this current state were forgotten in one second flat. All his mind focused on Luna’s health.
“Luna, baby, please calm down, okay?” He whispered, stroking her back and hair. Vin was scared to death all of a sudden.
Luna struggled a little but after a moment she gave up and grabbed Vin’s shirt tightly, letting herself go. Endless weeks of rising tension, sadness and loneliness finally took the best of her and Luna broke in heartbreaking sobs, sharing tears she didn’t know were still left.
Vin kept whispering to her; his full lips pressed against her ear as Luna kept crying in his arms. She was upset and mad but she also missed her husband, a lot. Luna had already made up her mind in seconds, but didn’t want to leave with them both being mad at each other.
After a long moment, she stopped shaking uncontrollably and her heart started beating closer to a normal rhythm. Luna breathed raggedly and snuggled closer to Vin, resting her forehead on his shoulder.
“Luna…I know I’m not paying you the attention I would love to, baby, but I promise you that as soon as we’re back in LA things will be different.” Vin whispered hoarsely, blinking his blurry vision.
He really couldn’t stand Luna’s tears and this situation was dangerously similar to the one in Santo Domingo. He didn’t want to lose Luna and knew that if he kept pushing they would be done.
“I can’t wait until we’re back in LA, Vin.” Luna breathed.
She wasn’t sure what she was talking about anymore. The only thing Luna knew for sure was that she desperately needed to see a friendly face or she would go insane.
Vin shut his eyes, cursing himself silently. “Give me two weeks and I’ll be all yours again, baby.” Vin buried his hands in Luna’s hair and tilted her head back to meet her teary eyes. “I’m not asking for too much. Just two weeks, wait until this part of the shooting is done and we will work things out, okay?”
Luna blinked once, fresh tears rolling down her cheeks. There it was again. The self-centered asshole Vin kept within him. Thinking first about himself and later about himself again a little more. He and his needs; he and his career; he and his projects.
Luna locked eyes with Vin and, emotionless, plunged ahead. “I’m leaving for New York tomorrow. Make sure the jet is ready.”
And with that, she disentangled from his embrace and padded to the bedroom inside their trailer, closing the door at her back.
Vin sighed hard and punched the wall. “Fuck.”