The cameras were on, the audience seated, the room silent. The release of a new movie was always big news, but no-one could have been prepared for what was about to happen.

“My next guests are actually co-starring in the same movie, ladies and gentlemen! A Clean Pass is about two people forced together when a scientific and psychological experiment goes wrong. Here to talk about it today are Erin Shaw and Martin Langford!” The audience gave the cheer, the applause, and the two actors stepped out from behind a curtain. Erin, the current Hollywood sweetheart, glittered in a simple black dress and heels. Martin, a full head taller than her, stunned in a crisp black suit. This movie was big. The stars even bigger, although Martin wasn’t as well-known as Erin was.

“Hi, James!” Erin grinned, her British accent a contrast to the American host, and her Canadian co-star.

“A pleasure,” Martin smiled, shaking James’ hand after Erin.

“Welcome, welcome, do sit down!” James took a seat as the stars did. “So! It’s been a while since I saw you, Erin, but Martin – it’s your first time on the show!”

“It sure is nice to finally be here,” Martin smiled, sitting back.

“Do you watch the show?”

“No.” The audience broke into laughter. Erin chuckled, and James tried to contain his own amusement. Martin was impossible to dislike. “I mean, I watch it when I’m here in the States, but in Canada, we have other things to watch.”

“Like hockey and Tim Horton’s commercials.” Erin grinned at Martin, and he nudged her.

“Get out of here,” he chuckled.

“So. The movie – A Clean Pass. Your character, Erin, is a bit ditzy, right?”

“Yeah, I think that’s the best way to describe her. And honestly, this is going to be another of those really annoying interviews because there’s a twist right at the beginning that we can’t talk about… and that means a lot of the movie we can’t talk about, either.”

“Alright, well, we know it’s about an experiment gone wrong, and from the trailer we can see that poor Martin spent a while in a straight jacket?” James gestured to a screen which showed a still of Martin in a straight jacket, with Erin behind him, her arms around him. “What’s going on here?”

“Well, my character Benji’s gone off the rails – you’ll see why when you watch – and Erin’s character Dana is trying to stop him from literally bouncing off the walls.” Martin sat back fully.

“Was it fun, wearing that?” James shuffled his cards.

“Actually, yes, it was – it was like wearing pyjamas every day for work, you know?”

“Yeah, you were lucky with the costumes, actually…” Erin laughed.

They spoke a little about the movie, and then James spied it. The ring. The small, unassuming diamond on Erin’s finger that had been passed down through ten generations. He paused and looked at it.

“Erin… what’s that on your finger?” there was nothing on his cards to say he couldn’t talk about it.

“Oh, this? An engagement ring.”

“What?!” the intake of breath from the audience matched James’ shock perfectly.

“Yeah.” Erin smiled.

“You’re engaged?! Since when?! To who?! You’re single!”

“Oh. No, I lied, though. I haven’t been single for years.” Erin giggled. “We were just keeping it secret for a bit. But we can’t really keep it secret much longer, so.” She gave a shrug.

“Who’s the lucky guy, though?!”


“Er…” James ran through a couple of well-known guys who’d said the same thing. In the end, he gave up. “I’ve no clue. Who?!”

“See? I told you no-one expects it to be you.” Erin turned to Martin and took his hand. Martin kissed her knuckles and then her lips.

“Good. It worked well.”

“MARTIN?!” James’ face lit up.

“Yep. You got me.”

“But – but you’re – and she’s – what?! You guys are like chalk and cheese?!” James was flustered.

It was true. Erin was young at heart, loved pop music and hated alcohol and loved running colour and knitting and art. Martin, on the other hand, looked every inch the bad boy. Leather jackets and shit-kicker boots, black as the core colour, his head shaved at the sides leading into a quiffed longer part at the top, and a long beard, loved rock music and whiskey and rum and hated running. Martin and Erin were not expected at all.

“But wait – how long have you guys been together?” The movie had been forgotten now.

“Er… five years?” Erin said, couting.


“It’s five.” Erin looked at Martin.

“It’s six, love.”

“It’s five! We met in 2016! You were doing the Agency show, I came in as a guest. Remember?”

“No, we met at the table read, and then that party afterwards and I couldn’t take my eyes off you. Then it took five of your friends to tell you I hadn’t stopped staring at you the entire night. Then you finally came over, and that night is when we started dating.”

“Woah woah – you weren’t even into me then!”

“Yes I was!” Martin took her face in his hands. “I was into you when we were doing the auditions and we had that group read!”

“But – but that was like… February?! No. No, I remember you were super chill back then, but Ryland said you weren’t into anyone – least of all me!”

“Oh honey, I’ve been into you since I saw you on stage one time.”

“I remember things very differently.”

“I’m sure you do. Since it took how much convincing to get you to stick around after that night.”

“What happened?!” James was hungry for the gossip.

“Well…” Erin flushed red. “I… I mean, we… it was a table read party, and Charlie – you all know Charlie, my best friend – she pushed me towards Martin, and we started talking. And you know I was a virgin until that night. I mean, I couldn’t say no, you know? When Martin looks at you like that, it’s fucking hypnotic.”

“Like what?”

“Okay, he has three looks.” Erin turned to Martin, who was watching her with bemusement. “This look right now is the ‘you’re so cute and adorable even though I wish you’d stop talking about this but I can’t be mad at you because look at you’ look.” Martin burst out laughing. “He has another one, which means ‘I love you so much I think my body will burst’. And then his third look is ‘I’m thinking of all the unspeakable things I’m going to do to you tonight when I get you home, and how you’re going to enjoy it all’. And the entire night, he was giving me looks two and three. And he hasn’t stopped.”

“Jesus… so… you’ve finally joined the club then?” James sat back.

“She certainly has.” Martin had his hand on the nape of her neck. A small gesture, but it told her a lot. He loved her, he adored her, and he was going to do unspeakable things to her that night when they got home, and she was going to love it.

“So how did you propose?”

“Oh my god.” Erin grew excited.

“I took her up to Canada for a short trip, actually. Right up North.”

“It was amazing. Like he was so confident the entire time – just… god, I love you.”

“Alright, keep it PG.” James smirked.

“Come on, James! He showed me the freaking northern lights! Huskie sledding, a cabin with a skylight so we could watch for UFOs and stars… and then he just casually pops the question mid-northern-light with a ten-generation ring!”

“I was nervous as hell the entire time, actually.” Martin stroked her hair.

“You so were not!”

“I was. I was terrified you were going to say no.”

“I love you.”

“I love you more, baby girl.” 

November 20, 2021 00:20

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