Drama Romance Fantasy

As if the sun shines only on her, all eyes fall on ‘the woman’ as she strolls across the classic Italian city square. A flock of pigeons parts before her. Dressed simply, she looks better than those watching. In awe, they stare. She’s perfect.

‘The man,’ distracted, almost collides with ‘the woman,’ crossing her path. As if receiving an angel’s tap, he turns and sees the woman he’s been trying to meet.

Their eyes lock. One can almost hear music swell with their emotions.

A team of laborers pass between them, oblivious to their role in this cosmic dance. They focus on guiding a dolly laden with an outsized mirror. The woman sees her reflection. The movers roll on, leaving the man and the woman standing face to face. Nothing separates them. They see only each other.

Too much to say, their feelings are inexpressible.

The air is still.

Strangers to each other, they share a timeless history. A past. A future?

Burdened with their yearning, emotion overwhelms mere words. A false note could collapse the bridge of desire separating and binding them. 

The man speaks. “I hope I don’t offend, but…” He stops. Is he crazy? Did he shatter the spell?

The woman says, “Say it.”

“I’ve waited… I’ve dreamed…”

She completes his thought. “…of meeting you, all my life.”

“You too?”

“…the moment I saw you. You’re not crazy.”

He smiles. “Or, we’re both crazy.”

“Being with you, is the sanest thing I ever could do.”

They embrace almost violently. Their kiss is voracious. Desperate, grappling, their hands can’t stop moving. They laugh. And cry. And clutch each other.

He murmurs. “Is this really happening?”


They hold each other’s gaze.

From a distance, a voice amplified by a bullhorn called out. “Cut! Print!”

Movement erupted from around the square. The man and the woman separated. They stood passively while a make-up girl did touch-ups. Busy technicians and craftsmen surrounded them. Yet they remained isolated and devoid of purpose.

The Assistant Director called out. “Prep for take two?”

The Director, Giovanni Capo, glanced at the cameraman who offered a thumbs up.

He said, “No. Can’t improve on that. Wrap it.”

The AD called out. “That’s a wrap! 2nd unit! Check call sheets for pick-ups, tomorrow, eight a.m.”

An army of production people swarmed the square. Arms waving, people called out. The grip truck idled past the fountain. A limo idled near the cathedral, while the chauffer smoked.

Grips, production assistants, prop and set workers moved independently. But they shared a single focus, striking this location. The sound man retracted his mic boom. Grips dismantled and stowed dolly tracks.

The actor strode to Giovanni. “Could we do one more? My reading on…”

“No. It was perfect.”

“But, I think…”

“I’ll look at it. Fix in post if need be. We’re done here.”

It’s over. Their parts had played out.

Eyes searching, the woman looked at him. It meant nothing that their private moment was witnessed and recorded by an army of technicians. She looked down.

The man, known to the world as Nick Raleigh, took the woman’s hand, smiled and bowed.

“A pleasure working with you, Lark.”

Though only her third film, everyone knew the international sensation as ‘Lark.’

She smiled demurely. “It was fun.”

He held her hand for a long moment. The two stood alone amidst the swirling mass of workers.

Lark’s assistant handed her a coffee. A wardrobe girl draped a light jacket over her shoulders. She stepped from her heels and into the flats laid at her feet.

At loose ends, Nick and Lark thanked those passing by. The production staff dedicates itself to making the stars shine. Despite the transitory life of movie production, friendships last, even if they’re never seen again. 

A handful of reporters approached. Giovanni joined Nick and Lark.

He said, “Follow my lead…”

A reporter called out. “Nick and Lark, when did you first meet? During filming, or before?”

Giovanni answered. “No. Today. In the final shot of the movie. It’s daring, I have two stars who first met moments ago.”

Another reporter said, “Don’t actors usually hang out after hours?”

Giovanni nodded to Nick.

He said, “Yes, I’m friends with most of my co-stars.”

“Giovanni, they play lovers…?” The director nodded. “How did you keep them apart?”

In the universal sign for ‘money,’ Giovanni rubbed his fingers and thumb together. Everyone laughed.

Giovanni said, “It was perfect. An exotic city… Love at first sight... Completely believable. Didn’t look like acting.”

Nick said, “I don’t want to give it away, but…”

Lark interjected, “We weren’t.”

Everyone laughed.

Nick reached out to a woman and a little boy standing near the press. “You made it!”

The boy ran to Nick and hugged Nick’s leg. “Daddy!”

To Lark, Nick said, “Meet my wife, Ginni.” She and Lark embraced warmly.

A limo pulled up behind them. Stu, Lark’s manager got out. She nodded toward him.

Nick said to Lark, “It’s bizarre. I act as if we go ‘way back,’ and we just met.” Several people laughed. The reporters trained their microphones on Nick.

Nick continued. “It’s true though. Kind of preposterous. Throughout the story, going about our character’s lives, we almost meet many times… Crossed paths… interrupted… or spot the other through a window, or from a passing car. Wanting, but never knowing how to find the other, until…” He nodded at Giovanni. “…There’s a delicious anticipation…”

Giovanni broke in, “Everyone knows that tingling expectation… that never quite gets satisfied?” No one responded. He continued. “Desire gets projected like X-rays seeking something solid. Sometimes willing recipients... their X-rays mingle and dance… a pas de deux, if you will… But I say too much. Watch the film.”

Giovanni gestured that they were done. One reporter called out. Giovanni waved him off.

Lark’s manager approached and said, “Gotta go. Plane’s waiting. Luggage in the trunk.”

Giovanni protested. “You’ll miss the party…”

Lark said, “Sorry, Giovanni. This came up suddenly…”

Giovanni laughed. “You jet-setters…”

Nick took Lark’s hand. “We need to get together before the premier…” He indicated Giovanni and Ginni. “All of us…”

Lark smiled and nodded.

Everyone saw Ginni’s skeptical eye roll. She’d seen countless BFFs try latching themselves to Nick over the years. Deep emotional connections are hardly a given on a movie location.

She slid her arm around Nick’s waist. “Fifi misses you.”

Nick said, “Ginni’s dog.”

Pointing at Lark, Nick’s son asked, “Daddy, did you really kiss her?”

“That’s what actors do, Timmy. We pretend.”

Glances ricocheted. Lark’s manager shifted anxiously.

Timmy persisted. “It sure looked real.”

Nick smiled and nodded at the others for support. He patted the boy’s head. “‘Movie magic,’ Tim.’”

Tim looked up at his mother. No one spoke.

Giovanni framed his stars within his thumbs and forefingers. “Look at you… What a beautiful couple…”

Lark moved to hug Ginni and Nick in turn. He gave her hand a last squeeze. She withdrew and walked to the limo. The driver held her door. Lark met Nick’s eyes before ducking into the limo. It drove off.

Giovanni hugged and kissed Nick on both cheeks. “You’re on my next film. We’ll talk… Tonight? Drinks after I’m done here.”

“That’s great.” Nick gave Ginni an extra squeeze. ‘Work is work.’

Ginni and Timmy walked to the fountain.

“Will Lark join us on the new project?”

Without hesitating, Giovanni shook his head. “People need new equations. New stories.”

“Can’t make ‘Citizen Kane #25.’”

“Precisely. Lark’s wonderful, but not for this. People want that itch scratched.”

“And to live happily ever after?”

Giovanni shrugged. “If they were happy, they’d stop going to movies.” They laughed. “Excuse me, Nick. People needing me.”

Raul, the cameraman stood by. Nick thanked him.

“See you on the next one.”

Giovanni pointed as Nick walked away. “Drinks, tonight…”

Nick joined his family. He hoisted Timmy up as if planning to throw him into the fountain.

Raul and Giovanni embraced. They spoke in Italian.

Raul said, “Great show, Vanni. You pulled it off.” They laughed.  “The press lapped it up. They wanted more.”

“Begging like trained dogs. We fed them just enough to create a buzz. Just wait.”

“That kiss was…”

“Spontaneous. Could never rehearse it.”

“So intense. Years ago, they would have shut us down.”

“No one does ‘real’ anymore…” Giovanni scanned the open space before them. The crew had nearly finished loading. “Let’s go.” They walked to the limo.


Lark watched the jet taxi and lift off from her window seat. In high demand, she was off to a special appearance in Berlin. Then, on to another movie. She had good memories of her experience on ‘Sand Castle of Desire.’ She thought about Nick.

She leaned to her manager. “Stu, where’s the next shoot?”

He looked up from his laptop. “Vanuatu.”

“City? Country?”

“Country. South Pacific. Near the Solomon Islands.”


He nodded and returned to his computer.

She said, “Good.”

‘Nick…’ She barely knew him. Hardly spoke any but scripted words. ‘Superficial connection, even for a movie. But… what a connection.

She watched clouds drift beneath her. Far below, white surf lined a shore.

Lark said, “Tropical…”

She thought, ‘We’ll meet again…’

May 24, 2023 22:22

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Mary Bendickson
04:32 May 25, 2023

Tantalizing,❤️‍🔥 sizzling


John K Adams
15:11 May 25, 2023

That means a lot coming from an expert on bodice rippers. Thank you for reading and commenting. I'm glad it worked for you.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
RBE | We made a writing app for you (photo) | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.